05.25 Wed

May 25, 2011
Don Gagliardo & C.C. Burnikel

Theme: Surround Sound — Theme answers are familiar phrases "surrounded" by the word "sound."

Theme answers:

  • 19A: "Afraid you can't have your money back" ("SORRY NO REFUND").
  • 22A: Progresso or Lipton (SOUP BRAND).
  • 32A: Refuse to budge (STAND ONE'S GROUND).
  • 46A: Home of Notre Dame (SOUTH BEND).
  • 50A: Home theater feature, and a hint to the puzzle theme in 19-, 22-, 32-, 46-Across and the first word of this answer (SURROUND SOUND).
Hey, everybody. I'm back. Thanks so much to Neville and Doug for stepping in when I was down for the count. I'm doing much better today and it was nothing serious, so it's all good.

Another nice puzzle from Don and C.C. today. As I've mentioned in the past, C.C. and her team offers another daily L.A. Times puzzle blog. It's got a little different feel than this place and it also has an active group of regular commenters. Check it out if you're so inclined. And now, on to the puzzle ….

This puzzle pretty much had me at the first three acrosses. [1A: Winter break?] is a great clue for THAW, SLURP is an awesome word all by itself (5A: Drink noisily), and who knew there was an [10A: Agcy. that established rules for kite flying]?? That would be the FAA, of course, and that made me chuckle for sure. Theme answers are cute. Nothing super sparkly, but definitely nothing to complain about either. I tried NAME BRAND first where SOUP BRAND was supposed to go because I overthought it. I was all "Oh, that's tricky, using two soup brands to clue the generic NAME BRAND." Um … no. I think the only other write-over I had was when I tried HEM for NET (29D: Bottom line). I'm sure I'm not the only one who did that.

The only reason I didn't have write-overs for LENYA and PETR (6D: Actress Lotte / 9D: Sykora of the NHL), is because I really had no idea. I don't recall ever hearing of either of them. But they were filled in easily through crosses, so no worries there.

  • 16A: The Dixie Chicks, e.g. (TRIO).

  • 18A: Strip light (NEON). I'm not gonna lie to you. This clue gave me pause.
  • 38A: Young in films (LORETTA). I always think LORETTA Young is a singer, but that's LORETTA Lynn.
  • 43A: Chinese, e.g. (ASIAN). If, like me, you know that C.C. is from China, you might have gotten a little chuckle from this one. I have to say that it also reminded me of a bit Stephen Colbert did not too long ago when China's president, Hu Jintao, visited the United States. Apparently, Rush Limbaugh was disturbed by the fact that Mr. Hu was allowed to speak Chinese for quite some time before having his words translated, arguing that "the translator could be making it all up," adding that when he hears Chinese and Japanese "it sounds like all the same word," and he "can't comprehend anybody understanding it." To which Colbert responded, "Off the top of my head, I can only think of 1.5 billion people."
  • 58A: Ragú rival (PREGO). Have you ever heard Will Shortz share some of his mail? He once received a complaint from a solver about this clue because either Ragú or PREGO (I don't remember which) was so far superior to the other that they couldn't accurately be described as rivals. I can only imagine the mail he gets.
  • 60A: Food additive (DYE). This D was the last letter I entered into the grid. And I have to admit my first thought was LYE. Which is, of course, … not a food additive.
  • 3D: Customarily (AS IS USUAL). I'm not crazy about this answer because it sounds awkward to me. Of course, people say things that sound awkward to me all the time, so that doesn't necessarily mean anything.
  • 5D: Best successor of 1962 (STARR). Pete Best was the Beatles' drummer before Ringo STARR took over.
  • 20D: NFL ball carriers (RB'S). On these football answers, you know the first letters is going to be R or L and the second letter is going to be B or G, right? Anything else that second letter can be?
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 15A: "__ la Douce" (IRMA).
  • 39A: Sushi topping (ROE).
  • 23D: Hops drier (OAST).
  • 46D: Hägar's dog (SNERT).
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Everything Else 13A: Poet known for inventing words (NASH); 14A: Prairie home (TEPEE); 17A: "__ of robins in her hair": Kilmer (A NEST); 24A: Climber's toehold (LEDGE); 25A: Fertile desert spot (OASIS); 26A: New Deal inits. (FDR); 27A: Sch. with a Spokane campus (WSU); 28A: Like the Parthenon (ANCIENT); 41A: Rapids transit (CANOE); 52A: Cement piece (SLAB); 53A: Auto buyer's choice (SEDAN); 54A: Ages and ages (EONS); 57A: Hgts. (ALTS.); 59A: Hurry (RUSH); 61A: Scatter (STREW); 62A: Hang around (STAY); 1D: "We know drama" channel (TNT); 2D: Guffaw syllable (HAR); 4D: Moderator of a panel including Joy, Elisabeth and Sherri (WHOOPI); 7D: Wharton's sch. (U. PENN.); 8D: Fix, as a green (RESOD); 10D: "The Ego and the Id" author (FREUD); 11D: Included in (AMONG); 12D: "Dog the Bounty Hunter" airer (A AND E); 15D: Oven, so to speak (INFERNO); 21D: Revered figure (ELDER); 22D: Plants (SOWS); 26D: Newton fruit (FIG); 28D: Farm denizen (ANT); 30D: Rebs' gp. (CSA); 31D: Ended up (TURNED OUT); 33D: Feature of some extreme diets (NO CARBS); 34D: Pipe cleaner (DRANO); 35D: Atop, poetically (O'ER); 36D: High time? (NOON); 37D: Safe document (DEED); 40A: Lincoln or Ford (CAR); 41D: Obama's secretary of energy (CHU).
  • 42D: Doubleday and Yokum (ABNERS); 43D: Syrian president (ASSAD); 44D: Tarnish (SULLY); 45D: Steaming (IRATE); 47D: More eccentric (ODDER); 48D: Linguist's concern (USAGE); 49D: Thus far (TO NOW); 51D: Mail letters (USPS); 55D: Gp. whose insignia consists of a bald eagle holding a key (NSA).
  • 56D: Bashful (SHY).

    Sfingi said...

    A FIG fell on Newton's head? In Britain? Who knew?

    Must say, even after finishing and reading your explanation, I can't see the familiar phrases, just the word SOUND. Anyone?

    Steve said...

    Welcome back @PG!

    Loved this, if only because of SOUTH BEND - I'm a big Irish fan, so that made me smile.

    SNERT always makes me laugh, if I ever got a dog I'd name him/her Snert.

    Nice all-round Wednesday.

    CoffeeLvr said...

    Hi, PG. The second letter in the (American) football position abbreviations can also be T, for Tackle. Also, in today's puzzle, the R in RBS stands for Running, not Right. Of course, maybe you know that. The first letter can also be Q, and I suppose H (for Half) and F (for Full).

    I am sure someone here will correct me if I have mis-remembered any of this, or omitted any other possibilities.

    Very clever theme today.

    Mari said...


    SOrry no refUND
    SOUp braND
    Stand ones grOUND
    SOUth beND

    Clues are "surrounded" by the letters "S, O, U, N, and D"

    imsdave said...

    Excellent Wednesday fare! CC (and partners) are sneaking up on my current favorite LAT constructor (Gareth).

    Well done Mr. Gagliardo and Ms. Burnikel.

    Tuttle said...

    Sped right through this one.

    16D made me think of a Sifl And Olly song;

    There ain't nuthin' in the kitchen
    But a one-legged chicken
    And a hound-dog, hound-dog

    Uncle Cleo is a Leo
    And he's got a banjo TRIO
    Called Clear Fog, Clear Fog!

    *David* said...

    I thought the coolest fact was SurrOUNDSOUND has SOUND in there three times.

    I was not too happy with the top center with LENYA, PETR, and STARR but the crosses helped. I think of PETR KORDR the tennis player from the 80's as the Petr of note.

    Anonymous said...

    Lets not forget the TE's & DB's
    tight ends& Defensive Back ..
    @Sfingi think Fig Newton Cookie

    Anonymous said...

    Lotte Lenya was an Austrian singer and actress whose husband Kurt Weill collaborated with the German playwright Bertold Brecht. I think she was either nominated or won an Oscar for a role in "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone."

    hebow44 said...

    Really liked this puzzle. Had very few entries until the bottom where I was able to get the main clue which helped me work my way back up. I guessed at Starr since it fit and I just assumed Ringo had done something special in '62. Thanks for the explanation PG. I should look up Mr. Best on Wikipedia!

    C said...

    Excellent puzzle, very very enjoyable to solve, theme, fill, everything.

    Watch out for (American) football positions. They can be quite tricky, as other posters have posted. To flesh out a few that haven't been listed:

    LB, OLB, MLB, DE, DT, DL, SS, FS, CB, NT, WR, SE, FL, and PK

    There are even more but the above are some of the more common. To be fair, the rest of world football (soccer) has a similar alphabet soup to describe their positions as well.

    Joon said...

    yes, but none of them are ball carriers except the RB. i guess HB and FB, as specific kinds of RB, might qualify. i have not seen HBS or FBS in a puzzle, though. much more common are the positions on the offensive line: right/left tackle/guard (and center, which never gets any crossword play). so LTS/LGS/RGS/RTS. but they never carry the ball.

    Rube said...

    Lotte Lenya also is mentioned in "Mack the Knife". Was thinking that WHOOPI was spelled with an "E" at the end, but that's Whoopie Pie.

    Enjoyed this puzzle even though the only thing new to me is the Whoopi panel. Googled it and found out it is called "The View" and is a daytime talk show on ABC... 'nuff said about that.

    Any puzzle with Li'l ABNER(s) is tops in my book.

    Anonymous said...

    5D great clue. STARR...Ken? Bart? NOOO it's Ringo.

    Now that we've had our Monday-Wednesday warm-up, lets see what quirkiness await us tomorrow.....

    "i" before "e" except after "c", oops, then there's ancient

    Margaret said...

    Lotte Lenya played Rosa Klebb in From Russia with Love -- she was Robert Shaw's trainer and she tries to stab Bond with a knife in her shoe. Hmm, my references aren't nearly as classy as the others.

    Anonymous said...

    Really loved this puzzle!

    Anonymous said...

    I too always think that Loretta Young was a singer. Not because of Loretta Lynne but because back in the 50's when I was quite young there were two TV shows we watched every week. The "Loretta Young Show" and the "Dinah Shore show". IN my child hood I thought the two women looked very similar and both ran the same car commercial, "See the USA in Your Chevrolet" which of course Dinah Shore sang at the end of every one of her shows.

    mac said...

    Wonderful puzzle! Crisp clues and interesting answers.

    Lotte Lenya/Mack the Knife is practically crosswordese to me.

    The tennis player was Petr Korda, I seem to remember.

    Jet City Gambler said...

    "right/left tackle/guard (and center, which never gets any crossword play). so LTS/LGS/RGS/RTS. but they never carry the ball."

    They do if you call the ol'

    Steve said...

    @Anonymous 10:00AM:

    The full rhyme is "I before E except after C when the sound is E"

    That takes care of everything - oh - except "ceiling". DOH!


    Sfingi said...

    @Mari - still don't get it. is it sports, or something?

    What is: rrynoref

    I had all this but - Huh?

    Somebody - try again to explain.

    Lemonade714 said...

    PG, thanks for all the nice words; you and Doug have always been extremely classy in your work. It is so much fun to see bloggers like you and C.C. become constructors. Plus you have the benfit of all the wisdom of your many followers, heh heh.

    Greg said...

    Good puzzle...

    Yeah, Colbert is just not funny. Hahaha! A bunch of people know Chinese!

    SOlid groUND said...

    @Sfingi, try this:

    The familiar phrase is surrounded by sound, i.e. the word sound is contained in the beginning and end of the phrases.

    (Or are you just putting us on.)

    Anonymous said...

    For 20D: NFL ball carriers, I suppose you could have WR's?

    CoffeeLvr said...

    @anonymous 4:06, you certainly could! Whenever I see or hear WR or the associated phrase, I think of the HOF Raider, Fred Biletnikoff. I was fortunate to have dinner with him one night, when the Raiders were in KC to play the Chiefs. He was and is a close friend of a close friend, and a fine person. He is a very devoted father and family man.

    Sfingi said...

    @SolidGround - I am not puttting you on - these are not familiar phrases in my world - that's why I asked if they're sports.


    What are they? I tried anagram, running together, etc.

    The familiar phrases are the entire lines, not the part surrounded by sound - more like embedded in. I guess I'm trying to see something more brilliant than it was,

    3 and out.

    Alexscott said...

    @Sfingi: SOlid groUND explained it pretty well, I thought. The string of letters that SOUND surrounds are not familiar phrases or words at all. The phrases are inclusive of the word SOUND. So it's not technically surrounding, I guess. But you can stop asking if rrynoref is a sports thing. It's not.

    Anonymous said...

    Apparently sfingi is joking about the explanation: [Theme answers are familiar phrases "surrounded" by the word "sound."] I guess. But it's not funny.

    NJ Irish said...

    Thanks to Lotte Lenya, Mack the Knife has played in my head for hours.

    I thought the rhyme is:
    I before E except after C or pronounced as an A like in neighbor

    According to some posts the entire football team can be a ball carrier?

    Glad to see you back @PG and many thanks for your stand ins, you all do a GREAT job!

    Nighthawk said...

    To add 2 cents to the Lotte Lenya/Mac the Knife comments, that song is from The Threepenny Opera and was written by Kurt Weill, Berthold Brecht and Marc Blitzstein in 1928 and was introduced by Lenya in that production.

    Not sure just who Jenny Diver, Sukey Tawdry and Lucy Brown were? Vendors of Peanuts?

    @Margaret - I vividly remember Rosa Kleb and her toe knife shoes, sprung by a click of the heels, a murderous Dorothy, but had no idea that was Lenya. Thanks.

    Fun puz and welcome back @PG.

    tkamom said...

    Perhaps too late to even bother posting, but, unfortunately for us second generation Scandinavians, lye IS a food additive, as an important part of the making of lutefisk - fish soaked in lye until it takes on the consistency of jello. NASTY stuff, but the grandparents LOVE it!