WEDNESDAY, July 14, 2010
Bruce Venzke

Theme: And how would you like that done? — Theme answers are familiar phrases that begin with words that can describe how well meat is cooked.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Iron ore, to a steel mill (RAW MATERIAL).
  • 34A: Seller of an Inverted Jenny, perhaps (RARE STAMP DEALER).
  • 43A: Guns with a caliber between 105 and 155 millimeters (MEDIUM ARTILLERY).
  • 58A: Buxom, facetiously (WELL-ENDOWED).
I didn't have much trouble with this puzzle today. I wanted adversaries to come to blows instead of TERMS (4D: What adversaries may come to). Not sure what that says about me. And I couldn't figure out what 44D: Loosen, as a cap was going for. All I could think was that "cap" meant "hat" and I couldn't figure out how you would loosen one. I mean, you can adjust the little thing in the back if it's an adjustable baseball cap, but that's a little more than seven letters. UNTWIST. Ohhhh, that kind of cap.

I actually thought for a while that the theme was going to something about facial expressions, what with EYER, LEER, SNEER, and SMIRK all showing up for the party (15A: 7-Down user / 7D: Rake's look / 13D: Villain's look / 32D: Self-satisfied smile). Speaking of EYER, it also makes quite a threesome with -AIRE and EYRE (67A: Suffix for the well-to-do / 6D: Rochester's love). None of that bothered me while I was solving (and doesn't really bother me now), but it kept me distracted enough that I didn't get the theme until I was pretty much done with the puzzle. Oh, the one that did bother me a little was 72A: Dowsing tools. I thought, well it can't be RODS because A-ROD is already in the grid (22D: Youngest to reach 500 HRs). But … yes. Yes, it could be.

There were two clues that made me go "huh?" 25A: Certain park visitor for TRAILER. I don't get that. Is it referring to a "trailer park"? But, the trailers aren't visiting at a trailer park, are they? Maybe I just don't know enough about trailer parks. The other was 56D: It gets burnt a lot for TOAST. Yes, I know toast gets burnt, but "a lot"? That seems like a random qualifier. It only gets burnt at my house every once in a while. Is there some kind of toast-burning venue that I'm not thinking of here?

Stuff I liked:
  • 51A: '70s Robert Blake cop show (BARETTA). Weren't we just talking about him?? Oh wait, that was over at Rex's place last weekend.
  • 2D: Lola's club (COPA). I know Amy is enjoying this. She luurrvs this song!
  • 9D: Flintstone's boss (MR. SLATE). Seems to me we've seen him in the grid recently but he's always welcome as far as I'm concerned.
  • 27D: Like Miss Manners (PRIM). Love. Her. I don't actually think of her as prim, though. I mean, she acts like she's prim, but that's totally fake, right? I think of her more as laugh-out-loud-hilarious than prim. (One of my favorite quotes is hers: "If you can't be kind, at least be vague." Words to live by.)
  • 47D: Like many rock bands (LOUD). I got a chuckle out of this one. So true. I distinctly remember many years ago being at work the morning after a Cheap Trick concert and hearing someone put ice cubes in a glass. I thought my teeth were going to explode.
  • 59D: New Mexico athlete (LOBO). Yay, New Mexico! I was actually an Aggie for the little bit of time I spent in college in New Mexico, but the LOBO is a pretty cool mascot.
Crosswordese 101: There are only a couple INEZes you need to know for puzzles. One is INEZ Foxx, a singer who had a hit in 1963 with "Mockingbird" (later covered by James Taylor and Carly Simon — that's the version I'm familiar with). Then there's the 1966 Hurricane INEZ. And, finally, it would have helped you today to know that 40A: Don Juan's mother was named INEZ.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 17A: One executing a takeoff? (APER).
  • 38D: Cornell who founded Cornell (EZRA).
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Everything Else — 1A: Fitzgerald forte (SCAT); 5A: Karate award (BELT); 9A: Sail supports (MASTS); 14A: Word after dial or earth (TONE); 16A: Just kept yakking (RAN ON); 18A: Nevada's __ 51 (AREA); 19A: Go Dutch (SHARE); 23A: 66, famously: Abbr. (RTE.); 24A: Lisa, to Bart (SIS); 27A: Pollutant banned in the U.S. in 1979 (PCB); 30A: Cold War craft (MIGS); 33A: Available without an Rx (OTC); 41A: Little white thing (LIE); 42A: Co-star of Joel in the film "Cabaret" (LIZA); 48A: Jackson-to-Tupelo dir. (NNE); 49A: Corn syrup brand (KARO); 50A: Glasgow negative (NAE); 55A: Odd man's place? (OUT); 57A: Schooner contents (ALE); 64A: Six-Day War site (SINAI); 66A: Like many deli orders (TO-GO); 68A: Is after (SEEKS); 69A: Israel's first UN ambassador (EBAN); 70A: Concrete piece (SLAB); 71A: __ a time (ONE AT); 73A: Tracy's Trueheart (TESS); 1D: Dallas Cowboys emblem (STAR); 3D: From square one (ANEW); 5D: Scrams (BEATS IT); 8D: Pattern baldness, e.g. (TRAIT); 10D: Hot tub sound (AAH); 11D: Dog's warning (SNARL); 12D: Rich cake (TORTE); 21D: Gets in one's sights, with "at" (AIMS); 26D: Stud declaration (I CALL); 28D: Prop for Astaire (CANE); 29D: Raised (BRED); 31D: Inaugural ball, e.g. (GALA); 35D: Salon or Slate (E-ZINE); 36D: Anti-fur farming gp. (PETA); 37D: A house may have one on it (LIEN); 39D: "Hellzapoppin'" (1941) actress Martha (RAYE); 45D: __ out: dispense (METE); 46D: T-shirt transfers (IRON-ONS); 51D: __ profundo: low voice (BASSO); 52D: Xenophobe's fear (ALIEN); 53D: Zellweger of "Chicago" (RENEE); 54D: Let out, perhaps (ALTER); 60D: Word of mock horror (EGAD); 61D: Sneaky trick (WILE); 62D: Paleozoic et al. (ERAS); 63D: Belles at balls (DEBS); 65D: Wanted poster abbr. (AKA).



Wow! Another nice puzzle this week.
Of course, I should have known... it's a Venzke!
It was a quick-solve for me.
I'm a huge fan of Ella Fitzgerald and so SCAT started me off right.
Also, I think RENEE Zellweger is an extremely talented actress and a very sweet person (judging from interviews). So that went down well. The key phrase in this puzzle was: RARE STAMP DEALER ("Seller of an inverted Jenny"). OMG, I got that immediately because I'm a philatelist and knew that that referred to the freak stamp with the upside-down biplane. But then I got to my beloved RTE 66, and that seemed to cinch it for me. Getting to the end... TESS Trueheart, Dick Tracy's girlfriend. My favorite comic strip. Why, I even had collected all of the "Crimestoppers' Textbook" and had my own 2-way wrist radio. Did you know that The Chester Gould Dick Tracy Museum is located nearby in Woodstock, IL? It's where he had his studio for 46 years.

Oops... better get going before I burn my TOAST.

Have a wonderful day y'all.


If any of you are interested in RTE 66, I manage the world's largest online collection of ROUTE 66 PHOTOS.

davinap said...

UNTWIST? Really?! Don't you twist the cap on, then twist it off? The "UN-" seems redundant. Other than that, nice smooth mid-week puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Great writeup as usual, PG! You're the best!

Van55 said...

Once again I didn't see (or look for) the theme until I logged into this blog. I don't know if that signifies that the theme was not arresting or that I need to pay more attention.

Not a fan of EZINE, especially as clued. Maybe I'm just not familiar with those titles on the web. Don't care for APER, either. And I probably shouldn't even bother to mention the compass direction (NNE) between two more or less random and little known cities. (Apologies to my Mississippi friends -- I know Jackson is the capital city, and I have been there. But I doubt that most of the solving community knows Mississippi geography well enough to know which way to from there to get to Tupelo.)

*David* said...

Flew through the top half of the puzzle and got bogged down in the middle with a bunch of errors. I had LAWN for LIEN, YNEZ for INEZ, and ELIA for EZRA. Could've been one of my fastest times for a Wednesday.

Tinbeni said...

Knew you loved RTE 66 being in the grid.

I usually UNTWIST the cap when I open my bottle of Scotch, unless it is Cardhu, then I uncork it.

EGAD there are a lot of looks, EYER, LEER, SNARL, SNEER and SMIRK.

Also liked the homophone EYRE and AIRE.

Not thrilled with the two AROD & RODS or that Flintstone's boss is MR. SLATE and one of the cited EZINE is Slate.

Read the clue for 50a incorrectly as Glasgow native. Thought WTF? the realized it was the NAE negative.

Rube said...

For the most part this was an enjoyable puzzle. Don't believe I have ever used or heard used APER or EYER, two words that should be retired from crosswordese, IMO.

My only write-over was blowS for TERMS, oh, and AhH for AAH. Googled Lola and COPA... guess I never heard the song, or it never registered. AROD and RODS are so different that I see no problem with them in the same puzzle.

C said...

Easy puzzle, not much to comment on.

@PG, in cartoon land, toast is the number one burned thing so if you solve from Elmer or Foghorn's perspective, this one is a gimme ;^)

Masked and Anonymous said...

Pretty well-crafted puz. Can tell an old pro was workin' the reins. He needs to have someone take a look at his toaster, though.

Seems to be a hint of theme deja-vuscosity here, but can't quite pin it down. Anyhow, make my burger medium-well, since you asked.

Enjoyed the solve, generally...puz didn't put up much fight, really. Fill was fine. Kinda like it when the longer non-theme answers go the multiple-word route. Puz was a bit pink in the middle, vis-a-vis U's in the grid. Fave words: SMIRK, BEATSIT, IRONONS, UNTWIST, MR SLATE, BARETTA, SNARL.

Loaded artillery shells in a National Guard unit one time; as I recall, we called 43-A "MEDIUM range ARTILLERY". Just a nit hardly worth pickin'.

Anonymous said...

I loved the "stud declaration" clue. I couldn't get past a stud not the game.

CrazyCat said...

Thought this was a fine puzzle today. Lots of good fill. Theme made me want a medium rare hamburger. Most of what I had to say has already been covered in the comments.
@JNH Thanks for clearing up 34A for me. In my mind I saw INVERTED JENNY as an upside down female donkey. Also another great shout out for RTE 66 or Foothill Blvd. as it's known in these parts. Read a couple weeks ago that the City is going to take over this section from the state of CA in 2011 or 2012.
Thanks PG for a fabulous write up.

Rex Parker said...

3-something, I think.

Didn't like the RARE or MEDIUM answers. Rest is OK.

Can't really believe that, in such an easy little corner, ONE AT was really necessary as a partial. It's holding up ... nothing.

Sfingi said...

Agree, fairly easy. Got and like the theme.
Did have blowS before TERMS (adversaries come to), and entered "blue" where RAWMATERIALS begins. Or perhaps "bleu." That's a crispy critter I pass on, even if they wouldn't exist if people didn't eat them.

Disagree that to go Dutch means to SHARE. I can picture the other guy, after agreeing to "go Dutch," but misunderstanding it to mean SHARE, letting you order chicken, and he orders lobster. Going Dutch means we each pay our own.

Did not know MR SLATE, but guessed on crosses. Had to be some sort of rock.
Neither did I know Mr. LOBO.

Didn't like EYER (who even says that?) or directional stuff like NNE.
Did like sseing RAYE, TESS Truehart, LOLA and BARETTA.
Rather like things like AROD and RODS in same CW. Seems themy. I just made up a CW word that word frive me nutz!

INEZ is also a Gypsy Queen and a 1966 deadly hurricane

LEER, SNEER, SNARL, definitely a mini-theme.

For us lucky enough to have maple syrup, KARO is barfy.

Just put my vitrine in the hands of an antique dealer. Too many gimcracks for my taste. There's a couple neat words.

I have at least 2 toasters in the cellar.

@John - guess I'll never get to see the Roy Rogers museum.

@Davinap - I think you UNTWIST it off and twist it on.

John Wolfenden said...

I agree, Sfingi, I had SPLIT for "Go Dutch" and was nonplussed to find the real answer. Where did that expression come from, anyway? It's not as if the Dutch have a reputation for stinginess. I read one post claiming that it dates back to the 17th century, when England and Holland were locked in a bitter commercial war.

Hahtoolah said...

I thought this was a fun Wednesday puzzle. It was only after I completed the puzzle and looked at the long fills was I able to grok onto the theme.

Could you explain the significance of the 2 princes on your write up?

Ere said...

@Hahtool: The two Heirs to the throne are right next to the bit about AIRES/EYRE appearing in the puzzle.

Sfingi said...

I sure had a lot of typos in my last entry.

@John Wolfenden - I just looked up "going Dutch" on Google, it was interesting. For some reason I was told growing up that since I have both Dutch and Scots blood, I'm bound to be a cheapskate, which was considered a good thing. But even in the 16th - 17th centuries, the Dutch were very generous. They took in both the Jews and the Separatists (Puritans). The Puritans were so comfortable they were afraid only of losing their language.
I was also told the Welsh were thieves, and that certainly didn't prove out, I think it's simple xenophobia, all around.

Peter said...

I wasn't a huge fan of this one, maybe because the theme didn't occur to me -- that's my own fault I guess.

One humorous note: for "Stud declaration" I had filled in ICA__; I wanted to fill in ICAME! Good for a little laugh anyway, I knew it couldn't be in the LA Times.