M O N D A Y   August 30, 2010
James Sajdak

Theme: The Kennedy Boys — Theme answers are familiar phrases that start with the names of the political Kennedy brothers.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Mister Fixit (JACK OF ALL TRADES).
  • 30A: Footwear often turned down at the ankle (BOBBY SOCKS).
  • 41A: Tots' furry sleeping companions (TEDDY BEARS).
  • 54A: Hyannis Port site where the starts of 20-, 30- and 41-Across were often found (KENNEDY COMPOUND).
Simple theme that I haven't seen before, straightforward clues, no clunkers, and a couple of stumbling blocks that didn't take long to work themselves out. Yep, it's an enjoyable Monday puzzle alright.

  • 1A: Stringed instrument that may be taller than its player (HARP). Started with BASS.
  • 46A: Jazz combo rhythm providers (DRUMS). I don't know why, but that clue cracks me up. I think because it's so specific.
  • 60A: Hippo ending (-DROME). Because -POTAMUS wouldn't fit.
  • 63A: Loudness units (SONES). I can never remember this word. I always want it to be "decibels" and it never is.
  • 1D: Pilgrim to Mecca (HADJI). We've covered HADJ in CW101, so maybe that helped you here.
  • 4D: Gdansk dance (POLKA). When I was 15 I danced a rollicking polka with the governor of North Dakota, Art Link. I've never danced a polka since. And I don't need to because that one time was awesome.
  • 18D: Hungarian dessert wines (TOKAYS). Never heard of this. Got it totally through crosses.
  • 51D: David of the PGA (DUVAL). We haven't heard much from DUVAL in the last several years, but I'm still hoping he gets his mojo back sometime soon.
Crosswordese 101: Mt. ETNA is Europe's largest and highest active volcano. It's in Sicily, near both Taormina and Catania. "Volcano words" you can look for in clues for ETNA include erupter, spewer, smoker, and spouter. Or, the clue might just come right out and say it's a volcano, like today's 6D: Italian volcano.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 15A: Native Nebraskan (OTOE).
  • 37A: Qatari chieftains (EMIRS).
  • 65A: Israeli airline (EL AL).
  • 12D: Fencing sword (ÉPÉE).
  • 27D: Bear, to Brutus (URSA).
  • 31D: Sharif of "Doctor Zhivago" (OMAR).
  • 55D: River through Spain (EBRO).
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Everything Else — 5A: Left the room (WENT); 9A: Defame in print (LIBEL); 14A: Chevy subcompact since 2004 (AVEO); 16A: Slip away to tie the knot (ELOPE); 17A: Phone sounds (DIAL TONES); 19A: "Manhattan" director Woody (ALLEN); 22A: What you eat, to a dietitian (INTAKE); 23A: Canonized person (SAINT); 24A: Gallery fare (ART); 26A: Prefix with intellectual (PSEUDO-); 36A: Vicinity (AREA); 38A: __ kwon do (TAE); 39A: Valued possession (ASSET); 40A: It means nothing to a Nicaraguan (NADA); 43A: Totally soak (DRENCH); 45A: Sun. church delivery (SER.); 49A: Ice cream treat (SUNDAE); 58A: Skyscraper girder (I-BEAM); 59A: Clan members (RELATIVES); 61A: Shave-haircut link (AND A); 62A: Like valuable stamps (RARE); 64A: Appear to be (SEEM); 2D: Birdlike (AVIAN); 3D: Jerk or frown, e.g. (REACT); 5D: Low-frequency speakers (WOOFERS); 7D: Carols (NOELS); 8D: Onetime Edison rival Nikola (TESLA); 9D: Absorbs the lesson (LEARNS); 10D: Anxious (ILL AT EASE); 11D: Like headline typefaces (BOLD); 13D: Camera's focusing device (LENS); 21D: Pointers (TIPS); 25D: Shopper's carryall (TOTE); 28D: Bambi and kin (DEER); 29D: Cheerios grain (OATS); 30D: Give a little (BEND); 32D: Wait (BIDE); 33D: Nongeneric, as a drug (BRAND NAME); 34D: Gentleman's opposite (CAD); 35D: Sneakers since 1916 (KEDS); 39D: Discourteously curt (ABRUPT); 41D: Dull impact sound (THUD); 42D: Polite response to Mother (YES MA'AM); 44D: Heavy liqueurs (CREMES); 47D: Breckinridge and Hess (MYRAS); 48D: Act division (SCENE); 50D: Bête __ (NOIRE); 52D: End of __ (AN ERA); 53D: Memorable '50s lemon (EDSEL); 54D: Jokes with (KIDS); 56D: Strip lighting (NEON); 57D: Quaint shoppe word (OLDE).



Yeah, I too started with BASS until I saw 1D which just had to be HADJI.

Fun puzzle to solve. As I went through the theme words JACK, BOBBY, and TEDDY, I said “hmm, sounds like the Kennedy brothers.“ Then I go to 54A and voile it was indeed about them. I love puzzles that surprise you.

And Tinbeni and I are delighted to see our old friend Nikola TESLA again. He was in many ways more responsible for today’s electric power generation than TAE and yet he’s unsung almost everywhere but in crossword puzzles.
There are some bête NOIRE words that just irritate the heck out of crossworders: EPEE, EMIRS, and EL AL. They SEEM to be compulsories for like every third CW construction. Oh yeah, and how often have we seen SER?

It’s quite ironic that James Sajdak paired up MYRA Breckinridge with Dame MYRA Hess in 47D. The all-time worst movie ever and the most outstanding pianist in musical history. Yikes! To remind us all of the most noble MYRA legacy, here’s a clip ofDame Hess playing “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”

Two of the most commonly misused legal terms are LIBEL and slander. We normally associate LIBEL with written defamation, while slander is usually spoken. Both terms refer to defamation of character, but legally they are different. The most important distinction between the two terms are: LIBEL damages are usually assumed, but in the case of slander, the plaintiff must usually prove special damages.

From the PSEUDO-Intellectual, John H.

Van55 said...

Very solid Monday puzzle.

No offense intended, PG, but TOKAY is crosswords for me. The fact that you've never heard of it suggests callowness on your part. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Van55 said...

Damn. Sometimes I hate automatic spellcheck. TOKAY is crosswordese.


Hey Van, I'm an old guy and I never heard of TOKAYS as being a "Hungarian dessert wines".
I've heard of TOKAY grapes, but never as a wine.

hazel said...

@Van55 - callowness? really? seems like a strange choice of words. The fact that one isn't familiar with Hungarian tokays (which I didn't actually know either) makes one/me "adolescent, green, immature, inexperienced, juvenile, puerile, raw, unfledged, unformed, unripe, unripened, wet behind the ears." (M-W)

Seems a bit over the top!

Thought this puzzle was kind of a toughie. Not just a fill in the blank exercise. Liked it. The theme too.

Sfingi said...

VVEZ 4 me. I wonder what I would have thought last year?

The OTOE tribe rode into both puzzles today.

Stop fighting, kids. My mother used to say, "Don't put beans up your noses." I never figured that out, nor have I heard a good explanation. Perhaps it got our minds off what we were arguing about.

hazel said...

@Sfingi - now I think putting beans up our noses would be an act of callowness!! I'm not fighting, by the way - just questioning a choice of words.

Dictionary.com said...

1. Law .
a. defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures.

1. defamation; calumny: rumors full of slander.
2. a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name.
3. Law . defamation by oral utterance rather than by writing, pictures, etc.

Tinbeni said...

Always a pleasure to see our good buddy TESLA.
@JNH, we better pay attention, next time the clue may ask for his first name, Nikola.

Tight themes. Searched out the reveal 54D, KENNEDY COMPOUND and then just entered JACK, BOBBY and TEDdy.

Of course, TOKAYS and CREMES went in without even thinking, go figure. Seems I know way too much about such things.

Had to work for the Chevy Subcompact, AVEO.
Same problem as PuzzleGirl for the SONES.

The crosswordese (as indicated) are probably the least objectionable we encounter.

FUN Monday!

Anonymous said...

Not to pick a nit, but I have always seen it as Bobby Sox or Bobby Soxers. Tokay was a gimme.

Golfballman said...

Had to create a google Acct. Too much trouble getting in. previous comment from Golfballman.

C said...

Good Monday puzzle. I started with BASS as well and was too stubborn to get off of it even though I knew HADJI was the correct 1 down. Stubbornness is usually my downfall in puzzles.

I got TOKAYS straight away cause back in the day my college roommates were Oenology majors (damn oenology ruining my flow ...)

have fun everybody, a three day weekend is on the horizon ...

Van55 said...

XWord Info reflects that TOKAY has appeared 9 times in the NYT puzzle since 1993, but only twice since 2002. http://www.xwordinfo.com/Finder

Who knows how many times it has appeared in the LAT puzzle? I don't. But it's definitely a sweet Hungarian desert wine that I know only from solving crosswords.

PG -- I am sure you know that I didn't use the word "callow" with any pejorative intent. I meant in in the sense of "youthful". My sincere apologies if I offended you.

Jeff Chen said...

Big fan of this puzzle! Neat theme, excellent fill (aside from TOKAYS...). Nice start to a Monday!

choirwriter said...

Not being as well-versed in crosswordese, I got stuck at the cross of EBRO and SONES, but other than that, it was a slick and easy Monday. I like that Sajdak used the nicknames of all three Kennedys. We always say Bobby and Teddy, but John more often than Jack - I appreciate that he stayed consistent instead.

Music teacher gives thumbs up to DRUMS and HARP and Dame MYRA (thanks again for the clip, John!) and even SONES, now that I know what those are.

That's why we do crosswords - we just keep learnin' and learnin'!

CrazyCat said...

Cute Monday puzzle with a little bit of bite. Liked the Kennedy theme. I know we've have TOKAYS before, but couldn't retrieve it from my memory. SONES is a new one for me. Like PG, I wanted to squeeze decibels in there. Haven't heard of BOBBY SOCKS in ages. Didn't they go with poodle skirts and saddle shoes?

Sfingi said...

Just saw minitheme - annoying noise: WOOFER, DRUMS! More noise: SONES, HARP.