05.06 Fri

May 6, 2011
Peter Koetters

Theme: ZZZZzzzzzz — The letter string DD is changed to ZZ in familiar phrases.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Moving like a dog in a narrow tube? (MUZZLING THROUGH).
  • 27A: Dud sparklers? (FIZZLE STICKS).
  • 41A: One solving several crosswords simultaneously? (PUZZLE JUMPER).
  • 50A: Brilliant bees? (BUZZING GENIUSES).
This theme didn't thrill me, but how can you not like a puzzle full of Zs? When I realized we were changing Ds to Zs, it literally put a smile on my face. The grid is good — not a lot of crosswordese and some cool entries like ADDIS ABABA, JUBILEE, and (thanks to the abundance of Zs) PIAZZA (14A: Capital at the foot of Mount Entoto / 44A: Anniversary gala / 41D: Italian square). It seemed like there were a lot of plurals in the grid (ACORNS, ROOKS, RIOTS, JOINTS, SORBETS — I don't count TEARS because TEARS are usually referred to in the plural). And, as I said, the theme? Changing DDs to ZZs. Why again? It definitely seems more like a Monday theme than a Friday theme (if we're going to have themes at all on Friday, which I wish we wouldn't and I'm sorry to bring that up again because I know I sound like a broken record).

  • 1A: Make sound (HEAL). Tricky clue. "Sound" in this case means healthy not, like, a noise.
  • 5A: Fictional elephant (BABAR). I seem to recall people were mentioning other fictional elephants here the other day, but this is always the first one I think of. Oh yeah, DUMBO is the another.
  • 19A: Spots on cartes (ILES). I first thought "cartes" was referring to menus, but then I remembered carte is the French word for map. (And ILE is the French word for island.) (French!)
  • 40A: Wonder Woman weapon (TIARA). See now that's a TIARA I can get behind.
  • 48A: Words after take or save (A SEAT). I am horrible — horrible! — at figuring out these kinds of clues.
  • 49A: Z-zebra link (AS IN). Hey look! The clues are getting into the Z-fest too!
  • 59A: __ breve (ALLA). If you were here yesterday, this shouldn't have been a problem.
  • 4D: Songwriter Phair (LIZ). I had this song going through my head all day yesterday.

  • 8D: NYC dance co. (ABT). American Ballet Theatre.
  • 18D: Rank and file movers (ROOKS). I didn't know until a couple years ago that "rank" and "file" are words that refer to the columns and rows on a chessboard, but there you go.
  • 44D: Sluglike alien strangled by Leia (JABBA). Lots of Star Wars this week.
  • 55D: Money VIPs (EDS.). This is a reference to Money magazine and its EDitorS.
Crosswordese 101: We've talked about UAE before, so today it's UAR's turn. As we learn from today's clue, 53D: Syr. seceded from it in 1961, leaving only Egypt, which continued to be known as the "United Arab Republic" until 1971. So today no UAR exists and that's what you need to remember because the clues for UAR will pretty much always use words like "old," "bygone," and "former." And that's how you know you need UAR and not UAE. But how do you remember that UAR is the bygone one and UAE is current? I always say in my head "UAR Not" (so it sounds like "U. A. Are Not"), which reminds me that it "are not" around any more. Hey, if you have a better idea, by all means share!

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered includes:
  • 34A: Razor brand (ATRA).
  • 49D: Bacteriologist's supply (AGAR).
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Everything Else 10A: Pine (ACHE); 16A: Gambler's marker (CHIT); 20A: Straight opening? (ORTHO-); 21A: Kennel worker (GROOMER); 25A: Greek sphinx, from the neck down (LIONESS); 29A: Good for growing, as soil (LOAMY); 30A: Traps (WEBS); 31A: Pick up (GET); 35A: Contempt (ODIUM); 37A: Stadium level (LOGE); 38A: Sigh relative (TSK); 39A: Othello, for one (MOOR); 47A: Häagen-Dazs array (SORBETS); 57A: Performer of many Dylan songs (BAEZ); 58A: San Diego Zoo attraction (GIANT PANDA); 60A: Folklore threats (OGRES); 61A: Not at all bleak (ROSY); 1D: It may be glazed (HAM); 2D: URL ending (EDU); 3D: Woodworking tool (ADZ); 5D: One holding property in trust (BAILEE); 6D: Li'l __: old-themed restaurant (ABNER'S); 7D: Traveling companions? (BAGS); 9D: Word of support (RAH); 10D: Cache crop? (ACORNS); 11D: Laundry conveyor (CHUTE); 12D: Good times (HIGHS); 13D: Group values (ETHOS); 15D: By a narrow margin (SLIMLY); 21D: Key of Schubert's Impromptu Op. 90, No. 3 (G-FLAT); 22D: Popular party people (RIOTS); 23D: Arkansas's ___ National Forest (OZARK); 24D: Baum princess (OZMA); 25D: Stead (LIEU); 26D: Warhead vehicle, briefly (ICBM); 28D: Pirouette (TWIRL); 31D: Blow one's top (GO APE); 32D: Coastal wader (EGRET); 33D: They may signify joy (TEARS); 35D: Exude (OOZE); 36D: Nap (DOZE); 37D: Branch (LIMB); 39D: Media lead-in (MULTI-); 40D: Source of some greens (TURNIP); 42D: Ascetic of yore (ESSENE); 43D: Articulations (JOINTS); 45D: Standard (USUAL); 46D: Chisel's edge (BEZEL); 51D: IHOP '__: takeout food program (N GO); 52D: Short job (GIG); 54D: __-cone (SNO); 56D: Mention (SAY).


Anonymous said...

Far far too easy for a Friday puzzle. As soon as I figured out that DDs went to ZZs, it became a piece of cake for me. And I'm no BUZZING GENIUS, but for me solving in 12:43 was pretty good time. Thought overall the fill words and cluing were quite fine.

Yeah, PUDDLEGIRL's writeup was rather ZZZZzzzzz today.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I didn't know that about rank and file until today and I've been around a loooong time.

VirginiaC said...

Shoot, I did that Anon comment by accident - VirginiaC here

Anonymous said...

Rank and File actually transcends chess. Anyting ordered in a grid, think troops in formation, are in rank and file. One, I don't know which, represents the latitudinal row, the other the longitudinal row order.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was difficult. But I am novice when it comes to the rest of you solvers. However, I keep plodding along adding to my crossword vocabulary.

*David* said...

Can Anonymous people use handles so we know who you are? This is looking like a shrinking violet convention.

The puzzle was easier then yesterday's and I finished it quickly. I didn't know that an articulation was a JOINT. I liked the ADDIS ABABA cluing. It took me a while to get my head around the HEAL clue. BEZEL and BEVEL, I think I've got those two down now.

Pete said...

Yup, the Tiara. That's what caught my attention in the pic of Wonder Woman. The Tiara.

Tuttle said...

Puzzle was a breeze until I hit 37A. I thought a LOGE was a theatre box not a stadium level. Penned in 'tier' and had to overwrite a bunch before I got it.

Only other problem was putting in 'peal' crossing 'pot' for 1A/1D instead of HEAL/HAM, but that cleared up in a hurry as I went.

Teri said...

Wish I could get better at these Trying a novice also, but I too keep on going.

Brian said...

OH FIZZLESTICKS! Actually seems to make more sense than FIDDLESTICKS!

C said...

OK puzzle, theme was easy to suss out. JOINTS was an interesting answer, I learned something new today and that is always good.

syndy said...

agree with jemima puddlegirl gotta love all those zz's can just see my pup muzzling on through but have picked up an odd earworm-make up your mind to have no egrets!

Unknown said...

wonder woman's weapon is a lasso and that screwed me up for a bit...

Joon said...

fyi, ranks are rows and files are columns.

how's this for a mnemonic: the uaE Exists. also, "united arab emirates" is 18 letters long alternating vowels and consonants. how cool is that? cool enough, i contend, that it couldn't possibly relate to something that ceased to be 40 or 50 years ago.

John Wolfenden said...

I definitely needed the theme to crack this one. Liked all the theme answers except for MUZZLING THROUGH, which seemed kinda lame even as a dog lover.

"Spots on cartes" is a really tough clue, a head-scratcher even for French-speakers.

ESSENE was a decent learning moment, but I had a few gripes:

-ATRA is not a brand, it's a model.
-LIL ABNERS is a stretch. It's not a chain but a single restaurant in Tuscon, which seems like forcing it a bit.

Daisy Mae said...

Li'l Abner's is clued as old themed restaurant chain. It used to be nationwide in Kentucky, Wahsington, and Illinois back in the day.

Anonymous said...

For 11D (Laundry conveyor) I had _ _ _ T _ and I put in YENTA (one who conveys dirty laundry, so to speak).

Steve said...

BAILEE seemed a little forced to me. Never heard it, never seen it. Maybe there should be some cluing convention for "totally obscure word you're extremely unlikely to encounter except in a crossword".

I learned that the bottom half of a Greek sphinx is a LIONESS, I didn't even know the Greeks had sphinxes. Did they not use a lion because the Egyptians beat them to it and they wanted something different? Sphinx is a word I like, I just like the look of it. Anyone know the origin of the word? I'd like to know if it has a feminine form, so that I could complain that a Greek sphinx is actually a "sphinxess" because the bottom half is a girl :)

Just got back from Mexico City - did you guys know that the Mexican Mexicans have little to no clue that Cinco de Mayo is such a big deal in the States? I had no clue.

mac said...

I learned an awful lot considering this was an easy puzzle: joint, rank and file and the little UAE/UAR tid-bits, and the tiara as a weapon.

Easy but very good, fresh puzzle.

Margaret said...

@David, I can no longer post with my name; there's no captcha any more and I get an error when I try to post the way I used to. That may be the reason for the Anonymous comments.

Margaret said...

Sorry, @David, I guess it's working again (even with no captcha), but now I can't seem to delete! (When I realized it worked, I wanted to delete the above comment but couldn't.) Probably user error.

MPPuzzler said...

While the dictionary definition of BEZEL agrees with the puzzle answer, I have never heard of a woodworker refer to the end of a chisel as anything other than a BEvEL. Threw me off for a while.

xxpossum@html.com said...

Hey, Pdl Grl!! Long time no holla!Just thought I'd sign in on this decent Fri. puddle. Got me @ 1D and 1A. Put Peal as a sound and Pan as something glazed, which gave me Nuzzling Through @ 17A.DUH!!!! Also thought that Lasso was correct 4 40A.Gotta respect a puz that stumps me LEGITIMATELY! C U L8r.