TUESDAY, March 16, 2010 — Jerome Gunderson

Theme: "Tic Tac Toe" — Theme answers are familiar phrases that begin with the letter O and end with the letter X.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Rival of Staples (OFFICE MAX).
  • 25A: Red Cloud's tribe (OGLALA SIOUX).
  • 43A: Jane, to Dick, e.g. (OPPOSITE SEX).
  • 57A: Pencil game that hints at this puzzle's theme, found in the first and last letters of 18-, 25- and 43-Across (TIC TAC TOE).
Happy Scrabbly Tuesday to you all! I noticed all the Xs right away, but didn't catch on that the theme answers started with Os until I got to the reveal. I'll give the theme a "meh," but the puzzle included decent fill, some tricky cluing, and the aforementioned Scrabbly letters. So, overall, it's a perfectly serviceable Tuesday.

  • 1A: Roaring group (CROWD). I stuck pride in here with no hesitation.
  • 24A: Rides roughshod over (STEPS ON). When I was looking through the puzzle again, I read this is step-son.
  • 37A: Make one of two? (UNITE). Not sure I understand the question mark here. Anyone?
  • 1D: "Believe" singer (CHER).

  • 10D: Nest noise (CHEEP). Tried chirp at first.
  • 12D: South American plain (LLANO). This word always reminds me of Sammy Llana of the BoDeans.

  • 29D: Jones of English architecture (INIGO).
  • 47D: Paper measure (QUIRE). "A quire of paper is today used as a measure of paper quantity. The usual meaning is a set of 24 or 25 sheets of paper of the same size and quality. It might also be thought of as 1/20 of a ream." [wikipedia]
Crosswordese 101: There are basically two ways to clue ALF. First there's the wisecracking, furry, sitcom alien who apparently hails from the planet Melmac. Can't say as I've ever actually seen that show. the second one is ALF Landon, the 1930s Kansas governor who lost to FDR in 1936.

Everything Else — 6A: Bridge coup (SLAM); 10A: Boston NBAer (CELT); 14A: Act like a doting grandma, perhaps (HOVER); 15A: Hawaiian port (HILO); 16A: Healthy (HALE); 17A: Musical narrated by Che (EVITA); 20A: '40s-'50s paranoia that led to blacklisting (RED SCARE); 22A: "For Your Eyes Only" singer Easton (SHEENA); 23A: Island strings (UKE); 30A: Board with eerie messages (OUIJA); 31A: Neither's partner (NOR); 32A: Microwaves (ZAPS); 36A: Not guilty, for example (PLEA); 39A: Came down to earth (ALIT); 40A: Cowpoke's prod (SPUR); 41A: Petunia, e.g. (PIG); 42A: Serpentine (SNAKY); 46A: Fillies and foals (EQUINES); 50A: __ la la (TRA); 51A: Track athlete (RUNNER); 52A: "The Breakfast Club" actors are part of it (BRAT PACK); 59A: Conservative front? (ULTRA-); 60A: Perry's creator (ERLE); 61A: "Major" constellation (URSA); 62A: Grand __ National Park (TETON); 63A: Futurist (SEER); 64A: Seamstress's fold (TUCK); 65A: Not approximate (EXACT); 2D: Wander (ROVE); 3D: "Ars amatoria" poet (OVID); 4D: Antiprohibitionists (WETS); 5D: Count with a cape (DRACULA); 6D: Coastlines (SHORES); 7D: Family board game (LIFE); 8D: TV E.T. (ALF); 9D: Defogging target (MOISTURE); 11D: Chair maker Charles (EAMES); 13D: Houston pro since 2002 (TEXAN); 19D: Whole grain cereal brand (CHEX); 21D: Dossier letters (AKA); 24D: Flue filth (SOOT); 25D: "How clumsy of me!" ("OOPS!"); 26D: Big swig (GULP); 27D: Stead (LIEU); 28D: Slightly open (AJAR); 32D: Author Grey (ZANE); 33D: Quaint word of regret (ALAS); 34D: High-speed highway (PIKE); 35D: Underworld river (STYX); 37D: Pugilist's punch (UPPER CUT); 38D: Puppy bites (NIPS); 42D: Legislative act (STATUTE); 43D: Military service designation (ONE-A); 44D: Windex target (STREAK); 45D: Lyricist Gershwin (IRA); 46D: Art works by Romain de Tirtoff (ERTÉS); 48D: "I surrender!" ("UNCLE!"); 49D: Bury (INTER); 52D: Pear choice (BOSC); 53D: Suffix with cine (-PLEX); 54D: "__ boy!" (ATTA); 55D: Gator's kin (CROC); 56D: "Critique of Pure Reason" philosopher (KANT); 58D: Capote, on the stage (TRU).


Sfingi said...

Had "spoil" before HOVER. STEPS ON could be clued as STEP SON. I've noticed HALE everywhere these days.

Do not know Petunia the PIG, but ALF was cute. He liked to eat cats, but never seemed to actually succeed. Did not know Red Cloud.

Otherwise, breezy.

Van55 said...

Seemed a bit more difficult than usual for a Tuesday.

Porky and Petunia Pig were comic book characters as well as animated cartoon characters long ago.

I didn't know Red Cloud either.

Tinbeni said...

Tuesday with a little bite.

EAMES I remembered from last time.
OVID & KANT filled themselves in.
Red Cloud's Tribe I thought were Lakota so OGLALA Sioux a learning moment.
Also, never heard of INIGO Jones, another plus.

Had the theme at OFFICE MAX, just fell into place.
After the age of about eight has anyone ever lost at TIC-TAC-TOE?

Hand up for sticking in pride first, OOPS, but DRACULA bailed me out.

Liked that on St. Patrick Day EVE this WETS can have some NIPS and GULPs.
(I celebrate a lot of extra Eve's).

@PG Thanks for the great clips!

xyz said...

I liked the puzzle even if the theme was blah.

also pride before CROWD
tweet over CHEEP

also read over STEP SON (first wondered how I'd missed it)

Good clever clues
OGLALA SIOUX much better than the usual Indian regurge

Petunia was slow to come, hadn't thought of her for quite a while ..


ALAS, alackaday!
I got sucked into yet another non-challenging puzzle. But, oh well, I'm here for the fun and fellowship of bloggers and bloggees. Oh yeah, and it is a Tuesday. @PG, thanks for those fun vid clips!

Seems like I ran into this OXOXOX type of theme somewhere else recently.

I have to say though, that Jerome did a super job of constructing without a lot of crappy fill.

When I got to 29D, I kept thinking of another variant of "Capability"... duh, that was Capability Brown. I guess I was just hung up on an unusual name in Br. architecture that stuck in my head. With a few crosses, I realized it was INIGO Jones.

Yikes, I still have some EAMES chairs... hmmm, I wonder if they're worth anything.

I found out something pretty cool about OFFICEMAX. They'll take your expended printer cartridges back (for recycling) and give you $3.00 in purchase credits. I had a huge box full and got over $600 for them. Just some FYI for those of you who (like I) print a lot. I also use many a QUIRE of photo paper.

The music of IRA & George Gershwin are my favorites. Here's a little treat for y'all... dream on! Summertime is a comin'
Lovely rendition, huh?

Today is a day to go outside and enjoy the Chicago sunshine and 67 degrees already... so poof!

Burner10 said...

A happy Tuesday solve for me. Liked the slight architectural subtheme. Isn't it funny how last nights study session with my daughter was centered on Peron and Evita!
JNH - that's some scary hoard of printer cartridges.

Rex Parker said...

"Serviceable" is kind.

Dumb as an OX said...

If there were an "O" or an "X" in the middle, and I mean the exact middle, of each theme, it would have been servicable.

lit.doc said...

@Puzzle Girl, 37A is UNITE as in "the two shall become one" = gettin' hitched. Me too re 1A PRIDE without hesitation. Good start, eh? And thanks for the Inigo Montoya evocation--one of my very favorite movies.

I thought Rex's comment about Puzzle Girl's comment was, itself, as kind as was hers. File this theme under "Why Even Bother?"

Best laugh was from my last square--"Petunia" = PI_ crossing WHO? Yes, I grew up reading those comix. I blame jet lag (flew into Denver yesterday to be with family).

CrazyCat said...

Count me in for Pride instead of CROWD. Yesterday it was PRIDE. Also filled in STEP SON until I looked at the clue and figured out it was STEPS ON. Got stuck at the cross of QUIRE and ERLE. Forgot about him. INIGO Jones was new to me. Somehow he didn't make it into any of my History of Architecture classes.

Not much else to say except the CHER/Will and Grace clip made my day. Thanks PG!

Day started early due to our dogs barking at a small 4 am earthquake.

mac said...

OK, serviceable, with a couple of sticky spots. Thought of pride as well, saw stepson and didn't know the Oglala Sioux.

I didn't know Petunia, and it felt a little rude to write PIG in!

Joon said...

INIGO jones is a pretty cool guy, but definitely my second-favorite INIGO.

the theme put me in mind of one of the great hacker koans:

In the days when Sussman was a novice, Minsky once came to him as he sat hacking at the PDP-6.

"What are you doing?" asked Minsky.

"I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-Tac-Toe."

"Why is the net wired randomly?" asked Minsky.

"I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play."

Minsky shut his eyes.

"Why do you close your eyes?" Sussman asked his teacher.

"So the room will be empty."

At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.

CrazyCat said...

@JNH if you have original EAMES chairs, they are probably worth quite a bit. All that "mid century" furniture is on trend right now.

Rube said...

@Joon, you made my day.

Red Cloud was mentioned in Lonesome Dove, (the different incarnations of which I am currently watching as a result of it's appearance in a recent NYT xwrd).

Saw STEPSON and thought STEP SON, STEPS ON, and ST EPSON, the patron saint of bath salts.

Had a hard time with Serpentine as I was thinking, geologically, of the rock. We have a lot of serpentEEn around here.

No new words here for me, so will have to go with Che as the narrator of EVITA as my fact for the day.

Sandy said...

@LitDoc: I think PG knows why UNITE is two things becoming one, she just wondered what about that deserved a question mark, as it doesn't seem especially punny or tricksey.

As for myself, was I supposed to know there was a pig called Petunia?

lit.doc said...

@Joon, thanks for the koan. A real treasure.

lit.doc said...

@Sandy, I see what you mean. Shoulda seen that. Thanks.

hazel said...

My post evaporated! Thank you, @Rube. I was wondering where I'd seen Red Cloud before - was torn between Little Big Man and Shadow Catcher (awesome novel by Marianne Wiggins), which loosely imagines the life of Edward Curtis - who I believe has photographed Red Cloud.

Anyway, I was a big fan of the puz - giving it a solid tut tut tut.

cool koan, joon.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain how "Perry creator" is ERLE? What does that mean?

Orange said...

Erle Stanley Gardner wrote the Perry Mason stories. The other ERLE we see sometimes in crosswords is ERLE Halliburton, founder of the military contractor.

Seadenizen said...

Isn't 46D an false clue? Ertes was Tirtoff's pseudonym. I've recently discovered this site and enjoy the strange and mysterious ways of people's minds.

lit.doc said...

@Seadenizen, welcome! I think the sense of 46D is that an artist's works are often referred to in the plural as things in themselves. RDT's paintings, signed "Erte", would thus be ref'd as "Ertes--plural noun, not possessive.

Anonymous said...

I do enjoy the variety of your comments. I knew Inigo Jones, but wondered why there was a picture of that handsome dark-haired man I sort of remembered from a movie. Turned out it was Mandy Patinkin who was Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride. Every day I learn something new, frequently from you-all.


The clue for UNITE,"Make one of two", is indeed very very tricky... think about it.

Tinbeni said...

First off, I was expecting some photos of Grand TETON National Park.

Secondly, did it really get to 67 in Chicago today?
Here in Dunedin it only hit 65, a bit overcast.

Finally, re: the clue for 37A, "Make one of two?" (UNITE) I can not see anything that "is indeed very very tricky" ... I thought about it.
In days gone by, as a Tax Accountant, I knew some things that could turn a two into a one.

WFH, no longer a Lady?
Did the dogs get to you?

lit.doc said...

@Tinbeni, WTF is "WFH"?

Sfingi said...

@John - you can donate them to various orgs., especially military.

@Joon- OMG In the late '60s I worked on the PDP-9 in MACRO-9 at the late great Grifiss AFB. The 9 was to be used only by the military out of trucks in (gulp) Cambodia, where we officially weren't. I should watch that movie sometime.

@CrazyCat- Inigo Jones should have made it to your class, since he brought the Renaissance to Britain. I like his interiors best, as his exteriors are rather flat. His theater sets are interesting.

I'm a lonely little petunia in an onion patch...a song from ...Bambi?

Tinbeni said...

WFH-What F**k*** Happened?

But I was addressing a "Lady"
What I meant to type was WTH ... heck being the last word.

LOL, you can ask me WTF anytime.


It got to 75 degrees where I live today... I just love when I can make Floridians jealous.

It's been a while since I hiked in the Grand TETON National Park, so none of my photos back then were in digital form, ergo no online stuff. But now that you mention it, I thought I'd comment on that word, TETON:
Although it's pretty controversial, the name "Grand Teton" is said to mean "large teat" in French. Supposedly it was so named by a French-Canadian member of the McKenzie expedition (the North West Company). Cute story, but my theory is that it was just named after the Teton-Sioux tribe of Native Americans in that area.

Re: UNITE ("Make one of two?"), I'm sure that Rex can explain that pun very well.

All I remember about OVID (Publius Ovidus Naso) was that he wrote some pretty raunchy poetry. They would probably even make CHER blush.

CrazyCat said...

@Tinbeni and @Lit.doc LOL WTF, WTH, WFT, HTW I guess I've been having an identity crisis, of late, and decided to go with a "nick name." Still a lady I think. Sort of like @Sfingi on that subject.

@Sfingi I took Ancient Architecture, Midieval Architecture, Rennaisance Architecture, General History of Architecture and Modern Architecture which included a school from today's NYT puzzle. Never came across that INIGO Jones fellow. I think most artists that are included in CWs are based on the vowels in their name and not on their notoriety. On the other hand I might have been sleeping in class that day. That is a distinct possibility. I haven't yet been to London other than Heathrow - Ugh. It's on my bucket list.

Tinbeni said...

You must live in the warmest part of Chicago. The weather channel indicated a cooler temp.
Tampa was 68, but I live near the water, nice breeze, very high wispy clouds ... or as I say, perfect.