T H U R S D A Y   September 16, 2010
David J. Khan

Theme: You Wanna Be Where Everybody Knows Your Name — Theme answers are two-word phrases related to sports, the second word of which can also precede the word BAR in a familiar phrase.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *Powerful punch (RIGHT CROSS).
  • 26A: *Where the tight end is positioned, in football lingo (STRONG SIDE).
  • 50A: *Shot pioneered by Wilt Chamberlain (FINGER ROLL).
  • 11D: *2010 St. Andrews competition (BRITISH OPEN).
  • 25D: *Wimbledon event (MEN'S SINGLES).
  • 58A: Places where you can watch (and whose end can follow the ends of) the answers to starred clues (SPORTS BARS).
Very nice theme today! A little complicated — that explanatory clue needs to be diagrammed — but once you get it, it's pretty awesome. Notice that each theme answer refers to a different sport (boxing, football, basketball, golf, and tennis). That's the kind of detail that can make or break a theme.

Only one thing bothered me and I'm going to just get it out of the way right up front: DESI. Unless I'm really missing something, this clue — 42A: Sitcom pal of Fred — doesn't work at all. Fred Mertz is a character on the 1950s sitcom "I Love Lucy." Desi Arnaz's character in the show is named Ricky Ricardo. Because the clue refers to the character's name (Fred), it's not fair to then turn around and have the answer be the actor's name (DESI). I actually wrote in DESI and then erased it right away because I immediately realized it couldn't be right, that the clue must be referring to some other Fred becaue "Ricky" wouldn't fit. This is the kind of dissonance you hardly ever see in crosswords which makes me believe this one just got by the test-solvers, editors, etc. It happens! (But not often!)

  • 1A: Piano pro (TUNER). This one made me chuckle. First because I was thinking exclusively of someone playing the piano, so when I got the answer I felt pretty dumb. And second because my piano really needs to be tuned.
  • 23A: Depict artistically (LIMN). Whoa. That there's a fancy word!
  • 38A: "Spartacus" Oscar winner (USTINOV). Man I hate it when the answer seems So Much like something I should know.
  • 44A: Shades that fade in fall (TANS). Tricky clue! This refers to the tans people have on their bodies and how they fade when summer's over.
  • 45A: Bond trader's phrase (AT PAR). Tried NO PAR first.
  • 57A: Kerouac's Paradise et al. (SALS). Sal Paradise is the protagonist of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, a book I … couldn't get through.
  • 6D: Wedge-shaped mark (CARET). Karat, carat, caret. Here's the thing. [Edited to actually get it right! I totally didn't get it wrong the first time on purpose! ARGH!] "Carat" is a unit of weight for precious stones; "karat" is a unit of fineness for gold; and "caret" is a wedge-shaped mark like so: ^. I can never keep the spelling straight on these words.
  • 18D: Where some signs change (CUSP). Ooh, zodiac reference. How 70s!
  • 24D: Sympathetic words (I CARE). I have always hated this answer. I just can't envision the situation in which someone, with sincere sympathy, would say "I care."
  • 33D: Fab Four member (STARR). I already had the S in place here so I didn't have the first-name/last-name debate with myself.
  • 60D: Rider of Dinny the dinosaur (OOP). I always knew there was a comic strip called Alley Oop, but I don't recall ever actually seeing it or knowing what it was about. Alley Oop is a caveman and Dinny is his pet dinosaur. And that's pretty much all I will ever remember about this particular topic.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 19A: "Still Life With Old Shoe" artist (MIRÓ).
  • 53A: Knife of yore (SNEE).
  • 55A: Beer-making aid (OAST).
  • 64A: "Don't change it" (STET).
  • 1D: Rocky hill (TOR).
  • 2D: Weapon designer __ Gal (UZI).
  • 28D: Actor Ken and others (OLINS).
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Everything Else — 6A: Fizzy drink (COLA); 10A: Kellogg School deg. (MBA); 13A: UV ray absorber (OZONE); 14A: x and y, perhaps (AXES); 15A: Blackberry lily, e.g. (IRIS); 20A: Together, in music (A DUE); 21A: Ham (EMOTER); 29A: Polar buildup (ICECAP); 31A: Extremists (ULTRAS); 32A: West pointers, sometimes? (VANES); 33A: Sulky state (SNIT); 34A: See 59-Down (SHOP); 37A: It prints many scheds. (IRS); 41A: Mined matter (ORE); 47A: Not completely (IN PART); 49A: Admirals' concerns (FLEETS); 54A: Like "ASAP" memos (URGENT); 65A: Liver nutrient (IRON); 66A: Bother persistently (NAG AT); 67A: Curly shape (ESS); 68A: "Forget about it" ("NOPE"); 69A: Like an evening in a Frost title (SNOWY); 3D: Nutmeg-topped drink (NOG); 4D: Add pizazz to (ENHANCE); 5D: Like many a volunteer: Abbr. (RETD.); 7D: Kitchen gadgets brand (OXO); 8D: Haitian seaport __ Cayes (LES); 9D: Be convinced about (ASSENT TO); 10D: Cocktails similar to a Buck's Fizz (MIMOSAS); 12D: Made public (AIRED); 16D: Peeved (SORE); 22D: Retail VIP (MGR.); 23D: Really, really 16-Down (LIVID); 27D: Meet unexpectedly (RUN INTO); 30D: Barry Bonds's alma mater, briefly (ASU); 35D: Wax eloquent (ORATE); 36D: As such (PER SE); 39D: Gets going (STARTS IN); 40D: Batman before George (VAL); 43D: Consumes (INGESTS); 46D: Treaty subject (TEST BAN); 48D: Reliever's spot, for short (PEN); 49D: Needing a 1-Across (FLAT); 50D: Hoo-ha (FUSS); 51D: Really 16-Down (IRATE); 52D: Ben player on "Bonanza" (LORNE); 56D: Payroll figs. (SSN'S); 59D: With 34-Across, country club feature (PRO); 61D: In days past (AGO); 62D: Untrained (RAW); 63D: Place to serve slop (STY).



I hate puzzles that have a lot of sports clues (9 of them), EVEN WORSE a puzzle that has sports terminology as its theme.
NOPE, David J. Kahn just got booted off my good constructor list.
IMO, a good puzzle is one which is nicely diversified in content.

Even in puzzles that I don’t like, I usually find something that appeals to me.
Today it was the MIMOSAS (Albizzia julibrissin), which are gorgeous trees as well as cocktails.
Also the Joan Miró painting, “Still Life with Old Shoe.”
Oh yeah, and also the Belamcanda, also known as the “Blackberry Lily”, which is in the IRIS family.

Now I’m feeling bad that I panned Mr. Kahn’s puzzle just because of the many sports-related words.

Time for my pecan coffeecake with amaretto coffee.

badrog said...

The world wonders if PG intentionally switched the usages of karat and carat just so she could add the final sentence to that line of commentary. Funny!

I too dislike I CARE in CWs, but it's great in movie dialogue, e.g., when Jenny sorta stresses "care" in Love Story, but the Alien stresses "I" in the closing scene of Starman.

For a moment I thought we might have BRITISH OPEN twice, but 2 "open bars" just wouldn't compute.

How nice to see something other than "flag" horticulturally matched with IRIS.

And that "blackberry lily", along with "Buck's fizz" were new to me. Wonderful clues!

And Google later told me that A DUE usually implies "as a unison duet" as opposed to "divisi" when the 2 parts are not unison.

On the other hand, FINGER ROLL and LORNE challenged the memory.

Anonymous said...

For all of us lowbrows who don't know the latin names of flora and fauna the sports clues were welcome and, at least in my case, made for an enjoyable time solving the puzzle.

Van55 said...

I struggled a bit with this one. I know Mimosas, but never heard of Buck's Fizzes.

EMOTER for "ham" is unpleasant, somehow. ULTRAS for "extremists," the same. ESS at the bottom left is lazy.

All in all, it fell FLAT for me.

*David* said...

I made one mistake putting SODA in instead of COLA the DES worked for me but the SARET didn't so I looked it up and realized, no such word, oh well. Otherwise could've been a stronger finish but I did move at a steady pace with the NW causing me the most trouble. I kept on wanting to put in RIGHT HOOKS but knew the plural was wrong.

Overall a solid puzzle with an interesting theme.

jazz said...

I went through the Ricky/DESI thing too...shoud have clued it with William, Vivian or Lucy. Or maybe "Cuban leader of a band" or something.

Liked the theme. Clever theme clue (once you figure it out!)

Tinbeni said...

PuzzleGirl, wonderful write-up.

I LOVE puzzles with a lot of sports clues.

Caught on to the five different SPORTS theme early and I really do like BARS ...

BTW, the real name for that 2010 golf event at St. Andrew's is "THE OPEN."
NOPE, they don't add the BRITISH to its name over there.

Have no idea what is in a Buck Fizz. Surprise, surprise, I am very familiar with MIMOSAS.

Yup, a "drinkin' man's" puzzle.
The perfect fix for a NY Yankee's fan.
Damn, my local Ray's are in First. Next week they play 4 games at the Stadium. Should be a great series.

Never thought that something that made me LIVID would help me out. But that Oregon area was not coming together for the longest time.
Hand up for not liking the DESI answer for the "Sitcom pal of Fred" clue. The answer being his real name, the clue, the character's name. (Like @PG said: "And Ricky wouldn't fit").

Fave was IRS for "It prints many scheds."
Many, many, many Forms, too.

Rube said...

Had two writeovers, ICEflo/ICECAP and STARTup/STARTIN. The latter was easily fixed, the former caused me grief in the NW. I know limnology, vaguely remember the word LIMN, and think I've had this issue in the not too distant past. Yes, the NYT had LIMN last December with the definition "describe". Associating LIMN with limnology, (the study of fresh water lakes), is a stretch, but possible.

Got USTINOV from the U. That's what us oldies do. However, had to run the alphabet to get the F in FINGERROLL. There's bviously a hole in my sports education here. Seems that Sal Paradise has been in xwords a lot recently.

Found this a very enjoyable xword and a little more of a challenge than today's NYT.

Tuttle said...

Am I the only one who finds "hoo-ha" to be a weak clue? I see it is defined as a FUSS or uproar in dictionaries, but where I come from (and in the Urban Dictionary) it generally refers to a certain part of the female anatomy whose common four-letter synonyms are utterly unacceptable in any sort of decent company.

C said...

I caught the Ricki/DESI issue but that took a back seat to the clue for STRONGSIDE. You can play loose with cross word conventions but don't start making light of religious matters such as football. The strong side is NOT defined by where the tight end lines up. In fact, the tight end can line up on the weak side and quite often does. The clue really has nothing to do with the answer.

This clue is an affront to my religion and I am calling for a great blitz (my religion's equivalent of a jihad) on the constructor, Mr. David J. Khan. Khaaaaaaaaan!

full disclaimer: this post is not serious and I enjoyed the puzzle even though the STRONGSIDE clue is wrong. I used the clue to work in my favorite Star Trek II reference. Mr. Khan should not worry about random football jerseyed individuals tackling him out of the blue ... or should he?

Larry S said...

Yesterday's puzzle took me ten minutes, no lookups, and one wrong letter. Today went past thirty minutes, three lookups and several mistakes and head-scratchers left. Isn't this a huge difficulty leap from Wednesday to Thursday?

Sfingi said...

@Tinbeni - as much as I like you, this was not only a non-sportsner's nightmare, but a Juvenile-Guy puzzle (Batman, Kerouac and UZI included).

Having said that, I am the Juvenile Girl who collects girlie toys because I didn't get enough as a child. I confess I check out Etsy, Cute Overload, and Paris Parfait all the time.

It took me approaching forever. I do my Googled answers in a different color. 10 today, and in blue, so the CW had a veined look. I have a pained look. To me, a SPORTSBAR is the opposite of paradise.


@John - When I saw the picture of the Blackberry Lilly, I knew it was an Iris. Oh, you can't LIMN the lily!

Had cadETS before FLEETS, sOdA before COLA, mIMe for LIMN, dES before LES.
Wanted Danny for Dinny's rider - from an old kid's book (interpret either way) but it didn't fit. Wanted Lamont (Fred Sanford's son) or Barney Rubble for DESI, also didn't fit. Wanted Van Gogh for MIRO, and no fit.

After I Googled the clues, I decided that Barry Bonds is a dreadful person; I still can't figure out what the FINGERROLL is; and why someone is called a tight end (unless...no).

I don't think ASSENT TO means the same as "be convinced about." Much weaker.

David Kahn - you stay on your side of town, and I'll stay on mine!

I took a peak at the NYT and it said it was easy. Maybe I'll buy one.

CrazyCat said...

Tricky puzzle for me today. The sports theme and clues put me in a bit of a SNIT. Never heard of STRONGSIDE or FINGERROLL so I had to get them completely through the crosses. BRITISH OPEN and MENS SINGLES were easy enough to get though. I wasn't fond of all the cross referenced clues either. That said, the puzzle totally redeemed itself by including MIMOSAS, my favorite Sunday morning indulgence.

I agree about the DESI clue. I put DESI down and thought this can't be, but it worked. I knew LIMN from long ago American art history classes. Limners were untrained artists during the colonial period. Much of their work could be considered early American folk art.

Oh and I liked the clue for 32A VANES.
@Tuttle - I didn't like Hoo Hah for FUSS either. Would rather have seen Brouhaha.

wilsch said...

Good, challenging puzzle. The FRED/DESI thing threw me off for a while, too. I thought of other sitcom "Freds" (Flintstone, Sanford, etc.), but they didn't work. "William" (Frawley) would have matched DESI, but would have been too obscure as a clue.

Tinbeni said...

In football, there is usually a "tight end" (TE) lined up mext to the tackle(t), guard(g), center(c) and a "split end" (SE) lined up away from the tackle on the other side of the line.

Like so:

As to the ASSENT TO -v- Convinced about, I think it is a matter of semantics.
Example A:
If (at first) you are Convinced about something ... then you (secondly) Assent to it.

but ...

Example B:
Just because you (at first) Assent to something ... that doesn't necessarily mean you are (secondly) Convinced about it.

In this case the clue came before the answer. Example A

Anonymous said...

In football, from the offense's perspective, the tight end side is always the strong side of the formation. This is usually the case from the defense's perspective, too; however some defenses consider the "wide" side of the field the "strong" side, depending on where the ball is placed on or between the hash marks.

While there is slight room for interpretation here, the clue is generally correct. Anybody who knows about football (and certainly one who considers football his "religion") should know this.

hazel said...

Nice puzzle, I thought.

@Tinbeni - I never knew the origin of the tight end/split end terminology. So, thanks for that diagram because now it makes sense.

@C - That clue didn't seem so bad to me? Isn't the "strong side" just the side w/ more players? and the tight end IS the extra player, assuming an otherwise standard wideout distribution. Maybe there is no longer a "standard" setup, and I just haven't noticed? Either way, now I'm going to pay more attention to how the Falcons set up on offense this season! Go Falcons!!

Can't believe I'd never heard of FINGERROLL, though that's a pretty cool word.

ali said...

oh man, i am so hopeless at crosswords, i only got about 2 of those ones. It seems so obvious when you have go the answers!

Anonymous said...

Fairly challenging puzzle and I wrote Desi right in especially since Barney had too many letters!! Liked all the sports references also. PG does a refreshing presentation.

Sfingi said...

@Tinbeni - thanks for trying.

The ASSENTTO clue reminds me of something my grandmother used to say:
"A man convinced against his will
Is of the same opinion still."

PErhaps the clue should have been Become convince about. Maybe.

By the way - Minitheme - SORE, IRATE, LIVID

@Ali - you don't have to be good at CWs, even sports CWs. Those who can, do stuff. Those who can't do crosswords about stuff.

C said...


Yes, the strong side of the formation is where you have the most players to one side of the center or another, it is not the side of the formation where the TE is located, necessarily.


Example of where the TE is on the weak side of the formation.

All I was saying is that the strong side of an offensive formation is not decided by where the TE is located.

Tough loss for your Falcons last week.


Lighten up, Francis. Defense will read the TE but also judge where the passing and rushing strength of the offensive formation lies and adjust accordingly. The defense will not go strong to the TE side if more players are on the opposite side of of the center from the TE. Clue reads as an absolute, it is not an absolute. My rant was tongue in cheek and not serious.

C said...

aaargh, formatting did not come out. Imagine the FB, WR and SE are all to the right of center and the QB isn't taking the snap from the T and the HB is right behind the QB. Other than that, perfect ;^)

hazel said...

@C - thanks for response. I wasn't thinking of the backfield at all. (Thanks also for the Falcons empathy - fortunately I was on the road and missed the game.....) But, I will be in the stands on Sunday hoping for better luck.

shrub5 said...

@PG - loved the fish theme in your write-up!! Can't imagine having the patience to carve out those little fish from carrots.

Not knowing what a Buck's Fizz iz, I initially put in MOJITOS from the M, before MIMOSAS. Hand raised for spelling CARET wrong (CARaT) so I had ADUa for together, in music, which was just fine with me.

Well, I totally dug this puzzle. I purposely do not follow football as I do not need another pastime that involves sitting on my *$$. Basketball is it for me....well, sometimes golf and tennis. Nevertheless, most of the sports answers emerged without too much difficulty.

Captcha: arcles -- little arcs.

Unknown said...

My first thought was vincent van GOGH for the "Still Life With Old Shoes". Here is what the actual Miro painting looks like. http://twitpic.com/2pc4oj

Anonymous said...

The once-you've-seen-one-still-life-you've seen-'em-all syndrome.

1. Shoe or fish? Who cares!
2. 20th century or 18th century? Who cares?
3. French or Spanish? Who cares?
4. The need to have all 4 linked pix be fish-related, or the need to show the actual artwork named in the bulleted clue/answer to which it is juxtaposed? Who cares?