06.11 Sat

June 11, 2011
Doug Peterson & Barry C. Silk

Theme: None — Saturdays are traditionally themeless.

This one fell together for me exactly the way I like it to on a Saturday. (Except I kinda wish it was a little harder. Sorry!) I started reading through the across clues and didn't seem to know anything, but I picked away at it here and there until it was all filled in. Surprisingly, my first break came with what I think has to be the worst clue in the whole puzzle — 26A: Non-coml. interruption (PSA). For some reason, I didn't just breeze right past it like I usually do when it doesn't come to me right away. Instead, I sat there for a few seconds trying to figure out what the heck "coml." could possibly mean. I was actually making words up in my head: "Non-comeril? Non-comestible? Non-comlition?" Oh, "non-commercial." Big ugh to that. But it did give me some traction in a tough puzzle, so I guess I can't be too hard on it.

I had the most trouble in the northeast corner. Had I only known that OPHELIA was the 16A: Daughter of Polonius, I'm sure it all would have fallen into place easily but … I didn't. I also tried GET BACK for BACK OFF (8A: "That's too close!") and AMT for APR (9D: Loan letters). Who knew KEVIN Bacon was from Philly? (Oh yeah, Barry Silk did. Duh.) I put him in, took him out, put him back in. I thought, "No it couldn't be KEVIN Bacon. There must be some Founding Father named Bacon that I'm just not remembering…." Once I got BACK OFF into place, I tried OWEN for OLEN (12D: Author Robert __ Butler), so yeah, it was just a big mess up there for quite a while.

There wasn't much that I just flat-out didn't know: Both TRU and SUE were mysteries to me (41A: "__ Calling": 2003-'05 supernatural drama / 42A: Will's "Glee" adversary), but everything else was gettable. Other missteps for me included PULLS ON for YANKS ON (61A: Jerks, as a bell rope) and … I think that was about it. Oh wait, I misspelled MAGUIRE (22D: 1996 Cruise title role) at first, giving me TCT where TAT was supposed to be (29A: Body image, briefly). Awesome clue, by the way, and I don't think people will try to argue that TAT refers to making lace in this instance, although you never really know.


  • 1A: Chia Pet, perhaps (GAG GIFT). I don't think I've ever seen an actual Chia Pet in real life. I guess maybe that's not a bad thing.
  • 21A: Handles abroad (NOMS). NOMS is French (French!) for "names." Speaking of French (French!), we don't only have Normal French (Normal French!) in today's puzzle, we also have Science French (Science French!): 6D: Tableau Périodique #26 (FER).
  • 38A: "Right on!" ("NOW YOU'RE TALKING!"). I say this all the time. You: "We have time to take a nap before dinner." Me: "Now you're talking!" You: "Let add some more butter to that." Me: "Now you're talking!"
  • 44A: Word in some school names (PREP). This answer reminded me to check on the fate of a kids' show I like: "Tower PREP." Turns out it's not coming back. Suck.
  • 5D: Song sung by Pinocchio (I'VE GOT NO STRINGS). Fun, fresh entry.
  • 8D: Dizzy music? (BOP). I knew this clue was referring to Dizzy Gillespie but it was hard for me to go from the general JAZZ to the specific BOP.
  • 10D: Lab synthesis substance (CHEMICAL REAGENT). This could have been anything and I wouldn't have gotten it. Anything.
  • 11D: Bacon from Philadelphia (KEVIN). He was on "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" last weekend. Pretty funny. I met Paul Newman once. And he was in "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge" with Kyra Sedgwick. And she's married to KEVIN Bacon. So there: three degrees.
  • 25D: Decorator's suggestion (AREA RUG). This tripped me up a little bit. I had the second AR in place so I thought the answer was going to be something-AREA. Took me a minute to flip that back around.
  • 53D: Netherworld flower (STYX). I am so embarrassed to admit this to you, but this clue totally tricked me. Argh! I've seen this so many times! Damn you Doug and Barry! (For the uninitiated, you have to pronounce "flower" as in "something that flows.")
I'm off to New York to see StepPuzzleNiece in a play. Very excited to finally see her on stage. I hear she's spectacular. Of course, I hear that from her dad, but I'm pretty sure it's still true. And so I will leave you with my favorite row in this grid:


(59A: Deceiving / 60A: Conservative commentator who wrote "Let Freedom Ring").

Doug will be with you tomorrow. I'll see you back here Monday.

[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 15A: Stop flowing, in a way (ICE OVER); 17A: Drawing room? (GALLERY); 18A: Foil (PREVENT); 19A: Security item (I.D. TAG); 20A: Fancy wraps (MINKS); 24A: Key (MAIN); 30A: __ lamp (ARC); 31A: American leader? (ALL-); 34A: Copyright, e.g. (INTANGIBLE ASSET); 39A: It can help you carry a tune (TRANSISTOR RADIO); 40A: Anthem elision (O'ER); 43A: Bill holder: Abbr. (ENV.); 45A: Quaint interjection (EGAD); 47A: "Romeo Must Die" star (JET LI); 50A: Power systems (GRIDS); 54A: Shake up (UNHINGE); 57A: Curse (SWEAR AT); 62A: Wind in a combo (ALTO SAX); 1D: 1958 film with the song "The Parisians" (GIGI); 2D: Sch. (ACAD.); 3D: Yiddish dough (GELT); 4D: __ Heights: disputed Mideast territory (GOLAN); 7D: Effort (TRY); 13D: Rat (FINK); 14D: Nuts are rich in them (FATS); 23D: Provokes (STIRS UP); 24D: Brewery sugar (MALTOSE); 26D: Mottled horse (PINTO); 27D: "Boring" (SNORE); 28D: Not just squabbling (AT WAR); 31D: Out of the way (ASIDE); 32D: Red head (LENIN); 33D: Statehouse official: Abbr. (LT. GOV.); 35D: First name in objectivism (AYN); 36D: It's made by one who doesn't go out (BET); 37D: Jamaican genre (SKA); 44D: Xylophone sound (PLINK); 46D: Liquid lye brand (DRANO); 47D: Pioneer Day month, in Utah (JULY); 48D: "Watermark" musician (ENYA); 49D: Watery (THIN); 51D: Romance novelist Johansen (IRIS); 52D: Excel fodder (DATA); 55D: Song from the same era as "Little Deuce Coupe" (GTO); 56D: Quite a stretch (EON); 57D: Oldie syllable (SHA); 58D: Retail store opening? (WAL-).


CoffeeLvr said...

@PG, LYING TO HANNITY indeed. Right above that is UNHINGE and SWEARAT, elsewhere there are GAG and STIRSUP appropriately enough to my mind.

I was glad to see a fresh clue for SUE. On the other hand, TRANSISTOR RADIO is so last century. It is a good thing that I (finally) watched "Doubt" on FX last night. It is set in 1964, and the principal confiscates one from a student. In 1964 mine was my most precious possession.

I had "agitatE" before UNHINGE, but since it supported no crosses, save the E, it was easy to let go. I had a harder time yielding to TAT, starting in a medical frame of mind with MRI, then CAT, which was sooo close.

Other than that, yes, a fairly easy themeless. I know that, because I did it with no help whatsoever, not even a Check. I knew MALTOSE because I am a fan of good beer, and know a little about the brewing process. That helped in getting across the middle.

It is 65 degrees with a light overcast, forecast high of 77, with no storms on the horizon today. I am going to take some recycles to the drop off center, and maybe go to the local Blues Fest. So welcome to have a break in the heat. May everyone else have a great weekend, too.

Avg Joe said...

A very good puzzle Doug and Barry. Tough, but fair. And solvable with enough effort! Thank you.

pj said...

Wow what a fabulous job by the puzz constructors. And no sports!
I need a break from sports clues.

Enjoy this blogg. Thnx PG for all
your entertaining comments and info!

Anonymous said...

Got "Ophelia" first--I'm a big "Hamlet" fan--so that helped. Also got "Golan" but filled in "Atelier" instead of "Gallery" so that slowed me down for a while. In that end got almost everything, but needed "Gaggift" from PG to finish up. Fun Saturday puzzle!

Vega said...

Watching Glee obsessively every weekend for the past month finally paid off. I knew it would.

You are *so right* about "coml." But it's forgivable because of the long answers in the middle, all three of which I loved.

Felt for Kevin last week when he talked about his initial response to the Six Degrees thing. And yeah, who knew he's from Philly? Cool! (Only because I am, too.)

AT WAR is quite a leap from "not just squabbling."


Alexscott said...

I liked this one, though unlike PG, I thought it was definitely tough enough. I was likewise getting nothing until I got 26A PSA. But the real breakthrough for me was actually the NE corner. For whatever reason, that part of the puzzle just fell into place for me. That led to CHEMICAL REAGENT and sort of gave me enough crosses to go from there.

For some reason, I had all kinds of trouble with the Pinocchio song. Since we have a seven-year-old in the house and a DVD of the movie, I've seen it plenty, so that song was the first thing I thought of. But I was thinking it was called "There are no strings on me," which doesn't fit. Then I thought "I got no strings"--grammatically incorrect, but what I though he sings. So basically what should have been a big help in solving this puzzle turned out to be one of the last things I filled in. Arrg.

Any time you have so many long answers, you expect the fill to be pretty bad, but this was really good. My only complaints were 1) wouldn't the Anthem elision be vee since that's the letter that's elided from O'ER? A bit nitpicky, I know (or maybe just wrong?). And 2) did the puzzle creator really need to resort to using an obscenity like HANNITY in the grid? It's a family paper, after all.

C said...

First thing I do is check the puzzle constructor and, since it is Saturday, assumed I would see Silk, the omega constructor for the LAT week. I was surprised to see that Omicron Peterson teamed up with Omega Silk, kinda like Spiderman teaming up with the Hulk, unexpected. I also noticed that the puzzle was missing some black squares in the middle. Great, I thought, there goes my Saturday trying to finish a puzzle ...

Then the unexpected happen, the south fell, quickly, scarily quick which then opened up the middle and then the North and I was done. I didn't even have to figure out what 'coml.' was an abbreviation for, it was just ... over. I think I just achieved the equivalent of 1000 monkeys on typewriters hammering out Shakespeare. Pure random luck.

Good puzzle, very smooth and impressive in fitting in the 5 bazillion letter answers into the puzzle.

Doug P said...

I've constructed a few puzzles with PuzzleGirl, so I'm 4 degrees away from Bacon. Barry's at 5. Or maybe Barry knows Kevin Bacon personally. Those Philly folks stick together.

Dave in Bend, Oregon said...

As soon as I saw the coml/PSA clue, my first thought was that there would be a dust-up on the blog, and lo and behold,,,,my feelings as well but the more I think of it, can't come up with a better way to abbr. commercial, as comm. could be commerce/communication. There are certainly better ways to CLUE it though but that's a different story.
Nice outing. There is something very satisyfying about getting 15ers with little, or even better no, fill.

Got BET on crosses but don't understand how the clue applies - It's made by one that doesn't go out? I'm surely missing something but does anyone have input?

Dave in Bend, Oregon said...

JUST came to me! I was thinking sports bets,not poker....one who stays in the hand doesn't go out but bets!

LongbeachLee said...

Mild objection to Transistor Radio. Is there any other kind these days?

mac said...

When I saw the names Barry Silk and Doug Peterson I knew we were in for a fest!

It was fun to sort of figure out who added what word, but I think the intangible asset could be by either of them.

I once bought my son a chia pet and I ended up watering it myself, of course. He manages to even neglect a cactus!

@C: you're very funny.

@PG: I saw your step-Puzzle Niece in the show a couple of weeks ago, and she is great! Have a lot of fun.

CrazyCat said...

What a fun puzzle. Had a fairly smooth go of it once I got a toehold. Had CHEMICAL in there, but it took me every cross to get the rest of it. I really wanted to put in I'VE GOT NOSTRILS for the Pinocchio song. I thought it might have something to do with his nose. Misread Decorator's suggestion as Director's suggestion, so that lead to confusion. All in all a nice Saturday workout. Thanks Doug and Barry.

I'm from Philly too, but had no idea that's where Kevin BACON is from. I also thought it was some historical figure. Just figured Kevin was from Hollywood.

Puzzle Mom said...

PuzzleGirl doesn't remember, I guess, that Kevin Bacon was a parent at the school where her mom (that would be yours truly) worked for five years. So, I think that's just two degrees for her.

I'm thinking and thinking and I still don't get TAT. I got the answer in doing the puzzle, but have no idea, none what it means.

And, her dad isn't the only one who thinks PuzzleStepNiece is great in the play. Her StepGrandma thinks so too. So there, it must be true.

Mary in Bend, OR said...

PuzzleMom, you must be proud of your Girl! This blog helps me learn to better solve every day.

TAT is short for tatoo - body image, or an image on a body! Pretty clever!

Hoyt said...

Why is RED HEAD Lenin and why is SHA Oldie syllable? Thanks

Anoa Bob said...

Hoyt, probably too late to help but LENIN was a Russian leader back when it was synonymous with "red" as in "red menace", thus "red head". I've seen this clue-entry combo before. As for SHA, Sha Na Na was a doo-wop rock group from the late 60's that I think is still around.

Hoyt said...

Thanks, I know who Lenin is and also Sha na na.. both clues seem kinda weak to me.

*David* said...

I just got to the puzzle and once again a puzzle that I felt could've gone faster took longer then I expected. I had the hardest time finishing up the NW where GAG GIFT was far from my mind as fill for that clue. I did like that the corners were isolated so you had to really work in order to fill those in ,which made this tougher then normal for me . Overall just what I like in a Saturday puzzle.

Rube said...

A day late on this, but thought it a perfect fit for my skill level. Had to work at it, but all gettable w/o Googles. The STYX clue got me too, even though I've seen it before. Great fill made it a great puzzle.