WEDNESDAY, February 24, 2010—Scott Atkinson

THEME: "Hardware Party"—Four answers begin with FASTENers used in non-hardware contexts

Theme entries:
  • 17A: [*Stable storage enclosure] (TACK ROOM). It wasn't until the crossings gave me this answer that I realized "stable" was the noun (a horse barn) and not an adjective.
  • 61A: [*Benjamin Button portrayer] (BRAD PITT). That's an attractive human being there.
  • 10D: [*Wacko] (SCREWBALL). Remember those ice-cream truck Screwballs, the paper cone of sherbet with a gumball in the bottom? Oh, how I loved those as a kid. As a mom? Turns out Screwballs taste nasty.
  • 34D: [*Game that goes down to the wire] (NAIL-BITER). Now, that's a terrific entry clued that way. It's less appealing if clued as [Cuticle gnawer], no?
  • 60A: [Attach, perhaps with hardware that begins the answers to starred clues] (FASTEN).
This one is roughly par for the Wednesday-level difficulty course, or maybe a notch easier.

Like PuzzleGirl and Rex, I am tiiiired after the crossword tournament. It's total sensory overload: I stay up late, I get up early, and I spend most of my waking moments in group settings. If past years have taught me anything, it's that it'll take me a solid week to feel caught up on sleep. The exhaustion is definitely worth it, though—I had a blast.

What all is in this puzzle? This:
  • 29A. [Letter-shaped hardware] (U-BOLT). What the hell? You're hardware. You can probably help FASTEN things. What are you doing loafing in this puzzle? Get to work and find a way to support the theme. (Vague theme idea: a group of famous people whose names are bracketed by hardware. USAIN BOLT! I might try to come up with more, but I'm really not a fan of that sort of theme so why perpetrate another one on the world?
  • 33A. [Chinese currency] (YUAN). When I see people talking about prices of things in China, they use RMB, not yuan. Apparently the Chinese yuan and renminbi, or RMB, are basically the same thing.
  • In case you always wondered how to spell a 43A. [Laugh from a Stooge], it's NYUK.
  • 56A. [Mötley Crüe's two] (UMLAUTS). No, those words are not German. Did you try to squeeze NIKKI SIXX AND VINCE NEIL into seven squares? And can yøü actüally bear to wätch this whöle video?

  • 6D. [Cobbler's concern] (SHOE). Do you have trouble with your peach cobbler? Does the crust take on the consistency of shoe leather?
  • 39D. [Sudden-braking result] (SKID MARK). Heh. Anyone else snickering here?
  • 59D. [Train sched. list] (STNS). STA. is a much more common abbreviation for "station" than STN., and then we're getting it pluralized here? Meh.
Crosswordese 101: DINAR

Today's clue is 50D: [Iraqi money]. The DINAR is also used in many other countries, including Kuwait, Jordan, Libya, and Bahrain. The hitch is that there's another 5-letter Middle Eastern currency, and it shares the same vowels: the RIYAL. The RIYAL has been clued as the money of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Yemen. Mind you, that one can also be spelled without the Y: RIAL. Which is not to be confused with the Cambodian unit of currency called the RIEL. Be aware that all four of these currency names may show up, and let the crossings distinguish between them if you're not in the mood to study lists of the countries that use each currency.

Everything Else — 1A: Mesmerized (RAPT); 5A: Medicinal amt. (TSP.); 8A: Fenway Park city (BOSTON); 14A: "East of Eden" director Kazan (ELIA); 15A: "__ Do You Love?": Bo Diddley classic (WHO); 16A: Concert bonus (ENCORE); 19A: They save the day (HEROES); 20A: Affliction (DISEASE); 21A: Be scared to (DARE NOT); 22A: Bank acct. entry (INT.); 23A: Symbol on several keys (ARROW); 24A: No __: menu notice (MSG); 27A: Company featuring cavemen in its ads (GEICO); 35A: Play thing (PROP); 36A: It's a wrap (SARAN); 37A: Mrs. Peel of "The Avengers" (EMMA); 38A: Arias, e.g. (SOLOS); 40A: Plastic surgeon's offering, for short (LIPO); 41A: "Ghostbusters" co-writer Harold (RAMIS); 44A: In unfamiliar territory, maybe (LOST); 45A: Dandruff site (SCALP); 46A: Commonly cluttered room (ATTIC); 48A: Maiden name lead-in (NÉE); 49A: Reward for merit (BADGE); 51A: Egg carton no. (DOZ.); 53A: Great Plains terrain (PRAIRIE); 62A: Fellini's realm (CINEMA); 63A: Site of the smallest bone in the body (EAR); 64A: Lowly worker (PEON); 65A: Sleep apnea sufferer, often (SNORER); 66A: The Hartford logo (ELK); 67A: Egyptian snakes (ASPS); 1D: Former gen.'s status (RETD.); 2D: Jai __ (ALAI); 3D: Cam's output (PICS); 4D: Sulu portrayer on "Star Trek" (TAKEI); 5D: Lively "Texas" dances (TWO-STEPS); 7D: Spitz-type dog, for short (POM); 8D: Joy of "The View" (BEHAR); 9D: Burdensome (ONEROUS); 11D: Ren or Stimpy, e.g. (TOON); 12D: Its creme may be eaten first (OREO); 13D: Hornet's home (NEST); 18D: Tolled (RANG); 21D: Fail to finish school (DROP OUT); 23D: Altar boy (ACOLYTE); 24D: Clinton press secretary Dee Dee (MYERS); 25D: "Poison" shrub (SUMAC); 26D: Beta follower (GAMMA); 28D: Early metalworking period (IRON AGE); 30D: Belted constellation (ORION); 31D: Forgetful moment (LAPSE); 32D: Conservative IRA asset (T-NOTE); 42D: "I don't want to hear the rest" ("SPARE ME"); 47D: More than chilly (COLD); 52D: Rock artist Frank (ZAPPA); 53D: Cpls.' underlings (PFCS); 54D: Picnic spoiler (RAIN); 55D: "It will come __ surprise" (AS NO); 56D: River through southern Russia (URAL); 57D: One-eighties (UIES); 58D: Corvette roof option (T-TOP); 61D: Blossom visitor (BEE).


Sfingi said...

I kind of missed the theme.

I call those phony UMLAUTS, since a real umlaut changes the sound of the vowel and is often used for a plural or diminutive. Examples that found their way into English: mouse-mice, cat-kitten.

For Ren and Stimpy, I had "dogs" first.

NAILBITER - I resemble that remark.

@John - Is you dare? I believe you would agree that not all sumacs are poison. Some people eat 'em.


Wasn't RAPT on this puzzle... found the beginning a SNORER.

BUT THEN !!!!! I came upon 37D, EMMA Peel... I PERKED UP!!!

And NYUK NYUK got me laughing.

And then "Great plains terrain" = PRAIRIE (I specialize in prairie wildflowers).

And and... BOSTON cream pie!

OHHHH LORDY! Thank you, Scott!

@Sfingi, yes, very few SUMAC plants are considered poisonous, but I still would not eat it.

This puzzle had a lot of new exciting words: TACK ROOM, RAMIS, UBOLT, UMLAUTS, LIPO, PEON, ACCOLYTE, TAKEI, and NYUK.

Time for coffee.
Have fun y'all.

Van55 said...

I much preferred this LAT puzzle over today's NYT. Agree with JNH's list of winning answers.

Crockett1947 said...

Orange, congrats on your finish at ACPT.

@jnh Now, you've done it. I'll spend the rest of the morning looking at Mrs. Peel. Thanks!

lit.doc said...

A perfectly nice puzzle. For Tuesday. NYT’s the same way today. Far be it from me to complain about being able to relax, have fun, and experience success. I’m jus’ sayin’.

I’m still enough of a neophyte to enjoy self-referential word clues like “ Mötley Crue’s two”. Got caught just last evening struggling for a while to interpret “Hamburger’s one” in an old NYT puzzle. And The Crue abides on my iPod (as does Nikki Sixx’s terrific albeit non-Crue’ish “Sixx: A.M.” project).

Other than that, getting SONGS before SOLOS (duh) and on “oh, please” furrow of the brow over ATTIC being a room were about it.

Tinbeni said...

I knew the EMMA Peel clue would make you smile. Was thinking RIGG at first but I already had Dee Dee MYERS. Nice embed, thanks.

I'm a SCREWBALL at times, so my first reaction to
40a Plastic Surgeon's Offering, for short? was tits.
But LIPO filled the bill.

Liked the Earned Merit BADGE, Play thing PROP, SARAN wrap and SKIDMARK got my NYUK.

Noticed ELIA showed up again.
Is there a requirement by Rich Norris that each days puzzle has an answer from the day before?

AS NO booze clue showed up. I'll just ZAPP A Scotch alone.

Burner10 said...

Had to work Sunday - so generally I feel like its Thursday, but agree with the bloggers before me that this puzzle feels Tursday. And that puts me ready for work and chucling at the old joke of the deaf guys on the train...mistaking Wembley for Wednesday for Thursday with the punch line - I am tooN let's stop and have one.

gespenst said...

Yep, didn't have to wait till 11 pm to do today's puzzle, lol. Days off are nice that way.

Puzzle was straightforward, maybe a little easy for a Wednesday ... usually I do the top third in across then down, then the middle third, then the bottom third. Today I just ran the acrosses and then the downs, and had it complete in one run through.

I liked the theme. I particularly resonated w/ "Game that goes down to the wire" b/c I am definitely a nail-biter in those circumstances (big Duke hoops fan). My dad's the same way about Cleveland Indians games. When it's down to the wire, both of us have to get up and leave the room, or stop watching ... it's just *that* stressful.

My bugaboo is the ELIA v ELIE choice. I usually know it's one of those but have to wait for the crosses to figure out which.

Oh, and I third the fake umlaut motion ... just stupid to see them when they're not needed. I do, however, enjoy asking for Löwenbraeu (sorry I can't figure out how to make the umlaut over the a there ... the o-umlaut I copied) actually pronouncing it w/ the umlaut, instead of the Americanized version. Or I would, if I drank it. Mostly I think about asking for it authentically ;)

xyz said...

This puzzle was to me quite a bit easier than the NYT. In that puzzle 1A RIVET ought to have shown up in here (how frogs talk RIVETRIVET or maybe what a plot can do RIVETTOONESSEAT), dunno.

Got out the SARAN wrap soon after this puzzle.

Speaking of ...
Usain BOLT was on BBC America's TOP GEAR the other day as the "celebrity in a reasonably -priced car" and was very engaging; a long time track & field guy I have to say he gave THE most impressive Athletic performance I have ever seen in an Olympics - and he continues to shatter records previously thought marginally unbreakable.

I don't mind these fun breezy puzzles especially when devoid of crap fill. I'll not complain if a puzzle is "too easy" but will if all the clues are very obtuse or third degree slants and I go "Oh jeeezus" at more than three clues ...

*David* said...

Lots of people in this one and you could include Yma SUMAC, if you had wanted to. I wasn't too excited about the theme or some of the fill. Lots more abbreviations in this one a bit forced in places.

I don't know about the ACPT crowd but they don't get out enough. It should NEVER take you a week to get over partying at MOST a day. The real partiers can do it during the week with minimal ill-effects. I think the solution is more crossword tournaments.

Anonymous said...

Don't understand how BRADPITT fits as a theme answer for FASTNER. Anyone explain please?

CrazyCat said...

On the easy side today, but as @ Rednanman said above, who's complaining? This one fell away quickly despite forgetting how to spell TAKEI. I had the E and the I reversed at first. Loved NYUK and, of course, BRAD PITT. Never was into Motley Crue so I didn't even know they had UMLAUTS although it was obvious from the clue. Had NIPS, then WORK before LIPO appeared at 40A. Spent many of my formative years in the TACK ROOM cleaning TACK. Oh and mucking out stalls. My horse's name was TWO STEP. I kid you not.
@JNH and Sfingi - my friend of Lebanese heritage and a very good cook uses SUMAC as a seasoning. It's a spice from the Middle East that comes from the berries of a shrub that grows wild in the Mediteranean region.
@Orange Congrats on your ACPT accomplishments. Sounds exhausting, but fun.

Toady said...

What, no Zappa clip?

lit.doc said...

@anon 9:32, a "brad" is a small, thin nail.

shrub5 said...

@gespenst: I have the same elie-elia dilemma but I guess there really aren't all that many crossword-likely folks with these names:

Elia Kazan (director)
Elie Weisel (author/activist)
Elie Saab (fashion designer)
Elie Tahari (another fashion designer)
Elia (alias of British essayist Charles Lamb)

These are all that I can come up with -- so now I need to figure out a mnemonic or some way to keep the first names straight....

I wondered what other "spitz-type" dogs there were besides POMeranians. According to wiki, spitz-type dogs include Malamute, Akita, Samoyed, Keeshond, Chow Chow and many others. More info for our dog breed category files.

@Orange: Congratulations on your impressive showing at the ACPT!! And thanks for the funny write-up today (NYUK, NYUK) and the crosswordese lesson on Middle East money.

Tuttle said...

A rock band with two slightly more correct UMLAUTS was Hüsker Dü (Danish for "Falling Down" but, to be absolutely correct, uses macrons not umlauts over the Us in Danish).

Man, T-TOPS haven't been an option on Corvettes since 1982. They have single-piece "Targa" roofs now. Camaros, Trans-Ams and 300ZXes used T-TOPS until the early 2000s though.

I'd like to see EMMA clued with "Frost" in some way some day (Emma Frost from X-Men comics, TOONs and CINEMA). Not that I don't dig Rigg, but it's an overused clue.

Van55 said...

@ anonymous

A BRAD is a kind of nail.

1.a slender wire nail having either a small, deep head or a projection to one side of the head end.

A nail is, of course, a kind of FASTENER.

Jet City Gambler said...

I've long thought that "The Gratuitous Umlauts" would be a great name for a metal band ...

mac said...

The umlauts answer made me think of Haagen-Dazs, also made-up.
Nice puzzle, too bad about the U-bolt. U-beam would have been less confusing.

There is absolutely no elk in the Hartford loge, ask ims-dave! It's called the Stag.

Liam McGee said...

Mac - Here is a note from Wiki:
It's not clear exactly when the elk first appeared as the company’s logo. The oldest on record is the one that appears on the 1861 policy issued to Lincoln.
But Hartford Stags might well have appeared earlier. An elk fording a stream is a natural symbol for a company named The Hartford.

Whitney said...

A suggestion for this puzzle: Remove UBOLT and change DROP OUT to BOLT OUT (leave quickly) and you've got a super fifth entry that you could put right down the middle. Didn't like having UBOLT in there with no tie-in to the theme. (N)Yuk.

Sfingi said...

@Gespenst - and do they serve you your beer, or say HUH?

For people who don't think English is Germanic: How do you say beer in German?

@Shrub5 - very interesting info of the spitz dogs. In Bremen, where my g'pa once lived, there's a statue of a knight called Roland with the "spitzy" knees. It means pointed and refers to the metal points on his armor. Maybe he got people under the chin.
So, are these dogs in any way "pointers"? Or from pointy mountains? They're sure fuzzy.

@Redanman - sure was easier than the NYT.

Zappa - Sicilian from Baltimore. The name is a farm tool. Particularly like 200 Motels. Oh, and since it's still winter, at least here, I'll quote -
"Watch out where the huskies go
Never eat the yellow snow."

Parsan said...

Congratulations to Orange and 59 other people, including Joon, who got every word right in the 7 puzzles at the tournament! I think that is amazing! Every letter!!! Obviously speed is vital if you plan to compete for high placement. Anyone else on this blog who was in that group?

Enjoyed this puzzle. Had lift also for LIPO, t-bill for T NOTE, and stole for SARAN (clever clue), so of course none of that made sense. Last area to finish.

@Tuttle--Right about the 'Vette removable tops. '88 (35th anniversary model) one piece,
slides down into the back.

John said...

The name TUTTLE reminds me of the MASH episode, which included the imaginary Corpl Tuttle. Drove Frank and Hotlips Bonkers and Henry was confused, to say the least!

gespenst said...

@Sfingi, if I ever mention the real pronunciation, I get funny looks, but no beer ;)

I was always under the impression that the Stag was actually a Hart. But Hart has too many letters. Found this definition: •The word 'hart' is an old alternative word for "stag" (from Old English heorot, "deer" - compare with modern Dutch hert, also "deer").

imsdave said...

A an employee at The Hartford, it's symbol/mascot is indeed called a stag - period. Though I must say that most of us call it "the moose".


I just finished the NYT Berniker puzzle. It was far too easy and offered me no challenge. It actually took me longer to solve the LAT.

Thanks Orange, for the monetary CW101. I always get those screwed up.

A big standing ovation for the LATCC bloggers who went to the ACPT... wow, Joon, almost got the triple-crown. I'm impressed... first place in both the B and Rookies divisions. And Amy coming in 13th in the A division! That's quite an achievement.

xyz said...


The Hartford Golf Club has an antlered critter as the logo.


Some say NOT!

Golf helped yet again ...

(captcha) gualato - gelato from Guatemala?
Some say NOT.

xyz said...


Berr is some spelling of beer, bier biere, etc world over

except Poland where it is PIVO

Sorry to pad the posts, but I just had to add this one ^^^^