THURSDAY, January 7, 2010 — Robert W. Harris

Theme: Location, Location, Location — Puns on "familiar" phrases clued as places where ... things happen.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Where yearbooks are made? (ANNUAL PLANT).
  • 26A: Where Hershey's makes new discoveries? (CHOCOLATE LAB).
  • 47A: Where astronauts worship? (SPACE MISSION).
  • 60A: Where littlenecks try their luck? (CLAMS CASINO).
Whoa. A couple too many WTFs in this puzzle for it to be enjoyable for me. And actually, a couple WTFs are okay, but there are three in the theme clues/answers alone for me. First of all, I could not figure out what ANNUAL PLANT was supposed to mean. I guess it means one of those plants that blooms annually. I've only heard them referred to as "annuals," but I'm definitely not much of a garden person, so I wouldn't be surprised if my experience isn't shared by one and all. Second, "littlenecks"? I guess that's a type of clam. I grew up in North Dakota which, in case you don't know, is super far away from the ocean. Not a lot of clam-talking going on in Fargo is what I'm saying. And, finally, CLAMS CASINO? I had to look that up. Never heard of it. And that's not even the bad part. In the first theme entry, the word yearbook = annual in the clue, but in the answer annual = once per year. In the second theme entry, the word Hershey's = chocolate in the clue (or a chocolate company anyway), but in the answer chocolate = a color. In the last two, however, the operative words mean the same thing in both the clue and the answer. Astronaut is related to space and in the answer, space = space. Littlenecks = clams and guess what CLAMS CASINO is. It's a type of appetizer made with ... clams. I guess what I'm saying is that I already don't like the theme because two of the answers are phrases I've never heard of. Add to that the (to me) glaring inconsistency and, well, meh. (And that's being awfully polite about it.)

  • 68A: Early five-and-dime entrepreneur (KRESS). Thought this guy might be the founder of Kmart, but that's Sebastian S. Kresge. Samuel Henry Kress founded S. H. Kress & Co. five and ten cent stores 60+ years before Kmart ever existed. Of course, since neither one of those guys is named Woolworth, I had no chance with this one.
  • 1D: Bit of bullring gear (CAPA). Um, what? I assumed that must be Spanish for cape, but Babel Fish says cape in Spanish is cabo. And capa translates to it castrates. Hmmm....
  • 3D: Men's formalwear (TAILCOATS). Never heard this whole word before — only heard tails.
One more ugly thing I noticed and then I promise I'll stop talking about this puzzle. I don't think I've ever seen this many plurals (that end in S) in one puzzle. In addition to the already mentioned TAILCOATS, there are eleven — ELEVEN — plurals in this puzzle.
  • 32A: Broods (MOPES).
  • 33A: What some tickets are for (SEATS).
  • 41A: Some religious observances (FASTS).
  • 50A: Prof's helpers (TAS).
  • 9D: Melonlike fruits (PAPAYAS).
  • 10D: Wings with blueprints (ELLS).
  • 12D: Trig functions (SINES).
  • 38D: "The War of the Worlds" invaders, e.g. (ETS).
  • 44D: Raw or burnt pigments (SIENNAS).
  • 45D: Typical home-loan contract obligations (ESCROWS).
  • 50D: Dash instruments (TACHS).
None of these words cross at the terminal S, so they've got that going for them. But, Jeez Louise, that's a lot of Ss.

[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

P.S. Before you spent way too much time on it, I just want you to know that the pictures included in the blog today are totally random. I'm not really sure why I did it that way, but it just felt right to me for some reason.

P.P.S. Dan Naddor's obituary ran yesterday in the L.A. Times.

Everything Else — 1A: Cool one (CAT); 4A: Overused (STALE); 9A: Drink with a "generation" (PEPSI); 14A: Kitchen catchphrase (ALA); 15A: Implied (TACIT); 16A: Betting everything, in poker (ALL IN); 17A: Food made from 35-Down (POI); 20A: Uncaptured (AT LARGE); 22A: Spring celebration (EASTER); 23A: Surrender (CEDE); 24A: Beam (RAY); 25A: That, in Monterrey (ESO); 31A: Long, on Lanai (LOA); 37A: Russian-born Deco designer (ERTE); 39A: Anger (IRE); 40A: Bare-bones subj.? (ANAT.); 43A: Rub out (ERASE); 46A: College sr.'s test (GRE); 53A: Bullring cry (OLÉ); 54A: It will come back to you (ECHO); 55A: Esoteric (ARCANE); 57A: Maddened (ENRAGED); 63A: Living cell constituent: Abbr. (RNA); 64A: Prefix with tropic (HELIO-); 65A: Unwise homebuilder's material, so the story goes (STRAW); 66A: Put together (ADD); 67A: Lip-curling look (SNEER); 69A: Howard of the Three Stooges (MOE); 2D: Loads (A LOT); 4D: Made-it-big status (STARDOM); 5D: Hybrid fruit (TANGELO); 6D: Teen's concern (ACNE); 7D: Actress Lucy (LIU); 8D: Two after epsilon (ETA); 11D: Likely spot for dinner? (PLATE); 13D: Words about a speaker, briefly (INTRO); 19D: Sharon of "Boston Public" (LEAL); 21D: Post-WWII nuclear org. (AEC); 24D: Stitch over (RESEAM); 26D: Staff symbol (CLEF); 27D: Romanian dance (HORA); 28D: Individually (APIECE); 29D: Lafayette's land (TERRE); 30D: Arthur who played Maude (BEA); 34D: Cardiologist's request (ANGIOGRAM); 35D: Source of 17-Across (TARO); 36D: Early submachine gun (STEN); 42D: One buying time, perhaps (SPONSOR); 48D: Actor Baldwin (ALEC); 49D: __ Na Na (SHA); 51D: Senator Specter (ARLEN); 52D: Model proportion (SCALE); 56D: Friend in France (AMIE); 57D: Pierce Brosnan's homeland (EIRE); 58D: Prefix meaning "within" (ENDO-); 59D: Miami-__ County (DADE); 61D: Invite (ASK); 62D: Narrow channel: Abbr. (STR.).


Rex Parker said...

This theme was borderline incoherent to me. Everything united by ... "Where?" And the fact that the phrases are clued as strange things when they are actually real things?

ANNUAL PLANT = unknown to me, too.


Orange said...

I enjoyed the theme. Mind you, I'm under the influence of both narcotics and sleep deprivation, but I thought the theme was cute.


Thanks PG for the link to Dan's obit.
He was a fun guy even after his death... "no mourning attire -- flip-flops preferred. . . . And be sure to laugh."

Today's puzzle gets a big goose egg from me. Stressful! Confusing theme, ugly clues, shallow entries. I felt like I was on some SPACE MISSION. Then I read PG's writeup and knew that I wasn't alone on IMHO's.
Then I got down to FASTS and ANGIOGRAM and my pains accelerated.

I went to PG's writeup, saw a Kandinsky I like, photos of her family (maybe??), some cholas, and I said "what the heck?" Very appropriate for today's messy confuzzable puzzable. Oh well, we can't expect winners every day I guess (spoken from a diehard Cubs fan).

Looked out the window and we're getting a ton more snow. Ughh! This just isn't my day.
Back to bed!

Van55 said...

I think these comments are overly harsh. I thought the theme was ok, albeit corny punning. There isn't way too much triteness in the fill. I'd give it a B-.

By the way BROODS/MOPES are not plurals. Each is the present tense of a verb.


For the rest of you MOPES, here's something to perk ya up.
I always thought of the HORA as a Jewish dance and not Roumanian. I've danced it with some of my Jewish friends.
Hora, Hora, Hora !


You mentioning "I grew up in North Dakota...." reminds me of the first time I was in Cedar Rapids , Iowa and saw the sign "SEAFOOD CAPITAL OF THE WORLD" over a restaurant. So where do I go for good pork now? Groton Connecticut??

Anonymous said...

I guess you guys just aren't punsters, nor have much info at your fingertips. Twas a clever enjoyable puzzle IMOO. But that's what makes horseraces.


Anonymous said...

Capa is Spanish for the noun cape. Cabo is Spanish for the geological feature cape.

Anonymous said...

Here in the South annual=yearbook.

Jeb said...

@Van55 - I have three different broods of chicks in my hen house now. My five sick kids are just a bunch of mopes.
There's a difference between can be and is.

shrub5 said...

Hey, I'd like to work in a CHOCOLATE LAB! The Quality Control department....mmm-mmm.

I thought this theme was OK however I didn't know the appetizer CASINO CLAMS. Looked up the recipe and it sounds quite tasty, maybe even....sapid.

LOL'd at the "unwise homebuilder's material, so the story goes" = STRAW.

SethG said...

I think the b&w picture is the one of her family, right?

And then, you put a picture of Nathan Kress in your write-up, then wrote about Kress. Kandinsky was born in Russia and died in France, and ERTE was born in Russia and died in France. Your Bejeweled Blitz score is inhuman, and it's posted right next to ETS.

And you claim randomcy?

*David* said...

It wasn't all that bad. My problem words were with CAPA/HORA/KRESS. The rest was middling to fair, nothing to get me too excited about but not annoying enough that I felt I was wasting my time.

GLowe said...

No one can vivisect a theme like PG!

I guess COATTAILS are a thing on TAILCOATS - makes sense.

Never heard of CLAMCASINO either, but I figured must play the SHELLGAME there.

Off to look up HELIOTROPIC now....

Sfingi said...

I found the puzzle both enjoyable and just hard enough. First, there were no sports clues. Second, the theme was puns, which I caught on after the first, and which I love. Four new puns! Third, they were all very familiar to me. Granted, CLAMSCASINO is very Northeasty. The PLATE was created in NYC, and Little Neck is a Queens' neighborhood. It's common to all Italian restaurants, even those Upstate. Trout is native here, but the seafood truck comes daily.

These expression like ANNUALs and TAILs are short for the full expressions, anyway.

I also thought HORA was Jewish. We'll say Ashkenazi diasporan.

Did not know LEAL LOA ALLIN. Don't gamble, but they fell in.

When I was unemployed in the late '80s, I followed some great advice from a NYS worker and took a GRE subject exam. For 3 hours "work" I got 30 credits toward a 2nd BA!

Good Buddy

rynosgmal said...

anon is correct. yearbook equals annual and where you make them is at the annual plant (factory)

PuzzleGirl said...

@Van55: You are correct, sir. Mea culpa.

Yes, annual = yearbook. I put that in my write-up, didn't I? But the point of the theme is that the answer phrases are puns. So, sure, a yearbook could be made at a place called an "annual plant," but the more common meaning of "annual plant" is a plant that blooms every year. Thus ... it's a pun.

I'm glad some of you liked it. It just didn't work for me. Maybe I need more narcotics and sleep deprivation.

Sandy said...

I'm in opposite land today. I enjoyed this and seriously disliked the NYT puzzle. I had more "aha!"s here, more "You're Kidding Me!"s at the NYT.

Jude said...

@PG An annual is a plant that only lives one year. Perennials live and bloom every year. Always confused the hell out of me.
Why random pictures? 'Cause its your blog.
I've never managed to mix narcotics and sleep deprivation. Sounds tough. Kind of defeats the point of narcotics.

Eddie Q said...

ummmm, PG, is that YOUR Bejeweled Blitz score you posted? I've been playing that for months and can't get over 280,000. I'm jealous.

I did not care for the puzzle. I had no problem filling in the theme answers except the CLAM CASINO. Yuck.

Enjoying a rare sight today!!! Snow in Alabama! Woohoo!! Can't wait to slide down the hill in my front yard!!

Anonymous said...

As recently as 1981 there was an actual S&H Kress store in New Orleans. I therefore had no trouble with that clue as it was indeed familiar.

Tuttle said...

In corrida, bullfighting, the matador's cape is properly called the 'capa de brega' (cape of combat) but is usually referred to as a 'capote' (dress cape). In the final third of the corrida the matador will switch from using the capa de brega to using a smaller cape, the 'muleta', named for the rod it is suspended from.

My issue with the clue is that there was no indication the answer is to be in Spanish and if you put in the English it makes you think 'Uncaptured' is going to refer to a Latin legal term since it seems to start with 'ET...'.

Tinbeni said...

I liked ANNUAL PLANT (probably because I caught the pun immediately) and as @Anon 7:48 stated; That is what we call them here in the South.

CLAMS CASINO another clever pun
SPACE MISSION & CHOCOLATE LAB just fell into place.

Miami_____= DADE, TANGELO & PAPAYAS maybe its a Florida thing = easy solves.

Wings with blueprints = ELLS (WTF). Why the blueprints?
Sharon of Boston Public = LEAL ... is she really that well known in STARDOM?
Cape to CAPA (1st write-over)
Hand up on the HORA, Romanain dance, also thought Jewish.
RNA -v- DNA never remember which 1st letter to enter, or why?
Do cars have more than one TACHometers in the Dashboard?
Also didn't like all the "S" endings.

CrazyCat said...

We did have that Littleneck/STEAMERS discussion last week. CLAMS CASINO was a very common appetizer on the East Coast. Bacon is a main ingredient. Thought this puzzle was Okay. I got messed up at STALE and STARDOM. They were my last entries. Tails is short for TAILCOATS. ANNUAL PLANT didn't bother me at all. There are ANNUALS and Perennials and they are all PLANTS. I'm planting my winter veggies today. I feel a little guilty considering the rest of the country is in a deep freeze. CAPA was confusing since the clue didn't refer to a Spanish locale, but I guess most bullrings are in places where they say OLE. Have done the HORA at Bar Mitzvahs, Bat Mitzvahs and Jewish weddings, but never knew it was Romanian. Liked Esoteric/ARCANE. I thought there were a few too many abbreviations, but other than that - no complaints. Off to the garden.

jazz said...

Gotta tell you...CLAMSCASINO is very common phrase to me (even though I've never actually had it); it's hard to believe that there are (presumably) pretty smart vocabulary-people that *haven't* heard of it.

And ANNUAL PLANT is just as you suspect (a plant that blooms once), just as you probably remember perennial plants from back in the HS science class days. Annuals and perennials are just short forms.

OTOH, CHOCOLATELAB totally mystified me for a half hour, until I vaguely remembered the Labrador dog breed being called Labs and maybe chocolate is a popular color. But that one was very obscure to me.

I liked the puzzle...had most of my trouble with the short words in the NW corner. The rest went smooth but then I took at least half my time on the NW and had to google one or two.

Regards, all!

CrazyCat said...

Oh and that Ells clue was, as Tinbeni noted, rather odd.

Rex Parker said...

I assume whoever said ANNUAL PLANT is where they make the yearbooks was joking. Badly.

No one calls them ANNUAL PLANTS. Just ANNUALS. Just as no one calls PERENNIALS "PERENNIAL PLANTS."

Rex Parker said...

Hey Angela, an ANNUAL is a common word for a yearbook. . . really, it is. Also, PLANT is a word for a green that grows out of the ground. So if you have foliage in your yearbook: voila.


Tinbeni said...

Yearbooks here are called ANNUALs
Where they are printed would be at a "Printing Plant."
Ergo where the yearbooks are printed c/b at the ANNUAL PLANT (and it has nothing to do with foliage, anywhere ... it IS just a very corny pun)

chefbea said...

I'm with Sandy... I really loved this puzzle, more-so than the NYT

Those of you who have done NYT - did you have trouble with 12D!!!

Hand up on the Hora question. It is danced at every Jewish wedding I have attended.

Best theme answer is clam's casino. I don't care for them but I sure know what they are

lit.doc said...

Was able to plod through this one in pretty normal fashion, ironically, I think, because I'm not yet a sufficiently sophisticated solver to have been more than dimly aware of the thematic lamitude issues that Puzzle Girl explains so lucidly.

@PG, thanks for looking up CLAMS CASINO. My expectation level re themes making sense (to me) is so low it didn't even occur to me that it actually meant anything.

@Tuttle, me too re the uncluded Spanish. It was easy enough to fix as soon as I saw ETWTF?, but still.

What PG said re "tails".

Best wrong answer of the day was starting 68A with PENNY, as in J.C. Penny's. Hey, I'm an English teacher--would I mispell anything?

@Jeb, thanks for your civil rejoinder to @Van55's "overly harsh" and picayune cavil re PG's write-up.

BTW, what's the Post Comments atom actually for? I downloaded it, but I don't see anything different happening when I'm at the NYT or LAT blogs.

rynosgmal said...

i'm glad you all finally got it.

*David* said...

ANNUAL PLANTS gets 42.5M Google hits ANNUALS gets 4.4M.

Google 101 said...

@David - The search phrase "Annual Plants" gets 239K hits. If you enter annual plants in the google text box, it searches annual and/or plants. If you enclose it in quotes, then it searches for the exact phrase.

Tinbeni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NYTAnonimo said...

I never heard of Clams Casino either. Glad to have finished this puzzle though. I'm still working on the NYT and 12D is one I don't have yet chefbea. Nice writeup PG.

Parsan said...

ANNUALS also yearbooks in the Mid-Atlantic states. I thought that was clever and that the theme made sense. Maybe the problem for some is in the clues, not the answers.

CLAMS CASINO was as predictable on many restaurant menus as Surf and Turf in the 60's-80's in the northeast and along the Atlantic coast. Both dishes are seen much less often now. Actually, the clam dish is easy to prepare and quite good!

I thought a lot of the clues were
fun, with answers A LA, PEPSI, ANAT, STRAW, and PLATE.

No ANGIOGRAM this morning but an Upper GI. That liquid--yuck!!!

Can it be that the Romanian Jews are the source of the HORA?

ERTE and Kandinsky on the same day--priceless!

@Orange--Assuming the meds are legitimate, hope you feel better! Oh wait, hope you feel better either way!

@PG--who are those kids, or is it a secret? What ever, thanks for your write-up!

PuzzleGirl said...

@Parsan: The photo is actually the cast of my favorite kid's show, "iCarly." (Waaay better than hannah Montana!)

Tinbeni said...

@PUZZLEGIRL @10:45am

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You !!!

That was exactly what I thought about with each "pun" when solving.

I admit that sometimes here we go off in "other directions" and that's OK.
But sometimes the comments get so obtuse I want to know if the commenter even has thought about what they were typing.

MOI? I'm thinking about going down the street for some clams casino, maybe even a Scotch.

lit.doc said...

@chefbea, re NYT (no spoilers here) 12D is where I caught on. Was working 8A using the downs. Once I saw the first three and final letters of 8A, and had rejected Alka-Seltzer for 12D (the Jameson's suggested that one), Aha! happened.

@jazz, it should be "(presumably) pretty smart vocabulary-people WHO *haven't* heard of it".

xyz said...

I haven't read everyone posts yet, but I liked this puzzle, cute word plays on
ANNUALPLANT (?redundant vs. haha)
CHOCHOLATELAB (Tasty or slobbery)
SPACEMISSION (not too religious)
CLAMSCASINO (tasty/silly) my guess serious puzzlers will find those firvolous and not consistent. Everything was gettable, but not really silky smooth.

PLATE/PLACE dinner spot was only hang-up

A few awkward clues and answers, but 25 mins for me, about a Thurs LAT for me, I don't have any real beefs, but I'm not a student of the CW constrictor's guild!).

Here MUCH easier than NYT today which was (not finished yet) basically impossible for me with a rebus + tangential cluing and punning; I'll learn something once I cross-check the answers, but not doing very well, will probably give up there. Soon. This was a piece of cake by comparison.

Liked seeing TANGELO, HELIO not your averace "centric".

Now to see what everyone else before me said.

xyz said...

Very mixed reviews, hmmmm I'm surprized. Not!

HORA usually clued in LAT as Espanol, don't know the Jewish stuff (despite residency at Jewish Hospital) nor bible so don;t call me an anti-whatever. Did date Romanian girl.

NO way I can throw this puzzle under the bus, it was fine, not great but fine. I thought all the puns were tolerable and Clams Casino, that many of you really haven't heard of it?


Parsan said...

@PG--I'm sure you meant a plant that blooms not once but one season, for annuals can blossom, be pinched off, and blossom again but do not grow again the next year.

No young people at home anymore so iCarly heard of but never seen. They look like TV kids. And the others?

Google 101 said...

@Tinbeni - We must have very, very different Googles, as the google search "Annual plants" only returns 239k results.

I know that searching ANNUAL PLANTS returns the number of responses he cited. The point wasn't that his number wasn't correct, it was that it returns all sites with either or both phrases ANNUAL and PLANT. If you scroll through them, after the first 40 pages you will note that you start getting sites referencing such things as ANNUAL deaths at Paper manufacturing PLANTS. That's why one has to enclose the phrase in quotes, to search for the exact phrase, lest the number of results mean nothing as a metric of the "phrase" you enterred.

chefbea said...

@litdoc e-mail me and I'll explain what I meant

shrub5 said...

@Sfingi: That picture of Good Buddy is adorable. President Clinton had a chocolate lab named Buddy while in the White House. Not long after Clinton left office and moved to New York, Buddy was hit by a car and died.

@jazz: There are three registered colors of Labrador retrievers: black, chocolate (medium to dark brown) and yellow (anything from white to light gold to fox-red.) wiki

@the redanman: I'm a life-long left coast-er and (I thought) a fairly knowledgeable foodie who hasn't heard of Clams Casino. As others have said above, maybe it's more of an East coast thing?

Tinbeni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
xyz said...

Using opentable.com it only took me my second restaurant at SF's Fishermman's Wharf (5 years in SF, wife from there) to find a "Casino" preparation - it was swordfish mind you, but I'm sure they'll do Dungeness Crab or clams that way too. Not trying to be a smartie, but I have lived both coasts so I'm not sure how or where i knwo it from, but I thought it was pretty universal, maybe even Italian?

That's what's goofy about doing CW's, one can be really intellignet, have a huge fund of knowledge and still be completely sytmied or dumbfounded by something in a CW.

I'm certainly not trying to poke fun at anyONE, that's for sure. Well, maybe occasionally but only those that can really take it


Orange said...

Stand down, Tinbeni! Thanks for your on-point comments about the care and feeding of search queries, Google 101.

Finding X number of hits for an annual plants Google search is indeed irrelevant to any discussion of the phrase's familiarity. Who calls 'em "annual plants"? Hardly anybody. We talk of annuals and perennials, which have become nouns in their own right without the word "plant" appended to them.

I don't know what the hell happened in this comments thread today. It's rife with misunderstanding, crossed signals, confusion about pictures, and no love for clams casino. Personally, I don't eat any shellfish, and I would've thought I learned about clams casino from a crossword but I don't see it in Cruciverb.

Anonymous said...

When I saw the K for Kresses (we always said it to rhyme with dresses), I thought, "Oh, the young folks are going to have trouble with this one." I think Kresses in San Francisco was gone at least 50 years ago. Was interested to see it was still in New Orleans in 81.

Parsan said...

Hey you guys, I think we have apples and oranges here. If I knew how, I would give you a little SHA Na Na to lighten the mood. Not possible to be ENRAGED or to MOPE(s) when Bowzer was performing. And although his greasy hair, cigarettes rolled up in his t-shirt sleeve, and his persona made him appear to have an IQ of 70, he graduated magna cum laude from Columbia.

ddbmc said...

Clams Casino by Giada De Laurentiis
Definitely a "yummy gimme" here. Still a BIG appetizer in NY Metro area, at least in many of the local Italian eateries.

Used to go to Hershey for hockey tourneys, and have friends with chocolate lab dogs, so this pun='d chuckle. Did you know Milton Hershey left his fortune to fund schools for the unfortunate? Pretty cool.

Like @Lit.doc, my puzzle palate isn't refined enough to take issue with all the puzzle peccadillo's. I rely on @PG, O and RP and the rest of you, to see the error of my thought processes.

Maybe my naivete allows me to fill in words I'm not sure are correct, only to find out I've struck gold! "Kress" was one of those words, along with "capa," I certainly wasn't sure of either word and filled them in. Enjoyed reading @Tuttle's explanation of the ritual and pageantry involved in bull fighting.

Dan Naddor's obit was lovely. Reading some of the previous interviews with him, gives me greater appreciation for all you constructors and CW bloggers. I do remember Dan taking issue, a few months ago, with some minor criticisms of one of his puzzles. Knowing what we know now, I can only imagine what he was going through and understand why he might have been a bit overly sensitive. It will be an honor to solve Dan's puzzles that are still in the pipeline. RIP, Dan Naddor.

Sfingi said...

@Shrub5 - Glad somebody noticed that the picture I hung of "Buddy" was a chocolate Lab(rador). And the "Tailcoats" was an Erte?

Now, does it happen to everyone that if you look at the "blue references" that you fall out of forum and have to go back to it at "comments"? Hope someone knows what I mean w/o technical language.

Have y'all heard of Clams Oreganata? Italians don't like raw shellfish. I read the Rhode Island Genesis story, but also a Casino Restaurant, NYC Genesis story for CLAMSCASINO. Whatever.

There are biennials, too, but I don't want to start another controversy.
We just had a native Utican, while "in stir," kill another inmate for asking him to turn off his light. In front of the "turnkeys." Then he asked for leniency. Good thing we're on the internet! Just kidding.

ddbmc said...

@Sfingi, Clams Oreganata, I know of what you speak!
Wasn't there some sort of Western Omlette that we all had a discussion about, several months back? Many of us were unfamiliar with the name used in the puzzle. The East Coast didn't match the West Coast name.

Anyway, @Parsan, here's your "Sha Na Na."
Get a Job

Tinbeni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Parsan said...

@ddbmc--thank-you! My sister always thought these guys were just stupid but I thought they were hysterical! My favorite You Tube Sha Na Na clip was Blue Moon from the old Flip Wilson Show (may he RIP, a funny man and funny show that I miss).

JN said...

I hate to comment so late in the day when everything to be said has already been said. I didn't mind the puzzle and was able to plod through fairly easily. I did not like the coattail clue and I dispute the clue for the hora.

The real reason I wanted to comment today was on Dan Nadder. It is very sad to lose a very talented and young puzzle creator. The obituary said there are 20 puzzles yet to be published. I'll be looking forward to them.

We should also take a moment to remember Barry Tunick. The Sunday LA Times puzzles just aren't the same without him.

shrub5 said...

@Sfingi: Yes, that happens to me, too. Rather annoying. It doesn't happen on Rex's NYT blog. I just tested this there. After you click on a link, you are returned to the same place in the comments when you click the "back" arrow. Doing the same thing here kicks you out of the comments entirely. Does this happen to everyone? If so, can the blog administrators do anything about it?

ddbmc said...

@Parsan, you are welcome! Here's Blue Moon for you, too. I was a HUGE fan of Flip Wilson's. "The devil made me do it."

@Lit.doc, here is the URL to info on "clickable links." I think @Shrubb5 gave us a lesson on this a while back....

Use the 11/10/09, 7:26PM thread.

@Tinbeni, where are those "Hubble Images?"

Google 101 said...

@Tinbeni - My comment was in reference to *David*'s comment just before mine, where he offered that ANNUAL PLANTS out-googled ANNUALS by about 10 to 1. I took this as part of the discussion in PG's write up and immediately prior that they are nearly universally called annuals, not annual plants, and that the numbers he offered disputed PG's, Rex's and others claims. If he made a joke so sly that I missed it, I owe him an apology for unnecessary pedantry (I would, however, like to be let in on it). If not, well, maybe my comment was worthwhile.

Tinbeni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mac said...

I thought this was a decent puzzle. After the chocolate lab and the clams casino I thought there was an edible animal theme going on.

I guess tail coats and annual plants bla bla bla bla....

I prefer oysters to clams. There is a lot of food in this puzzle! Menu, chefbea?

chefbea said...

@mac how bout this menu??

start from the NW cat ala poi - then some easter bread,ollowed by clams casino, a cress (kress) salad
and wash it all down with pepsi.

Sorry tinbini there is no scotch in the puzzle

SethG said...

Tinbeni, are you doing this on purpose?

People _are_ discussing the CROSSWORD, er, puzzle. Everyone, _everyone_, realizes that the answer ANNUAL PLANT is a pun referring to where yearbooks are produced. But that pun only works if the base phrase, "annual plant", is one that anyone actually uses--otherwise, it wouldn't be a pun, it would just be a nonsense phrase like "GLOBE PLANT" or "LAMPSHADE PLANT" or something. At issue is whether anyone calls them "annual plants" or if they're just called "annuals".

Google 101 originally responded to *David*, who was trying to use search results as evidence that the phrase "annual plants" has currency.

Google 101 was right about *David*'s method. Without the quotes, searching for something like [annual bricks] returns 3.7MM results. It would be just as much a mistake to think that searching for [annual plants] indicates support for the phrase "annual plants" as it is to think that the number of results for [annual bricks] indicates any support for the proposition that there're such things as "annual bricks". That's why searching for ["annual plants"] is important if you're trying to do what *David* was trying to do.

So anyway, Google 101 pointed that out, then you responded to Google 101 saying that *David*'s numbers were 'right on'.

Then Google 101 wrote a reasoned response, and you said that [HE DOES] NOT UNDERSTAND, went on to _again_ explain that which everyone understands, and called him "OBTUSE !!!".

And then Google 101 wrote another reasoned response, and you jumped again. You complained about [his] assumption that you didn't know how to "compress" a google search, even though you'd previously supported *David*'s incorrect numbers. And you called [him] juvenile.

Whatever, dude. Now I think _I_ need a scotch. I'll see you all tomorrow.

Van55 said...


The noun form of "brood" is not synonymous with the noun form of "mope." In this crossword the words are intransitive verbs in the present tense. Not plurals.

imsdave said...

@SethG - three hours late, just finished reading the thread, and you are spot on about that needing a drink thing.

@Chefbea - cat ala poi? Funny, but don't order that at our Westport dinner.

@the puzzle - Put me in the "I liked it" camp.

Jeb said...

@Van55 - I was hoping that you had like moved to an internet free zone or something, and totally missed the stupidity of my prior comment. Sorry.


Screw Google hits on ANNUAL PLANT.
Puzzlegirl explained it well along with all the other theme puns.
I work in the greenhouses at The Morton Arboretum... we use the word ANNUAL PLANT to refer to all herbaceous plants that will not over-winter. We distinguish it from a WOODY PLANT and a PERENNIAL PLANT, which does over-winter. Whats so ridiculous is this whole categorization is based on region of course. In defense of this puzzle (which I didn't like), the use of ANNUAL PLANT is perfectly valid. End of argument!

As to the use of ANNUAL for a yearbook... it is not all that regional a term. It is also used up here in the North where I live.
I've also heard it used in California.

*David* said...

How many unpleasant cranky people does it take to discuss a LAT crossword puzzle? I'm going to type it into Google, be back in a second.


Wow, there are over 70 comments so far just hashing over a s**tty puzzle. Why not save your energy for tomorrow's wonderful puzzle... you will all like it.
Hope y'all can sleep well tonight!
(especially you, Amy!... get well!)

Linda Hobbs said...

This was a tough one for me, but I thought "Chocolate Lab" was cute. ;)

Van55 said...


I thought you and I never disagreed. This was not a cr@ppy puzzle at all for my taste! And the debate is lively and entertaining.

"Annual plant" is not common usage in my experience, but I have no trouble accepting the pun for what it is.

Entrope said...

Thought the puzzle was good.

I remember the Kress stores from when I was a kid.

Never heard of a Helio Tropic, guess I will have to look it up.

mac said...

@chefbea: I'm not eating any cat. We may have to bring your Scotch!

@imsdave: are you a seafoodie? Might even be able to find you some Clams Casino in Westport.

mac said...

@Entrope: Heliotrope is a plant, which is an annual (plant) in my region....

Helio = sun. I think the flower turns it little face to the sun.

Entrope said...

Thank you.
I knew that Helio=sun
Just never heard heliotropic before.
Based on the above, I think I will google "heliotropic"

SethG the fool said...

This is how easy it is not to be a real person.

mac said...

@SethG and SethG: you're really real.

Tinbeni said...

When I saw @Chefbea's menu, then thought about it, CAT-ALA-POI started sounding SAPID with the rest of the menu.
Of course. there would have to be a period of prodigious Scotch consumption prior.

Now if we were in Korea; Dog would be on the menu.

Sfingi said...

Stolen from Googling:

Plants move, but they move exceeding slow
Tropism - movement or growth of plant in response to...

aerotropism - toward air
chemotropism - chemicals
geotropism - earth
coprotropism - excrement
gravitotropism - gravity
heliotropism - sunlight
hydrotropism - water
phototropism - light
saccharotropism - sugar
thermotropism - temperature
thigmotropism - contact

Make up your own!

CrazyCat said...

@Everyone - No cats for dinner, please!
@Sfingi - I worked in a restaurant at the Jersey Shore (Cape May) during college summers that served CLAMS CASINO and CLAMS Oreganata. Both were delicious.

Next time in Vegas, I'll watch out for those Littlenecks.

Wow! Is this a record number of comments for this blog?
I'm still trying to figure out how to add a hyperlink, but nothing seems to work. Again, maybe it's a Mac/Safari issue. Any ideas?

Tinbeni said...

We can still consume the prodigious amount of Scotch can't we?

scotchotropism - glass
(I have very bizarre plants ... they move toward any distillery)

CrazyCat said...

@Tinbeni - of course, Scotch is always good!

CrazyCat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SethG not SethG said...

Did someone say juvenile?

GLowe said...

The google, according to 'the Onion', has one text box and two clearly marked buttons. In spite of this, some folks haven't the faintest in how to operate it.

Google 101 is correct: in fact, some idiot a few weeks back misrepresented the number of hits by a factor of 3 on the basis that he/she didn;t understand the 'literal' aspect of providing quotation marks.

I call this the 'chucklenuts' gambit: I can make the above string appear more often than most references to local celebs and other topic-specific shit.

It was a defense last month, now it's being dissed. Suck or blow ....

CrazyCat said...

@Tinbeni - Perhaps we can be a little more gentle/kind with new commenters on this blog. I'm not trying to start a controversy, but really - the more the merrier. We want more commenters here. We need to play well with others. Just a thought.
Drink up my friend.

split infinitive said...

Sorry to be late to the "smackdown"!

HELIOphobic could be used to describe a vampire. The flowet HELIOtrope was referred to in Wilder's "Our Town" when Emily's mother invited her husband to "smell the heliotrope" in the moonlight. Performed in a highschool auditorium, that line in the play always gets a few giggles.

Okay puzzle; I liked the clue for ANAT, but the theme as RP said was "incoherent." No big deal for me---because I tend to be oblivious to themes until it's too late anyway.

HUTCH said...

Mac! there is only one supreme way to eat oysters and clams--off the beach with an oyster knife.-you open up the shell, wash it in salt water and gulp it down. Of course, you chew it to get the full flavor.The same with clams, the only difference being with some strong clams[cockles for example] they still wiggle a bit as you chew.

Tinbeni said...

Awww ... I thought the Scotch is always good! Comment did need repeating.
Was wondering, did you get all your winter plants planted.

I never did find out why 10-D "Wings w/ blueprints" which led us to ELLS answer was clued the way it was.
My thought process was I've been in building that have "wings' from the central structure, and the whole thing was built that way originally. So why "with blueprints."

@ddbmc & lit.doc
Just google Hubble Images and there are web-sites about the American Astronomy Society's Jan.6, 2010 conference with the latest photo's ... they are kind of blurry but articles about even more knowledge of our Universe is what had my attention. Not ARCANE but fairly esoteric info.

Tinbeni said...

I deleted those earlier comments a couple of hours ago.

I agree we always like new commenters coming here to this blog.

As Bob Marley said
"Every little thing is gonna be alright."


CrazyCat said...

For anyone who likes oysters - I have 4 words- Drakes Bay Oyster Ranch in Point Reyes CA. They shuck em, you eat em on the beach. The best!

mac said...

@split infinitive: odd you brought up that term heliophobia. I made that up for myself years ago: I hate to be in the sun.


I can't believe we're up to 90 something comments... are we trying to break a record or what?
But I see HELIO being batted around and I just have to put my two cents in. The botanical name, genus for 52 species of sunflowers is Helianthus. HELIO means sun and ANTHUS means flower, so there you are. What makes this particularly interesting (to me only) is this---
Probably my most famous watercolor painting (and most recent) is entitled HELIOS. It is a sunflower superimposed on top of the distinctive BP logo (British Petroleum). The word "HELIOS" is in a BOLD yellow shaded green typeface. The BP logo itself is a green and yellow mandella (geometric pattern). My painting is really quite striking... it will be on my website soon. When it appears, I will give you all the link to it.

CrazyCat said...

@Tinbeni - Thank you. Got my peas, lettuce, brocolli and artichokes planted.

CrazyCat said...

oops broccoli - and arugala too.

This comment has been removed by the author.
Tinbeni said...

You have no idea how interesting I find your comments about botanical stuff really is. I LIKE IT.
I also smile whenever Rte.66 or a desert name or a S.W. something is in a puzzle. I know I am going to get an honest and informative comment from you.
Living here in Florida, in a Villa (Condo) I am not much of a gardener, more of a beach, book-nerd, gym person.

Funny thing is I love clams and todays CLAMS CASINO reminded me I need a day trip to my fav. seafood rest.ASAP.
Never acquired a taste for Oysters. Are they really SAPID?


Say goodnight, Gracie"
Don't forget tomorrow---

Rex Parker said...

Three comment limit now in place.

I'll restate this in tomorrow's comments.

Gareth Bain said...

Don't know if anyone's still here? Helloo? Sorry, with my Time Zone and almost only having internet @ varsity, I'm out of sync with everybody most of the time...

Just thought I'd add a postscript to the ANNUALPLANT dissing. I've done first year botany. The phrase is definitely used in a formal setting, like an introductory botany textbook... But I doubt very many people actually talk about them thusly... So it is valid...

Gareth Bain said...

Don't know if anyone's still here? Helloo? Sorry, with my Time Zone and almost only having internet @ varsity, I'm out of sync with everybody most of the time...

Just thought I'd add a postscript to the ANNUALPLANT dissing. I've done first year botany. The phrase is definitely used in a formal setting, like an introductory botany textbook... But I doubt very many people actually talk about them thusly... So it is valid...

Rube said...

I know this is a ridiculously late post, but Thursday was a travel day for me and today was an errand day.

Any puzzle I can do quickly w/out Googles I consider to be a good puzzle. However, I don't understsand 10D, ELLS.

But, the reason I'm commenting is that I have a freezer full of stripers and black bass, and I'm going to try to modify the CLAMS CASINO recipe using bass. Either semi-puzzle wife or I will let you know the outcome. @redanman, you're my inspiration, (despite the fact that you didn't respond to @chefwen re your handle).

Tx RWH for the puns and the recipe idea.

(Apparently something wrong w/ my Google account.)