FRIDAY, July 2, 2010 — Jack McInturff

Theme: King Me — Theme answers are familiar phrases with "KING" added to the end, creating new wacky phrases, clued "?"-style.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Temporary teacher's lot? (SUB PARKING).
  • 23A: What it would have been if 10-Down went down? (ORIGINAL SINKING).
  • 52A: Brusque words about strong coffee? (ESPRESSO BARKING).
  • 61A: Actress Brenneman losing on purpose? (AMY TANKING).
  • 71A: Board game demand, and hint to this puzzle's theme (KING ME).
This is a fun theme and, overall, I like this puzzle a lot. That northwest corner was a B***CH though, wasn't it? Wow. It took me a long time to figure out what was going on up there. Of course, I started by entering LUCY at 14A: Sitcom redhead. I've gotta believe a lot of you did too. When I realized LUCY wasn't going to work, I figured it must be REBA. And then it took a while to figure out she wasn't working either. OPIE! D'oh! I also had SAW IN for a while instead of LED IN (20A: Escorted). And have I ever mentioned that I'm not really up on my rivers? Argh! I really need to just sit down and learn the rivers someday. When I finally got RESIGN (4D: Quit) and realized the river needed to end in R, the only two I could think of were the Yser and the Oder, neither of which were right (obviously).

The only other real trouble spot I found was the cross of SHAKE and KIROV (32D: Wooden shingle / 49A: Former name of the Mariinsky Ballet). I'm going to declare that this cross violates the Natick Principle. Perhaps Rex Parker will give us an official ruling in the comments. The Natick Principle states that: "If you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of, you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names." The question, then, is whether we can reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of KIROV. I wouldn't be completely surprised if it's just something that I've never heard of, but I can tell you for sure that "wooden shingle" doesn't show up until the ninth definition of SHAKE in the dictionary I checked, so that definitely doesn't count as "reasonably common." I'll be interested to hear what you think about that cross!

Only a few other things I want to mention.

  • 35A: Former sergeant, perhaps (EX-COP). I thought the answer here would be a rank above sergeant. Like, the sergeant got promoted so now he's a former sergeant.
  • 46A: Pond papa (DRAKE). Can't see duck words without remember the bookstore manager I once had named Mallard.
  • 48A: __ Arc, Arkansas (DES). No idea.
  • 67A: Normal opening? (PARA-). Even though it's a prefix, I like this clue better than that other one that keeps showing up that I hate.
  • 70A: It acquired Applebee's in 2007 (IHOP). I did not know that. A couple years ago my brother-in-law (now my former brother-in-law) was boycotting Applebee's. I asked him why and he said, "Because it sucks."
  • 73A: Peter of reggae (TOSH). Saw him live. Must have been, what? A hundred years ago?
  • 11D: VW hatchback (GTI). Didn't know this one either. Usually the car names sound vaguely familiar even if I don't know them off the top of my head. Not this one.
  • 12D: Creator of Q and M (IAN). This is a James Bond reference. Ian Fleming, who created James Bond, also created the characters called Q and M. And, oh my God. You know that former brother-in-law I was talking about earlier? He had two cats named Q and M and I JUST NOW figured out that they were named after the James Bond characters. [[[headdesk]]]
  • 21D: __ green (NILE). I don't know what this means.
  • 29D: Punkies (GNATS). Wow there's an awful lot of stuff I've never heard of in this puzzle.
  • 42D: Arctic predator (SKUA). We'll cover this when we get to Crosswordese 501.
Crosswordese 101: Today we're going to talk about one of the most hideous "words" in all of crossworld. That's right, NLER, I'm looking at you. NLER is the desperate puzzle constructor's way of saying "professional baseball player in the National League." Obviously, you will also see ALER in puzzles ("blah blah blah American League"). Which teams are in which league? Who knows?? Well maybe you do, but I don't. So, if you're like me, you plug in the LER and wait for the cross. Clues for these abominations typically reference two baseball teams at least one of which has a name that can be (or is typically) abbreviated: Buc or Phil, Nat or 'Stro, D'back or Card for NLER; Jay or Ray, Yank or Angel, A or O. You get the idea.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 1A: Rhine tributary (RUHR).
  • 14A: Sitcom redhead (OPIE).
  • 22A: Where to kiss the Blarney Stone (EIRE).
  • 32A: '60s activist gp. (SDS).
  • 8D: Pong creator (ATARI).
  • 28D: Shell layer (NACRE).
  • 47D: French 101 verb (ÊTRE).
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Everything Else — 5A: Word spoken while pointing, perhaps (HER); 8A: Slow tempo (ADAGIO); 15A: Stock ending? (-ADE); 16A: Sole sauce (TARTAR); 17A: Hosp. workers (LPN'S); 22A: Where to kiss the Blarney Stone (EIRE); 30A: Nat or Red (NLER); 31A: "The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom" author (ORMAN); 38A: Classic Callas role (TOSCA); 39A: "Very funny" ("HAHA"); 41A: Greenish blues (TEALS); 43A: Links sight (CART); 44A: Memorable mission (ALAMO); 50A: Fanatics (NUTS); 59A: Like an undeliverable pkg. (RETD.); 60A: Where to get down (EIDER); 68A: Hunts diligently (SCOURS); 69A: Date (SEE); 72A: Little shaver (TOT); 1D: Rich kid in "Nancy" comics (ROLLO); 2D: Berth place (UPPER); 3D: Language that gives us "cheetah" and "chutney" (HINDI); 5D: Holds (HAS); 6D: 13-Down relative (EDU); 7D: Rise up (REBEL); 9D: Are more than reluctant to (DARE NOT); 10D: Ararat arrival (ARK); 13D: 6-Down relative (ORG); 19D: Circle constants (PIS); 24D: "What happened __?" (NEXT); 25D: Bowed (ARCED); 26D: McDonald's founder (KROC); 27D: "When __ she comes to me with a thousand smiles": "Little Wing" lyric (I'M SAD); 33D: "The Sacrament of the Last Supper" and others (DALIS); 34D: Off-key, in a way (SHARP); 36D: Watercraft control (OAR); 37D: Alternate strategy (PLAN B); 40D: Cupid (AMOR); 45D: Like many a baseball pitch (OVERARM); 51D: "Never mind" ("SKIP IT"); 53D: Common quality? (SENSE); 54D: NYSE buy (STK.); 55D: Lyrical poet (ODIST); 56D: Only state that borders six states and Canada (IDAHO); 57D: __ Circus, where St. Peter was crucified (NERO'S); 58D: Plotting device (GRAPH); 61D: Quiz (ASK); 62D: Verizon subsidiary (MCI); 63D: That, old-style (YON); 64D: Harbor vessel (TUG); 65D: Revival prefix (NEO-); 66D: Fetch (GET).


The Corgi of Mystery said...

The SHAKE/KIROV crossing was my last entry too ([Wooden shingle]? Really?), but KIROV was the only vaguely Russian/Eastern European sounding name that fit in there so in it went. In isolation, I would have guessed SHALE over SHAKE for though.

Nice theme, though ESPRESSO BARKING was a little weird.

Van55 said...

I had no problem with SHAKE, as cedar shake roofs are pretty common on beach houses here in Virginia. Didn't know KIROV, though.

My buggaboo today was the mid-Atlantic. I knew GNATS, but never heard of ORMAN's book. And I didn't remember the lyrics to "Little Wing." And I didn't know that what's her face played TOACA. And DES Arc was an absolute mystery. Eventually worked them all out but there's too much not to like about this puzzle for my taste today, including whatt PG said about NLER.

hazel said...

Sorry, PG - I don't really think that's a Natick. I've heard of cedar shakes too - could be because my mom was considering them when she re-roofed, but I think that expression is not that uncommon. Plus, Kirov Ballet is a whole lot different from Natick, Mass. JMO.

Not really a fan of the wacky puzzle, but I kind of liked this one. Maybe because the king helped me fill in some blanks.

STK/RETD crossing sucked, however. And I think TANKING doesn't actually mean to lose on purpose. Movies can tank at the box office, but I don't think they were meant to.

Van55 said...

By the way, the 2000 census counted fewer than 2000 people living in Des Arc, Ark. There ought to be a crossword rule that random town answers need a population of at least 250,000.

Next thing we know we'll have some brilliant constructor clue NNW as "Des Arc - Searcy dir."


PG, I agree the NW corner was a BUTCH!
OMG, I tried every 4 letter redhead in the world before coming to OPIE... was he really a redhead?
Had SAHR and MAIN instead of RUHR.
What a mess!
Then I had KIRON for 49A, which made a pitcher into a ONER ARM. Sheesh!
6 wrong words! I'm going back to bed... my head hurts!
Okay John, quit your whining... the puzzle was well constructed, clues were clever, and the KING ME theme was fun.
Didn't know that IHOP bought out Applebee's. Darn! I've always liked Applebee's; now I'm not sure.

Puccini's TOSCA is very often cited in puzzles, sometimes clued with Maria CALLAS. This is a clip of a great aria with breathtaking scenes and libretto included---

Samuel Barber's ADAGIO for Strings is perhaps one of the most beautiful and yet somber compositions ever. Leonard Slatkin Conducts the BBC Orchestra on September 15 2001 in honor of those who lost their lives a few days prior. Visuals from BBC's 'Last Night of the Proms' and ABC's 'Report from ground zero'.
It's lovely, and the visuals are quite moving, but be prepared with a whole box of Kleenex on this one---
Samuel Barber - Adagio for Strings, op.11

gespenst said...

@Van - LOL "Des Arc - Searcy dir."

@ PG - I had trouble in the same spots.

I had to google once ... chose to look up ROLLO, but then everything fell into place.
I've heard of SHAKES in this sense, sort of way back in the dusty reesses of my mommy brain. I had SH--E and filled in SHAKE and then guessed KIROV (sounds Russian, why not!) and then figured out ALAMO ... apparently I forgot to remember it ;)

As to the theme, I actually got it quickly w/ the first answer ... clever!

BTW, the new baby (my gracious, is she a month old already??) is keeping me busy (not to mention her 3-1/2 year old sister) so I often don't get to the puzzle till evening, hence not posting much. But I do read every day. Still love the blog.


If you live in the east, you think of SHAKES for roofing shingles.
If you live in the west, you think of TILES for roofing shingles.
If you live around here (Chicago), you think of SLATE for roofing shingles.
All of these are used a lot in puzzles.

Zeke said...

The cluing seemed way off today, across the board. Pitches are either overhand or underhand, not overarm or underarm. Berths are either upper or lower, upper is not berth place, is is the selection between one of two berths. The clue for EIDER just made no sense, you get down from a duck of the EIDER species.

*David* said...

This is a puzzle that just sucked, pure and simple. It took a while to get the theme but once I did I moved quickly except for the NW so it wasn't the solving process.

Adding an etire word KING at the end of every theme was about as exciting as going back to work after a three day weekend. Check out this gem of a crossing and tell me this doesn't deserve nomination for worst of the year. RETD/STK and then we get LPNS/GTI/MCI/EDU/ORG/DES. Enough already I'm ready for July 4th.

Anonymous said...

I get the -king theme, but AMYTANKING gave me the biggest fit. Just couldn't see the AMY TAN- part. All in all, a pretty good puzzle for a Friday.......

Inquiring Minds... said...

@PG - Was the inclussion of the photo of Alan King part of your king theme, or did the paragraph next to it, including such terms as "hideous", "desperate" and "abomination" force his inclusion? Or was it only the placement?

Tinbeni said...

I entered ADAGIO confidently. You know that wouldn't have happened a year ago. (Thanks for the Barber clip)

As is my ilk, I searched out the theme reveal, KING ME, early. Solved from the bottom up, east to west.

Then my morning CNBC kicked in, Suzy ORMAN and STK were total gimmies.
The "no-see-em" punkies, GNATS, also a gimmie for a Floridian.
DES Arc, Arkansas, what @Van55 said. (Can I get an OZONA, FL clue?)
Though ORG.& EDU were easy to sush-out, I hate the
6-Down/13-Down relative (echo) type of cluing. Again, I ASK, are they related on the Mother side of the family?

KIROV I got from the 'K' in SHAKE (I've watched "This Old House") and the 'V' in OVERARM (though "overhand" is the term most baseball fans would use).

Last to fall was the NW. I had read the 1D Rich kid in Nancy comics, clue early. Couldn't think of him, and then when I got back he just popped in. (I guess the Java had kicked in by then, like the 2 goals by Holland over Brazil) That gave me the Redhead OPIE and RUHR.

NLER, etal, falls in the IRED bin.

Appropriate level and FUN Friday puzzle.

PuzzleGirl, Great write-up. Loved all the KING pictures.

syndy said...

The Kirov Ballet was only the most Famous and premier ballet for about 2 centuries so why should you have heard of it? started as the Imperial Russian Ballet became the Kirov for the Soviet Union but hell whoever thinks about russia in terms of ballet? Does tanking mean the same as throwing?made amytan hard to parse,but still a very fun puzzle

CrazyCat said...

I tried solving bottom to top today so I got the reveal clue early on which helped quite a bit. Agree with everyone about DES Arc - huh? I threw in OPIE in because I had HINDI and RESIGN already in place. Knew ORMAN and SHAKE. My last house had a SHAKE roof. The shingles would blow off during the Santa Anas and end up in the pool. They are not being used in SoCal anymore because they catch on fire. You can get tiles that look like SHAKEs. SHAKE, however, didn't help me get KIROV. Hated NLER and RETD. I'll spare you the story, but until I was four or five I insisted that my name was Mallard.
Thanks for a great write up today PG.

JIMMIE said...

I've had a SHAKE, actually Shaker, roof in Pa and Cal, so that was a given. But I did not know KIROV. Fun there. I especially liked ORIGINAL SIN KING.

Burner10 said...

Hand up for Lucy and Reba - also the RUHR drama - feeling much better now about not knowing 4-letter Rhine tributaries. Got SHAKE with a little head scratching and that precipitated KIROV so I'd check the box that it's okay for the cross. Big mess for me in the NACRE sector. Thank goodness I could come here and see the error of my ways.

C said...

I've lived in SHAKE roof houses all my life until about two years ago so that was a gimme and, the KIROV ballet was a gimme as well. To be fair, I've seen the Kirov ballet perform before (Swan Lake, Nutcracker) Full disclosure, I was dragged to both performances by my ballet obsessed wife, dancing was OK, would have been better if they served beer at these things ;^)

Fun puzzle. I enjoyed the write-up today, @PG.

PuzzleGirl said...

Saw this t-shirt once: "Life is so educational." And isn't that the truth? I think it's bizarre that I have Literally Never heard of that definition of SHAKE and you all are like "oh yeah, it was gimme ... had shake roofs all my life ...." It just boggles my mind how much stuff is out there that I don't know and how different our experiences are!

@C: You know that section in Sports Illustrated where they print quotations from sports figures? There was a coach once who was asked about his experience at the opera who replied "It could use a shot clock."

Tinbeni said...

I have always thought that Crossword Puzzle solvers like these things because of the learning or memory jolts from our past studies, etc.
Give me a grid with ONE new thing and I feel like the day has started on a positive note.

Funny thing today is that I grew up in St. Petersburg ... yeah, St. Petersburg, Florida. But I've been to the other one (in June 2005) and read a lot about it.
Never been to a ballet (will go if they put in a shot clock) but remember going to some theatre it the "Old" St. Pete.

I want the story ...

RASTA said...

did not care for the puzzle too much but had to add a peter tosh clip. not sure how to add links. hope it works.


Tinbeni said...

It works, nice clip!!!
Hell, I live in Florida yet go to Jamaica when ever I get a chance.
Something about Hedonism II and the people there.
When I'm gone, Peter Tosh summed up very well, what I'll probably (along with Avatar) miss most.

Best message in a song ... ever!

CrazyCat said...

@PG you are young enough or lucky enough that you haven't had to deal with roofing issues. I've been the co-owner of 6 houses and there's *always* something. Roofs are the worst. I have become an unwilling expert. I am a loser when it comes to Rhine tributaries.
@RASTA - Love Peter Tosh
@Tinbeni - Long story short - I loved that book "Make Way For Ducklings." I would make my mom read it over and over. I strong armed the little kid next door into playing Mr. and Mrs. Mallard with me. I insisted that everyone call me Mallard. When my mother dropped me off at Sunday school, she told the "teacher" that I only responded to Mallard. The poor woman thought I had some kind of weird "family name." People close to me still call me Mallard. I will never live it down!

Tinbeni said...

Thanks, great story.
I was 4 or 5 before I learned my first name was Andrew (Andy).
I thought it was "Damn it!"

mac said...

I must say that I didn't enjoy this puzzle a lot, but I'm having a good day anyway! Hup Holland Hup!! Oranje boven!


@CCL (er, Mallard)
"People close to me still call me Mallard. I will never live it down!"
DOWN...Heh! Cute pun.
And cute story

Anonymous said...

Shake (yes, on many of my homes), drake (likewise the ducklings book and noted Chicago hotel), Kirov ... easy ... but Opie, definitely Lucy because otherwise that is an odd clue for a child non-lead actor... didn't like all the odd 3 letter answers ... or really get the humor intended here.

Anonymous said...

Had a hard time with OPIE for the redhead. TV was mostly still black and white then.
Most kids now would not know what you are talking about if you mention it.

I like the variety of learning experiences. You and others breeze through thinks I have never heard of, and I hear(read) you get stumped by things that are second nature to me. Makes me feel dumb then smart, all in the same puzzle sometimes.


CrazyCat said...

@JNH I'll probably never live that DOWN EIDER....Thanks for pointing out an accidental pun!

shrub5 said...

Didn't particularly like this one -- thought the theme answers were not funny or clever. Best thing by far was PG's write-up.

Thought of Lucy for the redhead but knew right away it wasn't going to work so didn't even write it in. OPIE popped in next. SHAKE for wooden shingle was no problem as I have a shake roof. Didn't know IHOP bought Applebee's. Blanked on Suze ORMAN, financial guru, so needed most of the crosses before I could see that one. Got KIROV off the V so no Natick here.

I agree with @Van55's minimum population idea. Not sure if it has to be as high as 250,000, though. Maybe Jack McInturff included DES Arc, Arkansas in order to echo 10 Down??

Finished with one mistake: I thought Peter of reggae was TOTH which made NEROT Circus. Sigh... Now back to the NYT puzzle where I'm in big trouble.

Anonymous said...

SHAKE was one that I got right off without any crosses. And yes, I put in LUCY first, then nothing else made sense, so OPIE was an easy second choice. It helps if you've seen Ron Howard in Happy Days or as an adult.

EXCOP was excruciatingly bad. I'm never a fan of the theme answers. But PIS has to take the cake. I hate words that are never used in the real world as plurals but then appear in puzzles because the creator was having a weak moment.