06.18 Sat

June 18, 2011
Peter A. Collins

Theme: None

Another tough puzzle. I might just get used to this! This one actually felt like a real Saturday to me. I scanned through the across clues and it didn't look like I was going to get anything. But I entered a few short answers here and there — some more tentatively than others — and it all came together in the end.

This puzzle has some fantastic long entries. My favorites are NUMBERS GUY, CHEAP SEATS and, of course, BLACK MAGIC WOMAN (5A: Bean counter / 29A: They're not near the action / 17A: Top 10 single on the 1970 album "Abraxas").

NUMBERS GUY especially made me laugh because PuzzleSon was just explaining to me tonight that he's a "Donut Guy." Apparently, that means he's not interested in pie. Whatever.

Missteps for me today included:
  • 20A: Tub contents (BATH). I tried OLEO.
  • 21A: Depend (REST). RELY seems like a reasonable guess.
  • 27A: Wane (SAG). Wanted EBB here.
  • 12D: Letter on a dreidel (GIMEL). Tried the only Hebrew letter I know: ALEPH.
  • 48D: John Denver album with an eagle's silhouette on the cover (AERIE). I included this entry in today's Crosswordese 101 list, but the clue on this one is pure evil. Even knowing AERIE as crosswordese didn't help me today. Please tell me I'm not the only one who tried ANNIE first.
  • 50D: Cashier's counter bowlful (MINTS). My first thought was CENTS.
There wasn't really too much that I flat-out didn't know. The R at the cross of UMBRA (1D: Sunspot center) and RAREE (19A: Old-style street show) was my last entry. I'm pretty sure I've never seen UMBRA before. RAREE was somewhere in the cobwebs, but there's no way I could have defined it for you. Other than that, the only complete mystery was [18D: KEYE Luke of Charlie Chan films]. To me, then, this was a pretty accessible late-week puzzle.

  • 28A: 1992 gold medal-winning Dream Team coach Chuck (DALY). This one was so frustrating for me. I could picture the guy. He's actually, like, my least favorite basketball coach of all time, so I knew immediately who he was, I just couldn't come up with his name. Oh, and I was guessing that SOLAR HALO (2D: Phenomenon caused by ice crystals between the Earth and sun) was [something]-HOLE, so that O wasn't helping me out at all.
  • 36A: Six-pack alternative? (BEER GUT). That's pretty cute. The six-pack in this clue refers to six-pack abs.
  • 44A: Takes it slow (LOLLS). Remember how I was looking for this word yesterday?
  • 5D: Camus, for one (NOM). French!
  • 7D: Kid-lit Judy Moody series author McDonald (MEGAN). Pretty sure there's a Judy Moody movie in my future.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 41A: Picker-upper's concern: Abbr. (ETA).
  • 14D: "Fiddler on the Roof" matchmaker (YENTE).
  • 45D: Hops driers (OASTS).
  • 48D: John Denver album with an eagle's silhouette on the cover (AERIE).
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Everything Else 1A: Old Eurasian letters (USSR); 15A: Home of H. Rousseau's "The Sleeping Gypsy" (MOMA); 16A: How travelers' bags are screened (ONE AT A TIME).
  • 22A: Affected (ARTSY); 23A: A, B or C, perhaps: Abbr. (ANS.); 24A: Like an alias (FALSE); 25A: Writ word (HABEAS); 35A: Some six-pack contents (ALE); 37A: It's best if it's well-seasoned (WOK); 38A: Party stipulation (NO CHILDREN); 40A: Gentle way to go (EASY); 42A: Shuts out, in slang (SKUNKS); 47A: Eastern way (TAO); 49A: '70s toothpaste with "green sparkles" (GLEEM); 51A: Call, in a way (HAIL); 52A: Pot user (CHEF); 53A: Language that gives us "shampoo" (HINDI); 54A: Didn't just go (ASKED PERMISSION); 57A: Very loud (STENTORIAN); 58A: Wood fastener (T-NUT); 59A: Certain tax determinant (ASSESSMENT); 60A: They may be first class: Abbr. (SGTS.); 3D: One making cracks (SMART ALEC); 4D: Happens quickly (RACES BY); 6D: Brazen (UNABASHED); 8D: Entices (BAITS); 9D: Permanently mark (ETCH); 10D: Word with deal or nerves (RAW); 11D: Possible reason for folding (STORAGE); 13D: Sch. with a Lowell campus (U. MASS.); 24D: Ritual abstinence (FAST); 26D: Rapid Northeast train (ACELA); 27D: Moxie (SPUNK); 28D: Castellaneta who voices Homer Simpson (DAN); 30D: Transpose digits, say (ERR); 31D: Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron, to Ovid (AGES OF MAN); 32D: One may be rude (AWAKENING); 33D: Ejected (TOSSED OUT); 34D: Diving milieu (SKY); 36D: Smithereens (BITS); 39D: Athens native (HELLENE); 40D: Volunteers (ENLISTS); 43D: Disgusted chorus (UGHS); 44D: High capital (LHASA); 46D: Fancies (LIKES); 47D: 100,000 BTU (THERM); 52D: Naval noncoms (CPO'S); 55D: AA issue (DT'S); 56D: QB's miscue (INT.).

    Orange said...

    Hand raised for ANNIE!

    My son takes 30 donuts to school on his birthday in lieu of cake. In general, he's more of a Filled Croissant Guy, though.

    I can define RAREE, no problem. It's old crosswordese. It is an old-fashioned street show. Mind you, I don't have a flippin' clue what a "street show" is.

    Gene said...

    First glance- a DNF in the making.
    1 1/2 hours later. Completed! Loved it but brain sore.

    mac said...

    And what's the difference between a raree and a revue?

    Loved this puzzle. Hand up for aleph and cents, but I do like the gleem crossing mints. Beergut had me laughing! At 38A, No Children, so brave! Never seen it, sometimes thought it.

    CoffeeLvr said...

    I finished this with the help of Checking a lot of answers, and Googling the Santana hit and the kid's author. I did get the whole SE on my own, so not a bad Saturday, but still annoyed I couldn't remember BLACKMAGICWOMAN. I even saw Santana in concert in that era.

    I went to bed with an ear worm of Oye Como Va, oops, I think I started it again. Didn't fit in the grid, but sure stuck in my head. Came back to the puzzle this morning and remembered several things for a quick wrapup.

    Had LOpeS before LOLLS, ebb before SAG, Grecian before HELLENE, REly before REST, and tried BEERkeg and BEERtap before GUT. My tub was full of lArd, an old insult I think, goes well with the beer gut.

    Rube said...

    I have RAREE on my crosswordese list as "Side show (peep show)", from some long forgotten puzzle(s). That's not to say I remembered it. Had to Google KEYE, one of my three Googles today. "Street show" is new. The other two were MEGAN and GIMEL. Also Guessed Aleph for the dreidel letter. (There's another exception to "i before e...", but being Hebrew I guess it... I don't know.

    I think of UMBRA as a shadow. Strange to see it as part of a sunspot. New to me.

    Thought every one of the long acrosses were great. Good puzzle, despite a DNF because of Googles. Had most of the same errors as Coffeelvr.

    C said...

    Awesome puzzle. Good difficulty, took me a good 20 minutes to wrestle this one into submission. Afterwards, looking at the answers, nothing in the answers that was too outlandish.

    I made all of the initial guesses that @PG mentioned.

    I learned RAREE from a book of 70's NYT puzzles I own. Seemed like a popular answer in those puzzles.

    Anonymous said...

    I'm Jewish, so I knew the dreidel answer had to be GIMEL, as the other letters did not fit (nunn, hay, shin).

    Hand-raise for OLEO, CENTS, and EBB, had FLIES BY for RACES BY, but it was a rough one.