06.22 Wed

June 22, 2011
Don Gagliardo & C. C. Burnikel

Theme: The Racer's Edge — Each theme answer is a familiar three-word phrase with the initials STP.

Theme answers:

  • 16A: Makes an offer more desirable (SWEETENS THE POT).
  • 27A: Hopelessly ruined (SHOT TO PIECES).
  • 36A: Stock trader's goal (SHORT-TERM PROFIT).
  • 44A: "Satisfaction guaranteed" catchphrase (SURE TO PLEASE).
  • 58A: Editor's "Whoa!" (STOP THE PRESSES).
  • 58D: Auto additives co. that hints at this puzzle's theme (STP).
Wow. Don and CC have been busy! Here's another solid puzzle with a tried-and-true theme concept. Was I complaining about a financial theme answer being boring the other day? Because today SHORT-TERM PROFIT kinda just sits there. But SURE TO PLEASE and STOP THE PRESSES are both awesome, so all in all I'd give the theme answers a win.

The fill, as I said, is solid. The only real clunkers I found were EYERS and RE-EXPOSE (21A: Lookers / 37D: Uncover again) which, yes, are technically words but that doesn't mean I have to like them. STUPE (35A: Dumbbell) is a word I've seen in crosswords but I can't say I've ever actually heard anyone use that particular slur. Regional? Generational? Whatever. Oh, and AX JOB (51A: Editor's ruthless overhaul, informally) is unfamiliar to me. Is that the same thing as a HATCHET JOB? Cuz that's the way I've heard it.

Good stuff:
  • 14A: Used cars (RODE). I'm a fan of clues that make you think about a word as more than one part of speech. Here, you need to flip the switch in your brain from "adjective" to "verb." Love it.
  • 19A: Entertain at one's loft (HAVE UP). Okay, here's what I don't get. What exactly is a loft? When I lived in New York, I thought it was just a big garage-kinda apartment. But I always wondered if there was a part of the apartment that was actually The Loft. Like it was up higher than the rest of the place. It makes sense to me that a loft is, somehow, up. So this clues makes sense in that way. But I've always felt confused about the technical details.
  • 22A: Org. that provides handicaps (USGA). I tried LPGA here first.
  • 65A: Multicolored (PIED). This term is usually used to refer to horses, right? How exactly was the PIED Piper PIED? I've never thought of him as particularly colorful. I guess maybe it's just his clothes?
  • 2D: Network marketing giant (AMWAY). They still have AMWAY?
  • 7D: Paper back items? (ADS). Another good clue. ADS are items you might find in the back of a newspaper. Actually, you find them throughout the paper, but there are more of them in the back, don't you think?
  • 17D: Fanny (TUSH). Oh sure, why not?

  • 26D: Lukewarm (TEPID). TEPID is an awesome word. This is my standout entry of the day.
  • 52D: "Friday the 13th" villain (JASON). PuzzleSon has been bugging me about watching a bunch of horror movies lately. I think I'm going to turn that one over to PuzzleHusband. I used to love those movies back in high school but I'm pretty sure I couldn't handle them now.
  • 53D: Ferrell's partner in "SNL" Spartan Cheerleaders bits (OTERI). I know she's crosswordese, but I still like the look of her name in the grid.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 15A: Jacob's twin (ESAU).
  • 22D: __ Reader: eclectic bimonthly (UTNE).
  • 45D: Brewery oven (OAST).
  • 53D: Ferrell's partner in "SNL" Spartan Cheerleaders bits (OTERI).
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Everything Else 1A: Religious ritual (MASS); 5A: Bell sound (PEAL); 9A: Like freshly washed hair (DAMP); 13A: Skip (OMIT); 20A: Big rig (SEMI); 24A: They appear before U (R-S-T); 31A: Digital comm. method? (ASL); 34A: Santa __ winds (ANA); 41A: Former country on its own peninsula (KOREA); 42A: Little piggy, so to speak (TOE); 43A: Govt. Rx watchdog (FDA); 49A: Ranch handle (TEX); 50A: Votes of support (AYES); 55A: Blog comment (POST); 57A: Take to the air (AVIATE); 62A: Shock with a stun gun (TASE); 63A: Cookie since 1912 (OREO); 64A: Ripped (TORE); 66A: Geeky type (NERD); 67A: Foul mood (SNIT); 1D: Mideast statesman Dayan (MOSHE); 3D: Strainer (SIEVE); 4D: Takes the helm (STEERS); 5D: SAT practice (PREP); 6D: Long time, even in the singular (EON); 8D: "Time to leave" ("LET'S GO"); 9D: Regard (DEEM); 10D: Aim for (ASPIRE TO); 11D: Statesman on a 100-yuan note (MAO); 12D: Delay, with "off" (PUT); 18D: Clunker (HEAP); 23D: Surprise with a "Boo!" (STARTLE); 25D: Shoe mark (SCUFF); 28D: Brittle cake grain (OAT); 29D: 1-Down's land: Abbr. (ISR.); 30D: Words with date or record (SET A); 31D: Seeks, as permission (ASKS); 32D: Loud tone (SHOUT); 33D: Moto player (LORRE); 38D: What Tweety tawt he taw (TAT); 39D: "The Simpsons" bar (MOE'S); 40D: Green shade (PEA); 46D: Long boa (PYTHON); 47D: Keep for later (SAVE); 48D: Lives (EXISTS); 54D: Harass (BESET); 56D: Guest columnist's piece (OP-ED); 57D: 2007 signer of the richest contract in MLB history (A-ROD); 59D: Mai __ (TAI); 60D: Long beginning? (ERE); 61D: By authority of (PER).


Gareth Bain said...

Something of a construction romance going on here??? Just like that of Halsted/Peterson?

What's not to like about a theme that uses a crossword-ese to give us 5 X 3 word answers!?

Anyone else try COLORMEIMPRESSED for STOPTHEPRESSES? I've only heard that phrase in the singular, but I guess if you're a bigshot newspaper with more than one press...

Anonymous said...

Darn it. Got stuck on 5A PEAL, 7D ADS and 14A R0DE (didn't convert "used"to verb from noun).so a humbling dnf for a Wednesday.Enjoyed puzzle otherwise.

badams52 said...

Enjoyed the puzzle, quick solve with some solid theme answers.

As for a loft, I kind of took it as a synonymn for apartment. Since apartments are often not on the ground floor, we might ask someone if they wanted to come up.

Also liked the used cars clue. Didn't get RODE right away since I has Psat for PREP (SAT practice).

Had bUtt for TUSH at first, but it wasn't long as I got SWEETENS THE POT when I started the crosses and changed bUtt to TUSH.

hebow44 said...

DNF because of the Moto clue. Once I saw it here I knew the reference. And then, of course, did the "duh" for American Sign Language. A great Wednesday puzzle. Semi fast solve with a few tricky clues and some crosses that educate. What more could we want.

hazel said...


1. an upper story of a business building, warehouse, or factory, typically consisting of open, unpartitioned floor area.

2. such an upper story converted or adapted to any of various uses, as quarters for living, studios for artists or dancers, exhibition galleries, or theater space.

The word's been around since before Middle Ages, used orig. as verb, but also think hayloft.

Not that wowed by the puzzle. I completed it, definitely didn't find it a slog, but there was just no fanfare of any sort for me. no chuckles. no memorable cluing. basically, just not wowed.

Ron W. said...

Sufferin succotash puddy tat alphabet runs and ranch handles all are ughs for me. pretty sure Ive seen tex in a Don G. puzzle before. pretty smooth for a wed. and I did like yhe theme.

C said...

Overall, a good puzzle.

The well known, in the crossword solving world, eclectic UTNE bimonthly makes an appearance. A publication which I have never seen in real life. Can you buy it at a news stand?

Looking at how AXJOB was clued, makes me wonder how the original puzzle looked prior to submission. The clue was a bit over the top in regards to the editors actions, was it aimed at a crossword puzzle editor? Maybe not. The internet is low on drama today so I am doing my part to help.

*David* said...

A theme with STP really, I mean what's next SOS as in the detergent brand? I didn't like a lot about this puzzle. There was just enough of the theme, the cluing, and the fill, that bothered me wherever I turned, it was pretty much a Triple Crown of wincing.

Nighthawk said...

I knew from a previous puzzle writeup, @PG, that you were a ZZTop fan, so when I saw TUSH, I was hoping you'd embed something about it. Thanks. That prior embed reminded me how much I liked them, and I ended up buying about 4 of their albums the same day to fill a hole in my music collection. Should I thank or curse you? Also, I agree that SHORT TERM PROFIT is different. The other theme phrases are more action oriented, but that one is not, just a descriptive name. But I think it has zing. And was well clued. So, I had no problem with it.

Like @badams52, had Psat before PREP.

I've always thought of PIED as a sort of synonym for motley.

Smooth going for a Wed. until I got to the RO_E/A_S cross, which I stared at for some time before brain switched used from adjectival to verbal form. Nice aha there and last square to fill.

Didn't see the theme till @PG's write-up, but somehow I had a subconscious sense of it that seemed to help when solving. Maybe just a wavelength/wheelhouse thing.

Rube said...

This puzzle went very smoothly and quickly until the SE where I slowed to a crawl. Didn't know JASON or OTERI, although I knew the latter to be crosswordese. It worked out soon enough.

So JASON Voorhees is the guy in the iconic hockey mask! Enjoyable puzzle.

Sfingi said...

Loft no doubt comes from the German(ic) Luft, for air.

@C - I have seen The Utne Reader on stands but only in the larger cities. It collects articles from other magazines and tends toward liberal.

Another cute puzzle.

@Nighthawk - Yes, pied means motley, multi-colored.
Pied Beauty
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced - fold, fallow, and plow;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim...

Steve said...

Loved the ASL clue.

Fiddled around with a few of the other fills, but liked the theme and the rest of it.

Those who live in SoCal may know that the winds are not SANTA ANA winds (implying that they blow from that direction - they don't) - they're correctly called SANTANA winds translating variously as "Devil's Wind" or "Hot Wind", which is what they are.

The SANTA ANA version is the result of a gradual mispronounciation of the original, and acceptance of that.

Tuttle said...

Is 46D a fashion reference? Like a long feather boa? Because taxonomically the Pythonidae haven't been considered a subfamily of the Boidae for 120 years or so now.

Shouldn't OPED be clued as an abrev?

41A is historically questionable.

Really, really wanted reexhume for 37D.

CoffeeLvr said...

I don't consider MAO a statesman.

I liked the puzzle. The NYT nearly whipped me last night, so I was glad to come here and restore my confidence.

I seem to remember the expression STOP THE PRESSES from watching Superman as a kid.

@PG, I love the word TEPID also.

Alexscott said...

Yes, there is still an Amway. In fact, the home of the Orlando Magic (NBA) is the Amway Arena. Yup. Replacing Chicago Stadium with the United Center doesn't sound so bad anymore.

For some reason, I was really hoping 17D would be "arse" instead of TUSH. Guess that was just wishful thinking.

Gareth: never heard the phrase "Stop the press" singular. I've always heard it as STOP THE PRESSES(!). There's a great scene in the movie "The Paper" where Michael Keaton actually stops the presses, and a pre-crazy Randy Quaid says, right before Keaton's about to press the button, "C'mon, you gotta say it!" So Keaton yells, "Stop the presses!" and then hits the button.

Sfingi said...

@CoffeeLover - Mao is considered by many Chinese as just a bad Emperor in the cycle of Good/Bad. Can't understand why they would put him on money. But, we have Jackson, Indian-killer on a 20.

I also have a pet peeve about Tear=Rip and TORN=Ripped (Does not!). A rip is along a seam.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but Rip Torn is one of the great actors of our time. (Also, one of the top ten screen names)

CrazyCat said...

At first my response to today's puzzle was a little TEPID, but then after looking it over again, I liked it. I guess I just find it hard to get excited over STP. STOP THE PRESSES was my favorite theme answer. The cross of ASL and LORRE was the last letter to fall. The clue for ASL was particularly diabolical: )

@Steve I didn't know that about Santa Anas, but it makes sense. Sometimes though, in winter, they're very cold.

CrazyCat said...

@PG what happened to the captchas? I now get weird computer generated emails that don't show up in the comments. WTF?

mac said...

Very smooth puzzle today, nice job.

Really don't like stupe, and have never heard it used. Nor dupe. Now that last two-word sentence may not be grammatically correct.

Tush makes me laugh, "tushy" is what some Pilates teachers use a lot, especially in connection with spring-time (before beach season) exercises.

CrazyCat said...

I forgot to say that my dad used to use the word STUPE. If he was still around he'd be 94. Also, he was from far upstate NY. So perhaps it could be regional or generational.

mac said...

I meant to say "supe" instead of dupe. Doh!

badams52 said...


The clue could have been referencing the Santa Ana winds youth band. ;)

A very appropriate name for a band of woodwind and brass instruments.

Steve said...

@badams52 - almost plausible, but I'd say Winds would be capitalised in your context :)

Ever hear about the French vaudeville artist "Le Petomane"? He made music with his own wind-generator. If I said that the tunes emanated from below waist-level and rearwards, you'll know what he was using to blow tunes.