THURSDAY, February 18, 2010 — Damon J. Gulczynski

Theme: "Line Up" — Both parts of each theme answer can precede the words the line in a familiar phrase.

Theme answers:
  • 22A: *In the netherworld (DOWN BELOW).
  • 34A: *Use bank "protection" (OVERDRAW).
  • 53A: *Place where a driver may be required to stop (CROSSWALK).
  • 3D: *Climber's support (TOEHOLD).
  • 42D: Bettor's concern, which can follow each half of the answers to starred clues (THE LINE).
I love this theme. I generally love this type of theme, so that's no surprise. Remember last time we had this type of theme I didn't even realize it? Yeah, that's the danger of writing publicly about crossword puzzles. But I keep doing it! And I do it for you!!! Anyway. As I was saying. Great theme. The only resulting phrase I'm not sure I've really hard is "below the line." Is that really a common phrase? I'm sure it's something totally obvious that I'm missing here, so let me know in the comments.

I got a little distracted by trying to figure out if all the resulting phrases were song titles. Aerosmith's "Draw the Line" and Johnny Cash's "Walk the Line" obviously came to mind right away. So I went to YouTube and ended up looking at Johnny Cash videos and here's the one I'm going to share with you. It's very weird and doesn't have anything to do with the puzzle, but I love it and, hey! I can post whatever I want.

I almost don't want to really talk about the rest of the puzzle. The theme is so good and then … not so much.

With both ECO- and ACRO- (13A: Green opening / 56A: Bat head?), RECOLOR and REHEEL (18A: Dye, usually / 20A: Do a cobbler's work), SMILER and MODELER and PAYER (55A: Cheshire Cat, notably / 15D: Builder of tiny cities / 25D: One treating) a s**t-load of three-letter entries (I count 16), and a slew of crosswordese — let's just say this is not my favorite puzzle of the year. If I were building it, I think I would have gutted it and started over. But did I mention that I really like the theme?!

  • 14A: Pained expression (GRIMACE). Best word in the grid.
  • 27A: Ginormous (COLOSSAL). This one's right up there too. Actually both ginormous and colossal are awesome.
  • 33A: Lions, on a scoreboard (DET). That would be football.
  • 40A: Coll. dorm overseers (RAS). In my first year of college, my R.A.'s name was Andy Hoover. There was also another guy in the same dorm who wasn't the R.A. but was also named Andy Hoover. They were referred to as Andy Hoover and The Other Andy Hoover, but it depended on who you were talking to which one was which. (Have I told that story before? It feels like I have.)
  • 5D: Songwriter Jacques (BREL). I hear he's alive and well and living in Paris.
  • 35D: More lit (DRUNKER). Ha!
  • 36D: Lynx family members (BOBCATS). Tried ocelots at first. Are ocelots and lynxes related?
  • 46D: Street boss? (MASON). I didn't get this until I was looking through the clues and answers one more time in preparation for blogging. Perry Mason is Della Street's boss. Veerrrry clever!
  • 55D: Explorer Hernando de __ (SOTO). Every time de Soto shows up in a puzzle I go looking for the Seinfeld clip where they're sitting around the coffee shop comparing favorite explorers. I can never find the stupid clip! But here are the lines:
    George Costanza: I like DeSoto.
    Jerry: DeSoto? What did he do?
    George Costanza: He discovered Mississippi.
    Jerry: Yeah, like they wouldn't have found that anyway.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 7A: Old jet set jet, briefly (SST).
  • 16A: Trac II successor (ATRA).
  • 32A: Eggs, to Agrippa (OVA).
  • 41A: 1944 invasion city (ST.-LÔ).
  • 34D: Australian exports (OPALS).
Everything Else — 1A: One might read "Mom," for short (TAT); 4A: Core training muscles (ABS); 10A: "Cheers" bartender (SAM); 16A: Trac II successor (ATRA); 17A: H-1 in HI, e.g.: Abbr. (RTE.); 19A: Docile (TAME); 24A: Think the world of (ADORE); 25A: Pocket protector contents (PENS); 26A: Clinton was one (YALIE); 29A: Lets out, maybe (ALTERS); 30A: Some defensive linemen (ENDS); 31A: Storm part (EYE); 36A: Hist. majors' degrees (BAS); 39A: Allotment word (PER); 41A: 1944 invasion city (ST.-LÔ); 45A: Like some bands (ONE-MAN); 47A: Super trendy (ULTRA-HIP); 49A: Hackneyed (BANAL); 50A: Lairs (DENS); 52A: Sharp-crested ridge (ARETE); 57A: Wrap up (ENVELOP); 59A: Savings plan for later yrs. (IRA); 60A: Larger-life link (THAN); 61A: Do over (ITERATE); 62A: Indian bread (NAN); 63A: Part of CBS: Abbr. (SYS.); 64A: Hi-__ graphics (RES); 65A: Bean holder (POD); 66A: Antiquity, once (ELD); 1D: Cookout site (TERRACE); 2D: Responded to, as a stoolie's tip (ACTED ON); 4D: Concurs (AGREES); 6D: Incite to pounce (on) (SIC); 7D: Bun-making site (SALON); 8D: Tugs' burdens (SCOWS); 9D: Shore flier (TERN); 10D: Delayed (STALLED); 11D: Large wardrobe (ARMOIRE); 12D: Star of "I'm No Angel" (1933) (MAE WEST); 16D: Persistently bothered (ATE AT); 21D: Love personified (EROS); 23D: Corporate rule (BY-LAW); 28D: Number of Sinbad's voyages (SEVEN); 29D: Nautical "Hold it!" ("AVAST!"); 32D: Advanced exams (ORALS); 37D: Lawlessness (ANARCHY); 38D: Ladies of Spain (SEÑORAS); 41D: Indian garb (SARI); 43D: Word-for-word (LITERAL); 44D: Either 2 in 2 + 2 = 4, in math (OPERAND); 48D: Like wheelchair-accessible entrances (RAMPED); 50D: "Inferno" author (DANTE); 51D: Reindeer caretakers, traditionally (ELVES); 54D: River dam (WEIR); 58D: Thighs, at times (LAP).


lit.doc said...

Finished in 17:49, totally 15D than a [insert simile of choice]. No way is this a Thursday puzzle. I’m not that good, so I suspect that the puzzle isn’t either. And IMHO a puzzle had best have a good justification for its 16x15ness. I await cogent commentary in the a.m.

Daylight, but running late. More after I get the kiddos on task and have time to read Puzzle Girl’s write up.

mac said...

Agee with PuzzleGirl's critique. For some weir(d) reason (lots of weirs around these days, including a skater) I needed lots of crosses for "terrace, and with "down below" as well. Otherwise average.

Meeting MacSon downtown for a Ramen brunch. First puzzles this evening in Brooklyn!

Tinbeni said...

@PG Below the Line is a term we used in accounting for extraordinary items that had no direct effect on the profit or loss in the accounting period.

Loved this puzzle, I surmise it is very difficult to come up with eight words that can be accentuated with 'the line.'

STALLED in the bottom. For 'HI___' Had DEF at 54a before getting RES and learning WEIR, low dam. Always a plus.

H-1, RTE in Hawaii was clever. Is there a H-2? Which Island?

@Crazycatlady - I suggested 6oz. for the rookies. I prefer 8oz. and it does get you DRUNKER.

This was anything but a BANAL Thursday.

Ron said...

Below the line is also a term employed in movie productions, meaning basically the crew for a film versus its director, screenwriter, big shots, and stars.

Sfingi said...

Had an amazing number of wrong answers. I had "buyer" crosses "Bics" instead of PAYER crosses PENS. Thought the theme was gambling and had "pulltab" instead of THELINE. Had jugHOLD for TOEHOLD. Had "stonewall" for CROSSWALK. (Well, a driver would definitely stop at a stonewall.)

When I finally figured out THELINE, I didn't get it, since my knowledge of gambling is totally based on an unfortunate member of hubster's family. Hubster says THELINE is the odds for whatever your betting on. Then he went on to describe spotting and lost me.

I also didn't understand TAT, which I always knew as a handiwork stitch. I finally realized, "Oh, I see. Another unwanted abbreviation."

I Googled Defensive Linemen and had a quick lesson, which I will share for others like myself. There are 6 of 'em: Cornerback, Linebacker (Middle and Outside), Safety, Tackle, End. I've never heard of a Cornerback, and Tackle doesn't sound defensive.

Well, the sky and ground are white today, and we're going to Sons of Italy to hear a lecture and see a travelogue on Roma and have a nice dinner.

Darryl said...

@Sfingi - Your list is actually all defensive positions. The linemen are restricted to left and right tackles, left and right (or nose) guards.

Anonymous said...

I went prety quickly, with only the northwesternmost square empty when I came to a screeching halt. Couldn't see TAT and TERRACE for the life of me. I'd never thought of TAT as the (noun) product of TATting (verb, present progressive), but once you leap that semantic hurdle, all is clear. Being of the guy persuasion, I have never TATted, but I can imagine a young girl producing a TAT with "MOM" in it somewhere. I loved 46D: Street boss? (MASON); got it almost immediately, with fond memories of black-and-white TV.

lit.doc said...

@Puzzle Girl, I really, really do enjoy your prose style. And caught the Jacques Brel joke. And did I mention that I really like the theme?

I am such a geek. PG wonders whether ocelots and lynxes are related and I go look it up. They’re from different…wait, what’s the plural of genus, genii?…ok, so if they’re from different genii they must be from different lamps, I guess. But I hear they’re related by marriage.

@Sheri, that idiotic (not you, the law) drinking age issue echoes the since-resolved (yeah, I’m that old) “you could be drafted into the armed forces and kill people, but the voting age is 21” issue. But I, too, digress.

Darryl said...

@Bubba, @Sfingi - My bad. Tackles & Ends. I was going to mention that they're all named Bubba or Darryl, but that didn't seem appropriate some how.

PuzzleGirl said...

Hey guys. A tat is a tattoo. Just felt compelled to clear that up. I'm on my way to NY and am super excited to see so many puzzle friends. Especially Rex and Orange! We don't get to see each other in person very often!

shrub5 said...

@anon 8:05am - I believe TAT refers to tattoo.

I found this puzzle to be pretty easy; my one writeover was ULTRAHIP over ULTRAHOT. ELD is new to me but makes sense. LOL at "bun-making site" SALON.

Tuttle said...

They’re from different…wait, what’s the plural of genus, genii?…ok, so if they’re from different genii they must be from different lamps, I guess.

"Genera" is the plural of "genus" in both Latin and English. "Genii" is the plural of "genius" but only in the sense of "a tutelary deity". It's "geniuses" for smarty-pantses.

And lamps contain djinn, djinni, genie(s), jinnee or jinni. Woot! Scrabble words for the win!

lit.doc said...

@Tuttle, you play a mean game of Scrabble!

"Seusnes", seriously.

*David* said...

Interesting grid for the puzzle with lots of cheater squares, looks like six. This resulted in lots of three letter fill that was blah SST, DET, BAS, RAS, SYS, RES, and the horrid ELD. I would like a RECOLOR on this one but nice theme.

*David* said...

BELOW THE LINE is used in many different acounting scenarios. It is typically used to report an item that isn't part of standard operations such as interest expense or transaction costs. It can also be used informally to give information that is not part of the standard financials as an internal recognition not for public disclosure.

Whitney said...

Since I purchased the ACPT puzzles by mail, I figured I'd time myself this a.m. Did this one in just under 8 minutes and I blame TERRACE. I just sat there staring at it...TEA RACE? I thought the H-1 was somehow a science clue related to the Swine Flu and expected it to be something like -ITE or -OTE or, yes -ATE. Blar. I am wondering if under 8 is good for this puzzle - i.e., would I get completely annihilated at the ACPT or is that a decent time? Anywhoo.

Thanks for the Johnny Cash clip. I love that song. Have a good time at the tourney everyone!

Joon said...

i also loved the theme, and also did not love the fill.

lit.doc, the justification for the unusual grid size is that there is an unpaired theme entry of even length (OVERDRAW, which is 8). you can't put an even-length answer in the middle of a 15x15 grid. (try it.)

BELOW THE LINE is also a term used in rubber bridge.

C said...

Adding to the BELOW THE LINE definitions, it is a term we use in product prioritization discussions. Typically, you take a prioritized list of projects and draw a line under the last project you have resources available to work on the project. All other projects are considered "below the line" and when a random executive asks why wasn't project XYZ being worked on, the program manager can reply "it was below the line"

Not common at all but what jumped to my mind when I did the puzzle. It's all perspective.

As to the puzzle, I liked BANAL as an answer but found the rest of the puzzle less interesting. Fun solve but nothing memorable.

Parsan said...

Disregarding the three letter fill, I really liked this puzzle; the theme sparkled. Had down under before DOWN BELOW, also bics/buyer before PENS/PAYER, and on "More lit" (DRUNKER) wondered if it was about Thomas More like yesterday. Doh!

I thought the clues were teriffic for TAT, MODELER, SALON, YALIE, ONE MAN, ACRO, and MASON. DJG, nice job!

I was one of the RA'S at my school back when men were not allowed beyond the lounges, freshmen women had to be in the dorm by 7:30PM (unless you signed out, had ten minutes to sign in at the library, and then ten minutes to be back by 10PM). Big deal, they could stay out until 11PM on Saturday night. My kids thought this a hoot.

Good luck to all who are going to the tournament. Make us proud!

lit.doc said...

@Joon, thanks for taking the time to explain the construction issue. I see it now. I know that the unpaired theme answer is always dead center, but just didn't spot the issue last p.m.

"graph", appropriately.

PuzzleGirl said...

Whitney, Whitney, Whitney ... *sigh*. How fast you do the puzzles is So Incredibly Irrelevant at the tourney. I'm going to say this again for everyone's benefit and I'm going to type real slow, so listen up! If you're a crossword person (and I've gotta believe that you are -- you're reading a crossword BLOG for crying out loud), you owe it to yourself to go to a tournament. You will have a Blast. Crossword people are the nicest people in the world and if you have a chance to hang out with a bunch of them, you should do it. You Won't be sorry!!

*David* said...

@Whitney I think there is an initiation for all solvers C level and below. I think it's a worse humiliation then what we went through in college to join the frat houses. I'm terrified to walk into one of these tourneys. I'm with you, we can get a group together that does these by mail in the safety of our homes.

JIMMIE said...

Thanks, PG, for the Johnny Cash clip. I noticed that the blond had something BELOW THELINE, the hem line, that is.

Whitney said...

@Puzzle Girl Ha! Okay, okay. Point taken. :) I do hope to go next year, just to see what goes on. Does wearing Converse sneakers with a crossword on them (I am. Right now.) while commenting on a crossword blog make me a crossword person? Methinks so.

@David Ha! That's what I'm afraid of ;)

CrazyCat said...

Didn't really ADORE the puzzle today. In fact, I completely missed the theme since I was solving in across mode in the lower right and never saw THE LINE. I was happy that I remembered ARETE and that I knew what a WEIR was. I recently learned about WEIRs while walking along the San Luis Creek. There is a WEIR that keeps the salt water from going upstream.I got STALLED at the cross of TAT and TERRACE. Both the clue and answer for 1A were a COLOSSAL mystery to me. So thanks for clearing that up PG. I don't think of a TERRACE as a cook out location. I think of a TERRACE as a wine and cheeseplate location. Also was confused by MASON Street Boss? Enjoyed seeing GRIMACE and SMILER. One of my cats looks like the Cheshire Cat and he does smile.
@PG thanks for the write up and have fun in NY.

xyz said...

Much more enjoyable for me than the NYT today as I suppose that I am the perfect target for the original mission statement of this blog.

@PG, I think Rex forgets this sometimes, help him please, he can be so annoying ... and such a puzzle snob

Anyway, could not agree more that it was a nicely and well-executed theme but heavy on the dross.

Had SERAC before ARETE - should have known the bi-puzzle obscurity would rear its head again.

Full finish, noGoooogleys, no real big problem area, way more fun than not and way more fun than NYT today. I just am an LAT kinda guy, I guess.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JN said...

Finally, I understand the tat clue. I couldn't get terrace for the life of me. I got hung up by not spelling arete correctly. I spelled it arret. Good luck to all in the tournament. Maybe next year I'll try. It sounds like fun!

Rube said...

It's late enough that I should be able to comment about ARETE being in another Xword of note today. Always wonder about this.

ELD was my wotd, going between eft and Elea in my Xword KB.

Nice Tuesday puzzle, no Googles required. Only one pink! - and guessed SAM from the S in STALLED. Tx, DJG.

AFAIK, H-1 and H-3 on Oahu are the only US "Interstate" Highways in the state of HI. All other highways are state highways, and mostly 2 lane. @Chefwen can clarify this.

Sorry I'm late, busy, busy day.


This Gulczynski puzzle was super! I loved the double theme words and the fill words and clues were great!

Thought the clue for 1A (TATtoo) was quite clever.
Also 17D, “Highway 1 in Hawaii.” I often wondered why the highways in Hawaii are called Interstates. I guess this explains it.
In the same “I-wonder” vein, if ITERATE means “Do over”, then what does REITERATE mean? Can anyone explain this anomaly?

Fave word: TERRACE (because I can’t wait to use mine again.)
Unfave word: ATE AT (gets confused with A TEAT and AT EAT).
Fave clue: “Ginormous” = COLOSSAL (I must use that word in a sentence today!)
Unfave clues: “Incite to pounce (on)” = SIC.
Also, “Street boss” = MASON (Isn’t that a bricklayer?) I guess we still have some brick streets. Ohhhh, @PG, you put my mind at ease on this one. Ahh! Perry MASON.

MAE WEST, a woman of action!

I had --LIE for 26A, “Clinton was one.”
Imagine all the possibilities that I tried before getting to YALIE.

As a former company mathematician, I always enjoy seeing words like OPERAND.

Can anyone explain the uneven 16 x 15 grid? That makes me GRIMACE.

I’m starting to hate seeing the BANAL fill words: SST, ATRA, OVA, ST LO, OPALS, ARETE and TERN. Yuck!

SAM Malone the bartender on “Cheers”. I loved that TV series! Anyone else?
I think in this episode, Frazier gets DRUNKER and gets some help from Sam & Diane.

It’s getting late for supper, so I’ll call AVAST and go eat my Crazy Noodles (Thai food), and settle down to watch the Olympics snowboarding.

CrazyCat said...

I was AGHAST not AVAST about ARETE being in both puzzles.

Tinbeni said...

Regardless of what iterate means or irregardless of what reiterate means the real term for "Do Over" is mulligan. Ask any golfer.

At least OPALS & SST were clued differently.

Opals reminded me of the show on the Discovery Channel about where they are mined. The whole town in the outback is underground due to the heat. One guy wanted to expand his abode and in doing so found an opal worth about $500,000. That's one way for the value of your home to increase.

@Rube & Crazycatlady
Look on the positive side.
At least there wasn't an ELBA and AVON.

Sfingi said...

@Bubba and Darryl - Don't confuse me.

@John - I thought of that, too - Clinton and lie.

@Puzzle Girl - Wish it were true. More like Jacques Brel is alive and well and existing in the minds of those who believe in him. Check out Ne me quitte pas or The Port of Amsterdam. And I don't know French. Very soulful in any language. Sweaty, too, I must say.

Peoples - I understood they meant TAT to be an abbreviation for tattoo, but I didn't like it. I don't like tattoos much either. How often have we changed our tastes in art, let alone loves? Mom remains - but in a Japanese style, a cubic, an art nouveau?

@Whitney - My word, you're fast. If I went to a tourney, I'd have to dress in full Muslim garb,
including niqab, and sit in the balcony.

@Redanman - To continue in the defensive (and END), there are twice as many responders at the NYT forum, so maybe a more forgiving and welcoming attitude prevail.

Rube said...

@JNH, check out @Joon at 10:04AM re the 16x15 puzz.

If asked, I would say ITERATE is a math-science type of word while reiterate was a liberal-artsy type word. They may have diverged about the time Sir Francis Bacon separated Natural Philosophy from Philosophy, ca. 1600.

On to Friday's puzzles.

chefwen said...

@tinbeni - Indeed, there is a H2 and H3, all on Ohau. They connect military bases, but I believe they are called interstate because of how they are funded, not where they go. At lease that's what I read. None of the other islands have interstates.

Loved the puzzle, no write-overs and nary a Google. Took me a bit longer that usual, but that's O.K.

CrazyCat said...

Oh my goodness. I'm always the last to comment since I'm on the left coast. You commenters are so funny!
@Sfingi - if I ever go to a tourney, I'll sit with you in a burka (sp?). IMHO, tatoos are mostly gross. I hate seeing young women with lovely skin who are covered in TATs. I have two kids in the mid 20's and neither one of them of them have TATs or weird piercings. I consider that to be a proud moment in parenting. And they both have college degrees and jobs with 401ks. JMHO.

CrazyCat said...

Over my comments, but my friends named their adorable rescue dog Mulligan. He got his second chance.

Tinbeni said...

@Sfingi & @Crazycatlady
I doubt the tourney has a recliner,
TV and Mug of Coffee(s) with the morning news on.
I picture it like being back in school taking a test.
Plus I have never timed my sloth solving skills, nor do I care to find out that I was the last to finish.

CCL - Mulligan is a great name for a rescued pooch.
The Westminister Dog Show earlier this week is a must see every year.
I don't have, never have, had a dog.
Like a sense of humor, you don't have a dog, it has you.

As to the tattoo thing, if you get one you can't give blood for one year.
I give every 8 weeks and have been doing so since I was 18, somewhere near 240 pints so far.
I admire some of the artwork, but what may look cool at 20 doesn't seem so cool at 40 or 57+.


For all youse people who love (or hate) tattoos, here's Ron Jones, the quintessential Route 66 Tattoo Man... or as we now say, the The TAT Cat

badspelller said...

Tat is actually used quite a lot nowadays by the younger set. Of course they abbreviate and acronym
everything due to the internet. TMI?

I missed the Mason-Street connection
too which is a shame because I think
I have read about every Erle Stanley Gardner book, even the A.A. Fair series which were a favorite.

tl;dr tattoos, perry mason

Anonymous said...

Can't get Cruciverb up tonight. Anyone else?

Anonymous said...

Lately, the LAT has been beating the pants off of the NYT puzzlewise.


@ Whitney & @Puzzlegirl
Just to bear out what you say about the social aspects of the ACPT, here's REX's take on that (from his NYT blog)---

"for the first time in four years, I will *not* be competing. I'm going to hang out, see people, interview people, attend parties, and go to the finals on Sunday."

I'll be there next year.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the TAT lesson; a real puzzler, but terrace eluded me too. And thanks for the answer to how HI could have interstates! Otherwise it was an easy pzl. BTW, Iter is Latin for road, so iterate is a way to go; reiterate is to go over again.

Rube said...

@tenbeni -- I'm impressed, I don't care what people have been saying about you. I'm a 100 pt contributor and my sister is a 180 pt contributor, but 30 Gals of blood is truly impressive.

xyz said...

Cruciverb.com still not up this a.m. had to print Fri puzzle in that icky form (yet to tackle it)


yet another golf course architecture terminology that made a word much more acceptable to me on this (Th) puzzle and I think it is surely a Thursday kind of word.

We talk about the current ITERATION or a progress through various ITERATIONS of a golf course as architects re-design said course. I laughed when I saw it in the puzzle although it wasn't my first thought ...