FRIDAY, July 9, 2010 — Jascha Smilack

Theme: "SHH!" (59D: "Zip it!") — Theme answers are familiar phrases where an S word is turned into an SH word. Wackiness ensues.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: "The herring ate my homework," e.g.? (SHAD EXCUSE).
  • 24A: Number on a bag of walnuts? (SHELL-BY DATE).
  • 35A: Stumbling block for a beauty pageant contestant? (DEADLY SHINS).
  • 48A: Really needing to do laundry? (OUT OF SHORTS).
  • 58A: Reason to eat lunch alone? (MIDDAY SHUN).
I can't say I'm exactly enamored with the theme answers. OUT OF SHORTS is awesome, but the others don't do much for me. I wanted the base phrase of the first one to be poor excuse or lame excuse but couldn't make a fish out of either of those. I don't even really get what DEADLY SHINS is supposed to evoke. Is deadly supposed to mean … ugly? I can't help think that the beauty pageant contestant in question is a robot or something and little doors open up on her shins and guns come out and shoot all the other contestants. Will someone please get to work on that screenplay?

Couple things I didn't know today. As an English major, I'm sure I've seen HEST (1A: Command, to Shakespeare) at some point, but I couldn't dredge it up from my memory. I knew that drei is German for three and I knew roughtly how to pronounce SECHS (5A: Drei doubled) but not how to spell it. I've seen HOSEL (8D: Golf club socket) in a puzzle before, but needed every cross for it today. My super WTF of the day, though, was 33D: "The Return of the Native" vamp Eustacia VYE, apparently from Thomas Hardy's 1878 novel. Wow. Random.

  • 15A: Comment before a swim, maybe (I'M HOT). Coincidentally, this is also what the robotic beauty pageant contestant says before the swimsuit competition.
  • 20A: Role for Harrison (HAN). I'm sure you've all seen this before, but I don't ever get tired of it so here it is again.

  • 53A: Pres. during the 1929 market crash (HCH). Herbert Clark Hoover.
  • 54A: A, in Israel (ALEPH). ALEPH is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
  • 5D: Some pizza slices (SIXTHS). Wanted eighths here. Wouldn't fit.
  • 11D: Hatch in the Senate, e.g. (UTAHAN). Orrin Hatch is one of Utah's senators.
  • 34D: Edition: Abbr. (ISS.). Issue.
  • 37D: Iowa wrestling legend Gable and others (DANS). Continuing my campaign to get Dan Gable in a puzzle. Replacing clues for DAN in my blog posts seems like it might not be the most effective strategy, but it's all I got.
  • 41D: 1880s first family (ARTHURS). Today is a good day to know your presidents.
  • 43D: Words after "jolly," in an old jingle (HO HO HO). Which old jingle would this be? Anyone?
Crosswordese 101: Not a lot of crosswordese in the puzzle. There are a couple words that I think of as "high-end" crosswordese — they don't appear all that often, but I've never seen them outside of crosswords. I seem to recall, though, that a few people had trouble with YETI last time it appeared. YETI (26D: Hairy Asian giant) is another name for the Abominable Snowman, a legendary ape-like creature that lumbers around the Himalayans scaring the snot out of people. Clues for YETI will most often contain the words mysterious, elusive, Himalayan, hairy, legend, creature, hoax, sighting, or giant. The clue might also include a geographical hint: Himalayas, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Asia, or Mt. Everest. He's sometimes referred to as "Bigfoot's cousin."

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 16A: Yours: Fr. (À TOI).
  • 18D: Being, to Ovid (ESSE).
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Everything Else — 10A: __ money (HUSH); 14A: Lit. collection (ANTH.); 19A: Restraining order (HALT); 21A: Cubic meter (STERE); 22A: "Say what?" ("HUH?"); 23A: Like Brahms's Symphony No. 3 (IN F); 28A: Cases (out) (SCOPES); 30A: "My Fair Lady" lyricist (LERNER); 31A: Frequently embroidered pronoun (HERS); 32A: Pilot (AVIATE); 39A: Linguistic habits (USAGES); 40A: Hunk of tobacco (CHAW); 43A: Like some collisions (HEAD-ON); 46A: Much of Libya (SAHARA); 52A: Highest degree (NTH); 55A: Letters seen next to a 4 (GHI); 56A: Maker of Regenerist skin products (OLAY); 60A: Rear (HIND); 61A: Inuit relative (ALEUT); 62A: Hopping game? (HARE); 63A: Handicapper's concern (ODDS); 64A: Hyssop and catnip, e.g. (HERBS); 65A: Sign of a leak (HISS); 1D: Hemp extract (HASHISH); 2D: Heighten (ENHANCE); 3D: Silicon Valley school (STANFORD); 4D: Ecclesiastical deg. (TH.D.); 6D: Host (EMCEE); 7D: Rude dude (CHURL); 9D: __-ThÉrÈse, Quebec (STE.); 10D: Taunting laugh (HAH); 12D: The sugar in your latte, say (SOLUTE); 13D: "Hie thee __, / That I may pour my spirits in thine ear": "Macbeth" (HITHER); 25D: Humdrum (BLAH); 27D: Bathe, as in sunlight (DRENCH); 29D: False start? (PSEUDO-); 32D: H.S. math course (ALG.); 36D: Starting from (AS OF); 37D: Rather and others (DANS); 38D: Kidnap, in a way (SHANGHAI); 42D: Some surfers (WAHINES); 44D: Greek mathematician (EUCLID); 45D: Nearby (AT HAND); 46D: Parade occasion, for short (ST. PAT'S); 47D: Hardly healthy-looking (ASHY); 49D: Selassie of Ethiopia (HAILE); 50D: Having gone around the block more (OLDER); 51D: Provide a new soundtrack for (REDUB); 57D: NFL stat (YDS.); 58D: __-jongg (MAH).


Anonymous said...

"In the valley of the jolly...ho, ho, ho,...Green Giant!"


An okay puzzle, but slightly BLAH theme. Another one of those "Get the H out of here" puzzles. I think I've see too many of these. Also, the fill was a lot of CWese, with NTH, GHI, YETI, OLAY, UTAHAN, ALEUT,A TOI, EMCEE, ALG, ESSE...
Also was too easy for a Friday, but that's okay... I want to get outdoors early today (6 garden walks near me).

Have a nice TGIF day, y'all!

Anonymous said...

HOHOHO is from the Jolly Green Giant jingle for Green Giant food company....google it.
It was also made into a song.

A side note: Jolly Green Giant was a nickname for a US Airforce HH-3E helicopter.


imsdave said...

I'm with our charming hostess on most of the theme answers today, but - I loved MIDDAYSHUN. Sweltering here in overly sunny CT, all I could think of was Noel Coward's "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" and my foolish foray to the links yesterday afternoon.

Worst part is, I'm planning on doing it again tomorrow.

Tinbeni said...

Word of the Day: HUH since I said that to myself quite a few times while solving.

First to fall, HASHISH ...
Probably says something about my 60's early 70's.

Had Caw for HAH, the taunting laugh, and Writ, for HALT, Restraining order, until the UTAHAN Hatch straightened that out.
Noticed the two black blocks that look like Utah on each side of the grid.

GHI, Letters next to 4, are UNDER the number on my phones.

As for the theme, I was more impressed with the vowel progression, A,E,I,O,U than the 'drop the H' thingy.

Also liked how the German SECHS crossed SIXTHS (though my pizza place cuts them into eighths, too).

All-in-all, a bit of a slog but a FUN Friday.

PuzzleGirl Thanks for the Star Wars clip. That does get a real LOL each time I see it.

Van55 said...

This was a pretty nice challenge, I thought. Hated the alphabet run clued as the telephone button, but otherwise have no complaints.

Anonymous said...

In our version in "The Philadelphia Inquirer," 37D's clue was "Rather and others."

*David* said...

This was a naughty puzzle with HEST/THD and SECHS/HOSEL crossings. Overall puzzle wasn't too bad got stuck the longest in the NE where I wanted HATCH for UTAHAN, that whole section is blah, huh, hah with HITHER and SOLUTE, ick pass the sugar.

Joon said...

my suggestion for CW101 is STERE, a word that i've never encountered outside of crosswords despite being a physicist who frequently uses metric units. we just call it a cubic meter. but with those letters, you're bound to see it in a puzzle again.

fun puzzle. felt easy for a friday, but i liked the theme, especially OUT OF SHORTS and SHELL-BY DATE.

CrazyCat said...

Thought the theme was cute. But, had a fair amount of trouble today, especially in the top middle section with CHURL, SECHS, HOSEL, STERE and who cuts their pizza in SIXTHS? That whole area made me a tad cranky. Also didn't like HEST and HITHER. Did know Eustacia VYE from "Return of the Native." That was required reading at my high school. Have always been a fan of Thomas Hardy. HASHISH was a gimmee. I envisioned DEADLY SHINS as possibly being "cankles?" Also had DRIP instead of HISS at 65 across. So had some trouble in the SE as well. A SHAD EXCUSE. Basicically ended up up a DNF. I guess my rating of this puzzle is a HISS, but a HO HO HO for the theme.

Orange said...

THis Here crossword is a record-breaker—it Has a wHopping 28 instances of tHe letter H. THe previous HigH H count was 24, in tHe New York Sun.

Anonymous said...

Too many obscure facts. Not a good one for me.

C said...

@Joon, 100% agree with you on the CW101 comment, I've never seen STERE during my scientific career.

DEADLYSHINS was a complete stretch wrt the clue, er, who is looking at the shins during a beauty pageant?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous: You do know that a "jingle" is a "song", or at least a short bit of one, in an advertisement? Your comment seemed redundant.
I DID like your side note, though, about the HH helicopter. That was something I hadn't thought of.

Rube said...

Enjoyed this puzzle immensely. Chuckled over most of the theme clues, including SHADEXCUSE, as shad are the major forage fish for striped bass in Lake Powell, (where we'll be in a few weeks). Didn't particularly like the clue for Deadly Shins, but the answer was good.

Never heard of HOSEL, but I'm not a golfer... my WOTD. I think I've seen STERE in XWords before, but couldn't remember it. The E crossing with HOSEL was my last letter.

The best clue to me was Hopping game? for HARE. Loud groan. GHI got me... again... when will I cotton on to these things? Another groan.

At least no Goggles required, which is great for a Friday.

Eric said...

@PG: That movie's kinda been done! "Miss Congeniality". Well, same general idea anyway; all but the robot part. I didn't know how to spell SECHS either, but guessed right. Gimme for Sfingi :-)

Re "Star Wars Retold": Nope, hadn't seen it. Too funny! Then there's Hardware Wars. (If you haven't seen it before, watch it before reading the description, which is full of spoilers.)

*BE*HEST I know; unadorned HEST, not so much. Where's Charlton HESTon when you need him? (Speaking of which, C3PO always reminds me of Roddie McDowall, who played Cornelius in the original "Planet of the Apes" (1968), which was written by Pierre Boulle, who didn't we see him recently? Or am I getting my puzzles mixed up?)

@Tinbeni: Hadn't noticed SECHS x SIXTHS, though. Cute. Yah, phone-key letters are over or under the digits (to fit in a square or round button). But I didn't mind the misdirection; it had me looking for an alphanumeric acronym like "4H" or "T4" (a Canadian tax form), which I'm sure was the point.

@Joon & C: I've never used STERE, but got it anyway with a cross or two. I think I back-formed it from "steradian".

Yay for an alphabet other than Greek (ALEPH). I've read that all of the world's true alphabets except one descend from the same proto-Semitic original (Sinai Peninsula, 19th Century BC, according to one theory). The exception is Korean, which was invented out of whole cloth some time in the last millenium; it apparently is a true alphabet, despite resembling other, non-alphabetic Asian scripts.

Where we skied when I was a kid, there was a place where a path crossed one of the t-bars (on the flat, so people were crosscountrying at that point). There was a sign to warn people on the lift about the intersection; it read "YETI crossing", with someone's drawing of one. So that's always a gimme for me.

HOSEL: Never heard it before. Got it from crosses.

THD: Likewise. Wanted something with two D's, to abbreviate "doctor of divinity".

Likes: SOLUTE (especially with that clue), EUCLID, MIDDAY SHUN, OUT OF SHORTS (like me; I do in fact need to do laundry :-))

Dislikes: SHAD EXCUSE, DEADLY SHINS (except that it gets points for inspiring PG's funny robot image).

Goofs: DESERT for SAHARA, and yOHOHO [sic] messed me up for a while, but I caught them. I didn't catch SCouTS for SCOPES, or WAHINiS for WAHINES. I needed to kick the puzzle into "regular" skill level to find those, so this counts as a DNF for me.


Tinbeni said...

"Hardware Wars" is also very funny.

For another, check out the Rex Parker Does the NYT site for the "Original" that inspired JAWS.

Damn, such great clips today!!!

Sfingi said...

Puzzle Girl's Yeti is a special Yeti, the Gama-Go Yeti. This one is also of the Species, Dunny. He was also associated with getting Barak Obama elected. If you know that, you might be a Dunny collector, or a democrat or something.GamaGoYetiBamaT

I got the theme and it didn't help. Also, got SECHS, LERNER and a couple more.

There were many absolutely new words for me, which means I didn't do too well. HOSEL (sports), HEST, STERE (I'm ashamed. Should have known from STEREo which means solid, or from just plain math), WAHINES (sports), ATOI (French, therefore, unfair), ISS (bad abrev.), THD.

@Smilack - Thanks for having a German along with a French.

Had Mormon for UTAHAN, and died, as I should have. Wanted "plug" for CHAW. (Does yo mama chaw tobaccah?)

When I had a student who absolutely freaked out on math, I'd have them write me an essay on
the meaning of "Euclid alone has looked on beauty bare" Edna St. Vincent Millay's 1923 sonnet. This was allowed once.

@Orange - how did you know that?


STERE is used a lot in CWPs, but I agree with @Joon and @C, it's rather specialized. I think it's used as a measure of fireword or cords of wood. In all my years as a rocket-scientist we used cubic metre a lot, but never STERE. I second the motion to make it a CW101, or maybe even a 301.

Thank you @Eric... I split a gut watching your HARDWARE WARS clip. I always thought the Star Wars story was rather silly, this spoof really confirms that.

I've been out in the MIDDAY SUN... garden walks.
Gotta go do my laundry, I'M HOT and I think I'm OUT OF SHORTS, literally.
How's that east coast frypan?

John Wolfenden said...

I really, really wanted "Bathe, as in sunlight" to be DAPPLE.

It made me a bit CHURLish to see a word in the puzzle that hasn't been used other than as an adjective for what, a century or so? Similarly no one says ASHY, they say ashen.

Good theme answers, though, and I like seeing variations on standard crossword grammar like "False start" being PSEUDO and not a word that comes before "false."

Hahtoolah said...

I rather liked the seven DEADLY SHINS response.

Sfingi said...

@John - frypan. It rained a teeny bit last night, lowering the temp by about 7 degrees. But triple H's developed - hot, humid, hazy - due to inversion, and the moisture and dew point are high. It's going to rain heavy tonight, and it'll be cooler and dryer just in time for the Boiler Maker, our 15K race on Sunday AM. Hubster's doing the short version since he broke his foot last year and isn't sure of it.

@Wolfenden - ashen and dapple could refer to similar horsies.

PuzzleGirl's toy really inspires me. There are all sorts of new CWish words in the modern toy industry - Dunny, Esty. This oldster really believes the new toys have it all over the old ones. And creative! Boy it was hard to cuddle with a Steiff.

By the way, at first I thought 54A was ALE PH til I read the clue. What is the PH of ALE?

Anonymous said...

Re Jolly Green Giant

Redundent? a jingle may be part of a song, but the Jingle and the Song in this case are not the same thing



chefwen said...

@Sfingi - WAHINES have nothing to do with sports, it's Hawaiian for females.

Puzzle was a little chewy for me. Favorite answer was shell by date, cute.

Sfingi said...

@Chefwen - Thanx - but please call us (us) women. Hamsters are females. Please don't fall into that policeman jargon whereby the accused is a "gentleman" and the victim a "female." And, by the way the accused is almost always a man and the victim a woman. Fewer than 5% of NYS prisoners are women. Don't get me started!

Wow - I can't believe I went on 3x!

Orange said...

@Sfingi: The daily (not Sunday) puzzle records are kept by Barry Haldiman.

CrazyCat said...

@sfingi I had (still have) a large collection of steiff animals. I found them very cuddly. I still remember all their names.

Burner10 said...

Minus two for me not knowing hosel or stere and going with an A; and thinking of some kind of car (RAV4) and missing GHI.

I also liked deadly shins.

So, a nice Friday concludes and the sun is finally emerging in So Cal. Eat your heart out America - we've had a freeze wave.

Eric said...

@Sfingi: "What is the PH of ALE?" Why, the noise it makes when you pop the cap, of course!

shrub5 said...

Finally found time to work on this tonight. Fun puzzle with many nice clues/answers. Finished without googles but had one error: ETOI instead of ATOI. Don't know French so that looked OK to me; think I confounded it somehow with CW101's needle case ETUI.

Hand up for not knowing STERE in my many years of scientific notations/reading. Another hand up for *really* needing to do laundry (OUT OF SHORTS.) Third hand up for knowing how to say but not spell six in German.

I wanted AWASH for 'bathe, as in sunlight' (DRENCH.) Too short, wrong part of speech.

@CrazyCatLady: think you're right about cankles being DEADLY SHINS.

Bohica said...

When I think of a beauty pageant contestant's DEADLYSHINS - I'm thinking CANKLES (as in no distinction between Calves and Ankles).

Anonymous said...

Sfingi said: @Orange - how did you know that?

Because she copied it from the other blog.