T U E S D A Y   September 21, 2010
Robert A. Doll

Theme: I've got this property in Arizona I'd like to sell you …. — Theme answers start with words that can come after the word "beach" in a familiar phrase.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Top banana (HEAD HONCHO).
  • 23A: Unstable situation, metaphorically (HOUSE OF CARDS).
  • 37A: Huge mess (BALL OF CONFUSION).
  • 45A: Gregarious fun lovers (PARTY ANIMALS).
  • 58A: Valuable shore property, and a hint to what the first words of 17-, 23-, 37- and 45-Across have in common (BEACH FRONT).
Not a lot to say about this one. The theme is fine, the fill is decent, and it's just about the perfect difficulty level for Tuesday. I'm off to a job interview this morning, so I'll tell you a few things that jumped out at me and then I'll leave it to y'all to talk it out in the comments.

  • 6A: Zip (ZERO). I tried NADA first.
  • 30A: Louise's gal pal (THELMA). This clue makes it sound like they're just a couple of everyday gals going out to the mall or something.
  • 40A: "Danny and the Dinosaur" author Hoff (SYD). This clue for SYD is used more often in late-week puzzles. On Mondays and Tuesdays, we're usually treated to SYD Barrett.
  • 43A: Blood fluids (SERA). Ew.
  • 52A: Assumed name (ALIAS). I never got into this show. (Yes, I know the clue doesn't refer to the show, but that's where my brain took me.) I used to read television show recaps on a site called Mighty Big TV (now Television Without Pity) and the write-up for Alias's pilot episode made it sound so dumb that I couldn't really ever watch it again. ("She's a CIA agent! She's a college student! She's a CIA agent!")
  • 63A: Sacher treat (TORTE). I've Ne-ever heard of this before, but it's kind of interesting.
  • 10D: Kid's make-believe phone (TIN CAN). Last time I saw a tin can used as a phone was just the other day when Jon Stewart used one as a prop in the bit where he announced his Rally to Restore Sanity. (I'm so there.)
  • 18D: Its flagship sch. is in Stillwater, west of Tulsa (OSU). Oklahoma State University. Their wrestling team holds the record for most national championships. But it's only a matter of time ….
  • 23D: Oates's musical partner (HALL).

  • 27D: One-horse carriage (SHAY). Have I ever mentioned how much I love the Nickelodeon kids' show "iCarly"? I have? Well, Carly's last name on that show is SHAY.
  • 32D: Performers' union: Abbr. (AFTRA). American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
  • 35D: Letter after theta (IOTA). Someday I'm going to memorize the Greek alphabet. And the Jewish months. And the European rivers.
  • 1D: "High Hopes" lyricist Sammy (CAHN). A little surprised to see both Sammy CAHN and 38D: "Misery" actor James CAAN in the same grid.
  • 49D: "Miracle on 34th Street" setting (MACY'S). Was just there today! I don't know if their customer service is getting better or if my standards are just getting lower. I used to hate going in there, but the last few times it hasn't been that bad. At least it's been a while since I got trapped in a fitting room because someone shoved two big rolling racks of clothes in front of the door and I had to scream until another customer helped me get out. I guess it's all uphill from there.
Crosswordese 101: The 19A: Depilatory brand NAIR is very popular in CrossWorld. It's generally clued (like today) straightforwardly as a popular (or top-selling) depilatory (or hair removal) brand (or product or option). It is also likely to be clued as an alternative, competitor, or rival of the other popular hair removal product, NEET. Occasionally, the clue for NEET will indicate "bygone" or "once" because the product is now called VEET, which for some reason never shows up in puzzles.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 15A: Country on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula (OMAN).
  • 26A: Workplace inspection org. (OSHA).
  • 2D: Top draft status (ONE-A).
  • 9D: John __ Lennon (ONO).
  • 50D: Rhine whine? (ACH).
  • 56D: Editor's "leave it in" (STET).
  • 60D: Future fish (ROE).
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Everything Else — 1A: Briquettes (COALS); 10A: Country music pioneer Ernest (TUBB); 14A: "As a result ..." ("AND SO …"); 16A: Spot in the ocean (ISLE); 20A: '60s-'70s war site, briefly (NAM); 21A: "Now it makes sense!" ("I SEE!"); 22A: Cake finish (ICING); 29A: Comportment (MIEN); 33A: Buzzing swarmers (BEES); 34A: Performed (DID); 41A: Court postponement (STAY); 42A: Ancient Greek military power (SPARTA); 44A: Veggies studied by Mendel (PEAS); 53A: Defensive spray (MACE); 54A: Marx's "__ Kapital" (DAS); 57A: Thin curl of smoke (WISP); 61A: Third man (ABEL); 62A: High-strung (EDGY); 64A: Goodyear product (TIRE); 65A: Member's obligation (DUES); 66A: What matzo lacks (YEAST); 3D: Father of 61-Across (ADAM); 4D: '60s "trip" drug (LSD); 5D: Early gas company based in Cleveland (SOHIO); 6D: Districts (ZONES); 7D: Roast host (EMCEE); 8D: Bleachers cry (RAH); 11D: Carrier that added "ways" to its name in 1997 (USAIR); 12D: Duck hunter's cover (BLIND); 13D: Cold-water hazards (BERGS); 22D: Freezes over (ICES UP); 24D: Divine sign (OMEN); 25D: Feudal domains (FIEFS); 26D: Gambling parlors, briefly (OTB'S); 28D: Had in one's hands (HELD); 31D: Strolls (along) (MOSEYS); 33D: Tarzan's son (BOY); 34D: Awful (DIRE); 36D: Genetic info carriers (DNA'S); 39D: Easy targets (SAPS); 43D: Swingline fastener (STAPLE); 45D: Touch, cat-style (PAW AT); 46D: Accused's excuse (ALIBI); 47D: Choir platform (RISER); 48D: Likeness (IMAGE); 51D: Sandy Koufax or CC Sabathia (LEFTY); 54D: The first Mrs. Copperfield (DORA); 55D: Insects on farms (ANTS); 58D: B&B part (BED); 59D: College URL ending (EDU).



Not a real exciting theme, but I did like HOUSE OF CARDS.
Also I liked the CAHN/CAAN thing. I always misspell one or the other.
At least I learned how to spell FIEFS.

In this clip, David Copperfield meets DORA Spenlow, his future wife. “David Copperfield” is a delightful story. Do kids today still read the great Charles Dickens books?

Overall this was a pretty darn good puzzle.

And @PG, a terrific writeup.

Tinbeni said...

PuzzleGirl, Wonderful write-up.
I think there was an OMEN that your interview will be successful.

The FOUR themes, plus reveal, were appropriate Tuesday stuff. Fave was PARTY ANIMALS (duh).

TORTE filled itself in, looked OK to me, thanks for the Sacher info.

Liked NAM crossed by ONE-A and ALIBI crossing ALIAS.

ABEL clued as "Third man" was fresh. A lot nicer than being identified as the first murder victim.

There is an error in your grid. The Arabian Country is OMAN (not omak).

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 know the Greek letters, the Hebrew months, Daryl Hall, John Oates, Randi Oakes, a coupla versions of Miracle on 34th Street, all the major depilatory brands, and a woman named Shay. I tried to read David Copperfield while I was climbing a mountain, but I gave up after I couldn't get past page 5 or so without repeatedly falling asleep.

Burner10 said...

David Coperfield or, I'd venture to say, any Dickens on tape read by a fabulous voice is a true joy of the modern world.
Puzzle fine for me. Had zest for zip and then regrouped with ONO in place.

Sfingi said...

@John - foreign kids read the classics. American kids play videos.
And, John - Do you consider sweet PEAS a vegetable? I don't know anyone who would eat them. To me they're a garden nuisance.

Had ASCAP for a while instead of AFTRA.

A couple weeks ago, I thought of Danny and the Dinosaur for a wrong reference for Dinny. Now the author is a right answer! Nice kid's book.

To me TINCANs are not make-believe phones, since they really work. A make believe phone might be a shoe, or a block of wood.

Never heard of CC Sabithia, but I know who Sandy Koufax is! He's a Jewish baseball player!

Rowland H. Macy, founder of Macy's, buried at Woodlawn, the Bronx, not real close to Grampa Fritz Drees. MAcy's monument is rather tame, compared to say, Woolworth's or Kress's.

Rube said...

Am I the only one who's never heard either the song or the phrase BALLOFCONFUSION? Googled it and listened to the Temptations' 1970 version... no recollection whatsoever. Since I didn't know Oates & Hall, (oops, it's Hall & Oates), the L crossing was my last letter.

A fine puzzle. As @PG said, not good, not bad, just a fine Tuesday puzzle.

Tinbeni said...

CC Sabathia is the #1 pitcher for my beloved NY Yankees.
He'll pitch this Thursday against David Price, the #1 pitcher of my local Tampa Bay Rays.
It will be a re-match of their duel last Monday.

The Temtations tune has been running through my head all morning.

John Wolfenden said...

Pretty standard stuff, nice and smooth.

My favorite: "Rhine whine" for ACH.

C said...

Tuesday's puzzle is a nice solid Tuesday level puzzle, nothing great stands out but a fun, overall solve.

CC Sabathia is from my home town of Vallejo, CA. Played baseball down the street from my parents house. Local legend for his athletic ability. Star of the basket ball team, star of the football team, hit the longest home runs ever seen at Vallejo HS baseball field. Oh yeah, he could pitch as well.


I normally consider vegetables to be something edible. Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus), although it's in the legume family, is highly toxic. If you have pets or small children in your garden areas where the Sweet Peas are, then I'd remove them. They are pretty though.
In Chicagoland, the MACYS name is quite resented ever since they took over the much venerated Marshall Fields name. I was at MACYS yesterday and I don't see what the great flap is... I was served well by polite and knowledgeable sales people and got exactly what I was looking for.
"The customer is always right!"
In the U.S. this motto is particularly associated with the Marshall Field's department store(established in 1852 here in Chicago). The store is an icon of the city, although it was taken over and lost its name in 2006 when, following a takeover, it became known as Macy's. In the UK, Harry Gordon Selfridge (1857-1947) the founder of London's Selfridges store (opened in 1909), has been credited with championing that motto. However, the Wisconsin born Selfridge worked for Field from 1879 to 1901. Both men were dynamic and creative businessmen and it's highly likely that one of them coined the phrase, although no one knows which. But anyhow, that same Fields legacy lives on... so what's the big deal over a name?

CrazyCat said...

If I ever finish my blogger profile, THELMA and Louise will be among my favorite movies. It has a great sound track too.

Nice Tuesday puzzle that didn't give me much trouble. Liked ALIAS and ALIBI, CAAN and CAHN, ICING and ICES UP. Only problem was misspelling FIEFS. Liked the theme answers HOUSE OF CARDS, PARTY ANIMAL and HEAD HONCHO.

@Rube - Oates and HALL LOL!

PG Great write up. I haven't been to MACY'S since I wanted to try some shoes on and the young woman with multiple piercings went into the back and didn't emerge with the shoes for almost a half hour. I wonder what they do back there.

Good Luck with your interview!

shrub5 said...

Once I had ZONES in place, I put ZEst in for Zip, like pizazz. Eventually corrected it to ZERO.

Had to laugh at the clue for PARTY ANIMALS). Was imagining showing up at a party and greeting friends with "Hi, gregarious fun lovers!!"

Enjoyed this beach puzzle. Hope all the BEACHFRONT property doesn't get bought up by the rich folks. Leave some for us poor slobs.

Ellesson said...

I liked today's puzzle.

I had BANANA for 10D rather than TINCAN, until ICING and TUBB crosses made it clear that BANANA did not work. BANANA worked with NAIR, which is why it took me awhile to figure out it was wrong. (BANANA working with NAIR seems wrong in other ways, too!)

Didn't anyone else ever pretend that a banana was a phone?

hazel said...

@rube - I am with you! i was going to rant about BALLOFCONFUSION, googled it and saw it was a song so just kept quiet. Couldnt recall the song, but didn't listen to it to confirm. Otherwise, liked the puzzle well enough, particularly the pairs pointed out by @crazycat - that was my list, exactly. Also liked the friendly neighbor ISEE next to the corner lot of ICING/ICESUP.

Van55 said...

Im not sure whether ICING and ICESIN in the same puzzle is kosher. I am also not sure of DNAS as a plural.

Otherwise, a smooth and easy puzzle that's mostly unremarkable.

mac said...

I haven't been able to get the LA puzzle online for a couple of days, there are these penguins apologizing for a page problem. What's up?

Anonymous said...

Only Jewish months that I've seen in puzzles are ADAR and ELUL. They are:


Sfingi said...

@Rube,Hazel - I hadn't noticed the clue, never heard of term/song - went back to listen - no memory - nor of any of the "covers." It was rated as 12th most popular, ahead of, "Treat Her Like a Lady"! Don't know where I was. It doesn't seem catchy even now.

@Anon426 - I've been meaning to memorize these, but I see some will never make it. AV is too short, Cheshvon too long with no hooks. But, Thanx.

@Tinbeni - I'm sure Hubster will watch it for me. He used to go to NYC to watch them when he was a kid with the men of the family and a bagnarole of meatballs and bread for sangwiches. They came home the same day.

@John - poison - all the more reason to pull. I think of veggies as edible. The flower is too prolific to enjoy.

CrazyCat said...

@Sfingi I think "Ball of Confusion" came out about the same time as the Tempations version of "War." It was 1970 and they were staying relevant by recording some anti-war songs. I'd include the link to "War" but I have to start dinner.

xyz said...


Sacher Torte is yummy, try one