T U E S D A Y   December, 7, 2010
Mark Bickham

Theme: Hop to it! — The last word of each theme answer can precede the word "bunny" in a familiar phrase.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Procter & Gamble laundry product (IVORY SNOW).
  • 27A: Keep America Beautiful concerns (LITTER BUGS).
  • 35A: New England storm (NOR'EASTER).
  • 49A: Space particles (COSMIC DUST).
  • 59A: Beach Boys album with bees and flowers on the cover (WILD HONEY).
  • 68A: Critter that can follow the ends of this puzzle's five longest answers (BUNNY).
Here is a verbatim note I received from Doug Peterson last night: "Is HONEY BUNNY a thing?" Just thought you'd appreciate that glimpse into the glamorous world of crossword blogging. Another smooth puzzle — looks like we're on a roll this week. Theme answers are lively, fill is solid … okay, nobody's ever happy to see SSS (66A: Snake sound) but come on, OOMPH? That's awesome (15A: Get-up-and-go).

  • 11A: 1,150, to Brutus (MCL). I know everybody here loves Random Roman Numerals™, right? I wonder if anybody has any sort of problem, possibly bordering on obsession, with them? Hmmm….
  • 17A: What cats and bats do (RHYME). Very cute and brings to mind the famous 1996 Election Day Puzzle.
  • 42A: Rank below marquis (EARL). There are a lot of videos of doo-wop groups singing "Duke of Earl," but this is one of my faves.
  • 56A: Kentucky county named for a trailblazer (BOONE). I love it when you read a clue and don't have any idea what the answer could possibly be because it's a fact and you just don't know it. But then you think about it for a second and come up with something that, well, it seems likely, right? Yep, it sure does.
  • 1D: NPR auto show (CAR TALK). I love how these guys crack each other up. I was listening to the show recently and a woman called in whose boyfriend thought she was a bad driver so she basically wanted them to tell her that she wasn't. At one point they put her on hold and called the boyfriend. In the end, everybody agreed that her driving sucked.
  • 2D: Hamlet's love (OPHELIA). Nice to have a different Hamlet character in the grid. I'm more accustomed to seeing IAGO and OSRIC.
  • 6D: Destination in a two-part route (POINT B). Love this answer. How many times have you heard the phrase "go from Point A to Point B" without actually thinking about breaking it up into two parts.
  • 13D: Like anarchy (LAWLESS).
  • 48D: Melon exterior (RIND). I was just listening to a story yesterday about how bees in a certain area of New York turned fluorescent pink because they had been feeding on the runoff from nearby Dell's Maraschino Cherries Company and had taken in a little bit too much Red Dye No. 40. Yikes.
  • 51D: Promise to pay (IOU). Tricky clue. You have to read it as a noun and not a verb.
Crosswordese 101: EROS, the Greek god of love. He has wings and carries a bow and arrows. He is Aphrodite's son and Psyche's lover. In clues, he is sometimes referred to as Cupid's Greek counterpart or as the symbol of love, romance, fertility, desire, or libido.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 39A: Bruin legend Bobby (ORR).
  • 8D: Comic Philips (EMO).
  • 29D: Eurasian range (URALS).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Prepared for pie, as apples (CORED); 6A: Skirt fold (PLEAT); 14A: Speed skater __ Anton Ohno (APOLO); 16A: Author Levin (IRA); 20A: Earl Grey et al. (TEAS); 21A: "The loneliest number," in a song (ONE); 22A: Nickel or cadmium (METAL); 23A: The works (ALL); 24A: Favorite (PET); 25A: Simian (APE-LIKE); 30A: Lawyers' charges (FEES); 31A: Craft that can be rolled (KAYAK); 32A: "As ye sow, so shall ye __" (REAP); 34A: Country rtes. (RDS.); 43A: Nutritious beans (SOYAS); 47A: Razz (JEER); 52A: Asks to the party (INVITES); 54A: King of France (ROI); 55A: 9-Down adviser (CPA); 57A: It follows Wed. (THU.); 58A: Stride (GAIT); 62A: Beyond the fringe (OUTRE); 63A: Columnist Buchwald (ART); 64A: Alleviated (EASED); 65A: __ mix: hiker's fare (TRAIL); 67A: Wipe out (ERASE); 3D: Writer's payment (ROYALTY); 4D: Shady bunch? (ELMS); 5D: Anonymous John (DOE); 7D: "Many-splendored thing" of song (LOVE); 9D: 30-day mo. (APR.); 10D: Mint family herb (THYME); 11D: Toothpaste comparison word (MINTIER); 12D: Cried like a raven (CROAKED); 19D: Note to __ (SELF); 21D: Across, in verse (O'ER); 24D: "Orange" tea grade (PEKOE); 25D: A long time (AGES); 26D: 130-minute H.S. exam (PSAT); 28D: Beach lover's goal (TAN); 29D: Eurasian range (URALS); 33D: Joe of "GoodFellas" (PESCI); 36D: Senate contest (RACE); 38D: Staff associate? (ROD); 39D: Lake Superior natives (OJIBWAS); 40D: Some Impressionist paintings (RENOIRS); 41D: Sickens (REVOLTS); 44D: Mexican peninsula (YUCATAN); 45D: Bayer product (ASPIRIN); 46D: Majestic (STATELY); 50D: Villainous literary alter ego (MR. HYDE); 53D: Little laugh (TEHEE); 57D: Golfer's pocketful (TEES); 58D: Spiritual guide (GURU); 60D: Stick in the lake? (OAR); 61D: Govt. hush-hush org. (NSA); 62D: Bettor's hangout, briefly (OTB).


Alex said...

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, bit I think this is the first appearance of CAR TALK in a major crossword.

Also, PG, I think it's safe to take down the Crossword Butler link.

Tinbeni said...

PuzzleGirl, Great write-up!

Really enjoyed the BUNNY themes.
Fave was the COSMIC DUST.

POINT-B is always my favorite destination.

Just curious, I wonder how many here take a daily low dose ASPIRIN?
I don't since I like to donate blood every 8 weeks.

CPA really means "Certified Practically Anything" ... trust me on this one.

CAR TALK is a weekly addiction. It's a guy thingy.

I see it is going to be another cold Sunset toast.
Oh well, the Avatar will warm me up.

Cheers !

SethG said...

My mom's name is Bunni.

My problem with MCL is that it's the perfectly fine medial collateral ligament. It's like cluing MIX as 1009. My problem with ["Orange" tea grade] is it's right next to TEAS. And my problem with IP law is I don't believe it's being applied correctly. RIP, Butler.

Sfingi said...

@Tinbeni - God bless you for donating blood. Wish I could. For 30 years, I didn't weigh enough; then I was preggers, then nursing; then they hooked me up, and while 3 others came and went, I pushed out a halfa, and they gave up. Now I have too many meds in my blood. I'm O- so it would have been nice.

By they way, I love CAR TALK, too. Not just because I, too, shnort when I laugh.

I liked this a lot. I kept wondering what cats and bats both did - scare people? Take naps? RHYME!

I kept thinking how this puzzle, easy for most of us, would be difficult for foreigners, with BOONE, NOREASTER, MINTIER, CARTALK - or are all CWs tricky for non-natives?

@SethG - I assume that's your mom's nickname? That's a very WASPy nickname. We have 2 in one of my clubs.

Van55 said...

How in the world do you think you can trademark "random Roman numeral?". It's my obsession! Mine! Mine! Mine!

To toss in SSS with MCL is really bad. But I like bunnies, so all is forgiven.

Gareth Bain said...

Liked those long-word packed corners... I'm a sucker for those!

What is a HONEYBUNNY exactly? Google seems to turn up several marginally notable HONEYBUNNYs but sure there is one that is more notable that is just not jumping out at me...

@Sfingi - Why should any foreignor battle with BOONE (even if David the portly Australian is more famous Daniel still has international fame), NOREASTER, or MINTIER. CARTALK, yes. Luckily I've done enough crosswords to have encountered it in clues for NPR.

That said, I've had a lot of trouble convincing friends/relatives that early week LATs are not in fact fiendishly hard... Do suspect some of the difficulty making the jump from local crosswords to the LAT (etc.) is the local refs, but suspect more of the difficulty is in adapting to the clueing style...


Cute puzzle but I think it would fit in better at Eastertime.
I too enjoy listening to CARTALK but this is the first time I've seen what those guys look like... not at all what I thought they'd look like.
I don't know what a HONEY BUNNY is, but I'm called that all the time by Debbie, my waiter at Mother's Cafe. I'll take it as something good.
Is IVORY SNOW still being sold?

Doug P said...

Cool puzzle with an interesting grid pattern. I liked the long 7's going down in each corner. I still don't know what a HONEY BUNNY is, but it sure sounds like something. (And I keep wanting to spell it HUNNY BUNNY.)

Battle on, Xena!

Nighthawk said...

Loved Xena and the Duke of Earl in the write-up, @PG.

One day, I will remember the entire name of that sk8rboi Apolo. It seems to crop up in all permutations. Don't want to confuse him with Sly Rocky's foe Apollo Creed. Could they be a new one L Lama, two LL LLama?

I always wondered about the 0.66 impurity of IVORY SNOW (99 and 44/100 percent pure). What was it/were they? Kinda like juice ads: "made with 10% real juice." OooKaaayy, what's the other 90%? Battery acid?

Congrats to ACM for her NYT puzz!

capcha: vitrati - health bloggers

Eric said...

Ohno! It's Mr. APOLO! (With APOLOgies to SNL...) I wonder whether the god APOLLO is relieved or IRATE that the mortal spells his name differently :-)

Today's blank grid looked like a Saturday puzzle's -- all those seven-letter words -- but the puzzle still managed to be Tuesday difficulty. Great fill like OPHELIA, OJIBWAS, YUCATAN.

I liked the theme, especially as not one of those BUNNYs is a real rabbit -- three metaphors, one symbol, and a toon. Five great theme answers too -- it's not every day a puzzle contains a sprinkling of COSMIC DUST.

BUGS'S or BUGS' BUNNY got his name by association with animator Ben "Bugs" Hardaway, whose work was prominent in the early cartoons. As I piece the story together from three Wikipedia articles, Hardaway (co?-)directed the first cartoon to feature the as-yet-unnamed rabbit, then sketched a revised version of the character. (The iconic version is a still-later one by Tex Avery.) At first, Bugs' Bunny was just the rabbit's in-house working name, but soon it became his in-story name as well, at which point the possessive was dropped in favour of quotes -- "Bugs" Bunny -- but very soon those vanished too.

@Nighthawk: That .66% must have been in the picture on the box :-) Remember the tempest in a teapot when the model who posed for it went on to fame in totally impure movies as porn star Marilyn Chambers? (Don't worry, the link is PG-rated; it's to the relevant Snopes article.)

@Sfingi: Yes, USA-specific references can be troublesome, but no more so than sports clues. CARTALK I'd never heard of, and BOONE was one of those "hmm, I might know this, but it's quicker'n'easier to wait for crosses" clues.
NOR'EASTER I actually knew, since it came up in conversation recently, with a friend who lives near NYC. I don't know whether the term is as common in Atlantic Canada, though certainly they get the same storms.
Is MINTIER country-specific? Is it even product-specific? Or is it generic adspeak? I very rarely watch TV, so I wouldn't know.
(There's a weekly Canadian Crossword that attempts to rectify this problem by using Canadian themes and, where appropriate, Canadian fill and cluing, but it's usually pretty lame. Aside from its other problems, this week's has one, and probably two, flat-out errors in its cluing -- and that, alas, is typical. The problem is likely that the Canadian market is too small to support quality, i.e. the syndicator doesn't pay enough to interest whatever good constructors we have, and doesn't put enough resources into editing either -- they can't, and still turn a profit.

Margaret said...

PG, enjoyed the write-up, as always. I agree that an IOU is a noun, but can't it also be a verb if you're using it as the unabbreviated "I owe you" -- or am I overthinking this? Hmm, I guess only the "owe" is a verb in that case.

PS Just a reminder that IAGO is from Othello, not Hamlet.

Joon said...

my favorite scene from pulp fiction contains honey bunny. (warning: loud swearing.)

CARTALK appeared in a washington post puzzler by karen m tracey a few months ago. nevertheless, it's a great crossword answer. love those guys.

Sfingi said...

@Eric - living in Upstate NY, I almost don't think of Canada as foreign.
For minty, we're forever pushing mint flavor, and ruining chocolate with it. My son, the world traveler, points out that foreigners can't believe we like root beer.

The NOR'EASTER not only pushes way up the whole coast, but comes inland. As a result, Utica can get a tail end of "lake effect" but this can be coupled with a tail end of the NOR'EASTER allowing us to beat out everyone else with highest snow. What an honor!

APOLO - we can use a mnemonic "at polo." I do think the gods would be proud of him for winning at Olympics.

There's still an IVORY SNOW, liquid and powder. I understand that the floating of the soap wasn't planned.

@Gareth - HONEY BUNNY is one of BUGS' girlfriends. I didn't know she married him. He also sang, "I dream of Jeannie, she's a light brown hare."
It is also 1. Kosher honey brand
2. a video game
3. a character in Pulp Fiction
4. Something you might call your significant other.

Did not know PEKOE was a grade. Just read a huge article on it.

Anonymous said...

The floating was planned: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/06/22/tech/main625272.shtml

Was Mint next to MINTIER and Tea next to TEAS planned?

Eric said...

@Sfingi: Snopes concludes that the "floating soap was an accident" story is false, though it was believed (and hyped) to be true until an archivist at Procter and Gamble dug up contrary evidence a few years ago. The evidence strikes me as inconclusive, though; there's a 15-year gap between the lab notes on the intentional invention of the stuff in 1863 and the next mention of it in 1878. P&G themselves treat the story as inconclusive, though they have an interest in keeping it alive. Either way, it's marketing genius worthy of Tom Sawyer: selling less product for the same money, and getting people to like it!

The similar story is partially true, however, that Post-It Notes resulted from an accident. A guy at 3M invented an adhesive that didn't adhere very well, so they wrote it off as useless. But a few years later another 3M'er was frustrated by bookmarks falling out of his hymn book, and thought that that old recipe for unsticky glue might be the answer. He was right :-)

It's also true that Monkee Michael Nesmith's mom invented Liquid Paper.

Anonymous said...


I watched Pulp Fiction on IFC last night.

was the bomb

Eric said...

.56%. D'oh!

Larry S said...

Since someone recently said we shouldn't routinely laud Ms. PuzzleGirl, some of us are more inclined to do just that. Great write-up, PG! I appreciate that this makes the puzzle a social experience, not just solitary.

I don't get how POINT B is the destination in a "two-part route." Couldn't POINT B be clued simply as "Destination" or "Route's end"? A two-part route is Point A to Point B then Point B to Point C.

I've learned over the last 35 years that "Honey Bunny" is generally my wife's prelude to asking for a favor, usually a sizable or dirty job. "Sweet Heart," however, with a certain inflection, sounds my internal "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!"

I too thought the theme was delightful, especially because none of the theme answers were literal bunnies.

KJGooster said...

Spent an hour on Sporcle this morning, then solved the puzzle. Had IVORYSOAP for the longest time, then figured out it must be something else since SOAP BUNNY probably wasn't a thing. Another solid puzzle, though.

Tinbeni said...

Was thinkin' that possibly Utica has a bunch of snow 'right now' ...

Down here my Illinois neighbor (99, 100 on Jan.1st), survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack, who does call my Scion Tc "a Jap Car" ... just went out to get his mail.
It's 51 degrees currently, I had on sweat pants and sweat shirt ... He said he felt great in his shorts and

Sfingi said...

@Eric - Very interesting. The controversy I think I solved the other day was whether it's Smokey Bear or Smokey THE Bear (Excuse me for the caps - I wasn't shouting.)
I picked up a used kids' book published 1955 by Simon and Schuster. It has that Saranish plastic that starts peeling off after many years, and is even musty. (Love it.) It's a Big Golden Book, written by Jane Werner Watson, illustrated by Feodor Rojansky, and
"Authorized and approved by the State Foresters and by the Forest Service, USDA in cooperation with the Advertising Council, Inc."
The name of the book is -
The True Story of Smokey the Bear. So There.

My captcha is clues.

@KJGooster - though I've seen SOAP BUNNies.

Eric said...

@Sfingi: So Smokey has the same middle name as another other famous bear: "The" ;-)

10-4, good buddy.

Sfingi said...

@Eric - Sorry, I'm thick. The Constellation? The Chicago Bears? If it's sports, remember my mental handicap. Anyway there are many "the" deniers. They insist it was always Smokey Bear. Their collective pants are on fire.

@Tinbeni - you bet. Not nearly as much as Syracuse or especially Buffalo.

Eric said...

@Sfingi: Winnie The Pooh!

But I seem to be mistaken. I thought I remembered a bit of business in which it is revealed that "The" is Winnie The Pooh's middle name, but in fact it goes rather more like this:
When I first heard his name [Winnie-the-Pooh's, that is -- of which this is the correct punctuation], I said, just as you are going to say, "But I thought he was a boy?"
"So did I," said Christopher Robin.
"Then you can't call him Winnie?"
"I don't."
"But you said - "
"He's Winnie-ther-Pooh. Don't you know what 'ther' means?"
"Ah, yes, now I do," I said quickly; and I hope you do too, because it is all the explanation you are going to get.

Still, not bad, seeing as that memory dates from when I was not much more than Cristopher Robin's age!

Avg Joe said...

I have to offer a protest in this discussion of who warrants the most prestigious "The".

Kermit-the-Frog! (IMO)