TUESDAY, April 20, 2010 — Kevin Christian

Theme: "Right on!" — Theme answers describe the word RIGHT in relation to other, related words.

Theme answers:
Some people really don't like the kind of theme where each theme answer is clued with the same word. I think the argument is that the theme answers themselves aren't always stand-alone phrases. I totally get that, but I still like those kinds of themes. And this puzzle puts a different twist on it which I think makes it even better. The theme answers aren't simply definitions of RIGHT, they're definitions that all kinda relate to each other. Not sure if I'm explaining myself well, but basically I'm saying I like it.

There was, however, a tad too much crosswordese for my liking. I mean, when you've got AIDA, ODIN, ADEN, and EDAM all hanging out together, that's just … too much of a good thing. Or something. Nothing else really jumped out at me. I was a big RHODA fan back in the day (26D: Valerie Harper role) and I like today's clue for KNEEL (67A: Prepare to be knighted) more than the typical marriage proposal clue. Other than that, I think HOBO is the sparkliest thing in the grid, and when you're looking at a HOBO for sparkliness, you've gotta kinda wonder.

Crosswordese 101: As we learn in today's clue, NEC is, indeed a 21D: Japanese information technology giant. According to Wikipedia, "The company used the name Nippon Electric Company, Limited before re-branding in 1983. It still goes by the full name in Japan." Clues for NEC will look like this: "IBM competitor," "Maker of many ATMs," "Japanese computer giant," and "Big name in computers."

Everything Else — 1A: Indian region known for its tea (ASSAM); 6A: Etta of old comics (KETT); 10A: Winery vessels (VATS); 14A: "The Lord of the Rings" hero (FRODO); 15A: Trendsetting (EDGY); 16A: Words after laugh or whoop (IT UP); 17A: Lisa of "The Cosby Show" (BONET); 18A: Popular depilatory (NAIR); 19A: Frozen breakfast brand (EGGO); 23A: Stephen of "The Crying Game" (REA); 24A: Charged particle (ION); 25A: Polar bear's domain (ARCTIC); 29A: Nonpaying train rider, perhaps (HOBO); 32A: Balloon-breaking sound (POP); 35A: Irritant "in your side" (THORN); 36A: Verdi's title princess (AIDA); 37A: Brett Favre's number (FOUR); 41A: Thor's father (ODIN); 42A: Mideast bigwig (EMIR); 43A: __, meenie ... (EENIE); 44A: Anatomical egg holder (SAC); 45A: Maxwell Smart's nemesis (KAOS); 46A: Make plump (FATTEN); 47A: That boat (SHE); 49A: Ending for refuse (-NIK); 58A: Comedian Roseanne (BARR); 59A: "One giant leap for mankind" site (MOON); 60A: Figure of speech (IDIOM); 62A: Colored part of the eye (IRIS); 63A: Feel concern (CARE); 64A: Chutzpah (NERVE); 65A: Use a keyboard (TYPE); 66A: Help badly? (ABET); 1D: Langley or Laughlin: Abbr. (AFB); 2D: Sellout signs (SROS); 3D: PlayStation maker (SONY); 4D: Yemen port (ADEN); 5D: Ramada, for one (MOTOR INN); 6D: Land of Obama's father (KENYA); 7D: Cheese in red wax (EDAM); 8D: "Yay, tomorrow's Saturday!" ("TGIF!"); 9D: Neophyte (TYRO); 10D: Mission __, California (VIEJO); 11D: How banks are usually robbed (AT GUNPOINT); 12D: Port pullers (TUGS); 13D: Dog in a primer (SPOT); 22D: Brazilian hot spot (RIO); 25D: One of the Musketeers (ATHOS); 27D: "FoxTrot" or "Dilbert" (COMIC STRIP); 28D: Suffix with cyclo or jumbo (TRON); 29D: Old sound systems (HI-FIS); 30D: Febreze target (ODOR); 31D: Ingot (BAR); 33D: Bellybutton type (OUTIE); 34D: Fuss over oneself (PREEN); 36D: Bullets and such (AMMO); 37D: Worry (FRET); 39D: Affirmative vote (YEA); 40D: Vulnerable spot in a chain (WEAK LINK); 45D: Barbie's guy (KEN); 46D: Christmas tree choice (FIR); 48D: Trigger, e.g. (HORSE); 49D: Three trios (NONET); 50D: More than 51-Down (A BIT); 51D: Not even 50-Down (NARY); 52D: Village People disco hit (YMCA); 53D: Ancient kingdom near the Dead Sea (MOAB); 54D: "Look out, golfers!" ("FORE!"); 55D: Snake-and-fruit story setting (EDEN); 56D: Blaze (FIRE); 57D: "Slithy" thing in "Jabberwocky" (TOVE); 61D: Filmmaker Gibson (MEL).



Speedy puzzle, but well done.
I must be on FIRE today, but really not, because that’s just an IDIOM. For me the hardest part of teaching English to my international students was dealing with American idioms. This IDIOM Dictionary comes in handy. Especially when trying to explain things like “a THORN in your side” or “a HORSE of a different color.”
Then the next most difficult thing about ESL are the HOMONYMS. Like trying to explain the difference between FOR, FORE and FOUR. Oiy!

Not sure I understand NIK as an ending for “refuse”.

Loved the clue for 29A, but in Illinois, us Seniors are “Nonpaying train riders”. Does that make me a HOBO?

I love the “Dilbert” COMIC STRIP, especially when it’s about TGIF.

One month from today, I’ll be in MOAB (Utah, that is).

Trying to decide on whether to have an EGGO or a POP Tart for breakfast. EENIE meenie …

Have a super Tuesday y’all!

Tinbeni said...

I would be very surprised if this was a THORN in the side of any of "the usual suspects."

No KAOS Tuesday. Not EDGY, anywhere.
A few weeks ago the NYT was a Jabberwocky puzzle, so the Slithy TOVE fell in place.
The EENIE/OUTIE cross got a grin. Don't know why, just liked their sounds.

My Avatar liked the BAR, BARR.

Sfingi said...

No, no...NONET.

I liked the theme, since it was about words; however didn't get it until had YMFOR on all three.

Did not know ASSAM as a tea place or NEC, or a jumboTRON.

We had an AFB in our county (Grifiss) and it's loss after 50 years was quite a blow.

Lots of good oldster stuff. Does anyone else have an early KLH system? Handsome wooden speakers and turntable. Great for HIFI. That's High Fidelity for the yung'uns.

I better hone up on my map of Yemen, since that's one of our newest groups in Utica. They seem to be getting in trouble the minute they hit town, unlike the Bosnians and Somalians. They have taken food stamps for cigarettes and "loosies" and selling booze to minors. Hope they catch on that laws are actually taken seriously.

@John - You're very funny today! You amuse me.
I had a text on idioms. It didn't hurt the homegrown inmates either. I've noticed some of their idioms bubble up to the rest of us, though some don't catch on. One that did was, "My bad."

Crockett1947 said...

JNH, I hope you have a grand time in one of the most beautiful places! Moab is a nice place to be as a base of operations for some gorgeous scenery!

CrazyCat said...

ASSAM was my only WEAK LINK. NAIR next to EGGO didn't pass the breakfast test. Overall easy Tuesday. Kids today are now referring to homeless people as HOBOs again.@Tinbeni You're right - No THORN.
@Sfingi Father in Law had a KLH with huge speakers to listen to his Glenn Miller.

hazel said...

Puzzle was whiz-bang for me, shattering my previous Tuesday time record. Still liked it - both the theme and the geographiness of the rest of the fill (ASSAM, MOAB, ARCTIC, ADEN, KENYA, VIEJO, EDEN(?), MOON).

But then, I got even MORE interested in PG's video imbed, Blue Oyster (umlaut over O) Cult - what a strange name for a band. Made me wonder. Why the umlaut and what's with a cult of blue oyster lovers.

From Wiki, I learned that the name "Blue Öyster Cult" came from a 1960s poem written by manager Sandy Pearlman. The band's first name in fact was "Soft White Underbelly", from a phrase used by Winston Churchill in describing Italy during World War II.

In Pearlman's poetry, though, the "Blue Oyster Cult" was a group of aliens who had assembled to secretly guide Earth's history.

The addition of the umlaut was either suggested (1) by Allen Lanier or (2) rock critic Richard Meltzer "because of the Wagnerian aspect of Metal."

So then it became a sort of metal fad - and a lot of other bands put umlauts in their name - e.g. Motörhead, Mötley Crüe, Queensrÿche, and the parody band Spın̈al Tap.

Forgot Spinal Tap's umlaut - funny.

Brad L. said...

As Humpty Dumpty explained to Alice, a TOVE is a combination of a badger, a lizard and a corkscrew. They are very curious looking creatures which make their nests under sundials and eat only cheese. Just thought you'd like to know.

gespenst said...

Loved the puzzle today!

I really liked the synonym/homonym/antonym triplet, and it was nice to fill in those long answers w/ just a few letters.

The other reason I liked it was some of the non-theme long answers, like COMICSTRIP, WEAKLINK, MOTORINN, ATGUNPOINT. I suppose I could make up a witty story using those phrases if I had any brainpower to spare today (still recovering from a virus which knocked me on my tuchus).

I agree, there's some CW101 ... but EDAM and AIDA and ODIN aren't so outworldly that they really bothered me.

I really thought this was the most fun puzzle in a while, just whimsical :)

mac said...

Nice puzzle, although a little high on the crosswordese. No problem with the theme, and planty of very interesting clues/answers.

Tuttle said...

TOVE makes me think of... well, to be honest, a late 70s Dutch porn starlet. (I am totally not responsible if you go beyond that bio page.)

Are banks usually robbed AT GUN POINT? I'd figure embezzlement and/or bank fraud would cause the greatest loss to the industry (aside from their own stupidity).

John, a refuseNIK was an eastern European or Russian citizen who was not allowed to emigrate out of the communist block. Usually because they were Jewish or politically untrustworthy. In English it's come to mean any protestor.

Rube said...

This one went down smoothly, quickly and with much pleasure. My only trouble was in the SW where I first had for 51D, None, then Nill, then gave up and got NARY by filling in all the crosses.

Checked out Etta KETT in Wikipedia. Never heard of her, but I'll bet that most of you ladies who are now of a "certian age" read her when you were teens.

I'm headed for Lake Powell in 1-1/2 weeks, which is not far from MOAB. I'd wave to you, @JNH, but you'll be too busy with all of the fantastic sights. They say the bass fishing at Powell is better then usual this year, and the water is up. I'll leave my bassmaster at home, but am still open for bass recipes.

SethG said...

PuzzleGirl, how dare you include ODIN on your list? You didn't even list SROS! And even if NAIR is the top selling depilatory, would it really be described as popular?

Right is also a homonym for RITE, and I had to think about what that extra letter would be.

Nice and fun use of a usually not fun theme.

JIMMIE said...

@Sfingi. I had a Harmon Kardon amp. Is that related to KLH. I still got my vynyl collection, and upload them into the ipod via the usb port, which is HD HIFI?

CrazyCat said...

@Seth G NAIR IMHO is disgusting. Give me one of those fancy razors any old day.

I think I have only seen, in my shortCW history, SRO. This was the first time I have encountered the plural SROS.

Though not particularly EDGY, I did find the theme amusing.

@Gespesnt: I hope you're feeling better and that everything's OK.


Ah yes, those wonderful days of HI-FIs!
Back in the late 1950's I invested in a HI-FI system consisting of: Harman Kardon Amp/Preamp/Tuner, J.B. Lansing Woofers and Tweeters, and an Electro Voice turntable. Later I built my own Stereo System with an EICO Reciever, Technics Audio Equalizer, Scott Speakers and a Benjamin/ELAC turntable.
I still use the Benjamin turntable for transcribing vinyl records onto CDs via USB. I guess I need to get with it and step into iPod technology.

gespenst said...

@CCL: thanks! I think I'm going to survive, but I'm still coughing up a lung each morning. It's tough being 7+ months pregnant and sick ...

Anonymous said...


NIK as an "ending for refuse" refers to the (once) Soviet term - REFUSENIK - for those denied permission to emigrate from the former USSR.

Now we use it for pretty much anyone who refuses to obey a rule in protest.

Hope that helps.