S A T U R D A Y   September 28, 2010
Robert H. Wolfe

Theme: None

Hard puzzle today! I think I had more trouble with this one than I did with yesterday's New York Times. With the long phrases and the tough cluing … this one was a real workout. There sure was an awful lot of exclaiming going on in this grid!
  • 1A: "Get going!" ("SNAP TO IT!").
  • 27A: "Oh, sure!" ("I BET!").
  • 2D: "No way!" ("NAH!").
  • 47D: "That's not good!" ("UH-OH!").
I like to imagine some of the other entries as exclaimations too. 19A: Bulbs in the kitchen! LEEKS! 26D: Badge material! TIN!

Many things I didn't know in this puzzle:
  • 9A: Bantam (PETITE). No idea.
  • 15A: Consort of Gustav I (KATARINA). Inferable through crosses.
  • 43A: Gasteyer of "SNL" (ANA). People still watch this show?
  • 56A: Explosive solvent, as it was formerly called (TOLUOL). If you say so.
  • 59A: Versatile auxiliary wind-catcher (STAY SAIL). Had the SAIL part, but can't say that I'm well-versed in my nautical terms.
  • 4D: "Star Trek" character __ Chekov (PAVEL). Or my Star Trek characters.
  • 22D: "The Spirit" comics writer Will (EISNER). Rex probably knew this one.
  • 51D: Tambo Colorado builder (INCA). I'm embarrassed to say I have no idea what "Tambo Colorado" means.
I guess half of those things I didn't know are names so I'm not going to feel bad about that. And I did know both 46D: Laura INNES of "ER" and TAL, the 55D: Chess champion who succeeded Botvinnik. So I've got that going for me.

  • 24A: Contraction of a sort (TIC). I couldn't get away from wanting a word that's a contraction of the words "of a sort." I was so drawn to that idea that I couldn't think of any other meaning of "contraction" for quite some time.
  • 36A: Reservation opening (ON SECOND THOUGHT). I thought this was going to be something like "table for two." But it's a different kind of reservation.
  • 44A: Main call (AHOY). I guess I do know some of my nautical terms though because I caught on to "main" right away.
  • 50A: Big fan (FIEND). Hmm. I don't think I know anybody like that.
  • 58A: Funny bit (SHTICK). Tried SKETCH first.
  • 12D: You usually can't walk to one (ISLE). Unless you're, ya know, Jesus.
  • 25D: Convince using flattery (SMOOTH TALK). Wanted SWEET TALK but couldn't make it fit.
  • 28D: Swing time? (BIG BAND ERA).

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 40A: Before, before (ERST).
  • 18D: Utah County city (OREM).
  • 30D: Bright swimmers (TETRAS).
  • 35D: Aurora's counterpart (EOS).
  • 49D: Small tool case (√ČTUI).
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Everything Else — 16A: Like many barber shops (UNISEX); 17A: "Beats me" ("I HAVEN'T GOT A CLUE"); 20A: Speed (ROCKET); 21A: Wins approval (SELLS); 23A: Fellow (GENT); 25A: Botanical opening (STOMA); 31A: Italian classic (O SOLE MIO); 34A: Many a Middle Easterner (SEMITE); 38A: Arrives at (GETS TO); 39A: Vaulter's target (CROSSBAR); 41A: Cast (THREW); 45A: Points at dinner (TINES); 47A: In the habit of (USED TO); 52A: "And afterward?" ("WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?"); 57A: Some tiny rods and spheres (BACTERIA); 1D: Word with run or jump (SKI); 3D: Regardless of the consequences (AT ALL COSTS); 5D: Poem with the line "Who intimately lives with rain" (TREES); 6D: Pen emission (OINK); 7D: Stats for QBs (INTS.); 8D: Touching game (TAG); 9D: Fake it (PUT ON A SHOW); 10D: Pass (ENACT); 11D: Little sucker (TICK); 13D: Ger. (TEUT.); 14D: Computer filename ending (EXE); 21D: Moe, for one (STOOGE); 23D: Emotionally therapeutic episode (GOOD CRY); 27D: "God's Other Son" radio host (IMUS); 29D: Flammable gas (ETHANE); 32D: "O, swear not by ... the fickle moon ... __ that thy love prove likewise variable": "Romeo and Juliet" (LEST); 33D: Outside: Pref. (ECT-); 37D: Three abroad (TRE); 42D: Shooter's target (HOOP); 44D: Literally, "for this" (AD HOC); 45D: Petulant (TESTY); 48D: Old man of the sea (SALT); 50D: Great achievement (FEAT); 52D: Mg. and kg. (WTS.); 53D: "Frontline" airer (PBS); 54D: Noon indicator (XII).



Okay all you crossword FIENDs, SNAP TO IT !
I BET you’re USED TO a higher CROSS BAR for a Saturday level of puzzle.
IMO, this one was far too easy.
But I liked solving it, and I think Robert Wolfe did a nice job!
It looks like there’s a theme here with all those 15 letter entries, but I HAVEN’T GOT A CLUE as to what it is.
Cool words like SHTICK, STOOGE, Will EISNER, ANA Gasteyer, and PAVEL Chekov made this a fun puzzle to solve.
New WOTD: KATARINA “Gustav I consort”
Funniest clue: “Pen emission” (OINK).
I have to admit that I did a Google to find out who “Laura of ER” was, (INNES).
I vaguely remembered that line (5D) from Joyce Kilmer’s poem TREES. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent too much time at my arboretum photographing TREES and getting rained on. Of course STOMA was a gimme for me.
Puzzlegirl… What a nice treat to hear Tex Beneke and the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

Y’all have a wonderful weekend!

Van55 said...

On first pass, I thought this one might give me as much trouble as some Saturday NYTimes puzzles. In due time it fell together nicely, and I found it very enjoyable.


I quibble a bit with CROSSBAR as jumper's target. After all, the aim is to miss the crossbar and land in the pit with the crossbar still intact. But I suppose that makes the crossbar a target of a sort. And I suppose the same quibble could apply to HOOP as "shooter's target" in that the aim is to miss the hoop and pass through it. :)

Nice puzzle today.

badrog said...

'Tweren't so easy for some of us! It took me nearly an hour, and once again I found myself wandering all over the grid. But finished without help from Big G.

Last entry filled in: SNAPTOIT

Floodgate-opening erasure: 35D, changing from 'yin' to EOS.

New WsOTD: TOLUOL, Tambo Colorado (Thought it might be a ski resort until I noticed that there was no comma)

Really enjoyed the variety of clueing (e.g. Neapoliton Italian, Peruvian Spanish, humor (TINES), and no less than 3 15-letter idioms), and that even the names I didn't know eventually fell into place.

Bantam and PETITE both mean "small-sized", don't they? As in the boxing weight class, roosters, and women's clothing.

It seems that whenever I'm in the mood for In The Mood, I end up YouTubing a couple dozen other sets by BFJO.

Sfingi said...

@John - Easy for you.

It became easy for me only ofter I Googled all the proper nouns I never heard of: OREM, KATARINA, ANA, IMUS, PAVEL, INCA, TAL, INNES, and EISNER. I'm glad John knows all these! Yeesh! I did guess KATARINA, but was not sure. On the other hand, this was truly an enjoyable learning experience. I read about the INCA (not in our Colorado), Gustav I (similar to Henry VIII), and the chess champs. I still have no interest in Star Trek, creepy radio hosts, and unrealistic tv dramas. But thanx Mr. Wolfe for the good stuff.

@John again - did you ever take photos of that fabulous adobe village, Tambo Colorado, in Peru constructed under the refime of Tupac Yupanqui (what a handle)? It was painted red and yellow and built very cleverly. Good material there for the camera.

The expressions have been easy for me recently. I guessed the 1st one with no crosses, but hesitated. What does that say about my mind these days?

Still making wrong guesses on the smaller clues: FroND for FIEND (big fan), maLl for ISLE (place you can't usually walk to).

Glad I got to our San Genaro Feast yesterday, since we have colds today. 9 of Hubsters relatives were there, one all the way from CA.

Captcha copyro is that copy ro or the guy who abets in arsons?

CrazyCat said...

This was largely a guessing game for me. Fortunately most of my guesses turned out to be correct. Biggest WTH was TOLUOL - what??! I loved the long 15 letter phrases. Also liked seeing SMOOTH TALK, SHTICK, BIG BAND ERA and UNISEX. I have a friend who once called a UNISEX boutique a *unisexual* boutique. Still makes me laugh. Bantam for PETITE was confusing. I was focusing on the rooster or the fighter. I guess they're both small.

BACTERIA and TICK were somewhat non- breakfast test worthy IMO.

Biggest mistake was when I THREW in OSSO BUCO for 31 across, Italian classic. That shows you where my head is at. I'm still thinking of the bolognese sauce on pappardelle I made on Thursday night. Other than that I was able to finish in 38 minutes without a Google.
@Sfingi I wish we had a San Genaro feast here!

Anonymous said...

True or false?
I was told that software "out there" can fill in any crossword grid. According to a techie friend, all a puzzle constructor has to do is fill in a couple of words in a blank grid and the computer fills in the rest. This would make puzzle construction just a matter of writing clever defs. Your comments????

hazel said...

@CrazyCat - me too on the guessing game. Made it fun.

Agree w/ PG that this one was kind of hard. Took me longer than the NYT. Yea for challenging puzzles!!

Sfingi said...

@Anon1138 - I'll try any CW you throw at me, as long as it's a real American style puzzle. I'm the one who likes the USA Today puzzle.

@CrazyCat - we have several feste. The St. Rosalie is very small; the Cosmo and Damiano is big because Canadians who were born in Italy come. There are a couple in the next county, too. This is our first San Genaro because the Casino had a non-religious one last year, which sort of annoyed the locals. We have the food, kids's rides and all, but we also carry the saint through E. Utica, have a mass and sell religious things. For a while Hubster and I went to Lawrence, MA for the Tre Santi, but it's kind of become lamer.


Re: "I'm glad John knows all these! Yeesh!"

No, no, no! John DOESN'T know all those things. If this were a one-dimensional crossword (i.e. a quiz) I would have failed miserably, but thank God, crossword puzzles usually have crosses that reveal those esoteric words, which is what happened today. When the crosses don't help then we have a natick. Today no naticks for me... I was just lucky I guess. Has anyone ever tried solving a CW without the vertical clues?
And I didn't tell you that it took me over an hour to solve.

Re: Tambo Colorado
No I haven't been there, but a trip to Peru is on my bucket list.
Problem is, whenever I cross out an item on my bucket list, I add two more. Soooo, I guess I'll just have to live to 200 years.

mac said...

Great puzzle, but after the comments I'm really hungry... Starting the oven to heat up the lamb shanks and white beans.

@anonymouse 11.38: it's not as easy as you think. In fact, constructors have told me that the computer clues sometimes get in the way.

Bantam always makes me think of those pretty little fowl. There is a house (completely fenced in yard) in our neighborhood where all different breeds run free and make a lot of noise. Wonderful to walk by. A little up the road I once spotted a llama.

Rube said...

Good, but difficult puzzle. Got impatient and Googled twice, once for PAVEL, (forgot his name), and once for INNES, (never heard of her). Had arabic for SEMITE, of course, and oneman for UNISEX.

We had TAL a few weeks ago. Is he regular crosswordese? I guess so, with 41 appearances in the NYT since 1994, (although not all TAL clues are Mikhail related).

I'm having a hard time associating a bantam weight boxer with PETITE. It appears that I should try to listen to IMUS one of these days, just to find out what all the talk is about.

Deezey said...

easy -- if you're an english speaking italian sailor who knows about bacteria and botany...

egads this was ridic...

Sfingi said...

@Rube - don't bother with Imus.

@Deezey - feel free to Google, esp. Thurs. - Sat. I go through it twice w/o Google, marking the factual ones I don't know - mostly sports and youngster stuff. Then I hit Google. I'm pretty good at science and arts, semi with geography and history. Hubster speaks Italian and knows baseball and old pop culture. After a while, you learn some stuff and not just crosswordese. I've noticed I've become good at seeing expressions. I write down new words, esp. proper nouns and read the Wiki stuff. Those Inca apartment were far out today. Of course, I'm retired and the only thing I have to do is visit my ma at the home and keep 2 houses clean.

@John - There's an Italian toast: Cent'ann' which means may you live to 100. But you don't want to do it like the ones I see every day. Stay healthy, or keep the gun clean. This sort of thing is on my mind these days, naturally.

shrub5 said...

Just got around to this today (Sunday) so don't know if anyone is listening out there.

This was a tough puzzle for me -- had to google for EISNER and PAVEL, otherwise it was a slow, grind-it-out stint. Very satisfying, however, to gradually see a few of the letters of the 15's and figure out the phrase.


'Some tiny rods and spheres' was my first (gimme) entry (BACTERIA.) My specialty.

I enjoyed the IMUS show when he was on MSNBC. He got the boot after a horrendous remark about the womens' basketball team at Rutgers. Actually, his producer said it first and Imus echoed it. I don't believe he is racist at heart but while trying to be funny, he really blew it. I knew the minute he said it, he was gone -- the network would not tolerate that. He later met with the team and coach privately and apologized. He now has a new TV simulcast of his radio show but it is on a station I don't get.