TUESDAY, July 27, 2010
Harvey Estes

Theme: Cover up! — Each theme answer has an item of clothing hidden at its "outer" edge.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Emergency exit with a ladder (FIRE ESCAPE).
  • 60A: Robotic solar system explorer (SPACE PROBE).
  • 10D: Pioneer's wagon (CONESTOGA).
  • 32D: Gibbon (LESSER APE).
  • 38A / 24A: Category of garments fittingly found in the circled letters (OUTER / CLOTHES).
I've got a pretty big problem with this theme. Well, not the theme itself necessarily, but the reveal. OUTER CLOTHES? That's not a thing. It's just not. So I'm thinking it's just a terrible way of saying outerwear. But then why does ROBE fit in the category? A ROBE is sleepwear. So does OUTER CLOTHES just mean an article of clothing that's worn over other clothing? But then what about TOGA? It is not my impression that togas were worn as outerwear. So a big WTF on the theme reveal. I'm also not crazy about the inconsistency of the theme. In three of the theme answers, the article of clothing is four letters long and all four letters appear in one word. Then SERAPE comes along with its six letters breaking over two words. That SERAPE. Always showing off.

Favorite words in the grid today: LAGOON, IGUANAS, and NEPAL (32A: Atoll enclosure / 57A: Spiny lizards / 8D: Tibet neighbor). Oh, and CONESTOGA of course. HAha. The first time I Ever saw this word was in a puzzle at last year's Lollapuzzoola. The crosses were also difficult for me so I had no idea what I was doing. I nailed it today though. Yay me. (By the way, it's not too late to sign up for Lollapuzzoola 3. I guarantee it will be a blast. You should really come.)

Everything else seems pretty straightforward today. Only a couple things jumped out at me:
  • 62A: Kid's summer haven (CAMP). Just sent the PuzzleKids off to an overnight camp-out. I think it's more a haven for me than it is for them!
  • 11D: Challenging words (I DARE YOU). I do enjoy seeing these types of phrases in my grid.
  • 46D: Spread publicly, with "about" (NOISED). I'm not sure I've ever heard this expression.
  • 61D: Wall St. group (ASE). I assume this means American Stock Exchange. And I'm so confident of that assumption that I'm not even going to look it up.
Crosswordese 101: There is a jazz singer named Anita O'DAY. That's pretty much all you need to know about her for crossword purposes. That she exists. And that that's her name.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 1A: "A Death in the Family" author James (AGEE).
  • 59A: Wrist-to-elbow bone (ULNA).
  • 4D: Fencing blades (ÉPÉES).
  • 5D: Recess at St. Peter's (APSE).
  • 7D: Turkish title (AGA).
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Everything Else — 5A: Name on a fridge (AMANA); 10A: Quote as a reference (CITE); 14A: What flags do in the wind (FLAP); 15A: Beeper (PAGER); 16A: Jazzy Anita (O'DAY); 19A: Luggage tag datum (NAME); 20A: Building additions (ANNEXES); 21A: Steamed up (ANGERED); 23A: Caesar's "that is" (ID EST); 24A: Contract provision (CLAUSE); 25A: "Way cool!" ("RAD!"); 26A: Train track (RAIL); 29A: Woodland deities (SATYRS); 34A: Demi of "G.I. Jane" (MOORE); 35A: Frosty's smoke (PIPE); 40A: Wind blast (GUST); 41A: Up to one's ears (in) (AWASH); 43A: Aussie lassie (SHEILA); 45A: Take a bad turn (WORSEN); 47A: Razor's cutter (EDGE); 48A: Homer, to Bart (DAD); 51A: "Angels & __": Dan Brown best-seller (DEMONS); 53A: "Don't even go __!" (THERE); 55A: Arachnoid zodiac sign (SCORPIO); 63A: Chart holder (EASEL); 64A: Mix with a spoon (STIR); 65A: Many a proposal is made on one (KNEE); 66A: Put on fancy attire, with "up" (DRESS); 67A: Cops, slangily (HEAT); 1D: Festive gathering (AFFAIR); 2D: Witch who helped Dorothy get home (GLINDA); 3D: Merited (EARNED); 6D: PC alternatives (MACS); 9D: Sports venues (ARENAS); 12D: Not exactly exciting (TAME); 13D: Gawked at (EYED); 18D: Crowd scene actor (EXTRA); 22D: U.S. Pacific territory (GUAM); 27D: Back in time (AGO); 28D: Debtor's letters (IOU'S); 30D: B&O and Reading (RR'S); 31D: Filming site (SET); 33D: Financial aid criterion (NEED); 35D: Fido's foot (PAW); 36D: "Letters from __ Jima": 2006 film (IWO); 37D: "Sorry about that" ("PARDON ME"); 39D: Fix, as a fight (RIG); 42D: Rope fiber source (HEMP); 44D: Ease off (LET UP); 48D: Indicate (DENOTE); 49D: Oil-rich peninsula (ARABIA); 50D: Most of 49-Down (DESERT); 52D: Like stock without face value (NO PAR); 54D: Tough to take (HARSH); 55D: Use a straw (SUCK); 56D: Scot's family (CLAN); 57D: Tops, as a cupcake (ICES); 58D: Salon applications (GELS).


SethG said...

My downloaded copy had no circles. I didn't care.

RRs and RAIL? You can't do that.

Unknown said...

Well Said PG. I agree with your thoughts on the theme today especially WTF!!! I ended my puzzle today with CLOTHES just for spite.

Also liked Conestoga...Nate

Van55 said...

I didn't have issues with the theme and reveal. I think some license should be allowed to constructors in such matters. I liked this one better than today's NYT entry.

Middletown Bomber said...

@PG a robe is outer clothes as one tends to wear one over pajamas.

Conestoga came easy as it is the name of a nearby High School and it has a picture of a Wagon on its school flag.

Burner 10 said...

PG what you said. Quick solve but ho hum for me.

Tuttle said...

Togas were certainly outerwear. Roman male citizens wore them over a tunic and loincloth. And given Rome's climate that tended to be more than enough.

Eric said...

@PG: ROBE means more than just a bathrobe. Think of the ermine-fringed robes that kings wore in days of old -- most definitely OUTER CLOTHES.

No circles online either. The puzzle was easy enough that it didn't matter.

CONESTOGA was a gimme for me too -- though it helped that by the time I came to it, I had enough crosses to confirm the spelling :-)

Nice CW101'ish captcha: DETER

John Wolfenden said...

Liked that there were two linked answers that crossed each other, even though the term itself didn't make sense.

I'm gonna noise about this puzzle's shortcomings...wait, Harvey Estes just made that expression up.

Rex Parker said...


No circles in mine.

Reveal was god-awful. Fatal. Thanks for leading with that, PG.

Sfingi said...

As the youngsters say, "Meh."

I sure didn't know how to spell CONESTOGA, but learned as I went, especially since there's s town around here named CANASTOTA. Probably both are Native American derived words.

The circles were extra dark on my puzzle, but the NE corner was so schmtuzig it was hard to read. This never happens in the NYT.

@John - hey where RU? My Rose of Sharon, not only failed to bloom like everyone else, but it's a dead gray twig. I noticed a huge ant hill near it. Advice? There are some shoots. Is it like sumac and comes and goes?

NOISES off is Brit. Baby sister tells me SHEILA is Australian for "female," and a bit pejorative.

Mini themes - ICES next to GELS, SATYRS, DEMONS, SCORPIO.

@Tuttle - more great info from you!
Baby sister said that in HS Latin, a kid who hadn't done his translation, said, "I heard Julius Caesar died in a rented toga," and had the teacher looking it up all period until she found Caesar rent (as in tore) his toga.

*David* said...

No hate here but still an overall ho-hum puzzle, tried putting in CALISTOGA first which was my only erase. I'm a sucker for the circle puzzles and liked the theme.

Anonymous said...

"noised about" is in the language where i come from, if slightly old-fashioned. As in --"it was noised about that John and Sally are expecting a family addition."

Alexandrina Victoria said...

NOISED about is in the language where I come from, but then again, I'm friggin Queen Victoria.

Tinbeni said...

If you are going to have "circles" in the grid shouldn't they have the same symmetry?

This seemed more like a Monday level.
Theme and reveals kind of blah.

@Sfingi: I agree!
Walk up to a lass in a Sydney pub and say "Aren't you a pretty SHEILA" and you will probably get your face slapped.
It's like saying "Aren't you a pretty bitch."
TV & Movies make it sound like it just means girl/woman.
Not to the ladies in Australia.

Liked the NO PAR stock next to ASE (Am.Stk.Exchange).
Now I'm wondering if GIBBONS think of themselves as LESSERAPE's.
And THERE is something about PIPE & HEMP, but I forgot.

Zeke said...

First and foremost, thanks PG for doing this.
I Googled "outer clothes" and found some support for it. Really, really bad support. First, this site is #6. All the rest are English language sites for Asian contract clothing manufacturers. Seems outer wear, outer garments gets translated as OUTER/CLOTHES. Unforgivable for a Tuesday reveal.

Anonymous said...

Just discovered your wonderful blog while looking up another answer;so excited to visit you every morning now. Keep up the great work!

Sandy said...

I'm with you on pretty much everything PG. Thanks for validating me.

CrazyCat said...

My niece and nephews went to CONESTOGA High School. I agree with all that has been said about this puzzle. Did the dead tree version so I had the circles and saw TOGA and ROBE right off the bat. Figured the revealer would be something about wraps. OUTER CLOTHING just sounds odd.

Rube said...

I think 12D says it all, but pleasant. Was wondering about the answer for gibbon. Looked lilke a mix of French and Spanish until I saw it written horizontally here. I just put Letters from Iwo Jima on my Netflix queue, (we almost never watch first run movies in the theaters).

Thought SPACEPROBE was a little prosaic when it could have been something like Voyager or Galileo. Well, this is Tuesday.

I don't think of SATYRS as deities, just randy beasts in the woods. Did like to see CONESTOGA and SHEILA in a puzzle. No writeovers today.

Doug P said...

I'm glad to see that PG can sort of laugh about the "Conestoga Incident" at Lollapuzzoola 2. That word (which I think she accused me of making up) was in my puzzle & probably knocked her out of the Local Finals. But she's a shoo-in for this year's Finals, so come to Queens and cheer her on!

Sfingi said...

@Tinbeni - I remember! - I was driving down Genesee St (our main street) and couldn't figure out how to get home. O Wow.

chefbea said...

No circles in my puzzle either

C said...

I have no problem with the items of clothes and the reveal. Technically correct and that's all we can ask of a puzzle maker. Everything else past that is subjective.

TOGA, ROBE, CAPE and SERAPE can all be considered outer clothes. Now, are they the best examples? Not IMHO but then that is IMHO.

Other than that, not much to talk about in this puzzle, back to typical Tuesday puzzle fare.

Benny said...

C, "technically correct" implies there is such a thing as "outer clothes". Outerwear, yes. Overclothes, yes. Outer clothes? Not so much.

Van55 said...

What exactly do you mean when you refer to an element of a puzzle as "fatal," Rex? Would you as edtior have rejected this one for publication solely on the ground of your reaction to the reveal?

C said...

Benny, outer clothes would correctly describe the jacket family of garments, as would outerwear, cold weather gear, formal attire, rain gear, rain clothes, going to winter football game clothes, etc.

Technically correct, i.e. descriptive, but not something that everyone would use in an every day sentence. The description police would not be able to arrest you if you used "outer clothes" to describe jackets, serapes, togas, capes or robes.

Now, is it a high quality reveal? No, IMHO.

Tinbeni said...

And I learn there is one more thing for me to worry about.

First it was the "Mattress Tag Police."
Now I find out there are "The Description Police" ???

Down on the nude beach at Hedonism II, Negril, Jamaica, the term "outer clothes" never came up.

PuzzleGirl said...

@Van55: Obviously, I can't speak for Rex, but I would not have accepted this puzzle as is. I'm sure puzzles are rejected for these kinds of reasons every day.

CrazyCat said...

So if CAPE, ROBE, TOGA and SERAPI are OUTER CLOTHES, does that make underwear INNER CLOTHES?

Just wondering.....

Unknown said...

I remember doing that crossword. The clue for outerwear was the hardest one!