01.17 Mon

January 17, 2011
Donna S. Levin

Hi, everybody, and welcome to the new L.A. Crossword Confidential. I felt like we needed a little remodeling around here, so I hope you like the new look! I can't help but notice that this blog is getting an awful lot of traffic these days and I assume that means many of you find it entertaining or enlightening or … something. I don't know. Maybe you just can't help from coming back to see what kind of stupid mistakes I make on a daily basis. But whatever your reason, I truly appreciate you all stopping by so often. I write this blog because I love solving puzzles and I love writing about puzzles — but mostly I love hearing from other Puzzle People. Putting this blog together every day obviously takes time and if it's something that has become important to you — for whatever reason and to whatever degree — I hope you'll consider donating a few dollars if you have it to spare. I know it's a bad economy and people are stretched thin these days, so if it's not something you can do, please know that I appreciate the fact that you're here whether or not you're able to contribute. I added the donation button (over there on the sidebar!) because I was asked more than once if I had one. I've never made a big deal out of it and I don't plan to mention it again for at least another year. But I didn't think you all would be too offended if I just pointed it out this week in case you're interested. And now let's get back to the PuzzleTalk!

Theme: Tennis Anyone? — Last words of the theme answers can be tennis-related.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Does some Web browsing (SURFS THE NET).
  • 24A: Coming-out gala (DEBUTANTE BALL).
  • 37A: Demand accompanied by a banging gavel (ORDER IN THE COURT).
  • 47A: Illegal lottery (NUMBERS RACKET).
  • 58A: Lateral epicondylitis (and a possible injury hinted at by the ends of 17-, 24-, 37- and 47-Across) (TENNIS ELBOW).
Another smooth solve from Donna today. Theme is cute, with theme answers a couple notches above what you might expect to see on a Monday. I don't really get the ELBOW part of the theme reveal. I mean, I get the TENNIS part, but I don't really get how thinking about TENNIS "hints at" TENNIS ELBOW. I think I would have preferred a clue like "Injury you might get if you play the sport hinted at by the ends of …." Except, ya know, phrased better than that. But it's fine. The only thing in the grid that I really didn't like was 6A: "Let IT RIP!" In my head, that phrase sounds more like "Let 'er rip" so it just seemed a little off to me. Other than that, I sort of scooted my way around the grid without too much trouble.

  • If you squint, it kinda looks like we have a mini-Hawaiian theme going on with the second row of acrosses: ALOHA / HULA / LEI. (14A: Honolulu hello (ALOHA) / 15A: NFL's winningest coach Don (SHULA) / 16A: Below-the-belt (LOW)).
  • 28A: Forever and ever (ALWAYS).

  • 34A: NFL six-pointers (TD'S). I'm pretty sure even the sports-challenged among us was able to get this one, right?
  • 42A: La Virginie et la Caroline du Sud (ÉTATS). That's a pretty long way to go for ÉTATS. The clue says "Virginia and South Carolina" only in French. You know who loved this clue? SethG.
  • 65A: Family Stone frontman (SLY).
  • 6D: Enjoys faddish popularity (IS HOT). When I was looking back through the grid, I parsed this as "I shot," which can only mean one thing.

  • 34D: Phonograph component (TURNTABLE). All you whippersnappers out there probably don't even know what this means!
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 1D: Submission encl. (SASE).
  • 33D: Baseball great Mel (OTT).
  • 40D: Big Apple theater award (OBIE).
  • 45D: Some TVs (RCA'S).
  • 47D: Cards and Phils (NL'ERS).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Finalize, as a deal (SEW UP); 6A: "Let __!": "Start the ball rolling!" (IT RIP); 11A: Sleep attire, briefly (PJ'S); 19A: "The Kids __ All Right": 2010 film (ARE); 20A: Building wing (ELL); 21A: Photographed (SHOT); 22A: Brownish-green eye color (HAZEL); 30A: Rolled grain (OATS); 31A: Clark's love (LOIS); 32A: "Me, too!" ("SO AM I!"); 41A: Casual shirt (TEE); 43A: La __ Tar Pits (BREA); 44A: Karate blow (CHOP); 45A: Restrain (REIN IN); 52A: Tibetan capital (LHASA); 53A: Bedouin, ethnically (ARAB); 54A: Eyjafjallajökull residue (ASH); 57A: Get stuck for, as a cost (EAT); 62A: Regret (RUE); 63A: Furry "Star Wars" creatures (EWOKS); 64A: Track event (RELAY); 66A: Thick (DENSE); 67A: Nerdy types (GEEKS); 2D: 12th Hebrew month (ELUL); 3D: Global (WORLDWIDE); 4D: 300 to 3,000 MHz (UHF); 5D: Elapse (PASS BY); 7D: It precedes iota (THETA); 8D: Pantyhose woe (RUN); 9D: Sight in the Seine (ILE); 10D: Pitiful (PATHETIC); 11D: Eloise's hotel, with "the" (PLAZA); 12D: Superman's birth father (JOR-EL); 13D: Peachy (SWELL); 18D: Ergo (THUS); 23D: Crunch targets (ABS); 25D: Relax, as restrictions (EASE); 26D: __ Ark (NOAH'S); 27D: Like most pets (TAME); 28D: Scads (A LOT); 29D: Wisdom of the elders (LORE); 32D: Clothes fasteners (SNAPS); 35D: Eins und zwei (DREI); 36D: Ollie's partner (STAN); 38D: Readied the leftovers, say (REHEATED); 39D: "... believe __ not!" (IT OR); 44D: "Survivor" network (CBS); 46D: Anita of "La Dolce Vita" (EKBERG); 48D: Amateur mover's rental (U-HAUL); 49D: Sailor's sobriquet (MATEY); 50D: Military levels (RANKS); 51D: Get up (ARISE); 55D: Hose down for a while (SOAK); 56D: Major rtes. (HWYS.); 59D: Woolly farm female (EWE); 60D: Rouen refusal (NON); 61D: Important name in Virginia history (LEE).


Rube said...

Hmm, not sure why I'm the first here, but did the puzzle online for th first time. Won't tell you how long it took me, but I find the app a bit restricting.

Having ha a case of lateral epicondilitis recently, got this puzzle fairly easily.

Unfortunately, and normal for Monday, found nothing new here. However, did enjoy the puzzle.

shrub5 said...

Mostly a trouble-free solve except that I threw down CLOSE for 1A. Not a good start but I was able to correct it promptly when nothing was working on the downs.

Glad to see Eyjafjallajokull in a clue rather than as an answer!

@PG: Love, love, love the new format, however the right side bar archives info is fragmented, at least on my screen.

KJGooster said...

My reward for staying up late? An early peek at the new look! Nice!

First, the puzzle: Another solid effort from Donna Levin. I had "Let ER RIP" as well, didn't even think twice until my final look-over and thought "what are ESHOT and RHETA?" Otherwise very smooth, though someday I gotta learn the Hebrew calendar.

Second: I like the look, really, I promise. All the links seem to work, but like @shrub5 said, the Archives sidebar appears only about 5 or 6 characters wide. And on my widescreen monitor, the actual content part of the blog takes up only about the middle third of the screen. The outer 1/3 on each side is just the background (sorry, I'm not skilled enough to link to a screenshot to show what I mean). Seems kinda narrow, even for a non-widescreen monitor. Anyway, definitely keep the look, just maybe a couple of minor fixes.

SethG said...

Know who got ETATS entirely from the crosses? SethG. Because that's STATE backwards, see?

NET, BALL, COURT, and RACKET certainly hit at tennis, but not so much at elbow. I found the phrasing on the reveal kinda jarring.

Eric said...

@PG: The new design is very, um, crosswordy :-) I like it.

Thanks for using grey squares; black ones would have been a bit visually overpowering over such a large area.

One complaint and one observation. The complaint is that, as @shrub5 alluded to, the "Archives" section is wrapped into really really short lines.

The observation is that most of the text is in a monospace font. The only things that aren't are the writeup copy itself, the content of the "Followers" box, and the footer area. Headlines and all other sidebar text is monospaced. Is that intentional? (It might well be -- you could be going for a typewriterish look -- but it seems worth mentioning, in case it's (a) a problem, and (b) one that you're not seeing yourself.)

I've checked this both in FireFox 3.6.13 on Linux and in IE 8 on Win XP.

imsdave said...

@PG - Put me in the "love it" group (with the already noted exception of the Archive section). Great new avatar too!

More than solid Monday fare - 63 theme squares! That's pretty intimidating to a dilettante like me - the bar is so high now.

One might guess that I would have golfer's elbow (medial epicondylitis), but no, recurring tennis elbow, even though I gave up that sport 15 years ago.

Re: TURNTABLE - Couldn't live without mine as I still have over 100 Broadway shows on LP. And no, I'm not a luddite, just a tinge of technophobia. But to paraphrase the old song, "(I Love Them) For Sentimental Reasons".

Rex Parker said...

Wow. Site looks hot.

IT RIP crossing IS HOT is kind of PATHETIC. I know some TURNTABLE GEEKS. Revealer on this one felt awkward. Overall, just OK.


Sfingi said...

Too much sports for my taste; however, except for NLERS, easy solve and didn't even notice some answers like ABS, LEE and LORE. Actually knew SHULA.

Is the volcanic opening an ASH h--e?
Didn't know JOREL, or is it JOR-EL?
Did know EWOKS, one of the few things that appeals to me in these modern sci-fi shows.

TURNTABLE is one of those words yungins don't know, like blotter. Still have my KLH. Or did my son take it?

Anonymous said...

While waiting for my wife to finish browsing at my local Borders yesterday, the one magazine left on a ledge was a catalog of high-tech audio equipment. I was surprised to see hundreds of turn-tables still in production, at astonishing prices, truly astonishing. Next time you've got $2k sitting around with nothing to do, pick one up. Or feed hundreds in Haiti, your choice.


Leave it to a woman to rewallpaper the place! But, heck, I like it! It's always that way... men ALWAYS grouse about redecorating, but in the end they know it's right.
As you can tell (from my avatar) that I love crosswordiness... is there such a word?

@PG, you seem to be unsure why anyone would come to your blog. Well, let me express my reasons:
1) It perks me up in the morning to read your humorous chatter.
2) It is not only entertaining, but informative. There is so much I've learned from you (and others) and it's given me a WORLDWIDE scope of knowledge... albeit trivial knowledge at times.
3) It provides me with a forum to just blow off a bunch of nonsensical facts (maybe factoids) and opinions.
I know you get great pleasure in putting together this blog, and that is reflected, but sometimes it's good to hear from your patrons... Thank you, thank you, thank you!
BTW, the righthand sidebar is somewhat garbled since it doesn't have enough width, so it's difficult to make out the archival links.

Captcha: SINGUE
A segue going away singing!

Avg Joe said...

I like the site redo. It looks great. But yes, the archives are smershed.

The solve went smoothly, but not quickly. I wanted Shake for 1A, and that didn't help at all.

Hands up for still having a turntable. It's a Dual that is probably at least 45 years old. Gotta admit it doesn't see a lot of action anymore since I only have about 100 albums on vinyl and roughly 500 on CD (with well over 1/2 the vinyl on both media).


Okay, now on to my comments about this SWELL DSL puzzle:
I just love when constructors use big sophisticated words, like "epicondylitis, sobriquet, and Eyjafjallajokull". Now I have to figure out how to introduce those into my daily conversation.
Geez, are we becoming "word GEEKS"?

Things I don't like to see in any puzzle---
Short partial phrases, like: IS HOT, SO AM I, IT OR, and IT RIP.

A must-see for anyone visiting Los Angeles: The La BREA Tar Pits.

One of my favorite foreign films was Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" (1960) with Anita EKBERG and Marcello Mastroianni. Maybe you can figure out why... I can give you a hint, it wasn't Marcello.

Time for some OATS (oatmeal) and cardamom coffeecake.



@Avg Joe
I too have a TURNTABLE, an old Benjamin Miracord, which I haven't yet figured out how to integrate into my new Theatre-Surround-Sound system. However, I just bought an ION TURNTABLE that has the capability to plug into my USB port. BAM! All my great old LP records go onto CDs!
I have quite a collection of great classical music on LP records... some still in unopened wrappers.

mac said...

You startled me! I thought I had clicked the wrong icon. It looks great, and you must have fixed the archives section, because it looks just fine to me.

Easy puzzle, but a very good Monday. Even I knew Shula. Now Ekberg, a few days ago Eklund.
I like the ewoks, too, but Yoda was always my favorite.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how young these "yungins" you all are talking about are, but I am 24 and my husband and I have a turntable that we couldn't live without!

Anonymous said...

Only time I had tennis elbow was from flying Harvey Cracknell's spinnaker in Quarter-Ton sailboat races.


Unknown said...

If you google "12th Hebrew month" all the sites say that "ADAR" is the 12th month not ELUL, which is listed as the 6th.

Anonymous said...

@Payton - As is usual, Wiki answers all:

Elul (Hebrew: אֱלוּל‎‎, Standard Elul Tiberian ʾĔlûl) is the twelfth month of the Jewish civil year and the sixth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a summer month of 29 days. Elul usually occurs in August–September on the Gregorian calendar.

PuzzleGirl said...

@Payton: And I found an explanation here that makes sense:

The "first month" of the Jewish calendar is the month of Nissan, in the spring, when Passover occurs. However, the Jewish New Year is in Tishri, the seventh month, and that is when the year number is increased. This concept of different starting points for a year is not as strange as it might seem at first glance. The American "new year" starts in January, but the new "school year" starts in September, and many businesses have "fiscal years" that start at various times of the year. Similarly, the Jewish calendar has different starting points for different purposes.

(NB: Elul is the month before Tishri.)

Van55 said...

I didn't find much excitement or freshness in doing this puzzle. It was alright, but not stellar for my taste.

JaxInL.A. said...

I'm only an intermittent visitor, but I like the new furniture. The archives section (and everything else) displays just fine on the iPad, which may mean that you created it on the design-friendly Apple environment.

The gray color for the text on the sides is a little hard to see for me. The font is a bit spidery anyway, so darkening a bit without going all the way to black might make it clearer but stay with your nice new theme.

You also might want to check the description in the CW101 page, as it says that the link to that page still resides above the blog title. If it still does, it's not showing properly. I like that section very much, btw.

Solid, smooth puzzle, no big compliments or complaints. I even got the sports stuff.

Apropos of La Brea Tar Pits, if there are any L.A.-area teachers out there who love the museum, they are recruiting now for teachers to help develop some new lesson plans (includes a stipend) related to new exhibits there and at the Natural History Museum of L.A. County. Ask for the education department when you visit, or email me off line for what I know.

Thanks, PG!

Eric said...

Strictly, the Jewish calendar is what is called lunisolar. As it says on the page @PG linked to in her comment, 12 lunar months come to 354 days, so the Jewish calendar inserts a leap month every once in a while to stay in sync with the seasons. The Muslim calendar, on the other hand, is truly lunar. It has 12 lunar months every year, is 354 days long, and indeed, dates don't stay in sync with the seasons. In the early 80s, when I first heard of Ramadan (the Muslim month of fasting), it was in June/July; but last year it was in August/September, having rolled most of the way around our solar year since then, from summer to spring, winter, fall, and back to summer. (I guess that matters less in low latitudes.)

@JNH: Wow, that brings back memories! Miracord turntables were actually made by ELAC; Benjamin was the U.S. distributor, who sometimes rebranded them. I spent my teen years listening to my folks' ELAC; don't remember the model number. If you still want to hook yours up, read up on phono preamps. N.B.: the only bit of that page that I vouch for is the first paragraph of "WHAT DOES A PHONO PREAMP DO, AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?"; I haven't even read the rest, and wouldn't be competent to evaluate it in any case :-/.


Thanks for the info on phono hookup.
Also I enjoyed reading your bit on the Jewish calendar.

NJ Irish said...

@pg Wow, did I get a surprise when I logged in on my Blackberry which is how I usually stop by. I quickly went to PC mode to see what happened. On the BB everything but the puzzle itself has the new CW decor' behind it and is really hard to read. Phew... it's just fine on the desktop. Very artistic, love it!

Easy Monday puzzle and even got the theme, amazing for me.

I grew up with a Victrola that my mom played '30s, '40s and '50s hits on, Joanie James, Teresa Brewer, Frankie Laine, Perry Como etc.

Vega said...

I came here late and tired after a long day/three-day weekend of travel and much activity and emotional exhaustion, expecting to skim speedily through your comments just to see if I'd missed anything major, and then hit the sack. But G A S P. I dawdled, and admired. Awesome.

It's true: LETITRIP just isn't right.

Anonymous said...

The Australian Open started today, hence the tennis theme. Love the new look of the blog.