THURSDAY, January 14, 2010 — Ed Sessa

Theme: "Baaaa!" — Types of sheep are hidden in the theme answers.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Hackneyed line (HAVE WE MET BEFORE).
  • 35A: Chowder base (CLAM BROTH).
  • 57A: Summertime cosmetic mishap (MASCARA MELTDOWN).
  • 65A: Animal family hidden in 17-, 35- and 57-Across (SHEEP).
This is weird. The theme really doesn't do anything for me today — I'm sure CLAM BROTH is a real thing, but the other theme answers seem pretty random-slash-made-up. And there's an awful lot of crosswordese in the puzzle — ADEN, LANAI, ORNE, GBS, ENOS, ILIE, ATARIS. Yet, I still kind of liked the puzzle. I'm looking it over now and don't see anything particularly sparkly in it. But, for some reason, seeing both A-BOMB and A-FRAMES (5A: Los Alamos project, briefly / 38D: Popular ski country homes), and BAM and BAMA (6D: Kapow cousin / 54A: Crimson Tide, briefly) kind of amuses me today, even though I think I should be annoyed. Maybe I'm just in a good mood and it's clouding my judgment. I guess I can live with that.

Let's see ... :
  • 1A: Italian port on the Adriatic (BARI). BAM! Tough geography clue right out of the gate.
  • 23A: Frothy fountain drinks (MALTEDS). Sounds kind of old-timey, reminding us of a simpler time when we would prefer to recall that everything was perfect.
  • 45A: 1975 A.L. MVP and Rookie of the Year __ Lynn (FRED). Wow. Of all the FREDs to chose from.
  • 49A: __ stone (ROSETTA). Has anyone tried to learn a language using the Rosetta Stone products? Man, they're expensive.
  • 54A: Crimson Tide, briefly (BAMA). If I'm not mistaken, they were involved in an important football game recently. I could be totally wrong about that.
  • 12D: Sandra Bullock role, e.g. (HEROINE). Happened to catch "Speed" while flipping through channels the other day. Boy can Keanu Reeves not act!
  • 18D: Agricultural pests (WEEVILS). The first thing that came to my mind was weebles. Despite the fact that they wobble and they don't fall down, I don't think they're particularly troublesome to farmers.
  • 43D: Longtime Steinway rival (BALDWIN). Pianos!
Crosswordese 101: Let's talk about all the ALECs in CrossWorld! Today we're treated to ALEC 16A: Guinness of "Star Wars." He played Obi-Wan Kenobi, so you'll sometimes get that hint in the clue as well. There's also ALEC Baldwin (he plays Jack on "30 Rock," has brothers who also act, was once married to Kim Basinger, and has appeared in the movies "The Cooler," "Malice," "Glengarry Glen Ross," and more). Those are the two most common ALECs, but on a rare occasion you'll also see the writer ALEC Waugh, the pianist ALEC Templeton, and Bon Jovi's bassist ALEC John Such.

Psst! Do you want to see all the Crosswordese 101 words we've already covered? Well, I've got a tip for you! See that button up at the top of the blog? The one that says CW101? Yeah, that one! Just click it!

Everything Else — 10A: Newspaper family name (OCHS); 14A: Yemen's main port (ADEN); 15A: Roofed patio (LANAI); 20A: Love, in 1-Across (AMORE); 21A: Heros (SUBS); 22A: Male delivery (SON); 26A: Green soldier (RECRUIT); 28A: Unwanted kitchen visitor (ANT); 29A: Killed, in a way (VETOED); 31A: River in NW France (ORNE); 32A: MA and PA (STS.); 33A: Bakery worker with a gun (ICER); 34A: Spirited equine (STEED); 38A: "__ moi, le déluge": Louis XV (APRÈS); 41A: New Rochelle, NY, college (IONA); 42A: "Pygmalion" monogram (GBS); 46A: "The evil that men do lives after them" speaker (ANTONY); 48A: Brutally harsh (RAW); 51A: How architects draw (TO SCALE); 53A: Rear admiral's rear (AFT); 56A: "Flip This House" network (A AND E); 61A: Hall of Famer Slaughter (ENOS); 62A: Book from which the film "What's Love Got to Do With It" was adapted (I, TINA); 63A: Netman Nastase (ILIE); 64A: Posted (SENT); 66A: Buffoonish (ZANY); 1D: Commonwealth off Florida (BAHAMAS); 2D: Uncompromising (ADAMANT); 3D: Rises up (REVOLTS); 4D: At a standstill (INERT); 5D: Tavern choice (ALE); 7D: Singletons (ONES); 8D: Come of age (MATURE); 9D: Like many lobster eaters (BIBBED); 10D: Galoot (OAF); 11D: Sense of completeness (CLOSURE); 13D: Like some candles (SCENTED); 19D: Corner PC key (ESC); 24D: Numerical prefix (DECA-); 25D: Pipe part (STEM); 27D: Portnoy creator Philip (ROTH); 30D: Move in high circles? (ORBIT); 34D: Patronizes, as an inn (STAYS AT); 35D: Hand over (CEDE); 36D: Canine anchor (ROOT); 37D: __ occasion: never (ON NO); 39D: Talking a blue streak? (PROFANE); 40D: Sits atop (RESTS ON); 42D: Hiker's snack (GRANOLA); 44D: Todd of Broadway (SWEENEY); 46D: Classic video games (ATARIS); 47D: "Broadway Joe" (NAMATH); 50D: Not yet sched. (TBA); 52D: City near Gibraltar (CADIZ); 55D: Brest friend (AMIE); 58D: Western KY clock setting (CST); 59D: Santa Barbara-to-Vegas dir. (ENE); 60D: Slurp (up) (LAP).


Charlie don't tweet said...

Not huge fan of the theme. 15 letters is a long way to go to get EWE and RAM.

But, in the future when a friend agains says 'you have to build a more defensive grid!' I'll say 'man, I know exactly what you be talkin bout now!'.


Not a very thrilling puzzle theme: EWE, LAMB, and RAM embedded in some pretty lame theme words…ugh!
Far too easy for a Thursday… took me a little under ten minutes… BAM! There were absolutely no stumper-words, nothing new, “hackneyed” fill, noncreative clues, and no humor. Oiy ! Even those 4 corners with the 7 letter words, plopped in without much thought. The only redeeming thing was, we got ICER instead of the bane of ICET. Maybe I’m being “brutally harsh”, but you all know how it is. There are days when a puzzle just doesn’t click and then we tend to take it out on the constructor or editor. I came back from my 3 day hiatus expecting a lot more, I guess.

Thanks, Puzzlegirl, for making us aware of that little CW101 button.

Will somebody please write a constructor’s dictionary of clever clues for 3 and 4 letter fill words? Start with ADEN, AFT, ALE, ALEC, AMIE and ANT.

I just hope Rich drops a super TGIF puzzle on us tomorrow!

Van55 said...


I couldn't have expressed it better, so I won't try. Just irritatingly trite.

Zeke said...

@JNH Unfortunately, a "dictionary of clever clues for 3 and 4 letter fill words" is an oxymoron - once someone writes the dictionary, by definition, they're standard. It's the ones not in the dictionary that are interesting. So, maybe after all, you're right. Someone should write the dictionary, then if the clue is in it, it's bad. Hey, we've got one of those! And now we all know where to find it!

Orange said...

Nice work with the red arrows, PuzzleGirl!

This puzzle did nothing for me other than irritate me, really. MASCARA MELTDOWN is not a "thing." It gets only about 2,100 Google hits. If you're gonna put in a phrase like that, use it to hide more than three letters. Use it to hide the CARAMEL that's right there, giving me a sweet tooth.

Parsan said...

A lot easier than yesterday and not as interesting.

Always have trouble remembering the spelling of ILIE (Elie?, Ilia?, Elee?) even though it shows up often in puzzles and I have seen him play.

Been to BARI and remember FRED Lynn. Spent many hours on a BALDWIN. Saw SWEENEY Todd at the Kennedy Center with Angela Lansbury, an excellent and scary production.

Never heard anyone actually call it a MALTED(s)--just "I'll have a chocolate malt". But then there's malted milk.

I did like the long corners, even if obvious--BAHAMAS, HEROINE, GRANOLA. PROFANE was the best clued answer and MASCARA MELTDOWN is funny!

Thank you PG.

Sfingi said...

Easy. I think I'll buy the NYT today.

Before I got SHEEP, I thought maybe SHEll, and there was a CLAM, but not hidden.

Did not know ENOS or FRED or BAMA, but got 'em (sports). Never heard of a MASCARAMELTDOWN, but it sounds reasonable enough.

Did not know AFT and still don't know what it is. Eh?

In general, I like sheep. They smell nice.

ddbmc said...

It is not just "meh" who thought this puzzle was more a Mon-Tue. I don't want to say it was "baaaa-d," but as @PG said, no real sparkle.

"Clambroth" House was a restaurant in Hoboken,NJ, where the young Sinatra hung out. It was condemned in 2004 and eventually torn down. I'm not so much a clam fan,as I'd preferred to be "bibbed" for a lobster feast. Does that make me a "Sweeney Tobster?"

Burner10 said...

I thought you could use Rosetta Stone products on loan from the library. Nice observation about 'caramel' - I'm liking how you puzzle people think. So ho hum for me I forgot to go back to the NW corner after not knowing Bari and forgetting Aden.

*David* said...

Only point of interest for me was seeing FRED Lynn who played for the Angels in the early 80's and graduated from USC. A real SoCal boy deserves a place in the LAT.

Al said...

@PG, in today's CW101 entry, you left off perhaps the most famous Alec of all: Hoag. Not his actual name though, but the one reportedly given to him by the constabulary. Truly a "nick" name.

Anonymous said...

Plaque in a cropduster cockpit "I FEAR NO WEEVIL"....

jeff in chicago said...

Just all right for me. Agree the 15s are too long to hide 3-letter words.

@Orange: Hide "caramel" - I can already hear constructors' brains spinning though soda shop fill.

ALEC and BALDWIN in the puzzle and not connected (even in the write-up!) I actually like that.

Joon said...

i'd have preferred to see ALEC and BALDWIN clued together, as it's always nice to see full names in the grid (even split across two entries).

CARA/MEL is a nice find! i'd totally use it if MASCARA MELTDOWN were, you know, a legit entry.

where is this mysterious "CW101" button? i can't find it anywhere!
(sorry, couldn't resist.)

Argyle said...

Anon @ 9:45
Normally we don't like people using 'anon' but for that pun.... You did the right thing.

lit.doc said...

@Puzzle Girl, thank you ever so for including that nice, visual CW 101 Primer...the day *after* I embarrassed myself here by asking what and where it was. ;)

I had gotten the impression that the LAT was striving to more closely approximate the NYT's (usually) smooth Monday-up escalation. But, hey, I'm not too proud to enjoy a Tuesday'ish puzz.

The theme would have been more interesting with more (even if tangentially related) fill. BOPEEP, WOLFSCLOTHING (ooooh, a 13-er!), and (wait for it) HUMBUG come to mind.

@sfingi, AFT (toward a boat's stern) is the opposite of FORWARD (toward a boat's bow).

My only cavil is with "Classic video games" = ATARI. I'm not a gamer (no amount of primo dope could make Pong fun, or so I hear), but I believe an Atari is/was a (primitive) gaming *platform* on which (equally primitive) games could be played. Any Actual Gamers out there?

CrazyCat said...

Just a so-so puzzle today. The Theme didn't really do much for me. I did my insomniac solving and it put me back to sleep -counting LAMBS. Kapow gave me trouble. For some reason, I thought a Kapow was a fish. BAM! Liked the clue for ORBIT and AFT.
@Sfing - AFT is a term that describes the rear/stern of a boat or ship.
Didn't know FRED Lynn, but I used to work with a guy with that name, so I just sort of filled it in without thinking.

I saw the early SWEENEY Todd production with Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou back in 1980 when I lived in NY - super performance.

BARI was my new word of the day. Has anyone seen ALEC Baldwin in "It's Complicated?" There's a whole lot of ALEC goin' on there.

I have been appreciating that CW 101 button all along. Didn't realize others didn't know about it.

Jet City Gambler said...

With 20+ years in the video game industry, I have to echo lit.doc and call foul on ATARIS. Atari is a video game company that created a ton of coin-op games and one of the first home consoles, the Atari 2600. I've never heard anyone call them "Ataris" as a plural, no matter how much primo dope was invilved.

On the other hand, there is an indie punk band called The Ataris.

xyz said...

Thanks Puzzle Girl

I CW X2 daily, NYT & LAT. Did this one first and somehow knew I'd like this one better even thought it was a little bit easy for me, there were some fun answers and words like BARI and OCHS I needed crosses because I knew I was going to learn a new word.

CLAM BROTH (recalled CLAMS CASINO and made me laugh) - this is most important in Rhode Island Chowder which has no milk product in it and is really rather good - best with a little salt pork, bacon or pancetta depending on how fancy a chef you fancy yerself. MASCARA MELTDOWN believe it or not I wrote right in! 58-year old guy. HAVE WE MET BEFORE was really obvious after the first pass (I tack my way though puzzles, not good enough to just fill them in) especially since SHEEP was full by first across pass.

I'm guessing that some more experienced than I found this puzzle bland today, but I much prefer bland to tedious (which NYT was today from my seat) any day. I do these for fun and I am having more fun due to this blog.

Since this is so non-East coast, i'll add thus: HERO(E)S = SUB(MARINE SANDWICH)S = GRINDERS (CT, RI & generally New England name) GRINDER might make a tough clue for SUB or HERO(E)[S] for the constructors in you

chefbea said...

Fun Puzzle today

I knew Enos (was a Cardinal way back when). My son-in-law is from Bari. And the best clam chowder in the world is at The Black Pearl restaurant in Newport, RI. yummm.

Just yesterday my daughter was telling me that my 5 year old grand daughter was trying to explain to a friend what a weeble is. She said "they weeble and they don't fall down, unless you drop one on the floor and then it breaks. (which is what she did to one of hers)

Tinbeni said...

@Parsan - I remember Natase as "I LIE" ... he was an interesting tennis character.

On Thursday I expect A MORE substantial puzzle.

What was already stated above, by just about everyone.

Looked at the completed grid and thought;
"Hey, whats wrong with the second RAM in A-FRAMES?"
That would be 4 theme answers leading to the SHEEP. Blah, Blah, Blah.

CARAMEL Lamb Chops for dinner though, Hmmmm?

I TINA twice in a month? It's hardly a classic.

Here in the summer when it is 94 degrees, w/70% humidity I have actually seen ladies have a MASCARA MELTDOWN, not a pretty sight.

AMIE/ami ... a least 'friend' is spelled the same way in English.

Did like BARI & CADIZ. If it is going to be a geography lesson, make it new stuff.

@PUZZLEGIRL - Great write-up for an INERT puzzle.

wilsch said...

for some reason, I had real trouble with the northeast corner. OCHS as a newspaper family threw me off, and I had BOY instead of SON.

Charles Bogle said...

everything critical already said by virtually all

Irony: LATpuzzle clues OCHS family of NYT

Conundrum: Set a Thursday personal best time-wise. But, since the puzzle was so irritating and trite, I feel no self-pride whatsoever!

@PG: wonderful write-up; thanks for the CW101 grid and all other great teachings

Entropy said...

OK, I'm a gamer (not ATARIS) and new to CW's but this was easy even for me.
It IS Thursday not Tuesday isn't it?

ewe, lamb, ram, sheep is A-BOMB for a theme.

@Orange - I do check your blog, Diary of a Crossword Fiend everyday. Your times to do these things is intimidating. I assume you do them on the computer. I could never print that fast.

@Puzzlegirl - Those 'weeble' things are cute. Nice write-up. Time to check out the CW101 list.

Entropy said...

I also saw that Ram in A-FRAMES.
APRES I had CLOSURE on this the puzzle.

Brest Friend, AMIE the feminine form of AMI was a cleaver clue.

Just having the word ZANY in it, doesn't make it so.

florida grandma said...

Thought this was much easier than yesterday's, but had a few spots that gave me trouble. I don't like clam broth--thought it should be clam stock for 35A. Also, did not like malteds for clue 23A frothy fountain drinks; malteds are not frothy. Years ago as a child I would order a frothy drink at the soda fountain in the local drugstore. It was truly frothy; called a phosphate. also black cows were a bit frothy, but not malteds. Crosses were a big help.
All that said, always glad to finish the puzzle.
Knew Enos from earlier CW101!! So glad I remembered it!! Thanks to PG and others for this blog--it is great and I really learn so much.


I enjoyed today's puzzle and thought it had some fun (root, son, profane, aft)and new (bari, cadiz) answers. Much easier than I expected but had a good time with this one this morning.

Whitney said...

Everyone has said everything I would have said already, so I'll just ask: Puzzle Girl did you see Jon Stewart last week (1/6) when he and John Oliver did that bit on Searching for a Simpler Time? I assumed you had based on your observation of the word MALTEDS...but if not, huge coincidence and you should check it out: http://animalnewyork.com/2010/01/the-daily-show-searches-for-a-simpler-time-in-america/

I hope posting links is A-OK?

mac said...

Very thin theme, and too easy for a Thursday. I did like rosetta and to scale, adamant and profane, and I don't like closure, but it is ok in a puzzle.

I so wanted trail mix for those hikers.

Don't you hate a mascara meltdown!

Sfingi said...

@LitDoc - Oh! AFT. I thought they were looking for an abrev for the office beneath a Rear Admiral.

Now that I've done the NYT, it was brutal and I wish I'd saved my buck fifty.

The crossword muse built me up just to knock me down.

mac said...

@sfingi: buck fifty? It's two bucks in NY. Go figure.

Crockett1947 said...

@florida grandma My favorite was a nectar phosphate with cream! Yummy!!

chefbea said...

@sfingi I agree with mac $2.00!!!!!


First off I'd like to say welcome to VTQUILTMOM and that I like your avatar. Is that one of your quilting creations?

I had GORPMIX at first for "Hiker's snack".

Joe NAMATH television commercials... does pantihose ring a bell?

I actually like my alternate theme better: SUBS, MALTEDS, and CARAMEL.

I meant that fill-word clue dictionary for the constructors, so we'd get some more creative clues instead of the same old worn out "Tavern choice ALE" crap.

@Blog hosts et al
I have a question about how puzzles are made---
Is the grid filled in by the Constructor and then the clues are created by another person, like the editor? Because, I think I could be fairly good at writing clues, but there's no way I could build a decent grid with legitimate fill words and theme words.

My "glass is half full" statement--
(sorry, @Tinbeni)

Even if a puzzle, like this one, is A BOMB, think of it this way... 2/3 of the fun (the great blogs and comments) are still here.

PuzzleGirl said...

@whitney: Thanks for the link. I hadn't seen that episode! That's either quite a coincidence or evidence that Jon Stewart is my soul mate. One of those two things.

Whitney said...

@Puzzle Girl: No problem. Always happy to share a Jon Stewart clip. As for me, I'm convinced Colbert is my soul mate :)

Sfingi said...

@Mac - We don't get some of the sections you do. This is my third, and out.

Tinbeni said...

re: the "my glass is half full" statment at 6:29?

I'm a fairly bright guy, but I don't get it?

That avatar, like my snifter RIGHT NOW, only has about 3 oz.of Scotch in it.
I guess I'm a 20% glass-full kinda guy (it is 80 proof!).

I do agree, even when we have a ho-hum puzzle the blog & comments are 2/3 of the fun.

@Sfinge & @mac & @chefbea
I'm trying out the NYT for a month on-line for $ 6.95 total. What I learned here has enabled me to complete approx. 90% of them.
Or as Yogi would say "And that's at least half!"

lit.doc said...

@Whitney, hi! Am either unusually intoxicated, or haven't seen you here before. If the latter, welcome. If not, well, let's pretend I didn't just say that.

Anyhow, @Whitney, point is "thanks for sharing the Jon Stewart" clip--he and Stephen (depending on how early I have to get up) are my bedtime stories. My question is this: yeah, embedding clips is fine, IMHO, but how the heck do you people DO it?

@Tinbeni, right on re your snifter. Too full = too little nose.

Tinbeni said...

Glad to see you back. I guess the Christmas season kept you from commenting here. We always enjoy a smart young lady's opinion, and you're a hoot!

I have never figured out how to embed things, but I do enjoy all the clips.
And of course my 3 oz. refill to go with the Daily Show.

Unlike you, after my Big-8 years (7 or was it 8 of them) I stayed in the numbers biz.(in more ways than one). Jon Stewart has a more succinct view of the 'events of the day!' than the so-called real news.


@lit.doc & Tinbeni
Send me an email and I'll explain how to embed a clip (clickable link)