THURSDAY, July 22, 2010
Pete Muller

Theme: Paper or Plastic — Theme answers are familiar phrases with the letters of the word PLASTIC hidden in them consecutively.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: State of the Union, say (POLITICAL SPEECH).
  • 25A: Military tradition (HOSPITAL CORNERS).
  • 46A: Looney Tunes genre (SLAPSTICK COMEDY).
  • 60A: Useful waste, what's literally hidden in 17-, 25- and 46-Across (RECYCLED PLASTIC).
Wow. This puzzle took me a good bit of time. The reveal answer was the last thing I was able to piece together, so the theme didn't help me a bit. Not sure if it would have anyway. I'll be interested to hear if the theme helped you guys at all. I had the most trouble in the Northern California area where the HUFFS / ORIEL / SIDRA collision took a while to sort out (25D: Blows / 26D: Cantilevered window / 27D: Libya's Gulf of __). I couldn't come up with ORIEL to save my life. I knew it was crosswordese but all I could think of was oxeye. And that's not a cantilevered window, in case you didn't know. Also it made the middle letter of the 33A: Sch. with a Narragansett Bay campus an X and I was pretty sure that wasn't right.

As I mentioned, the southeast corner also gave me some trouble. I had the RECYCLED part, but took a while to get PLASTIC. I had the poor Scots vacationing on the brae instead of the LOCH (64A: Scot's vacation site). Do Scots really vacation on LOCHs? Wade? You out there? I also had trouble with LIAISE which is just a horrible, horrible word (56A: Make a connection (with)). I don't have any problem with it showing up in the puzzle because it's a word that people actually use but honestly … they just shouldn't. Because did I mention it's horrible?

I had the opportunity to meet Pete Muller at the Crosswords L.A. tournament a couple months ago. He constructed one of the tournament puzzles and it was really fun. Also, his wife was super pregnant, so I'm guessing they have a bigger family at this point. So congratulations to the Mullers and thanks, Pete, for a tough puzzle today!

  • 10A: '60s-'70s pitcher nicknamed Blue Moon (ODOM). Learned about him from crosswords.
  • 34A: Odin's group (AESIR). This too.
  • 36A: Word with mala or bona (FIDE). Not sure I've ever heard of mala FIDE before, but it means pretty much what you would think it means.
  • 51A: Japanese golfer in the World Golf Hall of Fame (ISAO AOKI). He's crosswordese, but it's fun to see his whole name in the grid for a change.
  • 67A: Sean's mom (YOKO). Me: "Should I know Sean Penn's mom?"
  • 2D: Info (POOP). Heh heh. You said POOP.
  • 4D: Alpine wear (SKI CAP). Tried ski hat at first.
  • 7D: Jobs creation? (IMAC). I like this clue. "Jobs creation" is a phrase we're hearing a lot these days so the misdirection works well. (In this clue, Jobs refers to Steve Jobs.)
  • 9D: Easy-Bake Oven maker (HASBRO). I remember my Easy-Bake Oven. I'm pretty sure I got it for my birthday the same year I got a Mrs. Beasley doll.
  • 13D: Mineralogist Friedrich (MOHS). I was a little distressed that I needed to know a mineralogist, but I've actually heard of this guy. Or, at least I've heard of his scale.
  • 19D: Standard partner (POORS). Something to do with the financial industry. Do they rate bonds? Something like that.
  • 30D: Bivouac (ETAPE). As far as I'm concerned there's no excuse for this word to show up without it being clued in relation to the Tour de France. And I mean that in general, not just today. But especially today!
  • 37D: Strike target (EMPLOYER). Again, with all the war talk we hear these days the misdirection on this clue totally worked on me.
  • 48D: Like five per cent, to a server (MEASLY). I can't say as I've ever left a 5% tip, but I would if the service was measly.
Crosswordese 101: TALIA Shire (18D: Two-time Oscar nominee Shire) is an actress who played Connie in the "Godfather" movies and Adrian in the "Rocky" movies. Clues for TALIA will always include one of the following words: actress, co-star, Shire, Sylvester, Sly, Rocky, or Godfather.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 5A: Silly (APISH).
  • 33A: Sch. with a Narragansett Bay campus (URI).
  • 51A: Japanese golfer in the World Golf Hall of Fame (ISAO AOKI).
  • 26D: Cantilevered window (ORIEL).

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Everything Else — 1A: NASDAQ debuts (IPO'S); 14A: Attic-dweller of '70s-'80s TV (MORK); 15A: Home of a mythical lion (NEMEA); 16A: Admonition to Nanette? (NO NO); 20A: Miniature surveillance gadget (SPY CAM); 21A: Rear ends of a sort (CABOOSES); 22A: What there oughta be (A LAW); 24A: Skirmish (ROW); 35A: Tuned to (SET AT); 38A: Works in a Catalonian museum (DALIS); 40A: Classico competitor (RAGU); 41A: Element 100 eponym (FERMI); 43A: Betty Crocker salad topping (BACOS); 45A: Crosswalk sign word (PED); 49A: Eastern tongue (LAO); 50A: It might be a close call (SAFE); 62A: Leafy veggie (KALE); 63A: Merge (UNITE); 65A: Insult (SLUR); 66A: Try to persuade, with "with" (PLEAD); 1D: Troublemakers (IMPS); 3D: French touchdown site (ORLY); 5D: Like many short films (ANIMATED); 6D: Workout target (PEC); 8D: "The Fugitive" actress Ward (SELA); 10D: Used car selling point (ONE OWNER); 11D: Performs (DOES); 12D: Singly (ONCE); 23D: Horseradish relative (WASABI); 28D: Not a deep purple (LILAC); 29D: Pains in the neck (CRICKS); 31D: Wreaked havoc, as a battle (RAGED); 32D: Prepare, in a way (STUDY); 39D: Of questionable repute (SO-CALLED); 42D: First name in sci-fi (ISAAC); 44D: Balkan capital (SOFIA); 47D: Install needed equipment (TOOL UP); 51D: Nettles (IRKS); 52D: Sea World clapper (SEAL); 53D: First Amendment advocacy gp. (ACLU); 54D: __ Ration (KEN-L); 55D: Romeo's last words (I DIE); 57D: "Am __ late?" (I TOO); 58D: Twisted (SICK); 59D: Comeback (ECHO); 61D: Harper Valley org. (PTA).


Rex Parker said...

Hardest LAT Thu. I've ever done. And I had ORIEL right off the bat. Not sure what I'd have done over in SIDRA land w/o it. Clues were vague enough to make the puzzle hard to tear through. Then I had WAGED for RAGE, which made HOSPITAL CORNERS (esp!!!! as clued, wtf? talk about vague) impossible to see. Last letter was Impossible to get BACOS (I had CRINKS, not CRICKS, and "Betty Crocker Salad" means jack to me).

Love the toughness, but some of the fill is ... well, ETAPE-y. And the cluing kind of jive in places.


Wow… we haven’t had a good anagram-puzzle in quite awhile.
This one was good as I started to see scrambled PLASTIC strewn throughout the puzzle. By the time I got to 60A it was confirmed.
This one took me nearly 45 minutes to solve. Well over par for a Thursday LAT.

Got stuck on several obscure words, like the Greek and Norse mythology stuff (NEMEA and AESIR).
Also, I’m not into sports, so ODOM was unknown to me.
I should have known 41A “Element 100 eponym“ (FERMI) because I live real close to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located in Batavia Illinois. It’s 10 square miles, has prairie restorations (with bisons), has a great museum, and is a wonderful place for bicycling and bird-watching… I go there often.

I always like seeing DALI in a CWP. I have a print of his famous painting “The Sacrament of the Last Supper” hanging on my wall. The original hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. It’s awesome!

“NO, NO, Nanette” was the movie that my dad took my mom to see on their very first date… I believe that was in 1925.

Very nice puzzle, Pete. Thank you.
And a super writeup, Puzzlegirl!

I’ve got a ton of Michigan blueberries and raspberries, so I think I’ll just stay home for breakfast and have cereal and berries. YUMMMM!

Y’all have a great Thursday!


Oh now I remember MOHS, that was a scale of mineral hardness that we used in my Soil Mechanics course (CE330). Never knew it was named after Friedrich MOHS. Speaking of anagrams, we also see OHMS in CW's. That's a unit of electrical resistance named after a German physicist, Georg Simon Ohm.
Now all we need is SHMO... any experts on yiddish out there?

Van55 said...

This one was a real struggle especially for a mid-week puzzle. Neither the theme nor the reveal helped a bit and the 24 proper names didn't help much either.

Tinbeni said...

As is my custom, I searched out the theme reveal early. This yielded absolutely no traction.

But my Mug of Java was working as I just entered AESIR, NEMEA, ORIEL and (Gulf of) SIDRA.

Then struggled to get KEN'L Ration. Other than Alpo, I have no clue when it comes to pet food.

So this became mostly a word-by-crossword slog.

Works in a St. Petersburg, Fla. museum, DALIS, was a gimmie.

Had crimps before CRICKS in my neck. Also, puffs before HUFFS.

For Friday this was FUN!
What, it's Thursday? Damn, this was tough.

David L said...

Very tough for a Thursday, and some of the cluing seemed iffy to me. I couldn't find any definition of ETAPE on the web that made it synonymous with bivouac -- closest was etape as a military materiel store, whereas bivouac refers to people storage, so to speak...

TOOLUP is a new phrase to me -- if anything, I would take it to mean making sure you have the correct devices, instruments, and sundries on hand before you "install needed equipment."

@JNH: I used to work at Fermilab, years ago! Beautiful place, as you say.

Sfingi said...

@Puzzle Girl - Agree with very much of what you said. Attorney hubster agrees we've never seen mala FIDE.

Well, we had PUPU yesterday, and POOP today. Will we mature a bit and go for bowel movement or manure tomorrow? Or, better yet, change the subject. Prefer genital to anal, thank you. (And thank you, Freud.)

And PEC again.

I did not finish.
Did not get the theme. Thought it might be names of credit cards. So it's anagrams of PLASTIC.

Did not know SIDRA, SELA, Mr. MOHS first name, the 100th element., how to spell ISAOAOKI
(mnemonic - ow ow).

Got DALI (the only reason I'd ever go to FL), KENL, KALE (childhood fave).
NEMEA, ORIEL, AESIR we've had before, and I've been educated.

@John - our Upstate NY blackberries are just ripening.
Also, the Dali picture you mention, as well as some of his Crucifixes has begun to be used on wake prayer cards.

*David* said...

I feel a bit better, real struggle for a Thrusday where the SIDRA/HUFFS caused me the most trouble. First had MIFFS then PUFFS. The theme was so tenuos that it didn't really mean anything to me once I completed it.

Irritated_Prof said...

I loved this one-- murderous at first, but some of the clues were just so sly ("JOBS CREATION" = "iMac") that I was grinning when I got through. I missed Mohs and Odom, not knowing anything about either mineralogy or baseball, and that one about an attic-dwelling TV character had me thinking about "Three's Company" for some reason. But, really, this was tough but a lot of fun. And, yeah, way more time and effort than I'm used to on a Thursday.

Zeke said...

What Rex said, with one addition. HUFFS caused me trouble, because HUFFING involves inhaling, not blowing. I need different friends.

C said...

Fun puzzle and, fortunate for me, a sweet spot puzzle as a lot of the answers were ones that I had a lot of experience with (ODOM, ORIEL, MOHS, FERMI, ETAPE, etc.)

My one area of slowness was trying to figure out how to spell LIAISE which was complicated by me insisting that MEAGER was a better answer than MEASLY which made a mess of the corner. As usual, when it comes to crosswords, I end up losing the argument and going with the constructors answer. One day, I will win one of these arguments and it will be sweet, oh yes, it will be sweeeeeeeeeet ;^)

mac said...

This was a good LAT puzzle, toughish and fun. Quality work, Mr. Muller.

Mark said...

This was tough one! I wanted ABS for PEC at 6D, KENNER for HASBRO at 9D and READY for STUDY at 32D. I did not know WASABI or LIAISE. I didnt care for the clue at 45A, PED is not a word.

Gene said...

Braincramper of a theme. "Only by crossing it out."

John Wolfenden said...

Truly tricky but enjoyed it anyway. To me it's a weakness of the puzzle if it's impossible to get the theme until you've gotten all the theme answers. Well, maybe it wasn't impossible, but if none of this blog's regular posters got it until after the fact it's pretty close.

Definitely agree about LIASE...it's in that category of odious business-speak, created by people who need to justify their salaries by making nouns into verbs even though there's already a perfectly good word for that. Like "impact."

MOHS and ODOM is a truly obscure cross. Seemed like a Friday puzzle.

CrazyCat said...

I TOO really struggled through this one for many of the reasons stated above. I gave up on the MOHS and ODOM cross and googled the Pitcher named Blue Moon. Couldn't figure out the theme even though I had all the theme answers and the revealer. I agree that the cluing was very vague. Did not like 45A Crosswalk word PED. PED isn't a word. Didn't know ETAPE, NEMEA (wanted Narnia) or AESIR. Had Mattel before HASBRO, Mauve before LILAC and Insult before MEASLY. Liked Jobs creation IMAC and What there oughta be - A LAW.
BACOS are vile bits of fake bacon.

fergus said...

Very impressed by this puzzle. There was a lot going on, with a bunch of ambiguous Clues. Sophisticated theme from my point of view. With a unifying element that is hard to describe regarding the coherence of so many of the entries.

MOHS and ODOM were gimmies for me, while I had a total Natick with NYT today. Proving ever again that is hard to state what should be recognized as general knowledge.

Rube said...

Truly, this was a difficult Thursday puzzle. Got thru the bottom half OK, and got POLITICALSPEECH up top. Those and the reveal told me what letters I was missing from the Military tradition. Unfortunately, insisted on pUFF and pOmP___. Took me the longest time to straighten out because I couldn't remember SIDRA and couldn't believe mala FIDE was a real expression.

Couldn't remember the land of Hercules' lion... Nivia,Nevea... something like that. Didn't know Ward SILA, (SILA Ward?). Got the Jobs clue immediately, but was it an iPod, iPad, or iMAC?

Had MOHr instead of MOHS. The first is Christian Otto of stress circle fame and the second is Friedrich of mineralogical fame. If you, too, are a Geological Engineer you can commiserate. I've done this before!

gespenst said...

Wow, TOUGH puzzle, but I slogged my way through it.

I pulled ORIEL out of the dusty recesses of my mind. Ditto MOHS.

The SE corner fell last, in part b/c I had IONA as a vacation spot, and when the LIAISE first came to mind it was as LIASON ... of course that's misspelled, and screwed w/ ITOO.

I actually solved that corner while driving ... NO I wasn't actually looking at the puzzle while driving, just thinking about it. That's where I managed to convert misspelled LIASON into LIAISE, figure out ECHO, correct my mispercieved "something-tip" to MEASLY, and *finally* realize *which* Sean they were referring to when I saw that his mom was Y--O :)

Loved SICK for twisted ... we call L&O SVU "Sick and Wrong."

For some reason, even though I got the "RECYCLED" part, the "PLASTIC" was tougher. I figured out which letters the others had in common, and "RECYCLED PLASTIC" is reasonable phrase ... but it took WAY too long to rearrange it to fit. Ah well.

This was definitely more of a Friday puzzle - but I can't complain when I enjoy the challenge :)