THURSDAY, June 3, 2010 — Mark Bickham

Theme: Know what I'm sayin'? — Familiar phrases clued as if they are a type of specialized lingo.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Musician's parlance? (KEY WORDS).
  • 24A: Billiards player's parlance? (ENGLISH LANGUAGE).
  • 38A: Mechanic's parlance? (IDLE CHATTER).
  • 55A: Remodeler's parlance? (PANEL DISCUSSION).
  • 61A: Chiropractor's parlance? (BACK TALK).
I have mixed feelings about this puzzle. I like the theme quite a bit. Again, we've got theme answers that are shorter than we're used to seeing, but I really don't mind the "rules" being broken once in a while. Especially if there's good reason, and the short answers fill out the theme nicely. The fill, on the other hand, seemed to be all over the place for me. I kept noticing similar words: AIR / E'ER / ERE; IDLE / IDOL / ICON / CON; AYE / EYE. And the abbreviations! EUR., SCI., ETH. — ETH.! Some of the longer fill, though, was really lovely. For example:
  • 1A: Cook, as Swiss steak (BRAISE). BRAISE was my first thought, but I waited for a couple crosses because I wasn't entirely sure I actually knew what that word meant.
  • 1D: Conflagrations (BLAZES). I'm sure I've seen the word conflagration before, but I had no idea what it meant.
  • 5D: Orlando newspaper (SENTINEL). With the S, N, and T in place, I first tried Sun-Times. I know that's the Chicago paper, but I thought they might have one in Orlando too.
  • 8D: Rosary recital (AVE MARIA). Warning: Blasphemy ahead!

  • 39D: Detroit's founder (CADILLAC). Learn something new every day!
  • 47D: Badger at the park (HECKLE). I think of heckling more in relation to stand-up comics, but I bet baseball players get their share.
I'm sorry to do this, but I'm going to point out a couple more clunkers. HOAXER (53D: One who pulls a scam) is just ugly. And I really, really don't want to think about "Fungus-alga unions" (26D: LICHENS). What do you guys think of it? Am I being too hard on this one? Well, just to prove that I'm not a mean old lady who doesn't do anything but complain, here's a lovely ornamental carp for you.

Crosswordese 101: I didn't see any crosswordese that we haven't already covered, so here's your round-up:
  • 15A: Fertility clinic cells (OVA).
  • 33A: For time eterne (E'ER).
  • 45A: Bard's "before" (ERE).
  • 27D: Onetime apple spray (ALAR).
  • 41D: Congers, e.g. (EELS).
  • 66D: Centimeter-gram-second unit (ERG).
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Everything Else — 7A: "There never was a good" one, according to Franklin (WAR); 10A: Like many a head-turner (SEXY); 14A: Imposed, as a tax (LEVIED); 15A: Fertility clinic cells (OVA); 16A: Colored (HUED); 17A: Getting on (AGEING); 20A: Buddhist discipline (ZEN); 21A: 1773 jetsam (TEA); 23A: Wall alternative, perhaps (MOAT); 30A: Draft holder (STEIN); 31A: Make known (AIR); 32A: Spread out (SPLAY); 33A: For time eterne (E'ER); 35A: Mole user: Abbr. (CIA); 37A: Sailor's "Agreed" (AYE); 42A: Fella (MAC); 44A: West of Hollywood (MAE); 45A: Bard's "before" (ERE); 46A: Hello or goodbye (ALOHA); 49A: Crime lab subject (DNA); 51A: Beginning (ALPHA); 58A: Heating device (COIL); 59A: Sudan neighbor: Abbr. (ETH.); 60A: Dust remover (RAG); 65A: Arctic exploration tool (ICE AXE); 67A: Long-running reality show, familiarly (IDOL); 68A: __-tzu (LAO); 69A: Syndicate (CARTEL); 70A: Court defense? (ZONE); 71A: Bot. or chem. (SCI.); 72A: Ticks off (ANGERS); 2D: Temporary ruler (REGENT); 3D: Right, in a way (AVENGE); 4D: Junior's junior (III); 6D: Barely beats (EDGES); 7D: Moo goo gai pan pan (WOK); 9D: Lustrous fabric (RAYON); 10D: Fired wildly into, as an oater town (SHOT UP); 11D: Where It.'s at (EUR.); 12D: Marked with two lines (X'ED); 13D: Fabric meas. (YDS.); 19D: Some friendly greetings (WAGS); 22D: "Bingo!" ("AHA!"); 25D: Covered for a crony, perhaps (LIED); 28D: In high spirits (GAY); 29D: Inspect (EYE); 34D: Dream state acronym (REM); 36D: Absorbed, as a cost (ATE); 38D: Desktop image (ICON); 40D: Garbage site (TRASHCAN); 42D: Google Earth image (MAP); 43D: According to (À LA); 48D: "Thanks __!" (A LOT); 50D: Adept type (ACE); 52D: Hook, for one (PIRATE); 54D: Pinhead dancers? (ANGELS); 56D: Antique phone features (DIALS); 57D: City near Syracuse (UTICA); 61D: Profession, casually (BIZ); 62D: Flap (ADO); 63D: Voting "nay" (CON); 64D: Ornamental carp (KOI); 66D: Centimeter-gram-second unit (ERG).


Anonymous said...

Since when is RAYON a lustrous fabric?

Rex Parker said...


I'd have put KOI as "Crosswordese 101" today.

Thought this one tough and fun, tho' I don't like (or really get) the clue on PANEL DISCUSSION. Someone besides a "remodeler" must use PANELs...

Had PANFRY at 1A and took a while to dig myself out of that one. Also FLAMES for BLAZES and HAIL MARYS (wouldn't fit) for AVE MARIA. SHOT AT for SHOT UP. Took a while to buy ALPHA as correct. Had COAL for COIL. TAO for ZEN. Strangely, had no problem with ETH.! I know! Seems like something I should hate.

Thumbs up

mathcapt said...

Freddy Fungus and Alice Algae met one day out on a rock. They took a lichen to each other and they have been that way ever since.

Every time I go to Yellowstone, I hear that joke at least once from a park ranger.

Van55 said...

Agree with PG all the way.

Burner10 said...

Well into my second bus - abput right for Thursday LAT. Had PASSION at the back end instead of DISCSSION - so that was a mess for a couple of blocks. Good puzzle experience for me - started wtf and ended yes.

*David* said...

My greatest enjoyment was the cluing. I think the constructor did a fine job with that. I barely noticed the overall average fill since I enjoyed the cluing so much.

Sfingi said...

I liked it but considered it Monday-easy, tho I did have "bag" before BIZ and "hugs" before WAGS.

Actually, antique phones have no dials. The operator answered when you picked it up - unless someone was on the party line. Collectible or vintage phones have dials.

@Dick - love puns, lichens, since childhood. I liken my marriage to a lichen.

Love koi, and Tom Lehrer. Wow, he looks young and not bad. He was a math professor at MIT, specialty - random number generation.
We have his records.

@Anon533 - Early bird! Rayon, considered a natural fabric because it is made from coal, is shiny as a filament. By the time it's an Hawaiian shirt, it's had some special processing. It's desired for its drapability (?) and non-pilling quality.

Tinbeni said...

A puzzle with a shout-out to MAC and
@Sfingi in UTICA.

A LOT of AHA and groan moments.
WAR lead me to AVE MARIA (AHA) and the RAYON (groan).

I counted 30 three letter answers.
That is way too many.

Zeke said...

Ever on the lookout for some good blasphemy, I was kind of disappointed in Mr. Lehrer.
I didn't know, but appreciated learning about, the fact that lichens are unions of algae & fungi. One of my favorite spots in the woods is where I watch the colonization of rocks by lichens, then mosses, then weeds/grasses until it becomes earth. Well, I'm not really that old, I don't watch it, I see each stage. OK, back to Rex's to re-watch the Weird Al Yankovitch video. I just qualified.

Zeke said...

@Sfingi - Rayon is made from cellulose, not coal.

John Wolfenden said...

I always like to see puzzles whose difficulty stems from clever clueing and not obscure references.

"1773 jetsam" was my favorite.

C said...

+1 to enjoying the cluing in this puzzle. I liked the different tempo to the clues, some tricky, some obscure, some new knowledge. Nice blend.

CrazyCat said...

Liked this puzzle, but agree about the three letter fill. I was vexed by AIR, AYE, EER, ERE, ETH and ERG. Filled in IDOL as I was watching Crystal Bowersox on the Today Show. She was my favorite. Love a good BRAISE -my comfort food of choice. @PG pot Roast, osso bucco and coq au vin are BRAISEs. Liked the motley crew in the SE. PIRATE and HOAXER juxtaposed with ANGELS.
Had SHI tzu until I got KOI and DIALS. I hope the remodelers 2010 are not still using PANELing. It's so 70s, kind of like DIALS.
@Anon RAYON can sometimes mimic silk if it's finished in a certain way.

CrazyCat said...

in 2010

chefbea said...

Good puzzle but I didn't know koi.

I know I have been absent for a while but since I'm back I don't think I've seen John's never home!! Where is he?

Golfballman said...

Where is @Johnsneverhome? have missed his witty coments. Keep up the good work PG.

Waldo said...

@chefbea, @Golfballman - He's getting his kicks on Rt 66.

CrazyCat said...

@chefbea and@golfballman
JNY went on a tour of some southwest national parks. He was back a few days last week and said he was off on another trip. I guess that's why he's JOHN'S NEVER HOME.

hazel said...

I liked this puzzle quite a bit despite the 3-fers, which I guess I didn't even really notice while I was solving.

I think the convention that length of theme answers must be the longest answers in the grid is sort of silly - it doesn't make the puzzle any more fun for the solver and it seems like a useless restriction for the constructor. As long as its clear from the cluing where the theme answers are, what's the diff?

We have goldfish in our water garden (8 for $1). We've bought 16 over the last 2-3 yrs (big spenders) and the 5 that are still with us have grown quite large. They are not KOI, but are close enough to be kissing cousins, and are quite beautiful.

@Dick - can you imagine saying that joke (which is kind of cute) several times a day pretty much every day of your life. ACK!

Sfingi said...

@ChefB - I miss him Maybe he's on Route 69 taking photos.

@Zeke - you're right.
They are both made by carbonization, but I can't remember what the other material is.

@Tinbeni - Utica gets lots of coverage. I never thought about its 60% vowel mix til CWs.

@John - since you're newish, you haven't been introduced to my ancestors (moans all around). Maj. Joseph Pearse Palmer was one of the 175. He came home in war paint and scared his wife, or so the story goes.

Tinbeni said...

You are correct re: UTICA.
Same thing happens with Florida's OCALA, over Tampa, but Miami should be up there too.

That is why we see the ACE, ADO, AHA, AIR, ALA, ATE, AYE, EYE, EER, ERE, EUR, KOI, LAO, MAE, OVA ... Soooooo often.
It's all about the More vowels, Than consonants mix.

I would be remissed if I didn't mention that LICHENS being a Fungus-alga union was a learning moment. Lately learning moments have been lacking IMO.

Tuttle said...

Actually, antique phones have no dials.

That really depends on if you use the general meaning of 'antique' or the phone-collector's definition of 'antique'.

The rotary dial was patented in 1898, saw it's transformation into what we recognize as a phone dial in 1904 and entered service with the Bell System in 1919.

Here's an ad for a phone with a dial from 1910.

To me, a device from 1910 is an antique. Then again, to me a 1964 Mustang is a classic car. Phone and car collectors would disagree ( a "classic car" must be pre-war apparently)... but they're odd people.

gespenst said...

@Tinbeni - just wanted to let you know how your prediction panned out ...

You guessed Gespenstsbaby would be born 6/1, 4:28 am, 7# 7 oz, 20"

... you were actually about 1/2 right!

Actual stats: 6/1, 6:28 pm, 7# 14 oz, 20"

AND it's a second little girl :) which puts the first little girl on cloud 9! She's loving being a big sister!

Tinbeni said...

I guessed another Girl.
OK, I missed by 14 hours, girls like to take their time.
The 7oz was that extra cuteness.

The world did seem nicer on June 1st.

CrazyCat said...

@gespenst Congratulations to you and your family! Wonderful news! I trust mom and baby girl are doing quite well since you're commenting on the blog. Are you going to name her Uma, Elena, Adella, Anna or Aida? Just teasing. Hope you can get a little rest.
@Tinbeni - Good close guess! A toast is due to @gespenst and you, of course : >)

mac said...

Congratulations, Gespenst!

Not a great puzzle, but it had some cuteness. I like "wags" a lot, and the jetsam/tea set was fantastic.

Thanks @Tinbeni, I noticed the shout-out too but I'm not a guy!

Tinbeni said...

Years ago I was the CFO of a Medical Company that owned Birthing Centers.
Though I never had children, I have held probably 600 baby's under the age of two months.
It is alwasys a real joy.

I'm Toasting both.

I know that, they are your initials. We discussed this.

CrazyCat said...

@Tinbeni Well then you have redeemed yourself after that BADSMELL/CUTENESS comment from that puzzle a couple of weeks ago. LOL.

I forgot to mention I liked WAGS too.

chefwen said...

@gespenst - Congratulations to you and yours for the new addition to the family. How sweet.

Loved the puzzle, only write over was TRASH CAN over TRASH bin and I messed up with 68A thinking of that little doggy.

gespenst said...

@Tinbeni, I was actually very impressed w/ your guesses :) It must be all the baby wisdom passed on from the many that you've held :)

@CCL, thank you and nice list of CW101 names!!! We went for something more traditional ;)

@mac thanks for the congrats as well :)

We left the hospital after about 24 hours and have been home another 24 hours or so ... I think recovery was a lot easier this time, in part b/c no pain meds (weird, I know, but I actually think it made things easier in recovery). Plus it's just nice to sleep in my own bed. Catching up on puzzles for the last few days. And yes, I'm an internet addict who can't be far from a computer.

chefbea said...

@gespenst congrats. Girls are great. I have 4

mac said...

@Tinbeni: I love the idea of you with 600 babies!

@chefbea: your missive was appreciated!

Rube said...

@gespenst, congrats. I have 2 myself. What did you name the new one?

Nothing new about this puzz. Harder than the NYT today!

shrub5 said...

@gespenst: Chiming in late with my heartiest congratulations for you and your family. Little sisters are fun to have. BFFs.

@Tinbeni (our resident seer / baby wrangler): Nice work!!

@Dick: LOL at LICHENS tale!

@Hazel: I have 4 large goldfish in my little pond. Started with 5 one-inchers two years ago. The four remaining are about five inches long now. #5 must have been a tasty meal for some backyard intruder. Next door neighbor has the big KOI in a beautiful fancy big pond w/ waterfall (pond-envy).

Did the puzzle last night so it's not fresh in my mind. Like @mac, I did like TEA (1773 flotsam) and WAGS best of all.