TUESDAY, April 27, 2010 — Pete Muller and Sue Keefer

Theme: Rhyme Time — Theme answers are familiar two-part phrases where the two parts rhyme.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Blondness (FAIR HAIR).
  • 22A: There may not be one "in the house" during a tearjerker (DRY EYE).
  • 32A: Cat's pajamas (BEE'S KNEES).
  • 37A: Like some stockings (THIGH-HIGH).
  • 47A: Captain Ahab feature (PEG LEG).
  • 50A: Fan of Jerry Garcia's band (DEADHEAD).
  • 3D: Flight of scientists to another nation, e.g. (BRAIN DRAIN).
  • 27D: "The original gourmet" candy bean (JELLY BELLY).
I really, really enjoyed this puzzle … up until the very last box I filled in. But I'll get to that later. For now, let's just talk about all the awesomeness. The theme is fun. All kinds of different lengths, acrosses and downs, encompassing old-timey phrases, pirates, the Grateful Dead and hosiery — what's not to love?

Lots of snappy fill including the colloquial POP IN, "I'M EASY" and "NO RUSH" (9A: Stop by unexpectedly / 5D: "No argument from me" / 33D: "You can get it to me later").

Rex mentioned the K-CAR (7D: 1980s Chrysler product) over at his blog this weekend: "If a car is going to be named after a letter, that is the letter to name it after, I say." Agreed! And finally, I love seeing PET ROCK in the grid (9D: Faddish '70s toy that came in a box with air holes), but it sure does make you think about how gullible we all were back then. Kids these days still have those dumb "pets" but now they're electronic. Does that make it better or worse? I'm really not sure.

So, okay. The one box I didn't like? That would be the W in WHANG (35D: Cymbal sound). WHANG? Really? CHING maybe. CLANG okay. WHANG? Not so much. Go ahead and explain to me in the comments why it's totally acceptable, it's in a dictionary, anybody who knows anything about music, blah, blah, blah. It just sounds wrong to me and I don't like it. Also, I wasn't completely sure of 35D: Houdini's family name (WEISS). Of course, W seems like the most likely letter there, but with a name it could be almost anything. The good news, though, is that the puzzle totally redeemed itself in a very tricky way that I completely love. Did you notice that both constructors' names are in the grid? Yes they are! Nice job, Pete and Sue! (47D: Tennis's Sampras (PETE); 52A: "What are you gonna do about it?!" ("SUE ME!").)

Everything Else — 1A: Subway alternative (CAB); 4A: Floppy storage media (DISKS); 15A: Apples since 1998 (IMACS); 16A: Ivory neighbor? (EBONY); 17A: "Michael Collins" org. (IRA); 18A: Honda Accord, for one (SEDAN); 19A: Has a proclivity (to) (TENDS); 23A: Neural impulse junction (SYNAPSE); 24A: Big hairdos, for short (FROS); 25A: Cart for heavy loads (DRAY); 26A: Coalition (BLOC); 27A: Boeing product (JET); 30A: County on San Francisco Bay (MARIN); 34A: "__ See for Miles": The Who hit (I CAN); 35A: Houdini's family name (WEISS); 40A: Word with Big or top (TEN); 41A: "Great" dog (DANE); 42A: "It's __!": bargain hunter's words (A BUY); 43A: Coffee holders (URNS); 44A: "Flying" toy (FRISBEE); 51A: Author Jong (ERICA); 53A: Shirt size: Abbr. (LGE.); 54A: Laid vinyl on, as a floor (TILED); 55A: Speak off the cuff (AD LIB); 56A: Quarterback Dawson (LEN); 57A: Ingress (ENTRY); 58A: Befitting a slob (MESSY); 59A: Soph and jr. (YRS.); 1D: Elaborate dos (COIFS); 2D: Striking spread (ARRAY); 4D: Old-style kitchen washing receptacle (DISHPAN); 6D: __ Hawkins Day (SADIE); 8D: Tax form ID (SSN); 10D: Does as told (OBEYS); 11D: Fried Dixie bread (PONE); 12D: __ 500 (INDY); 13D: Big Board letters (NYSE); 21D: __ to go: psyched (RARING); 22D: Metallic refuse (DROSS); 24D: Shylock's pound (FLESH); 26D: Light brown (BEIGE); 28D: Very wide, shoewise (EEEE); 29D: General __ chicken: Chinese dish (TSO'S); 30D: Catcher's glove (MITT); 31D: Throb (ACHE); 32D: Some '60s war protests (BE-INS); 35D: Cymbal sound (WHANG); 38D: Like many large-screen TVs (HD READY); 39D: Follow, as rules (ABIDE BY); 42D: A Musketeer (ARAMIS); 43D: Stomach woe (ULCER); 44D: Senses (FEELS); 45D: Ready for action (EAGER); 46D: Paradises (EDENS); 48D: Common name for an Irish lass (ERIN); 49D: Gold-plated (GILT); 50D: Bro (DUDE); 52D: Uncle on a poster (SAM).


ken r said...

brain drain?

Orange said...

Brain drain: "Human capital flight (or 'brain drain') is the large-scale emigration of individuals with technical skills or knowledge; it is normally due to conflict, lack of opportunity, political instability, or health risks. Brain drain is usually regarded as an economic cost, since emigrants usually take with them the fraction of value of their training sponsored by the government."

Sandy said...

I left the "w" square blank because I had to get to work and didn't have time to sit and wonder what it could possibly be. So I'm with you on that, PG.

I got HD, then sat and waited for crosses. HD Ready? It isn't a phrase that comes readily to me. Maybe because our household is HD un-ready and I'm just out of the loop.

"A Buy" ?? I guess I just wasn't on this puzzle's wavelength.

Sfingi said...

Easy and cute.

@Puzzle Girl - WHANG brings the kilt question to mind. You know, the one with the Scottish tune to go with it. I won't ask it, but, first I was shocked that it was in a proper cw puzzle. Then I said, "Well, maybe it's an oldster thing, so I won't mention it."

SADIE Hawkins Day, the day the girls ask the boys out, is an oldster thing from the Al Capp 'toon. I sure hope they bring back his material. At the end of his career, he had a cloud over his head that may be hard to ignore these days. I still have a Shmoo.

I knew 2 out of 3 sports names, and LEN appeared on crosses.

Crockett1947 said...

PG, I'm with you on WHANG. Just doesn't work for me.

Have a great Tuesday!

Really, really sad guy said...

@Crocket1947 - My whang doesn't work for me either.

Tinbeni said...

Agree on the "Dubya" but I knew Houdini's name was WEISS.

WHANG, the dictionary says it is (1) a thong or whip of hide or leather (2) the sound of knocking in an engine or bearing. Maybe that's it.

Liked the 8 themes.
Also, Shylock's pound (of) FLESH.
The 'BE INS' brought back some '60's memories.
Had General TSO'S chicken last night.
Probably all TV's are now HD READY, even if I'm not.

Thought it was timely that 4A, Floppy storage media, DISKS was in the puz. Yesterday, Sony announced they were discontinuing its production.

Don't know why, this just FEELS like a good puzzle with an ARRAY of good cluing.


Wow! A super fun puzzle to do. A theme with eight body parts along with their rhyming adjectives. Then laced with great funbun fill words everywhere. An ARRAY of words like, FRISBEE, SADIE Hawkins, PET ROCK, DUDE, PONE, WHANG, SUE ME, and POPIN just “GILT the lily”.
An oldie term that I was groping for yesterday (for Chen’s puzzle) was BEES KNEES, and it sure applies well to this Muller/Keefer puzzle today.

I use ARAMIS products for men (colognes, etc.) and I’ve often wondered where that name comes from… now I know.

Learned a new word: WEISS for Houdini’s real name.

I put in AFROS for 1D, then realized that aFROS appeared in 24A also. Knew that 1D had to be wrong. What did Rex call that situation?

I’m not exactly a DEADHEAD, but I do like Jerry Garcia. Especially with his acoustic guitar.

TEN (40A) is a “Word with Big or top”, but don’t forget Bo Derek!

A bit of irony by putting IMACS abutting floppy DISKS and Honda Accord SEDAN crossing Chrysler’s KCAR.

Can anyone tell me why the sound of a cymbal is WHANG and not CLANG?

How can we forget Al Capp and his great cartoon strip, L’il Abner when we see two of his things in this puzzle: SADIE Hawkins Day and Jubilation T. CornPONE.
Hey RUBE !!!!

RARING to go this morning to Mother’s Diner with the guys. Think I’ll have their Artichoke, Sun-dried Tomato & Saganaki Frittata. OPA!!!!


I'll stick with CLANG for cymbals. After all, the Bible says "if we have not love, we have become like a CLANGing cymbal." I've never heard anyone refer to the sound of a cymbal as WHANG.

I'm a huge fan of L'il Abner and seeing the skeletal structure of a Shmoo just had me LOL.

@Ken r
After WWII, there was a huge BRAIN DRAIN from Nazi Germany. It's how we got Wernher von Braun, the greatest rocket scientist of all time. If it wasn't for him, the U.S. probably would'nt be the leaders in space exploration.
See Wikipedia:

*David* said...

HD READY next to WHANG was too much odd fill next to each other. Putting in very wide foot with EEEE is a compromise that I don't like to see.

The puzzle has a shape not usually seen allowing for two rows on top and bottom with five letter fill each. The compromise is the three letter fill next to it.

lit.doc said...

When I checked that damned 35 square, my initial reaction was “WHANG my ass!”

Obviously not a felicitous phrase, so I’ll just concur with @Puzzle Girl and others that, while WEISS makes a little more word-form sense than CEISS, CHANG makes waaay more sense than does WHANG. I’m guessing maybe that spot was an act of desperation by the constructors.

@Sandy, me too re HD-READY. It’s an HD TV or it isn’t. The broadcast signal could, until recently, be analog, so we wanted our TVs to be digital-ready.

Van55 said...

SSN and EEEE get minus points. The rest is pretty damned good for a Tuesday, in my opinion. Loved the density of the theme answers. [Re]learned WEISS. COIFS and FROS in the same grid are nice.

Stefania said...

I didn't have any other fill in yet, was skimming thru the clues and immediately did the Rimshot sound at the end of a bad joke for Cymbal Sound. Ba-Dum-Dum-Tsssh.

Ended up with Whang after looking up Houdinins name, that was only clue I wasn't able to get today.

shrub5 said...

@JNH: Good catch on noticing each rhyming pair contained a body part.

Another hand up for thinking WHANG was not right for a cymbal sound.

I live not too far from the Jelly Belly factory. It's a fun place to tour and you can fill up on "belly flops" (jelly beans culled out because they are not perfect.)

Very enjoyable puzzle with a retro feel.


To continue my WHANG harangue---
Merriam Webster says:
Pronunciation: \ˈhwaŋ, ˈwaŋ\
Function: noun
Etymology: alteration of Middle English thong, thwang
Date: 1536
1 dialect a : thong b : rawhide
2 British : a large piece : chunk
3 often vulgar : penis

Where does it say anything about a cymbal sound?

This comment has been removed by the author.
Zeke said...

@JNH It's mentioned thusly:

Main Entry: 3 whang
Function: noun
Etymology: imitative
Date: circa 1824
: a loud sharp vibrant or resonant sound

at Merriam Webster (Aren't I a polite commentor Orange?) You have to scroll through the many main entries to find it at this site.

"In the dictionary = valid" aside, this entry, oh hell, I can't think of any polite term. It's bad.

Tinbeni said...

I would say the eight themes were "body THINGS" ... fairHAIR is something you can "part" but if you lose it all you end up with is more head.

WHANG, the second definition from the dictionary I had earlier in my first comment.
"(2) the sound of knocking in an engine or bearing."
Though if I remember that was more like: ping, ping, ping ...

Like @PuzzleGirl said in the write-up, and mentioned a lot here, that WHANG was the WTF moment in a really good Tuesday puzzle.

Tuttle said...

I don't mind a car having a K for the name, but it dang well better immediately follow an X. The K-Car wanted to be an Accord so bad it hurt. But it just wasn't. Accords, BTW, are available as coupes and sedans.

Even though it's right above a clue for one of my favorite Who songs, my music link for today is more about Marin County.

It's how we got Wernher von Braun, the greatest rocket scientist of all time.

Warner Von Braun aimed for the stars... and often hit London.

I'm not sure if I'd call Operation Paperclip a 'BRAINDRAIN' so much as a brain-grab.

Rube said...

Whang! Really?

Confidently put Highdef for 38D and ended up for the second time today with a MESSY Tuesday puzzle. Maybe I should go back to the 0.9mm Pentel.

Thought the "Michael Collins" clue was a bit esoteric for Tuesday and that it should have had a possesive apostrophy.

I once tried to put a recurring date for SADIE Hawkins Day into my calendar. Can't be done without some programming. (It's the Saturday that follows November 9th.)

I think of laying vinyl as "unrolling" it. Well, vinyl can come in squares, so OK.

Enjoyable puzzle for a rainy, blustery morning in MARIN county.

imsdave said...

That is some fine construction - I love how two sets of three of the theme answers intersect. Brilliant.

The funny thing is, a guy at work just got back from Martha's Vineyard today and told me about a funny T-shirt he'd seen. It was an outline of Florida with the caption - Florida, the wang of the United States.

Sorry all, but I thought it was too funny not to share.

Al Capp said...

TO Rube and his Li'l Abner

In Li'l Abner, Sadie Hawkins was the daughter of one of Dogpatch's earliest settlers, Hekzebiah Hawkins. The "homeliest gal in all them hills", she grew frantic waiting for suitors to come a-courtin'.
When she reached the age of 35, still a spinster, her father was even more frantic - about Sadie living at home for the rest of his life. In desperation, he called together all the unmarried men of Dogpatch and declared it "Sadie Hawkins Day". Specifically, a foot race was decreed, with Sadie in hot pursuit of the town's eligible bachelors - and matrimony as the consequence.

"When ah fires [my gun], all o' yo' kin start a-runnin! When ah fires agin - after givin' yo' a fair start - Sadie starts a runnin'. Th' one she ketches'll be her husbin." The town spinsters decided that this was such a good idea, they made Sadie Hawkins Day a mandatory yearly event, much to the chagrin of Dogpatch bachelors.

In the satirical spirit that drove the strip, many sequences revolved around the dreaded Sadie Hawkins Day race. If a woman caught a bachelor and dragged him, kicking and screaming, across the finish line before sundown - he had to marry her!

Sadie Hawkins Day was first mentioned in the November 13, 1937 Li'l Abner daily strip, with the race actually taking place between November 19th and November 30th in the continuity. It would prove to be a popular annual feature in Li'l Abner, and a cultural phenomenon outside the strip.

Also: Leap year, February 29 for the day "allowing" women to propose marriage," which has also become unofficially known as Sadie Hawkins Day.

C said...

Very good puzzle, even with WHANG (srsly?) in which the W was my last letter entered as well. I got your back on this one, @PG.

HDREADY was pretty standard TV lingo 3-4 years ago but, now, not so much since almost all new TV's are HDREADY. A bit redundant now.


I hate to correct Al Capp himself, but if you look at the original Li'l Abner cartoon that I posted, it mentions SADIE Hawkins Day on November 17. Also the published date of that cartoon was 1936.

Hey, yer atalkin' to Marryin' Sam rot here and i knows them thar shotgun dates.

CrazyCat said...

I guessed at WEISS and thus arrived at WHANG which made me feel slightly uncomfortable. It just sounds so wrong.

I spent the weekend in West MARIN. So beautiful with all the wild flowers ABLOOM. Really liked this puzzle. Nice level to get back into the swing of things. Fun theme too.
@JNH just got back from a breakfast
ARRAY of omelette bar, breakfast burritos (vegetarian or chorizo), warm bread pudding with crème anglaise, champagne with strawberries, fruit, pear/almond tart, pastries, URNs of coffee etc, etc, etc. No PONE though. I am swearing off food and drink starting tonight. Or maybe I'll just have cereal tomorrow. Today I feel like a JELLYBELLY.

Tinbeni said...

Thanks for the Fla. T-Shirt story.
I'm really laughing out loud !!!

I live in Pinellas County. It's that little peninsula about half way down, across from Tampa.
I have described it as the limp wang on the West Coast of Florida many times.

bluebell said...

We lived in England in the early 70's because during the 60's aerospace boom the English suffered a brain drain. In the bust at the end of the 60's English recruiters lured their engineers back home with promises of jobs. My husband, too, was able to get a job there, and we rode out the recession abroad.

Hands up for not liking whang. Who am I to disagree with Judy Garland, "Clang clang clang went the trolley."

Sfingi said...

@Al,Rube and John - Might Sadie Hawkins be a moon-based holiday? After all, the drug-of-choice was moonshine.

We have benefited from BRAINDRAIN from much of the Middle East and Africa as well, since we haven't paid to send our own HS grads to become general practitioners or some of the less elegant or remunerative medical specialties. The foreigners often say they want to return and help their people, but can you blame them if they don't?

Orange said...

The first dictionary I checked online for WHANG was at <a href="http://www.answers.com/topic/whangÆ>answers.com</a>—it's "a loud, reverberant noise" or the verb relating to making such a sound. (Plus the standard whips-and-penis meanings seen in other dictionaries).

I am abashed to note that I didn't pick up on the body-part aspect of the theme. That makes it much cooler!

chefwen said...

@really,really sad guy - I'm still laughing!

Puzzle was great but my W remained unfilled in also. Didn't feel like googling Houdini.

shrub5 said...

@Tinbeni and @imsdave: I will never look at a map of Florida the same again.....

Anonymous said...


I sit one block from the Jelly Belly factory here at work (shhh!). And we regularly get tourist coming to our building looking for the JB tours.

- - Robert

Sfingi said...

When Hubster was in the service, he had a "health" class which featured a picture of a P-S with chancres on it, and the instructor pointed to it and said, "Now, this is a WHANG. So, if you catch something, it used to be 'Line of Duty - No.' Now it's "line of Duty - Yes."
You could still get an Article 15 for getting a sunburn - Damaging Army Property.

@John - An acoustic guitar used to be called "A Guitar." A chapter book used to be called "A Book." Snail mail used to be called "Mail." These common things used to be the primary item. Now they need a modifier.

Orange said...

@Sfingi, check out Wikipedia's list of retronyms, such as cloth diaper and bar soap.

raidodaze said...

When I went to high school, If you had a WANG on your desk you were in big trouble. In later years it was a brand of computer.

mac said...

I was going to ask raidodaze, but I'm afraid to.