WEDNESDAY, June 9, 2010 — Todd McClary

Theme: Pedals — Theme answers are all things that have 'em.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Fitness center array (STATIONARY BIKES).
  • 26A: Instruments that often have chord buttons (ELECTRIC ORGANS).
  • 43A: Seamstresses' aids (SEWING MACHINES).
  • 56A: Birdlike crafts for lake rides (SWAN PADDLE BOATS).
  • 65A: Parts of 17-, 26-, 43- and 56-Across (PEDALS).

Smooth Wednesday puzzle from T-Mac today. That's the second day in a row I've referred to the puzzle constructor by a stupid nickname. I might try it again tomorrow too. Maybe not though. I guess you'll have to come back and see. Anyway, nice puzzle. Theme answers aren't particularly sparkly, but they'll do. I was thrown off by SWAN PADDLE BOATS, thinking that was some sort of generic term for paddle boats that I'd never heard before. Then I Googled it and viola:

I don't believe I've ever actually seen one of these in person, but I must have seen one in a movie or something because I didn't freak out and think it was completely ridiculous. And it is pretty ridiculous, so the absence of that response must mean that it's relatively reasonable. If that makes any sense.

Hmm. What else? The only real misstep I had was plopping mango right in the middle there where BERRY goes (37A: Smoothie fruit). AZERA (49A: Hyundai sedan) also gave me pause. Had to get that one through crosses.

For the record, ALOMAR (6D: Baseball family name) was a gimme for me. That's because I'm a huge baseball fan. I'm not one of these fair-weather fans who only gets excited when someone like, oh I don't know … Stephen Strasburg rolls into my town. I'm a fan from way back. 61 in '61!

We had a bunch of stuff going on tonight and now it's late and I need to get to bed. So that's enough babbling from me. What did you guys think of this puzzle? About right for a Wednesday? Was it a smooth solve for you? Or did it give you problems? I wanna hear about it in the comments!

Crosswordese 101: I was trying to decide whether to feature ORLY or NEHI in CW101 today when it was pointed out to me that people fly to ORLY but no one drinks NEHI any more. So there you have it. NEHI (18D: Classic fruit soda) was a flavored soft drink introduced in 1924. Chero-Cola, the company that sold NEHI, eventually changed its name to the Royal Crown Company. Classic NEHI flavors include grape, peach, and orange. I always associate grape NEHI with Radar O'Reilly and, indeed, he is sometimes used in the clue for NEHI, but I can't for the life of me find a picture to illustrate this fact anywhere on the interwebs. SethG, are you around? You can usually find stuff! See what you can do!

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 21A: Fed. investigators (G-MEN).
  • 26D: Red-coated wheel (EDAM).
  • 45D: Asian sea (ARAL).
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Everything Else — 1A: Entertainer in a kimono (GEISHA); 7A: Chew like a chipmunk (GNAW); 11A: Triumphed (WON); 14A: Netanyahu's nation (ISRAEL); 15A: Seat of Georgia's Floyd County (ROME); 16A: Words before testimony (I DO); 20A: Spray-on salon treatment (TAN); 22A: Speaker's asset (POISE); 23A: Former 3-Down leader (SHAH); 24A: Medieval invader's obstacle (MOAT); 32A: 30-day trial versions, e.g. (DEMOS); 33A: Mete (out) (DOLE); 34A: Hankering (YEN); 36A: Admit openly (AVOW); 39A: Muse of history (CLIO); 40A: Charles River sch. (MIT); 41A: ___ boots: '60s fashion (GO-GO); 42A: Head-turning swimwear (THONG); 47A: Numbers in photo album captions (AGES); 48A: Genesis forecast (RAIN); 52A: Soccer star Mia (HAMM); 53A: "___ Misérables" (LES); 60A: According to (PER); 61A: Shorten, perhaps (EDIT); 62A: "Tracey Takes On..." comedian (ULLMAN); 63A: Wrong (SIN); 64A: Anna of "Fringe" (TORV); 1D: Basic idea (GIST); 2D: Esteban's "this" (ESTA); 3D: OPEC founding member (IRAN); 4D: Didn't play (SAT); 5D: Hilltop (HEIGHTS); 7D: __ Torino: 1970s Ford (GRAN); 8D: "__ gloom of night ..." (NOR); 9D: "Rehab" singer Winehouse (AMY); 10D: E-tailer's creation (WEB PAGE); 11D: Collaborative Internet project (WIKI); 12D: Sapphic verses (ODES); 13D: Clown costume piece (NOSE); 19D: Tiny amount (IOTA); 23D: Garbage transport (SCOW); 24D: "Wuthering Heights" setting (MOOR); 25D: Air France destination (ORLY); 27D: Jeans giant (LEVI'S); 28D: Push the envelope, theatrically (EMOTE); 29D: Software installation source, perhaps (CD-ROM); 30D: Tent material (NYLON); 31D: View from the Louvre (SEINE); 35D: Nutmeg-flavored drinks (NOGS); 37D: Dog biscuit shape (BONE); 38D: Caviar, basically (EGGS); 39D: It may be stroked in thought (CHIN); 41D: Compu Kitty or Digital Doggie (GIGA PET); 42D: Monopoly token (THIMBLE); 44D: Shout "Fore!" to (WARN); 46D: Arose (CAME UP); 49D: Nile dangers (ASPS); 50D: German couple? (ZWEI); 51D: Collect from work (EARN); 52D: Home theater component, briefly (HDTV); 53D: Dalai __ (LAMA); 54D: Class action lawsuit abbr. (ET AL.); 55D: Work IDs (SSNS); 57D: Commotion (ADO); 58D: Dept. head (DIR.); 59D: Told too often (OLD).


Rex Parker said...

Really? TORV was fine with you? I watch that show religiously and couldn't come up with that.

GIGAPET also did Not come easily, though I've (vaguely) heard of them. What's very cool (in these parts) is how LOW tech the latest elem. school craze is: rubber bands that form the outlines of various objects. Kids wear them around their wrists and trade them. As a fad, it's huge, and (for us, via our 9-yr-old) it came out of Nowhere. SILLY BANDZ — part or all of that should be in a crossword.


Todd did a nice job on this puzzle. I’m getting pretty weary of puzzles that are loaded with stale crosswordese, but this one has lots of fresh fill words. AZERA, TORV, ALOMAR, and GIGAPET to name a few. Thought the PEDALS theme was quite unique also. I solved online today and wow, it cut my time in half.

Not sure I like “Sapphic verses” as the clue for ODES. I think of Sapphic as more in line with erotica.

Tracy ULLMAN is one of my faves… a charming woman with multi-faceted talents.

Somehow I think of the word “GMEN” as very sexist and should be amended in our language. There are many federal investigators who are women.

The other day I was trying to think of the Nine Greek Muses… had eight (Calliope, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania) and got stumped on the Muse of History… well there it is today, CLIO.
What would we do without WIKI?

I’m also a huge fan of Anna TORV.

I’m not even going to try and describe that “head-turning swimwear” that scantily-clad women wear… no siree!!!

David L said...

My only headscratcher was the AZERA/GIGAPET cross, neither of which I knew. But the A was pretty obvious.

Oddly enough, I knew Anna TORV instantly, even tho I've never seen the show she's in. Must've come across her in Parade mag or somewhere -- a good-looking woman with an unusual name sticks in my memory, for some inexplicable reason.

Van55 said...

Didn't know TORV or AZERA. Hated SSNS as usual. Loved GOGO boots next to THONG. Theme was fine and dense. Above average over all.

gespenst said...

Got to the paper/puzzle early today! Thanks to a half decent night's sleep, which is a coup w/ a newborn.

I blew GIGAPET (had Digipet) but Dogo boots made no sense ;) Otherwise managed the puzzle just fine.

I'm with you, ALOMAR was a gimme ;) Ah for the lost days of the Cleveland Indians w/ Sandy Jr. *and* Roberto in the lineup :) Loved Sandy's unique stance behind the plate.

Didn't know Azera but got it on crosses.

Oops, gotta run ...

hazel said...

The paddleboat reminds me of the German black swan (Petra) who fell in love with the swan paddleboat at or near a zoo, and followed it everywhere. When it got taken out of the lake for the winter, she was beside herself (I think she was described as broken-hearted). They were eventually reunited, but I'm not sure what ever became of the pair.

Not really sure what the moral to that story is.

Orange said...

My pick for Awkward Crossing of the Day is the T of TORV/GIGAPET. I'd wager most solvers don't know Ms. Torv and don't know Giga Pets either. The PET part is inferrable, but it would help if TORV looked less wrong.

PuzzleGirl, I can't believe the CHIN-stroking clue didn't bring us a Billy Squier video.

Tinbeni said...

FUN Wednesday.

I liked the themes, searched out and got the PEDALS early.

Had Website before WEBPAGE but I figured the Medieval obstacle was probably a MOAT (and moit made no sense at all).

German couple, ZWEI gave me the AZERA for the car name (WTH?) never heard of this model.

GIGIPET, OK if you say so. This was new to me, as are those Silly Bandz @Rex mentioned. I did see them on a news item but if it involves a kid craze, I promptly forget it.

I'm with Radar, if it's NEHI, Grape IS the best flavor.

@Orange: What you said re: TORV and GIGAPET, not a clue.

@PG I've seen the SWAN PADDLE BOATS here in FLA. Like the regular ones you see on lakes they look more fun than they really are. Trust me, after a few minutes pedaling the fun evaporates.

backbiter said...

The theme "pedals" screwed me up. I had all of the theme answers, but I could not connect them until the reveal clue.
I have not the slightest clue who Anna Torv might be. I don't watch a lot of TV. Finally, I always pick the hat for Monopoly. I consider players who pick the thimble as weak.


Iran and Shah have nothing to do with the BP disaster, I know. But even so anything oil related is pissing me off. Here in Tampa we're just kinda waiting for it to get here and ruin everything. Across the bridges in Pinellas County is worse. They are right on the Gulf. Pan Handle already affected. Has nothing to do with the puzzle. I just needed to vent.

SethG said...

PuzzleGirl, I searched the entire internet. The closest available is this, which is Radar drinking Nehi but you can't actually see the brand name.

Hawkeye once snuck Radar into an officers club. The bartender asked him if he'd like a straw with his Grape Nehi, and Radar says "We don't use straws in combat, fella!"

The puzzle? The theme was pedals.

Tinbeni said...

I'm over here in Pinellas County (Dunedin) and the BP OIL is not anywhere NEAR HERE.
Clearwater Beach & Honeymoon Island are clean and perfect.

Are we concerned, Hell yes!
I understand your need to vent.
I am very upset with the eco-mess and how lives are being affected.
But we are nowhere near to being under the gun.
Knock on wood.

Ratty said...

Loved the clue for EDAM. It was a head scratcher for me that I never got until it was completely filled in by the acrosses. Great way to freshen up a way overused CW101 standard.

mac said...

Nice puzzle, with the Azera/gigapet the only real trouble spot. Did not really like pedals and "paddle" so close together.

Cute clue for Edam.

The constructors seem to have sodas on the brain lately.

lit.doc said...

Good morning P-Gal! (Just wanted to see what it felt like.) Yeah, SWAN PADDLE BOATS was a stretch. Used to have in-laws in Boston, so I’ve ridden the Swan Boats on Boston Common. Pedals? Check. Paddles? Check. Concession ad’s? “Swan Boats”, sans “Paddle”.

Enjoyable puzzle. Only roughish spot for me was 41D GIGA PET. Now CHIA PET I’ve heard of, unfortunately. Situation was not helped by not knowing 49A Hyundai AZERA (very surprised that I hadn’t heard of that one) or 64A Anna TORV.

And seeing that I’m far from alone on that GIGA PET / AZERA / TORV chuckhole is, as always, very comforting. Better to have company in misery than isolation in ignorance. Did that make any sense at all?

@Seth G, LOL. Your “The theme was pedals” says it all.

CrazyCat said...

Liked the puzzle and the theme. Like others, GIGAPET, TORV and AZERA were big question marks for me. EARN caused me a problem since I couldn't quite get my head around the clue, Collect from work. I also liked Red coated wheel for EDAM. I was relieved it wasn't a Bucket wheel like we had yesterday. SWAN PADDLEBOATS reminds me of the SWAN boats in the Pulic Garden in Boston and the book "Make Way For Ducklings." I think they have paddle wheels instead of PEDALS though.

Jeff Chen said...

Thought it was decent. GIGAPET, what a nice entry! Interesting theme idea, but paddle and pedal were a bit too close for my taste. Would have been nice to have a different entry that didn't already let you know it had pedals.

But AZERA, really? I was skeptical as I put in the Z, and surprised that Mr. Happy Pencil popped up.


Sfingi said...

Pretty good theme and puzzle.
@Vans - also hated dreaded SSN, tho.

There's an Italian expression, "senza pedale," referring to the simplified way of playing piano, w/o pedals, perhaps for DEMOS? Could apply to bikes and guitars, too.

Googled for TORV and GIGAPET, which made for a blank at square 64. The Googling was edifying as I found the topic of GIGAPETS interesting. But not cuddly.

Didn't know ALOMAR (sports); ROME, GA; AZERA.

Had "voice" before POISE.

There's a treadle SEWINGMACHINE, too. Requires no electricity, footpower only.

How did the name NEHI start? Knee-high to a grasshopper, i.e., for kids?

Agree with 90% today!

Tinbeni said...

You said:
"Did not really like pedals and "paddle" so close together."

I see this kind of comment often, and to tell you the truth, I just do not understand.

What in the world can possibly be wrong with the location of these words in the puzzle grid?

Tuttle said...

Not sure I like “Sapphic verses” as the clue for ODES. I think of Sapphic as more in line with erotica.

"Sapphic Ode" is a form of ode where each stanza has the same metrical pattern (also known as Horatian Ode). It's a technical poetry term and has nothing to do with the subject of the poem.

The actual poems composed by Sappho of Lesbos are not particularly erotic to anyone not raised in Victorian England. It's highly debated wether or not the love expressed in them is platonic or erotic (I'll go with 'some from column A and some from column B').

Sfingi said...

Testing new photo - looks like I feel, fat, white, sleepy and overheated in most parts of the world. Son fixed laptop I spilt coffee on. We have 2 now.

choirwriter said...

I have a student this year named "Nehi" (short for Nehemiah). I see grape soda every time I call his name.

I DRIVE a Hyundai, and still had never heard of an Azera. They do exist; must be from their upscale line:
http://www.themotorreport.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2008/writer/e0553ea10122_5D4D/kiavgconceptleak.jpg ( I have no idea how to imbed the link like Seth does.)