M O N D A Y   September 6, 2010
Lila Cherry

Theme: What's black and white and read less and less frequently every day? — Theme answers end with words that can describe parts of a newspaper.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Watch or clock (TIMEPIECE).
  • 20A: Second floor of a home, say (UPPER STORY).
  • 33A/35A: Real McCoy (GENUINE / ARTICLE).
  • 52A: Where to begin adding numbers (ONES COLUMN).
  • 54A: Daily publication where you'd read the ends of 18-, 20-, 33/35- and 52-Across (NEWSPAPER).
I'm still a little freaked about learning that the contrusctor of today's New York Times puzzle is also a college wrestling referee. I was pretty sure there weren't any puzzle/wrestling people besides, ya know, me. I can't imagine talking to someone about both puzzles and wrestling. With most people, I can't really talk about either subject. Without them looking at me like I have three heads. Anyway, this is a very cool bit of news. I'm going to have to think about how I can take advantage of it in my quest to take over the world. I'm sure there's a way.

But hey — let's talk about this puzzle. I didn't time myself, but it felt like I blew through it pretty quickly, which is what I expect on Monday of course. The theme is solid, though not incredibly interesting — GENUINE ARTICLE is a nice entry and ONES COLUMN made me chuckle. TIMEPIECE and UPPER STORY don't do much for me, but they're fine. Well, now that I think about, UPPER STORY sounds a little awkward. I would be more likely to say "upper floor" or "second story." But that very well might just be me.

The interesting thing about this puzzle, though, is that it doesn't have much crosswordese at all. We'll talk about ESTER later and we've mentioned AGAPE (17A: Open-mouthed) before, but that's pretty much it.

  • 1A: Moved on all fours (CREPT). I kinda wanted "sneek" for this but CREPT is so much better.
  • 9A: Action film high point (CHASE). Do people really enjoy the chase scenes? They always bore me.
  • 24A: QVC competitor (HSN). I don't know what QVC stands for (if anything), but HSN is Home Shopping Network.
  • 29A: Brighton buddy (MATEY). PuzzleDaughter has this new thing where she talks in either a British or Australian accent when we're out in public. When we get out of an elevator, she'll say to the other passengers "g'day, mate" or "cheerio." It's pretty funny.
  • 32A: Amt. still owed (BAL.). An amount still owed is a BALance.
  • 45A: Bump off (DO IN). I had a heckuva time parsing this one. "DOIN? Shouldn't there be another letter in there somewhere?"
  • 51A: Actress Gardner (AVA). I can never remember whether her name is Eva or AVA. And I could swear I just saw her in a puzzle with the E spelling. If I had been paying attention today, of course, I would have noticed EVA PERÓN (3D: Argentine leader played by Madonna) at another spot in the puzzle and realized they couldn't both be spelled the same way.
  • 59A: Perrier, to Pierre (EAU). French!
  • 60A: Cybercommerce (ETAIL). I can think of another thing ETAIL might mean, but it's completely inappropriate.
  • 1D: Civil War org. (CSA). Confederate States of America.
  • 13D: Pizazz (ENERGY). I've said it before and I'll say it again. I want four Zs in my PIZZAZZ.
  • 36D: Dungeness delicacy (CRAB MEAT). I don't eat seafood so this answer made me hold my nose. And then 37D: Tart dessert (LEMON PIE) made me hurl.
  • 53D: Nikki Sixx/Tommy Lee group Mötley __ (CRÜE).

Crosswordese 101: I don't really know what ESTER is, but I know how to recognize an early-week clue for it. Late in the week, clues for ESTER are often examples of ESTER like diglyceride, butyl acetate, banana oil, phosphate, or other science-y sounding things that I can never keep in my brain. Early in the week though? An ESTER is basically a "Perfumer's compound," "fragrant compound" or 63A: Aromatic compound.

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Everything Else — 6A: "Snow" veggie (PEA); 14A: Break off completely (SEVER); 15A: Select, with "for" (OPT); 16A: Like Cheerios (OATEN); 22A: Your and my (OUR); 23A: John who played Basil Fawlty (CLEESE); 25A: Town, informally (BURG); 26A: Animal fat (LARD); 27A: Keats or Yeats (POET); 30A: Ear: Pref. (OTO-); 31A: Ernie's Muppet pal (BERT); 39A: Got ready for a lap dog (SAT); 40A: Ink stain (BLOT); 41A: Accelerate, with "up" (REV); 42A: Gets nosy (PRIES); 46A: Arrived (CAME); 47A: Swedish soprano Jenny (LIND); 48A: Tyrannosaurus __ (REX); 49A: Element used in dating rocks (CARBON); 56A: Microwave alerts (BEEPS); 58A: Speechify (ORATE); 61A: Justin Timberlake's boy band ('N SYNC); 62A: AAA suggestion (RTE.); 2D: Control, as temperature (REGULATE); 4D: Livened (up) (PEPPED); 5D: Ancestral diagrams (TREES); 6D: Pans partner (POTS); 7D: Nickname (EPITHET); 8D: Maximally (AT MOST); 9D: Xerox (COPY); 10D: See 25-Down (HAI); 11D: Enjoyed a diner (ATE OUT); 12D: Tie tightly (SECURE); 19D: Directional suffix (-ERN); 21D: Regret one's sins (REPENT); 23D: Drain obstruction (CLOG); 25D: With 10-Down, "South Pacific" song (BALI); 28D: Calif. neighbor (ORE.); 29D: Damon of "Good Will Hunting" (MATT); 31D: Skewed view (BIAS); 32D: "Bucking" horse (BRONCO); 34D: Secondhand (USED); 35D: Baba who stole from thieves (ALI); 38D: All square (EVEN); 40D: Costlier ballpark spot (BOX SEAT); 42D: Expect to happen (PLAN ON); 43D: Funny Joan (RIVERS); 44D: Sort of (IN A WAY); 45D: Farther below the water's surface (DEEPER); 46D: Salad oil bottles (CRUETS); 48D: Cell "messenger," briefly (RNA); 50D: "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" playwright (ALBEE); 52D: Oil cartel acronym (OPEC); 55D: RR depot (STN.); 57D: 35mm camera type (SLR).


backbiter said...

This puzzle was just sort of there for me. There wasn't anything awful, but nothing stood out either. I subscribe to both The Tampa Tribune and The St. Pete Times. I will never stop reading newspapers until they are entirely out of print. Newspapers are so thin now you can practically slide the thing under my front door.
@PuzzleGirl - I'm sorry lemon pie makes you hurl. I love lemon meringue pie. It's awesome when properly made. However, I'll only take it in small doses because it's really rich. Now there's a clue. X across: Like lemon pie and Lila Cherry.



Happy Labor Day y'all.

Rich (Lila) has given us a very nice low-labor puzzle for Labor Day, and yet he's managed to keep the crosswordese at a minimum. It's always nice to see a theme puzzle with some nice long fill words, like: EPITHET, REGULATE, CRAB MEAT, and BOX SEAT... and then LEMON PIE (yummm!!!)
I love words like BEEPS and MATEY, and of course RTE 66 (where that BEEPS photo was taken).

How could we ever forget this very funny John CLEESE sketch?

Time to go pour a bowl of OATEN cereal.

Sfingi said...

A practically sports-free CW!

I had several write-overs, trying to go too fast. UPPERlevel before UPPERSTORY before I had the theme, which is why one should start at the bottom first. Also, spOT before BLOT, modULATE before REGULATE, LEMONicE before LEMONPIE, CRABcake before CRABMEAT. I had never heard of Dungeness (town in WA, not a woman in charge of a dungeon).

Same for never hearing of CSA. Now if it were the GAR...

I had SLR explained to me by Hubster and visiting Baltimore sister. It's a hole, rather than a bunch of mirrors, and still the best. That's my reduction of their explanations.

In my estimation, STN is a lousy abbrev. for station.

Otherwise, pretty good CW.

Van55 said...

I started this one at the upper left and thought as I proceeded how very little crap fill it had for a Monday. The lower level disappointed just a little with its ETAIL, RTE and DOIN. Still, an excellent Monday entry.

shrub5 said...

I had LEMON BAR at first but PIE sounds tasty, too. We're PLANning ON sticking around this BURG today, however I think I would rather be in a BOXSEAT at the US Open. But since I can't have the GENUINE ARTICLE, I'll have to settle for the couch. Thanks to Lila and PG for this admirable puzzle and funny write-up.

Golfballman said...

Typical mon. puzzle zipped right through it. I checked the definition of organization and it is probably right, but I would never think of the CSA as an org. Thanx for the double duty today PG both nice write-ups.
capcha=dredneon, fear of vegas lights

Anonymous said...

Ava Gardner is the Dark haired actress he is referring to. Your pic is of Eva Gabor of the famous Gabor sisters (you remember Green
Acres?) who made a hobby of marrying very wealthy titled men.
New at these games just wanted to share some old lady info.

Nice Cuppa said...

Ahoy there, me mateys!

No offence to Lila, but ambling through this Monday puzzle only brought home how spoiled we had been over the previous few days with all the top-drawer stuff provided.

Just one comment:

29A. Brighton Buddy = MATEY

Hmm. "Matey" might be common enough in Disney pirate films, but it is quite dated now in Brit-speak. The ADJECTIVE "matey" is still in use, but as a NOUN 'matey' might used in a jocular sense addressing your son, for example, or in an ironic aggressive sense, but it is not an everyday term for a "buddy", chum or pal.

"Mate" is still OK: "Hello mate" or "Alright mate?" (exclusively man-to-man) are equivalent to the OZ-speak "G'day mate". They are in origin working-class (Blue collar) phrases but now used more widely.

Moreover, I wouldn't have chosen Brighton to indicate Brit-speak in this case. The town is now best known for its Bohemian atmosphere (it elected the first-ever Green Party candidate to Parliament in this year's General Election - Caroline Lucas, who incidentally has a Doctorate in English); and now has the largest (and most active) gay community in Britain. I just don't see these people using the term.

See ya mates!


Burner10 said...

Still working Saturday and Sunday - so inked this morning's morsel as a pick-me-up with coffee before a hard day of....What to do on Labor Day? - lounging!

Rex Parker said...

Hey, that's EVA Gabor, you know!? What are you, drunk or something? Oh, no, wait. That's me. I'm drunk. Again. This took me 3:20. That's how drunk I am.


Sfingi said...

Also, Ava Gardner was Sinatra's true love. She was married 5 times. Her father was part Tuscarora. She was in at least 60 movies. My favorite was Show Boat (1951).

@John - ever go to the Ava Gardner Museum between Cleveland and Princeton?

Anonymous said...


PurpleGuy said...

@Anonymous 6:29-


Good writeup PG.