TUESDAY, June 22, 2010 — Gail Grabowski

Theme: Shopping Spree — Theme answers are familiar phrases (?) that end with a word that's a name of a store.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Information disparity in a social system (KNOWLEDGE GAP).
  • 32A: Ready-made graphics for frames (CLIP ART BORDERS).
  • 40A: Standard cooking supplies (KITCHEN STAPLES).
  • 56A: Skeet challenge (MOVING TARGET).
  • 45A / 66A: Each of this puzzle's four longest answers ends in one (RETAIL / STORE).

I've never been much of a Gap Girl — although I do like to by clothes for the PuzzleKids there — but the other three stores? Well, let's just say I could spend all my money at any one of them at any time. Books, office supplies, and … Target? Yes! I actually have a soft spot in my heart for Target because that's where I had my first job. Little ol' Target Store #61 in Fargo, North Dakota. That was, like, a hundred years ago. Back when we didn't have those cushy scanners. No, we had to type the numbers into the register! Those were the good old days. Now you kids get off my lawn!

So, yeah, I like the theme. Not crazy about the two middle theme answers though. They don't really seem like stand-alone phrases to me. Well, maybe KITCHEN STAPLES is but I just don't know it because I've never really been much into the whole kitchen thing. And, yes, I know what CLIP ART BORDERS are. I just don't think the phrase is in-the-language. At least not enough to be a theme answer.

The fill in this puzzle was easy-peasy. I paused at IDOL (31D: Pop star) because I thought it might be icon. And with the (first) GO in place, I wanted 22D: Like disco dancers to be gold. (Y'all remember the Solid Gold Dancers?) Other than that, it was pretty much non-stop solving. Sometimes that's not what I'm looking for, but today it felt just fine.

Crosswordese 101: This feels a little more like Crosswordese 301, but you guys are ready for an advanced lesson, right? Today I'm going to show you how to recognize a clue for STELE. It's actually very simple. Take one word from Group A and one word from Group B. Ta-da!

A: inscribed, engraved, stone, commemorative

B: marker, pillar, monument, slab

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 39A: Substitute spread (OLEO).
  • 64A: Gardner of mysteries (ERLE).
  • 6D: Still in the sack (ABED).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Smoocher's smoochers (LIPS); 5A: Course with fractions (MATH); 9A: Russian country home (DACHA); 14A: Short race distance, for short (ONE K); 15A: Peek or bug ending (-ABOO); 16A: Moral principle (ETHIC); 17A: Birthday treat (CAKE); 18A: Mannerly man (GENT); 19A: "Here Come the __": 1945 college comedy (CO-EDS); 23A: Greets and seats (SEES IN); 24A: Piggy bank opening (SLOT); 25A: Calif.'s second-busiest airport (SFO); 28A: Office conf. (MTG.); 30A: Clapton's strings (GUITAR); 37A: Small songbird (WREN); 38A: Actress Lupino (IDA); 46A: NBC weekend revue (SNL); 47A: Ltr. afterthoughts (PSS); 48A: Docs prescribe them (MEDS); 51A: Coffee orders (DECAFS); 58A: Can't stomach (ABHOR); 61A: Wordsmith Webster (NOAH); 62A: Field of expertise (AREA); 63A: Mouthed on-field greeting (HI MOM); 65A: Painful skin ridge (WELT); 67A: College leader (DEAN); 68A: Not as much (LESS); 1D: Security devices (LOCKS); 2D: Absurd (INANE); 3D: Orange __ tea (PEKOE); 4D: Distorts, as data (SKEWS); 5D: Purplish hue (MAGENTA); 6D: Still in the sack (ABED); 7D: Salad servers (TONGS); 8D: The Waldorf, e.g. (HOTEL); 9D: Central Illinois city (DECATUR); 10D: Situated on (ATOP); 11D: Revolutionary Guevara (CHE); 12D: Stayed out of sight (HID); 13D: Their capacity is measured in BTUs (ACS); 21D: Flaccid (LIMP); 25D: Inscribed pillar (STELE); 26D: Taxi charges (FARES); 27D: Estimate phrase (OR SO); 29D: Broad smile (GRIN); 32D: Reacts to a tearjerker (CRIES); 33D: Baltic natives (LETTS); 34D: Cuzco empire builder (INCA); 35D: NFL six-pointers (TDS); 36D: Dugout equipment (BATS); 37D: Sitcom radio station (WKRP); 41D: Boyfriend-to-girlfriend "You have to choose!" ("HIM OR ME!"); 42D: Mountain ht. (ELEV.); 43D: "Here's what happened next ..." ("AND THEN …"); 44D: Courtroom response (PLEA); 49D: Ate a formal meal (DINED); 50D: Sleeper's sound (SNORE); 52D: Move on all fours (CRAWL); 53D: See eye to eye (AGREE); 54D: Has a hunch (FEELS); 55D: ERA and RBI (STATS); 56D: Drop anchor (MOOR); 57D: Red-carpet event (GALA); 58D: Satisfied sounds (AHS); 59D: Small piece (BIT); 60D: Patient care gp. (HMO).



Solved this Grabowski masterpiece in record time and never had to consult old NOAH.
A fun theme for a day when I need to do some mall shopping, and a lot of fun words, like HI MOM, PeekABOO, WKRP, COEDS and...

Overheard in Congress---
"Let them eat CAKE"

Breakfast time... NO DECAFS please!!!!


When I saw OLEO, and GOGO vs. IDOL and "Clapton" vs. the Will Kemp vid AND THEN Puzzlegirl's writeup on STELE, I realize that there's a real "Generation GAP" in this puzzle.

David L said...

Straightforward, although CLIPARTBORDERS is new to me, and I don't really know what it means.

For those of us in the DC area, 22D doesn't really work, since GOGO has a special meaning.

David L said...

Sorry -- messed up the link to GOGO...

Van55 said...

Fine Tuesday fare, if a little bit on the Monday side of things. HIMORME didn't resonate, particularly, but what the heck? I liked the theme, and there's not too much crosswordese today.

Tinbeni said...

GOGO dancers do bring back a memory of AHS.

HI MOM got a GRIN, I like the way Puzzlegirl had it highlighted (to her mom). Is that color MAGENTA?

The Crosswordese 101 on STELE brought on another grin.

A FUN easy solve with an excellent write-up.

Burner10 said...

Not much to add that wasn't addressed perfectly by write up and early chatter. Put in PPS until I realized PS was plural.

Anonymous said...

A masterpiece? Really?

*David* said...

You couldn't go to Crosswordese 201?! You skip immediately to upper class material, a tough taskmaster indeed.

Sfingi said...

@PG - I'm on your wave length for the 4 RETAIL STOREs. We didn't have GAP when my son was coming up. Here in Utica, there was a terrible dearth of bookstores for a while. We had no national chain for 8 years and had to go to Syracuse or Albany. Then, the small stores closed and even the 2nd hand ones. Good thing I have 8K books at home. The trend now is the public libraries dumping books. Of course, I;m there for the sale.

A few write-overs:
"oars" before BATS - was thinking of dugout as a boat;
Iggy for IDOL;
"rates" for FARES;
At HIM-OR-ME, I considered yesORno and hwy-OR-my.
@Van - HIMORME doesn't resonate as something a guy would actually say.

GOGO is old-fashioned. So I got it right off.

Sports was very basic, no years or team names.

I think I'll use STELE for gravestone when I visit the ancestors. "Don't take rubbings of that STELE."

Some cute clues and answers.

lit.doc said...

@Puzzle Girl, Fargo? Really? Wow. Saw the movie, but wasn’t sure the place was real.

Today’s theme actually was “How fast can you type?” But that’s a good thing. A year and a half ago, this is just the sort of early-week fare that addicted me to crosswords.

Tinbeni said...

Just for FUN ... I've been solving while watching the World Cup.
I'm now wondering if my brain will work without the buzz from the vuvuzelas.

DataGeek said...

Not bad for a Tuesday. Really, though... GO GO dancers at a disco? I think of GO GO as earlier, like late 60s up in a cage sort of thing, and disco is a mirrored ball, 70s thing. No?? I always like to see HIMOM in the puzzle - I don't know why, it just makes me smile. Maybe just because I'm a mom.

Thanks for the write-up - I remember "real" cash registers too, and I took great pride in speed and accuracy on the buttons. They used to "cash out" your register at the end of your shift, and if you were off, there was always the threat of demoting or firing. There was a rumor they could take the difference out of your pay, but I think that was just intimidation.

Jeff Chen said...

Good write-up PG, totally agree. I liked other entries much better than the theme entries. HIM OR ME! Tee hee.


John Wolfenden said...

Smooth and easy for the most part. I particularly liked "Mouthed on-field greeting" for HI MOM.

Slight grammatical error on ABHOR. "Can't stomach" would be ABHORS. Correct clue would be "Be unable to stomach."

Van55 said...


"@Van - HIMORME doesn't resonate as something a guy would actually say."

What I typed was my gut reaction. I just didn't care for the answer or the clue. On reflection, it's worse than a gut reaction -- and leads me into unwanted pedantry. The verb "to be" never takes an object, it is said. Implicit in this "answer" is the question "Who will it be -- him or me?" That's obviously grammatically incorrect. It should be, "Who will it be -- he or I?"

Of course, if the implied question is "Whom will you chose -- him or me?" then't the answer is gramatically OK.


lit.doc said...

FWIW, guys, 41D is better as is than HER OR ME, no?

@PG and DataGeek, my memory of "real" cash registers is having to coach minimum-wage, fast-food employees through the arithmetic of making change. Remember giving a high-school dropout, say, a ten, a one, and 79 cents for a $6.79 purchase, hoping for a five?

@Tinbeni, IMO you should stick with your avatar when solving. Vuvuzela, even neat, can give you a wicked hangover.

lit.doc said...

Picayune Points of Grammar Day! My favorite. Really. I'm that easily amused.

@Van55, "to be" plus an object is not as such a problem. Otherwise, your observation is correct as stated (allowing for other constructions of the implied question). The issue is that "who" is a subject pronoun and needs "I" or "he", while "whom" is an object pronoun and needs "me" or "him".

@John Wolfenden, "I/you/they can't stomach grammatically incorrect clues" = "I/you/they abhor grammatically incorrect clues".

Alex Davies said...

after getting 30A Guitar, I put 31D IGGY for Pop star, I'm really sort of bummed that wasn't the actual answer, would have been brilliant.

Sfingi said...

@Vans - I didn't even notice the grammar! Shame on me!

@Alex - Had Iggy, too.

Hahtoolah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mac said...

Hahtool: yes, I think. It's up to PuzzleGirl.

I want one of those!

Nice little puzzle! LOOVE the Hi Mom answer, and otherwise totally agree with PuzzleGirl, even though I didn't hail from Fargo. Pantry straples is more commonly used, I think.

CrazyCat said...

Liked this easy, breezy Tuesday puzzle. Enjoyed the RETAIL STORE theme and the fact that there was hardly any crappy fill. Yes! A day without SSN, SST or a Roman numeral. When I was first dating my husband, I was also seeing another guy. My future husband gave me a HIM OR ME ultimatum. 33 years later, I guess it worked.
@Mac Agree with you about pantry staples vs. KITCHEN STAPLES
@Hahtool Hi! Anyone can join in the comments section of the blog.
@Tinbeni and @lit.doc Those vuvuzelas are driving me crazy!

Tinbeni said...

Trust me, the TV networks have figured out a way to tone the vuvuzelas down by at least half.
I remember them from Telecasts last year, you could not hear the announcers.
They gave them out in Miami for the Saturday baseball game against the Rays last weekend. After 3 pitches I changed stations.
But they do get you a "nice buzz" in the morning ...
I'll stick with the Avatar!

(Plus you have to remember re: "driving me crazy" would be, at best, a very short trip!)

@Hahtool, you can even post "Anti-BP" embeds ... Cheers!!!

Hahtoolah said...

Thanks for your kind words and welcome. I think I might learn something here.

CrazyCat said...

@Tinbeni You crack me up! There was a kid at the farmers' market last week with one of those V things. I wanted to grab it and bop him on the head with it. Of course, being a gentle woman, I did not. But, oh boy did I want to! LOL.
@Hahtool You will definitely learn a lot about crossword puzzles at this blog. Jump on board.

mac said...

I'm a little worried to ask, but what is a Hahtool?

CrazyCat said...

@Mac Now that you mention it - hmmm. I have no idea, but it does sound a little questionable now that I think about it.

Hahtoolah said...

Not to worry. Hahtool is a transliteration of the Hebrew word for "Cat", so I guess I'm a little like the CrazyCatLady

CrazyCat said...

OK then! Cat lovers are welcome here!

Anonymous said...

Nice, fun Tuesday puzzle.

Being Australian I had some trouble with the theme. We don't have many GAP stores over here, and I've no idea what 'Staples' was about (I imagine it's the equivalant of OfficeWorks?)

I'm always glad when I can finish an American crossword without needing to consult a Wiki for some baseball fact (that said, I did get BATS straight up).