03.28 Mon

March 28, 2011
Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke

Theme: Greatest Hits — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase ending with a word that can be a synonym for "hit."

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Tool that can extract nails (CLAW HAMMER).
  • 27A: It's poured into an iron at breakfast (WAFFLE BATTER).
  • 47A: United Kingdom currency (BRITISH POUND).
  • li>64A: Fur bartered by Native Americans (BEAVER PELT).
Looks like we're starting out the week with a simple (if violent) Monday theme in a smooth Monday grid. Nice! Lots of exclaiming going on in this puzzle:
  • 45A: "Without a doubt!" ("SURE!").
  • 68A: "I did it!" ("TA-DA!").
  • 33D: Charlie Brown's "Darn it!" ("RATS!").
Seems like someone was talked into doing a magic trick and it didn't quite come off as well as expected. Ha!

  • 5A: Fallback option (PLAN B). For some reason, the word "fallback" made me think of changing clocks for Daylight Savings Time and I couldn't think of anything else.
  • 22A: "Get Smart" evil agency (KAOS). Although "Get Smart" was a little before my time, it was enough of a cultural phenomenon that I've always known some things about it (Agent 99, the shoe phone, some of the catchphrases like "Would you believe…?"), I would not have remembered the name of the evil agency, however, if it weren't for crossword puzzles.
  • 25A: Bard of boxing (ALI). "If you were surprised when Nixon resigned, just watch what happens when I whup Foreman's behind!"
  • 34A: They may be outsourced (JOBS). Well that's depressing.
  • 40A: Aerialist's apparatus (TRAPEZE). Have you all seen "Man on a Wire"? I've only seen parts of it so far, but am looking forward to sitting down and watching it straight through.
  • 63A: Length times width (AREA). And here we have a nice, noncontroversial clue for AREA.
  • 2D: Golden St. collegian (UCLAN). Ooh, that's ugly. I tried BRUIN first, which wouldn't have been ugly at all.
  • 6D: Moussaka meat (LAMB). I tried VEAL here. I guess I got my poor defenseless baby animals confused.
  • 11D: Swedish furniture giant (IKEA). Did I tell you we're moving next month? Just to another house in the same area. It's quite a bit smaller than the house we're in now, though, and we will definitely be making a trip to IKEA. (Yay!)
  • 35D: Sign of spoilage (ODOR). Ew.
  • 41D: Olympian ruler (ZEUS). PuzzleDaughter's friend just got a puppy and they named it ZEUS. The girls insist on calling him ZEUSY, though, which sounds pretty funny.
  • 56D: "Tears in Heaven" singer Clapton (ERIC). I would love to find you a clip right now, but if I click over to YouTube, I'll be stuck there for at least an hour and I just don't have that kind of time this morning. So please go enjoy some Clapton on your own.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 46A: Mars' Greek counterpart (ARES).
  • 31D: Russian ruler of yore (TSAR).
  • 32D: To be, in Burgundy (ÊTRE).
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Everything Else 1A: Muddy stuff (MUCK); 10A: Pinochle calls (BIDS); 14A: Bounce, as off a canyon wall (ECHO); 15A: Margaret Mead's island (SAMOA); 16A: Tom Joad, for one (OKIE); 19A: Princess played by Lucy Lawless (XENA); 20A: Spanish song (CANTO); 21A: Surprise "from the blue" (BOLT); 23A: Silky sweater (ANGORA); 37A: King with jokes (ALAN); 38A: Keebler cracker (ZESTA); 39A: Oral health org. (ADA); 42A: Pictures on the wall (ART); 43A: Back biter? (MOLAR); 50A: Heavy drinker (SOT); 51A: Tranquilize (SEDATE); 55A: Plastic user's concern (DEBT); 58A: Words of woe (AH ME); 62A: Autobahn autos (AUDIS); 66A: Highlands dagger (DIRK); 67A: "Bye for now" ("LATER"); 69A: High school skin problem (ACNE); 70A: Idyllic spots (EDENS); 71A: Sources of iron (ORES); 1D: Tourist magnet (MECCA); 3D: P.F. __'s: Chinese restaurant chain (CHANG); 4D: Shows servility (KOW-TOWS); 5D: Free TV spot (PSA); 7D: Bullets and such (AMMO); 8D: Seasonal song (NOEL); 9D: Pub bill (BAR TAB); 10D: Tailless flying toy (BOX KITE); 12D: Flintstone pet (DINO); 13D: Aral and Arabian (SEAS); 18D: Traditional round dance (HORA); 24D: Miles away (AFAR); 26D: Act like a couch potato (LAZE); 28D: Lightning burst (FLASH); 29D: Drink à la Lassie (LAP UP); 30D: Juan's January (ENERO); 34D: Doorway feature (JAMB); 36D: Java neighbor (BALI); 40D: Small jazz group (TRIO); 44D: In jeopardy (AT STAKE); 46D: Total numerically (ADD UP TO); 48D: Pony's place (STABLE); 49D: In the vicinity (NEAR); 52D: "Please be __ and ...": polite request words (A DEAR); 53D: Spanish squiggle (TILDE); 54D: These, in Madrid (ESTAS); 55D: Baby's pop (DADA); 57D: Swiss capital (BERN); 59D: Lettuce purchase (HEAD); 60D: Brisbane buddy (MATE); 61D: Fifty-fifty (EVEN); 65D: Medical drama settings, for short (ER'S).


imsdave said...

Very solid Monday. Just spoiled for me (an information technology specialist) by the very real and depressing (as noted by PG) JOBS.

Too many other good clues available for that - I understand that it is "current", but personally, way too close to home.

Unknown said...

Is it bad that I thought the last photo in the post was the Geico caveman playing guitar? I may need to clean my glasses.

SethG said...

Is it bad that my biggest problem was trying to figure out what BIDS had to do with Pinocchio? I may need to get glasses, then clean them.

Anonymous said...

That shoe phone is soooo '60s. I mean, seriously, a rotary dial?

C said...

Is it sad that I immediately went to UCLAN and bypassed BRUIN or any other actual english/french/spanish/flemish word? Cleaning my glasses didn't help the sadness.

A little sadness didn't harm my appreciation for the puzzle though and I got clean lenses to boot. Win win.

Unknown said...

NW corner gave me a bit of a fit. I, too wanted BRUIN (UCLAN is just wrong), but once that was fixed, I had HULA for the dance, and CANTU for the song. What I couldn't figure out is what kind of sweaters they wear in ANGOLA.

Easy-peasy puzzle, and I liked that the themed answers stood on their own (with no qualifying clue). However, with Jose Conseco back in the news, BASHBROTHERS would have been a great addition - though I suppose in keeping with the theme, they would have to take on the aristocratic-sounding moniker 'the BROTHERSBASH'.

CrazyCat said...

Easy, breezy Monday despite the violence. Agree with PG, @C and @Anthony about UCLAN - really bad. Also ANGORA sweaters, as I recall, were itchy not silky (or maybe that was mohair). Wanted to squeeze in recycling instead of DEBT. I've never played pinochle, but I had Meld before BIDS. Maybe Meld is Mahjong(g). I have no idea.

I have my glasses on, they're clean and I agree that ERIC looks like a caveman.

Vega said...

Indeed, UCLAN is ugly. Otherwise, nothing bad or sad to report on my end!

Husker Gary said...

Hi from Huskerville! I blog everyday on LA Crossword Corner and I thought I'd try this one.

-Nebraska’s own Henry Fonda was great as Tom Joad and delivered one of filmdom’s most eloquent soliloquies
-When You Wish Upon A Star (…bolt out of the blue) evokes many childhood memories for me
-Girls in our high school wrapped the boyfriend’s rings in ANGORA wool so they would fit on their fingers
-Gotta love “Back Biter”
-We sleep better for being debt free!
-What happens when CA smog clears? U C L A!
-Ain’t much Lamb eaten in the Beef State
-My daughters must have declined to pay extra for comfort in their IKEA furniture

shrub5 said...

UCLAN is indeed ugly. I know a few UCLA grads and have never heard them refer to themselves as UCLANs. Wanted to put BRUIN but could see immediately it wasn't going to work. I guess if we have to live with ALER and NLER, we should expect this.

UCLAN google yields mainly University of Central Lancashire sites! They abbrev. it as UCLan.

Favorite clue today was Back biter? for MOLAR.

This was a fun Monday puzzle. Thanks for the write-up PG. Hope your move goes smoothly. I swore the last time I moved that I would NEVER do it again. Been here 30 years now. At least moving usually inspires you to sort out your stuff and get rid of a lot of it, especially if you're down-sizing. Hey, at least you will be able to junk all those address labels -- in my case a drawer-ful.

Avg Joe said...

Easy solve for me. Didn't like UCLAN any better than anyone else, but accepted it.

Welcome Husker Gary! Nice to have some Big Red company. It's been lonely.

Agree with Shrub that everyone should move once in a while to clear out the junk. We moved 4 years ago after 22 years in one place. Tossed well over half the crap that had accumulated. I think I've missed one or two things since. Good luck with the move PG.

John Wolfenden said...

A well-above-average Monday with some cool words like KOWTOWS and TILDE.

I fear the the time is NEAR when I too will need reading glasses, MATE. AH ME.

Duane said...

Yes, indeed -- a breezy puzzle that I prefer because it runs the gamut of the alphabet.

badams52 said...


Melds is indeed Pinochle, but you don't call them out, you usually lay down your melds for all to see.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the puzzle & write up PG. Glad to be back with the LAT instead of the road staple of USA Today - yuck. I agree with @shrub5 re moves. 3 moves == 1 fire....

StudioCitySteve said...

Liked the puzzle. Got UCLAN before even thinking of BRUIN - the reason is that one of my friends has his initials (BR) and UCLAN on his license plate - BRUCLAN.

@Shrub5 - I'd agree with you, except for my buddy's vanity plate.

Glad to see no PC complaints about OKIE today :)

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of my youth in the 50's in L.A., in football and basketball you heard the Bruins refered to as "UCLANS".

CrazyCat said...

@badams52 - Thanks for the clarification. I will try to retain that bit of pinochle knowledge in my pea brain.

I make a tasty less-guilty version of moussaka using either lean ground beef or ground turkey instead of LAMB. There's so much else going on flavor-wise between the cinnamon, nutmeg, red wine, tomatoes and béchamel with ricotta and parmesan, you can't really tell the difference. OMG I think I need to make some this week!

Sfingi said...

Quick and easy puzzle. I thought it was themeless. Shared EDEN with NYT, today.
Never heard of PF CHANG. Apparently there's one in Albany.

@StudioSteve - no one remembers OKIEs any more.

mac said...

Easy but very good Monday puzzle. I finally found out what that rectangular thing that we never got up in the sky is called.

I've lived in England twice, and I've never heard it called the British Pound. They say Pound Sterling.

Loooove backbiter.

Sorry you have to move, PG. I've done it 19 times in my life, and it doesn't seem to get easier. I have gotten better at organizing a new place, though, and very quick.

I like Ikea, it's fun to go early and have a very nice, almost free breakfast. The restaurant opens an hour before the showroom.
It is eerie: the stores are almost identical in different countries. I went to the one in Holland first, late last year, than went to recheck something in New Haven. Exactly the same layout, menu and assortment.

@Orange: LOL, you're right. But what a sad song....

CrazyCat said...

@Sfingi P.F. Chang's is an ubiquitous, somewhat expensive, Asian style restaurant chain that's found in most upscale malls, at least on the West Coast. Their food is known for its high fat and sodium content. Also, they don't take reservations and often make you wait up to an hour to get a table. I stopped going there years ago when there were only a couple, so I don't know for sure if that's still the case. The lettuce wraps were my favorite.

@mac - wow! I thought I moved a lot. Six houses in 20 years and 4 states, from NY, to FLA, to TX and CA - 3 were corporate transfers. Good luck PG!

backbiter said...

Nice easy Monday puzzle. Nothing too difficult. I gotta go with the majority and boo UCLAN. I hate it even more just because it made me agree with the majority. *blood pressure rising* lmao

Husker Gary says "Gotta love “Back Biter”.

Well thank you. Thank you very much indeed. LOL

backbiter said...

Oh I forgot. The only reason the theme let me down is because I would have given anything for "claw" and "waffle" to be somehow related. And I was way over thinking it. Jeez! Still, a good time was had.



John Wolfenden said...

I second CCL's assessment of P.F. Chang. There's one in our local mall, and it's overpriced. In Los Angeles there are plenty of better, more authentic options.

StudioCitySteve said...

I'd like to propose that the only acceptable fill for any college clue is one of UND, NOTREDAME, IRISH, FIGHING (with or without the "G") or LEPRECAUN. ARA, I hope, has a Hall of Fame entry in @PG's 101.

Just sayin' - did my taxes today and I'm a TAD punchy.

xyz said...

UCLAN as in iCLAN - a collection of Apple aficionados! Only blip.

Any puzzle with Moussaka is a winner chez r