THURSDAY, January 21, 2010 — Gareth Bain

Theme: Ice-Breaker — Theme answers are two word phrases with the letter string ICE beginning at the end of the first word.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: One that creates a current in the current (ELECTRIC EEL).
  • 28A: DNA researcher (GENETIC ENGINEER).
  • 50A: Fitness staple (AEROBIC EXERCISE).
  • 65A: Warm things up, and what 17-, 28- and 50-Across literally do (BREAK THE ICE).
Good morning! This is going to be a super quick write-up today because it's the first day of my new job. That's right, I have a job. Yes, I know it's been seven years since I've had a job, but I'm sure this is all going to be juuust fiiiiine.

Fun puzzle today. I zipped through the NW corner, made my way east and then had a much tougher go of it from GENETIC ENGINEER on down. But that's a good thing on a Thursday. Add in some fresh fill and go light on the crosswordese and ... you've got yourself a puzzle!

Quick Hits:

  • 13A: "April Love" singer (BOONE). Not familiar with this song but I'm sure it's lovely.
  • 19A: "You __ here" (ARE).
  • 38A: A flat one may evoke a wince (NOTE). I tried tire at first, but NOTE is much better.
  • 54A: Silver encouragement? (HI-YO). Stop right there. Step away from the keyboard. Before you get all full of yourself for finding a mistake in the puzzle, I'm telling you right now. Yes, HI-YO is the right answer. No, he did not say HI-HO. Period. End of sentence.
  • 55A: Duke __: video game hero (NUKEM). Never heard of this guy, but that's an awesome name.
  • 8D: "Brideshead Revisited" novelist Waugh (EVELYN). Nice of EVELYN to stop by instead of the more common ALEC.
  • 12D: They may not be speaking (EXES). Thank God for email.
  • 44D: WWII enders (A-BOMBS). I want to see F-BOMBS in the puzzle someday.
No time for CW101 today, so take a minute to review IAMBS (22A: Shakespearean feet) and ERIN (58A: Ireland, poetically).

Everything Else — 1A: Colorado resort town (ASPEN); 6A: Roman commoner (PLEB); 10A: Who blows thar? (SHE); 14A: Talks deliriously (RAVES); 16A: Witch's specialty (HEX); 20A: Floor model (DEMO); 21A: __ alcohol: fusel oil component (AMYL); 22A: Shakespearean feet (IAMBS); 24A: Ceremonial act (RITE); 26A: Kissers (YAPS); 35A: Horror filmmaker Roth (ELI); 36A: James Brown's genre (SOUL); 37A: Allow (ENABLE); 40A: Tit for __ (TAT); 42A: Starting line advantage (POLE); 43A: Puccini works (OPERAS); 46A: Wilson's predecessor (TAFT); 49A: Actress Ullmann (LIV); 53A: "The fool __ think he is wise ...": "As You Like It" (DOTH); 58A: Ireland, poetically (ERIN); 60A: Ale feature (HEAD); 64A: Ace's value, at times (ONE); 68A: Beverage suffix (-ADE); 69A: Barracks VIP (SARGE); 70A: Rubber duck-loving Muppet (ERNIE); 71A: Short flight (HOP); 72A: Tints (DYES); 73A: They must be met (NEEDS); 1D: Between the sheets (ABED); 2D: Exclusive (SOLE); 3D: Housman work (POEM); 4D: "More!" ("ENCORE!"); 5D: Bottom line (NET); 6D: Butcher's best (PRIME CUT); 7D: Like some negligees (LACY); 9D: Buzzer (BEE); 10D: Ersatz (SHAM); 11D: Basil or chervil (HERB); 15D: Add sneakily (SLIP IN); 18D: Sine or cosine (RATIO); 23D: See 25-Down (A SNAP); 25D: With 23-Down, "Duck soup!" (IT'S); 27D: Census datum (AGE); 28D: Italian port (GENOA); 29D: Sneak off to the altar (ELOPE); 30D: Compound in some explosives (NITER); 31D: Enrapture (ELATE); 32D: Where Christ stopped, in a Levi title (EBOLI); 33D: Hudson River's __ Island (ELLIS); 34D: "Still Me" autobiographer (REEVE); 39D: Wear down (ERODE); 41D: Unpopular legislative decisions (TAX HIKES); 45D: Take a load off (SIT); 47D: Épéeist's ruse (FEINT); 48D: Shot (TRY); 51D: Heartening (CHEERY); 52D: Stick together (COHERE); 55D: Ararat lander (NOAH); 56D: Edit menu command (UNDO); 57D: Don't let go (KEEP); 59D: Fashion (RAGE); 61D: Mozart's "__ kleine Nachtmusik" (EINE); 62D: Alkali neutralizer (ACID); 63D: They're barely passing (DEES); 66D: "Far out!" ("RAD!"); 67D: Barnyard bird (HEN).


Rex Parker said...

Are you *trying* to get us flagged for objectionable content?? Naked axe man!? :)

Torched this one. I think HUES for DYES and PRIME RIB for PRIME CUT were my only issues.

Just to introduce some humility into the mix, I will announce that I have tried to solve two of Peter Gordon's Fireball Crosswords in the New Year, and have failed to finish both times. Utter, complete, face-plantingly horrible failure. So, sadly, I remain human, solving-wise. Peter says the Fireball Crosswords are "typically tough." This is an understatement of biblical proportions. I would say they are "singe-the-hair-off-your-privates tough."

Too colorful?

Duke NUKEM = awesome!


Tinbeni said...

HI YO silver away!
We had the hi ho discussion a few months back, I remember being on the incorrect side ... it is HI YO!

17a was a gimmie, caught the theme at 65a, BREAKS THE ICE.

First had rants, changed to RAVES, and the BEEs were buzzing.
Adhere changed to COHERE, sat to SIT.
A few write-overs but this is Thursday, not the easy Mon.to Wed. fare.

Never heard of Duke NUKEM, or for that matter probably 1% of the video games, but the crosses got it.

Good job Gareth.

@Puzzlegirl - I hope your first day back in the work force goes smoothly.

Perpetually Juvenile said...

Ok, Rex pried the door open.

Isn't there a typo at 10A? Isn't his name Thor, not "thar"? And isn't SHE a bit indeterminant?

Sfingi said...

Easy. In comparison, for oldstress non-experts, yesterday's NYT too hard.

New to me: Mr. Duke NUKEM.

Pat BOONE was too goody-goody, sicky sweet, far-right for me; however, he was a Columbia grad. I wonder what that experience was like.

Christ Stopped at EBOLI, is an auto-bio of Dr. Carlo Levi who had been banished by the Nazis to this region. In this case, "stopped" meant he didn't proceed any further to the God-forsaken regions of Lucania. The book is very good; I hear the movie, made 25 yrs later, is schmaltz.

Another Hi-Ho, besides the 7 dwarves, is for Steverino (Allen), appearing on a preivious puzzle.

PepetJuv - Thar means there for sailors (tars and salts). Anything this landlubber knows about the sea is from readin. Unless you're kidding.

What's an f-bomb?

GLowe said...

@SF - I think he's kidding, but I ain't splainin it.

Dropping the F-bomb: using a bad word that starts with f, usually spontaneously, in wholly inappropriate setting.

Great puzzle Gareth. I always wondered what ERSATZ meant. Actually, the history of the word in english is very interesting: it has no 'inferior' connotation in German, it just means 'substitiute' I guess, but because it was used so often for inferior food (ersatzbrot was bread made out of potato starch and sawdust!) and the like in WWII, we adopted it to mean 'crappy substitute'.

*David* said...

I had problems with EBOLI/LIV/REEVE section. I kept on thinking TRACY for Ullman. I had a lot of erases with silly spelling and wrong fill location I must have been very preoccupied.


Gareth rules!!!!
Very nice Thursday puzzle. Amazingly I solved it quickly and 100% correct... maybe it's because of the science & math clues. Ex Aerospace Engineer here. I did not see the theme ICE thing until I came to the blog, so I guess I just get a B+.

Words I liked: AMYL, RATIO, HIYO, EBOLI, PLEB, and of course ENGINEER.

Had SEXY for 7D "Like some negligees".

I take issue with the clue for (44D) "WWII enders". I really think the shameful act of dropping ABOMBS on innocent civilians was not the right way to end the war.

Having said that, I did like the Duke NUKEM though.

When I see GENOA I always think of salami. Yum!

Isn't IAMBI the plural of IAMB?

And when you ELOPE, you avoid "Sneaking off to the altar".

And now something for you old fogeys---

Thanks Gareth, for a super puzzle.
Rich, we want an ENCORE!


Oh yeah, I forgot to wish Puzzlegirl the very best in her new job. I'm just worried that she might just up and leave us.
You won't do that will you, Angela?
We love you here!!!!

Sandy said...

Good luck today PG! How long will it be before you can read these comments at work?

shrub5 said...

6A) PLEB? I thought the word was 'plebe'. The latter is apparently limited to the freshman cadet at a military academy.

I also entered PRIME RIB before PRIME CUT. James Brown's SOUL fixed it.

LOL at naked axe man picture. Makes me shiver to look at it. Ice swimming seems utterly ridiculous but I guess I shouldn't knock it if I haven't tried it...and that's not going to happen.

@PG: Best of luck on your new endeavor.

Very nice puzzle, Gareth!

Burner10 said...

Smooth solve for me except minor brain fart at EINE. So fun! Didn't get the theme until the very end because I had OWL for HEN. Then a nice 'aha' to start the day. Good luck in your new fun (I hope) job - you should try to get a free lunch at least once a week for the first month if your new company is big enough.

xyz said...

Best to you at your new job, yee Puzzling Girl, hopefully you won't have a work computer signalling INNAPROPRIATE CONTENT: GAMES

Good puzzle, stumbled "Mid-Atlantic" but partly becasue not a "Duck Soup" fan, didn't know such a simple thing.

Needed crosses for Duke NUKEM, changed SEXY/LACY and picked NOTE as TIRE seemed to obvious for a Thursday.

Love Th LAT.

Tuttle said...

Pleb and plebe both derive from plebian, the land-owning class in ancient Rome.

If I were to be utterly pedantic I'd point out that the plebian/patrician dichotomy does not match up with our conception of commoners and nobility very well. The 'commoners' of ancient Rome were the head-count, the capati, whose only political rights were to be counted as citizens in the tribal assembly. Land owning plebians and the patricians of the ancient families were represented in the more powerful curial assembly, could hold magistrates and sit in the senate if they met the requirements.

The word "noble" itself derives from the Latin nobilis which was applied to any family that had ever produced a curile magistrate like a consul, praetor or aedile. By the end of the Republic the vast, vast majority of the nobilis were plebians. Men like Pompey, Cicero, Brutus, Cato, Mark Antony, Crassus and even Augustus (before he was adopted by Caesar) were plebians, although ALL patricians, like Caesar or Lepidus, were nobilis. There just weren't many patricians left after five centuries (the last gens to be given patrician status was the Cornellii ca. 490 BCE).

Ooops. I guess I did get utterly pedantic. Sorry ;)

Entropy said...

ELI and NUKEM, not being a horror movie or video game fan, were both new to me.

Kisser = YAPS also new.
Duck Soup = ITS A SNAP, not an expression I use.

Initially fell into the HI HO trap, but TRh at TRY made no sense. A few other corrections, or entropy moments as I call them, but a fun puzzle.

I thought it was Kermit who sang 'rubber ducky' but the fill was ERNIE, oh well.

@JNH - Yesterday I said I enjoy your SOLTI comments. How you got a 'bore' ref. to me, evades me.

@Puzzlegirl - Break-A-Leg!
(That means 'Do great at your new job')

C said...

LAT puzzles are on a fun roll, makes me forget the puzzles from this previous summer.

Duke Nukem was the main character in the same title video game. The game is considered revolutionary for its time so Duke is a video game icon. Unfortunately, the effort to make a revolutionary sequel to Duke Nukem (to be called Duke Nukem Forever, I believe) led to the downfall of the studio that produced the original game. Funny enough, even though the sequel has been promised for the past 9 years, hard core video game fans still believe that is on the verge of being released.

Phew, now that I have unloaded all of that video game info, maybe I can make room inside my brain for something more useful like 14th century Tibetan artists nick-names ;^)

CrazyCat said...

Good luck with the new job PG. I went back to work after ten years at home with the kids - a little scary at first, but worked out fine. Loved the naked ICE BREAKER man. Brrrrr...
Fouled up yet again with RANTS instead of RAVES, but set it right with EVELYN. I was a big fan of the PBS mini series of Brideshead Revisited. I got all the theme answers, but failed to get the theme 'til I came to the blog - a d'oh moment. Never was fond of either Pat or Debbie BOONE. My favorite answer was the double one ITS ASNAP for "Duck Soup!" Originally had COHESE, instead of COHERE, but I don't think that's really a word. Nice flowy puzzle to start a rainy Thursday. Thanks Gareth.

Parsan said...

@PG--Here is wish for a boss who is fair, co-workers who are amiable, work that you like, and energy left to enjoy family life!

Easy at the top and harder at the bottom, but a good puzzle. At
first thought tire for NOTE, adhere for COHERE, guessed at FEINT, and never heard of NUKEM but got it at NOAH.

Another good book by EVELYN Waugh about the landed gentry is A Handful of Dust (ref: TS Eliot) that takes a surprising turn.

Doest, doeth or DOTH, second and third person singular; good archaic words.

Parsan said...

@PG--April Love by Pat Boone is not lovely, but over-sentimental clap-trap. IMHO you are not missing anything!

obertb said...

I'm sure BEQ would be glad to assist in seeing F-BOMB in a puzzle. Or just the F-word. In fact, I think he's already done it. Not in the LA/NY Times, though.

lit.doc said...

@PJ, LOL. Actually, it's an allusion to Thor's famous sonnet, "How does she blow me? Let me count the ways", so "she" isn't indeterminant.

lit.doc said...

@Puzzle Girl and @obertb, as soon as I read PG’s comment re “F-BOMB” I thought of yesterday’s BEQ puzzle, in which "F*** off" (sans *s) was the clue for EAT ME. Fun and funny puzzle. Check it out.

@Rex, me too re Peter Gordon’s CWs. Fried to amazement. His second syndicated puzzle arrived this a.m. and, as soon as I get done here, I’m going to go practice the masochism tango with him (Bob Blake posted a link to video of Tom Lehrer performing it in a comment on BEQ’s blog yesterday). And FWIW, 1A in Peter Gordon’s puzzle today is my fault.

Enjoyed this puzzle a lot, and had enough key-overs to reassure me that today is, indeed, Wednesday (today’s NYT puzzle had me thinking it was Saturday): ELECTRICIAN to EEL, ADHERE to CO, MAKE to RAGE, and REDO to UNDO (hey, ya seen one arrow ya seen ‘em both). Loved the allusion to the Lone Ranger!

And shame on *anyone* who even *thought* of putting GIRL for 38A.

Sfingi said...

@Parsan - agree. See my first comment.

@LitDoc@GLowe - don't get me started on that word, b--w.

Never knew "duck soup" meant "piece of cake." Hubster said yes. Only knew the Marx Bros, film.

@Entropy - It's Ernie. In a tub.

@PZ - Don't work in a NYS Prison. No internet. I went to Mohawk Data Sciences after 5 years home. My son, 3 1/2, had suggested I should go to work. A friend said she'd get $500 if I took the job (those were the days). I had to borrow shoes and a jacket and go to the interview in a snowstorm in May. But it was a great job.
Best of luck!

@John - disagree with you on ABOMB. That time, at least, they were the aggressors, and we saved Americans. As much as I think it's all testosterone vs. testosterone, (like Spy vs. Spy) since men are here to stay (unless we clone, and men can't be cloned), we have to keep our hand in.

lit.doc said...

I canNOT have just keyed "Wednesday" instead of "Thursday". Doh!

Van55 said...

Struggled a bit with the LACY/PLEB cross, not knowing the latter and thinking negligees might be RACY. Guessed that PREB couldn't be right.

Didn't know REEVE as the author of "Still Me," but the LIV Ullman cross solved it for me.

Also needed the crosses to get Duke NUKEM.

Otherwise it was an easy, breezy romp for me this morning.

Orange said...

@lit.doc, I loved Peter's 1-Across! Nice work as a patron of the cruciverbal arts.

JIMMIE said...

Good luck PG at the new job. To wait until unemployment is at its peak reminds me of Rhet Butler joining the war only after it had been declared as lost.

I gave my son in Seattle my original Fran Striker series of The Lone Ranger books, and checked them over the holidays. Yep, each ends with Hi-Yo Silver, away.

He used to be a Duke Nukem fan, who loved to kill people, good or bad at video. Duke, after a kill, would often rip off his victim's head and deficate into their bleeding neck hole. But this has evolved into Worlds of War

JIMMIE said...

Boone's April Love became a 1957 movie and the song subsequently became many couple's song, aka Our Song, along with Theme from Peyton Place and others. When Our Song played at a dance, dancing with your steady was mandatory.

Remember, close only counts at horseshoes and slow dancing. And certainly not at CWs.

Anonymous said...

You know what, try Bluetooth blocker to block all spy transmitters in your room or at work.

Charles Bogle said...

Way to go Gareth; congrats on a fun, clever puzzle!

Did not know "Duck Soup" had a literal meaning; look forward to watching the movie again with the meaning in mind

Also wondered what ersatz meant; missed the CW101 on IAMBS obviously

Personal favorite: Kissers=YAPS

Only now do I "get" SHE for Thar..blowing--very clever!

@PG: all the best for success and luck in your new job...

chefbea said...

Fun puzzle today. No complaints

@PG good luck!!!!

Entropy said...

re: Who was the 'rubber ducky' lover.
Thank you for clearing that up.
All I can say is the tune rolling around in my head sounds like Kermit singing. Then again, haven't seen Sesame Street in a zillion years.
Checked with our 'g' friend, and even Bert sang it once and there is a clip with Little Richard singing it too.
And the beat goes on ... and still sounds like Kermit.

Also, I could not make any connection to Duck Soup other than the Marx Brothers.

Rubber ducky & Duck soup, the two questions of the day for me. I better DUCK!!!

FYI, Per the Urban Dictionary: "Thar she blows" is what to say when a fat girl approaches your vicinity.
UD is such a fine source of knowledge.

Let me see, as to 'Drop the A Bomb' or suffer an
est. 1,000,000 casualties?
That is a tough question to answer.

chefbea said...

@entropy have you ever tried boning a duck??? Just saw Julie and Julia the other night. What a great film!!

mac said...

Good puzzle, Gareth! I also had to stop at the Hi Yo, but remembered the discussion about it. Pleb looks a little naked, too.

On to the Fireball Crosswords. Don't we love to be beaten up!

ddbmc said...

Naked ice man! Talk about your shrinkage factor! The Ice Man... Oh wait! I have to be careful there!

@Tinbeni, do you like your scotch with ice or neat? I like my ice to skate on.

Wanted TURK or ARAB for ARARAT LANDER, completely forgetting about Mr. 2 x 2, Noah. Got waylayed in that corner because of it. Once I got UNDO, I remembered DUKE NUKEM, as one of those games my boys bought with birthday money. I had NO idea how gross it was!

With @Sfingi,Parsan and Shrubb on the BOONE ick factor. White bucks is what I remember! I know, it's only rock and roll, but I *prefer* it.

Loved when ERNIE would sing "Rubber Ducky" (you're the one!) Still have my kids rubber ducks in their bathroom. Probably all kinds of wrong! :)

Thanks, @Tuttle, for the pedantic history lesson! I'm always up for a bit more learning. No doubt, Gareth will find a way to work those words into a future puzzle.
Nice, puzzle, @GB!

@PG,so excited to hear you are back in the work force! Good luck!

Joon said...

naked axe dude, f-bombs, blowing thor, flat girls, and now even boning a duck? do you people need adult supervision? :P at least nobody has said anything about 40a yet. oops, there i go.

i, too, had RACY before LACY. and yeah, i remember duke NUKEM, and castle wolfenstein, and doom, and especially quake. i used to be really into violent video games, but now i pretty much restrict myself to sports and the very occasional RPG.

charles bogle, i dunno that i'd call the "easy task" meaning of duck soup "literal." in fact, i do know that i wouldn't. it's figurative, which is exactly the opposite of literal. not that this is a pet peeve of mine or anything.

nice puzzle, gareth!


To those of you who are baffled by terms like "duck soup", or want to know what "Tit for TAT" really means, I highly recommend this---
A DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN IDIOMS by Makkai, Boatner, and Gates (publ. Barron's). I give this book to all of my international students as a graduation present.
This book is the "Cat's Pajamas."

Stay away from that Urban Dictionary, unless you want to develop an 8th grade vocabulary.

I have absolutely no idea what your rant meant (after your ABOMBS dissent).

jeff in chicago said...

Another sweet puzzle! It's been a good day.

@chefbea: That was the filthiest question ever asked here!!!!

Perpetually Juvenile said...

Ah, I've dragged Joon and Jeff in Chicago down to a teenage mindest. My work here is done.

Tinbeni said...

Neat! I drink Scotch,
Not water.

As to the Naked Axe Man,
Cool water would = "shrinkage"
Does That water = "shrunkage?"

Now in regard to all the F-Bomb talk:
Jebi Se!

CrazyCat said...

Wow - the blog host mom goes off to work and look what happens.
@DDMC - Thought about mentioning the S factor in reference to the ice man, but decided against it. Your chutzpah is commendable. I expected Tinbeni to bring it up.
@chefbea - I tried to "bone" a chicken once. It was an abysmal failure, but I did love Julie and Julie.
@Sfingi - I like your new avatar. What is that little appendage attached to the turtle?

chefwen said...

@jeff in chicago - Don't make me laugh when I am drinking, almost choked on my water.

@JNH - Going to order that book right now.

Puzzle was good, a few write overs, HEN over owl, NOTE over tire, and YAPS over lips. Never heard of duke NUKEM and don't want to know any more about it, sounds utterly disgusting.

chefwen said...

@PG - Best of luck on your new endeavors, but don't leave us, Puhleeze!

Tinbeni said...

I forgot to add I really like your 'wind-up' turtle avatar.

Years ago, when I was the CFO of a Medical Company, I always kept a bunch of 'wind-up' toys in a drawer in my desk to hand out if a co-worker brought their kid to the office.

I have always loved the simplicity of the 'wind-up' gizmo's.

You and I did discuss the "George" incident awhile back. And that water looks COLD!

Sfingi said...

This is my third, so whatever you say after this, I can't come back at you.

At tv.com/sesame-street/
it says the late Jim Henson did both voices 1975 - 90.
Actually, my favorite was the Count's song, which starts slow and breaks into an Hungarian Dance:
"You know that I am called the Count.
Because I really love to count.
I sit alone and count all day.
Sometimes I get carried away."

I also have a collection of "decorative" rubber duckies for one half-bath, all different but yellow. I have a smaller green collection.

@John - my rave is of the feminazi vairety. After living 65 years and ending up working in a prison for 17 of them, a light came on. This was truly an awakening for me. I must have repressed it. Don't take it personally, but most violence crime, war - is done by men. If men can divert this drive into sports, building very tall buildings or arguing in court, we're better off. 95% of all NYS prisoners are men - 70 prisons vs. 2. They could get away with one, but would have the problem Canada has - too long a trip for half the visitors.
Re: A-Bombs, until we stop ALL war, we must keep ready and up-to-date, and there's enough cannon fodder that strangely wants to fling themselves into the cannon, we can do so.

@Cat - This is my first avatar. It's a "vintage" windup toy. I might try different ones off and on. Are there rules about that? I have photos of many wonderful new toys, but this one reflects me - old, slow and round, with a hard shell.

@Chefbea - I remember when a boner was a joke. Now it's a boning knife?

HUTCH said...

Today,I read an excerpt from "The B-29 Story" by Major Gene Gurney,USAF.The fire bombing of Tokyo on 9march 1945 was far more horrendus than the A bombing of hiroshima and nagasaki, put together.The Tokyo fire bombing incinerated 15 square miles out of a possible 15.8 square miles. Emporor Hirohito wisely quit. Gen.Lemay was ready to go further.

GLowe said...

Funny @SF - the MEN I know go to work, feed and clothe their families, help their kids with homework, fix the car and coach little-league. I never knew they were, to a man, ticking time-bombs waiting to wreak havoc on civilization if they lost their football.

I guess that explains Ted Bundy: just an average guy who got cut from the baseball team and decided to pick up another hobby. Who knew?

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.