06.08 Wed

June 8, 2011
C. W. Stewart & J. K. Hummel

Theme: Six Pairs — Each theme answer is a made-up two-word phrase where both words can be members of the same category, but they're clued as a verb phrase ending with a person's name. Got it?

Theme answers:

  • 17A: *Persistently pester journalist Blitzer? (BADGER WOLF).
  • 23A: *Evade actor Harrison? (DODGE FORD).
  • 51A: *"Look out, Ichabod!"? (DUCK CRANE).
  • 11D: *Spotted rapper MC? (SAW HAMMER).
  • 32D: *"Step on it, Mrs. Cleaver!"? ("MARCH, JUNE!").
  • 62A: Biblical cargo, or what makes up the answers to starred clues (TWO OF A KIND).
What a fun puzzle to help us over hump day! It's really late right now so forgive me if I start dozing in the middle of this. Not the puzzle's fault! I have a friend who's going through a thing right now that's very distracting, so I've just spent a bunch of time on it and am trying to shift gears so I can talk about this puzzle before I go to bed. Okay, let's do it!

Super cute theme. I'm very happy to report that the phrases here all follow the pattern [verb] + [person's name]. If it hadn't been this consistent, it could really have been a mess I think. But it is consistent so … whew! Not much else to say about the theme except that there sure is a lot of it! Six theme answers seems to be more and more common these days, but it's still a lot. The fill suffers here and there because of the constraints created by the theme density (I'm looking at you FER), but I feel like there are pay-offs throughout the grid, so it all evens out. All in all, a very nice puzzle by two lovely and talented ladies.

  • 20A: Business opening? (I MEAN). In my mind, this clue is always looking for the prefix AGRI-. But not today.
  • 43A: Large departure (EXODUS).

  • 45A: Pirate's potent potable (RUM). Is "potent potable" really a phrase anywhere outside of "Jeopardy"? Serious question.
  • 48A: Take in (NAB). This was my trouble spot. I tried EAT and NET before finally coming around to NAB.
  • 66A: Zeno of __ (ELEA). If I had time to do a CW101 lesson today, I would probably bump it up to CW201 and talk about both this answer and SETT (69A: Paving stone). Both are words I learned from puzzles.
  • 3D: Like some wartime messages (CODED). Did you see that a bunch of spy stuff recently declassified included instructions on how to use artichoke juice as invisible ink? Some other crazy stuff too. If I had time, I'd find you a link. I heard about it on Rachel Maddow's show.
  • 7D: "Every wall is __": Emerson (A DOOR). I absolutely would not have gotten this one if it hadn't been for a recent New York Times puzzle that featured this quote prominently.
  • 53D: "Another Saturday Night" singer Sam (COOKE). The song that immediately came into my head is Cat Stevens. Let's see if I know this one too. Hold on …. Whoa! It's the same song! I didn't know the Cat Stevens version was a cover. I guess we really do learn something new every damn day.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 14A: University with a law school in Greensboro (ELON).
  • 37A: Fictional pirate (SMEE).
  • 42A: Taj Mahal site (AGRA).
  • 13D: Showy lily (SEGO).
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Everything Else 1A: Relay, say (RACE); 5A: Parasol purpose (SHADE); 10A: Nile biters (ASPS); 15A: Swiss Alps refrain (YODEL); 16A: Like a blue moon (RARE); 19A: Branch branch (TWIG); 21A: Ballerina's pivot point (TOE); 22A: Dodo (SCHMO); 25A: Carte start (ALA); 26A: Goof up (ERR); 27A: Office assortment (STAMPS); 30A: NCR product (ATM); 33A: Moronic (OAFISH); 38A: Crumbly soil (LOAM); 40A: Word with mouth or pool (MOTOR); 41A: Flu fighters (SERA); 46A: Like some cows (SACRED); 50A: "Let me think ..." ("HMM …"); 57A: Green-skinned pear (ANJOU); 59A: Blood system letters (ABO); 60A: Tease (RAG ON); 61A: Chef lead-in (SOUS); 64A: "Green Gables" girl (ANNE); 65A: Plumber's tool (SNAKE); 67A: Amanda of "Gulliver's Travels" (2010) (PEET); 68A: Fall flower (ASTER); 1D: Auction action (REBID); 2D: Avis rival (ALAMO); 4D: Captivate (ENGAGE); 5D: Turk. neighbor (SYR.); 6D: Instruction book (HOW TO); 8D: Edited out (DELED); 9D: North Pole resident, presumably (ELF); 10D: Place for a nude (ART CLASS); 12D: Proper partner? (PRIM); 18D: Cool time in Madrid (ENERO); 22D: Made a lap (SAT); 24D: Set up (FRAMED); 27D: Diminished (SHRUNK); 28D: Lima or llama land (PERU); 29D: Mine line (SEAM); 30D: "Woe is me!" ("ALAS!"); 31D: Frat party wrap (TOGA); 34D: Deceive (FOX); 35D: "What was __ do?" (I TO); 36D: Instant lawn (SOD); 39D: Small monkey (MARMOSET); 44D: Pelvic bones (SACRA); 47D: Down Under runner (EMU); 49D: Traffic stoppers? (BRAKES); 51D: Suddenly occurs to, with "on" (DAWNS); 52D: WWII German sub (U-BOAT); 54D: Nimble (AGILE); 55D: The Muses, e.g. (NONET).
  • 56D: Conclude by (END AT); 57D: PDQ relative (ASAP); 58D: Not a lick (NONE); 62D: Frisk-y govt. group? (TSA); 63D: Not agin (FER).

    CoffeeLvr said...

    I found this a good morning workout. @PG, I am enjoying the Marley clip as I type this, and appreciate you finding Cooke, too.

    I had trouble finishing the NW, but once I thought of RACE instead of pAss, I got CODED quickly, and the rest solved itself. I also had a mental block in that area; I was wanting to "hound" WOLF, even though I knew immediately that it doesn't fit the grid, just the clue.

    I doubt it would be possible, but after solving WOLF, DUCK, CRANE and the reveal, I was hoping they could all be animals. Of course, I already had some that were not beasts in place. At least we were given a cute MARMOSET.

    There are a lot of M's in this puzzle!

    PJ said...

    Theme completely fooled me. Puzz and blog were wonderful. Thnx!
    Fav clue:62D
    Have a beautiful day everyone.
    Shanti (peace).(Goes with the Agra/India we're seeing a lot of,lol)

    Tuttle said...

    If 2D had been 'primo' or 'primp' to 12D's PRIM so as to mirror 55D/58D (NONET/NONE) I would have been really impressed.

    SACRED and SACRA share the same root which is cool.

    I found the cluing for 34D to be a bit dodgy, you can baffle and/or outwit someone without deceiving them. And I'm not sure "Step on it" is altogether synonymous with MARCH. One means go faster, the other just means go. Nittiest of nits there though.

    Lemonade714 said...

    With all the snake cluing these days, why not use ___de lance. FER? Also Rex Stout's first Nero Wolfe novel.

    syndy said...

    WOW Cat Stevens version is just so not SAM COOKE!Loved the puzzle!You had me at BADGERWOLF!and SAWHAMMER a rap based clue I didn't hate! but PG all those twins are creeping me out.

    C said...

    Fun puzzle. Thanks to the recent NYT sunday puzzle that highlighted the Emrson quote. Made things a lot easier for me today.

    Doug P said...

    Wow, I love the creative theme today! I had a slight hiccup because I got DUCK CRANE & BADGER WOLF first & thought it was going to be all animal pairs. Great job, CW & JK.

    Brian said...

    Grinned widely while answering the 62D clue: Frisk-y Govt. group?

    mac said...

    What a fun puzzle! I also thought it would all be animal pairs, but good enough for me.

    I always feel that the clue German sub necessitates the spelling U-Boot.

    Loved Cat Stevens.

    What is this with LAT puzzle constructors and their abbr. names: CC yesterday, CW and JK today, and PG fits right in.

    Mokus said...

    I'm thinking Fords & Dodges were on the Ark? Must be Sarah Palin's bible, the one with Paul Revere warning the Philistines. A clever theme and mostly a fun puzzle. I share Tuttle's nits but I looked up FOX and it can be a verb but I had written "con" so had a few problems. The only time I marched was in the army & they never said "step on it!" Of course they didn't say MARCH either...more like, Forward..HUH!

    Forgot that ol' Zeno was from ELEA and that SETT was a paver. Forgot that ENERO = January but ah ain't agin larnen' sumpin new!

    Puzzle Mom said...

    Well I can't help but wonder of the "two lovely and talented ladies" who constructed this puzzle use their initials like a blind audition -- i.e. to assure that their work will be taken seriously by the editors to whom they submit it.

    Good puzzle, good blog. Loved the theme and, of course, once you get it, the fact that there are lots of them makes the puzzle way easier. At least, it did for me.

    Dave in Bend, Oregon said...

    Got stuck on exodus for a while as I had shrAnk and word just looked so weird with an A in it. Worked around it a bit then went back. Light bulb finally came on. Clever Wednesday and just about the right difficulty. DNK Sett. I'm OK with March/step on it but can see the nit point of view as well. Schmos, oafs and monkeys oh my!(thought a marmoset was more sloth/squirrelish)

    Steve said...

    I had CON and SHRANK, so pondered how OACISH and ENODAS were two brand-new words I'd never heard of appearing within a row of each other, then convinced myself I must be wrong. Fixed CON, but then was faced with EXODAS being a new variant. Then the penny dropped.

    Learned SETT though, that SW corner gave me trouble.

    Nice theme!

    Can we please retire the clue "Nile biter/biters"?

    @Mac - if it was "Deutschland sub", "sub from Munchen" or something along those lines I'd agree with you.

    Snake Hips said...

    I loved the Nile Biters!

    mac said...

    @Puzzle Mom: good point.

    Steve said...

    @Snake Hips - I think you might be just a *little* biased :)