06.02 Thu

June 2, 2011
Ed Sessa

Theme: Oh yeah? Let's see you do that with New Hampshire! — The first several letters of each theme answer is an anagram of a U.S. state.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Words of regret (HAD I ONLY KNOWN). [IDAHO]
  • 32A: Samaritan's assurance (I MEAN NO HARM). [MAINE]
  • 43A: Classic kids' wagons (RADIO FLYERS). [FLORIDA]
  • 58A: Paddy Chayefsky novel, and literally, what the beginnings of 20-, 32-, and 43-Across all are (ALTERED STATES).
Good morning, everyone, and happy Thursday. I don't know what it's like where you live, but it's hot here. Like in the 90s hot and way more humidity than you really want to be having when the temperature is in the 90s. Ran into a friend last night who said, "It's supposed to be really nice tomorrow. Only 86." Whatevs. Did I mention that the air conditioning is out in my mini-van? Argh! With any luck, I'll get it fixed next week. Meanwhile I'm a little whiny. (PuzzleHusband: "A little?")

This puzzle was a good distraction for me today though. Lots of good stuff. The theme didn't help me at all during the solve, but I enjoyed figuring it out once I was done. I'm really terrible at anagrams so it didn't come easy, but I did eventually put it all together.

COOL CAT and CHALLAH were my favorite entries today (42D: Hipster / 7D: Traditional Jewish bread). But I don't love RESINY (67A: Like pine pitch). And even though I got it right way, I'm not crazy about the plural PASTAS (1A: Elbows and bow ties) — isn't the plural of PASTA … PASTA?

Stuff that gave me trouble includes:
  • 7A: Floppy-eared "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" demon (CLEM). Can't say that I could name any character on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" besides Buffy herself.
  • 11A: RMN's first veep (S.T.A.). Ooh, ouch. Spiro T. Agnew. Not a politician typically referred to by initials, but okay.
  • 16A: Gist (NUB). I pretty much needed every cross for this one. I get it now, but it wasn't coming to me At All at the time.
  • 36A: Freq. performer at Tanglewood (B.S.O.). That would be the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Perfectly legit. The fact that I had to look it up afterwards says more about me than it does about the puzzle.
But you know what? All of those three-letter entries that gave me trouble allowed the side-by-side entries SNOW JOB and TURN-ONS (11D: Flattering trickery / 12D: Excitement generators). And that's just funny, I don't care who ya are. So all is forgiven.

  • 24A: Martial arts schools (DOJOS). Love this word. I want to take a martial arts class so I can talk about my DOJO MOJO.
  • 52A: Responded to a bailiff's request (STOOD). Tricky! The bailiff says "All rise," right? (Well, that's what he says on TV anyway.) So ROSE might have been the first thing that came to your mind.
  • 62A: Piker's nickname (EL CHEAPO). Apparently, I have no idea what a "piker" is.
  • 5D: Wiesbaden wheels (AUDIS). Hmmm, AUDIS in the puzzle again. Do you think it's a sign?
  • 30D: Plum's title, briefly (PROF.). Clue!
  • 44D: Cook's announcement (IT'S DONE). Oh this one was such a disappointment to me. I so so so wanted the answer to be IT'S SOUP. But, unfortunately ….

Crosswordese 101: Ya know, we haven't had a real CW101 lesson for a while now. That's mostly because when I look over the grid, all I usually see is entries that we've already covered. Every once in a while, I'm surprised though. Like today I'm surprised to see we haven't covered SESE yet (69A: Africa's Mobutu __ Seko). This entry is only clued one way. Oh sure, sometimes you'll be informed that he was a president/dictator/autocrat/leader/ruler and sometimes (like today) he'll be generically African, while others you'll learn he was specifically from Zaire. But you'll always get his first and last name, with a blank right there in the middle. So hang onto this one, kids. You will definitely need it again.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 9D: The Phantom of the Opera (ERIK).
  • 55D: Arcade games leader (ATARI).
  • 62D: Summer in the cité (ÉTÉ).
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Everything Else 14A: Pre-deal demand (ANTE UP); 15A: Roll call response (HERE); 17A: City on the Rio Grande (LAREDO); 18A: Plane folks? (AVIATORS); 22A: Lair (DEN); 23A: Vodka brand that sounds like a toast (SKOL); 26A: TV's Mrs. Peel (RIGG); 28A: Oil holder, perhaps (LAMP); 31A: Hawaiian coffee region (KONA); 37A: Lauderdale neighbor (BOCA); 38A: Bleachers sound (ROAR); 40A: Non-Rx (OTC); 48A: Good time (BOOM); 50A: Memo starter (AS TO); 51A: Physical, e.g. (EXAM); 54A: Brittle cookie (SNAP); 57A: Actress Zadora (PIA); 63A: Nailed the test (ACED IT); 65A: Earl or Lady Grey (TEA); 66A: Rodent control brand (D-CON); 68A: N.C. summer hrs. (EDT); 70A: Things on strings (I.D. TAGS); 1D: Sidekick (PAL); 2D: Angels' home (ANAHEIM); 3D: Off-the-wall (STRANGE); 4D: Fit to be tied, with "off" (TEED); 6D: Scare (SPOOK); 8D: Assess (LEVY); 10D: "__ My Shadow": 1927 song (ME AND); 13D: Six-pack __ (ABS); 19D: Had the desired effect (TOOK); 21D: Some mutual funds (NO-LOADS); 22D: Soft & __: deodorant (DRI); 25D: __ Paulo (SÃO); 27D: Jabber (GAB); 29D: Abandons at sea (MAROONS); 33D: Postal motto word (NOR); 34D: Sweet Sixteen gp. (NCAA); 35D: __ de mer (MAL); 39D: Catcher's place? (RYE); 40D: Dictionary cousin of arch. (OBS.); 41D: Unsalvageable after an accident (TOTALED); 45D: "Where you book matters" online service (EXPEDIA); 46D: Barn ritual (RAISING); 47D: "He'll hae misfortunes great an' __": Burns (SMA); 49D: Adult silkworm (MOTH); 53D: Some sealed documents (DEEDS); 56D: Took measured strides (PACED); 59D: America's Cup competition, say (RACE); 60D: Poetic saga (EPOS); 61D: Drill (TEST); 64D: TV host Pennington et al. (TYS).


PJ said...

At least 6 blank spots in grid and in brain with this puzz today, LOL
What would I do without this blogg?

and EPOS!

Had Fort for 37A.Should know by now NCAA and Sweet Sixteen gp. are married. LOL

hazel said...

This theme was kind of a puzzler for me. I thought it had to do with some weird "states of being" mishmash except the radio entry made no sense. Still seems a bit esoteric, and a little too easy and ESE-y for a Thursday. Maybe I just got up on the wrong side of the puzzle today.

Tuttle said...

Curses! I want to post a copy of "ME AND My Shadow" as performed by the Time Bandits for Napoleon, but it's nowhere to be found on the intertubes.

"Little people, hitting each other... that's what I like!"

*David* said...

Pretty easy puzzle until I hit the SW and then I slowed down, not really sure why. Didn't understand the theme but didn't spend much time looking. A little bit trickier cluing then usual but not enough to really make a dent in my solving speed.

CP said...

Darn, had it all but one square, didn't know 7D CHALLAH or 7A CLEM, so I didn't know to put in the letter "C." CLEM just didn't sound so demonic to me, and I'm not up on my Jewish breads. Oh well.
The thought of Diana Rigg in the intro of The Avengers TV series sure perked me up. Thanks!

hebow44 said...

A surprisingly quick puzzle for me today, though I had a couple mistakes where I simply guessed. Oh well at least it's not hot and muggy here in Oregon. Second coldest spring on record.
All you puzzle people might enjoy the film "Between the folds" about the art and math of origami. Quite similar to "Wordplay".

tutu said...

Thanks for the Seinfeld. Loved it.
Speaking of cars, one day my dad calls me at work and says "Hey Bee, I bought you a car." Me: "You bought me a car?! What kind of car? Him: "A blue one." After work, hubby and I drive over to dad's lil country store where I spot the car, only its brown with a woody panel. I'm standing there at the passenger side, arms akimbo, head shaking no,no. Hubby had walked around to drivers side,slowly, taking it in,when I said "And he said it was blue." Hubby:"It is on this side!"
True story

Anonymous said...

Hey David, bite me.

Joon said...

the CLEM clue was a little surprising to me. i used to be a huge buffy fan, and i've seen every episode (and the good ones more than once). CLEM is a pretty funny character, but he's in only a handful of episodes, all of them in seasons 6-7 (which are not the good ones).

interesting theme. i would've liked to see something a little more natural-sounding for maine, maybe "I MEANT TO DO THAT" or something to that effect. maybe I'M A NERD for thinking about this stuff.

Nighthawk said...

Finally wrestled this one to the mat, but it wasn't easy. Lots of "unknown to me" stuff, plus the vagaries of cluing in lots of places, made it so. But I guess that's what separates the Wednesdays from the Thursdays.

In the "unknown to me" or "could have been just about anything" column: CLEM, SKOL (Skye, yes), RIGG (thought it was Emma at first), BSO, BOOM (really?), RESINY (resin, OK, but resiny, barely legal), CHALLAH, ERIK (call me a hick, but never seen it, so don't know him), OBS, thank goodness I didn't use EXPEDIA enough to know their slogan, EPOS (epic, sure, but never this), to me, to drill is to prepare for a TEST, but not the test itself, and not really even a practice test, never heard of TY Pennington, Cobb, yes, but then I really only use my TV as a DVD display.

Guess I've got the grumpy pants on today.

CoffeeLvr said...

Well, EPOS was my downfall. Did not know this word at all; did know EPic. Didn't know CLEM (in that context) or BSO either, but had some help from the crosses.

I don't really like anagrams, but this puzzle is fine, except for the SE where I could nit pick the clue or the entry in half the cases.

I had the Samaritan saying "I want tO Help," then "I MEAN tO Help," for a while.

Dave in Bend, Oregon said...

I CAN RAIL FOr days about this one but I won't. (see what I did there Joon ;-D)....Ditto PG re: SNOWJOB TURNONS parallel. Kind of atypical to have the anagrams come from incomplete words (FLORIDA). Found it fairly easy except NE with Spiro's middle name (never knew it and certainly a new clue to replace "train stop abbr.") DNK epos either but got it on SESE crossing.
I don't know where you are in OR @hebow but it seems to me the last 3 or 4 springs here have been a bit of a disappointment. No transition, just goes from 50 - 80 overnight.

Greg said...

Thought for sure it was "SKYY" vodka, haven't heard of SKOL.

Needed to cheat a little, see which letters I had wrong, then finished. Still, some good fills in the grid.

badams52 said...

I like PG's title for the theme, but I did not really like the theme. When I was done, and then figured it out, I was like, "so what?"

I felt pastas works when talking about two kinds of pasta, like penne and rigatoni. If it's just spaghetti, then I'd say, "we're eating pasta tonight." But if I add some penne into the mix, then I might say, "we're eating two different pastas tonight."

Never heard of SNOW JOB used in that way, and it felt a little dirty in this puzzle.

Agree with Dojo being a cool word.

Another one that I remember seeing a lot recently is ATARI. Seems like we've seen it a lot recently in LAT puzzles.

Sfingi said...

A real mess for me.

Totally did not get the theme, though got the details.

HTG several things for just one letter: TYS for the Y, SKOL for the K, SESE for the S, DRI for the I, CLEM for the L.

Did not know ANAHEIM and had AlAbama for a while. Had raid before DCON.
Never heard Boston Symphony called BSO. Is RESINY a word? Maybe in Pee-Wee's Playhouse.

PASTAS might work in the same way fishes does - speaking of varieties, say - but to be used very sparingly.

STRANGE for sure

CrazyCat said...

Figuring out the theme today was a little bit of a brain strain for me. Came home and looked at it over lunch and the light bulb finally went on.

I had I MEAN TO HELP too, before I MEAN NO HARM. Had tank before lamp. One square was left blank - the S at the cross of EPOS and SESE. Both new to me. Oh and I also had EL CREEPO first because I, too, had no idea what a piker was. As noted, RESINY was pretty lame.

Other than that I was AOK with this puzzle. Back in the olden days when we still lived in NY, my husband and I would go to Tanglewood every summer to hear the BSO when it was conducted by Seiji Ozawa. It's a beautiful setting in the Berkshires.

chefwen said...

Only hiccup I had was at 44D where I slapped in "soups on" before I had any surrounding letters, was disappointed when that wasn't right. Oh well, easily fixed.

Sfingi said...

BTW - Italians call "bows" farfalla, meaning butterfly.

Anonymous said...

I got the name of Chayefsky's novel from crossings. At first thoght the theme might be something to do with off-rhymes:
hadio, imeano, radio.

mac said...

Nice, slightly easy puzzle. Liked the oldfashioned-sounding: Had I only known and I mean no harm. Come to think of it, Radio Flyers are sort of oldfashioned as well, and el cheapo. What's up!

lit.doc said...

Hi, P>G>. Been way busy with finishing up the semester, retiring from teaching, and getting my house on the market. Finally time for the day’s puzzles, so this is prob’ly just for your eyes but. Altered States is one of my favorite films (old acid head here), and yes, Cheyefsky wrote the screenplay. But the book version, which I’ve read, is a novelization of the screenplay, not a novel. On screen, gripping. Killed to paper, clumsy. Sad.

But I quibble.

Anyhow, once the house sells and I get moved back to Colorado (grew up there, sibs and their progeny still there) I’ll have time to do more than just read your most excellent posts.

Rojo said...

I had no problem with the answer pastas. I think it works. The plural of pieces of pasta is pasta, but the plural of types of pasta is indeed pastas. Just as if you have many guppies, you have fish, but if you have guppies, and tuna, and salmon, then you have fishes.

Like you, PG, the theme didn't help me at all in filling out the puzzle, but unlike you I was stumped for a while even afterwards, trying to make a state out of only the "radio" of "radio flyer," ignoring the "fl" that would have given me florida.

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