06.03 Fri

June 3, 2011
Pancho Harrison

Theme: T sound changed to D sound — Yep, that's it.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Family member whose age is showing? (GRAYED UNCLE).
  • 27A: Horse-cavalry soldier who's hardly capricious? (STAID TROOPER).
  • 46A: Aggressive drug enforcement strategy? (RAID INCREASE).
  • 61A: Bride's unraveling problem? (FRAYED TRAIN).
I don't have a lot of time this morning, so let's get right to it. What's with all the suffixes? ‑WURST, ‑ESE, ‑IAL, ‑ERY (2D: Knack attachment? / 5D: Ethnic ending / 9D: Editor's add-on? / 26D: Hatch back?). Honestly, that's the first thing that really jumped out at me about this grid, and that can't be good. The theme is fine. Nothing to write home about. The base phrases are GREAT UNCLE, STATE TROOPER, RATE INCREASE, and FREIGHT TRAIN. So, yeah, a little blah for a Friday.

As for the sparkle, that's provided by HEP CAT and DIRTY POOL (50A: One who digs your jive / 11D: Unsportsmanlike conduct), both of which are fantastic answers. But with the disaster that is the ESTE, STEROL, OTHO, DR. LAO area … I'm not sure it's a fair trade.

  • 6A: Massenet opera (THAIS). Whatever you say.
  • 11A: JFK, but not LGA (DEM). I understand this clue/answer to mean that John F. Kennedy was a DEMocrat, but Fiorello LaGuardia was not. Was LaGuardia actually known as LGA? If not, I'd say this clue is flawed, even though it's fabulous at first glance.
  • 16A: Chill (ICE). Verbs, people.
  • 45A: Golfer Westwood who replaced Tiger Woods as World #1 in October 2010 (LEE). Hey, I have an idea! Let's have a puzzle without Tiger Woods anywhere near it. kthxby
  • 67A: Junio, por ejemplo (MES). Spanish! Junio = June; MES = "month."
  • 43D: __ Park: Pirates' field (PNC). Have I mentioned how much I hate the trend of corporate names on baseball fields/sports arenas? About a hundred times? Okay, never mind.
  • 47D: Skinny or small, probably (ILL-FED). Pretty sure that "probably" should be a "maybe." There are plenty of skinny and/or small things that aren't ILL-FED. PuzzleDaughter has a classmate who is way smaller than the rest of the 4th grade girls. Why? I don't really know. But I'm pretty sure she's fed appropriately. I'm thinking … I don't know, genetics?
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 19A: Co. led by David Sarnoff until 1970 (RCA).
  • 20A: Tivoli's Villa d'__ (ESTE).
  • 64A: Homer's donut supplier (APU).
  • 12D: Behold, to Livy (ECCE).
  • 25D: First century Roman emperor (OTHO).
  • 34D: "Lohengrin" soprano (ELSA).
  • 41D: "As I Lay Dying" father (ANSE).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Pilfer (SWIPE); 14A: Distinctive characters (AURAS); 15A: Wrap-up (RECAP); 21A: Staff entry? (REST); 22A: Worn down (EATEN); 24A: Solid alcohol (STEROL); 26A: Vortex (EDDY); 33A: Line of clothing? (HEM); 36A: Jubilant cry (HOORAY); 37A: Pool game, perhaps (POLO); 38A: "Unlimited free mileage" rental pioneer (ALAMO); 40A: Washington Sq. campus (NYU); 41A: Bikini, e.g. (ATOLL); 42A: Vacation site (ISLE); 43A: Baker's container (PIE PAN); 49A: H.S. math course (CALC.); 54A: Swindle decoy (SHILL); 56A: Feint on the ice (DEKE); 59A: 39-Down recipient (HERO); 60A: John of England (LOO); 65A: Dog-__ (EARED); 66A: Western party (POSSE); 68A: Titles (DEEDS); 69A: Unsettling expression (SNEER); 1D: Wise guys (SAGES); 3D: Hot (IRATE); 4D: Sugar daddies, e.g. (PAYERS); 6D: "__ Lies": Schwarzenegger film (TRUE); 7D: Brooding group (HENS); 8D: Invoice abbr. (ACCT.); 10D: Muscle beach brand (SPEEDO); 13D: Ornery (MEAN); 18D: Traveling circus organizer in a 1964 film (DR. LAO); 23D: Take in (ADOPT); 28D: Greek column style (IONIC); 29D: Where some pairs are separated (DRYER); 30D: Brownish gray (TAUPE); 31D: Glamour rival (ELLE); 32D: Part (ROLE); 33D: Narrow margin (HAIR); 35D: Motivated by spite (MALICIOUS); 39D: Award for a 59-Across (MEDAL); 44D: Sounded satisfied (AAHED); 48D: "You've Got Mail" writer/director (EPHRON); 51D: Belay (CEASE); 52D: Surface (ARISE); 53D: Office supply (TONER); 54D: Grand __ (SLAM); 55D: Optimism (HOPE); 56D: Show gumption (DARE); 57D: Got a load of (EYED); 58D: Converse competitor (KEDS); 62D: Actress __ Dawn Chong (RAE); 63D: Decorates in a prankish way (TP'S).


SethG said...

Does RAID INCREASE even make sense? I'm not sure that that makes sense.

[Pool] crossing POOL isn't great. EYED crossing EARED is.

Sfingi said...

DNF. After Googling 8 times and not getting anywhere, gave up.

I had Steal instead of SWIPE, Wayne instead of DR LOA (wrong 1964 traveling circus film). Had, for dog - "Day PM" - in keeping with the semi-abbrevs I've seen of late. ALso considered fAcED, as in WWII lingo.

After seeing the answers, this puzzle reminds me of a certain immature cheese in a recent TV ad. The homophone/jokes are so lame.

But one always learns something - STEROL.

Rojo said...

La Guardia Airport's code is LGA, but I don't think Mayor La Guardia is typically referred to as such. Still, I viewed it as fair enough, especially since the answer was an abbreviation and I don't know any other way to abbreviate Fiorello Henry La Guardia, unless it's the never used FHL. IOW, I'm far more likely to recognize LGA as La Guardia than FHL.

You're right that that Sterol, Dr. Lao, etc. corner was a disaster, but I'm proud I eventually got it all, almost by brute force.

*David* said...

I quite often have a problem when we deal with themes that are based on sounds since it gives the constructor lots of leeway on the theme words. I had the same problem with this one.

I had one letter wrong in the puzzle, had ERR for Hatch back? and HOORAR, eh maybe some support? Hardest section to finish was where I had NERO for OTHO, need to check those dates. For STEROL needed all the crosses and then DR LAO came back to me which is old skool crosswordese. I had never heard of DIRTY POOL for unsportsmanlike conduct. Overall liked the resistance in the puzzle so I'll take it.

Brian said...

DNF because I had STERNO for Solid alcohol and NERO for First century Roman emperor. Too obvious

C said...

Learned some things in today's puzzle, THAIS, for instance. The DRLAO has been used in a puzzle I had done before (can't remember constructor or publication) and I had filed it away in my indestructible trivia chest inside my brain. The recall was a bit slow but halfway through the puzzle on a completely different clue, I spontaneously said DR LAU. I hope the rest of my day goes like this.

Tuttle said...

My peeves;

7D: A brooding group is a ... brood. Individuals are hens.

10D: Muscle Beach®™ IS a brand.

42A: A bit vague. Hundreds of four-letter words could be vacation sites.

Putting in Nero crossing Sterno at 18D/24A liked unto kill me.

Rube said...

Stared at STERno and NerO for a long time, too. Decided rOORAY wasn't going to work and pulled out the other 4 letter crosswordesey Roman Emperor... success. Had HiPpey for awhile also.

I'm not sure I like EATEN for worn down. Really enjoy long fill like MALICIOUS and DIRTYPOOL. THAIS was my first word in. STEROL is my WOTD.

Evelyn said...

I still dont'get 21A - Staff Entry? - REST.. maybe I am overthinking it.

Joon said...

the ILL-FED clue is just fine. somebody who is ILL-FED is probably skinny or small, and that's all there is to it. the clue does not say that somebody who is skinny or small is probably ill-fed. kind of a subtle distinction, but ... anyway, it's fine.

i don't think STERNO is an alcohol. it's pure hydrocarbon, no -OH groups to be found. not that STEROL (or OTHO, for that matter) is great fill.

*david* is dead wrong about the number of possible options for the theme, perhaps in part because puzzlegirl did not really fully explain the theme. it's not just a T sound to a D sound; they're all words ending with an "ate" sound going to words ending with an "aid" sound. each one is the first word of a common two-word phrase. so this one is reasonably tight. if it were just any old phonetic T->D shift, then yes, there is a lot more leeway and i'd expect to see funnier theme answers.

tuttle's peeves ... well, okay, if they annoyed you, i guess there's nothing anybody else can do about that. but they're all perfectly fine clues. if you have HENS, plural, they do indeed constitute a group. if muscle beach (tm) is a brand, okay, but that has no bearing on the clue (other than perhaps to make it cleverer? but that was lost on me), as "beach" was not capitalized. and the ISLE clue had many possible answers, yes. not my favorite kind of clue either, but it doesn't bother me unless a puzzle is chock full of uber-vague clues.

there are a lot of ugly suffixes, though. can't argue with that.

CrazyCat said...

I was able to finally finish with a google or two, but wasn't really happy with this. The theme was fine and I loved MALICIOUS. Lots I didn't know though, including THAIS, DIRTY POOL, STEROL, OTHO, etc. I guess it was a good learning experience.

I have another idea let's nix Tiger Woods *and* Arnold Schwarzenegger from all future crossword puzzles.

Anonymous said...

STERNO is ethanol, methanol (to make it non-consumable), and some minor other stuff.

Anonymous said...

@Evelyn, That's a musical staff.

Lemonade714 said...

Staff is the name of the Music Sheet upon which Notes are written, or in this case, REST (no notes).

Muscle beach is also an 'in the language' phrase for where the body builders hang out.

Steve said...

This was more a good challenge for me, and happy to finish without having to swap out of Expert mode to see any mistakes.

STEROL was my WOTD, never seen it before. Never heard the DIRTY POOL phrase either, but got it eventually through the crosses. I thought the theme was fine.

I think Sterno is a brand name - those little flame-things that you put under a chafing dish to keep the food warm at cook-outs and the like. I'm assuming (now I know sterol) that's what's inside them.

richard Super said...

It's my paper's fault...I was stuck on 13D, Omery!!! and David Samoff in 19A. Their 'r' and 'n' were sooo close they looked like an 'm'. .

Pamela said...

Nope. Didn't like it at all. I love a challenge, but my brain just couldn't connect the answers to the clues. Had to look up a bunch.
Maybe I'm just not familiar with this guy. I have come to believe that you have to do a person's puzzles for awhile b4 you begin to think like them, or begin to catch onto their logic.

Anonymous said...

I think the theme is words that have "aye" and "aid" in them.

CP said...

Thought I was making progress on Friday puzzles, but today was a set back (sort of like the economic news). A DNF. The theme, the suffixes, 25D OTHO, and 11A JFK v. LGA all tripped me up.

Dave in Bend, Oregon said...

Meh on the theme - somehow that looks palindromish but ain't- .....Learned Sterol though,,,Got caught in the sterno trap so my my Roman Emperor ended up as NTHO (which I KNEW should be NERO) and the circus clue ended up DRAOA and DRLAO is a new one to me. I've heard of him but never knew there was some sort of circus connection (edification?)...so DNF and kind of DNC(are)

mac said...

Tough one, but very good! I think the LAT were out to get me today...

Rick M said...

Is CALC a HS class now? My HS maxed out at trig/pre-calculus, but that was a while back.

One Across said...

Can't understand all the criticism of this puzzle. Yeah, I had to pause and consider the possible alternatives on several of the clues/answers, but after all, it is a Friday puzzle, not a Monday.

I prefer puzzles where I have to think outside the box...sorry - bad pun.

rondo said...

Complaint! 25 down says 1st century Roman emperor. Well, Otto I (aka Otho) was emperor from 962-973 AD. Hardly "first century". First millennium, yes.

Nero was emperor 54-68 AD, now we're talking first century!

Love the "Meditation from Thais" - didn't know Massenet wrote it.

rondo, los altos, calif

Mitchell said...

I never get to see the puzzle theme upfront (only the designer) so it is always a guess for us Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel readers. It has its advantages I guess. Have a great week everyone.

Lemonade714 said...

OTHO was one of the Emperors in 69 AD, the year of Four Emperors.

Mitchell, the theme is only published on Sunday, the rest are supplied by the wit and wisdom of PG.

Unknown said...

Rick M, how big was your high school? Rural area, maybe? I took calculus in high school in 1968, and my wife took it at another urban high school in 1970. Remember the movie "Stand and Deliver?" It was a true story about a high school calculus teacher in 1970's East LA.