SUNDAY, February 21, 2010 — Mike Peluso

Theme: Initials — Each theme answer contains a hidden presedential monogram.

[Note: This is the syndicated L.A. Times puzzle. It does not appear in the actual newspaper, but is available for free at cruciverb.com.]

Theme answers:
  • 23A: *Obligation payable within a year (37) (SHORT-TERM NOTE). Richard M. Nixon
  • 38A: *Ceremonial, as Anglican ritual (31) (HIGH CHURCH). Herbert Clark Hoover (who knew?)
  • 54A: *Line dancer? (18) (CHORUS GIRL). Ulysses S. Grant
  • 75A: *Double martini, e.g. (32) (STIFF DRINK). Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • 92A: *AOL service (44) (WEB HOSTING). Barack H. Obama
  • 110A: *Arizona attraction (34) (PAINTED DESERT). Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • 16D: *Hurting for money (33) (CASH STRAPPED). Harry S Truman
  • 60D: *Aviation pioneer (40) (WILBUR WRIGHT). Ronald W. Reagan
  • 84D: Clothing embroidery, maybe, and a hint to finding the "insiders" in the answers to starred clues (MONOGRAM).
Hi, everyone. I'm in Brooklyn hanging with my nerdy friends, so I'm going to leave the discussion of this puzzle to you. Just too much going on here. I'll tell you all about it later in the week!

Everything Else — 1A: Chatterbox (MAGPIE); 7A: Seven Sisters school (VASSAR); 13A: PSAT takers (JRS.); 16A: Tram unit (CAR); 19A: Some L-shaped wrenches (ALLENS); 20A: Substandard (CRUMMY); 21A: Moray, say (EEL); 22A: Palindromic Altar (ARA); 25A: Visits (STOPS BY); 27A: PC key (TAB); 28A: Dutchman who painted "Gypsy Girl" (HALS); 29A: Blonde bombshell Diana (DORS); 30A: Beauty, to Keats (TRUTH); 31A: Illness (MALADY); 33A: "__ match?" (GOT A); 34A: Two-time U.S. Open champ (AGASSI); 37A: Can, after "is" (ABLE TO); 42A: Turkey, maybe (TOM); 43A: Web addresses, briefly (URLS); 44A: In a few minutes (SOON); 46A: Californie, e.g. (ÉTAT); 47A: Span. title (SRTA.); 48A: Authority to decide (SAY-SO); 50A: Kiss, to Luis (BESO); 52A: "__, there's more!" (WAIT); 53A: Tic or twinge (SPASM); 57A: Use FedEx (SHIP); 58A: Audi rival (BMW); 61A: Average grades (CEES); 62A: 3M products (TAPES); 63A: Filled French fare (CREPES); 66A: Eave droppers (ICICLES); 68A: Mountain man, maybe (LONER); 69A: Santiago native (CHILEAN); 70A: Synagogue text (TALMUD); 71A: Leisurely stroll (PASEO); 72A: Mob enforcer (GOON); 73A: Simon and Garfunkel, e.g. (DUO); 74A: Auction activities (BIDS); 77A: When repeated, 1963 hit with alleged obscene lyrics determined by the FBI to be "unintelligible at any speed" (LOUIE); 79A: Salon supply (DYES); 80A: Come up short (FAIL); 81A: Self-reproach (SHAME); 86A: He orbited Earth 314 days before John (YURI); 87A: Agreement (PACT); 88A: Polite rural reply (YES'M); 90A: Hymn starter (O GOD); 91A: State so. of Queensland (NSW); 96A: Nearby (AROUND); 98A: Ancient invader of Greece (XERXES); 100A: Remedy (CURE); 101A: Punic Wars general (SCIPIO); 102A: "Able was __ ..." (I ERE I); 104A: Woody's son (ARLO); 105A: Theodore, to Wally (BEAV); 106A: L on a tag: Abbr. (LGE.); 108A: RSVP option (REGRETS); 113A: Ultimate degree (NTH); 114A: Old "King" Cole (NAT); 115A: Way of the Romans? (APPIAN); 116A: Genesis peak (ARARAT); 117A: Relaxed, in a way (SAT); 118A: Chicken general? (TSO); 119A: Save (RESCUE); 120A: Frau, in France (MADAME); 1D: Caravel feature (MAST); 2D: Granada palace (ALHAMBRA); 3D: How multi-nationals trade (GLOBALLY); 4D: Part of mph (PER); 5D: Because (IN THAT); 6D: Tejas y Nuevo México, por ejemplo (ESTADOS); 7D: TV add-ons (VCRS); 8D: A slot machine has one (ARM); 9D: Partial rainbow (SUN DOG); 10D: Glib (SMOOTH); 11D: Amphibious vehicle (AMTRAC); 12D: Bar array (RYES); 13D: Fun (JEST); 14D: Take back (RETRACT); 15D: Shed, with "off" (SLOUGH); 17D: Wall St. hedger (ARB); 18D: St. Pete athlete (RAY); 24D: Nevada Northern Railway Museum city (ELY); 26D: School gp. (PTA); 32D: Not as much (LESS); 33D: Knife hyped on TV (GINSU); 35D: DTs sufferers (SOTS); 36D: Islamic leader (IMAM); 37D: Country N. of Slovenia (AUS.); 38D: Makers of beds? (HOERS); 39D: Judge, e.g. (HEARER); 40D: Water and elec. (UTILS.); 41D: Snitch (RAT); 45D: Sarrusophone cousins (OBOES); 47D: Pitch (SPIEL); 49D: Form a certain front, in meteorology (OCCLUDE); 51D: Bone formation (OSTOSIS); 52D: Remove, as a silly grin (WIPE OFF); 53D: Reduces (SHRINKS); 55D: Listens to (HEEDS); 56D: Thief, in slang (GANEF); 57D: "Danke __" (SCHON); 58D: Drill insert (BIT); 59D: 1988 Motown acquirer (MCA); 64D: __-de-vie: brandy (EAU); 65D: __-cone (SNO); 67D: Early 10th century year (CMIII); 68D: Not prompt for (LATE TO); 69D: Stored ropes, e.g. (COILS); 71D: Intimidate mentally, with "out" (PSYCH); 72D: "Peer Gynt Suite" composer (GRIEG); 76D: Pop singer Taylor __ (DAYNE); 77D: Wildcat with tufted ears (LYNX); 78D: River of Yorkshire (OUSE); 79D: Apply sparingly (DAB); 82D: Lobe dangler (HOOP); 83D: 2000 Best New Artist Grammy winner (AGUILERA); 85D: Actor Byrnes (EDD); 87D: Euro preceders (PESETAS); 89D: Paving material (MACADAM); 92D: Failed to be (WEREN'T); 93D: Abrasion (SCRAPE); 94D: Blooms from bulbs (TULIPS); 95D: Having a twist (IRONIC); 97D: Yankee who is the A.L. career leader in saves (RIVERA); 99D: Signer, at times (X'ER); 101D: But, to Cassius (SED); 103D: What a colon means, in analogies (IS TO); 104D: On __ with (A PAR); 105D: Nota __ (BENE); 107D: Kitchen trailer? (-ETTE); 108D: Some OR personnel (RNS); 109D: SFO info (ETA); 111D: Cross shape (TAU); 112D: Down (SAD).



Mike Peluso is a wonderful constructor as evidenced by this very creative puzzle. The theme of Presidential initials was easy to solve, especially since most of them lived in my lifetime… well, except for Herbert Hoover and Ulysses Grant.
White House Insiders: RMN, HCH, USG, FDR, BHO, DDE, RWR, and HST.
With a complex grid like this and 8 theme words, one would expect a lot of CRUMMY fill, but there was very little of that, so I’m not even going to complain about that.
Instead, let me praise the use of words like: VASSAR, HALS, TALMUD, YURI, SCIPIO, XERXES, ALHAMBRA, BESO, SUNDOG, SLOUGH, SCHON, OCCLUDE, MACADAM, and GRIEG. These words are fantastic!

Best clues:
“Line dancer?” = CHORUS GIRL.
“Eave droppers” = ICICLES.
“Old King Cole” = NAT
“Chicken General” = TSO

Struggled with the spelling of Danke SCHON. So what do we think of when we hear that German word?
Wayne Newton, of course.

One of my favorite National Parks---

I loved the clue for OBOES (Sarrusophone cousins)… my younger son used to play these.

If you’re not familiar with an early paving material, here’s a glimpse of Route 66 MACADAM.

@tinbeni What is EAU-de-vie, brandy?

Time to go eat my Strawberry-filled CREPES!

Happy Sunday y’all!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Johns...!

John said...

The puzzle was a tad on the obtuse side for me . The solving didn't really flow well. Got it done though.

lit.doc said...

Not really much to say about this one. Much as I love themed puzzles generally, the theme here was as uninteresting as it was unhelpful. By the time MONOGRAM told me what was going on, I didn’t even go looking for them, as it would have been a time-wasting impediment to filling in blank squares. Meh.

Only over-key (yeah, I do it online despite the LAT’s lousy puzzle interface) was, unsurprisingly, PERSIA before XERXES. Only clue grouse was “Leisurely stroll”, which should have indicated Sp. in some way, as did several of the other clues. “Paseo” is not common English usage and isn’t even in The American Heritage Dictionary.

CrazyCat said...

@Lit.Doc had the same feeling about the theme. By the time I was done with the puzzle which took me over an hour, I didn't want to waste the time to look for the MONOGRAMS. Also agree about the PASEO clue.

And then there was ESTADOS and ETAT hmmm. Is that Kosher?
Clues and answers I did like. VASSAR, SUNDOG, LOUIE, WIPE OFF, BEAV and XERXES. There's a men's clothing store in our town called XERXES. Now I know who XERXES was.

Other than that I liked the puzzle. It was easier than yesterday - just a little too much Spanish for my taste. I'd rather have French. Have no Idea who the Blond Bombshell Diana DORS is. I guess I'll go google her.

CrazyCat said...

Here's an amusing story about the Blond Bombshell, Diana Dors.

"They asked me to change my name. I suppose they were afraid that if my real name Diana Fluck was in lights and one of the lights blew... ”
According to Dors' autobiography, she was once asked and readily agreed to open a fête in her home town of Swindon, England. Prior to the festivities, Dors lunched with the local vicar, during which she informed him that her real name was Diana Fluck. The vicar became somewhat worried about his planned speech. After lunch, they arrived at the fête at the appointed time. The vicar, totally unnerved about mispronouncing "Fluck", introduced Diana with these immortal words:
“ Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I introduce to you our star guest. We all love her, especially as she is our local girl. I therefore feel it right to introduce her by her real name; Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the very lovely Miss Diana Clunt."

Rube said...

Diana Dors, that's a name from the far distant past. @CCL, great anectdote.

@JNH, Thanks for filing in for @PG. Your efforts are appreciated. Unfortunately, your audience is particularly small today. I guess everyone is watching the Olympics.

If there is anyone out there watching, what is the connection between BEAV, Theodore, and Wally? Is this some kind of "Leave it to Beaver" thing?

Al said...

@Rube, that's it exactly. Theodore is the Beaver. Wally, his older brother, always called him Beav after he got old enough to pronounce it. How he got that for a name was finally revealed in the very last show: When Wally was a younger, he had problems pronouncing "Theodore." It came out sounding like "Tweever" which somehow sounded like "Beaver", so the nickname stuck. In real life, one of the writers - Joe Connelly - claimed he had a shipmate in WWII called "The Beaver" and that's how he got the name. They rhymed Beaver to get the last name of Cleaver. Others might say they called him Beaver because of young Jerry Mather's buck teeth.

lit.doc said...

@CCL, I noticed the état/estados thing too, but will leave to a constructor to adjudicate whether same word/different language is kosher. Heck of a question, though. And LOL re your Diana story. Thanks for sharing. One final tangential trivium: sundogs, when seen from airplanes, have often been reported as UFOs, as the optics (which I've heard explained but do not understand) cause them to appear to be tracking along with the aircraft.


Didn't know much about SCIPIO, so I did a little research. Thought I'd share this with others who also aren't up on Roman History.

SCIPIO of Rome and Hannibal of Carthage were commanders in the Second Punic War. We all remember Hannibal with his elephants over the alps. Although SCIPIO, the Roman general was ultimately the victor, Hannibal Barca of Carthage is considered to be the greatest military commander of all time. Now about the Second Punic War: Carthage was pitted against Rome. It is thought that the fall of Carthage, was mainly instigated by Hannibal of Carthage. His father, Hamilcar, commander in the First Punic War, raised his son to hate the Roman Republic. Even though Hannibal's military tactics were outstanding, and his tactics were shrewd, it was the Roman SCIPIO who ended the war victoriously.

Now who the heck is Diana DORS?
Well I do remember this English gal only because she is quite outstandinding in her work. Here's a poster size photo of her... probably the best way to describe her.

Can someone else please explain (77A) LOUIE?

Tinbeni said...

Thanks for doing the rest of the blog today, Rex, Orange & PG should contact you to do "guest write-ups."
You diversity of knowledge is greatly appreciated. You are one well educated and well rounded individual. You covered most of what I found good about the puzzle.

Eau de vie is French for "Water of Life" a play on my other fav expression Aqua Vitae (latin) which also stands for "Water of Life."
Just goes to show that what I really like is water.
As long as it is THE "Water of Life" and has aged 15 years into Scotch.
Eau de vie is a clear brandy (generally), a bit fruity. Great for Bananas Foster.
Light, just before bed aperitif. (It stimulates a certain adult appetite).

Two great Diana Dors stories.
Fluck is a great last name. LOL
I'm just old enough that when I saw the clue I filled in her name, was surprised when the crosses confirmed it.

Until I came here I never looked for the MONOGRAMS, a bit weak for the name of the theme.

ARLO, OBOE, and NTH are three repeaters that I always like when they show up.

XERXES was a gimmie since my first love was History (and Geography). Nice to see a double "X" word in the gris.

Did not know that half a rainbow eas called a "sundog" ... learning moment plus.

@JNH 77a Louie is more often known as:
"Louie, Louie ..."
"Louie, Louie ..."
"Louie, Louie"

Rube said...

@Al, Tx. I was pretty sure this had nothing to do with the BEVAtron or French Aerospace..

@JNH: "Louie, Louie", the stomping song that defined the sixties party scene.

From Wiki: "'Louie Louie' is an American rock 'n' roll song written by Richard Berry in 1955. It has become a standard in pop and rock, with hundreds of versions recorded by different artists. The song is written in the style of a Jamaican ballad; and tells, in simple verse-chorus form, the first-person story of a Jamaican sailor returning to the island to see his lady love. The singer brags of his "fine little girl" to the Louie of the title, presumably a bartender." More in Wiki.

Now I didn't know any of that. I just drank beer and danced. The lyrics went right past me.

See also @Tinbeni, assuming he's still sober.

Rube said...

@JNH & @Tinbeni, just to set the matter straight re the "water of life", I'll let Wiki speak:

"Whisky is a shortened form of usquebaugh, which English borrowed from Gaelic (Irish uisce beatha and Scottish uisge beatha). This compound descends from Old Irish uisce, "water", and bethad, "of life" and meaning literally "water of life". It meant the same thing as the Latin aqua vītae which had been applied to distilled drinks since early 14th century"

Tinbeni said...

I'll stick with Aqua Vitae. Uisce Bethad looks harder to pronounce.

As long as it is the "Water of Life" aka Scotch, what do I care. LOL

Hmmmm, still sober.
Legally ... yes.
Believe it or not, whereas I do enjoy a STIFFDRINK every now and then (everyday) I rarely (if ever) imbibe too much as to actually obtain the level of "drunk."
Rarely enjoy being too sober, either.
Scotch is only consumed at home.

When I'm out its maybe a beer or glass of wine. I'm such a wuss it takes me an hour to finish a beer.
Actually, I'm a cheap date.

I am going to check out the wiki "Louie, Louie" stuff. It was a disfunctional song and I remember the FBI thing mentioned in the clue.

Tinbeni said...

USA just beat Canada in Hockey 5 to 3.
On to Women Curling, USA-v-Sweden, this will be a dog fight.

I would be greatly remissed if I didn't mention two more things I really liked about this Sunday LAT.

First off, as I said yesterday, I grew up in St. Pete. FLA. Dunedin is way up North in the County, maybe 15 whole miles.
So it was great to see the Tampa Bay RAYS 18-D.

Once again my preference was slighted.
BUT they are getting closer.
12-D, Bar array = RYES.
Hey, constructors, just add two letters and it becomes Scotch ... get in the program!!!

75-A, Double martini = STIFF DRINK. This was especially good since FDR enjoyed them a lot.

Ed.Note: That may seem to be 3 things but let's face it RYES and STIFF DRINK are one thing in my world.

I have a feeling, Pinch will be in a puzzle this week.


I just wanna say how much I enjoy reading all your comments... everyone! The banter and chatter gets me laughing all the time. And thanks @Rube and @Tinbeni for the comps. I learn so much from doing CWs and then checking out wiki on stuff I don't know, but reading the blogs and comments is fun as well as educational. Love hearing funny CatLady stories, liquor slang, factoids on SUNDOGS, and trivia about the BEAV.

I went to the CSO today and heard Igor Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex. Found out that the latin word TRIVIA actually means "crossroads".

"Seven Sisters school" = VASSAR. Why is it called that? Anyone? Anyone?

Crockett1947 said...

The Seven Sisters are seven prestigious liberal arts colleges in the Northeastern United States that are historically women's colleges. They are Barnard College, Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College, Radcliffe College, Smith College, Vassar College, and Wellesley College. All were founded between 1837 and 1889. Four are in Massachusetts, two are in New York, and one is in Pennsylvania. Radcliffe (which merged with Harvard College) and Vassar (which is now coeducational) are no longer women's colleges.

Anonymous said...

Austria is usually abbreviated either as A or AUT, AUS is Australia.
Schon in German gets an umlaut and therefore needs to spelled schoen in English.
SED? What is that?
ARB? Same
Ganef? What language is that?
I struggled with this one.

xyz said...

Started late, finished really late on this one. Had a rough time with upper center preventing me from finishing without cheats. Generally a really solid puzzle, but several words were a bit obscure to me so I'll just go on to the next one.

Nothing to add since Usquebaugh (Root word for Whisky) has already been brought out.