WEDNESDAY, March 17, 2010—Mike Peluso

THEME: "Foreplay"—The last word of the five starred answers can follow FORE.

Theme entries:
  • 17A: *"Unbelievable!" ("OUTTA SIGHT!"). Retro slanginess! Foresight is the resulting thematic word.
  • 25A: *Knitting aid, in a way (PLASTER CAST). You wear a cast to immobilize a fracture while the bones knit themselves back together. The cast in a forecast is entirely different in meaning.
  • 37A: *Office component (MICROSOFT WORD). My favorite new Word toy is changing the case with shift-F3 when editing a manuscript. Not a new feature, but one I only learned a few months ago. The foreword appears at the beginning of a book and is decidedly not a "forward."
  • 52A: *Legendary archer (WILLIAM TELL). Foretell. You like Rossini's "William Tell Overture" even when it's removed from a "Lone Ranger" setting, don't you?
  • 61A: *Cartoon beeper (ROAD RUNNER). Meep-meep! Forerunner.
  • 71A: Links warning, and a prefix with the second word of the answers to starred clues (FORE). Speaking of the links and golf, I hear Tiger Woods will play the Masters in April. We'll see if he still has that preternatural ability to focus on his game.

With 19 non-theme answers of 6 to 8 letters, this is a meaty puzzle. I especially like those corners with 4x6 blocks of fill intersecting theme entries.

All right, I didn't get to this puzzle as early as I'd hoped to, so let's get right to the rest of the fill:
  • 10A: Part of C.W. Post: Abbr. (INIT.). Were you worried we were being quizzed on what the C. and W. are short for? Thankfully not.
  • 14A: BCS org. (NCAA). Hey, we've moved on from college football, people. It's time for March Madness! The big basketball tournament starts tomorrow, so if you haven't filled out your bracket yet, get cracking!
  • 20A: What you can't have success without? (ESSES). As in "multiples of the letter S."
  • 43A: Like angry bees (ASWARM). I want each of you to use this word in conversation today. I plan to apply the word to the hordes of schoolchildren leaving the building after school tomorrow. Seriously, there are about 1,500 students at my son's school. SWARMS OF CHILDREN, people. SWARMS.
  • 45A: Highway with a terminus at Dawson Creek, British Columbia (ALCAN). Dawson's Creek took place in the Carolinas.
  • 58A: Japanese-American (NISEI). Nisei refers to one born in North America to parents who immigrated from Japan. Issei is an immigrant from Japan. Sansei (now, I've never seen this one in a crossword) is someone born here with grandparents who immigrated. When I see a clue like this, I fill in **SEI and wait for the crossings to tell me if I need NISEI or ISSEI.
  • 60A: Almond __: crunchy candy (ROCA). Yum! I love Almond Roca. NYT constructor Matt Ginsberg's wife sometimes makes a big batch of roca before the ACPT, and I can't get enough of it. (Literally. Matt shares it with so many people that I only get a little bit.) Crunchy toffee coated with chocolate, plus almonds? That's a winner right there.
  • 3D: Wakeboard relative (WATERSKI). Cool answer, that.
  • 29D: Cold War agcy. (AEC). That's the Atomic Energy Commission, I believe. Superseded by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Crosswordese 101:—I had one French 3-letter word picked out for XW101, and then another leapt out at me. Quick two-fer: MER (23A: La Méditerranée, e.g.) and ECU (2D: Old French coin). ECU is most often clued exactly this way, but it's got another currency meaning: the erstwhile European currency unit abbreviated as ECU, which preceded the euro. MER is French for "sea," and you'll see a lot of fill-in-the-blank clues like Mal de ___ (seasickness) and Debussy's "La ___."

Everything Else — 1A: Repairs with thread (SEWS); 5A: Burning (AFIRE); 10A: Part of C.W. Post: Abbr. (INIT.); 14A: BCS org. (NCAA); 15A: Tot watchers' nicknames (NANAS); 16A: Muscle quality (TONE); 17A: *"Unbelievable!" ("OUTTA SIGHT!"); 19A: Radio toggle switch (AM/FM); 20A: What you can't have success without? (ESSES); 21A: Abate (EASE UP); 23A: La Méditerranée, e.g. (MER); 25A: *Knitting aid, in a way (PLASTER CAST); 28A: "Born Free" lioness (ELSA); 30A: Record book (LOG); 31A: Evaluates (RATES); 32A: Adopt, as a stray (TAKE IN); 35A: Cosmetic surgery, for short (LIPO); 37A: *Office component (MICROSOFT WORD); 42A: R.E.M.'s "The __ Love" (ONE I); 43A: Like angry bees (ASWARM); 45A: Highway with a terminus at Dawson Creek, British Columbia (ALCAN); 49A: Night sch. course (ESL); 51A: Give off (EMIT); 52A: *Legendary archer (WILLIAM TELL); 56A: Évian, for one (SPA); 57A: Each (APIECE); 58A: Japanese-American (NISEI); 60A: Almond __: crunchy candy (ROCA); 61A: *Cartoon beeper (ROAD RUNNER); 66A: Reactions to no-brainers (DUHS); 67A: "Coffee __?" (OR TEA); 68A: Nevada neighbor (UTAH); 69A: Renege on a dele? (STET); 70A: Oracles (SEERS); 71A: Links warning, and a prefix with the second word of the answers to starred clues (FORE); 1D: __-Cat (SNO); 2D: Old French coin (ECU); 3D: Wakeboard relative (WATERSKI); 4D: Exams for srs. (SATS); 5D: Yosemite photographer Adams (ANSEL); 6D: '60s-'70s Saudi king (FAISAL); 7D: Having one sharp, musically (IN G); 8D: Cry of support (RAH); 9D: Competitor of Helena and Coco (ESTEE); 10D: Mississippi River source (ITASCA); 11D: Vegan's credo (NO MEAT); 12D: Add, as if by pouring (INFUSE); 13D: Plays the siren (TEMPTS); 18D: Cleopatra's undoing (ASP); 22D: Equipment for 52-Across (ARROWS); 23D: Came across (MET); 24D: Jack of Westerns (ELAM); 26D: Recital performer (SOLOIST); 27D: Pre-weekend "Phew!" ("TGIF!"); 29D: Cold War agcy. (AEC); 33D: Like some unexpected endings (IRONIC); 34D: Lille denial (NON); 36D: Home-school link: Abbr. (PTA); 38D: Appear to be (SEEM); 39D: Have debts (OWE); 40D: Collides with (RAMS INTO); 41D: Leak (DRIP); 44D: Beantown transit syst. (MTA); 45D: Oscars and such (AWARDS); 46D: Curl around the edge of the hole without going in, in golf (LIP OUT); 47D: Stale expression (CLICHE); 48D: Blue Jays' div. (AL EAST); 50D: Bank, often (LENDER); 53D: Houston hockey team (AEROS); 54D: Turkish money (LIRAS); 55D: Sch. with a Shreveport campus (LSU); 59D: Ample, slangily (ENUF); 62D: Pay dirt (ORE); 63D: Had (ATE); 64D: Auditory organ (EAR); 65D: Scoreboard letters (RHE).


Tinbeni said...

Was hoping for a St.Patrick Day puzzle, was thinking TGISPD, but that would be CLICHE.

I always search out the "theme reveal" clue first (its probably the reason I do a lot of puzzles from the bottom up) so once I yelled FORE the rest was a snap.

Though the grid had substantial 6 to 8 letter fills, 11D summed it up NO MEAT. I prefer Quality over Quantity.

Favorite answer? DUH !!! (not a Simpson fan)

Orange I once heard that if you can listen to the WILLIAM TELL Overture and NOT think of the Lone Ranger you are "Highbrow" (or a snob).
Alas, I must be "Lowbrow" because my first thought is "Hi, Yo Silver, away!"

Anonymous said...

What is Almond Roca? I've never heard of it. Got the answer and knew it must be right, but am still puzzled. Is it homemade or bought in stores?

All "Nanas" are not tot watchers, sometimes grandmothers just visit. I wanted Nannies, not Nanas which I think applies to relatives - or the dog in Peter Pan

Orange said...

Almond Roca is a brand name, but some people who make such confections at home call it roca too.

Van55 said...

The theme left me cold today. It's not particularly clever or original and the starred answers are on the dull side.

Someone please tell me why RHE are scoreboard letters.

Humdrum puzzle today for my taste.

JN said...

Runs, Hits, Errors
and I don't have a sports gene in my body but I live with someone who does. It took me awhile to figure it out.

Curt Gowdy said...

R = Runs
H = Hits
E = Errors

Ray O'Leary said...

William Tell was not an archer (bowman); he used a crossbow. And nor did he use arrows; his weapons were bolts or quarrels.

C said...

Hmmm, I was expecting ASWARM of posts about this Wed. puzzle. No such luck, I guess, excusing my typo, this puzzle didn't leave people ASWARM as it left me.

Enjoy St. Patrick's day and thanks for a good writeup today Orange.

Tuttle said...

I totally wanted 1D to be SAB-cat.

CrazyCat said...

I agree with @Tinbeni. NON, the puzzle today didn't set me AFIRE. Not even a DRIP of ALE, RYE, PABST or any other booze and it's STPD. That SEEMs IRONIC. My WTH DUH moment was PLASTER CAST as a knitting aid. I understand now.

Read an column in the LAT on Saturday by Chris Erskine. It was about making a leprechaun trap with his six year old son. For bait they used Thin Mints and Jameson's Irish Whiskey. Sounds good to me.

*David* said...

This puzzle was old skool, I haven't seen NESEI in a long time. Add in old stalwarts AEC and ALCAN you'll be reaching for some ELEMI in no time.

Fore, Tiger is back hide your waitresses.

Anonymous said...

Fun puzzle easier than Tuesdays

chefbea said...

Finally did the LA times puzzle. Busy with our move, unpacking , organizing etc.

Easy puzzle but would have liked a St. Paddy's theme.
I'll have corned beef and cabbage with all the fixings at a local pub we found here in Wilmington.

JIMMIE said...

Happy St. Paddy's Day, Orange, although Orange is not the most liked name in Ireland.

Sfingi said...

@Tinbeni - I've heard that if you can sit an hour at a friend's kitchen table w/o looking at the National Enquirer, Star or Globe piled there, you are an American snob.

Got the theme and it's examples, but must add a few. Only because there were TOO MANY SPORTS CLUES. I won't go into them, but I didn't know any of 'em. And I'm no lady.

Clue - Religious drama

Clue - Washington football team

And just to be difficult for it's own sake:

Cue - Experimental London Orchestra

Clue: ___ on Route 66


It's after supper...I ate too much Corned Beef and Cabbage... I'm dozing off. THEN I COME TO SOME WOWEES!!!
Almond ROCA
Coffee OR TEA (nah! no tea)
A PIECE of pie.
ANSEL Adams (my hero).
Roadrunner BEEP BEEP!
So I started liking this puzzle and perked up.
And then I read the delightfully entertaining writeup by Orange.
I got such a kick out of reading @Sfingi's FORE____ suggestions.

I spent the FOREnoon out in the FOREst at The Morton Arboretum shooting the miniature tree collections, so I'm pooped.
As a result I had many DUHS in solving this puzzle, mostly in the center left.
Forgot an old favorite crosswordese, NISEI.

Whenever I see MTA used in a puzzle, I immediately think of the Kingston Trio---

Y'all have a very happy Saint Patty's Day and don't drink too much Guiness!


Oh and what I liked best of all was @Sfingi's Clue ___ on Route 66

RAH !!!!

Tinbeni said...

There's "Whiskey In the Jar-o" by Thin Lizzy playing in the background as I thumb through the National Enquirer.

Thin Mints & Jameson's Irish Whiskey on the table.
I'm catching that little leprechaun guy if Santa doesn't drop by on his Spring Break trip to Negril and steal it first.