MONDAY, June 21, 2010 — Gareth Bain

Theme: Laundry Day — Theme answers are familiar phrases that start with a word that can mean a laundry day mishap.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *Losing ground quickly (FADING FAST).
  • 25A: *Seeking a municipal office (RUNNING FOR MAYOR).
  • 46A: *Extreme introvert (SHRINKING VIOLET).
  • 59A: When the accidents at the starts of the answers to starred clues are apt to occur (LAUNDRY DAY).
Pretty good Monday puzzle, right? Simple theme with sparkly theme answers, fill ranges from adequate to interesting, good cluing — this puzzle's got what I'm looking for on Monday. PA KETTLE is an awesome entry that took me every cross to get (19A: Farmer in a '40s-'50s film series). With the PAK in place, I thought it was going to be an Asian name that I'd never heard before. Definite "D'oh!" moment there.

I liked the tricky OSLO / RIAL one-two punch down in the southeast corner (56D: Norwegian capital / 57D: Iranian capital). Have you seen "capital" used in clues to mean "money/currency" enough that you weren't fooled? Speaking of geography-based trickery, I had no idea Dalmatia was a place (65A: Dalmatian, e.g. (SLAV)). I mean, it makes perfect sense, but it has Never occurred to me.

Your mission is to use both "blockhead" and "bumpkin" in everyday conversation today. (15A: Blockhead (FOOL) / 29D: Bumpkin (YOKEL).)

  • 16A: Jagger of the Stones (MICK). Oh thaaat Jagger.
  • 32A: Disney toon who traded her voice for legs (ARIEL). Don't know my toons all that well, but this one wasn't too difficulty to figure out. (She's a mermaid.)
  • 34A: TV's kid explorer (DORA). Heart-breaking parental moment: in the pediatricians office, three-year-old PuzzleSon is informed by another child that Dora is "for girls." ::sigh::
  • 41A: Poker "bullets" (ACES). ACES are "bullets" and kings are "cowboys." I like to call queens "the girls," but I don't think it's actually caught on.
  • 68A: Inedible doughnut part? (HOLE). Mmmm … doughnuts.
  • 20D: Coloratura's vocal effect (TRILL). Seems like "coloratura" should mean something related to painting, but no.
  • 26D: Robert of "Spenser: For Hire" (URICH). Ya know how sometimes famous people change their names? I think if my name sounded a lot like "urine," I would consider it.
  • 37D: "(You're) Having My Baby" songwriter (ANKA). Soooo many things wrong with this song. Probably best not to get me started.
  • 42D: "Happy Days" catchphrase (SIT ON IT). Was this phrase primarily directed at Potsy? In my head, I always hear it as "Sit on it, Potsy."
  • 55D: Pierre's home: Abbr. (S. DAK.). Not a French person's name in this case, but the capital of South Dakota.
  • 58D: "I'm sorry, __": "2001: A Space Odyssey" line (DAVE). Awesome, awesome clue.
Crosswordese 101: The word COSÌ is Italian for "so" or "thus." According to Wikipedia, "COSì fan tutte," literally means "Thus do all [women]" but it is often simplified to "Women are like that." It is the title of an Italian comedic opera by Mozart. And that's pretty much the only way the word is ever clued in crossword puzzles.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 9A: Attacker of seals (ORCA).
  • 24D: Seaside flier (ERNE).
  • 25D: Indian princes (RAJAS).
  • 37D: "(You're) Having My Baby" songwriter (ANKA).
  • 56D: Norwegian capital (OSLO).
  • 61D: Singer Sumac (YMA).
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Everything Else — 1A: Lost in a good book, say (RAPT); 5A: __ prof. (ASST.); 13A: Length times width (AREA); 14A: In the freezer (ON ICE); 21A: Golfer Els (ERNIE); 22A: Nabisco cookie (OREO); 23A: None (ZERO); 33A: Astronomical time span (EON); 35A: "The __ is up!" (JIG); 36A: Southern Calif. daily (L.A. TIMES); 40A: The Sunflower St. (KAN.); 43A: Hearty holiday quaff (NOG); 44A: Letter before iota (THETA); 50A: Color akin to aqua (TEAL); 51A: "Auld __ Syne" (LANG); 52A: Knock out (FLOOR); 55A: Notified (SENT WORD); 62A: Atlas section (ASIA); 63A: __-skid brakes (ANTI); 64A: Whirlpool brand (AMANA); 66A: Gone by (PAST); 67A: Shaggy Tibetan beasts (YAKS); 1D: Knievel prop (RAMP); 2D: Diva's solo (ARIA); 3D: Chaste kiss (PECK); 4D: Offer from a flier distributor (TAKE ONE); 5D: Like old television signals (ANALOG); 6D: Fries, e.g. (SIDE); 7D: __-fi (SCI); 8D: Hamilton is on it (TEN); 9D: Designed for rough terrain (OFF-ROAD); 10D: Palomino's stablemate, perhaps (ROAN); 14D: Time and again (OFTEN); 18D: Idea's start (GERM); 23D: Camera function (ZOOM); 27D: African river or country (NIGER); 28D: Pretend (FEIGN); 30D: Spout speeches (ORATE); 31D: Charged (RAN AT); 38D: Hard work (TOIL); 39D: Time in the Army, e.g. (STINT); 45D: Bunk (HOGWASH); 47D: Jock's antithesis (NERD); 48D: Learns bit by bit (GLEANS); 49D: Chekhov title uncle (VANYA); 52D: Exercise, as wings (FLAP); 53D: Turner of "Ziegfeld Girl" (LANA); 54D: Exposes (OUTS); 60D: Flat fish (RAY).


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Okay theme, but not especially exciting for a Monday, and certainly not up to par for Gareth. Lots of crosswordese… ERNE, EON, YMA, OREO, ORCA, etc. We see these far too OFTEN in the LA TIMES.

… but, I did like: DORA the Explorer, HOG WASH (I say this too much), and da Fonz’s SIT ON IT!

I just heard this recently---
Mozart’s “COSI fan tutte”
(you just gotta love those r-r-r-r-r-rolling R’s)
Maybe I should be calling that a TRILL.

Ich bin ein ALTE mann!

Here’s a film clip of old Ma & Pa Kettle bit (Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride).
Yep! PA KETTLE was a pretty durn smart YOKEL!

“Like old television signals” (ANALOG)… heck, just this week I converted to digital. That’s OLD???

Cold cereal today… yech!


An interesting variation on COSI:
Back in '96, BEQ had 39A "COSI sia" (Italian "amen")
"So be it"

Van55 said...

Kind of a toughish Monday, despite the abundance of stale fill. The V of the SLAV/DAVE cross was my last entry.

HOGWASH on LAUNDRYDAY was kind of nice. So was the shoutout to the host newspaper.

Tinbeni said...

Puzzlegirl: Great write-up of a typical
LA TIMES Monday offering.

SLAV for Dalmatian was a slam-dunk from my Zagreb, Croatia STINT a few years back. Beautiful AREA.

GLEANS and VANYA took a while to glean, both via the crosses.

HOLE, Inedible donut part? Got a pretty good chuckle.
As did that Jock's antithesis, NERD.

FEIGN made me think of the World Cup, when we see the players take a dive or feign injuries.

YMA Sumac makes me long for the days of UMA.

We've seen better from Gareth, but all-in-all a good one to start the week.

Rex Parker said...


Def. toughish for a Monday. Clues on SLAV and SDAK are good examples of trickiness. Had same PAKETTLE trouble as you.

Seemed a fine puzzle overall.


Sfingi said...

I usually do the previous Sunday's NYT on Sunday and lick my wounds 'til Monday. The puzzle with the flag colors was particularly onerous, and I was so happy to see this. EZ

Didn't catch the theme til the end. These "accidents" - it passed through my head - RUNNING sores. There's another cloth "accident" - crocking, to bleed before even washing it.

@John - Ah, the heart of a woman. Italians are so dramatic. Hubster's going nutz over soccer (calcio in Italy), with all the phony injuries, especially the part the refs play. He suspects kickbacks. I don't think Americans will put up with that long. After all, this is not a sport for "girly men." Hubster says that in Italy, they don't say "kill the ref," they say "sell the ref."

I have a beef with calling it "Disney's" Mermaid. However, Andersen's had no name and was, at the end, Christianized.
What with the oil spill and my own interest in the bathyscaphe, I've been thinking about human's lack of understanding of the deep as part of life. The mermaid simply must become a human or nothing! Strange message.

Another beef - what GLEAN really means. What are they doing in Millet's painting? What does it say in Deuteronomy? GLEANing means gathering what's left after harvest, not picking the best. Farmers were not to go back to get what they missed, but, in remembrance of bondage in Egypt, were to leave it for the poor. To learn by GLEANing? Doesn't sound too good, and not what Bain meant, I'm sure.

Has anyone been to the AMANA Colony in IA? Very disappointing for Easterners used to very developed and old historical sites. But I did pick up a book on "Colonie" German as spoken in IA, and you can get a good Schnitzel.

Check out the Dalmation vampires - Kozlac. Not all are Romanians, but probably all are SLAVs

Wer ist der ALTE? There are many: Barbarossa, Adenauer, Willem Drees, etc.

ANKA's worst song - an embarassment.

Zeke said...

@PG Thanks for the write up. Somehow I missed the interesting clues in my solving path.
Along the lines of celebs who should have changed their names, I cringe when I think that Hillary Swank probably spent her entire Junior/High School years being called Hillary Skank.

*David* said...

Much better then most as far as a Monday pverall with some fun cluing. The theme was a bit of a downer. Always enjoy seeing HOGWASH and SIT ON IT.

Jeff Chen said...

I really enjoyed it! More so than the NYT puzzle, which is unusual. How can you go wrong with SIT ON IT and HOGWASH?


ddbmc said...

Pierre's home totally escaped me! Last fill in, here. Just wasn't thinking South Dakota this morning. Need to up the java jolt!

Got PA KETTLE, but had to go through the iteration MA and PA....

Loved Robert URICH in "Spenser for Hire" AND Lonesome Dove. RIP!

Laundry day here, gotta RAMP up the house work and avoid the FADING and SHRINKING. Nothing like loading all the red towels in the washer, only to discover, that a formerly white tee shirt or sock is now pink! Of course, they could ALL do their OWN laundry....

Is eating donut holes an accepted weight loss program?

lit.doc said...

Hand up for toughish Monday. Took me about two minutes longer than the NYT. Speaking of which (no spoilers here), when I got to the theme reveal at 59A I hesitated, wondering if the LAT could possibly be running a parallel theme.

Was slowed down by overthinking the parsing on PAKETTLE and SDAK as they filled in. Hesitation at 23A NADA/ZERO, guessed right. And Dalmatia sounds like a made-up country.

Also a series of missteps on my first pass. 67A YETI/YAKS (guessed wrong), 4D TAKE-OUT (thinking a pizza flier), 25D RAJAH/RAJAS (misread), and 57D RIEL/RIAL (need a new coin to toss).

Thought I was hearing a distant echo of Perot’s “giant sucking sound” when I got 36A.

@Puzzle Girl, loved your write up, as always! BTW, how ‘come I can go down to the store and buy a box of donut holes? Are the boxes empty? Never checked.

Tuttle said...

Italian Soccer Practice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ukFUEI5qz8

Had 'left word' instead of SENTWORD. Only tough part.

DataGeek said...

Interesting - this one took me nearly two minutes more than the NYT. Unusual. I liked the theme, though I didn't get it until the very end. Even a FOOL knows if you wash your laundry in cold water, you'll eliminate most of those problems. And save energy, too!

Don't they actually make donut HOLEs to eat, though? I think Tim Horton's does, and they're absolutely edible.

Enjoy your Monday!

Tinbeni said...

TOOOOO funnnnny!!!

Yesterday the Kaka Red Card was a hoot. The Ivory Coast player ran into him from behind, fell on the ground clutching his face (nose) and wallowed there for a while.
When the ref. gave the Red Card I was actually laughing, thinking to myself "Do they practice this stuff."

Now I know. Thanks

C said...

Good start to the puzzle week. I had -ETTLE before I realized it was PAKETTLE. Good stuff.

Good write-up @PG.

lit.doc said...

@Tuttle, hahahaha! Thanks for sharing.

Sfingi said...

@Tuttle - great! Laughed and laughed.

Urich was my Dad's favorite. Too young.
Donut holes - good point.
I bet these Italian players don't do their own laundry. They call a single Italian man living with his parents a "Mamone." And it's very common.

Just went to a town court for uninspected v. Judge didn't show. Going back at 4PM.

Every time I come to this or the other forum, I have to sign in. Help.

CrazyCat said...

Just now got to the puzzle, in ink again since it's Monday. Liked the LAUNDRY theme. Been doing LAUNDRY all DAY after a weekend away with the puppy. The dog beach was a huge hit, but the result was lots of sandy towels. Liked the puzzle and the theme especially for a Monday. Only ink blot was GNUS instead of YAKS. HOGWASH was a great TIE IN.

CrazyCat said...

Oh yeah. Robert Urich was a hunk even though his name sounded like urine. I was greatly saddened by his untimely death a couple of years ago.

Thanks, Gareth Bain for a really nice Monday puzzle. @Tuttle loved the Italian Soccer Practice. Thanks!

lit.doc said...

@CCL, your GNUS is a lot better than my YETI.

CrazyCat said...

@lit.doc At this point I am so confused in my mind about Shaggy Tibetan Beasts. I did want to write in YETI, but I knew it was a plural. To tell you the truth I have no idea what the difference is between a YAK and GNU. Is a GNU a bird? I think my brain is on crossword overload!

Anonymous said...

One of these days, I really want COSI clued as "Ohio museum"