05.31 Tue

May 31, 2011
Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke

Theme: Every Tom, Dick, and Harry (except without Dick and Harry) — Theme answers are each a familiar phrase, the first word of which is the last name of a well-known person named Tom.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Port of call (CRUISE STOP).
  • 24A: Readily interchangeable, fashionwise (MIX AND MATCH).
  • 35A: Office fund for minor expenses (PETTY CASH).
  • 49A: Head locks (HANKS OF HAIR).
  • 58A: Horseplay, and a hint to the starts of 17-, 24-, 35- and 49-Across (TOMFOOLERY).
Cute idea for a theme. Not crazy about the theme answers chosen though. PETTY CASH is awesome and MIX AND MATCH is good, but the other two? CRUISE CONTROL would have been a better choice (believe me, I know sometimes you have to settle because you can't find a matching entry, so maybe it wasn't possible, but I'm just sayin'). And HANKS OF HAIR is downright ugly. Do you guys remember that puzzle Doug and I made with the clues "good place for a run" and "bad place for a run"? Doug suggested PAIR OF PANTYHOSE for one of the theme answers. I vetoed that one right off the bat. HANKS OF HAIR reminds me of that. Only worse. And there are other Toms that might have worked better than Hanks: Tom Waits, Tom DeLay, Tom Brady.

Lots of people in the grid today. I actually like seeing people in my grid, but I'm sure some will complaing about it. Here's who showed up today:
  • 1A: McCartney bandmate (STARR). Weren't we just talking about him?
  • 16A: Armstrong on the moon (NEIL). We had a Realtor in Iowa whose last name was Armstrong and my kids thought it was hilarious to ask her if NEIL was her husband.
  • 29A: "Rabbit, Run" author (UPDIKE). Can't say I've read the Rabbit books, but I might get to them some day.
  • 48A: Ochoa of the LPGA (LORENA).
  • 62A: "Fame" singer David, 1975 (BOWIE).
  • 2D: "Separate Tables" dramatist Rattigan (TERENCE). Can't say I've ever even heard of this guy. Sadly, TERENCE Trent D'Arby would have been a better clue for me.
  • 3D: Four-time Indy 500 winner (AL UNSER). Timely clue.
  • 4D: Senate majority leader Harry (REID).
  • 24D: Dada pioneer (MAX ERNST). Nice to see his whole name in the grid for a change.
  • 48D: Disney girl who adopted Stitch (LILO). Does she count as a person?
  • 52D: Actress Woodard (ALFRE).
  • 14A: Fax predecessor (TELEX). I'm just barely old enough to remember actually using one of these.
  • 27A: Bygone deliverer (ICEMAN). Definitely not old enough to remember having one of these though.
  • 54A: Bozo, in Bath (TWIT). Hmmm. I guess I've never really thought of TWIT as a British-ism. Is there a point where a word like that ceases to be "imported" and just becomes an American word?
  • 8D: Beatles concert reaction, often (SWOON). Another wink to us oldsters.
  • 25D: Russian assembly (DUMA). New to me.
  • 31D: R-V connectors (S-T-U). Ouch. I never really understand why you would choose to clue STU as a random letter string, when you could clue it as a person's name. Like STU Ungar, for example.
  • 32D: Lille lily (LYS). As in "fleur-de-lys," which I often confuse with "Für Elise." (I think I've posted these guys before, but maybe not this exactly video.)

  • 40D: Craft using the element Sn (TINWORK). Any time I see a "[whatever]WORK" word it reminds me of the time PuzzleHusband and I bought a John Deere lawn tractor when we lived in Iowa. The guy at the store asked us if we were going to do any "dirtwork" with it. We were all, "Well that would totally depend on what the heck 'dirtwork' is."
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 19A: Hindu royal (RAJA).
  • 22A: Inner Hebrides isle (IONA).
  • 34A: Original Dungeons & Dragons co. (TSR).
  • 64A: Terrier type (SKYE).
  • 7D: Insurance giant (AETNA).
  • 18D: Ireland, in poetry (ERIN).
  • 24D: Dada pioneer (MAX ERNST).
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Everything Else 6A: Minimal effort (EASE); 10A: "It seems to me," online (IMHO); 15A: Makes collars, say (SEWS); 20A: Rip to shreds (REND); 21A: City near Lake Tahoe (RENO); 23A: Switch settings (ONS); 30A: Office copy (XEROX); 31A: Aid for a ref's review (SLO-MO); 38A: Held a hearing, say (MET); 41A: Give a rude awakening to (ROUST); 42A: African capital contained in its country's name (TUNIS); 46A: Easily bent (PLIANT); 53A: Upsilon follower (PHI); 55A: Take it easy (LOLL); 56A: Place for a snow blower (SHED); 57A: Barrel of laughs (RIOT); 60A: Pacific island half? (BORA); 61A: Masterful server (ACER); 63A: Attends to, as a dry stamp pad (INKS); 65A: Jokes around (JESTS); 1D: Largest of the Virgin Islands (ST. CROIX); 5D: Prescriptions, for short (RX'S); 6D: County northeast of London (ESSEX); 9D: Uncanny gift, for short (ESP); 10D: Encroachment (INROAD); 11D: Wasn't kidding (MEANT IT); 12D: Takes by force (HIJACKS); 13D: Ending for pay (-OLA); 22D: Identity thief, e.g. (IMPOSTOR); 26D: "I've Grown Accustomed to __ Face" (HER); 28D: Swabbing tool (MOP); 33D: Mo. to see Dracula at your door? (OCT.); 36D: Pooch in Oz (TOTO); 37D: "Ben-__" (HUR); 38D: Dashboard abbr. (MPH); 39D: Walking-on-air feeling (ELATION); 43D: Reunion attendees (NEPHEWS); 44D: Come into some money, maybe (INHERIT); 45D: Answered affirmatively (SAID YES); 47D: Tough watchdogs (AKITAS); 50D: Shepherd's charge (FLOCK); 51D: Comfy-cozy (HOMEY); 56D: Plumlike fruit (SLOE); 57D: Baseball stat (RBI); 58D: Coll. helpers (TA'S); 59D: Word after a transitive vb. (OBJ.).


SethG said...

With AL UNSER and PETTY CASH in place, I thought it might be a somewhat unfocused racing puzzle. How many hairs in one hank?

VirginiaC said...

@Seth G As Tom Hanks continues to bald, fewer and fewer I would guess

Sfingi said...

Also couldn't guess HANKS, and consider TWIT both Brit and Marican'
Thought it was LoLa, not LILO.

HTG LORENA (sports). In so doing, saw a handsome fellow named Guillermo, apparently a soccer player, (or footballer, in Brit).

Also Googled ALFRE; recognized her when I saw her image. Definitely in tons of stuff, Emmies, Golden Globe, etc. winner.

All in all, hard for a Tues. for me.

Neville said...

Glad you agree that HANKS OF HAIR is made up nonsense.

Tom Selleck is my favorite. Shame that SELLECK OF HAIR is no better known as a phrase - that would line up with CRUISE CONTROL.

Steve said...

Funny, I put XEROX in for TELEX when I had .E..X, then thought "no, that's not it", replaced it, then found XEROX a couple of fills below.

Wasn't a fan of CRUISE STOP either, one of those "not really a phrase" phrases.

*David* said...

I put in HEADS OF HAIR which I though was awkward, I had to use every crossing to get back to HANKS since it read so awkward. There is plenty of Google hits for it however and its even used as an example of what a HANK is.

I did like all the names in the puzzle, kept it fresh.

Ed Ellesson said...

Maybe it is because I may be even older than y'all (shudder), but the "hank" answer came easily to me with a minimum of crosses because it reminded me of the lyrics of a song from my childhood called "Honeycomb" by Jimmie Rodgers. Part of the chorus went like this:

"Oh, Honeycomb, won't you be my baby
Well, Honeycomb, be my own
Got a hank o'hair and a piece o'bone
And made a walkin' talkin' Honeycomb

I could not remember the lyrics exactly so I googled the song title and followed a link to

to refresh my memory. I seem to remember my folks having a 45 RPM record of this song. I played the record over and over and drove everyone crazy by singing the chorus endlessly as little kid.

hebow44 said...

Wanted a miss-spelled version of
Andretti for race car driver which really hindered my progress. Even after getting Al Unser I couldn't get the cr at the start of Cruise. Ummmm Tom _ _uise. Too bad we couldn't have had the video of the fat Cruise dancing at the end of Tropic of Thunder. Didn't know he could be that funny.

I thought the cluing for this puzzle was quite good. Nice aha moments when words were found through crosses.

Nighthawk said...

@Ed Ellesson - I too remember that Jimmy Rogers tune. Thanks for recalling it. It's a classic.

Of all things, had to look up SHED because had for 43D alumnae. Took a few crosses to work out NEPHEWS.

Had trouble thinking of TUNIS but thought it was pretty clever.

Lots of islands. ST. CROIX, BORA Bora, IONE, SKYE.

IMHO. Why do I usually get the impression there is nothing humble that follows that phrase?/acronym? LOL(L).

@PG-amazing clip of Fur Elise. Dirtwork? Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap?

C said...

Fine puzzle for a Tuesday. Harder than normal, DUMA is an end of week answer if I have ever met one.

I would like to thank @Nighthawk for officially putting AC/DC into a continuous loop in my head.

mac said...

This is a vanilla day. Also had heads of hair first.

Impostor? Isn't that imposter??

badams52 said...

Agree with PG on the theme. HANKS OF HAIR? And I actully have never heard of Tom MIX either.

Loved MEANTIT and HIJACKS, but didn't like SAIDYES and TINWORK.

Overall this seemed pretty tough for a Tuesday: DUMA, UPDIKE, LYS, AKITAS, STCROIX. TERENCE, ALFRE, LORENA and INROAD made it hard for me.

Never thought of encroachment being an INROAD.

Mr Webster said...

There is no impostor when it comes to imposter they are equally guilty or innocent as the case may be.

mac said...

Thank you Mr. Webster, I have NEVER seen that word spelled with two Os.

chefwen said...

@mac - I had imposter and Milo for the adopter of Stitch so my unknown golfer was Merena, which is kind of a pretty name.