03.25 Fri

March 25, 2011
John Lampkin

Theme: Half-Baked Ideas — Theme answers are familiar phrases that begin with a repeated first word, but the repeated word is only used once.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: 61-Across Asian appetizer? (PU PLATTER).
  • 21A: 61-Across cheer? (HIP HOORAY).
  • 37A: 61-Across musical? (BYE BIRDIE).
  • 55A: 61-Across gag? (KNOCK JOKE).
  • 61A: Not well thought out (HALF-BAKED).
Wow. Really, really enjoyed this puzzle! Great theme, tricky cluing, lively fill — this puzzle has it all. I had trouble in two areas. In the southwest corner I wouldn't let go of DER for 50A: Hamburger's article, but the correct answer is EIN. I think I was just excited about the opportunity to post a picture of Kevin Der again, which is what I do every time the word DER appears in the puzzle. In fact, just last weekend at the ACPT I told Kevin about how I do that. He doesn't read the blog so he didn't know. Ha! Well now that I've talked about him for so long, I'll go ahead and use his picture. Should I use the same one I've been using all along from two years ago or should I update to the one I just took this past weekend? Decisions, decision!

Anyway, the other place I had trouble was in the Texas area because I had MANTA where SKATE was supposed to go (53D: Ray in the sea), leading me to believe the reveal answer would be ONE-something, which seemed totally reasonable. I also had MONITER for MONIKER (43D: Handle) even though it kinda seemed like it was spelled wrong. I figured it all out eventually and must say I enjoyed the challenge.

PuzzleSon was "helping" me with this puzzle and when he saw KNOCK JOKE he goes, "But those aren't even funny." Ha! Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time last night on my ACPT recap (scroll down to the next post to read it) so I'm pretty much out of time. I'll just hit the highlights real quick and then I'm off to work.

  • 19A: Class figs. (PROFS.). Wanted this to be something to do with numbers, like GPA or something.
  • 29A: Select, in a way (SCREEN). Remember back in the old days when you SCREENed your calls by listening to the answering machine? Or waaaay back when SCREENing your calls wasn't even possible?!
  • 36A: Ballet __ (RUSSE). I don't believe I've ever heard this phrase and I don't know what it means.
  • 67A: Fishhook connector (SNELL). Don't know this one either.
  • 69A: Highland tongue (ERSE). We've covered ERSE in Crosswordese 101 in the past.
  • 5D: Square on the table? (PAT). Not the proverbial square meal, but the literal square PAT of butter.
  • 9D: Chow chow (ALPO). Food (sometimes called chow) for a dog (which might be the type of dog known as a chow).
  • 31D: Nice street (RUE). The first word of this clue refers to the French city of Nice. And the French word for "street" is RUE. We talked about this cluing trick back in the Crosswordese 101 entry for ÉTÉ.
  • 40D: Title savant in a 1988 Oscar-winning film (RAINMAN). I'm an excellent driver.
  • 63D: Danish capital? (DEE). Another tricky clue that we've covered in Crosswordese 101.
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Everything Else 1A: Work on a batter (STIR); 5A: Grandly appointed (POSH); 9A: Stand for (ABIDE); 14A: Strong-spined volume (TOME); 15A: Forte (AREA); 16A: "I __ Piano": Irving Berlin hit (LOVE A); 20A: Bleak (GRIM); 23A: Spine movement? (SHIVER); 25A: Code-cracking gp. (NSA); 26A: Chatspeak qualifier (IMO); 27A: Batter's supply (PINE TAR); 32A: "Then again ..." ("YET …"); 33A: Doglike carnivore (HYENA); 39A: Ashes, e.g. (TREES); 42A: Geometry basic (AXIOM); 43A: Animal's gullet (MAW); 46A: Personally give (HAND TO); 48A: Meadow bloomer in the buttercup family (ANEMONE); 51A: A.L. rival of N.Y. (BOS); 54A: Flashes (GLINTS); 59A: Seed coating (ARIL); 60A: Inspire profoundly (IMBUE); 64A: Great Lakes explorer La __ (SALLE); 65A: Convenient abbr. (ET AL.); 66A: "Pretty Woman" actor (GERE); 68A: Disallow (DENY); 1D: Letters at Indy (STP); 2D: Head-scratcher (TOUGHIE); 3D: Fossil indentation (IMPRINT); 4D: Be haunted by, perhaps (RELIVE); 6D: Sports MD's specialty (ORTH.); 7D: Greet warmly (SEE IN); 8D: Dwells incessantly (on) (HARPS); 10D: Town name ending (BORO); 11D: They don't laugh when they're tickled (IVORIES); 12D: Discredits (DEFAMES); 13D: Hardly a head-scratcher (EASY ONE); 18D: Purple hue (AMETHYST); 22D: Eats (HAS); 23D: Code user (SPY); 24D: Comedic actress Martha (RAYE); 28D: 1988 self-titled C&W album (REBA); 30D: FBI facility since 1932 (CRIME LAB); 34D: Disallow (NIX); 35D: Diva's moment (ARIA); 37D: Daffodils' digs (BED); 38D: Bell sound (DONG); 39D: 1889 work of art deemed unsuitable for general display at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair (THE KISS); 41D: Dignify (ENNOBLE); 44D: Pair in a rack (ANTLERS); 45D: Horror filmmaker Craven (WES); 47D: Gram. case (OBJ.); 49D: Illusion (MIRAGE); 52D: Gasped in delight (OOHED); 56D: Select (CULL); 57D: Sailing stabilizer (KEEL); 58D: Vigorous style (ELAN); 62D: Annoying buzzer (FLY).


Avg Joe said...

Tough, tough puzzle for me. The first theme fill to fall was HipHooray, then ByeBirdie. Had lot's of trouble in the SW even though my first guess for 50a was Ein. Didn't really like the clue for cull that well cuz I tend to think of a cull as a noun (i.e. a discard) rather than a verb (i.e. a winnowing process). But it all worked out and was a serious workout.

I've really come to enjoy John Lampkin puzzles. They always seem to be solveable, but also make you earn it. However, I do have one confession: My kids are in their late 20's by now, but I can't read Johns last name without thinking of Lambert from a cartoon tape they watched for hours and hours when they were little. Sorry John. :-)

SethG said...

The theme did not amuse me as much as it did you. Nor did the variant spelling of the prefix. Agree about the cluing and the fill, though.

CarolC said...

Ok, I'll admit I'm starting off cranky because this was a DNF for me and I almost always finish Friday puzzles. But AREA for Forte? Forte is a strength, or loud as a musical notation, but AREA?? Can someone 'splain that to me? Also IMBUE does not mean inspire profoundly. No way.

I did enjoy the theme even though I didn't get PU PLATTER or KNOCK JOKE. And TREES for Ashes was great clueing.

Happy Friday!

*David* said...

I started off slow, filling in spots but not getting much headway. I finally dropped down and worked the SE got HALFBAKED and was off. Where I got confused initially was where I had the second P in PU PLATTER and thought it had to be PUPU. Other errors QUANTICO for CRIME LAB anf tried STING/MANTA where SKATE went.

Ashes was the trickiest clue for me. For some reason I remembered Ballet RUSSE and poppoed that in with the R. SNELL was my, never heard of that fill.

Doug P said...

I thought the theme was quite clever today. I'll give this one 4 stars.

If you haven't read PuzzleGirl's ACPT write-up yet, you should do so immediately. It's almost as much fun as the tournament. I have friends who've been waiting for me to give them a full report, and I'm just going to send them the link to PG's post.

Sfingi said...

It was a cute puzzle IMO.

I fell asleep with some questions and woke with the answers. What Hubster and Major Hoople call my "infallible subconscious."

I think of both CULL and SNELL as verbs.

The Ballet RUSSEs was a Russian troop led by Diaghilev that toured Europe at the beginning of last century.

Didn't know WES Craven. I guess he does horror films, which are a yawn to me.

The big news here today is Utica actually gained 1500+ souls.
I'll bet they're mostly Bosnian. They seem to be good citizens, but some people have noticed they stucco everything in sight. They do a good job, but I guess they're worried about historic houses. They have turned an abandoned church into a mosque, but there are so many such churches in America. It's across from the poshest private club in the city, the Fort Schuyler Club.

There is a small statue of THE KISS in front of a home I pass.

German articles, alphabetically:
Definite: das dem den der des die. Indefinite: ein eine einem einen einer eines. Depends on grammatical case. Did I get 'em all?

@Carol - "That's my AREA of expertise; that's my forte."

VirginiaC said...

Forte or, AREA of expertise

Anonymous said...

The Swiging Bav


Brian said...

I thought this puzzle was way too easy for a Friday. Was finished the puzzle before I finished my lunch. The SW was the hardest section tho.

StudioCitySteve said...

@Carol - I agree with you on AREA, Forte does not clue the answer, it clues an answer that requires another couple of words to make sense of it. That was the last fill for me and I thought it was weak.

Enjoyed the theme though, took me ages to figure out STIR, especially as I'd already filled PINETAR and BOS and was stuck on a baseball mindset.

Once I'd got STIR above TOME, I had to really work hard to convince myself that TOUGHIE wasn't going to be TOENAIL, I was wondering how the heck you can scratch your head with your toenail without being a member of the Ballet Russe.

v-man said...

I thought this was an equally good theme and challenge. It was tough going at first but eventually i filled it in with only two mistakes. For some reason I could not get imo and stimbled on profs had probs short for problems instead .

kerrys said...

Antlers was not my first answer for pair in rack!

TWG said...

If someone is majoring in a particular subject, say English, then their area of study is English. It's fair enough to say that English is their forte. It's very common to see AREA clued in this way.

AMETHYST was a sparkly non-theme answer. I think ORTHO would have been a more appropriate answer for 6D. "Ortho" seems like a better abbreviation for the field of orthopedic surgery.

I would rate this puzzle more as an EASYONE than a TOUGHIE, especially for a Friday.


C said...

I had a great time with today's puzzle. Not in the sense that we laughed and danced and had cookies rather it was fun to solve. Good times.

AMETHYST, good answer and word of the day for me.

Anonymous said...

Excellent puzzle today, featuring some rather "ennobled, imbued" pairings with "Love A" and "Ivories"; "toughie" and "easy one"; "mirage" and "glints", and "imprint" (in print) and "tome".

Although I knew the banned work of art couldn't have been Gustav Klimt's famous painting, it wasn't too much of a leap of faith that another artist (Rodin as it turns out), had produced another work of the same name more than a decade earlier.

"Area" for "Forte" came very slowly for me too, thinking along the lines of "loud" or "strength", but I think it an acceptable answer, just not a particularly strong one. Someone's "area" could refer to their strength in a specific field.

PuzzleGirl said...

I'd weigh in on the acceptability of AREA as a synonym for "forte" except that synonyms aren't really my area.

Anoa Bob said...

Lots to like in this sparkler. Almost DNF because I've never heard of pu PU PLATTER, and I lived in Asia for three years. Guess I didn't get out enough.

For the record, 33A HYENA is much closer to the cat family than to dogs. Did a study on hyenas in grad school. They are a breed apart. Females are dominant over males and the pack leader is always the alpha female.

Anonymous said...

Got the theme but I have never heard of a Pu Platter or Pu Pu Platter so DNF on account of that. Asian food not familiar to me. Therefore I thought it a tough interesting puzzle for a Friday.

Anonymous said...

Oh and also, I don't get Posh for grandly appointed? Port out/starboard home does not relate to appointment or somebody considered posh?

@PG please explain. Thanks

John Wolfenden said...

Hardly an EASY ONE for me, but I got through it and felt like my noodle had gotten a workout. Great theme. I agree with AvgJoe that Lampy has been knocking it out of the park lately.

Loved "They don't laugh when they're tickled" for PIANO (NE piano mini-theme!) and "Chow chow" for ALPO. "Square on the table" for PAT is fiendish and awesome.

Always like seeing MAW, and had learning moments in ANEMONE, SNELL and ARIL. Like PG I had the wrong type of ray- EAGLE instead of SKATE.

DONG seems a little odd, but I feel like I've seen it in cartoons. There are many R-rated ways to clue this answer but not many PG ones.

CrazyCat said...

@anon 10:36 Think POSH hotel, or restaurant not POSH Spice/Victoria Beckham.

Another fun John Lampkin, though it took me almost 30 minutes. I got stuck in the upper right. So backed in from the SE and got HALF BAKED which then made sense of PU PLATTER. The rest of the theme answers fell easily, the fill not so much. Got a kick out AMETHYST (my birthstone and favorite color) and ANEMONE. Had a rough time in the lower left due to SNELL, IMBUE, ENOBLE and CULL. I had Snail first, thought maybe it could be used for bait. WTH do I know about fishing??

@PG loved the pics of PAT and MONIKER/Monica - funny!

CrazyCat said...

I think of PU PU PLATTERS as being more Hawaiian than Asian.

Rex Parker said...

What SethG said, as usual.


Sfingi said...

@Wolfenden - Ding Dong School, tv from the past.

@Kerrys - me too, but I supressed it.

Definitely some clever fill.

YWF said...

Cute. Pretty easy for a Friday puzzle.

New word for me: SNELL

mac said...

I liked this puzzle, although I ran into some trouble in the SW.
Also, had some crosses and was scratching my head over tickling ovaries???

Thought of No No Nanette before Bye Bye Birdie.

Hyenas and their home stink to high heaven.

Luke451 said...

Haha, Mac, you tickled "ovaries" but I tried tickling "fancies." Hmm...how exactly do you tickle the former?

CrazyCatLady, I agree w/u. Pupus are Hawaiian in my experience, so I pooh-pooh any other notion.

Anonymous said...

A biologist will tell you that skates are not rays, although somewhat related. They are also somewhat related to sharks. If you really care to know, they all have cartilaginous (wouldn't that make a great X-word clue or answer?) skeleton.

Anonymous said...

A dictionary will tell you that skate is "any of a family (Rajidae, especially genus Raja) of rays with the pectoral fins greatly developed giving the fish a flat diamond shape".

mac said...

Love those wings, anonymice, no matter what the genus or family is.

Hoyt said...

I tried MANTA, STING and DEVIL for ray and was wrong every time. Pretty much how this whole puzzle was for me.

logbeachlee said...

I saw pupu, but was determined that it was Mexican because some Mexican restaurants are pupuserias. Finally gave in. Still not enough to finish, because that left me with pustarters. Of course the square on a table was par, as par gets a square on a golf score. Well it should. First dnf in a long time.