WEDNESDAY, January 6, 2010—Gareth Bain

Last time I blogged about a puzzle, I was in Florida, complaining that the weather wasn't quite warm enough. And now? In Chicago, dreading the 6" of snow due Wednesday night, fretting that the temps will continue to be subfreezing for the foreseeable future. A 40°F morning is looking lovely from the Midwest.

Today's constructor, Gareth Bain, doesn't have a clue what I'm going on about. It's summertime in South Africa, where he lives. It's probably 35° there...but in Celsius, and roasting hot.

Gareth e-mailed me today, certain that I was going to ask him about the timing of his puzzle submission. Turns out he sent this puzzle to Rich Norris back on May 11—and then settled in to do Fred Piscop's NYT crossword with a very similar theme. Not only did that Monday puzzle pretty much slip from my memory (it's the Thursday through Sunday puzzles I find most memorable), but hey, there aren't so many hardcore puzzlers who are routinely solving both the NYT and LAT crosswords. So it's not a problem, Gareth wasn't copying off of Fred, and the only harm done is to anyone who demands only never-before-seen themes. When it comes to easyish crossword themes, there are so many ideas that get recycled by constructors who come up with the same idea independently.

THEME: ♪ "They're a Crossword Theme" ♫—Four song titles fit the "[pronoun]'S A [noun]" structure

Theme answers:
  • 17A: 1966 Monkees hit (I'M A BELIEVER). This one was also in Fred's puzzle.
  • 65A: 1968 Impressions hit (WE'RE A WINNER). This one is markedly less familiar than the other three songs in the puzzle. Fred had YOU'RE SO VAIN, which means Fred's puzzle had all familiar songs, but three "[pronoun]'S A [noun]" with a single "YOU'RE SO VAIN."
  • 11D: 1971 Tom Jones hit (SHE'S A LADY). Also in Fred's.
  • 36D: 1962 hit attributed to The Crystals but sung by The Blossoms (HE'S A REBEL). In Fred's, but clued there as [1962 Crystals hit].
This is probably a good place to insert a couple videos. First up, let us groove to the Impressions:

I've never been a Tom Jones fan, so here's another "Lady" song:

Teenage crossword constructor Caleb Madison recently had his picture taken with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler on the streets of New York, and posted the photo on Facebook. I swear I thought it was a 40-something woman with Caleb. Dude totally looks like a lady. Now he's in rehab.

What else?
  • Literary fill-in-the-blanks! 7A: "Is this __ time ... to talk of Pensions and Grenadiers?": Sterne (A FIT) and 22A: "'Beware the Jabberwock, __!'" (MY SON). I batted .500 here. I'm not up on my Sterne. Maybe Rex is. He's got a Ph.D. in English lit (and comic books).
  • 28A: "M*A*S*H" nickname (HOT LIPS). Maj. Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan, played by Loretta Swit on TV and Sally Kellerman in the movie.
  • 42A: How some suits are made (TO ORDER). In my lifetime, I've had one garment made to order. I was keen on having a jumpsuit in about 1975, so my mother commissioned a seamstress to make one for me. It was rust-colored twill with a fabric belt, and I loved it so.
  • 71A: State that's only nine mi. wide at its narrowest point (DEL.). Delaware has that skinny part, you know, and it's quite teeny to begin with.
  • 7D: Biting (ACERBIC). Bonus points to Gareth for using ACERBIC and not the basically crosswordese form ACERB, which is seldom seen in the wild.
  • 25D: Earthmoving machine, and hopefully not the one driving it (DOZER). My favorite clue today.
  • 29D: G-and-T part (TONIC). I blanked briefly on what a G-and-T is: gin and tonic. I'm not a fan of tonic myself; too bitter. I'll bet at least three commenters have a favorite gin cocktail to tell us about. Mine is the Tom Collins: gin, soda water, sugar, and lemon or lime juice. It's the sugar that wins me over every time.

Crosswordese 101: Have we really not covered the French phrase à la here? I mean, it's pretty basic, and the clues probably don't fool anyone unless they're not expecting a two-word fragment of a longer phrase for a fill-in-the-blank clue like 39A: __ carte; . Top clues for A LA include In the style of; Like; In the manner of; According to; Pie ___ mode; Menu phrase; Chicken ___ king; Carte start; and, for a little variety, the abbreviation for Alabama, with a clue like Miss. neighbor. Many people in my generation learned the phrase from Sesame Street Muppet magician the Amazing Mumford and his catchphrase, "A la peanut butter sandwiches!"

Everything Else — 1A: Distinguishing feature (CACHET); 7A: "Is this __ time ... to talk of Pensions and Grenadiers?": Sterne (A FIT); 11A: Wailing instrument (SAX); 14A: Hit the big time (ARRIVE); 15A: Quote, as a source (CITE); 16A: Dress bottom (HEM); 17A: 1966 Monkees hit (I'M A BELIEVER); 19A: Bard's "prior to" (ERE); 20A: Bright star (NOVA); 21A: Basic French verb (ETRE); 22A: "'Beware the Jabberwock, __!'" (MY SON); 24A: Warehouse stamp letters (RECD); 26A: "Washboard" muscles (ABS); 27A: Briny expanse (SEA); 28A: "M*A*S*H" nickname (HOT LIPS); 31A: Put on the hi-fi (PLAY); 34A: Wildly eccentric, briefly (SCHIZO); 37A: Sniffling and sneezing cause (COLD); 39A: __ carte (A LA); 40A: Roll call response (PRESENT); 42A: How some suits are made (TO ORDER); 44A: Toys __ (R US); 45A: Wild outbreak (RIOT); 47A: Victimized, with "on" (PREYED); 48A: Wine bottle datum (YEAR); 50A: Original iPod, as it's now known (CLASSIC); 52A: Narrow inlet (RIA); 54A: Chick __: light women's fiction (LIT); 55A: Nordic runners (SKIS); 58A: Knight's job (QUEST); 60A: Ice sheet (FLOE); 62A: Burned, in a way (ON CD); 64A: City area, briefly (URB); 65A: 1968 Impressions hit (WE'RE A WINNER); 68A: Get older (AGE); 69A: Yemen city on its own gulf (ADEN); 70A: Early ascetic (ESSENE); 71A: State that's only nine mi. wide at its narrowest point (DEL.); 72A: Had second thoughts about (RUED); 73A: Put away for later (STORED); 1D: Abel's slayer (CAIN); 2D: Knight suit (ARMOR); 3D: Have a jones for (CRAVE); 4D: Japanese grills (HIBACHIS); 5D: Noted victim of temptation (EVE); 6D: Prefix with vision (TELE-); 7D: Biting (ACERBIC); 8D: Fin (FIVE SPOT); 9D: Meteor ending (-ITE); 10D: Contract details (TERMS); 11D: 1971 Tom Jones hit (SHE'S A LADY); 12D: Related to flying (AERO); 13D: Marvel Comics superheroes (X-MEN); 18D: Emphatic type: Abbr. (ITAL.); 23D: "Sho 'nuff" ("YEP"); 25D: Earthmoving machine, and hopefully not the one driving it (DOZER); 29D: G-and-T part (TONIC); 30D: Spills, as from a bucket (SLOPS); 32D: Sheltered, in a way (ALEE); 33D: Place for a sale (YARD); 34D: Nimble (SPRY); 35D: Rockers Mötley __ (CRÜE); 36D: 1962 hit attributed to The Crystals but sung by The Blossoms (HE'S A REBEL); 38D: Day of films (DORIS); 41D: Like 1-800 numbers (TOLL-FREE); 43D: "I guess" ("RECKON SO"); 46D: Last bit (TAIL END); 49D: Grafton's "__ for Ricochet" (R IS); 51D: One often bordered an agora (STOA); 53D: Clashing big-time (AT WAR); 56D: __ tube (INNER); 57D: Part of an act (SCENE); 58D: Campus area (QUAD); 59D: Yearning (URGE); 61D: Rams' dams (EWES); 63D: Scott in an 1857 case (DRED); 66D: Campus URL ending (EDU); 67D: Performer's suffix (-IST).



The best puzzle and the best writeup of the year! Congratulations Gareth, a fine job! And a fun Orange writeup!
I loved the pronounic music theme, I loved the theme symmetry, I loved the creative words and clues, and I loved that it was steeped in pop-culture. Yes Rex, the 60’s and 70’s had some great pop-culture too.

Wonderful words, like: HIBACHIS, XMEN, ESSENE, CACHET, SCHIZO, FIVE SPOT, and QUEST. Uh oh, there’s that URB thing again… it just validates my Chicago URB claim.

Very creative clues, like:
“Wailing instrument” = SAX
“Beware the Jabberwock MY SON”
“Nordic runners” = SKIS
“G and T part” = TONIC
“Have a Jones for” = CRAVE
“Earthmoving machine, and hopefully not the one driving it” = DOZER
“Is this AFIT time…” Sterne quote.

I found it interesting that RECD was grid opposite to ONCD and that the theme songs are all ONCD.

What didn’t I like? No new words for me.

I know a lot of you are not big fans of M*A*S*H, but I am, and here’s my tribute clip to HOTLIPS Houlihan.

Y’all have fun in the sun!
Spring is just around the corner… well, maybe not for Gareth.

lit.doc said...

The NYT and LAT are colluding to lull me into a false sense that I'm a competent solver. In reality, they're just setting me up for another Friday-to-Sunday bloodbath. I just know it.

Cringed at the Monkees reminder. Was in high school when that product hit the market, and cringed then too.

My avatar sneered at the cautionary 22A clue.

@Orange, neither of the video clips you posted showed on my browser, but I don't have pop-ups blocked. Any other common prob's you know of?

GLowe said...

Nice job, Gareth. Appreciate the up-tempo cluing for the fill, although I don't know about invoking the almighty iPod for CLASSIC.

I had mild deja vu with the theme, but I shake that off pretty easy because I do the NYT in syndication, so sometimes I peek at the current puzzle at RPs ( you have to scroll to get to the syndicated link, sometimes it's tempting to see what the modernists are doing).

Thanks Orange for 'splainin about the theme, keeping the conspiracy theorists at bay.

Parsan said...

@Orange--What a great write-up!!! So interesting to read about the nuts and bolts of crosswords.

After HIBACHIS, was sure Hawkeye was right for way too long instead of HOT LIPS. ACERBIC and FIVE SPOT (NY Jazz club) put me on the right track, which ruled out on order for TO ORDER.

Picked up the theme early. While I don't know all the songs, they soon became obvious.

Besides the songs I knew, other references to earlier times helped me solve this one--DORIS, A FIT, MY SON, CRUE and EVE.

Went to a concert once where a lawyer played a SAW (his hobby), and he was amazing! What fun!

Favorite clue "Spill, as from a bucket"--SLOPS. I remember when they slopped the pigs on my grandmother's farm.

Prefer V and T rather than G and TONIC--with lime.

YEP, to my regret, SHE'S A LADY keeps running through my head. Alas!

Enjoyed the puzzle GB!

Parsan said...

Typing is terrible! That's SAX.

gespenst said...

@GLowe - I probably would have played off Coca Cola Classic myself, if I were going for that flavor clue. But with all the record references, there could have been a clue playing off the songs being classics, too.

I do find it funny when there seems to be a run on a particular answer in the grid over a short period of time ... I think SEA was in the last couple puzzles (though obviously a common word).

@Orange - we were in FL last week complaining about the cold, though it did warm up enough to get in the pool (but not the Gulf) by the end of the week. On our way home we drove through DEL and that was my first guess (and correct) for the 9 mi state. When we took another route down to FL, we also drove through a stretch on 81 where we had something like 12 miles of MD and 18 miles of WV (I could be off a few miles on those stats though).

I had to write HOTLIPS over HAWKEYE ... didn't we have ALDA yesterday?

Not sure I liked "Wildly Eccentric" for SCHIZO ... not exactly PC, lol, though I'm not generally all that PC myself ;)

Anyhow it's good to be back home where we get the syndicated LAT puzzle again :)

xyz said...

Very nice! puzzle, but did not finish SW with ESSENE and ONCD (a real DOH moment), frustrating when that happens.

Entered BESPOKE for TOORDER as I do have to get dress clothes (especially shirts @ 18.5/37.5) made for me. Bespoken clothing is an interesting business, very very expensive, I don't have a bespoke suit, but I know what it is, obviously changed the word with a cross or two.

Did this puzzle on the LATimes Macromedia Flash software on site rather than across lite, man I hate that software, seems 10X the work of pencil & paper. Was too lazy to go to a computer with my password for cruciverb.

Anyway, plenty of real quality fill here, great job Mr. Bain!

gespenst said...

@Parsan - you reminded me I meant to mention re: G&T ... I also prefer V&T, though I won't drink Vodka by itself, nor Tonic by itself. Ick. But together, somehow they create a very nice drink :) Though I still have 5 months to go before I can indulge again, lol!

xyz said...

Oh yes, G & T, the perfect answer to "whaddalyahave?" when you really aren't sure what to have. Hendricks, Ten, Old Raj Blue and Rangpur. Two of those from Scotland, home of the world's best whisky - but that's a very long post ...

Ahhh, Scotland - as I've probably said before, You've got to love a country with a National Whisky Centre.

Orange said...

@lit.doc, I don't have a clue why the embedded videos don't show up in your browser. My standard advice is (1) refresh the page, (2) clear your cache and refresh again, or (3) try another browser. What are you using?

mac said...

The theme was vaguely familiar to me, but not enough to bother me. I liked this puzzle. There seem to be a couple of words that have come up in other puzzles in the last few days. Odd that that happens.

I didn't remember hotlips right away, and tried to put in some form of Houlihan that sounded like a nickname. Noticed the parallel spots of recd and oncd as well, nice!

Parsan said...

@redanman--what's the 5 month ban?

xyz said...

@parsan, wrong guy! 'twas @gespenst

gespenst said...

@Parsan - it was me waiting 5 months ... got a bun in the oven ;)

Orange said...

Wait, gespenst is a woman? I tell ya, I can't keep everyone straight (...or gay) on the gender continuum around here.

gespenst said...

@Orange, LOL! Even funnier, my real name would confuse you more (Spencer). I once had a long conversation w/ a Jake about laws related to breastfeeding and I suspect Jake and I both had a "lightbulb moment" when we realized we were each speaking to another woman w/ a masculine/androgynous name ;)

my screenname is German wordplay on my real name, btw

Tinbeni said...

Happy Epiphany!!!
It is a huge deal here with Tarpon Springs being approx. half Greek. In about an hour or so, the young men will be diving for the cross. It should be interesting since it is about 40 degrees outside.
I know that may sound warm in the Mid-West, but we are not use to this. We're woosies. Four days in a row, five more to follow. I'm moving to the Keys, tomorrow!

Congrats @Gespenst, boy or a girl?

Liked this puzzle a lot, a CLASSIC with 4 theme songs I know from my youth; plus the additional musical references, SAX, PLAY (hifi), ON CD, RECD (record).

Hand up also for having to correct Hawkeye to HOT LIPS.

My fave was SCHIZO crossing DOZER leading to G and T part?
Hey, I'm a Scotch guy ... but wait, I get it, some of my com-pats drink IT with TONIC, Duh!

@Redanman - A National Whiskey Center, maybe I'll move to Scotland.

@ORANGE - Great write-up and I played both clips (3x).

xyz said...

Trust me Tinbeni, heaven's got nothin' on the NWC. If you're in Edinburgh, on the Royal Mile just before entering the castle it's on the left. The tour is not at all cheesy, you get a personal tasting glass/flute design and there are 400 whiskys to try. Also - a most unusual selection to choose a purchase or ten - and you surely won't find many of them at Duty Free although last trip @ duty free was one of my best. I scored a 1985 Glenrothes and a Glenmorangie Signet!

Rex Parker said...

Three classics and a WTF!?!?! That last theme answer is really too bad. Clue on CACHET is oddly worded.

shrub5 said...

@gespendt: happy baking!

@parsan: I've heard/seen people play a saw before so your typo didn't confuse me! A saw player is called a sawist or sawyer. Marlene Dietrich played the saw to entertain the troops in WWII.

Liked YEP and RECKON SO for a little bit o' country-speak. I was not familiar with the "1a) distinguishing feature" definition of CACHET. I use this word more for indicating prestige or status.

Terrific puzzle, Gareth! I didn't know you were half way around the world...well, maybe a third of the way.

Tinbeni said...

When I lived in Zagreb one of the best part was the number of different Scotch varieties available that I had NEVER seen in the States.
My second day I bought a Glenmorangie Signet at a border crossing duty-free shop entering Slovenia.
Luckily, just just up the road I have a liquor store owned by a "Scotch-o-phile."

gespenst said...

@Tinbeni & Shrub - thanx :) We could find out today ... but we're not going to. We're more the "surprise!" kinda people ;)

Carol said...

Enjoyed both puzzle & writeup.

@Parsan - my Dad has played washtub base, washboard (with wooden pick) and saw. Didn't think twice about your spelling as the saw played with a violin bow has a definite wailing sound.


CrazyCat said...

Orange - thanks for a great write up. Loved the Impressions WERE A WINNER clip. Reminded me of high school dances. Back in Philly in the mid 60's Soul music was the dance music of choice. Oh by the way I'm a man. Just kidding!

I graduated from U of DEL in Newark,DEL which is in the skinny part of DEL. Go Blue Hens!

@Parsan didn't think twice about SAW/SAX. I have seen people play the SAW and also spoons. Probably not many lawyers doing it though.

@Redanman I often do the puzzle on the LA site and it works beautifully, but I use a MAC. On the other hand, I find Across Lite to be a pain. I wonder if it's a Mac/PC issue?
Loved the clue for DOZER. Hand up for HAWKEYE for HOTLIPS. Thought the clue for CACHET was weird, but the dictionary says "A charcteristic feature or quality conferring prestige."

Very nice puzzle Gareth Bain. Thanks.

bluebell said...

I knew only the first song, but the "I'm, she's, he's and we're" were the clues that helped.

Our family watched M*A*S*H regularly so Hotlips was a gimme.

I liked the dozer clue.

Orange said...

@crazycatmanindrag: Across Lite is best in Windows, but I love it on the Mac even without the Windows-only features I don't get (ability to have more than 1 puzzle open at a time, pop-up clue when you mouse over a long clue). In my early days of online crossword addiction, mind you, I did about 1,500 archived NYT crosswords (Thurs, Fri, Sat) within the space of a few months. Really got me accustomed to Across Lite, that's for sure. (And the non-NYT online Java or Flash interfaces uniformly mess me up. Hate 'em all!)

Sfingi said...

Happy Tre Re. Befana (Epiphany) the witch will be bringing you a toy tonight.

@LitDoc - I agree on the lull-job.

@Gespenst - Speaking of PC, I hope ITAL as "emphatic type" meant the font, not the ehnicity?

At first, had "spin" for PLAY - no one spins CDs; "idiot" for INNER tube; wanted "bespoke" for TOORDER.

Like @Redanman, I had trouble with SW because I didn't know WEREAWINNER, nor did its grammar help me; I didn't know how to finish RECKON(SO); and had "spared" for STORED.

From the mometn I saw MASH, I was stunned by its sexism. Sorry, I just don't get it.

But I love modern toys - remember the Doozers of Fraggle Rock?
3Doozers on a Dozer

CrazyCat said...

Thanks Orange. I'll give Across Lite another try. I think I'm just going to suck it up and pay for the NYT puzzle on line. That way I can further enhance my solving abilities and also join in the festivities over on the other blog -and I won't be killing any trees. When I first began solving, I found I was getting too addicted and nothing else was getting done. So I have tried to scale back a bit. I will try to do LAT in the am and NYT after dinner. Thanks again. Love this blog!

Crazy Cat Man

Tinbeni said...

You're a Crossword Fiend, with a perfect avatar.

I check your Blog occasionally and notice that you do these in mere minutes. Today LAT 3:17, WOW!

I feel I'm having 5 to 10 times more fun, based on the fact that, in pen, on paper, with the morning news in the background, these take me between 20 to 30 minutes or so to do.

I just wanted to thank you (again) for the inside info and the crosswordese 101's.

Believe me, my times have improved by HALF since I came here and got your, PuzzleGirl and Rex's guidance. (I'm even doing the NYT now).

All that aside, your write-up today reminded me of my Mom's favorite joke (she left it to me in her will).

What has 500 legs and a cherry?

250 stripers ...

and a Tom Collins.

xyz said...

@crazycatlady and @orange as/re software, etc. I always do wonder about those different applet puzzle SW's and OS; one of these days for the hell of it I'm going to convert one of my three computers (I throw out/re-cycle almost no electronics) to LINUX just for fun and see what works and what doesn't. Across Lite works so great in Windows for me, TAB and arrows and you just seem to zip around. I'm on at least one wavelength with Orange!

Thank You Time (not at work and it's rather cold today)
This blog has been so good for me. I started trying to improve on rexwordpuzzle.blogspot and that's still nothing but sit back and be in awe on Fri and Sat for me with what the regulars have to say. Personalbest so far is about 80% of a Friday (I only "count" with out Gooogle or "reveal")

Today I must say: Orange is so awesome, her daily times are stunning [and she's not nearly as cranky as Rex, especially when I mention crossword rote ;-) ]

(Rex, don't take the above too seriously, even if it is true, bear with me now)

I did a little rooting around today and found the NYT site where all the statistics are kept: There I found the list of 15, 14, 13, 12, etc letter words and someone really good at rote is gonna get really better if they can call those word/phrase/answers to mind like a savant.

Rex, I TOLD you not to go off, love ya man, Thanks to you and PG, too

NYTAnonimo said...

Try snow tubing if you haven't already Orange-it's one way to enjoy the cold! (Bet your son would like it.)

Enjoyed your write-up and the puzzle. I'm sure I did the similar NYT puzzle but don't remember it either

chefbea said...

The C in crave and cachet was a Natick for me. Never heard the expression "have a jones for".

Don't like G and T. I'm with Tinbeni - I'll stick to scotch, but not the fancy ones. I like J and B, Cutty or Dewers.

Speaking of comics and super heroes - in the obits today in the Greenwich Time it was reported that Archie Andrews died.!!! Guess Betty and Veronica are pretty upset

CrazyCat said...

Here's something that made me feel a little better. While walking my dog this morning, I had a chat with my next door neighbor who gets the NYT delivered. He is a tenured psychology professor at one of the Claremont Colleges. He told me that he can't make it past Wednesday with the NYT puzzle. He said he will gladly send the late week puzzles my way.

ddbmc said...

Very sad. I named about 4 songs PRIOR to coming up with "She's a Lady." And I wasn't even a Tom Jones fan! Oh the crap that sticks in your mind, while the good stuff seeps out!

My new word for the puzzle day was "Essene." Not a philosophy major.

Loved the "Jabberwocky!"
"Twas brillig and the slithy toves,
did gyre and gimble in the wabe
All mimsy were the borogroves and the mome raths outgrabe" or something close to that--from "Alice Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There." Just WTH-is a "frumious Bandersnatch" anyway? lol

Got Hotlips, but had flirted with Hawkeye. Yes, the show was sexist, but so were the times it supposedly portrayed.

Knew iPod classic, as I told my son's to buy me the iPod (last year's Chrismas present) without all the bells and whistles. "Oh, you mean the CLASSIC, mom?", like yourself???" Kids!

I'm feeling a bit woozy with all this adult beverage talk today! Maybe the next Puzzlepalooza should be in Scotland's National Whiskey District! Would make for some interesting cluing and answers! Hiccup!

@Gespenst, congratulations on your new little "ghost!" Speaking of names that are gender neutral, I have a female friend named "Jeremy."

@Parsan, I lived for a bit in VA-Saw "saw playing" at the Wolf Trap Center and at the 1976 Festival of American Folk Life on the Mall in WX, DC. So I saw nothing wrong with saw....tho I prefer a sax...My nephew and cousin are UDel grads! Beautiful campus!

@Gareth, just saw the movie "Invictus." Wondered if you'd had a chance to see it and had any insights on how it portrayed Mandela and South Africa?

@redanman, it wouldn't be half as much fun reading this blog if we didn't have at least one WTF from RP!

And I'm still laughing about @Orange's CrazyCatManinDrag comment, along with "Dude looks like a Lady" clip.

Parsan said...

@gespenst--Congratulations!!and sorry about that! Never knew the sex of any of my three either; more fun that way. Today is the birthday of my first-born so have thought about the mirace of birth all day. Wishing you good health! Let us know when it happens and we'll all toast you with our favorite scoth.

@redanman--And sorry to you! I guess if you were with child it would be in the news. With your shirt size I have to ask, did you play football? That is probably as PC as asking every tall guy if he played basketball.

@shrub5, Carol, and cazycatlady--thank you for the input on playing the saw. I hope tp witness that someday! Sound fun!

Parsan said...

ddmc--I've been to Wolf Trap-husband played a concert there. The director at the time was Craig Hankensen who used to be at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Really liked the rustic venue.


@all those grousing about CACHET
Gareth's clue for CACHET is perfectly right... Merriam Webster defines it as a) "a characteristic feature or quality conferring prestige, b)prestige (being rich…doesn't have the cachet it used to — Truman Capote).
I collect first day covers (postage stamps) and so CACHET is a very familiar term in that genera too.

Congrats!!! Looks like soon we'll have another crossworder here.

I thought your comment was the funniest thing I've heard today...
"Speaking of PC, I hope ITAL as "emphatic type" meant the font, not the ehnicity?"

The puzzles are entertaining, the blogs are educational, the comments are hilarious; and that just tickles me all the time.
Now I need to also thank all my fellow commenters for making this an even funner pasttime.

I could understand 3D (CRAVE)better if it was "Have a Catherine Zeta-Jones for." Go ahead and cluck your tongue... I'm just being a guy.

Rube said...

Sorry. I don't have the foggiest what "Have a jones for" means. Anybody? (Unless @jnh got it right.)

Heading back to SF tomorrow where it's a (brrr) 51. It's 75 today in paradise. Going for one last swim with the Humpbacks..

Orange said...

@Rube: Uh, the answer...is in...the crossword. If you're jonesing for something, you CRAVE it.

Sfingi said...

@Rube - Have a desire, and addiction. hang-up. You can also say, "I'm Jonesing," meaning I'm in need of a hit of - love, smack; girl (cocaine), boy (heroin), man (man), woman (woman) - whatever gets you through the night.

@John - I found a cache (not a cachet) of pages of new stamps, several inches deep. Apparently, my mother collected them. Are these first day covers? I want to sell! Suggestions?


I am pretty new at collecting first day covers with cachets. There are several that I framed and put in my Route 66 museum. They fit the "Fins & Chrome" (50's cars) & Route 66 theme. All of them were bought on Ebay. When I was young I also collected mint commemorative stamps. I can't say that Ebay is the best place to sell mint commemoritive stamps though. If I were you, I would consult a reputable stamp dealer in your area for an appraisal. You may be sitting on a fortune.


I liked my Zeta-Jones definition of CRAVE, but all seriousness aside, I would like to also know the etymology of that strange idiom... "Have a Jones for".
Anyone? Anyone?
I looked in my American Idioms dictionary and it wasn't in there... must me a quirky British saying.
Someone said that I was "Bogarting" the other day and that too drew a blank from me. I guess I'm just an old fogey cuz I'm not hip to these words.
My dad used to say, "You dasn't use a word that ain't in the dictionary."

Rube said...

I get the impression this is a young'n's espression. I've not nor has the "not so young anymore" wife heard it. It would not come up in Wiki or the Urban dictionary. However, I could find it as the firat Google reference in the French-English(!) section of WordReference.com:

"Re: to have a jones for


I think it is relatively recent, used mostly by the young, and yes, you understand it correctly. I usually hear it used this way: "I'm really jonesing for..." a cigarette, for example. I don't know the origin."

Semi-puzzle wife thinks it may have something to do with "keeping up with the Jones'".

Sorry to raise this issue so late in your day.

Sfingi said...

@John - I said don't Bogart the weed, which meant don't hold it in your mouth too long, but pass it on. It's a sharing thing!
This is druggie talk, and I learned it in stir - in the prison. Jonesin' and Bogartin' are old already. Stir is way old.

These are in the www.urbandictionary.com

Thanx for the advice on stamps.

chefbea said...

@jnh I agree with Rube. Think it has to do with keeping up with the Jones's. One has a craving to be better than them?

Tinbeni said...

@Rube & @JNH
re: jones (crave) and bogart (that joint)

I'm 57yo have used both of these expressive words in the context discussed herein for probably, at least 40 years.
I've noticed at times there is slang in these puzzles I've never heard before. I google it and it pops up in the urban dictionary, and then I say to myself "Huh? WTF!"

But like @Sfingi said, both of these are old terms, hardly unknown slang, and I've never been in 'the stir' ... though I have driven by a few.

Ooohh ... I'm jonesin for some Scotch.

CrazyCat said...

I knew have a Jones for from the early/mid 70's. It was probably old by then. Generally, if you bogarted the J, a little while later you would be having a Jones for a meatball grinder, a cheese steak, a hoagie or a piece of Sicilian pizza. I, of course, never inhaled.

JNH Have you never seen Easy Rider? There was a song called "Don't Bogart Me."

@Sfingi - I'm gonna be waitin' up for that Witch!

gender confused CAT PERSON

SethG said...

These are also in the www.m-w.com. Merriam dates the noun to 1965, the intransitive verb to 1974. So about 40 years seems right.

The etymology is unknown, but it probably comes from drug slang for heroin.

HUTCH said...

anon! i miss you! the blog is no good withyout your imput. dont desert me!

ddbmc said...

@SethG, your def, sounds about right. I "binged" instead of Googled. Came across this answer: It used to be a term that described a junkie in need of his next fix.

So, keeping up with the Joneses-wanting whatever your neighbor has and wanting more of it, bigger and better, seems to fit. But @Gareth's use of CRAVE seems to say it all.
Night, all! Is it time to put the CatinDragPerson out? :) Hope no one has a thing goin' on with Mrs. Jones.

ddbmc said...

Low and behold! William Safire on "Jonesing!" May,2003, no less!

William Safire The Way We Live Now; On Jonesing

lit.doc said...

@Rube, are you old enough to remember a wonderful Cheech & Chong song called "Basketball Jones"? Don't know html well enough yet to share it, but it's on the 'net fer sure.


Oh, geez, you guys have me in stitches! Before you know it I'll be laughing my ass off.
Jonesing and Bogarting, what's next?
And I can't believe that our source for crosswords has degenerated to that Urban Dictionary. God forbid if we ever have to look up Ben Johnson in the Urban Dictionary.

ddbmc said...

@Lit.doc, here you go-
Basketball Jones

I reallllly need to go to sleep!

Tinbeni said...

All yesterday, last night and today ... I had a UNIVERSE Jones.

They released Hubble images that the Astronomers say gave proof our little Universe is 1.5 BILLION years older than previously believed. You go on for 36 hours w/o sleep and realize we are all smaller yet in a wierd way "older" ... I'm thinking it makes me 1,500,000,057 yo than say Monday when I was only 57.

I needed a BIG BANG laugh.

Your clip of Basketball Jones was perfect!!!!!

lit.doc said...

@ddbmc - you are da maaaan!! Thanks so much for that. And how in the hell do you embed that stuff?

@Tinbeni, I'm super excited re the breaking science you've shared, thanks. Will seek out the images tomorrow.


Welcome Alanna!

Orange said...

John, "Alanna" was a spam commenting bot that left the same comment at other crossword blogs. Deleted!

xyz said...


Only one season of football, yes much basketball aas well as shot put and discus; I usually joke that I'm the most football-looking guy in America who thinks FIFA, SERIE A and Barclays Leage are the real football.

Speaking of Basketball I see that someone got around to liniking "BasketBall Jones" - the origin of "Jones-in'" for something; not sure if it was only a black/URB thing at the start, but seems likely (I believe all the above is suitably "PC".)

ddbmc said...

@Lit.doc, don't know if you'll see this post, but Shrubb5 gave us all lessons a while back.
Copy and paste this url into your browser. I follow the post for Tuesday, November 10, 2009, 7:26 PM. Hope this helps!


@Tinbeni, we are about the same age. Hard to believe we are all smaller and older than we thought! Sort of the "Yodas of the Universe." Sense does this make?
Happy imbibing! Of course, don't think and imbibe.....

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Entropy said...

Is this how you leave a comment?