T U E S D A Y   August 10, 2010
C. W. Stewart

Theme: Let's Wrap It Up — Theme answers are familiar phrases that begin with a word that can also be a word for an outer garment/accessory known as a wrap.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Southernmost tip of South America (CAPE HORN).
  • 21A: Smacked someone when they least expected it? (STOLE A KISS).
  • 40A: Deadly squeezers (BOA CONSTRICTORS).
  • 57A: Family crest (COAT OF ARMS).
  • 66A: Director's shout, and hint to the starts of 17-, 21-, 40- and 57-Across (IT'S A WRAP).
I've always been a fan of C. W. Stewart's puzzles (even before I met her last year at the ACPT and discovered she's a lovely, lovely woman!) and this is a great example of what a Tuesday puzzle should be. A coherent theme with a great reveal clue, some crosswordese to help the solver along, and smooth fill. Love it. And it's a good thing because I was pretty miserable while I was solving it. We're on vacation in Colorado and oh my God, the hike we went on yesterday! It wasn't even two miles but we gained 1,000+ vertical feet and for this middle-aged, out-of-shape woman it was painful. Breathtakingly beautiful, super super fun but, in the end, well let's just say we stopped and bought a full bottle of ibuprofen on our way back to the house.

Back to the puzzle!
  • 26A: Sew with loose stitches (BASTE). I seem to recall some discussion about this last time it popped up, although I don't remember if it was here or at Rex's blog. In any event, this is a totally legitimate clue even if it's something you've never heard of. Trust me on this.
  • 31A: It's plighted in marriage (TROTH). "Plighted" sounds bad. Too much like "blighted" I guess.
  • 35A: Mid-size Nissan (ALTIMA). PuzzleHusband had one of these for a while. Man I hated that car. It was loud and uncomfortable and couldn't handle snow At All.
  • 68A: Ghostly gathering (SEANCE). On Sunday night, the PuzzleFamily went over to the Stanley Hotel (the big, creepy hotel where they filmed "The Shining") to hear ghost stories. And yesterday on our hike, I'm pretty sure we saw the ghosts of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley! Our hike took us up to Gem Lake where we stopped and ate lunch and the PuzzleKids waded around a little bit. There was an older couple there when we got there. When we heard thunder in the distance, we high-tailed it down the trail. The couple was still at the lake finishing up their lunch when we left. After we'd been hiking down 10–15 minutes or so, guess who we see just standing there calmly on the side of the trail. That same couple! The only explanation I can come up with is … ghosts! [Okay, this is even creepier. I was going to include a picture where you can see these two people in the background. I showed it to my husband last night. And now I can't find it! It's disappeared!]

  • 3D: Goof for good, e.g.? (TYPO). I always like this kind of clue for TYPO.
  • 6D: Respectful bow (CURTSY). I always thought a CURTSY and a bow were two different things, but I can see where a CURTSY is simply a type of bow.
  • 8D: Biblical tower site (BABEL). I saw the movie "Babel" a few years ago when it first came out. If you're in the mood for an emotionally horrifying, completely depressing movie with Brad Pitt in it … this is the one for you.
  • 11D: Singer __ Dee (KIKI). But enough about depressing things ….

  • 22D: King Julien XIII in "Madagascar" (LEMUR). I've never seen the movie, but I guess it found its way into my consciousness enough that I knew this answer right off the bat.
  • 41D: Lively Cuban dance (SALSA). Also a delicious tomato-based accompaniment to tortilla chips.
Crosswordese 101: OCAS (also known as "okas" or "New Zealand yams") are the tuber of an annual plant called Oxalis tuberosa. According to Wikipedia, "The plant was brought into cultivation in the central and southern Andes for its tubers, which are used as a root vegetable." Clues you might see for OCA include "Andean stew vegetable," "South American tuber," or 53A: Edible Andean tubers. Every once in a while, usually in a late-week puzzle, OCA is clued as "wood sorrel."

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 44A: Young newt (EFT).
  • 70A: Gold, south of the border (ORO).
  • 5D: Jagged, as a leaf's edge (EROSE).
  • 32D: Bassoon relatives (OBOES).
  • 59D: Lab gel (AGAR).
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Everything Else — 1A: Box-office smash (HIT); 4A: Hug and smooch (NECK); 8A: Robbins's partner (BASKIN); 14A: Wrigley Field feature (IVY); 15A: "No lie!" ("TRUE!"); 16A: It can be formal or informal (ATTIRE); 19A: Jolly-good mates (BLOKES); 20A: Fort with billions in bullion (KNOX); 23A: Gender-neutral possessive (ONE'S); 25A: Besides (ELSE); 29A: Thanksgiving veggie (YAM); 37A: Have dinner (SUP); 39A: Arthur of "The Golden Girls" (BEA); 45A: La Brea goo (TAR); 46A: Like many CIA ops (COVERT); 47A: Dance components (STEPS); 50A: Building site (LOT); 52A: Actor Davis (OSSIE); 55A: Reason to swear (OATH); 61A: Track figures (ODDS); 65A: Pressing (URGENT); 69A: Like some dorms (CO-ED); 71A: Luggage lugger (PORTER); 72A: CPR experts (EMT'S); 73A: Stroke lovingly, or the object of a loving stroke (PET); 1D: Hayseed (HICK); 2D: "Terrible" 16th-century leader (IVAN); 4D: Utmost degree (NTH); 7D: Numbers game (KENO); 9D: Finally (AT LAST); 10D: Furnace room worker (STOKER); 12D: Tees off (IRES); 13D: Suffix with kind or fond (-NESS); 18D: Like some dancers (EXOTIC); 24D: Verne captain (NEMO); 26D: Innocents (BABES); 27D: Floating on high (ALOFT); 28D: Country division (STATE); 30D: N.L. Central player (ASTRO); 33D: Country singer Gibbs (TERRI); 34D: Impulsiveness (HASTE); 36D: Critter on a hill (ANT); 38D: Snapshot, briefly (PIC); 42D: Old geezer (COOT); 43D: NBC offering (TV SHOW); 48D: Strong (POTENT); 49D: Decorative wall light fixture (SCONCE); 51D: Source of oater drumming (TOMTOM); 54D: Later than (AFTER); 56D: Liability offset (ASSET); 57D: Zodiacal border (CUSP); 58D: One may be dipped in milk (OREO); 60D: Paddy product (RICE); 62D: Lead-in for cloth or kick (DROP); 63D: Challenge (DARE); 64D: Brit's bit of tea (SPOT); 67D: Super Bowl highlights? (ADS).


Van55 said...

I really enjoyed this puzzle with its mini-theme: NECK, STOLEAKISS, COED, EXOTIC and PET. OCAS and YAM in the same puzzle was nice.

Weird but true that ADS are "Super Bowl highlights."

The theme reveal is exellent. Aside from EFT and AGAR there's not too much crosswordese.

Tinbeni said...

PuzzleGirl, Excellent write-up and pictures.
Looks like a great place if someone was to say to you: "Take a hike!"

Liked the theme reveal, "IT'S A WRAP" and they all fell easily.

Had no idea who/what King Julien III in "Madagascar" was/is. Got LEMUR off the 'L' in STOLE A KISS.

Some good 6's, Curtsy, Blokes, Exotic, Seance, Sconce & Urgent. Potent was the best since it reminds of my sunset quaff.

OCAS are quite tasty. Somewhat like the cross between a potato & a YAM.

Sfingi said...

@PuzzleGirl - at my age, I "just say no," to such exertions. Now wouldn't they feel bad if you had one of those pesky heart attacks?
Anyway, my mother disapproved of BASTing, unless for a slipcover that's just being fitted, and not the final product. I used Scotch tape and safety pins.
BASTing meat is another, much approved, matter.

I had "eat" before SUP and EXtras before EXOTIC. Did not know KIKI or TERRI. Otherwise, easy but not exciting puzzle.

Mini-theme - OCA YAM, basic root crops.

@John - since the original potatoes come from the Andes, is there no relation to the OCA? Or the YAM? They look like maggots.

Got a new error signing in, today - "There are errors in this form."

CrazyCat said...

Cute puzzle! I also noticed the NECK/PET/STOLE A KISS mini theme. Also liked the little dance theme with SALSA, STEPS and EXOTIC. I'm still in Philadelphia and yesterday my sister-in-law and I couldn't figure out why the LAT puzzle wasn't in the "Inquirer." It turns out they hired back their CW constructor, Wayne Robert Williams and he will be constructing the M-Sat. puzzles from now own. There's an article about him today "What's an 8-letter word for reinstated."
@PG loved your write up and pics. Hope you feel better. Sometimes coming down those steep hills is worse than going up. Ouch!

Doug P said...

Great puzzle from CW Stewart today. I also met her at the ACPT last year, and she's delightful. She's had quite a few puzzles published in the NY Times, but it looks like this is her LA Times debut. Congrats!

@CrazyCatLady - An "eight"-letter word? If a writer's going to use that tired old favorite "What's a blah blah-letter word for...." he or she should at least be able to count the number of letters correctly! I encourage everyone in the Philly area to write in and demand the return of the LA Times puzzle.

Tinbeni said...

@CCl & @Doug P.
My St.Pete Times has both puzzles.

Well, I do the LAT, skip the W.R.Williams, print the NYT on-line.
Is it just me, the Williams puzzles are not very crisp.
Is this due to him constructing/editing his own grids?

There is a reason Norris and Shortz do their thing, are necessary and needed.

Eric said...

BASTing is temporary stitching, meant only to hold the material in place while you try the garment on, do the real seams, etc. As such, it consists of long, loose stitches that would never hold in the final product, but are easy to rip out. The basting might purposely be done in a contrasting thread, to make it easy to be sure you get it all come rip-out time.

@Sfingi: Hmm, why would your mom disapprove -- unless you were cheating by trying to use a baste as a final seam? :-) Or was it just that she was a child of the Depression who hated to waste a bit of thread?

@Van55 ET AL re. the mini-theme: hear hear!

C said...

Continuing the good puzzle week, today's was a lot of fun. The puzzle drifted away from my sweet spots to things I don't know like animated movie characters and people who record songs with Elton John. Used more down clues today than I normally do in a Thursday puzzle, very cool.

The clue to TROTH was a new one to me as well.

CrazyCat said...

@Doug P and @Tinbeni

I agree. I think doing six puzzles per week by the same constructor could get old very quickly. I was not that impressed by the one yesterday. I enjoy the LAT variety. Also, the LAT puzzles recently have been terrific for the most part IMO.

Off to the airport to make my way back to LA. I am glad to leave this humidity behind.

Tuttle said...

What? No one else put Batman in instead of BASKINS?

It was loud and uncomfortable and couldn't handle. At All.

Fixed. I hated mine too. The more recent ones are supposed to be better. Couldn't be worse.

ddbmc said...

@Tuttle, I kept thinking "Susan Sarandon?" For 8A! D'Oh.

OCAS was new to me. They've got to taste better than taro root/poi! To quote Charlie Brown: "Blech!"

@Doug P-obviously the Philly editor AND writer didn't do a letter count. SUPPLANT or RESTORED might work!

EROSE we've had before, but a while ago.

@PG, loved your CO pix! Was in Colorado Springs in June. Beautiful country! When my kids were little, we rented a bike in Breckenridge, with a kid trailer. Rode all the way to Lake Dillon and back. With the high altitude and dry air, took several days to recover! What were we thinking? Drinking one of those CW-ese ADES (GATOR or POWER) will help your muscles recover! (Should be cut with water and drunk right after a strenuous hike)Thanks for sharing the pix and blogging while on vakay! Great ghost story, btw!

@CCL, hope your reunion went well! Send us Eastcoasters some of your cool, dry weather!

Enjoyable romp on the grid today.

Denver Puzzler said...

@PG, knew it was Gem Lake trail from the first picture. Sorry to see your later identification so I couldn't show off. I've hiked it several times and have been chases down by lightning too.

Anonymous said...

i used batman at first but wasn'tworking out so i figured baskin after afew other clues over al good puzzle

Sfingi said...

@Eric - Yes, for Depression child.
She taught me all the stitches, but between having 2 good seamstresses for sisters, and much disapproval, I tended to go for the safety pins, and fix it right when I got a round tuit. (My mother even made round tuits. They were little cloth circles with the word "tuit" embroidered on them.)

mac said...

My post just disappeared! I liked this puzzle a lot. Lost my train of thought so long after I commented.....

Anonymous said...

I put in Batman too, but eventually ires won out and I had to rethink it. That and I couldn't pull it together to put two t's in attire. I've always been a terrible speller... makes crosswords more interesting.