S A T U R D A Y   August 28, 2010
Joe DiPietro

Theme: None

Wow. This one really felt like a CROSSword to me today. That is, there were very few gimmes and most of the answers magically appeared only after a few crosses brought them into focus. I enjoy that type of solve. And I tell you what, I needed an enjoyable solve after the day I had yesterday. It was crappy, crappy, crappy. And I mean CRAPPY. The details are way too boring to go into here, but I was in a Foul Mood the whole day. On the bright side, that makes it even better that I'm going to spend some time with my bestie in Philadelphia this weekend. Yay! But before I hit the road, let's break this puzzle down.

There's a lot to talk about:
  • 1A: Cable initials (TMC). I'm sure I've talked about this before. I can never get this. There are just too many cable channels and they don't distinguish themselves enough for me to keep them straight in my brain.
  • 15A: Joey in Milne stories (ROO). My first gimme. A joey is, of course, a baby kangaroo. In A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories, Kanga is the mama kangaroo and Roo is the baby.
  • 17A: The Cyclones of the Big 12 Conf. (ISU). Poor Iowa State. When Nebraska leaves the Big 12 next year, the conference will only have four wrestling schools. It's gonna be hard to give the Big 12 Wrestling Champions a lot of respect. Not that I give Iowa State much respect anyway. Go Hawks!
  • 19A: Mystery author whose work has been translated into more than 100 languages (CHRISTIE). This was a total guess on my part and I was delighted that it seemed to fit.
  • 23A: 1940s-'70s bandleader Edmundo (ROS). On the other hand, I needed every cross for this guy.
  • 31A: LAX posting (ETD). I tried ARR first. I think it was EDOMITE (13D: Early inhabitant along the Dead Sea) that straightened that out.
  • 32A: Scattered (STREWED). I think this is the only clunker in the grid. Sure it's legitimate, but it's still ugly.
  • 36A: Carefree state (EASE). Me: "There's a U.S. state nicknamed 'The Carefree State'?"
  • 37A: Chain with links (IHOP). Sausage links, that is.
  • 38A: Multiple-ride ticket (BUS PASS). I tried DAY PASS first but the DAY part wasn't doing anything right for me down there.
  • 41A: Terry of Monty Python (GILLIAM). I'm embarrassed to say I don't know my Monty Python guys. I mean, when I hear their names I recognize them as Monty Python guys, but I couldn't come up with them on my own. Except for Eric Idle. And one of them is named Palin, right?
  • 51A: Called with chips (SAW). Another tricky poker reference to go with our tricky poker reference from yesterday.
  • 58A: Sought some shelter? (OPENED AN IRA). Wow. This one was a long time coming. It took me a long time to figure out what the question mark was doing on this clue. (And IRA is a type of tax shelter.)
  • 3D: Express service employee (COURIER). I would have preferred a font clue here, but I'm kind of a fanatic when it comes to fonts so that's not surprising.
  • 4D: "Imagine, Zeke ..." (S'POSE). Oops, I guess there is one more clunker in the grid. I have no idea if this is right, but the way I read this is that Zeke is a "hillbilly" name and S'POSE is "hillbilly" dialect for SUPPOSE? There's not much about this that doesn't rub me the wrong way.
  • 7D: What a hider shouldn't say to a seeker (IN HERE). I tried "I'm here" first but, obviously IN HERE is much better. Plus, ya know, it's correct too.
  • 14D: Carb-up days, to low-carb dieters (REFEEDS). This sounds vaagguuely familiar to me.
  • 29D: Greek regional capital (EDESSA). Ouch. I had the DESSA in there and immediately plunked an O on the front of it. Then I'm all, "Wait. Odessa is in Greece? That sure doesn't sound right."
  • 38D: Detroit Red Wings coach Mike (BABCOCK). Not a hockey fan, so this clue might as well have been "A person's last name." Got it through crosses.
  • 43D: One of the Fates (ATROPOS). Looks like ATROPOS has only appeared in the L.A. Times puzzle once before and that was seven years ago. Okay, this is weird though. It was exactly seven years ago! August 28, 2003!
  • 44D: See Tears for Fears? (MISREAD). I can't decide if I love this or hate it. I think I'm leaning toward loving it.
  • 57D: Save for later, in a way (TIVO). I rarely watch TV any more since we got rid of the TiVo. It's just too hard.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 26A: Tahari of fashion (ELIE).
  • 63A: Mauna __ (LOA).
  • 10D: Uzbekistan border sea (ARAL).
  • 11D: Rocky debris (SCREE).
  • 55D: Old Royale 8's, e.g. (REO'S).

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Everything Else — 4A: Workout apparatus (STAIRMASTER); 16A: Old fortune-telling site (PENNY ARCADE); 18A: Carried out by (ON THE PART OF); 21A: "I can do that" ("LET ME"); 22A: Made one's view known (OPINED); 27A: Heading to overtime (TIED); 28A: Exude (REEK OF); 34A: Union members? (SPOUSES); 45A: Adder's kin (ASP); 46A: Aircraft company since 1927 (CESSNA); 48A: When Eliza sings "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" (ACT I); 49A: Tough test (BEAR); 52A: Liquor store buys (LITERS); 54A: Doctor, ideally (CURER); 56A: Expiate (ATONE FOR); 61A: Dramatic way to go? (APE); 62A: Balance in the end (COME OUT EVEN); 64A: Had an in (KNEW SOMEONE); 65A: You'll trip if you drop it (LSD); 1D: Warp-knit fabrics (TRICOTS); 2D: Slam-dancing area (MOSH PIT); 5D: Garments lacking waistlines (TENT DRESSES); 6D: Nonpro? (ANTI); 8D: Bar order (RYE); 9D: It may include highs and lows (MAP); 12D: Snitches (TATTLES); (EDOMITE); 20D: Committed and then some (IN DEEP); 24D: Circular signal (OK SIGN); 25D: "El Cid" co-star (SOPHIA LOREN); 30D: Trick (FOOL); 33D: WWII enlistee (WAAC); 35D: Burning the midnight oil (UP LATE); 39D: Consume with regard to (USE UPON); 40D: "Puh-leeze!" ("SPARE ME!"); 42D: Irregular glacial mass (ICEFALL); 47D: Gershwin's first hit (SWANEE); 50D: Agree to more issues (RENEW); 53D: Harebrained (INANE); 59D: Comedy team, usually (DUO); 60D: Pharmacy convenience, often (ATM).


Rex Parker said...

Too much contrived junk for me. REFEEDS, esp. as clued, made Zero sense to me. OPENED AN IRA is weak (if this is allowed, than virtually any similar phrase is allowed, e.g. OPENED A DRAWER, SAW A MOVIE, PETTED A CAT, etc.). Worst = USE UPON. The clue looked like gibberish.

Other stuff seemed fine.

Never head of ICE FALL.



I give this DiPietro puzzle a big OK SIGN!

This is my most favorite type of puzzle… long word/phrases and NO STUPID THEME!!!
No Googling today, but I did use a dictionary to look up ATROPOS.

Here’s a short animation video clip by Monty Python’s Terry GILLIAM. Gosh, I really miss that intellectually enlightening show.

Most clever clues: “Sought some shelter?” (OPENED AN IRA).
Also, “Chain with links” (IHOP).
Worst clue: “Exude” (REEK OF).
Also I didn’t like REFEEDS or USE UPON (ugh!).

I love those old Fortune-teller thingies in the PENNY ARCADE.

I should be downstairs using my STAIR MASTER this morning, but I think I’ll just hike over to the IHOP and get me a stack of blueberry pancakes instead.

Have a super weekend, y’all!


ICE FALL is a perfectly legit word.
Some of my best photographs (according to me) are of ICE FALLs. I am working on a new portfolio called "The Great Ice Age" which contains unusual images taken of massive ice formations, ice lenses, icebergs in Lake Michigan, enormous icicles in Starved Rock canyons (10' diam.), dancing ice trees, ice crystals, ice caves, glacial calves, and huge huge ICE FALLs.
I hope to release it by January 2011.

David L said...

I struggled to finish the NE, and didn't like it much after I succeeded. REFEEDS is just bad, and I really can't see how ONTHEPARTOF is equivalent to "carried out by" -- how are those two phrases interchangeable?

And ditto for USEUPON = "consume with regard to."

Anonymous said...

OK, the apostrophe in "Royale 8's" was there in the paper, but I don't think I can abide it in "REO'S". (Is it customary to use one in plurals of numerals?)

Tinbeni said...

IHOP again. (NYT also)
I'm beginning to think constructor's get a "Kick-back" if they put it in the grid as a subtle suggestion to me for where I should have breakfast.

This was a challenge needing crossing help all over the place to get my unknowns: ELIE, BABCOCK, ROS, EDOMITE (damn, I always forget about them) and a few, what I would call obscure answers, EDESSA and REFEEDS, and terrible, USE UPON (WTF?).

I thought OPENED AN IRA, a tax shelter, was a great clue. (Esp. after we opened that 'can of worms' earlier this week). Plus, these types of phrases are used all the time in puzzles.

Be careful if you use the OK SIGN in Brazil, it has a much different meaning there.

A slog, can't say the solve was FUN.

Rube said...

Had 3 wrong letters, so DNF.

Had AMC instead of TMC. Well, aRICOTS sounded good to me. Must have had French green beans in the back of my mind.

Had ELIn instead of ELIE. Never heard of her/him and REFEnDS makes as much sense as REFEEDS. REFEEDS?? Wait... Google says this is a "cheat day" for dieters. That makes this legit and my WOTD!

Had ATROxOS for ATROPOS. Hey, I thought getting the "AxE" was a dramatic way to go, and don't know my Fates. Guess I better break down and see Disney's Hercules. S'POSEd to have all of these greek characters in it. And I thought, "Imagine, Zeke...", was a quote from some classic novel, but nooo, just lame clueing for a lame contraction.

I have the same love/hate relationship as @PG for answers like MISREAD.

And finally, USEUPON... SPARE ME. Actually when you put them together, they have a certain synergism.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Yes, it was a tough one. I needed to Google for BABCOCK and EDESSA (instead of ODESSA). I liked IHOP and OKSIGN, but several words/phrases seemed either poor in themselves or badly clued, like STREWED (should be STREWN, right?), ONTHE PARTOF (already discussed), and REOS (with that extraneous apostrophe).

PS. Oh, and I did like OPENEDANIRA, although I had no idea what it meant for the longest time. (I mean, what's a NIRA?)

John Wolfenden said...

I ended up stuck in the SW corner and had to Google the Red Wings coach. Thought "You'll trip if you drop it" for LSD was brilliant.

Just once I'd like to see Mauna KEA instead of Mauna LOA. It's just as usable, being a 3-letter word with 2 vowels...

badrig said...

In response to the comments about ROS (Edmundo) being difficult, to me it was easy ... because of something that has stuck in my memory ever since I heard it on AFRS in 1964 while stationed in the Philippines: "Edmundo Ros? When did he start calling himself that? I remember when he was just Eddie Ross!"

badrog said...

Re the expressed distaste for "consume with regard to" = USEUPON,... how about this, "I use(d) up all my sympathy on Miss B". 3 words not 2, implying that I had no sympathy left for what's-her-name.