THURSDAY, January 28, 2010—Donna S. Levin

THEME: "Sex! Sex! Sex! What, here? Oh, no. Never!"—Three phrases that normally include SEX change a vowel to be something altogether not lewd

Yeah, it's me, Orange, again. You were expecting PuzzleGirl, but this work thing and getting sick have, I dunno, made her want to get to bed before midnight or something. So here I am. It's Wednesday night, and I have largely metabolized the cosmo I finished two hours ago. Yay! I'm waking back up now.

So. The puzzle? Yes. Fun theme, definitely on the small side. Two 12s and a 13 equals 37 theme squares. That leaves room for some chipper fill, and then there are Donna's clues, which tend to be on the fresh/fun side.

Theme entries:

  • 20A: [Music lessons for Bill Clinton?] are SAX EDUCATION. Nine band directors out of ten do not recommend the abstinence-only sex education. If you don't pick up the sax and play it, how are you gonna be any good at it?
  • 39A: [Documentary about Chicago's relationship with its team?] clues SOX AND THE CITY. Horrors! See that tall building looming behind the Wrigley Field scoreboard? It casts a shadow over my building at midday in the winter. We are Cubs fans here. Yes, some Chicagoans are White Sox fans, but that singular "its team" chafes. A good friend of mine flew out to Mesa, Arizona, this week to interview Cubs legend Ron Santo. She said he was "as great as you think."
  • 57A: THE FAIRER SIX are the [More equitable of two civil case juries?]. So...civil cases have six-person juries, I gather? I guess it would be unseemly to suggest that half of a 12-person jury could be patently unfair. Could also have gone with [Blonder third of the Duggar family's kids], except I think they surpassed 18 recently.
A few highlights:
  • 43A: [Stuffing stuff] is EIDER down. Do not, I beseech you, use this in your Thanksgiving stuffing. Pillows, yes. Turkey, no.
  • 60A: [With alacrity] clues APACE, which is a word Merl Reagle included on his list of flansirs, or words that are "familiar looking although never seen in reality." Anyone else actually start using this word after seeing it in crosswords for years? I know I have. So has Joon, I believe.
  • Recent movies! 2D: REMADE is clued as being [Like "The Day the Earth Stood Still," in 2008]. "Klaatu barada nikto!" There's a generic ICE AGE, sure, but there's also 37D: [2002 movie with Manny the Mammoth].
  • 7D: AFTA is essentially a crappy brand-name answer. Not because it's a brand name, but because it's a not-a-household-name brand name that happens to be 4 letters long and half vowels, so it finds its way into crossword grids despite its non-prominence. But it's got a clue that rescues it: [Aptly named shaving lotion]. "Aptly" because it's an aftershave, an or aftashave in a Long Island accents.
  • 48D. LES MIZ is the [Musical based on an 1862 novel, for short]. (The novel in question is the Victor Hugo book by the same name.) Who here has not seen the show? I saw it around 1990. Spectacle! Bombast! "Look down! Look down!"

  • 49D. EDIBLE gets a slightly twisty clue: [Safe to put away].
Crosswordese 101: NAST is not nasty. He's 69A: [Political cartoonist Thomas], and he's a crossword-fill legend. If you don't know the name, learn it. He skewered Boss Tweed with his political cartoons in 19th century New York (and also drew the Tammany Tiger, whatever that is—all I know is that it relates to Tweed and New York). His more lasting images include Santa Claus, the Democratic donkey, and the Republican elephant. Occasionally NAST gets a [Condé ___] magazine publisher clue, but mostly it's cartoonist Thomas.

Everything Else — 1A: Trip with much hardship (TREK); 5A: Ampule (VIAL); 9A: Bikini blast, briefly (HTEST); 14A: Prefix with port (HELI); 15A: FAQ responses, e.g. (INFO); 16A: Belittle (ABASE); 17A: Send out (EMIT); 18A: "Gosh darn it!" (RATS); 19A: Language that gives us "floe" (NORSE); 23A: Oscar-winning role for Forest (IDI); 24A: PC backup key (ESC); 25A: Corrosion-resistant metal (IRIDIUM); 29A: Letter flourish (SERIF); 31A: Sgt. Snorkel's pooch (OTTO); 33A: An A will usually raise it: Abbr. (GPA); 34A: Science opening? (NEURO); 36A: Most congenial (NICEST); 42A: Event with a piÒata (FIESTA); 44A: "Exodus" hero (ARI); 45A: At the top of the heap (BEST); 47A: Roman __: thinly disguised fiction (ACLEF); 51A: Often scandalous book genre (TELLALL); 54A: Dawdle behind (LAG); 56A: Old name of Tokyo (EDO); 63A: Ruminate (MUSE); 64A: Prefix with dextrous (AMBI); 65A: Its capital is Apia (SAMOA); 66A: Performing __ (ARTS); 67A: Despicable (VILE); 68A: Almost boil (SCALD); 70A: Israeli statesman Weizman (EZER); 1D: One of Luther's 95 (THESIS); 3D: Alchemist's creation (ELIXIR); 4D: Hawk family bird (KITE); 5D: High-tech invader (VIRUS); 6D: Of one mind (INACCORD); 8D: Became unhinged (LOSTIT); 9D: Capital on the Red River (HANOI); 10D: Govt. security (TBOND); 11D: Otologist's concern (EAR); 12D: Org. dodged by draft dodgers (SSS); 13D: Driver's starting point (TEE); 21D: Take down (DEFEAT); 22D: Did a laundry chore (IRONED); 26D: "__ a Kick Out of You": Cole Porter (IGET); 27D: "__-daisy!" (UPSY); 28D: Welcome spot (MAT); 30D: "What You Need" band (INXS); 32D: Carryalls (TOTES); 35D: Lacking capacity (UNABLE); 38D: Newspaper concern, esp. lately (CIRC); 39D: Bold Ruler, to Secretariat (SIRE); 40D: Versailles eye (OEIL); 41D: Schedules of problems to be dealt with (HITLISTS); 42D: More than plump (FAT); 46D: Jenna of "Dharma & Greg" (ELFMAN); 50D: More artful (FOXIER); 52D: Henry Blake's title on "M*A*S*H" (LTCOL); 53D: Good place to get? (AHEAD); 55D: "Give it __!" (AREST); 58D: Surrounding glow (AURA); 59D: Uninhibited party (RAVE); 60D: The law, according to Mr. Bumble (ASS); 61D: Lobbying gp. (PAC); 62D: Org. for GPs (AMA).


Sandy said...

The bottom half took me way longer than it should, because I was looking for the SEX to be at the front of the 57A answer.

chefbea said...

Gosh I'm early!! Haven't gotten my NYT puzzle yet and will not try to go out to buy the paper - boy is it snowing!!!

Cute puzzle. No real problems.

My brother who is in the carpet business, did the carpeting for the music room when Bill clinton was in the White House. Some where I have a picture of Bill playing the sax in that room

Van55 said...

I'm not familiar with the constructor, but I give this puzzle and a for fresh cluing and a decent enough theme!

shrub5 said...

Excellent puzzle with a fun theme and interesting fill. Like @Sandy, I was expecting the third theme answer to start with S-X, most likely SIX (not sux!) but I saw that was a no-go immediately.

For "at the top of the heap", I had BOSS for quite awhile as I couldn't recall Jenna's (Dharma) last name and had trouble with 41D "schedules of problems to be dealt with". For the latter, I wanted TIMELINES or TO-DO LISTS, neither of which would fit. Finally figured out HITLISTS and BEST.

Although I filled in ASS for "the law, according to Mr. Bumble", I didn't get it. After finishing the puzzle, I went to wiki to learn that Mr. Bumble (a character in "Oliver Twist") referred to the law as "a ass" (sic) because it presumed a man's wife acts under his direction. Mr. Bumble says: "If the law supposes that, the law is a ass -- a idiot. If that's the law, the law is a bachelor and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience." Love Charles Dickens's novels.

SAX EDUCATION and Bill Clinton -- there's probably a joke there somewhere but I don't think I'll go looking.

@Donna Levin: Thanks for this fun puzzle!

*David* said...

Decent puzzle did it at 12 midnight with the applet don't remember much, not even the sex.

I think A CLEF is clued incorrectly it is thinly disguised non-fiction dressed up as fiction typically satire. Samoa and APIA get a lot of traffic as well as Red River capital which I always think of in the USA and not HANOI.

Anonymous said...

Kept trying to fit Baton Rouge in for the capital on the Red River but finally figured it out. I like "roman a clef". Thought we were finally going to get Kea but no it was Kite.

Enjoyable puzzle.

Tinbeni said...

Lots of fresh clever clues.

Almost wrote in remake for REMADE, but I knew Forest was exceptional as IDI Amin, a well deserved Oscar.

VIAL & VILE, I really like homonyms in CW's.

Caught the theme with the 1st & 3rd entries but the
'its team' means the Cubbies!!!
OK, I finally accepted the SOX and wordplay.
But really:
Chicago = Cubs
New York = Yankees
LA = Dodgers
Sorry, Sox, Mets & Angles fans but that is how it is.

Parsan said...

Enjoyable puzzle, cute theme. Bottom half much easier than the top. H bomb instead of H TEST held me up. Could not remember SSS. Had Norge for NORSE. Didn't know Manny the Mammoth or Mr. Bumble and thought alacrity meant something else, but they all filled in. Did not see LES MIZ.

Son used to live 4 blocks from Wrigley where we could walk over to see the SOX, but he moved. Sigh!!

IRIDIUM also a jazz club in NYC. Husband on the cover of a magazine once that also said Great Sax.

I too was confused about the Red River and it took a while to remember it was also in Vietnam. Hanoi is celebrating 1,000 years as a city in October and is on the list of places to visit in 2010. A good book on the perilous Vietnam air war, 'When Thunder Rolled" by Ed Rasimus.

Very cute kid at the car.
Liked your comments Orange!

Charles Bogle said...

Donna Levin seems to always serve up fresh, clever and engaging puzzles and I found this no exception. Perhaps more could have been done with the theme, eg, make the answers all movie names. But we have many nice answers that actually reflect the way lots of folks speak: eg AREST, LOSTIT..I do say APACE--Exception: HITLIST. I've not heard it outside a Mafia context

Other favorites: ELIXIR, MUSE, ABASE

Did not know KITE, EIDER, AFTA (thanks @Orange!) Still do not understand INXS--help, someone

A great recent example of a roman a clef, in my view, was Anonymous's "Primary Colors" about the Bill Clinton first campaign (he's in here as well). Took a long time to unearth then-Time political wag Joe Klein as the author, and I for one thought the movie was a lot of fun

As for TELLALLS, I've heard about, but not seen, "Game Change" and "The Politician" (inside John Edwards; yikes?)

Can anyone remember off-hand some good roman a clefs

Tuttle said...

HTEST? Really? I've never heard of it put that way.

That whole corner gave me fits. Had ABOMB for 9A, ABUSE for 16A and DUTCH for 19A at first.

FAQ responses should have been RTFM.

Joon said...

heh. i don't think we'll be seeing RTFM in a newspaper crossword any time soon. nor any theme answer including SUX, although that would be pretty awesome.

some good scrabbly fill here, and i liked the freshness of TELL-ALL. i'm not 100% sold on the SE corner, which has the nice X and Z but at the expense of (almost foreign) partial À CLEF and prefix AMBI-, as well as uncommon foreign names EDO and EZER. FOXIER ... is not one of the comparatives i ever use.

why wasn't SOX AND THE CITY clued wrt boston? i'm no sox fan, but at least they're the only team in town.

Grandpappy said...

I can't connect to Cruciverb.com this morning! Did NYT last night. What to do with my morning cup of coffee?

IWantMyAcrossLiteVersion! said...

@Grandpappy - On the main page, right hand column, there's a link to the puzzle in the applet. If you're anything like me, it will cause you two swear uncontrollably, but will give you the puzzle.

C said...

Good puzzle. Made me think which is all I can ask. HTEST was my last choice (I usually go ATEST, NTEST then HTEST) for the Bikini Blast clue which slowed me down on filling in HANOI.

Don't really get the final theme clue at all and it doesn't really make too much sense to me based on my limited understanding of civil procedure. From a little Wikipedia work, it appears some jurisdictions do have reduced jurors for civil cases (5 or 6 according to WP) but it looks like the majority is still 12 person juries. Then again, I am not a lawyer (though I went to law school through osmosis via my wife) so not going to let this quibble spoil some good puzzling fun.

Orange said...

@Parsan: Why, thanks! I made him (the cute kid) myself. Picture's from 2 1/2 years ago, when we encountered a former Indy 500 pace car parked by Barnes & Noble.

@Joon: Maybe we could get ROXXOR or SUXXOR in an indie crossword?

@ChasBogle: INXS is an Australian band. They had a big hit in the '80s with that "The One Thing" song. The late lead singer's young daughter is named Fifi Trixibelle, if memory serves.

Parsan said...

@Orange--Brother-in-law got to drive a pace car in a 500 race when he worked for GM. Thrill of his life!

Parsan said...

@Orange--and in keeping with today's theme, "made him myself" but not "by myself"? Third and out!

chefbea said...

@Orange - my brother - the one who carpeted the music room in the white house for Clinton (oh wait, different puzzle) has loved the Indy 500 since a child. For his 50th birthday my sister in law gave him a great gift. He went to Indy and got to ride around the track in a racing car, all suited up.

Charles Bogle said...

@orange: thanks for enlightening me on INXS! Music-wise, I seemed to have dozed off in the '80's...just spent ten minutes explaining to my nine-year-old why I'm so excited The Who is playing the Super Bowl half-time

Orange said...

@ChasBogle! My husband is a huuuge Who fan. Our 9-year-old couldn't be less interested, despite the fact that his dad has been playing Who songs on guitar and singing them for the boy's entire life.

CrazyCat said...

Enjoyed the puzzle and the theme today. Thanks for the Les Miz clip. It's one of my top ten favorite shows. Cute kid!

mac said...

Good Donna Levin puzzle with an outstanding write-up by Orange! I think that cosmo is working for you. And yes, you made a very cute little boy!

I think I may sometimes use words not common in the (my friends') language, just words I have read. They don't seem to mind, just chalk it down to my foreign-ness.

Klaatu barada nikto: never heard that line before in my life, now twice in one day!

Dominic Dunne was probably the best-known American writer of romans a clef. He was even sued once or twice.

shrub5 said...

@CharlesBogle: For the sake of completeness, the band INXS is pronounced IN EXCESS, not INKS.

@mac: I enjoyed Dominic Dunne's articles in Vanity Fair magazine. A guilty pleasure, they were juicy, gossipy, detailed stories about someone in the news. I always wondered how he found out such things.

@crazycatlady: Les Miz a favorite of mine also and I've seen it several times. The music elicits just about every emotion there is.

mac said...

@Shrub5: I suspect he crashed lots of parties.

Sfingi said...

@Bogle - Ya didn't miss much.

@Orange - My IA sister is a huge WHO fan. Obsessive. I liked the Pinball Wizard song; otherwise,...

Kerouac's On the Road. You had to be there to know to whom he was referring. Wow! Being there!

By the way, we don't have J.D. Salinger to kick around any more. (That's how Hubster announces a death.)

I sure do miss Dominic Dunne.

After 3 days of smoooth, this puzzle was a monster to me.
With all the sex (which wore me out) I expected the answer to 59D to be "orgy," not RAVE.

Had to totally Google for SAMOA, AFTA (should have known; try another brand sometime) and LTCOL.
Then there were the single letter questions: the Z - it could be "s" - where LESMIZ crosses EZER, and is it D or "k" at REMADE. It depends on whether you interpret the clue as asking for a verb or a noun. Then there's SEXANDTHECITY, which I thought was SEXin?THECITY.
A letter here and there can really hang you up the most.

The Willamette Meteorite, 15 T has lots-o-iridium. IR in OR.

KJGooster said...

Had LES MIS, not LES MIZ, and did NOT know EZER Weizman, so ESER looked just fine to me. Otherwise a solid puzzle.

Tinbeni said...

@Charles Bogle
First concert I ever went to was the WHO, they were so new the headliner was the Blues Magoo's, second act, The Beach Boys. The Who were the opening band. After they smashed the equipment at the end of their set the crowd LOST IT.

Kerouac lived here (in Pinellas Park) around the time "On the Road" hit. After he left they turned the house he lived in into a Hippy Coffee house. It was a great place to hang out at back in the 70's.

Thought orgy, even though I knew it was RAVE.
64a AMBI-dexterous was a gimmie. My brother is, totally. He would pitch Righty until he got tired, then change to Lefty and pitch some more.

Jan said...

Loved the puzzle, but I'm confused about 41D. Doesn't "hit list" refer to a list of potential murder victims? I've never heard it as referring to a list of problems.