03.05 Sat

March 5, 2011
Barry C. Silk

Theme: None

I enjoyed this Scrabbly Saturday workout from Barry Silk QUITE A LOT (54A: Very much). Quite a few people in the grid, which is something I always like.

  • 17A: Five-time All-Star second baseman (CHASE UTLEY). This was the only person in the grid that I flat-out didn't know. Knowing Barry Silk, though, I don't think I'm going out on a limb to guess that he plays for the Phillies.
  • 39A: "Private Benjamin" Oscar nominee Eileen (BRENNAN).
  • 41A: First African-American major-league coach Buck (O'NEIL). I had to wait and get that "I" from the cross, which is pretty much what I do every time Mr. O'NEIL is in the puzzle.
  • 42A: Clinton Transportation secretary (PEÑA).
  • 6D: John of England (ELTON). You thought this might be a bathroom trick clue, didn't you?
  • 36D: Singer Williams (ANDY).

One-word clues are much more common late in the week because they really add difficulty to the puzzles.
  • 5A: Cloud (BEFOG). My brain instantly thought it was a noun, but it turned out to be a verb.
  • 20A: Salt (OLD SAILOR). I considered both noun and verb meanings, but had to stretch a little to remember this meaning of "salt."
  • 38D: Rap (BLAME). Rap could mean so many different things! But here it's used as in the phrase, "take the rap."
  • 46D: Ally (TEAM UP). Another noun/verb question. And again, "verb" is the correct answer.
  • 14A: Geographical border (COUNTY LINE). Makes me think of country music, like maybe "Boot Scootin' Boogie."
  • 37A: Classic diner feature (JUKEBOX). Who doesn't love a JUKEBOX? (Also, more country music.)
  • 47A: Way to make it? (SNAPPY). It's like my boss says to me every morning "Get me a cup of coffee! And make it snappy!" HAha! My boss would never dare say that to me.
  • 61A: Gibberish (MUMBO-JUMBO). Great word.
  • 65A: Nice weapon (ARME). Did this clue trick you? Or have you been hanging out at LACC long enough to know that if the clue starts with the word "Nice," you might just need to pronounce it like "niece" and think French?
  • 2D: Fish also called a blue jack (COHO). With the C in place I tried CARP first.
  • 7D: Some bass pieces (FILLETS). More fish! I was thinking more along the lines of Geddy Lee at first.
  • 8D: Linear, for short (ONE-D). As in ONE-Dimensional.
  • 13D: Cold drafts (BEERS). I stupidly entered GUSTS here at first, even though my brain was going "Are GUSTS necessarily cold? No. No, they're not."
  • 25D: Rabid dog of Castle Rock (CUJO). Stephen King? I had to look it up to confirm, but yes, Stephen King.
  • 48D: Common video game fighter (NINJA). They're coming, you know. (Video courtesy of Mrs. Rex Parker's awesome students.)

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 16A: Native Nebraskan (OTOE).
  • 30A: Historical Russian region (URAL).
  • 31A: 1987 Costner role (NESS).
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Everything Else 1A: Org. distributing a "Close Guantánamo" handbook (ACLU); 10A: Stupefied (NUMB); 18A: Item used in Wright Brothers experiments (KITE); 19A: Advertises (TOUTS); 22A: How writers often work (ALONE); 24A: Honeysuckle shrubs (ELDERS); 25A: Algerian quarter (CASBAH); 28A: Dragging (TIRED); 33A: Climber's observation (VISTA); 44A: Encircle (GIRD); 45A: Suppressed (SAT ON); 49A: In (AT HOME); 52A: Rhino relative (TAPIR); 56A: Land rover (NOMAD); 60A: Sphere lead-in (ATMO-); 63A: Toon modeled after Clara Bow (BOOP); 64A: One-sided (UNBALANCED); 66A: Edit menu command (PASTE); 67A: Prank (DIDO); 1D: Credit Union holding: Abbr. (ACCT.); 3D: Tiki torch setting (LUAU); 4D: It's radioactive (UNSTABLE ISOTOPE); 5D: Sch. associated with the LDS Business College (BYU); 9D: Jet creator (GEYSER); 10D: "Seriously" ("NO KIDDING AROUND"); 11D: Functional (UTILE); 12D: Drive (MOTOR); 15D: Magnetic induction unit (TESLA); 21D: Pain relief brand (ALEVE); 23D: "This can't be!" ("OH NO!"); 26D: Make __ for it (A RUN); 27D: Interest (SAKE); 29D: Amazon.com ID (ISBN); 32D: Fair (EXPO); 34D: Prune (SNIP); 35D: You might see one on a woodpile (TARP); 40D: Abrasive sound (RASP); 43D: Lays away (ENTOMBS); 49D: Jordan's only port (AQABA); 50D: Personally train (TUTOR); 51D: Bleachers sign (HI MOM); 53D: Up (AT BAT); 55D: Moon goddess (LUNA); 57D: XC years from now (MMCI); 58D: Not up (ABED); 59D: Extinct pigeon relative (DODO); 62D: "__ Buttermilk Sky": 1946 song (OLE).


Palmdalian said...

Fun! I managed to finish in less than an hour, a very respectable time for me. Guessed CASBAH off the C, thanks to those old Pepé Le Pew cartoons and his unforgettable (for me) line "Take me back to ze Casbah, where we can make beeooteeful music togezzer."

Sfingi said...

I managed to finish, with Googling, which is good for me for a Barry Silk Saturday.

After finishing the entire SE third, I finally HTG 6x.
Two sports - CHASE UTLEY, ONEIL;
2 actors - BRENNAN, because I never knew her name, and NESS, cuz I can't stand Costner. The other 2 were AQABA and OTOE, spelled funny.

There were 10 others I was going to Google, but got on crosses. Hurray!

Had clIP before SNIP, hemI before ATMO.

Thought of all the diner words - neon, chrome, stool, trailer, hash-browns (Hubsters favorite). Nice thoughts.

Before I saw the CUJO answer, thought of "A dingo ate my baby," spoken with no emotion. But that's Ayer's Rock.

StudioCitySteve said...

45 minutes today, which I'm thinking is about the best I'll ever do.

I rarely know any of the names and rely on the crosses to at least get me headed in the right direction. CHASE UTLEY, ONEIL, PENA, BRENNAN, NESS - pretty well the last fills for me.

Puzzle just felt really nice today - learned some new ones (CUJO, COHO). UNSTABLE ISOTOPE was awesome.

But - URAL? I've always heard the region described in the plural "The Urals", never in the singular. Would you go to a "Hampton" from New York in Summer?

Alexscott said...

I really enjoyed this puzzle (though, again, anytime I can finish without Googling, it's a good puzzle). But was anyone else bothered by the clue for 14A, "Geographical border"? Isn't a geographical border a natural feature, like a coastline, river, mountain range, etc.? It was one of those fills I resisted putting in till I had almost all of the crosses. I guess that's being a bit nitpicky. I would add that MUMBOJUMBO should be in every puzzle from now on.

Rube said...

So, a TAPIR is related to a rhino. That's some strange relationship. And SAKE is interest? Well, thinking about how sake is often used, e.g. "for her sake...", I see it now. Just never thought of it that way before. DIDO is a prank? I thought she founded Carthage. Make that my WOTD. Just be sure to pronounce it correctly. Also, didn't know FILLET and filet were interchangeable. Think of a fillet as part of a weld. Lots of new stuff here! Still have about 10 lbs of bass filets in the freezer, ready to be smoked.

Had element before ISOTOPE and UNilateral before UNBALANCED. There were QUITEALOT of other writeovers but those were the biggies.

A really good puzzle, (and write-up). Just the right level of difficulty for me. Didn't know CUJO or BRENNAN but the other names were there.

SethG said...

I thought it might be a bathroom trick clue. I tried CARP. Nice did not trick me, but I still had to wait for the crosses as I don't speak French. I also needed crosses for Linear, which is also properly TWO-D. I think only loins get GIRDed.

Vega said...

I loved that it opened with that ACLU clue. UNBALANCEDISOTOPE is marvelous. Agree that we need more MUMBOJUMBO around here, not less.

Awesome video.

lit.doc said...

My heart sank when I saw Barry Silk's name on the puzzle. Had just come from having my ass handed to my by the NYT puzzle, and Silk's cluing can be sooo opaque. But soldiered on and finished in just under half an hour.

@PG, yes, the past couple of years spent at LACC and RP's blog have been veeery educational. A year ago, that ONE-D clue would have stopped me. As you expected, "John of England" had me thinking LOO? WC? LAV? Helped that I'd seen LENNON clued this way a while back. And the French Nice clue didn't fool me for a second. A year ago, dead in the water.

Still flip a coin when faced with NESS/EARP. Gotta get a new coin.

Doug P said...

And what is up with Chase Utley's hair?

Avg Joe said...

I wasn't fooled by the nice clue either, but had to wait for a few crosses since I wanted Epee. Took a while to think of ARME.

Gird is a common term to tree growers. Especially those plagued by rabbits and deer. It simply means that the bark has been stripped away all the way around the trunk, which is lethal. I've got 5 or 6 trees to replace this year because they were girded by that those damn deer again.

County line, state line, city limit...all are legitimate geographical boundaries. They might not be natural, but they are boundaries.

I really got a kick out of the jukebox video. That's funny!!

John Wolfenden said...

Smooth as SILK. Felt fortunate not to need to Google. Plenty of tasty words like ENTOMBS, GIRD and ONE-D. "Some bass pieces" is a great clue.

Not one but two learning moments, that the DODO was related to the pigeon and that Betty BOOP was modeled after Clara Bow. For my money tapirs have the weirdest noses in the animal kingdom..

Alex Scott, I think the term you were thinking of is TOPOGRAPHY?

I rarely pay much attention to the structure of puzzles, but I thought this one looked cool, with the unusual pair of full-length verticals. Props to Barry.

Sfingi said...

When I worked in the prison, we had a documentary about a stone-age people living in the Peruvian rain forest. It seemed idyllic, except for the heat and bugs. Anyway they had tapirs for both pets and food. Very tamable.
Cannot think of the name of the film.

Barry Silk is the king of thinking out of the box - thus not very relaxing to work his puzzles. But, it gets easier,

v-man said...

Pretty fair challenge, the only mistake I had was alders instead of elders. Having epee for Nice weapon made the southwest quadrant take much longer than it should have but it was done in 40 minutes nonetheless.

SteveD said...

Been a salmon fisher for many years & have never heard the coho or silver salmon referred to as a blue jack. Must be an east coast thing.

mac said...

A typical beautiful Barry Silk puzzle! A lot of sports, but usually gettable with crosses.

Who knew about Clara Bowes and the tapir!

@AvgJoe: the small trees on our property have some sort of loose metal mesh around them to protect them from the deer. Works well.

HUTCH said...

palmdalian. I learned it--" Come with me to the casbah, where we will drink PINK champagne and @#$%*& all night.

John Wolfenden said...

One more thought about GIRD: the only context I'd ever heard it in was "GIRD your loins for battle."

I guess either way it's about protecting what's encircled.

Anonymous said...

@SethG: One-D is linear and represented by a line. It is not "properly TWO-D"... Two-D is planar and represented by a plane.

Greg said...

"Isn't a geographical border a natural feature, like a coastline, river, mountain range, etc.?"

Correct. A political border would be a state line, country line, or COUNTY LINE. This means there is no natural feature to distinguish where one county begins and the other ends, but that the founders of the state determined it for whatever reason.

*David* said...

This one was interesting for me, got lots of fill but couldn't put blocks together. Last fill was DIDO which seemed like an odd cluing when we have a relatively well known singer with that name. I liked the puzzle quite a bit.

Sfingi said...

Forgot to add - no 3-letter words!

Palmdalian said...

@Hutch: Ah, well the Casbah is obviously a many and varied place.