05.03 Tue

May 3, 2011
Jeff Chen

Theme: Hop On Over — The letter string ROO is circled in a hopping pattern (if that makes any sense) (which I'm sure it doesn't).

Theme answers:

  • 6D: In whatever way possible (BY HOOK OR BY CROOK).
  • 9D: Stereotypical deal-making site (SMOKE-FILLED ROOM).
  • 10D: Was angry to the max (HIT THE ROOF).
  • 30D: 2007 Iraq War strategy (TROOP SURGE).
  • 51D: Sing like Bing (CROON).
  • 60D: Cheer (ROOT).
  • 34D: Little one hopping across today's puzzle (ROO).
I thought this puzzle was pretty cute until I got to the end and the circles on the final ROO were in the wrong place. [Note: I'm hearing that the circles were in the right place in the print version of the puzzle and nonexistent in the applet version. So you may not know what I'm talking about.] (The grid I posted above is correct because over on the Fiend site, Neville took the time to fix his graphic allowing me to swoop right in and grab it from him so I wouldn't have to do the work myself. I'm lazy that way.) I spent a little time trying to figure out how ELO fit in with the theme but then realized it was a mistake. Kind of a bad way to end a puzzle but I'll try to get over it.

As for the sparkle, the long downs containing the ROOs are pretty nice, especially SMOKE-FILLED ROOM. Starting right off at 1A with HOBNOB (1A: Schmooze, as with the rich and famous) is also fun. Quite a bit of crosswordese in the grid, but it is only Tuesday so I can't complain about that too much. Other highlights for me include:
  • 25A: Donkey's bray (HEE-HAW).
  • 48D: Nighttime bash (SOIRÉE).
  • 50D: Acknowledgment of a witty rejoinder (TOUCHÉ).
You know why I like those last two. 'Cuz they're French!

  • 14A: Hooters' hangout (OWLERY). The concept of the Hooters restaurant makes me absolutely sick to my stomach, but this clue made me chuckle.
  • 27A: "Oopsy!" evoker (MISTAKE). "Oopsy" sounds so much more prissy than just a plain old "oops." Like it might be followed up by something like 31A: "How silly OF ME!" instead of "&*^$!"
  • 39A: __ Bell (TACO). Just the other day, PuzzleHusband and I were talking about how fast food restaurants are supposed to be exactly the same everywhere but we always noticed that the TACO Bell in New Mexico was better than the TACO Bells we had been to anywhere else.
  • 40A: Phantom's rival, in "The Phantom of the Opera" (RAOUL). Pieced this one together with the crosses.
  • 47A: Settles the bill (PAYS) and 2D: Hasn't settled yet (OWES). Another nice pair of clues.
  • 54A: Pakistani language (URDU). Pakistan. Hmmm. I have this vague feeling that something is going on over there ….
  • 63A: Cat also known as the dwarf leopard (OCELOT). I didn't know about the "dwarf leopard" thing but I've always thought OCELOTs were pretty awesome.
  • 65A: Crossword constructor/blogger Peterson (DOUG).
  • 8D: "__ and a bottle of rum!" (YO HO HO). Reminds me of the "Sports Night" episode where Dan sings "Happy Birthday" to Casey on the air and the network is fined for violating the song's copyright. Dan spends the rest of the episode coming up with songs in the public domain for everyone else's birthday. He picks some nice ones, but when Isaac gives him a hard time about something his response is: "You know what? 'Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum' for you."

  • 36D: Ginger and Mary Ann's home away from home (ISLE). A good "Gilligan's Island" reference always make me happy.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 18A: Pi follower (RHO).
  • 22A: Feds concerned with counterfeits (T-MEN).
  • 33A: Legendary Bruin (ORR).
  • 42A: Nobel Institute city (OSLO).
  • 46A: Actress Lena (OLIN).
  • 37D: Nobelist Wiesel (ELIE).
  • 59D: North Carolina university (ELON).
  • 64D: WBA decision (TKO).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 7A: Baseball's Cobb et al. (TYS); 10A: Fabled loser (HARE); 15A: __ Kippur (YOM); 16A: Quite angry (IRED); 17A: Money to burn (WEALTH); 19A: Musical quality (TONE); 20A: Canonized pope known as "The Great" (ST. LEO); 21A: Spoken thumbs-up (AOK); 23A: Top-level URL ender (GOV); 32A: State emphatically (AVER); 35A: Words with a sigh (I TRIED); 43A: Lay to rest (ENTOMB); 45A: NBA's Magic, on scoreboards (ORL); 49A: Fixed charges (SET FEES); 51A: Washington-based warehouse club (COSTCO); 53A: Hubbub (ADO); 55A: Barbecue morsel (RIB); 57A: Less polite (RUDER); 61A: Dark film genre (NOIR); 62A: Nickel source (ORE); 65A: Quarterback Flutie (DOUG); 66A: "__ the land of the free ..." (O'ER); 67A: "Check that out!" ("OH LOOK!"); 68A: Bar buyer's words (ON ME); 69A: Bar barrel (KEG); 70A: Treating maliciously (MEAN TO); 1D: In what way (HOW); 3D: Beginning trumpeter's sound (BLAT); 4D: "Gimme a Break!" star Carter (NELL); 5D: Sandinista Daniel (ORTEGA); 7D: Banks with an Emmy (TYRA); 11D: Odor (AROMA); 12D: Buy more Time, say (RENEW); 13D: Site of a 55-Across removal (EDEN); 24D: Aloe __ (VERA); 26D: 911 respondent (EMT); 27D: Play or room follower (-MATE); 28D: Nobelist Pavlov (IVAN); 29D: Breakaway group (SECT); 38D: Crime bosses (DONS); 41D: Major in astronomy? (URSA); 44D: Yoga student's roll (MAT); 52D: Hatred (ODIUM); 54D: Annul (UNDO); 56D: North Atlantic hazard (BERG); 58D: Oscar __ Renta (DE LA).


imsdave said...

44 blocks is a lot, but all is forgiven for the neat concept. My download had the wrong circles, but the paper (Hartford Courant) had it right.

Well done Mr. Chen!

Neville said...

Grid-stealer ;)

I'm sure you know this, but in case others don't, while in Across Lite, Press Shift+8 (That's the asterisk) in order to add or subtract a circle from a box. Why this was mapped to * I haven't a clue. I suspect that most of you have no use for this, but hey - the more you know!

Anonymous said...

Must be slightly different versions. 65a was 'quarterback Flutie' not 'crossword constructor Peterson'. Took me a while to figure out what 'mistake' you were refering to, mine didn't have it.

v-man said...

I almost always do the latimes crossword on line and there are never any circles on the grid so I never noticed all the roos until I solved for that clue. For some reason I enjoy the long answers in the down form. Pretty fun puzzle for a Tuesday.

Julie said...

Did this puzzle pretty quickly (old-school in the newspaper). Have seen Phantom so many times but could not remember "Raoul" until I got a few crosses.

Jeff Chen said...

My first draft included THEOLSWITCHEROO. Looks like a bit of a switcheroo happened with those last three circles, sorry about that.

It's like one of those murder myseteries, right? Where everyone expects that the butler did it? A-HA, gotcha! It wasn't ROO, it was ELO! BWA HA HA!

I will go away now.

Kurisu said...

I thought this was a fun puzzle. Cute theme, and my print version had the circles in the right place. Nice puzzle-spanning down answers, and not much crosswordese.

I liked YOHOHO crossing HEEHAW.

Never heard of ELON university but it seems like a useful thing to remember.

*David* said...

Hmm hopping around xword, OK something a bit different. Always love long downs for some reason and these two were nice ones.

CarolC said...

I went to HOBNOB with the rich, famous, and WEALTHy at a SOIREE in a SMOKE-FILLED ROOM with the AROMA of fine cigars. The women were wearing Oscar DE LA Renta. I entered the room shouting YO HO HO. OH LOOK, I AVERed, there's a KEG. Did you get it and the TACOs and RIBs at COSTCO? Hey I see TYRA OER there! The hostess HIT THE ROOF. HOW did you get in here, she CROONed, the ODIUM radiating from her? Could she have done so, she would have ENTOMBed me on the spot or exiled me to a deserted ISLE. HEE HAW, MATE, I brayed, how silly OF ME, I must have made a MISTAKE, I didn't MEAN TO be so RUDE. After she threw me out, I sighed, well at least I TRIED.

(Wish I could fit TOUCHE and ROO in there too.)

I enjoyed the puzzle, Jeff!

Lime D. Zeze said...

How do you titillate an ocelot?

Oscillate it's tit a lot!

C said...

I liked the puzzle today, kudos to the constructor. No circles in my version but they weren't needed due to 34D and the ROO wasn't why I enjoyed the puzzle. The long downs are different and different is good.

Also good today was @PG's write-up, thanks for that. Sports Night is my favorite sit-com and the Happy Birthday episode awesome.

@Anonymous, @PG was having a little fun with 65A and giving a shout out to constructor, substitute/Sunday Puzzle blogger Doug Peterson.

JaxInL.A. said...

I read the blog yesterday and no one mentioned the Crosswords L.A. Tournament.  Did anyone here go? I know that PG's audience reaches way beyond the southland (as does the puzzle) but I hope that some of you managed to enjoy the event and the company. Our own DougP who blogs the Sunday puzzle and works closely with PG had a big role.

I could not post yesterday, so I didn't get a chance to say here how much fun I had on Sunday at the tourney.  If you are interested in the event, I highly recommend reading yesterday's post over at Rex Parker Does the NY Times Crossword Puzzle.  He had some pix of the contest and initial thoughts, and today he promises to write up more and publish more photos that he just got from a friend (I'm guessing tomorrow, jetlag permitting).   This was my first puzzle event, and I waxed rhapsodic about it over at Rex's place yesterday as well.  What follows below is different than the tome I wrote yesterday over at Rex's place, for anyone interested.  I will have to split this between two posts because of Blogger's space limits.  Sorry.

So, even though family stuff kept me from attending in time to do the puzzles, I did get to Loyola Marymount Univ. in time for the amazing crossword-decorated cake-that-ate-L.A. (it must have been literally 3' down by 4' across) and the final puzzle round.  More important, I got to meet the hard-working and extremely nice Doug Peterson (who was not the actual clue today, but should have been).

Doug was "puzzle wrangler" for the contest.  (I like the image of him riding the range in a Stetson and chaps amid a bunch of galloping grids, and roping in a few bucking puzzles for solving at the tournament.)  Do get the puzzles to solve.  I have not worked my way through all of them yet.  Andrea Carla Michaels and Johanna Fenimore did a charming warm-up puzzle, and Liz Gorski is up to her usual high standards.  The Tyler Hinman is a pistol (still unfinished), and Patrick Blindauer's odd-shaped grid and intricate clues will have you scratching your head for some time.  Very rewarding,  so far.  

JaxInL.A. said...

Back to the tourney, I introduced myself to DougP and got a thrill when he recognized my posting "handle."  Then Doug, in the middle of all his contest wrap-up duties, took the time to walk me over to Rich Norris (editor of the LAT puzzle) and introduce me.  Has anyone mentioned how very nice puzzle people are?  

I got to chat with Rich and a couple of his friends. I was surprised that he doesn't get all that much mail, though when someone objects to a puzzle he definitely hears about it.  I didn't ask if he reads this blog.  Hmmm...  Why is it that we humans will put complaints in writing with much greater enthusiasm than compliments?   So if you like a puzzle, or have an interesting observation, consider dropping Rich a line.  He did not ask me to say that.

The final puzzle round looked like a miniature version of the final scene in Wordplay, and the line-up was apparently a re-match of the same three guys who ended up in the L.A. finals two years ago: Jordan, Eric and Eric.  I was going to put in their last names, but the scoring page on the tourney site is being adjusted, so their names are no longer up there.  Sorry, guys.  Jordan flew right through Karen Tracey's great Scrabbly puzzle, and I don't even remember any write-overs.  The Erics went much faster than I could have but both had a couple of re-worked sections.  I won't talk about specifics since I hope that many of you will get the puzzles and solve yourself.  Tyler Hinman and Andrea Carla Michaels provided highly entertaining the commentary while the three men worked their way through the grid.  My teen daughter, who is not yet a solver but is a BIG movie fan and had watched Wordplay, was very impressed that I got to meet Tyler (very briefly).

After the awarding of copious prizes, I got to meet and hang out with @acme and the aforementioned Rex, plus two of Andrea's very charming friends, Eric and Paul.  Poor Doug was (understandably) too tired to join us, having had a major part in producing a very successful event.  I hope that I get a chance to know him in future.

Elissa Glickman and crew did a GREAT job putting the event together, from the cool website to the excellent puzzles, from the comfortable venue to the impressive gift basket prizes.  Congratulations to all involved, and happy Tuesday to all who managed to get through all of this. 

John Wolfenden said...

A solid week so far! Loved "Major in astronomy?" for URSA, and "Site of a RIB removal" is a very original way to clue EDEN. You just have to love the word BLAT.

I hear you about Hooters, PG. At least the answer wasn't BLOUSE.

Doug P said...

Thanks for the nice comments, Jax! *David* also left a lengthy comment on tournament on the post right before this one. Short version: puzzle people are awesome and fun.

It was great to meet the delightful JaxinLA and put a face with the name. I was too worn out from Saturday's DASH and Sunday's tournament to do much of anything on Sunday night unfortunately. (I must be getting old.) I should do a full write-up of everything that happened. Maybe Sunday.

And in case you didn't see it elsewhere, the finalists were Eric LaVasseur, Eric Maddy, and Jordan Chodorow. Jordan pulled it out, but the Erics weren't far behind.

Kudos to Elissa Grossman for putting together another fabulous tournament. You would not believe the amount of work she puts into this event. I'm getting tired again just thinking about it.

PS--PuzzleGirl, thanks for putting the corrected clue for DOUG in your post.

CoffeeLvr said...

@Jeff Chen, thank you for coming by.

Quibble: if you are eating the right kind of BBQ, a RIB is not a mere morsel!

In order to offset the spin induced by all the ROO's, I see we not only have OR (hiding in 6D), but also ORR and ORE o'er OER.

OH LOOK, there are a lot of shout-outs in the grid: YOO HOO, YO HO HO, TOUCHE.

Unlike John Wolfenden, I hated BLAT, but like PG I love OCELOT.

Anonymous said...

So much better than today's NYT puzzle. Well done!

badams52 said...

Loved the puzzle, PG's write-up and the witty commentary here.

Too much good stuff in the puzzle to make a list of what I liked here.

Joon said...

excellent puzzle. i always like a fun, original theme. my puzzle had no circles at all but i didn't mind in the least. HOBNOB and TOUCHÉ were terrific entries.

while studying for jeopardy recently i learned that the original SMOKE-FILLED ROOM was a room at the blackstone hotel in chicago, used at the 1920 GOP convention to nominate warren g[amaliel] harding, a candidate with no real qualifications other than being good-looking and largely unobjectionable. he went on to win the election and become the worst president of all time.

moral of the story: don't smoke.

CoffeeLvr said...

@Joon, ROTFL.

Steve said...

I can't comment any more!

Steve said...

Oh - now I can. I've been muted for a week - I don't see any captchas any more, and I've tried three different browsers and my Blackberry. Something is afoot in Bloggerland.

Anyway, I guess I'll stick with my Google account identity and lose my old StudioCitySteve handle.

It's probably a good thing I haven't been able to comment, I got in a totally bad mood about last Thursday's puzzle and went off on something of a rant.

This one was nice though, obviously some thought went into the cluing and the fill.

Who edits the Sunday puzzle? Someone should have a quiet word with Merl Reagle and tell him he's getting lazy with his fills, IMHO.

Mokus said...

Didn't get to the puzzle until this afternoon but as soon as I saw Jeff Chen's name I knew that a pleasant solve lay in store. Good words and good clues. Thanks, Jeff.