WEDNESDAY, May 12, 2010—David W. Cromer

THEME: "What's Up Your Sleeve?"—Four clues for ACE become theme answers clued with [ACE].

This one took me 3:36, which means it was a little tougher than the typical mid-week L.A. Times crossword. Weirdly, at least one newspaper printed this puzzle on Tuesday. This sentence is also a non sequitur. That word looks weird. What else ends with -tur but is still an English word?

Theme entries:
  • 17a. This [ACE] means FLAWLESS SERVICE in tennis.
  • 28a. VENTURA IN FILMS refers to the Jim Carrey character Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.
  • 45a. BANDAGE ACRONYM—really?? I had no idea. I figured it was just a random brand name. The 3M website tells us ACE is short for "All Cotton Elastic," and that the ACE bandage has been around since 1914. One of my college roommates used ACE bandages a lot. She strapped her bosom down before heading to wrestling practice with the guys.
  • 59a. The ACE is one HALF OF BLACKJACK. The other half is a ten, jack, queen, or king.
Let's tiptoe through the grid, shall we?
  • 1a. [Pest control target] is a ROACH. Icky start to the puzzle!
  • 6a. [Get down the road?] is a tricky clue for PAVE. I don't like this repurposing of "get down." "Get down the road" means "go down the road." "Get the road down" could be loosely interpreted as "pave it by laying down the asphalt." We don't say "get down the ___" for putting anything down.
  • 10a. [Hired soldier, briefly] clues MERC, short for "mercenary." You know anyone who uses this abbreviation? Me neither. Or if they do use it, it's short for Mercury, the car make.
  • 22a. ["Gerontion" poet's monogram] is TSE, for T.S. Eliot. I majored in English but never heard of this poem. No matter—the top poet's monogram in crosswords is TSE. EAP (Edgar Allan Poe) was also a poet.
  • 36a. [Dried plum] is the government-authorized term for PRUNE now. People who were embarrassed to have prunes in their kitchen feel much better (and more regular) with their stash of respectable dried plums.

  • 52a. [Drink with a string in it, perhaps] clues TEA. My first thoughts were of cocktails and tampons.
  • 3d. [Phillips, e.g.: Abbr.] is an ACAD., an elite East Coast prep school. I learned all about it from The Preppy Handbook in the early '80s. I can't wait for the sequel, True Prep.
  • 25d. [They're often sensitive to allergens] clues SINUSES. Knock on wood—I have had allergies only once in my life, in London one May, and they responded to antihistamines.
  • 27d. ELEANOR [Rigby of song], a classic:

  • 44d. [Nocturnal noisemaker] is an OWL. No, wait, it's gotta be a SNORER. No, sorry. It's a CRICKET. I don't think of them as nocturnal, but that's probably a factor of living in a low-cricket urban area.
  • 49d. [Mirthful sounds]…HOOTS! No, wait, it's ZZZZZ. No, of course they're HA HAS. We're no longer nocturnal.
  • 53d. [New newts] are wee EFTS. New newts is good newts, as everyone knows.
  • 62d. [It holds the mayo] looks like it could be trying to trick us into thinking of condiments rather than the Spanish word for the month of May. What's a 3-letter Spanish word for "calendar"? Oh. It's a mayonnaise JAR. Our mayo is in a squeeze bottle. Jars are for suckers who want to get mayo on their knuckles.
Crosswordese 101: Ah, old-school crosswordese. It doesn't show up too often, but you want to memorize it because it will be back. An AMAH is an Asian domestic. Past clues have included these key words: Asian, Eastern, Indian, Chinese, Far East, or Nanking modifying the word nurse, nursemaid, housemaid, nanny, servant, or…wet nurse. Rarely, the answer will be AYAH instead of AMAH, but AMAH is the queen of the Asian nurse clue category.

Everything Else — 1A: Pest control target (ROACH); 6A: Get down the road? (PAVE); 10A: Hired soldier, briefly (MERC); 14A: Big name in foil (ALCOA); 15A: Ongoing auction site (EBAY); 16A: Asian domestic (AMAH); 17A: ACE (FLAWLESS SERVICE); 20A: Abe Lincoln's boy (TAD); 21A: "__ Got to Crow": "Peter Pan" song (I'VE); 22A: "Gerontion" poet's monogram (TSE); 23A: Just out (NEW); 24A: Acts as lookout, say (ABETS); 26A: Lascivious looks (LEERS); 28A: ACE (VENTURA IN FILMS); 33A: Knotted scarf (ASCOT); 34A: Reunion attendee (NIECE); 35A: Ripped (TORN); 36A: Dried plum (PRUNE); 38A: Help for a busy mgr. (ASST.); 42A: Small amounts (IOTAS); 44A: 100 clams (C-NOTE); 45A: ACE (BANDAGE ACRONYM); 49A: Door squeaker (HINGE); 50A: Flight component (STAIR); 51A: "Spider-Man" director Lee (ANG); 52A: Drink with a string in it, perhaps (TEA); 55A: Letters in a business name (LLC); 56A: One of the three states of matter (GAS); 59A: ACE (HALF OF BLACKJACK); 63A: Geometry calculation (AREA); 64A: Casual tops (TEES); 65A: Message obeyed by Alice (EAT ME); 66A: Part of CBS: Abbr. (SYST.); 67A: Narrow aperture (SLIT); 68A: Cornered (TREED); 1D: Huck's ride (RAFT); 2D: Earthenware pot (OLLA); 3D: Phillips, e.g.: Abbr. (ACAD.); 4D: Leather source (COW); 5D: Largest flatfish (HALIBUT); 6D: Dinero replaced by the euro (PESETA); 7D: Six-pack muscles (ABS); 8D: Seemingly endless (VAST); 9D: Places for pupils (EYES); 10D: Dallas cager, familiarly (MAV); 11D: "8 Mile" rapper (EMINEM); 12D: The Andrettis, e.g. (RACERS); 13D: Masticates (CHEWS); 18D: At any time (EVER); 19D: Dig find (RELIC); 24D: Making reparations (ATONING); 25D: They're often sensitive to allergens (SINUSES); 27D: Rigby of song (ELEANOR); 28D: Napa Valley vessel (VAT); 29D: Juan's "that" (ESO); 30D: Maker of bar code scanners (NCR); 31D: "Collages" novelist (NIN); 32D: Professional charge (FEE); 36D: School org. (PTA); 37D: Joplin work (RAG); 39D: Young fellow (SON); 40D: Porcine abode (STY); 41D: President pro __ (TEM); 43D: Keats's "__ a Nightingale" (ODE TO); 44D: Nocturnal noisemaker (CRICKET); 45D: Like computer code (BINARY); 46D: Geometry calculations (ANGLES); 47D: Words of relief (AT LAST); 48D: Advanced math subj. (CALC); 49D: Mirthful sounds (HAHAS); 53D: New newts (EFTS); 54D: Genesis victim (ABEL); 56D: Concert receipts (GATE); 57D: Wile E. Coyote's mail-order house (ACME); 58D: List of appts. (SKED); 60D: Dietitian's concern (FAT); 61D: Flowery welcome (LEI); 62D: It holds the mayo (JAR).



A pretty good puzz.
Fast solve.
Clean and solid.
Didn't learn much.

As a former mathematician, I appreciated the cross of ANGLES with AREA (both geom. calculations), and then CALC (48D)... but I sure don't think of CALCulus as an "Advanced math subj.".

Totally enjoyed Amy's writeup.
All I could think of was TURTUR, the dove, and
Katy TUR, Keith Olbermann's young girlfriend.

Lemonade714 said...

There are anumber of -tur words in law, like REMITTITUR (when you have to reduce a money judgment) and the always popular RES IPSE LOQUITUR (the thing speaks for itself) but like NON_SEQUITUR, they are more Latin than English.

This comment has been removed by the author.

If there's a non-sequitur, it follows logic that there's a... SEQUITUR is a method for inferring compositional hierarchies from strings. It detects repetition and factors it out of the string by forming rules in a grammar.

Oh yeah, and there's a prominent city in Illinois named DecaTUR.

Okay, Orange, I give up!

backbiter said...

@Orange "Jars are for suckers who want to get mayo on their knuckles"
That is true, but my biggest peeve is people who do not wipe off the tops of squeeze bottles for the next person. You either have a hardened plug of mustard blocking the flow or a translucent yellow blob of mayo inviting certain illness.
Be that as may, nice puzzle. The only exception is the Ventura answer. I can't stand Carrey. Other than that decent puzzle, and nice write up.

Rex Parker said...

VENTURA answer was clunk-city. Otherwise, this was OK. No problem w/ the PAVE clue. You get words down on paper. . . plus "?" gives you some leeway.


Van55 said...

Not a big fan of this one. So so entry for me.

Tinbeni said...

Oy Veh, I always thought of the ACE, IN BLACKJACK, as 52.38% of 21.

And I was thinking that ACE would reveal a really good combat pilot.

Then that schedule abbr. (sch'd.) SKED, only in crosswords.

More groans than HAHAS while solving.

@ORANGE Best thing about this puzzle was your write-up.

mac said...

I'm with Tinbeni, enjoyed the write-up better than the puzzle.
In England a Merc is a Mercedes.

Burner10 said...

I vote 'not so much' on this as well. Missed M in MERC. Ho hum compared with previous LAT puzzles this week - all about the same in difficulty for me.

Anonymous said...

51A is flat wrong: Ang Lee did not direct 'Spiderman', Sam Raimi did. Perhaps the author is confusing his superhero movies? (Ang Lee directed 2003's 'Hulk'...badly.)

backbiter said...

@Anon: My copy does not mention Spiderman. 51A: "The Ice Storm" director Lee
Ang sounds right to me.

Robert said...

How about imprimatur?

Tinbeni said...

Ang Lee did direct "The Ice Storm" in 1997

"Brokeback Mountain" (He won Academy Award) 2005
"Hulk" 2003
"Croching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" 2000
"Sense and Sensability" 1995
"Eat Drink, Man Woman" 1994

51A, "Spider-Man" director Lee, which was the clue in my newspaper, alas, was not directed by him.

Van55 said...

I'll add another quibble, just for the sake of interest.

An ace serve in tennis is one which the returner is unable to touch with his racquet. That does not mean that the serve is flawless. I have accidentally hit serves with the frame of my racquet, with the result surprising spin was imparted to the ball and the returner was unable to hit the accidental, and very flawed ace serve.

Soozy said...

I wasn't super fond of this puzzle either. Put MOUSE instead of HINGE first for 49A [Door squeaker]...door mouse? Anyone?

Still don't understand GATE [56D Concert receipts] and had never heard the word TREED [cornered] used like that. Come to think of it, haven't ever heard it used to mean wooded, though it does mean that as well.

@Tinbeni, I like your CALCulation for the ACE's value!

Mistic said...

@Soozy - From Dictionary.com Gate:
10.the total number of persons who pay for admission to an athletic contest, a performance, an exhibition, etc.
11.the total receipts from such admissions.

CrazyCat said...

This puzzle seemed easy for a Wednesday. Just so so. My paper shows 51A as "Spider Man" director Lee. I did the puzzle on line and the clue was "The Ice Storm" director Lee. "The Ice Storm" was a really depressing film as I recall. @Soozy - I don't get GATE 56D Concert Receipts either. TREED as in a dog chasing a cat up a tree.
@Orange Really liked your write up. I kept looking at that "tool" thing wondering WTH and then I got it. It's been a while. The other picture I recognized immediately - hilarious.

Tinbeni said...

Ahhhh, yes the "Roach Clip!"
One advantage of working for a Medical Company, way back when, was the ability of obtaining hemostat forcep.
They worked the best.

LOL at TREED, since your avatar looks like that chased cat.

That other little picture and 37D Joplin work ... nope, not going to go there.

Tuttle said...

You know anyone who uses this abbreviation? Me neither. Or if they do use it, it's short for Mercury, the car make.

Deadpool, from X-Men comics, is often called "the MERC with a mouth"... which makes his fate in the Wolverine movie somewhat ironic.

And the kids use 'MERC' for MERCedes Benzes these days since MERCury just makes cars for old people.

Always like seeing Anaïs NIN clued.

Only nit today is that there are quite a bit more than three states of matter. Liquid, solid and GAS are the classical states, but plasma is almost universally considered a state of matter these days. There's also Fermionic and Bose-Einstein condensates, liquid crystals, magnetically ordered solids, superfluids, Rydberg molecules, quark-gluon plasma and, theoretically, such odd stuff as degenerate matter, string-net liquids, supersolids, superglasses, nuetronium and strange dark matter.

chefbea said...

Puzzle was OK but agree the write up much better.
@orange love the cute little "animal" with the string tail!!!!

Sfingi said...

Can't say I cared for it. I had left 2 letters blank - First, where VENTURA crosses PESETA - for all I know, it could have been VENTURe crosses PESETe.
Since I didn't know 3 of the 4 ACEs, I had no idea and looked forward to finding out - the big disappointment.
The 2nd was MAV crosses MERC. A terrible abbrev. for MERCenary which uses a short C. MAV is sports. Still don't know.

SKED is awful for schedule.

Too much 3 and 4-letter CW fill. AMAH, EBAY, AREA, ACME, OLLA; LEI, NIN, TAD.
Too many abbrevs. - SYST, MERC, LLC, ASST, PTA, ACAD, NCR.

A couple of good ones - HALIBUT, CNOTE.

@Soozy - TREED is what a dog done did to a cat. The GATE is like the "handle" at a race track. TREED has been used in the last year.

@Tuttle - your comment is why I did the CW today. I guess Cromer meant "Classic" states. I was thinking about foams.
Otherwise, this was a waste of time. Even retired time. (Einstein said there is no such thing as time.)

@Orange - is that dachshund what I think? Glad I had menopause and a hysterectomy. Haven't seen one of those in a while. I have seen a dachshund.

Orange said...

@sfingi: Yep, that's what the dachshund is. I was pretty proud of myself for the assortment of photos today.

If you think SKED is awful, you'll have to address your complaint to the dictionary.

shrub5 said...

What I want to know is how/why some newspapers apparently change the clues in these puzzles? Both anon @8:16am and Tinbeni report that their newspapers had a different clue for 51A. Aren't these puzzles basically copyrighted? We had this same issue a week or so ago.

Acc. to wiki, HALIBUT is the largest flat fish, averaging 24-30 lbs. but catch over 700 lbs. have been reported. At birth they have an eye on each side of the head. After about 6 months, one eye migrates to the other side, making them look like other flounder. Halibut feed on almost any animal they can fit in their mouths, spending most of their time as bottom feeders. A friend of mine caught a 300 pounder on a fishing trip to Alaska. Upon her return to work, she brought a picture of herself standing next to the fish which was hanging from a hook. At first I thought that the picture was "photoshopped" but it was the real deal.

Seeing CRICKET reminds me of the time when I first moved into this newly constructed house and kept finding crickets inside, much to my consternation. One night I was sitting on the couch and a cricket jumped from behind me right into the bowl of split pea soup I had on a lapboard. I was so startled, I involuntarily flung the bowl into the air and it landed upside down on the couch. Had to clean up a big green gloppy mess oozing down into the cracks between the cushions.

Orange said...

@shrub, Merl Reagle tweaks his Sunday puzzles to comply with different papers' style preferences. I believe newspapers are generally free to make small changes in clues if their editors deem something to be incorrect or unsuitable for the paper. In this case (the LEE clue), it was a good catch.

CrazyCat said...

@shrub That CRICKET story is great, although I'm sure at the time, it didn't seem so. For that clue, I wanted Cicada. We lived in the Dallas, TX area for a while. When you would try to carry on a conversation at night in the summer, the cicadas were so loud you had to shout.

@Orange Who knew there were tampon arts and crafts?

shrub5 said...

@Orange: I figured that the original clue was "The Ice Storm" director Lee (ANG, correct) and that some maverick newspaper editor with a lot of time on his/her hands changed it to "Spiderman" director Lee, for which both ANG and Lee are wrong. Guess it must have been the other way around.


Your Cricket story made me chortle (or was it a ROFLMAO?)
Actually Crickets are quite good with Pea Soup. They're very crunchy and make good croutons.

Mr Mc Deezey said...

i liked this one and btw 'gerontion' is a great poem

p.s. how do you do these things in 3 minutes something... unreal