05.11 Wed

May 11, 2011
Mike Peluso

Theme: Parlez-vous français? — Theme answers end with French words for the colors of the French flag.

Theme answers:

  • 3D: Stuffed chicken dish (CORDON BLEU).
  • 5D: Loire Valley grape (CHENIN BLANC).
  • 25D: Paris nightspot (MOULIN ROUGE).
  • 31D: Its colors appear in proper sequence at the ends of 3-, 5- and 25-Down (FRENCH FLAG).
So here's what happened to me yesterday. It was a great day. The puzzle Doug and I constructed ran in the L.A. Times (see what I did there?) and from what I can tell was well received pretty much everywhere so I was on a puzzle high all day. When I got back to my computer after dinner I decided to update my spreadsheet (I keep track of what puzzles I've submitted, etc.) I realized that I have no puzzles out there in the pipeline right now. None. So I started working on puzzles and once I start working on puzzles it's basically over. Nothing else gets done and I don't go to bed until I can't hold my eyes open any more. I tell you all that to explain why it's now 7:05am and I haven't started the blog post. 22A: "Gadzooks!" ("YIKES!") We better get to it!

Theme answers are all downs today, which is unusual. Livin' on the edge! Also … French! The theme definitely helped me today. I'm not a wine-drinker so CHENIN BLANC was completely unknown to me. But once I had the BLEU and ROUGE in place, I was pretty sure I knew what was going on and could fill in the BLANC and get the rest through crosses. At that point, FRENCH FLAG plopped right down into the grid too and it didn't take long to finish the whole thing off.

  • 1A: Letters on some pre-1992 Olympic uniforms (CCCP). Back in the '80s I remember hearing that all Russian diplomat license plates started with FU. I don't know if that's true or not.
  • 34A: Stand waiter (CAB). Weird clue. I couldn't even figure out what the parts of speech were until I filled the answer in through crosses. I guess a CAB waits at the CAB stand, so it could be said to be a "stand waiter."
  • 50A: Empties upon arrival (UNPACKS). You will be happy to know that the PuzzleFamily is completely unpacked from our move only two weeks ago. Pretty impressive, right? Believe me, it's not because of anything I did. PuzzleHusband kicked butt.
  • 59A: Title of respect (HONORIFIC). This always seems like a made up word to me. Like how you would look at a big bowl of fruit and go, "That's fruit-tastic!" That's an extremely lame example, but I think you know what I'm talking about.
  • 63A: Coming or going word (ALOHA). Took the PuzzleKids to see "Soul Surfer" this past weekend. I recommend it.
  • 10D: Early Grand Canyon settlers (HOPI). I have a lithograph (serigraph? something like that) called "Hopi" by my favorite artist, Amado Peña. It's not actually up on a wall yet, but it will be soon!
  • 27D: One of eight, now (EARTH). Poor Pluto.
  • 28D: Merry (GAY). Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  • 32D: Soviet moon program (LUNIK). No idea. Totally got this through crosses. The LUNIK program existed between 1959 and 1976, so I'm gonna guess that I'm just barely too young to have this one stored in my brain.
  • 51D: Italian cheese (ASIAGO). Mmm … cheese.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 38A: Woody's boy (ARLO).
  • 43A: Medit. spouter (MT. ETNA).
  • 47A: Never, to Heinrich (NIE).
  • 52A: Some VCRs (RCA'S).
  • 64A: Baseball family name (ALOU).
  • 71A: Ornate molding (OGEE).
  • 33D: __ Park, Colorado (ESTES).
  • 39D: Polo Grounds legend (OTT).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 5A: Suze Orman's network (CNBC); 9A: Bygone Mideast leaders (SHAHS); 14A: Landlocked Asian country (LAOS); 15A: Take on (HIRE); 16A: Best Supporting Actress before Paquin (TOMEI); 17A: Other, in Oaxaca (OTRA); 18A: Verve (ELAN); 19A: To the left, at sea (APORT); 20A: Divinity (GODLINESS); 23A: '70s-'90s Atlanta Hawks home (OMNI); 24A: __ day: Wednesday (HUMP); 26A: Intuiting (SENSING); 29A: Puffed-up fare (SOUFFLÉ); 35A: Obsolescent slope conveyance (T-BAR); 37A: Embryo's home (UTERUS); 40A: Germ-killing brand (LYSOL); 42A: Left (WENT); 45A: eBay caveat (AS IS); 48A: Convalescents, maybe (SHUT-INS); 54A: Like some orders (RUSH); 55A: Fox series with Alfred E. Neuman in the opening credits (MAD TV); 65A: Food for Fido (ALPO); 66A: Sure to end badly (NO-WIN); 67A: Criminal group (RING); 68A: Astonished reaction (GASP); 69A: Medicinal plant (SENNA); 70A: Chick follower? (-ADEE); 1D: Stop up (CLOG); 2D: Opponent of Caesar (CATO); 4D: Longest Bible book (PSALMS); 6D: River through Sudan (NILE); 7D: Foolhardy (BRASH); 8D: Population profile (CENSUS); 9D: Remain in place (STAY PUT); 11D: Out of control (AMOK); 12D: The Beatles' "__, There and Everywhere" (HERE); 13D: Is in session (SITS); 21D: Not out of contention (IN IT); 26D: Puts one over on (SCAMS); 30D: Not a whole lot (FEW); 36D: Pretoria's land: Abbr. (RSA); 41D: Corvallis sch. (OSU); 44D: Kurt Cobain's group (NIRVANA); 46D: Boot attachment (SPUR); 49D: Much of Libya (SAHARA); 53D: Well-built (SOLID); 55D: Provides with personnel (MANS); 56D: Burn balm (ALOE); 57D: Consume (DOWN); 58D: Slender (THIN); 60D: Zero (NONE); 61D: __ dixit: assertion without proof (IPSE); 62D: Manage (COPE).


Julie said...

Wow! First to comment! I filled in the top fairly easily but got stuck in bottom corners. After looking here I read 66A as Now In instead of No Win and was really confused. Oh well, better luck tomorrow.

Rex Parker said...


Otherwise, nice.

Steve said...

Bottom left corner had me staring for a while - NO_IN and DO_N had me going Huh? Funny how sometimes you just don't see the letter when it's staring you in the face.

Thought the theme was fun, a little different. Learned some German too!

Speed-solve for me - changing planes in Phoenix, so glad to get chance for coffee and crossword!

Linda said...

My Husband purchased 3 Amado Pena framed prints while living and traveling in the west. We have since retired to FL, would like to find someone interested in buying them....3 sizes...How much wall space do you have??? Even while babysitting 14mos old grandaughter, loved solving this puzzle...(glad I took French in school. Linda

*David* said...

I really liked this one with down themes and French. I originally thought the long acrosses were going to be connected so it took a bit to get the theme.

I also got stuck in the SW with MANS/SENNA/NOWIN, taking me the longest to suss out. Still a breezy solve overall.

Tuttle said...

LUNIK is not very good. That's a vaguely derogative American nickname for the Luna, Zond and Lunokhod programs. It's also usually spelled with two Ns.

C said...

I liked the puzzle. I am finding my tolerance for random letter answers like LUNIK is increasing. It appears that I can now handle one per puzzle without any issues. I like to think I am becoming more mature.

CoffeeLvr said...

@Steve, I had to run the alphabet at the same crossing, and like you, @Julie, just stared at NOW IN, after seeing DOWN.

Big DNF, put in WEsT for left (as in Left Coast) and thought LUsIK was okay. Now that I see LUNIK, it does rhyme with SPUTNIK, which I do remember.

PuzzleHusband, great job on UNPACKing!!!! I am so impressed. PG, can I borrow him?

Anonymous said...

@PG -

I came to the blog expecting a huge shout out to "it's FRENCH!" I was sure you would be gushing all over about the theme (especially since les couleurs etaient en francais!).

Alas, I find you were too busy working on your next puzzles. Well, I know we all can't wait for those...any hints on some possible themes...?

Wanda Woman said...

Heh, for WOODY'S BOY, I had ANDY.

Happy HUMP day!

Mokus said...

The puzzle was enjoyable because I like things French. Only write-over was 1A because I went, oh, 1993, end of the USSR! That didn't work so CCCP it was but those are Russian letters. Is that kosher?

Ratty said...

@David, me too. That was the only part of the puzzle that had me stumped. Otherwise I raced through. Never heard of SENNA but once I figured out it was DOWN then I could put that last N to finish the puzzle.

mac said...

This puzzle went down just fine without figuring out the theme....
After the fact, LUNIK is quite amazing! Never saw the clue, wouldn't have known.