F R I D A Y   November 5, 2010
David Poole

Theme: The Social Network — Puns based on social networking websites.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Favorable time to place an online bid? (EBAY WINDOW).
  • 27A: Online networking site trainee? (MYSPACE CADET).
  • 44A: Detective's job concerning a personal online relationship? (FACEBOOK CASE).
  • 58A: Spinner seen in an online video? (YOUTUBE TOP).
Now this is what I'm talking about with theme answers. Each one starts with the name of a social networking site that's a compound word. The second part of the compound word becomes the first part of a familiar two-word phrase and voilà! You've got yourself a solid, consistent theme! Now, there's nothing particularly flashy about the base phrases BAY WINDOW and BOOKCASE, but TUBE TOP and SPACE CADET are awesome. And I'm willing to overlook the lack of sparkliness because of the elegant consistency. Well done theme, sir!

Now, about that middle section …. Wasn't sure I was even going to finish this puzzle with those blank squares staring at me. I had the AB of ABOU (40A: "__ Ben Adhem"), but couldn't remember the rest of it. I know that's lame. That's why I'll cover it later in CW101, so maybe it will be cemented in my brain. Anyway, without that OU in place, and with no idea about 28D: Actress Aimée's last name, I thought I was doomed. [Oops. Turns out her last name is Aimee and her first name is ANOUK.] Also significant is that I read the abbreviation "coll." to mean "college" in (37A: Coll. of 12 signs ). Reasonable, right? Sure, and yet incorrect. Collection. Collection of 12 signs! So basically what we have here is an awkward abbreviation in a clue for an awkward abbreviation. Not this puzzle's finest moment is what I'm saying.

  • 5A: Travis of country (TRITT). The minute I saw Travis in the puzzle, I knew I was in trouble. He's one of my favorite musicians of all time and I knew it would be tough to find the exact perfect video to share with you. So I spent, oh, I don't know, an hour maybe? scouring YouTube and found two videos that I really wanted to use, only to discover they're not embeddable. Argh! If you're interested you should go ahead and watch them anyway. (If I coded that right, the videos will open up in a new tab.) But if you don't feel like wandering off, I hope you enjoy this musical interlude. Turn it up!

  • 23A: Wellness gp. (HMO). How about "Claim denying gp." or "Money making gp." or "Gp. with really complicated processes but when you call to figure out what the heck you're supposed to do they won't even let you talk to a real person"? I guess that last one would probably be too long.
  • 64A: Ones changing locks (DYERS). Or perhaps changing "hair clusters."
  • 1D: Effectiveness (TEETH). Nice clue.
  • 2D: "Tuesdays With Morrie" author (ALBOM). I read a Mitch Albom book once for a book club. It wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be.
  • 3D: Light smoke (CLARO). This is a type of cigar, right?
  • 7D: Chinese leader? (INDO-). When I read the clue, I thought to myself "You can't fool me! This is either going to be HARD C or SOFT C!" and then I realized that the word Chinese doesn't start with either a HARD C or a SOFT C. D'oh!
  • 8D: Defeated decisively (TROUNCED). I like the word TROUNCED. Say it a couple times in present tense: trounce, trounce, trounce.
  • 10D: "__ By Starlight": jazz standard (STELLA). Here's CrossWorld regular Anita O'Day.

  • 25D: Suffix with lip- (ASE). Whoa. I have no idea what that means. Hold on. Turns out it's "an enzyme that hydrolyzes glycerides." Oh that lipase.
  • 40D: Put oneself at risk, in a way (ABET). I actually tried ANTE here at first and thought, "That's a pretty clever clue for a common crossword word!" Then I saw 57A: Starting stake and knew I had screwed it up.
  • 41D: Messed up a hole, maybe (BOGEYED). Gimme gimme gimme! Love the golf stuff! Keep it coming!
  • 45D: He played Marty in "Marty" (ERNEST). Never heard of this. I guess because it was before my time. ERNEST Borgnine played the title role in the 1955 film "Marty."
  • 50D: Church area (CHOIR). It always freaks me out a little that the place where the CHOIR sings is also called the CHOIR. Seems like the CHOIR should just be the singers and the place they sing should have a different word. As soon as I'm in charge, I'm going to change that.
Crosswordese 101: ABOU Ben Adhem was an Arab Muslim saint and Sufi mystic. For crossword puzzle purposes, though, you don't really need to know that. You just need to know that a poem was written about him by James Henry Leigh Hunt (often known as simply Leigh Hunt). It doesn't come up an awful lot, but it's the only way you'll ever see this particular string of letters clued, so you just need to memorize it!

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 16A: Poi base (TARO).
  • 39A: 2007 honor for Hugh Laurie: Abbr. (OBE).
  • 61A: Seaside flock (ERNES).
  • 29D: 53-Down's homeland (EIRE).
  • 53D: Singer born Eithne Patricia Ní Bhraonáin (ENYA).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Tic __ (TACS); 10A: Arrange in a tournament (SEED); 14A: Eliza's greeting ('ELLO); 15A: 2009 Man Booker International Prize winner Alice (MUNRO); 19A: "__ Almighty": 2007 film (EVAN); 20A: Sacred scroll (TORAH); 21A: Silent (SOUNDLESS); 24A: __ de toilette (EAU); 26A: Nobelist Bohr (NIELS); 31A: What odes do (PRAISE); 34A: 1987 Costner role (NESS); 35A: Hope-Crosby destination (RIO); 36A: Pay for periodic use (RENT); 38A: Afghanistan's Tora __ region (BORA); 42A: Warned, in a way (BEEPED); 47A: Bottom bits (DREGS); 48A: Word before or after pack (RAT); 49A: 27-Down, e.g. (SCH.); 52A: Colorful fish (NEON TETRA); 55A: Kirin beer rival (ASAHI); 60A: Bakery buys (RYES); 62A: Bit of Marx's legacy (QUIP); 63A: It may number in the thousands (CAST); 65A: Agile (SPRY); 4D: Milk source (SOYA); 5D: "I didn't need to know that!" ("TMI!"); 6D: Accumulates (RUNS UP); 9D: Student resenters, perhaps (TOWNIES); 11D: Gather information secretly (EAVESDROP); 12D: Some are named for music genres (ERAS); 13D: Slips into (DONS); 18D: Milk by-products (WHEYS); 22D: Winter mos. (DECS.); 27D: 49-Across from which Buzz Aldrin turned down a full scholarship (MIT); 30D: Fly catcher (TOAD); 31D: 27-Down fig. (PROF.); 32D: Sitcom whose theme song was sung by its star (REBA); 33D: Toastmasters' stock (ANECDOTES); 37D: Albee play, with "The" (ZOO STORY); 38D: Buzzer (BEE); 42D: "Hey, ewe!" (BAA); 43D: Cornerstone abbr. (ESTAB.); 46D: Serious depression (CRATER); 49D: Prepared to take notice? (SAT UP); 51D: Wide-haunched (HIPPY); 52D: Cop stopping traffic? (NARC); 54D: Odd character (RUNE); 56D: Movies with "II" in their titles: Abbr. (SEQS.); 59D: Sub letters (USS).


mathcapt said...

Didn't feel like googling this morning and so - DNF. All because of the letter "u".

Tinbeni said...

PuzzleGril, Thank You for the Travis TRITT tune.

OH, now I see it ... the theme is computer sites I don't have/never use.
2) & 3) MY SPACE & FACEBOOK (Don't indiscriminately give out my info).
4) YOU TUBE (OK, I do listen to / watch the ones posted here ... but otherwise, Nope don't have time to peruse.

Once again, this former HIPPY made the grid, thanks David.

ASAHI, yummmm ... yeah I like Jap Beer, too.
Avatar understands this quirk of mine)

Always like seeing RIO. Did a consulting job once that had me there for Carnival ... damn, those people really party well, nice "almost" costumes.

Learned about:
An Int'l.Prize winner: Alice MUNRO
Name of an Albee play, The ZOOSTUDY

Fave today: BOGEYED.
I went to Boca Ciega H.S., nickname Bogey ... of as I say on the Golf Course, there's one for the "old school."
This weekend we are having our 40th Reunion ... can't wait to see the "Old Gang."

Well, this SPRY Guy will 'toast' everyone at Sunset.

oops, almost forgot, Happy Guy Fawkes Day ... have a blast.

Rex Parker said...


So many terrible short answers in this one, I don't even have the energy to list them all. So I'll just sign off with:


Ed A said...

@Tinbeni - Uh, that's Zoo Story. Echo the ..anese, otherwise it's pretty offensive.

Unknown said...

Hey - thanks for doing this fun blog. BTW, that's a picture of Humphrey Bogart, not Ernest Borgnine.

Orange said...

Grace, see the answer listed above ERNEST? It's BOGEYED.

Ernest Borgnine is on the silver screen again—he's in Red. Fun movie. I've never seen Marty but know of it from a trivia question in Quiz Show.

Loved the theme, and agree with PG about the clunkers in the fill.

Van55 said...

Hey, I agree with RP!!!!

With 24 proper nouns and a couple of cross-reference clues, plus annoying abbreviations and trite answers, I just didn't care for this one at all.

Tinbeni said...

I mistyped that ... probably the residue from when I smashed my hand last year. Lost some feeling at the end of two fingers.
Plus I forgot to preview. oops my bad!!!

When the real "men" are sitting around having a brew, or maybe some Avatar, on occasion we abbr. Japanese as "Jap" ... but then again many of my neighbors are over 80 and were in WWII.

SOOOO, you and Ed A can take your "holier-than-thou, politically correct, self-righteousness and shove it.

SethG said...


36D should have a question mark, I think. I guess it doesn't _need_ one, but that's not really a standard use of 'periodic'. And DECS is worse than SEQS.

Nice theme. The sch subtheme was a bit much, but I like ERNES near ERNEST much more than ERNES not near ERNEST.

*David* said...

I was a not fan of this puzzle and the fill and even if the theme was solid it didn't resonate with me. The MIT/PROF/SCH trifecta I found particularly obnoxious.

I got stuck in the same place as PG I never can seem to remember ABOU and thought Coll. stood for college. I didn't have her patience and Googled Albee.

I've already forgotten this one but I do need an apertif to wash the aftertaste away.


An excellent puzzle!
Quick solve for a Friday thanks to good crosses which revealed a lot of new stuff to me: ABOU, ALBOM, ANOUK, and ASAHI. Hey, it looks like I need to start memorizing the "A" section of the encyclopedia.
I didn't particularly like the MIT/SCH/PROF thread and the ZOD abbreviation, but those are expected minor crappy-fill words in a puzzle that's a work-of-art themewise.
Funniest clue: "Student resenters" (TOWNIES)

Now something to make your Friday puzzling even more pleasant---
STELLA By Starlight with Miles Davis

Ms Muffett said...

Can WHEY really be pluralized? I don't think so.


Re: @Rex and @Ed A comment

PuzzleGirl said...

@Tinbeni: Your original comment literally made me gasp. Your response to the reactions just pissed me off. Step back, buddy. Not cool.

Sfingi said...

So much better than yesterday! Friday better - and easier than Thursday!

Great theme. some great fill, esp. outstanding proper nouns:STELLA, TRITT, NIELS, ENYA, MUNRO, RIO, BORA, NESS, ALBOM, REBA, ERNEST.

As usual, I dislike the questionable abbrevs: SEQS, ESTAB, SCH in SE corner. Also, OBE, ZOD.

Misspelled BOGEYED - but I know it ain't BOG-EYED! Learned some sports here.

Never heard of CLARO, ASAHI (Googled that one because of above-mentioned abbrevs being of no help). Smoking and Drinking, glad not to know much about them, except what I learn here.

Got HIPPY and TOWNIES right away, and don't know why. Guess I'm on Poole's wave-length.

All in the Family had a theme song sung by its star. They had to re-record "Gee, our old LaSalle ran great." since no one knew what he was talking about.

ABOU Ben Adhem, may his tribe increase was one of the poems I distributed to my inmates the on 9/12/01.

Rube said...

Too many proper names. Had to Google ALBOM, ENYA, and ERNEST, so DNF. Have seen ABOU ben Adhem somewhere recently. Got ANOUK entirely from crosses.

Thought the theme was terrific, but some of the abbreviations less so. Most devious: "Bit of Marx's legacy" = QUIP.

There are a lot of defs for "spinner" out there, but I can't find "tube top" as one. I know what a tube top is, but is this an accepted term for one? (Stay away from the Urban Dictionary on this.)

Did not like RYES and WHEYS for the same reason as @Ms Muffet.

Except for the above mentioned proper names, there was nothing memorable as a WOTD. Thus, this puzz gets an OK rating. (I can't bring myself to use "meh".)

Anonymous said...

@Rube - It's just the top that's the spinner, not tube top, anymore than bookcase is a detective's job.

C said...

OK puzzle, above average difficulty on the cluing. Exceeded my random letter fill quota but what are you going to do? Abstain from finishing the puzzle in order to teach the constructor a lesson?

I work in the internet industry and the theme didn't work for me as I kept trying to equate the subject(bid, trainee, online relationship, spinner) with a site that specializes in that area. Once I figured out it wasn't at that level, it became pretty obvious and easy.

Margaret said...

The movie Marty was before my time, too, but it was still famous enough that all through high school and college, whenever we were bored we went with the "What do you wanna do?" "I dunno, Marty, what do you wanna do?" on a regular basis. Actually, we still use it.

There's a lot of tangential info about Marty besides; stuff like the fact that Rod Steiger played Marty first on TV, THEN they made the movie. Script by Paddy Chayefsky (Network) who also cameoed in the film.

CrazyCat said...

I was thinking this was kind of easy for Friday until I got to the bottom half where I had mucho write overs, especially in the SW. I had Broad instead of HIPPY and Altar before CHOIR. Then I had Rube before RUNE. Sorry @Rube! As it turns out RUNE is my WOTD.

I agree with @RP and everyone else that DECS, ZOD, SEQS, ASE, SCH, ESTAB, etc. are the DREGS. Liked TOWNIES since I am one. I love the students here though. I miss them when they leave for the summer.

I did think the theme was well executed.
I saw "Social Network" last week. It was riveting.

backbiter said...

Only two minor stumbling blocks both of which were corrected in seconds. I can't abide country music. I abhor it. I quickly wrote in Randy for Tritt. Crosses set me straight immediately. And I guess PIES was still in my head from an earlier puzzle intead of RYES. Also quickly remedied. Other than that? There is no other than that.


John Wolfenden said...

Definitely BOGEYED this one, but had to admit the theme answers were very good. I agree with PG that "coll." as an abbreviation for "collection" is weak.

There were several common fill words that David did a good job cluing in an original way, like "Comes before or after pack" for RAT and "Some are named for music genres" for ERAS. And c'mon, give it up for "Hey, ewe!"

Neat to see NEON TETRAS today, which we have several of in our tank. But my favorite is still our leopard tetra.

Favorite fact learned: Buzz Aldrin turned down a free ride to MIT.

xxpossum@hotmail.com said...

So much to say, so little space.....Whoa! Your response (PzlGrl) to tinbeni was pretty harsh, but what surprises me is that you ACTUALLY read our tripe?L.o.l.And, O.M.G! Never heard of Marty? Not a big fan of old classic movies, obviously. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there an Oscar involved there? Anyway... never would have finished this one if it wasn't for Google.T.G.F.G! Got me good on claro, U2 PG? Overall a decent Fri. pzzl. Have a good weekend PzlGrl. CU MON.

Sfingi said...

@Rube - it is kind of sad to say the only thing left from Marx is, "Religion is the opium of the masses," and "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."
Oh, it's Groucho, eh?
"Either he's dead, or my watch has stopped."
"I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury."
"I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it."

Tuttle said...

Seems like the CHOIR should just be the singers and the place they sing should have a different word.

Originally the place was a CHOIR and the singers were a 'chorus'.

And is 14A a Pygmalion/My Fair Lady reference? That's a stretch. It's the 14th Eliza listed on Wikipedia's page for the name. I got it, but I was thinking that I just didn't remember Eliza Bennet having a cockney accent in Pride And Prejudice.

Anonymous said...

You know those are listed in alphabetical order by type, right?

John Wolfenden said...

Excellent Groucho quotes, Sfingi. Another good one:

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

ddbmc said...

Nit pic for today:22D WINTER MOS-DECS. Doesn't the "s" indicate plural? Why would you use DECS as in DECEMBERS? Is MOS a common abbreviation for MONTH? Not MON? or MTH? Help! What am I missing?

Had an inkling about RUNE, but finally looked it up, after tossing it in as a guess.

Didn't know REBA sang her sitcom theme song, so that area slowed me down.

@Sfingi, thanks for the Marx's Bros. QUIPs!
I hadn't the foggiest idea about ZOO STORY, but after reading the synopsis, not a play I care to see.

As an older HIPPY, I am of much wider HAUNCH....Have a nice weekend, all. Don't forget to turn your clocks back. (Except those of you in AZ and parts of IN?)

Eric said...

Yay, I almost finished a Friday puzzle! In fact I did finish, except for one elusive typo.

- the theme
- "Fly catcher" for TOAD
- "Bit of Marx's legacy" -> QUIP (a a toastmaster's other stock)

- All the ugl. abbr's.
- ANOUK x ABOU natick (never heard of Abou ben Adhem, but I'll read up on him; he sounds interesting)

- MERLE for TRITT (not a country fan, so I'm surprised that I'd actually heard of both of them)
- Screwed myself up by thinking BOGEYED is spelled BOGIED, which is a letter shorter. "Hmm, what's another N-over-par word?"
- GULLS for ERNES (I'd never thought of raptorial birds flocking together. Do ernes do so? If not, it's a bad clue.)



ENYA is an approximate phonetic spelling of Eithne -- I just learned that. Yah, Gaelic is weird!

@PG: I hear you re. "Ones changing locks" -> DYERS. I wanted it to be SHIPS. (I have in mind the Welland Canal's Flight Locks, which are formally a "staircase". They're Locks #6,5,4 in this photo series of a ship passing through the canal, downbound from Lake (perennial crosswordese) ERIE to Lake Ontario).

@SethG: Rather than "?" the 36A clue, I'd have reworded it. Either "Pay for temporary use" (as in renting a car) or "Pay periodically for use" (e.g. an apartment) would have made a lot more sense to me.

Tom in the D said...

Well, I finished, with only a couple mistakes. Like the cat lady, I thought wide haunched referred to the shoulders and not the hips. Had "got up" instead of SAT UP, and although "GCH" made absolutely no sense, I went with it. Figured heppy was just another word I am not familiar with, cuz ASOHE looked just fine. Albom was a gimme, I read his column everyday, right before I head to the puzzle page in the Detroit Free Press. @PG, is EBAY really a compound word?? And for that matter, You Tube is not even one word. Otherwise, high PRAISE for another wonderful write-up.

CrazyCat said...

@Tom in da D I knew haunches meant hips. I was thinking of that old term "broad in the beam" which means a large derrière.

captcha is CLARA which is what I had before CLARO.

Scully2066 said...

Happy Friday everyone -

Thank you PG for the great write up. I agree with you I liked the theme but didn't like the puzzle. I really had a hard time today and ended with a DNF. The entry that keeps me wandering is WHEYS - how can you make a plural out of a word that is already plural? It would be the same as saying cattles - just don't get it.

Everyone have a great weekend - looking forward to Monday :)

Anonymous said...

Here's how.

Sfingi said...

@Scully - I've accepted that they pluralize everything in crosswords. It must be OK. I was once told it's 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feets.

@DDBMC - Zoo Story, like so many Absurdists plays, are mostly hard to take. But, sometimes, when particularly well acted, they can be very funny.
It has roots in Existentialism, but also was preshadowed by the Sicilian playwright Luigi Pirandello in the sense of the characters being aware that they are in a play (Metatheatricality).
You may prefer him.

Scully2066 said...

@Anonymous - Thanks for the link - don't like it but will accept it - :)

@Sfingi - Loved the 1, 2, 3 and won't forget the lesson - Thanks!!

Jeff said...

Thought the clues for the theme answers were terrible, except for MYSPACE CADET. With this one, the clue plays off "space cadet" so that works. I suppose EBAY WINDOW is not so bad either. But FACEBOOKCASE and YOUTUBETOP, there was just nothing keying off the compound word. Boo! Hiss!

The way I look at it is:
If, when I'm finished, I can see the pun suggested by the clue, then that's okay. If I finish the word (correctly) and still can't figure out the association of clue with answer, that's a bad clue.