T U E S D A Y   September 7, 2010
Donna S. Levin

Theme: Bluer Than Blue — Each theme answer starts with a word that can describe a shade of blue.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: 1978 movie set in a Turkish prison (MIDNIGHT EXPRESS).
  • 35A: Volatile situation (POWDER KEG).
  • 46A: White legumes (NAVY BEANS).
  • 57A: Big name in Danish porcelain (ROYAL COPENHAGEN).
  • 70A: Shades of it begin this puzzle's four longest answers (BLUE).

I have a hard time believing this theme hasn't been done before, but I don't feel like looking it up so I won't. But even if a theme has been done before, it never hurts to see what Donna can do with it. Today, she made it into a smooth, solid Tuesday puzzle. Just as I suspected she would.

I had the worst time getting started though! I threw WASP in off the bat (1A: Stinging flier) and then started to go backwards through the downs. I blanked on 4D: Carpentry smoother (PLANE), so moved right on to SLED (3D: Winter ride), but when I hit 2D: Car company whose name is Latin for "Hark!" I immediately thought AVIS instead of AUDI. I could see something was wrong, so I looked at the clue for 14A: Seed cover and knew it had to be the crosswordese ARIL. Which didn't work at all. Because it was, ya know, wrong. At that point I glanced down at the first theme answer (MIDNIGHT EXPRESS), which was a total gimme, so I didn't have too much trouble deciding to abandon that corner and come back to it later. The rest of the puzzle was pretty smooth and when I got back up to the northwest, it all became clear.

  • 16A: Monetary unit of Cyprus (EURO). I still have to think a minute sometimes to remember the EURO. I still want those European countries to have their own currency for some reason.
  • 18A: Repeated question in Matthew (IS IT I). Ooh, this could have been CW101 today. We'll definitely cover it at some point.
  • 23A: Part of ESL: Abbr. (ENG.). ENGlish as a Second Language.
  • 25A: Evian, e.g. (SPA). Anyone else try "eau" first?
  • 39A: Because (SINCE). One of my pet peeves is the use of "since" to mean "because." Hey, we all have 'em, right? Well, that one's mine.
  • 52A: "Gilligan's Island" shelters (HUTS). I totally cracked up the other night when a friend of mine posted something about "Gilligan's Island" on his Facebook status and the very next thing on my wall was a message from my aunt, whose profile picture looks like this:
  • 67A: Cass's title (MAMA).

  • 42D: Pinstriped ALer (N.Y. YANKEE).
  • 47D: "Little Women" woman (BETH). Also a cheesy KISS song.
  • 49D: Folded (one's hand), in poker slang (MUCKED). I don't play poker enough to have remembered this off the top of my head.
  • 61D: Hockey Hall of Famer Phil, to his fans (ESPO). That would be Phil ESPOsito.
  • 64D: Hamish's refusals (NAES). Hamish is apparently a common Scottish (first) name, which reminds me of when my friend Sharon was pregnant. They knew they were going to give the baby an Irish name, and Sharon's husband, Patrick, lobbied hard for Seamus for quite a while. It was only later he admitted that the only reason he brought up Seamus was so that anything else would sound good in comparison. Sneaky!
Crosswordese 101: Daniel DEFOE is, just like the clue says, the 72A: "Robinson Crusoe" author. He's almost always clued with a reference to "Robinson Crusoe," although sometimes or one of its characters, "Friday." You might also see a reference to "Moll Flanders." Now, the problem that I have with DEFOE is that I get the spelling confused with Willem DAFOE, an actor who appeared in the Spider-Man movies, "Clear and Present Danger," "The Last Temptation of Christ," and "Platoon." Anyone have a mnemonic to remember which spelling is which? I'm thinking "Crusoe" ends with an E, so maybe that'll trigger the E spelling. Got anything better?

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 24A: One of a "Great" quintet (ERIE).
  • 71A: Island garlands (LEIS).
  • 21D: "Bus Stop" playwright (INGE).
  • 37D: Greek "H" (ETA).
  • 58D: Bassoon cousin (OBOE).
  • 59D: Legendary Himalayan (YETI).
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Everything Else — 5A: Unifying idea (THEME); 10A: Let the cat out of the bag (BLAB); 15A: "Bolero" composer (RAVEL); 17A: Notion (IDEA); 19A: Dollar dispensers, briefly (ATM'S); 28A: Hotpoint appliances, familiarly (GE'S); 30A: Peppery root veggie (RADISH); 40A: Island feast (LUAU); 41A: Peaceful protest (SIT-IN); 43A: Sgts. and cpls. (NCO'S); 44A: Real estate units (ACRES); 48A: Escaping, with "on" (THE LAM); 50A: Observe narrowly (EYE); 51A: Observe (SEE); 55A: E. Coast border (ATL.); 65A: Early sibling rivalry victim (ABEL); 66A: Mall booth (KIOSK); 68A: Scintilla (IOTA); 69A: Run off to get hitched (ELOPE); 73A: Back talk (SASS); 1D: Caprice (WHIM); 5D: Gun activators (TRIGGERS); 6D: Diner hodgepodge dish (HASH); 7D: Online party notice (EVITE); 8D: Curbside payment collector (METER); 9D: Cure-all mixture (ELIXIR); 10D: Yogi or Boo-Boo (BEAR); 11D: Mandolin relative (LUTE); 12D: Second Amendment subject (ARMS); 13D: Chief (BOSS); 22D: They may be split in soup (PEAS); 25D: Water balloon sound (SPLAT); 26D: Marsupial's pocket (POUCH); 27D: Cognizant (AWARE); 29D: Dermatologist's concern (SKIN); 31D: Eat in style (DINE); 32D: Machu Picchu architects (INCAS); 33D: Pastry at a Devonshire tea (SCONE); 34D: "Siddhartha" author Hermann (HESSE); 36D: Hamilton-Burr engagement (DUEL); 38D: Rhett's last verb (GIVE); 45D: Humorist Mort (SAHL); 53D: Patterned fabric (TOILE); 54D: "SNL" staple (SPOOF); 56D: Symbols of gentleness (LAMBS); 57D: Pool table border (RAIL); 60D: Sighed word (ALAS); 62D: Festive party (GALA); 63D: Avian Aussies (EMUS).



My wife always said that I’m like a BEAR when I wake up.

Nice Donna Levin puzzle with a solid THEME, however she left out my favorite shade of BLUE… Cobalt. Cobalt BLUE is the THEME color throughout my home.

There were a few things I didn’t like at all:
“Online party notice” (EVITE)… these stupid Internet terms are just plain nasty!
“Escaping, with ‘on’ ” (THE LAM)… I hate any entries that are preceded with THE.
OBOE, just because my younger son played that whiney instrument when he was in the H.S. Band…yikes! I was sooo glad when he switched to the more pleasant guitar.

Speaking of musical instrument, I always liked “Bolero” by RAVEL because it featured instrumental solo parts for nearly every instrument in the orchestra… a marvelous composition!
Also because it evokes nice images of a very beautiful woman, Bo Derek.

Something I learned today: That AUDI means “Hark!” in latin.

I wonder if a SCONE would be good with my coffee this morning, or is that just a Devonshire creamed tea thing? How about it, @Nice Cuppa?


ANOTHER nice writeup! I especially liked the smooooth Michael Johnson clip.
Yes, I too put in EAU.
Shouldn't we have NAE or NAES in CW101?
And why do you limit CW101 to only one item each day, SINCE there is so much yet to learn from these commonly used (but slightly obscure) puzzle words?

Sfingi said...

I was on pins and needles wondering what the first letter would be in MUCKED. Oh well.

I also did not know AUDI was Latin. Thought it was a Swiss name - German in front, Italian in back.

@John - You have a wife?
Cobalt is from Kobold - forget about Battlestar Galactica or Dungeons and Dragons - an elf living in caves that mines - cobalt, of course.

My father-in-law (Sicilian) thought RADISHes caused heart attacks.

Tuttle said...

I always thought AUDI was an anagram for Auto Union Deutsche Industries... and I was wrong! Seems the company's founder, August Horch, wasn't allowed to use his own name (horch=hear, hark in German) so his son (or the son of one of his partners) suggested translating it to Latin. Auto Union was back-formed from AUDI when it and several other car manufacturers were rolled into one company in 1932. Oddly enough, one of the manufacturers was Horch, the very company who's existence made AUDI use the AUDI name.

Anonymous said...

Nice smooth puzzle, Donna. I get excited when I see Donna's name because her puzzles are always entertaining. I met Puzzlegirl last winter in New York. Being the kind, gracious person she is...she introduced me to many people and Donna was one of them. I found her very interesting just like her puzles. Hope to see both or you again this winter.

Joon said...

willem needs an A in his last name to make up for his first name not being william. (the missing i is still outstanding, alas. we'll send the repo guys after him.)

CrazyCat said...

I enjoyed this easy Tuesday puzzle. I think this was probably my fastest time for a Tuesday ever. Three of the theme answers were gimmes so that helped to increase my speed. Have a set of ROYAL COPENHAGEN in the sideboard. I didn't really encounter any struggles at all today. I even knew ESPO and YANKEE. The only unknown for me was MUCKED. Interesting story about AUDI. I never knew that.

Orange said...

PG, just remember that my sister-in-law calls him "Willem DAFF-oh" and you're golden.

Rube said...

Also put Avis in and immediately knew it was wrong since I already had WHIM and furthermore, Avis is Latin for bird!

Didn't know who wrote Bus Stop nor that GE owned Hotpoint. Now I do.

Don't play much poker, but still never heard the term MUCKED used to mean folded.

SImply must learn the "Little Women" women.

Noted that there were only 2 abbreviations, ENG and ATL, and they were symmetrically placed!

Had fun doing this enjoyable puzzle.

C said...

Nice easy tuesday puzzle. I liked the answer RADISH today. I don't know why but I feel the urge to use this word a lot today, I mean a lot.

shrub5 said...

I always like Donna Levin puzzles because they are clean, lean and elegant. I can usually pick up her vibe, while I'm still learning to recognize other constructors' styles.

Interesting to learn AUDI = hark (Lat.) Thanks, Tuttle, for the additional info. MUCKED is new to me, too. Haven't played poker since college days (i.e., a long time.)

BTW, NAVYBEANS is clued as white legumes. I thought navy beans are reddish-brown. Just realized I was getting them mixed up with kidney beans. And now that I think about it, navy bean soup IS white. Glad to kick out that bit of wrong info.

Van55 said...

I liked it a lot. This week's puzzles are more than making up for last week's clunkers.

Sfingi said...

@Orange - I would guess that in Holland they pronounce it VILLim duhFOO.

@Rube - I maintain ppp is an abrev. for pian' pian' piano.

Stretti piani (soft hugs) to all!


I had forgotten that Daniel DEFOE wrote more than children's books---e.g. Moll Flanders is a real stretch on that.

I HAD a wife.
And thanks for the info. on Cobalt/Kobold... it's a color that I just can't get enough of. People tease me about all the blue stuff in my house... blue delft, blue willow china, blue crystal, Royal Copenhagen, cobalt blue dishes and glassware, even my countertops, carpets and appliances are cobalt blue. Yikes! Is that what they call OCD?
BTW, I've heard that other word used more in poker than MUCKED.

My grandparents were poor farmers and they specialized in growing potatoes and navy beans. So I knew they were white legumes. Geez! As a child I had my fill of navy beans, but during the post depression days and the WWII war rationing we knew that it was a good source of protein instead of meat, and far better than Spam.

Thanks for the info on AUDI.
Thanks to everyone for all the meaty comments today (and every day). I learn so much from the blogsters and you all.

backbiter said...

I have the same general feeling as the rest of you. Nice theme, nice puzzle. The only difference it seems is I know what mucking your hand is. You rarely hear players say it. It's usually a commentator on a television tournament. "...and Helmuth threw his cards in the muck..." or "...not wanting to chance Der having the flush, Eli mucked his hand..." The only time I ever hear players say it is when they're recalling a hand played in the past and even then not very often. But it is a valid poker term.

Hope you all had a good holiday


CrazyCat said...

I've only heard the verb MUCK used in reference to removing manure from a stall or barn. As I think I've said here before, I spent many hours in my childhood and teens mucking stalls. I did it to help pay the cost of board for my horse. I wonder if the poker term is related to that meaning? I imagine it may be.
@JNH - I have a friend who has that whole blue thing going on too. She has blue and white plates all over her walls, blue carpet and a blue stove. She even has flatware with blue handles.

Ahhh - the last of the houseguests/kids/dogs have left. I am enjoying the peace! Hope you all had a nice holiday!

Anonymous said...

A scone is not, repeat not, a pastry! It is a bread, or if you will a biscuit, but not a pastry! Rotten clue as there are cheese scones and scones with sultanas, mainly they are buttered so not necessarily sweet.