TUESDAY, June 8, 2010 — Barry C. Silk

Theme: Good to the Last Drop Theme answers all begin with a word that can mean coffee.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Program that uses certain Sun Microsystems software (JAVA APPLICATION).
  • 25A: Messy contest in a pit (MUD WRESTLING).
  • 42A: Al Gore's 2000 running mate (JOE LIEBERMAN).
  • 56A: Living room reading that includes this puzzle's theme (COFFEE TABLE BOOK).

Relatively smooth solve from the Silk-Man today. (I was just going to say "Barry, I hope you don't mind me calling you the Silk-Man," but I'm pretty sure he does, so I'm not even going to ask.) Lovely Tuesday theme. The timing is funny for me because I just finished Steig Larsson's The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, and was talking with a friend about how someone in that book drinks coffee at least every other page. The only huge clunker in the puzzle for me was NORIA (59A: Bucket wheel used for irrigation). I'm gonna guess that caused some gnashing of teeth with you all too. And I must say I would prefer not to see AGEE and OGEE in the same grid (14A: Pulitzer-winning author James / 46A: Curved molding). But I did get a kick out of the LOOFAS / MOOLAH / RAOUL string for some reason (43D: Shower sponges / 45D: Dough / 48D: Holocaust hero Wallenberg). Say it a couple times "Loofas, Moolah, Raoul." Now "Loooofas, Moooolah, Raooooul." HAha.

What else?
  • 1A: Earth neighbor (MARS). I think it's kind of sad that my very educated mother has to serve nachos now instead of pizza.
  • 16A: Super Bowl held in MCMLXXXVIII (XXII). By the time I got to OXTAIL (10D: Beefy soup ingredient), I had noticed, and was enjoying, the scrabbliness. Not so much when I saw what the X crossed. Random Roman Numeral! At least this one has a funny clue though. I mean, come on! MCMLXXXVIII? That's just ridiculous!
  • 38A: "__ 101": Former Nickelodeon sitcom (ZOEY). Like all the other teen TV shows, this one has its moments, but if you can nudge your kids toward iCarly, you'll be happier and possibly even entertained.
  • 5D: Like a procrastinator's bills (UNPAID). I really wanted it to be "in a pile."
  • 36D: Exercise involving squatting (KNEE BEND). Singular! I believe this gives me license to do one knee bend today and call it good.
  • 40D: Panthère relative (TIGRE). French!
  • 52D: Something to miss or rock (BOAT).

["Rock on witchyer bad self …."]

Crosswordese 101: HADJ is pretty much always clued straightforwardly, like today's 30D: Muslim pilgrimage. There's just not much you can do with HADJ, right? The trick is that it's also sometimes spelled hajj and there's no difference in meaning between the two spellings. So you're at the mercy of crosses.

Other crosswordese in this puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 14A: Pulitzer-winning author James (AGEE).
  • 46A: Curved molding (OGEE).
  • 48A: Classic TV brand (RCA).
  • 2D: Tequila plant (AGAVE).
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Everything Else — 5A: One of the four chief angels (URIEL); 10A: Crew hands (OARS); 15A: Nabisco wafer named for its flavor (NILLA); 20A: An off-ramp may lead to one (OVERPASS); 21A: Banquet entrées (ROASTS); 22A: Buddhism, e.g.: Abbr. (REL.); 23A: __ Fáil: Irish coronation stone (LIA); 24A: Actress Spelling (TORI); 30A: Privileged folks (HAVES); 33A: Greek peak (OSSA); 34A: Washington Sq. campus (NYU); 35A: Came to earth (ALIT); 36A: 1971 Sutherland title role (KLUTE); 39A: High-speed www hookup (DSL); 40A: Letter-shaped fastener (T-NUT); 41A: Dollar fractions (CENTS); 47A: Popular ISP (AOL); 51A: Soak up (ABSORB); 54A: Mainly (ABOVE ALL); 58A: Wine region near San Francisco (NAPA); 60A: Like one with a full schedule (BUSY); 61A: LAX postings (ETDS); 62A: Third dimension (DEPTH); 63A: Flexible Flyer, e.g. (SLED); 1D: Student's focus (MAJOR); 3D: Celebrate boisterously (REVEL); 4D: Blacken (SEAR); 6D: Carpentry tool that cuts with the grain (RIPSAW); 7D: Maladies (ILLS); 8D: Inventor Whitney (ELI); 9D: Sport with sticks (LACROSSE); 11D: The Earth turns on it (AXIS); 12D: Real comedian (RIOT); 13D: Transgresses (SINS); 18D: Top grade (A-PLUS); 19D: Vital body line (AORTA); 24D: Grade factor (TEST); 25D: Bumped into (MET); 26D: GPS suggestion (ROUTE); 27D: Involved with, as a plot (IN ON); 28D: Da's opposite (NYET); 29D: Fellows (GUYS); 31D: Too (ALSO); 32D: Repulsive (VILE); 37D: Garage job (LUBE); 38D: Satori-seeking sect (ZEN); 41D: Have a cow (CALVE); 44D: White Carroll critter (RABBIT); 49D: Shut (CLOSE); 50D: Adhesive resin (ALKYD); 51D: High school breakout? (ACNE); 53D: Dirty Harry's org. (SFPD); 54D: Lobbying group for seniors (AARP); 55D: Recedes (EBBS); 57D: Little piggy, so to speak (TOE).


Van55 said...

16A is the lamest clue for a lame Roman numeral answer EVER!

Otherwise the puzzle was just a bit mundane for my taste.

lit.doc said...

When I see Barry Silk’s name on a puzzle I cringe a little, expecting a killer-clue ass kicking. What I don’t expect is something like 16A “Super Bowl held in MCMLXXXVIII”. Far and away the most annoying Random Roman Numeral clue I’ve ever seen. Unless it was intended as an ironic commentary on RRNs, which would be a good grad school excuse.

Other than that, a perfectly nice Monday or Tuesday puzzle. Would have gotten a good laugh had I waited till morning to solve and was sitting here with a cup of theme next to me. And the only WTFs, 59A NORIA, 48D RAOUL, and 50D ALKYD I didn’t even have to revisit after my first pass because the rest of the fill was so friendly.

hazel said...

Got to disagree, @Van55 and @litdoc- I thought that clue was really funny.

Solid Tuesday fare, with a mud wrestling Joe Lieberman to boot.

SethG said...

Don't forget the pilgrim who goes on a pilgrimage. That would be a HAJI, HADJI, or on occasion a HAJJI.

If you're gonna do AGEE and OGEE, why not go all the way and have GEE and GTE, too? I like coffee, though I never call it java, mud, or joe. I like table books, too.

This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex Davies said...

No comment that we have ALIT for two days in a row?

Also, we got a huge laugh out of 41D Have a cow

Drew said...

Shame for using the same answer two days in a row! (although different writers...)

ALIT ("came to earth" 35A, June8)
ALIT ("touched down", 60D June7)


Tinbeni said...

Well I judge my solve based on MUGs of JAVA, JOE or MUD. So the COFFEE theme was perfect.

AGEE & OGEE in the same puzzle is OK by me.
ALSO liked the MOOLAH and LOOFAS. If words have separate meanings and a little bit of homonymy sounding to them I actually enjoy the craft of the constructor.

LOVED the Roman Numeral clue. XXII was the one where Doug Williams and Washington romped over Denver.
Yeah, no big 'D' Dallas (or 500) needed or in the game.

URIEL, LIA, NORIA, ALKYD and ZOEY all via crosses.
Giving me a Tuesday with 4 learning moments. Always A PLUS.

@Alex & Drewbek
We saved the ALIT discussion just for YAWL.

*David* said...

Themes were very easy didn't like much of the fill connecting it. LOOFA and MOOLAH are great ALKYD and OX TAIL make we want to find something else to do.

Burner10 said...

Hand up for NORIA,
I vote yes for 16 accross.
Coffee theme - always a good thing.

Rex Parker said...


NORIA? Yikes. ALKYD not great either.

With the Roman numeral haters today. You know when you try to cover up a blemish but all you do is make it uglier and direct more attention to it? ... yeah.

Honestly had no idea what theme was til I read your explanation. Revealer is horribly worded.


Rex Parker said...

PS Angela it's a good thing I love you because that "Rockapella" Folgers B.S. is making me feel so stabby ...

Who Is Buying That!?

Tuttle said...

The clue for 17A is a bit outdated; Oracle Corporation purchased Sun Microsystems last year. It's now Oracle Java not Sun Java.

Really liked ending the puzzle on Flexible Flyer.

Golfballman said...

When I saw the roman numeral clue I thought oh Rex is gonna love this one. Got noria right away, don't quite know how but thanks to some puzzle years ago. The Silk-Man rules

CrazyCat said...

Thank goodness I was solving the downs along the bottom and never saw the clue or the answer for 59A NORIA. URIEL and RAOUL were WTHs too. Liked the COFFEE theme - went through three mugs while solving. I cannot see or hear the word LOOFAs without being reminded of Bill O'Reilly and his LOOFA/falafel blunder. Liked TIGRE 40F Panthère relative. While in Siena, we stayed in the Pantera Contrada. 16A was joke. I just looked at the clue and thought Nah I'll just get it through the crosses. ZOEY is my dog's name - liked that, not the show so much.
@PG I'm with you on the one KNEEBEND. Folger guys are just goofy.

syndy said...

Oh wow i had cnut and cigre isnt pantiere also a cigar? I was getting worried when i didnt see the theme until late after getting my hand smacked yesterday for ignoring a theme on nytp. Amazed by 44's blythe disregard here,my fingers are still tingling

shrub5 said...

Theme answers were easy and lots of good fill around them with the notable exception of the despised Roman numerals. Furthermore, do many folks really remember what # Super Bowl goes with what year?

I associate KLUTE more with Jane Fonda so I sorta forgot the title was the Donald Sutherland character's name, not Jane's.

Didn't know OARS could refer to the rowers themselves (10a.)

NORIA: so that's what a bucket wheel is called.

Well, I'm off to go hold my nose and vote.

Joon said...

shrub, the jane fonda character is named BREE. and yes, you will see that clue in a crossword some day.

the theme saddened me for personal reasons (i recently constructed a puzzle with a similar theme), but i was very surprised about some of this fill on a tuesday. NORIA, ALKYD have been mentioned already by others, but they're particularly obscure. TIGRE is awful, just not a french word that any english speaker would have a reason to know. worse than ANGE. LIA is fairly obscure crosswordese, too. and OXTAIL is nice, but AXIS is just kinda there, and if you need to wheel out XXII to get them both in, it's not worth it... even though that was a good super bowl that i have very fond memories of.

mac said...

I had fun with this puzzle. Noria came out of nowhere and that helped me a lot. Everything else seemed fair, even the Roman Super Bowl. I loked the look of two words with an x next to each other.

@Hazel: thank you very much for the visual of Joe Lieberman in the mud!

John Wolfenden said...

Definitely agree about ALKYD. That's a Saturday word. I kept thinking of Bart Simpson while trying to solve "Have a cow," and was amused that both BOAT and BEAT work for "Something to miss or rock."

Sfingi said...

@Vans - Knew you would hate XXII.

@Shrub5 - agreed with everything you said. This whole year thing is an annoyance. At 65 everything was just last year.

Check out The Java Jive by the
Ink Spots, 1940 on YouTube. Coolest song ever:
I love coffee, I love tea,
I love the java jive and it loves me.
Coffee, tea, the java and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup.

Learned (or relearned?) NORIA, ZOEY, OSSA, LIA.

Had "hit" before MET, "char" before SEAR, "boss" before BUSY.

Had forgotten Bree. How about Baby Breeze?

Rex Parker said...

Le Tigre was a brand of polo shirt when I was younger.


Also, there is a band of the same name.



mac said...

@sfingi: I know the java song from the Manhattan Transfer. Love it.

Zeke said...

Man,Blogger is getting picky. I'll admit that my joke, asking which knee (left or right) PG bent in her new exercise regimen, was lame, but Blogger should have let it pass,no?

Rube said...

NORIA, ALKYD, LOOFAS, and URIEL are some pretty sophisticated words for a Tues LATP. But, all easily gettable from crosses making this a very enjoyable solve.

FWIW, I'd much rather waste my time ranting about ZOEY, a pop culture item, than complaining about very easy Roman numerals.

Last weekend we consumed several bottles from NAPA celebrating my youngest's PHD... Mechanical Engineering in case you wanted to know.

mac said...

Congratulations, Rube!

Sfingi said...

@Mac - Impressive. God bless.

CrazyCat said...

@Rube Congrats! That's a MAJOR accomplishment! Hope the NAPA wines were great.

Anonymous said...

I'm a newbie (retired, so time to go beyond reading the sadly skimpy news) .. how often are we expected to leave off a letter -- ie, loofah? And noria ... what?
Totally agree about all the ridiculous fill using Roman numerals or Super Bowl years ...

CrazyCat said...

Anon 5:53 You're where I was about 18 mos. ago. It always pays to check an online dictionary to see if there are two spellings. Such is the case with LOOFAH. It can also be spelled LOOFA. MOOLAH sometimes shows up as MOOLA. We all kvetch from time to time especially about Roman numerals. Get yourself an avatar/icon and a name and join in the fun. You'll learn a lot about crossword puzzles too.

PuzzleGirl said...

It's late, but I just want to say right out loud that the link JNH posted in his comment is not an appropriate video to be watching in a variety of settings you might find yourself in while perusing this blog. Also, I would really prefer not to see stuff like that (i.e., inappropriate, sexist, involving scantily clad women, etc.) here on the blog. Thanks.

Rube said...

Tx @ccl & @mac. We are quite proud. It's been a long time since either of our families have had a PhD.


Sweeeet puzzle! Of course, it’s a Barry Silk. I give this one an APLUS.

Some cool words:

Some cool clues:
Super Bowl held in MCMLXXXVIII (XXII)… now IMO, that’s a legit use of Roman Numerals.
Panthère relative (TIGRE)... another good French lesson.
Have a cow (CALVE)… a reverse misdirection.
LIA Fáil, the Irish Coronation Stone, also called the Stone of Destiny, or the Stone of Fál… very controversial.

Time for some good Irish Coffee (joe, java, mud, whatever)!


And now for some good clean fun!