T H U R S D A Y   September 23, 2010
John Pounders

Theme: Yeah, yeah, yeah — Theme answers are clued using the same phrase with different meanings.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: "Oh, yeah?" ("SURE ABOUT THAT?").
  • 36A: "Oh, yeah!" ("I LIKE IT LIKE THAT!").
  • 53A: "Oh, yeah ..." ("I REMEMBER THAT …").

I'm a fan of this type of theme, where the clues for theme answers are the same. Typically, the clue will simply be one word, but in this case, it's actually a phrase with the added twist of punctuation and inflection, which I think makes this theme great. Two thumbs up!

There were a couple sticky places in this grid, the first of which was, appropriately, 16A: Sticky resin used in paint (ALKYD). I just have trouble with the science-y stuff. I assume that I'll pick it up eventually if I solve enough puzzles. The clue for SEINE — 34A: Angler's accessory — definitely indicates we're in a late-week puzzle. I always forget that SEINE doesn't always refer to the French river, but sometimes to a, um, fishing … accessory. As I wrote that sentence it occurred to me that I don't actually know what a SEINE is! A teeny tiny voice in the back of my brain is saying "net" so I'm gonna go with that. A SEINE is a fisher's net. (I'm sure you'll let me know if I'm wrong about that!)

Then there's BELAY, which I have only heard in relation to climbing and didn't realize was used in the nautical world as well (32D: Secure, as a ship's line). BIHARI, on the other hand, is a word I don't ever remember hearing. The clue — 46D: Native of NE India — reminded me of when I had lunch with Vega a couple weeks ago. She asked if I liked South Indian food. And she asked it like I knew the difference between South Indian and North Indian food. (I'm all: "Sure!")

  • 5A: It may involve splashing (BATH). For some reason this clue made me laugh.
  • 18A: Love god (EROS). I always have to think for a minute to remember which god is EROS and which one is ARES. EROS = EROtic = love. That's how I remember it.
  • 19A: "Thelma and Louise" car (T-BIRD). Lots of "Thelma and Louise" this week.
  • 44A: Journey (VOYAGE).

  • 46A: Merit badge org. (BSA). I actually spent some time sewing badges on a Girl Scout sash last night.
  • 67A: Word with cheap or bike (DIRT). I am really really bad at figuring out this type of clue. I guess my brain just doesn't work that way. Once I get it (through crosses) I always think "Oh! That's clever!" but there's no way I could come up with it on my own.
  • 6D: Polis leader? (ACRO-). Wanted METRO-, which obviously didn't fit.
  • 11D: People-wary, as a horse (SKITTISH). Great word.
  • 59D: Source of lean meat (EMU). Have any of you tried it? I'm guessing it tastes like chicken.
Crosswordese 101: Here are the words that'll let you know the answer you want is OSIER: willow, twig, basketry, and wickerwork. (Note today's 51A: Willow tree twig. See?) It also might be helpful to remember that OSIER is a variety of dogwood.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 33A: "Carnival of Harlequin" surrealist (MIRÓ).
  • 42A: Sharp ridge (ARETE).
  • 64A: Mars counterpart (ARES).
  • 13D: Byrnes of "77 Sunset Strip" (EDD).
  • 57D: Barely manages, with "out" (EKES).
  • 58D: Muslim's duty (HAJ).
[P.S. This blog has 199 followers! Will we get to 200 today? The suspense is killing me!]

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Everything Else — 1A: A teaspoon, maybe (DOSE); 9A: Old hat (PASSE); 14A: Quechua speaker (INCA); 15A: Return from the Alps? (ECHO); 17A: Hot quaff (GROG); 23A: __ manual (USER'S); 24A: Canadian sentence enders? (EHS); 25A: Start using (TAP); 28A: High degree (PHD); 29A: Prone (LIABLE); 35A: Silas Marner, e.g. (MISER); 41A: Garden bulb (TULIP); 43A: Repose (CALM); 49A: Quarterback's cry (HUT); 50A: Time in a pool (DIP); 58A: Virile one (HE-MAN); 60A: Cranny's partner (NOOK); 61A: First name in Indian music (RAVI); 62A: Church chorus (AMENS); 63A: Tackle box item (LURE); 65A: Opinion giver (JUDGE); 66A: Cravings (YENS); 1D: Unearths (DIGS UP); 2D: Assault (ONRUSH); 3D: Homered, say (SCORED); 4D: Thirsty (EAGER); 5D: Overseas network, with "the" (BEEB); 7D: Commandment pronoun (THOU); 8D: Hiker's stopover (HOSTEL); 9D: Rustic ways (PATHS); 10D: Jessica of "Sin City" (ALBA); 12D: Turk. neighbor (SYR.); 21D: Dreaming, perhaps (ASLEEP); 22D: Not just a (THE); 26D: Space (AREA); 27D: Sea side (PORT); 30D: 1969 Super Bowl (III); 31D: Colony dweller (ANT); 33D: Tick cousin (MITE); 34D: Whole alternative (SKIM); 35D: Falling star (METEOR); 36D: Allergic reaction (ITCH); 37D: Place to see grass skirts (LUAU); 38D: Poorly planned (ILL-TIMED); 39D: Bank offering, for short (IRA); 40D: Powder container (KEG); 44D: Animation (VIM); 45D: For all to see (OPENLY); 47D: Pitcher known as "Tom Terrific" (SEAVER); 48D: Escape __ (ARTIST); 50D: Crowded (DENSE); 52D: Valuable violin (STRAD); 54D: "You __?" (RANG); 55D: Pout (MOUE); 56D: Conceived, as an idea (BORN).



Not a very exciting theme, but the puzzle was just okay.
Didn’t like a lot of the clues, e.g. ---
59D “Source of lean meat” (EMU)
44D “Animation” (VIM)… I think this stands for Video In Motion.
30D “1969 Superbowl” (III)
22D “Not just a” (THE)
6D “Polis leader” (ACRO)
4D “Thirsty” (EAGER)
25A “Start using” (TAP)
Those are all horrible clues!

Overall I’d say this was a very amateurish construction.

The puzzle makes about as much sense to me as Joan MIRO’s painting, “Carnival of Harlequin”.

Thanks @PG for a very entertaining and informative writeup.

Now where did I put that coffee mug?


Red OSIER Dogwood

Scully2066 said...

Wow tough puzzle but did like a few of the clever clues: SKITISH, ITCH, and NOOK. Did have a lot of trouble with words I've never heard of like BIHARI, ALKYD and OSIER.
The theme was OK but I like the ones that have a cool surpise at the end :)
Thanks always PG for helping me figure this all out. - everyone have a great day!!


Now that I've read Puzzlegirl's writeup, I have a much better appreciation of this puzzle... that happens a lot.
So perhaps I should take back some of my harsh criticisms.

SethG said...

I'm watching Jill's parents' cats for the winter. She kept forgetting their names for some reason. Turns out, they're Thelma and Louise.

I resisted putting in I LIKE IT LIKE THAT after the first entry ended with THAT, then I got to the third. I guess the theme is actually "Yeah, yeah, yeah, that ends well" or something. Yeah. That.

PuzzleGirl said...

@JNH: Or perhaps you should make it a practice to read the post before you comment on it. Just a thought.

Van55 said...

Man, I have a lot of quibbles over this one, even though I finished it just fine.

Where to begins -- AMENS -- weird plural.

ILLTIMED is not necessarily poorly planned -- it can simply be poorly executed.

DIP as "time in a pool". I don't think so. Maybe "brief time in a pool."

BIHARI -- totally obscure, though crossing it with RAVI is nice.

BEEB -- yeah, BBC in the UK, but not so familiar to the majority of LA Times readers.

Theme -- just OK to me.

Not sure EHS isn't an insult to our Canadian friends, but I will assume it isn't so intended.

One can be CALM without being in repose.

badrog said...

Last Erasure: 50A, lap to DIP.
First Erasure: 6d, Anna to ACRO
Last Blank Filled: 46A&D. I'm weak on South (and Central) Asian topics, and didn't know if the Girl Scouts used merit badges. Thanks for the help, PG.
Quibble of the Day: 34A clue: Does an angler use a seine?
By etymology (and general usage?)anglers fish with hooks (and flies?), and the image is usually of a guy in hipboots in the middle of a stream. By definition, a seine is a large net that is weighted on the bottom and has floats on the top; and the image is of commercial fishermen on a trawler. For me, those images didn't match up very well. On the other hand, there was no hesitation whatsoever in writing in the answer!
Ultra-mini Quibble of the Day: Altho the preferred dictionary definition of "inflection" is "change in pitch or loudness of the voice", many linguistic specialists prefer "intonation" for that usage, especially when it is preceded by "falling" or "rising". And, to a lexicographer, "inflection" means the changes (usually suffixed) in a word "required" by grammatical and syntactical rules. E.g., in English, -ed, -ing, for most verbs, -s, -es for most noun plurals, -er, -est for most adjectives, and I/me, we/us, etc. for pronouns. Many foreign (especially classical) languages are much more heavily inflected than English (think noun and adjective declensions and genders, and verb conjugations, etc.) Some examples: der, die, das; amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant. On the other hand, one bane of ESL students (and our own toddlers, as well) is learning all the "irregular" stuff that often results from the variety in ancient origins of English; i.e., the basic "rules" may not be too difficult, but the "exceptions" are often the most commonly used words, especially with verbs.

imsdave said...

I enjoyed the theme. I did have two problems, one leading to an error. Sometimes I try and solve a little too quickly, as was the case with ALKID instead of ALKYD (I never said I could spell). Crosschecked the downs, and SIR and EDD looked good, so I assumed I was right. Note to self: Read all the clues, even if the words look good.

My other problem was trying to guess whether it should be GIHARI or BIHARI. My son and daughter were both scouts so I knew it could go either way. Threw a dart into a mental board and picked correctly, but I'm still calling that an unfair cross.

Joon said...

the difference between saying "these are horrible clues" and saying "i didn't care for these clues" is, pretty much, the difference between acting like a jerk and offering an honest opinion about something you didn't like.

those clues are all fine or better. it appears that some of them reference definitions that you don't know, but you know what? it's thursday. late in the week, sometimes you learn something. VIM is an english word, not an abbreviation. look it up. it is roughly synonymous with enthusiasm or liveliness; "animation," likewise, can also mean that.

TAP, as a verb, can mean many things, but one of them is "exploit or draw a supply from (a resource)" (new oxford american dictionary). {Start using} is the same thing.

et cetera.

hazel said...

Thought this puzzle was cool. Liked the theme and the fill. Silas Marner, ancient civilization, tapping kegs, geology terms, Boy Scouts. Nice.

@Joon - good points!
@PG - you made 200! Congrats!

Dilbert said...

Is it okay if I'm #200? I have been reading the blog for some time now but, this is my first comment.

MaryOregon said...

I'll make it #201! I love this blog, as the Crosswordese lessons help me every day. Today's puzzle was perfect for Thursday. Loved the rare old Beatles video.

C said...

Another solid puzzle, fun to solve. The LAT is having a nice solid week of puzzles.

Don't understand the questioning about the cluing for TAP, you TAP a keg or a new source all the time. It's all perspective, I guess.

I have had EMU before, was excellent. The EMU I had was served as fillets and tasted more like very tender steak than fowl. No chicken taste at all. I had it at a high end restaurant in Taos New Mexico, and based on my recollection, I think the chef could have served BBQ OSIER and it would have been pretty damn good. In other words, ymmv.

Joe the Fisherman said...

@All who question SEINE- Many anglers use seines to catch small fish to use as bait to catch large fish.

Van55 said...

"Joon said...
the difference between saying "these are horrible clues" and saying "i didn't care for these clues" is, pretty much, the difference between acting like a jerk and offering an honest opinion about something you didn't like."

Joon, this reads like a bit of a personal attack on JNH, though I could be mistaken. The problem I have with your statement is that, on reviewing the blog entries, I can't find the statement "These are horrible clues" anywhere. In fact, JHN's list begins with "These were the clues I didn't like."

Late week puzzle difficulty notwithstanding, I do think there's a point at which the use of unnecessarily obscure or ambiguous clues diminishes one's (i.e. my own) enjoyment of the puzzle-solving experience. That point was NOT reached in today's puzzle for me. But JHN's criticism of, for example, "Not just a" for THE is more than a little justified in my view.

Van55 said...

Three and out:

On further review, JHN did say "These are all just horrible clues" at the end of his list, so Joon's remark is better warranted than I originally believed. My apologiex.

Emily Latella said...

@Van55- Where have you been all my life?

Sfingi said...

I had gIHARI because it's Girl Scouts of America! Sexist!

Though I only Googled for the III (sports - how does anyone remember this boring stuff from 40 years ago?), but it took me forever. It just didn't click, and I've been doing pretty well with expressions up until now. That doesn't mean it's a bad puzzle, I just felt, "Oh yeah," was too loose a connection, since it didn't work for moi. On the other hand, I'm sick as a dog and might as well spend hours on a CW as anything else.

Oh - had MOpE before MOUE, Try before TAP.

@Scully - We've had OSIER several times before, and I consider it crosswordese. ALKYD, on the other hand, I've never seen. The word appears on paint cans, but I never knew it was a sticky resin. So, that a new definition for the day.

@John - nice photo, as usual.

John Wolfenden said...

I kinda liked "Not just a" for THE.

But I hated "Poorly planned" for ILL-TIMED. Just seems like two totally different ideas.

Smoother than most Thursdays for me, although as already mentioned OSIER/BIHARI is a pretty cruel cross.

mac said...

Excellent puzzle! Plenty of stuff I had to get through crosses, but not real problems. I had the same thought about seine being a net and an angler not using it, so thanks for the explanation, @Fisherman Joe!

I also loved the "not just a" clue.
But here is Beeb again! No one I know in England uses the term, and I've lived there a total of almost 5 years. Is it maybe really old?

Congratulations, PuzzleGirl!


I write my comments the night before you make your postings, right after I complete the puzzle. If you posted your blog earlier (which I don't expect), I would indeed read your comments before writing mine. But, then again, since I've been accused (falsely) of being a blogger's sycophant, perhaps it's better that I don't get biased.

"those are all horrible clues" was my honest opinion (as so prefaced).
Are we here to critique the puzzle, or are we here to impudently judge each other's commenting style and then to make condescending corrections?
Is that what you would rather see here? Is childish name calling a good thing for this blog?
Who is being a "jerk" here???

g$ said...

Here's a recent example of BEEB usage.

CrazyCat said...

ALKYD paints are oil based paints. They're no longer available in CA because of environmental restrictions. They always seemed way more durable than latex, but the whites would yellow over time and they were very stinky, so I guess it's a good thing,

My biggest problems were SEINE crossing III and BIHARI crossing OSIER. Also I had GLOG before GROG which created ON LUSH. Never heard the BBC referred to as BEEB so that tripped me up too. Oh yeah, THAT theme was AOK with me. Kind of a tough puzzle, but then it's Thursday. I was just happy I could pull ARETE and MOUE out of my brain and that Thelma, Louise and their T BIRD showed up again.

Unknown said...

Joe did a great job of explaining Seine. A modern day example is how fisherman get herring in Bristol Bay, Alaska as bait for the King Crabbers. with Seines you envelop schools of fish and alot of Seiners get help from planes in the air. An old example would be Peter in the Sea of Galilee and the fish were Talapia which are also known as the "Perch of the Nile"...No Google either on that! Regards...Nate

PuzzleGirl said...

The Girl Scouts' organization is called Girl Scouts of the USA. Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts are two completely separate entities. (I was surprised when I learned that!)

Dilbert and MaryOregon: Thanks for coming out of the woodwork! I hope to hear from you more often!

JNH: I subscribe to the Blog-as-Living-Room philosophy. Why in the world would you barge into my living room where I've just started a conversation and start talking without even acknowledging me? If you want to get your thoughts out there to set the tone and spark conversation, a blog is a great way to do that. Maybe you should start one.

badrog said...

Having never tasted emu meat, and assuming that it is clued as "lean meat" because it's a bird, I decided to browse a bit. And came up with some info you probably don't need to know:

1. Taxonomized as Dromaius Novaehollandiae (Sydney was once known as New Holland), it is now the only species in its genus.

2. Although the most notable feature of the "ratite" birds (emu, ostrich, rhea, kiwi, moa, etc.) is their flightlessness, the etymology of the term "ratite" is apparently from the Latin for "raft" for their flat breastbones (the sternum has no keel).

3. Wild emus are now a protected species; their status is "least concern."

4. Emus are raised commercially in North America, Peru, and China (and elswhere) as well as in Australia. There are over 3000 family-owned emu ranches in Texas (as of 2006, per the USDA).

5. Emu meat is considered "red meat" for cooking purposes by the USDA (because it is red, and its pH value is similar to beef (to which its taste is similar, though slightly sweeter), but is considered poultry for inspection purposes. It is less than 1.5% fat; with cholesterol at 85 mg/100g.

6. From an old Aboriginal "recipe": "... When you've got the fat off ..."

7. Emu fat is rendered to produce oil for cosmetics, dietary supplements, and therapeutic products, and may be superior to olive oil and fish oil for treating arthritis.

8. Commercially marketed emu oil supplements are poorly standardized and are sometimes marketed deceptively. This was highlighted in a 2009 FDA article "How to Spot Health Fraud".

9. Emu eggs are dark green, and their number per "season" varies from an average of 11, up to 20 every 2nd or 3rd day, depending on the rainfall.

10. Female emus are, on average, slightly larger than males, but they are substantially wider across the rump. It is the female that actively courts the male.

mac said...

I'm not sure why, but I am reluctant to eat ostrich or emu.

On nice days, when I'm running around in the jewelry district in NY, I have a sandwich from Au Bon Pain and sit in the little square in front of the headquarters of the Girl Scouts of America (5th and 38th).

Rube said...

Found this a tad more difficult than today's NYT, particularly in the SW where I had IllrEMBERTHAT and "choir" for church chorus. Took a while to take out choir and correct the misspelling, but went smoothly after that.

Totally guessed on MIRO since he's been in several xwords recently and Dali hasn't.

I'm not sure that Jack Aubry would have served his crew hot grog. I'd probably bet on it. It's interesting that some recipes do call for hot water.

Never heard of BIHARI either, but assumed that since the constructor is a guy it would be BSA... just a bit more likely.

An OK puzzle. Nothing exciting here, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Everything was going great until I got to 59D:Source of lean meat EMU. Thank you @badrog for the extensive info. I'm still trying to get past visions of the Big Yellow Bird as dinner. EEEwwwww

Great write up PG, I enjoy your blog just about every day. Learn something new all the time.

NJ Irish who can't sign in

Sfingi said...

@Wolfenden - agree.

Too me, Dali, Magritte, Chagall and the like are true Surrealists in that real objects appear in unreal situations. The others are more Futurist, Cubist - Klee, MIRO, though MIRO's early stuff was Surreal. IMHO
The 3 we are concerned about are Klee, Miro, Dali - because they have 4 letters.

I know someone who lost a fortune on an EMU farm in Phoenix. He was on his sixth marriage (5th to my best friend) and it couldn't have happened to a better person. His last desperate act was to sell painted EMU eggs at craft fairs.

NJ Irish said...

Question if you don't mind... how are some of you doing this puzzle the night before it's published in the paper?

Joon said...

i'm certainly not here to engage in any name-calling or personal attacks. how would i know if you're a jerk? i've never met you. but i know what kind of behavior i associate with jerks, and i'm going to point it out if i see it because it makes the conversation here a lot less pleasant. nobody died and made me miss manners (thank god), and it's not something i particularly relish doing, but i do have an interest in maintaining standards of acceptable behavior.

yes, it's obvious to everybody that when you say "these clues are horrible" you're presenting just your opinion, not any kind of established fact. nevertheless, i find it to be a rude and inappropriate way of expressing your distaste for those clues. i have no problem with "i didn't like a lot of the clues, including X Y and Z." so if you'd just left it at that instead of tacking on "these were horrible," we wouldn't be having this unpleasant discussion.

as for condescending? in all honestly, i can't deny it. but it looks to me many of the clues you objected to hinged on a word or definition that you didn't know. it's fine not to know stuff, but if you want to comment on it, you could say something like "these clues were hard" or "i didn't get it" or even "man, that was obscure." i thought that if some of the clues were explained to you, they might seem less bad. i took an extra-condescending tone because i was pissed off, but in retrospect i wish i hadn't done that. sorry.

CrazyCat said...

First of all I would like to say that adventurous as I am when it comes to food, I have never had EMU or ostrich. I have had bison several times and find it to be quite good and low in fat. And, it tastes like beef.
@Sfingi - I think MIRO is technically considered a surrealist, but he was originally a Fauve. I also think he may have palled around with the Dadaists here and there.
@PG Congrats on breaking 200! I appreciate you so much!
@NJIrish - I'm not positive, but I think you can find the puzzle online around 9 pm Pacific time.

PuzzleGirl said...

@NJ Irish: If you look over in my sidebar under "L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Links" you'll find a link to the Cruciverb.com website. The puzzle is posted there at 10:00 pm eastern time the night before the publication date. I believe you have to register on Cruciverb.com to have access to the puzzle, but it doesn't cost anything. (Someone pipe up if I'm wrong about that. I've had my membership for so long I don't really remember how it works.)

Rex Parker said...

Posting a comment without reading the write-up, and with no reference to the write-up, is impolite at best ("impolite" being the clean version of what I'd like to say).

I deal with grating commenters by putting them on a DNR list (Do Not Read); I highly recommend making such a list for yourself. It makes life on-line so much more bearable. I get (unhappy) mail from readers about several of my own constant commenters, and my only response: D.N.R.

No fan of ALKYD / EDD region, but the theme was definitely cute. Love the "THAT" endings.


Randy said...


First comment stated: "Thanks @PG for a very entertaining and informative writeup."

Second comment stated:"Now that I've read Puzzlegirl's writeup, I have a much better appreciation of this puzzle... that happens a lot."

Third comment stated:"I write my comments the night before you make your postings, right after I complete the puzzle. If you posted your blog earlier (which I don't expect), I would indeed read your comments before writing mine. But, then again, since I've been accused (falsely) of being a blogger's sycophant, perhaps it's better that I don't get biased."

How are you not a sycophant if you compliment the write-up before reading it?