03.22 Tue

March 22, 2011
Kurt Mengel and Jan-Michele Gianette

Theme: State Mash-Up — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase where the last word of the phrase is the beginning of a U.S. state name.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Having a sense of the Prairie State? (FEELING ILLINOIS).
  • 27A: Webster's impression of the Natural State? (NOAH'S ARKANSAS).
  • 44A: Watch the Evergreen State? (EYE WASHINGTON).
  • 59A: Close to the Magnolia State? (NEAR MISSISSIPPI).

Good morning, everyone! I'm not quite back to my usual awake and cheerful self, but I'm definitely getting closer. Sleeping for, say, eight hours all in a row really does make a difference. I had So Much Fun at the tournament over the weekend. I'll try to write up a summary later today before it gets to be old news. In the meantime, let's talk a little bit about this puzzle and then I need to be off to work where, with any luck, I'll be a little more focused than I was yesterday.

Solid, early-week theme here. Base phrases NOAH'S ARK and NEAR MISS are quite a bit better than FEELING ILL and EYE WASH, but overall, yes, fine. Not a lot of sparkle in the fill, but again it's only Tuesday so okay. Highlights for me include:
  • 67A: Things to solve for, in some equations (X AND Y).
  • 2D: West Point rookie (PLEBE). (I tried CADET first.)
  • 45D: Nut (WEIRDO).
Not a fan of the partials CUT A and IT'S A, but there was enough solid fill overall that they didn't bother me too much.

  • 15A: The Big Easy, briefly (NOLA).
  • 4D: Beethoven's fifths? (SOLS). We talked about solfege not too long ago. I think solfege is Italian for "sight singing system that results in strong opinions." I played piano (and other instruments) for many, many years and never saw SOL written as SO until I saw it in a crossword puzzle. Other people have apparently never seen it written SOL, which I find really strange because it's, ya know, different than my experience. If you really feel strongly about something like that, though (and really, who doesn't?), I recommend a quick Google or two.
  • 6D: Latino's white American buddies (ANGLOS). I had the G in place and wanted the answer to be GRINGOS.
  • 7D: Sorbonne silk (SOIE). This is pretty high-end French for a Tuesday.
  • 8D: What it takes, in an inclusive idiom (ALL SORTS). I wanted ALL KINDS, but already had some crosses in place that forced me to rethink it.
  • 10D: Toe inflammation (BUNION). Ew.
  • 19D: __ Canarias (ISLAS). The Spanish spelling in the clue is hinting that the answer will also have a Spanish spelling.
  • 29D: Very, in music (ASSAI). My first thought was MOLTO, which also means "very" but, in this case, isn't the correct answer.
  • 34D: Feeling sluggish (LOGY). I was going to complain about this "word" until I remembered that Doug and I put it in a puzzle once. No, I'll complain about it anyway. And you should all feel free to complain about it if you ever see it in a grid of mine. That's just a terrible word.
  • 46D: More snoopy (NOSIER).
  • 52D: Most popular baby girl's name, 1996-2007 (EMILY). Got it with no crosses. No idea how.
  • 54D: The Mediterranean, to Hans (MEER). I guess this is German for "sea." According to cruciverb.com data base, MEER has never been clued this way before. Again, like SOIE, seems pretty high-end for a Tuesday foreign language clue.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 23A: "V for Vendetta" actor Stephen (REA).
  • 25A: Scandinavian capital (OSLO).
  • 48A: One-named Deco designer (ERTÉ).
  • 63A: Sooner State tribe (OTOE).
  • 24D: Its cap. is Abu Dhabi (UAE).
  • 33D: Architect's S-curve (OGEE).
  • 43D: Lyon summer (ÉTÉ).
  • 58D: Old Italian dough (LIRA).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Crick in the neck, e.g. (SPASM); 6A: Exec's "I want it now!" (ASAP); 10A: Sci. class (BIOL.); 14A: Foil maker (ALCOA); 16A: Golden rule word (UNTO); 20A: Retreats (EBBS); 21A: Pub quaffs (ALES); 22A: Between then and now (SINCE); 24A: Mil. morale booster (USO); 33A: '50s song, e.g. (OLDIE); 35A: Fr. holy women (STES.); 36A: Not con (PRO); 37A: Soccer score (GOAL); 38A: En __: all together (MASSE); 40A: Like the Reaper (GRIM); 41A: Breakfast food (EGG); 42A: __ rug: dance (CUT A); 43A: Skip over (ELIDE); 49A: Mine output (ORE); 50A: Verizon forerunner (GTE); 53A: Test during pregnancy, briefly (AMNIO); 56A: Start of a birth announcement (IT'S A); 58A: Potting soil (LOAM); 62A: Have to have (NEED); 64A: Staggering (AREEL); 65A: Estimate words (OR SO); 66A: Political org. until 1991 (USSR); 1D: Not so dangerous (SAFER); 3D: Injury treatment brand (ACE BANDAGE); 5D: Spring month in Paris (MAI); 9D: Buddy (PAL); 11D: Aware of (IN ON); 12D: Suffix with narc (-OTIC); 13D: Misplace (LOSE); 18D: Poet Ogden (NASH); 26D: __-Ball: arcade game (SKEE); 28D: Olive or peanut product (OIL); 30D: Emulate a jack-in-the-box (SPRING OPEN); 31D: Saharan (ARID); 32D: Vague number (SOME); 38D: Has to (MUST); 39D: Nonbelievers (ATHEISTS); 40D: Mop & __: floor cleaner (GLO); 42D: Pool shot (CAROM); 47D: Mardi __ (GRAS); 51D: Recorded, in a way (TAPED); 53D: A.D. part (ANNO); 55D: Scot's turndowns (NAES); 57D: General __ chicken (TSO'S); 60D: Debt acknowledgment (IOU); 61D: Clinton played one (SAX).


Sfingi said...

Yikes! First again. O well.

Cute clever theme, ---

but highly crosswordesey fill; except high-falutin French silk word I can't begin to pronounce, or non-pronounce as it seems in so many French words. How did it happen that French ended up with all those silent letters when the other Romance languages are nicely phonetic?

XANDY - or Xandy would make a good product name.

SethG said...

Impression? I guess Noah can do an impression of Arkansas as I can do one of Foghorn Leghorn, and I guess you'd call that SethG's Foghorn Leghorn, but that's a really odd sense to clue.

And feeling ill is a pretty weak base phrase, and near Mississippi is something someone would actually say while driving in Alabama or something. Overall, I think the theme could have used some tightening.

Vega said...

I had "a village" for the inclusive idiom, which I frankly think leaves ALLSORTS in the dust.

Otherwise, I do agree that the theme is fine in the abstract but could use a little tightening in the execution.

Tuttle said...

Seth, I think they're using a different meaning of "impression". More in the sense of "a vague idea or belief" than "an impersonation".

Impression, impersonation, imitation... how many "im-" words do we need for this idea?

Nighthawk said...

Right on, @PG (to borrow Ms. Crow's line), and belately, welcome back.

This seemed smooth as soie. With the exception of the mentioned clunkiness of LOGY (and I stumbled around with UAs and UAr before the more appropriate E(mirates). Smooth and quick being unusual for me.

Themes were almost auto-fill for some reason. But I live NEAR MISSISSIPPI. Or maybe it's that just that My Head's In Mississippi

VirginiaC said...

I'm relatively new at all this and was wondering: Is it customary to put an A in front of any verb to fill a spacea. e.g. "areel"?

Anonymous said...

I'm probably paraphrasing SethG here, but HTF does NOAHSARK translate to "Webster's impression of"? When you arrive home to a glaring spouse, does you say "I have an arc/ark that you're upset with me?

Anonymous said...

@VirginaC - Yes, that's an ungly fact of puzzles, it gets you a (frequently necessary) vowel at the start of words.

JaxInL.A. said...

I completely understand feeling sleep-deprived and needing to take care of the ordinary business of life. Still (you knew it was coming, right?), I really hope that PG can find some time to lend her wit and insight to writing about the ACPT. I am eager to hear your take on the event and your experiences. Raw and unpolished is just fine. Please don't wait too long. Thanks!

As for the puzzle, i quite liked the two long, non-theme answers, ACEBANDAGE and SPRINGOPEN. a serviceable Tuesday.

Captcha: funlern = what I get out of some puzzles, inadvertently

Palmdalian said...

Many of the answers were the first word that came to mind: ASAP, BIOL, UNTO, TAPED. Does this mean I'm getting the hang of these easier puzzles, with the more difficult ones soon to follow suit?? Hope, hope.

Finally catching on to the captcha game too, and mine today is a perfect fit: brainglo -- what you get when you finish a crossword puzzle correctly. :)

JaxInL.A. said...

@Anon 8:45, Noah's ark is the boat built in the Bible. Noah's Arkansas is Noah Webster's impression of the state just north of Louisiana.

Noah Webster fought for an American language, writing the first non-British textbook for school children and defining words as they were used in America in his famous dictionary. He is the reason we have no u in the word color or flavor, and he included American worlds like Skunk and squash. He also fought for copyright laws, a strong federal government, universal education, and the abolition of slavery. In between fighting for these causes, he wrote textbooks, edited magazines, corresponded with men like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, helped found Amherst College, created his own version of an "American" Bible, raised eight children, and celebrated 54 anniversaries with his beloved wife before he died in 1843 at the age of 85.

C said...

Interesting puzzle in the sense that it had relatively easy long theme answers yet relatively difficult fill for a Tuesday. Interesting play on puzzle balance, IMO.

LOGY is one U and some generous interpretation of spelling away from being the third foreign language represented in this puzzle - phlegm-ish

Thank you, I will be here all ze week.

*David* said...

I wasn't a big fan of much of the fill in. The NOLA/SOIE crossing doesn't feel right for a Tuesday. MEER and MAI cluing also felt more towards the middle/end of the week. The theme idea was much better and definitely has promise, agree witht the prior posters that it needs some work.

Anonymous said...

How is Noah Webster's impression of the state just north of Louisiana "Noah's Arkansas" if it doesn't mean "imitation"?

JaxInL.A. said...

Impression means much more than a comedian imitating someone. This is the Google age. Look up the word. It will help you in crossword solving, since constructors often use multiple meanings of a word in their clues.

Impression: meaning number 1: an idea, feeling or opinion about someone or something, esp. one formed without conscious thought or on the basis of little evidence. American Oxford Dictionary. Do the work.

SethG said...

I have feelings about chocolate, but they are not my chocolate.

I have opinions about that kid hanging out at the mall with the long hair and the low pants, and those are formed on the basis of little evidence, but that is not my kid at the mall.

The question isn't whether Noah can have an ideas, feelings, or opinions about Arkansas, the question is whether those ideas, feelings, or opinion are themselves Noah's Arkansas.

Anonymous said...

Did Noah make ILLINOIS rhyme with toys?


StudioCitySteve said...

Hated LOGY, and will take PG's advice to hate any puzzle I find it in.

Theme was OK in the main, but still not sure about "Webster's ...." in that one.

@VirginiaC - AREEL is not a noun with an A in front of it, it's a verb. ASLEEP is similar - you sleep when you're asleep, as you REEL when you're AREEL.

binkerbo said...

beethoven's fifths is a little simpler than the explanation.

do re mi fa sol

CarolC said...

Couldn't resist jumping in when I realized my captcha would be "diumshar" = dumb share. So I figure the disclaimer is already there for whatever I share!

@JaxinLA, I appreciated the info about Noah Webster. I knew about the American English (no "u" part) but not the rest. What a great contribution.

I guess I ELIDEd over most of the dislikes already noted (I know that's probably an improper use of ELIDE - see disclaimer above).

Most annoying answer to me was NOLA. Never heard of that for New Orleans.

Smooth solve, and I'm starting to get used to the whatever AND whatever else clues.

shrub5 said...

Like @Vega, I had it takes A VILLAGE, then changed to ALL KINDS before eventually ending up with ALL SORTS.

OGEE, it was fun to see BUNION and OTOE.

I noticed recently that the New Orleans Hornets (NBA team) have NOLA on the front of their alternate uniforms. NOLA is also the name of Emeril Lagasse's restaurant there.

Is LOGY intended to mean like a log?

CrazyCat said...

Welcome back PG and thanks for the Sheryl Crow.

The theme answers that really bugged me were EYE WASHINGTON and FEELING ILLINOIS. EYE WASH and FEELING ILL are just kind of bleh IMO.

I actually liked the cross of NOLA and SOIE. Peau de SOIE is a pretty common word, especially if you're into shoes. It means "skin of silk" in French. NOLA was just in a puzzle recently clued as Emeril's Restaurant. It confused me because I thought Emeril's restaurant was called Emeril's, but he has another one called NOLA. I'm not sure but I would think NOLA is short for New Orleans, LA. Enjoyed seeing WEIRDO for some reason.

CrazyCat said...


Yes Virginia, I'm afeard those A words are often about. They set me aboil.

Anonymous said...

One more comment on Noah's Arkansas. If you are visiting a friend in a state you've never been to, he might say; "let me show you my state". He would mean his impression of the state as, perhaps, a life long resident. He might proudly say "this is my Arkansas". How's that for a bloated, longwinded explanation. I shall now go and take a nap.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else have FRY in for REA given that they're both Stephens who were in V for Vendetta? Northwest was the last part I finished because I was so sure Fry was right.

Anonymous said...

pretty sure your friend would be showing you the actual, physical state

John Wolfenden said...

I liked the theme, and wondered if there was so much French in the puzzle because one of the constructors is French or Quebecois. Anyone know?

I dug XANDY and "Beethoven's fifths?" for SOL. And even though it's Crosswordese, I can't help liking LOGY when I see it in a puzzle. I think it's because of a great Simpsons Season 1 episode in which Bart enters a mini-golf tournament. The morning before, Homer and Lisa argue about what Bart should have for breakfast to be in top form. Lisa thinks he should have oatmeal, Homer believes in eggs and bacon. Lisa says, "No, Dad, that'll make him all LOGY!" to which Homer replies, "News flash, Lisa, Bart is not a racehorse!"

EYEWASH is kinda lame but I suppose it is a real thing. Is a crick in the neck have to be a SPASM?

After yesterday being remarkably light on the Crosswordese, today had a ton. ELIDE, AREEL, RID, OGEE, LIRA. That's more than SOME.

Doug P said...

OK, "logy" is defined as "stunned or confused and slow to react (as from exhaustion)."

Perfect adjective for me after ACPT weekend.

Avg Joe said...

I have to vote with the really awful camp for LOGY. If the word must be used, it should at least have the good sense to have 2 g's.

I'd rather see my captcha in a puzzle: Grintly. Not sure what that might mean, but I'm also not sure what Logy might mean.

John Wolfenden said...

All right, why are you guys so down on LOGY? It's the only spelling of the word I can find, clued correctly as far as I can see.

Leave that poor little word alone people.

CrazyCat said...

I, for one, am not down on LOGY. I will remember it as a combination of lethargic and fogy - kind of like my dad in his last couple of years, bless his heart.

Anonymous said...

Virginia wondered,
"I'm relatively new at all this and was wondering: Is it customary to put an A in front of any verb to fill a spacea. e.g. "areel"?"

I don't think it's considered a "filler."

In crosswordese it's common to replace the verb suffix "-ing" with the prefix "-a." Areel just means reeling, aboil is boiling and so on.


Anonymous said...

Such copious and pithy comments for a Tuesday theme. Me thinks the congregation is atwitter over nothing.

Anonymous said...

Having just watched Rick Steven's Europe on PBS, I'm kind of changing my mind on NOAHSARKANSAS. Noah just need a TV show.

mac said...

Well, I learned a new word. Logy.

I was also surprised about soie and Meer in a Tuesday puzzle.

Know nothing about eye wash, although I have friends who collect those little glass cups, but I might need one. My eyes are still tired after the ACPT. Or is it APCT?;-)

Alexscott said...

Personally, I love the word logy and use it all the time: "I'd love to help you, hon, but I'm feeling a bit logy after such a big breakfast." By the way, it's pronounced with a long o, not "loggy." I hope to see it in more puzzles.

Also, "Sol, a needle pulling thread"? I don't think so. But I have to thank the crossword puzzle creators for bringing this to my attention. I'd write more on the subject, but I'm starting to feel a little logy.

xyz said...

Orthopaedic quibble

not all BUNIONS are inflamed, some just sit there