05.16 Mon

May 16, 2011
Jeff Chen

Theme: I'm not scared of you — First words of the theme answers make the phrase "all bark no bite."

Theme answers:

  • 16A: Dusk-to-dawn cramming session (ALL-NIGHTER).
  • 22A: Training neckwear for noisy dogs (BARK COLLARS).
  • 36A: "Definitely!" ("NO DOUBT!").
  • 46A: Suffer defeat (BITE THE DUST).
  • 55A: Toothless menace described by the starts of 16-, 22-, 36- and 46-Across (IDLE THREAT).
Good morning, everyone, and happy Monday. I hope you all had a great weekend. Mine started out pretty good, but then yesterday I broke both my phone and my garbage disposal (thankfully, not at the same time). I'm glad both of those things didn't happen on Friday, though, or I'd have to become superstitious and that seems like it would just take up too much time.

Nice, smooth puzzle today. Very little crosswordese — which is always a nice surprise on a Monday — and some pretty sparkly long entries including:
  • 3D: Archie's pet insult for Edith (DINGBAT).
  • 10D: Great Plains burrower (PRAIRIE DOG).
  • 27D: Agricultural phenomenon sometimes linked to UFOs (CROP CIRCLE).
  • 40D: Vegas supervisor (PIT BOSS).
The theme isn't anything to write home about, but there's certainly nothing wrong with it either. I'm not familiar with BARK COLLARS, but I'm sure that's just because I'm not a dog person. And the other theme entries range from perfectly adequate to kinda cool, so all in all I'd say we're off to a good start this week.

  • 4A: Complete chaos (HAVOC). Are you supposed to wreak HAVOC or wreck HAVOC? Or maybe you're just supposed to chill out.
  • 14A: "Don't be ___!" (A HERO). Oh man, you guys are gonna hate me for this.

  • 32A: Quaking trees (ASPENS). Seems like there's always somebody confused by this clue/answer. Because of the way ASPEN trees' leaves shake in the breeze, they are sometimes referred to as "Quaking ASPENS."
  • 41A: The Trojans of the NCAA (USC). I very confidently entered MSU, thinking that Michigan State's mascot was a Trojan. Alas, they're the Spartans. Don't know what I was thinking.
  • 45A: Digit on a "Magic" ball (EIGHT). I don't get the quotation marks. I mean, it is magic, right?
  • 50A: "A Streetcar Named Desire" woman (STELLA). It's kind of sad that I can't see this reference without also thinking about Rocky. I'm sure Tennessee Williams would be thrilled.
  • 13D: Big D hoopster (MAV). The nickname of the city in the clue hints that the answer will also be a nickname.
  • 24D: Go on a bender (CAROUSE). With the CA in place, all I could think of was CAVORT, which really isn't the same thing at all now that I think about it.
  • 26D: Half of Mork's farewell (NANU). Oh good. Another Mork & Mindy reference.
  • 42D: Nonmetaphorical (LITERAL). Here's a fun blog that posts examples of people using the word "literally" incorrectly.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 61A: Summer quaffs (ADES).
  • 2D: Jazz great Fitzgerald (ELLA).
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Everything Else 1A: Self-indulgent place for breakfast (BED); 9A: Opinion column, briefly (OP-ED); 13A: Algeria neighbor (MALI); 15A: Herr's mate (FRAU); 18A: Top pick, slangily (FAVE); 19A: Bayer : Levitra :: Pfizer : __ (VIAGRA); 20A: Holy messenger (GABRIEL); 25A: Early Peruvian (INCAN); 28A: Bond creator Fleming (IAN); 29A: Bordeaux buddy (AMI); 30A: Sharp to the taste (TART); 31A: HST predecessor (FDR); 35A: __ Balls: Hostess snacks (SNO); 38A: John or Jane, anonymously (DOE); 39A: Materialistic thirtysomething (YUPPIE); 42A: Bank offer (LOAN); 43A: Like some rights and engrs. (CIV.); 44A: Opposite of NNW (SSE); 49A: Longtime "20/20" co-host Walters (BARBARA); 54A: With the bow, in music (ARCO); 58A: "Kiss my grits" TV diner (MEL'S); 59A: Mary Tyler __ (MOORE); 60A: Assistant (AIDE); 62A: Weapon for Zorro (SWORD); 63A: Place, as bricks (LAY); 1D: Vacation island south of Borneo (BALI); 4D: Comics Viking (HAGAR); 5D: Sound at a sauna (AHH); 6D: Doggie doc (VET); 7D: Crater Lake's locale (OREGON); 8D: Salmonesque color (CORAL); 9D: Turnpike exit (OFF-RAMP); 11D: Hangover locales? (EAVES); 12D: Hamilton vs. Burr, e.g. (DUEL); 17D: Shah's domain, once (IRAN); 21D: Turn way up, as radio volume (BLAST); 23D: Captain hanged for piracy in 1701 (KIDD); 25D: Teensy (ITSY); 31D: Antagonist (FOE); 32D: "Easy as" letters (ABC); 33D: Ark-itect? (NOAH); 34D: Shipped (SENT); 36D: Skin care giant (NIVEA); 37D: Like hand-me-downs (USED); 44D: It lengthens toward evening (SHADOW); 45D: O.T. book before Job (ESTH.); 46D: Revealed (BARED); 47D: Minimal haircuts (TRIMS); 48D: "¿Cómo está __?" (USTED); 49D: Crimson Tide, to fans (BAMA); 51D: "Star Wars" princess (LEIA); 52D: Lord's mate (LADY); 53D: Absorbed, as costs (ATE); 56D: Bath bathroom (LOO); 57D: Flub the shot, say (ERR).


imsdave said...

Fine Monday fare - I thought the theme was pretty clever

@PG - you are right - we all hate you now for that clip :)

VirginiaC said...

Yes, a good Monday.

@PG I can't hate anyone - iPad says the video is unavailable, darn.

Anonymous said...

Nice little puzzle to clear the cobwebs before I start work. Love you PG, but could of posted a Queen video for ("another one) BITE(s) THE DUST" (46A) or even the syrupy intro to the old Mary Tyler MOORE show (59A). (BTW: OPED (9A) should have been the answer to 1A in last Thursday's disaster, not DESK)

Anonymous said...

Thought it was way above usually Monday fare and greatly enjoyed it!

Rube said...

I couldn't believe that I needed some crosses to get VIAGRA. Was thinking just last night while cleaning out 2 weeks of junk e-mail that the filters are getting rid of ALL references to Viagra Levitra, and Cialis. Let's hear it for technology!

It's been at least 40 years since my last Sno-Ball. May have to go out and buy some for when my youngest is home later this week.

The fishing was great. Anyone have any new bass recipes?

Nighthawk said...

Glad you avoided the curse of Friday, @PG, but sorry about the tech zaps. Reset button?

I put my fingers into the sign of a cross and skipped the vid. I'm sure it was apropos, but... .

Agree, this was light, fun, and pretty smooth, though had "A jERk" first for A HERO, and scratched my head for a moment on 43A CIV.

Chuckled at VIAGRA below ALLNIGHTER.

Joon said...

this was literally an excellent monday puzzle. literally!

C said...

Good puzzle for a Monday with some fun cluing. Every time I see "opinion" in the clue for OPED I start to get my crossword yellow flag out to call a penalty then this little voice, literally, speaks up in my head and says "Don't throw the flag, OP is short for OPPOSITE. The flag will be overturned by forum instant replay" I like my literal little voice.

mac said...

Very nice Monday puzzle. Never heard of a bark collar, and had several other ideas for the k-spot.

CoffeeLvr said...

PG, I had to shut the clip off. The song is much worse than I remember; the style and the content clash so badly.

My dog has never bitten any one, but she barks at strangers, and they take her seriously. I like that about her. Once in a while she will growl at one, and I don't think that is an idle threat.

Eric said...

Great day. Super NYT and now this.

Steve said...

Nice - up until CIV, which made me shudder. I guess you're allowed one bomb on a Monday.

@PG - I was not even the slightest bit tempted to hit "Play" on the video, but I've still got that darn song in my head. Some things are so truly horrible that they haunt you forever.

PJ said...

1A in last Thursdays referred to "City Desk" section AT the newspaper offices.

Steve said...

@PG - I had to get my revenge, so I'm posting you a link to a UK band who originally sang that awful "Billy" thing before it was covered by Bo D.

The band was Paper Lace, they hailed from a town in the Midlands and wore Civil War garb on their TV appearances to promote the song.

I swear you'll never get the "Missing Tooth" drummer/vocalist out of your head. Revenge is mine - and sweet.

The link is here.


Mokus said...

So far Mr. Chen is batting a thousand.
I love the look and sound of Aspens in a breeze esp. in Colorado.