TUESDAY, May 25, 2010 — Jerome Gunderson

Theme: "Name Changes" — Theme answers are familiar phrases that end in words that can be men's names.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Robinson and Thomas? (BALLPARK FRANKS).
  • 37A: Owens and Henry? (COUPLE OF BUCKS).
  • 54A: Garfunkel and Tatum? (PERFORMING ARTS).
Like yesterday's puzzle, today's theme includes names. Also like yesterday's puzzle, today's grid only includes three theme answers. Unlike yesterday's puzzle, however, these theme answers rock. Turns out this theme has been done before (and with two of the same theme answers!), so points off for originality. But that didn't affect my solving experience because I don't remember doing that other puzzle. Quick story. About a hundred years ago, I worked at the B. Dalton on Fifth Avenue in New York. I worked at the service desk which, especially at this particular branch, was always a bustling place. There were usually three or four of us staffing the desk and there were always people waiting. Plus we answered the phone. It was nuts. So one day, I'm sitting at the desk answering the phone, looking up a title, and doing about six other things all at the same time and I hear this voice say "Could I get you to hold these books for me and I'll pick them up later?" So I hang up the phone, grab a piece of note paper, poise my pen, and respond, "Sure, what's your name?" as I look up at the customer. He gives me a funny smile and sort of whispers "Art Garfunkel." I say, "Of course it is." That's my favorite Brush With Greatness story. And, by the way, you know how sometimes you'll be hanging out with a group of friends and everybody starts telling their Brush With Greatness stories and when it's all said and done one person "wins"? Well, don't ever play that game with PuzzleSister unless you don't mind losing. Her story involves catching a ride with Paul Newman so, yeah, she pretty much wins every time.

Back to the puzzle!
  • 5A: Half a '60s pop group (MAMAS). Seems like an awful lot of music in today's puzzle and it really covers the spectrum, from The Mamas and the Papas to Jay-Z (43A: Jay-Z's genre (RAP)), to …
  • 15A: Dedicatee of Beethoven's "Bagatelle in A Minor" (ELISE). Of course you know this tune. You've heard it a million times. Every young person who has ever had a piano lesson knows this song. But have you ever heard it like this?

  • 27A: "Impossible!" ("NO WAY!"). I'm a fan of the colloquial phrases. See also 8D: "Yeah, right!" ("AS IF!"). Both of which are connected to 46D: Like lies (UNTRUE)!
  • 29A: Where the buffalo roam (LEA). I think LEA is more often clued in relation to sheep. I think of buffalos roaming the plain.
  • 40A: PBS science series (NOVA). Is there a science show called "Omni"? 'Cuz I always think "Omni" before "Nova."
  • 2D: Italian region known for its cheese (ASIAGO). Mmmmm, cheese.
  • 7D: Weasel cousins (MINKS). I was also once with a group of friends trying to determine who had worked at the worst job. One of the girls had worked (for, like, a day) at a place where it was her job to cut off the little paws of minks. Eww.
  • 13D: Wrestling surface (MAT). Mmmmm, wrestling.
  • 37D: Bargain for reduced charges (COP A PLEA). This looked all kindsa wrong in the grid until every single letter was there.
Crosswordese 101: IPANA is a "classic toothpaste brand" that was once pitched by an animated beaver named Bucky, who sang a song that went "Brusha, brusha, brusha." You might remember it from the sleepover scene in "Grease." (Which, by the way … I saw that movie like 12 times in the theater when it first came out. Loved. It. I look back on it now and think "What a great message to send to teenage girls! If you can't keep your guy's attention because you're too much of a goody-goody, get yourself all slutted up at the carnival and — bam! — problem solved!") Anyway. IPANA, with its VCVCV pattern is definitely Crossword Gold (tm Rex Parker).

Everything Else — 1A: Indiana senator Evan (BAYH); 10A: News article (ITEM); 14A: Start of a crystal ball user's prediction (I SEE); 16A: Haydn sobriquet (PAPA); 17A: __ monster: lizard (GILA); 18A: Patty Hearst's SLA alias (TANIA); 19A: Landed (ALIT); 23A: Sense of self (EGO); 24A: Poor offering (ALMS); 25A: Skewered fare (KABOB); 31A: Fruity refreshment (ADE); 32A: Argue (QUARREL); 36A: Passed with flying colors (ACED); 41A: Most corpulent (FATTEST); 42A: Do an impression of (APE); 44A: Point of contention (ISSUE); 48A: City of Light, to Cole Porter (PAREE); 50A: Memphis middle name (ARON); 53A: Cease (END); 58A: Lively style (ELAN); 59A: Sylvan setting (WOODS); 60A: Muddy area (MIRE); 61A: Legendary Asian beast (YETI); 62A: Sweden neighbor, to a Swede (NORGE); 63A: Heavy hammer (MAUL); 64A: Let up (EASE); 65A: Marksman's game (SKEET); 66A: Corrida encouragements (OLÉS); 1D: Nickname of London's Great Bell (BIG BEN); 3D: Brick road color (YELLOW); 4D: Cure (HEAL); 5D: Heavy rock? (METAL); 6D: Frighten (ALARM); 9D: Char (SEAR); 10D: Bucky Beaver's toothpaste (IPANA); 11D: Sass, with "to" (TALK BACK); 12D: 45-Down parts (EPISODES); 21D: Settle a debt (PAY UP); 22D: Wanted poster letters (AKA); 26D: Garden plot (BED); 28D: Color similar to robin egg blue (AQUA); 29D: Baseball field? (LEFT); 30D: Hamburg's river (ELBE); 33D: A, in communications (ALFA); 34D: Gather (REAP); 35D: Balderdash (ROT); 36D: Play segments (ACTS); 38D: Pigs out (OVEREATS); 39D: Taking advantage of (USING); 40D: Doze (NAP); 43D: Court arbiter (REF); 45D: Story published in installments (SERIAL); 47D: Ford failures (EDSELS); 49D: Ford from Tennessee (ERNIE); 50D: Luigi's love (AMORE); 51D: Mountain feature (RIDGE); 52D: Start (ONSET); 55D: Holds the deed to (OWNS); 56D: Rank-and-file chess piece (ROOK); 57D: Firearm filler (AMMO); 58D: CBS symbol (EYE).


Sfingi said...

I wasn't doing puzzles in 2002, so, like my cars, it's new for me.

Had "pawn" before ROOK, "scare" for ALARM.

ROOK reminds me how many names there are for genus corvus: Magpie, jackdaw, crow, raven. The blackbird is turdus! or thrush, I've been told. All very smart. The beautiful little redwing blackbird is a sign that we're near a marsh.

OVEREATS makes one FATTEST. I oughta know.

I have a black eye from my fall yesterday. Speaking of colors and birds, I disagree that robin's egg blue is AQUA. These things are subtle. The sky in Upstate NY is paler than that in CA.

NORGE. From postage stamps. Remember the washer from the '50s?

Captcha - palber - a pallbearer in Baltimore?

Crockett1947 said...

PuzzleGirl, looks like the software is messing up -- there are two postings of the blog for today!

Nice puzzle, and equally nice write up.

Captcha: wedinmi (wedding in Michigan?)

gespenst said...

Loved it :) Great theme! And, @Sfingi, it was new to me too :)

After I ran through the acrosses in the bottom half of the puzzle, I looked at the downs to see if I could get any w/o looking at the clue. I had _OP__LEA and guess COP A PLEA, then looked at the clue ... lo and behold, it fit :)

Had no idea that the ever-familiar Fuer Elise was actually "Bagatelle in A Minor" but it fit and was, in the end, correct. Cool :)

Enjoyed the puzzle a lot, even though it was easy/Tuesday appropriate.

Tinbeni said...

@Puzzlegirl I like your style and aside story.

The themes were good, three seemed sparse.
Yesterday NYT led to a CheeseBurger lunch. Today I think I'll have some BALLPARK FRANKS.

ELISE I only know through crosswords but I entered it knowingly.
Liked seeing the PAPA showing up with the MAMAS.
YELLOW brick road is the one I like to follow.
ROOK was clever since they move on the "Rank & File" (Up & Down and Sideways/Across).

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie ... ALFA though is how it sounds.
EDSELS plural seemed a stretch.

Nothing new or learned but a FUN Tuesday.

*David* said...

You're talking to an LA crowd here so brushes with greatness happen all the time. This isn't Kansas, you know!

Margaret said...

Loved the Fur Elise video!!! Thanks.

lit.doc said...

Terrific write-up, enjoyable theme, solid fill, and a funny moment.

A quick run across N gave me enough downs to fill in BALLPARK FRANKS. Then I read the clue and, not knowing who these guys were, thought "What, they plump right up?"

@PuzzleGirl, I had the same reaction when I first saw Grease on stage in the '70s.

C said...

Fun puzzle today. I recall the previous puzzle with the similar theme but I'll give the current puzzle a break and say the statute of limitations has run out.

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time at Sears Point Raceway. Plenty of "brushes with greatness" with Paul Newman though if he had given me a ride in his race car around the track, I could give Puzzlesister a run for her money ;^) He actually kept to himself at the track, he would get out of his trailer into a golf cart, ride to his car, get in his car then race. After the race, get out of his car into a cart and back to his trailer. Bruce Jenner was much more personable until he wrecked his car ...

chefbea said...

And another music answer - Papa Haydn. So we have both - Mamma's and Papa.

Rex Parker said...

Only a small percentage of our readers are from the L.A. area. L.A. Times is very, very widely syndicated.

Rex Parker said...

The puzzle, that is.

CrazyCat said...

New theme for me too, so I enjoyed it. Like PG I had a hard time envisioning Bison on a LEA. They belong on the range. Lots of food today - BALLPARK FRANKS, ASIAGO and KABOB along with FATTEST and OVEREATS. Personally I like Dodger dogs. Misread 65A Marksman's game as Maskedman's game so when I got SKEET through the crosses, I had a vision of men in blindfolds trying to shoot clay pigeons. That could be dangerous.

My brush with kinda sorta fame - sharing a few rounds of Wild Turkey with Tom Rush and his roadie - more than a hundred years ago.
@Sfingi - sorry to hear about your fall. Hope you're okay.
@PG Great write up!

mac said...

Fine puzzle and great write-up! Brushes with greatness? Wouldn't know where to begin.....! ;-)

@Sfingi: did you put a piece of raw steak on the shiner? Hope you are ok.

backbiter said...

I had fun with this one today. Theme answers were cool. However, no where near as cool as the write up with the most awesome vid ever posted to this blog. That Fur Elise Funk kicked some major butt! I have never favorited a youtube video in my life. Until now, thank you very much :)

Sfingi said...

@MacCrazyCat - just ice (I don't like steak). Thanx for asking. I had to present another JRNROTC award. The ceremony was > 2 hours, and it's very hot today. So, I looked silly.

The most famous person I remember meeting was F. Lee Baily who defended Patty "TANIA" Hearst. He's short. Also knew a "famous" porn family, originally from Rochester, Chuck and Rob Zicari, aka Zane before they moved to L.A. On the other hand, there's the ancestors, whom I feel like I know.

Alex said...

I think a lot of people have similar Paul Newman stories -- I don't think he ever passed a hitchhiker without picking him/her up. Seems like he was genuinely a nice guy.

I live in L.A. so I've seen a few famous people ... but your Art Garfunkel story is pretty good, PG.