06.27 Mon

June 27, 2011
Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke

Theme: I Hear a Symphony — Each theme answer ends with a word that can mean a piece of music.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Stops broadcasting (GOES OFF THE AIR).
  • 31A: Very cheaply (FOR A SONG).
  • 40A: Make minor changes to (FINE-TUNE).
  • 53A: 1969 Beach Boys hit, and a hint to the ends of 20-, 31- and 40-Across (I CAN HEAR MUSIC).
Wow. Super smooth solve for our Monday puzzle this week. Some later-week words definitely snuck into the grid somehow, but the crosses were all solid so they didn't slow me down a bit. Not much to the theme. Kinda wish there had been a fourth synonym instead of the reveal answer, but that's a minor quibble. I guess the fact that I've never heard of that Beach Boys song is a little bigger quibble but, again, smooth Monday solve = great start to the week, as far as I'm concerned.

  • 17A: Took off (SPLIT). Thought about STRIP for a minute which obviously isn't the right part of speech, but then I couldn't think of "took off" any other way. The crosses took care of everything.
  • 23A: Calif.'s second-busiest airport (SFO). SFO is the airport code for San Francisco International Airport.
  • 26A: 1956 perfect game pitcher Don (LARSEN). He shows up in the puzzle from time to time, so if you're not a big sports fan, you might just try to keep this info in your back pocket.
  • 27A: Soldiers' knapsacks (KIT BAGS). I'm not sure I've ever heard this phrase before. Again, though, crosses made it clear.
  • 43A: Exhibit curiosity (ASK). I got this one totally through crosses. Why? Because I was looking at both "exhibit" and "curiosity" as nouns. Wait. The way I was thinking about it, I guess "exhibit" would be an adjective. In any case, it wasn't a verb and that made the answer impossible for me to see.
  • 61A: Lie around idly (LAZE). Sounds like heaven.
  • 64A: Once-over giver (EYER). Ugh. The only thing worse than this answer is its clue. Luckily, this is the only real clunker that jumped out at me.
  • 3D: Acquired dishonestly (ILL-GOTTEN). Is this word ever used to describe anything besides "gains"?
  • 23D: Watercraft for one (SKIFF). This is one of the later-week words I was talking about. I'm not a boat person, but I do know some of the main boating words that come up in puzzles. Not this one though.
  • 24D: Flowers, in Florence (FIORI). Speaking of airports, this one made me think of Fiorello La Guardia.
  • 28D: Diminish (BATE). Hmm. Look like it's missing a letter to me. Oh wait, I get it. Like "BATEd breath." Got it.
  • 33D: Blackball (OSTRACIZE). Another later-week word. And this one has a Z. Awesome.
  • 34D: "Dagnabbit!" ("NERTS!"). I like both of those expressions.
  • 38D: Fountain pen filler (INK). PuzzleHusband and I were watching NY Ink last night for the first time. It's a reality show about a tattoo shop that's staffed by quite the motley crew. Totally made both of us want to get tattooed (again).
  • 46D: Con artists (HOSERS). Now I know for a fact I've never heard this word used this way. Interesting.
  • 49D: Feltlike fabric (BAIZE). Whoa, what? Haha. Ne-Ever heard of this. It's kind of amazing how many interesting/unusual words are in this grid without bogging it down. Two thumbs up.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 15A: Sheltered, on a ship (ALEE).
  • 4D: Hodgepodge (OLIO).
  • 7D: Five Norse kings (OLAFS).
  • 59D: Author Deighton (LEN).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Earlier (PRIOR); 6A: King of the Empire State Building? (KONG); 10A: Felix and Sylvester (CATS); 14A: Beautiful, in Bologna (BELLA); 16A: Very much (A LOT); 18A: "You couldn't hit the broad side of a __!" (BARN); 19A: Shore phenomenon (TIDE); 25A: Applies gently (DABS); 29A: Lamb cut (LEG); 30A: Greek "i" (IOTA); 36A: Worries (FRETS); 38A: Payment promise letters (IOU); 39A: Stage platform (RISER); 42A: Houston player, informally ('STRO); 44A: Souvenirs with slogans (T-SHIRTS); 47A: Surprise attack (AMBUSH); 51A: Message from the boss (MEMO); 52A: Mule's parent (ASS); 56A: Fishtail (SKID); 57A: Roast cut (RUMP); 58A: Use TurboTax, say (E-FILE); 62A: "Am __ late?" (I TOO); 63A: Used a wrecking ball on (RAZED); 65A: Marseilles monikers (NOMS); 66A: Angioplasty implant (STENT); 1D: NEA grant recipient (PBS); 2D: Crunch unit (REP); 5D: Like some bonds (RATED A); 6D: Cookout offerings on sticks (KABOBS); 8D: Spongy ball brand (NERF); 9D: More sensitive about breaking bad news (GENTLER); 10D: Supply party food for (CATER); 11D: Misleading name (ALIAS); 12D: "It's __ for!": "Fabulous!" (TO DIE); 13D: Tiller's locale (STERN); 21D: Drop in the middle (SAG); 22D: Comics Viking (HÄGAR); 29D: Baseball great Gehrig (LOU); 31D: Grant, to Lee (FOE); 32D: Señor's "Positively!" ("¡SÍ SÍ!"); 35D: A dozen dozen (GROSS); 37D: Secret supply (STASH); 41D: Herald, as a new era (USHER IN); 44D: Beats for this puzzle's theme (TEMPOS); 45D: Dallas campus: Abbr. (SMU); 47D: Theater divider (AISLE); 48D: Olympics sportscaster Jim (MCKAY); 50D: In a trance (UNDER); 51D: 1983 Michael Keaton role-reversal movie (MR. MOM); 54D: Caddy or Jag (AUTO); 55D: "__ first you don't succeed ..." (IF AT); 60D: Boston summer hrs. (EDT).


Anonymous said...

Stro? Really? As in New York 4, Stros 3?

mac said...

Nice puzzle, really good words. Knew the word baize from old novels, but didn't know it was felt-like.

Sfingi said...

Thought I was complete and correct, but had StU crosses MEtO. Thought it was State Texas U, rather than Southern Methodist U. Don't know much about TX.

Also thought HOSERS was the Canadian thing. Googled it after - it's originally from syphoning off gas.

Baize is that stuff on billiard tables.

Conrad said...

Curse youse, Grabowski & Venzke! Now I've had I CAN HEAR MUSIC stuck in my head all day! Great whistlin' tune, but I think my girlfriend is about to murder me.

Nice puzzle today though. As PuzzleGirl said, super smooth.

OSTRASIZE certainly wins it for best answer today! Though NERTS is a close second, and is the newest addition to my Cussin' Repertoire.

Bill said...

Yes, I have seen the Houston Astros referred to as "The 'Stros". I'm not a fan of the drop-the-leading-consonant school of nicknaming, but "'Stros" isn't nearly as grating as "The Astronomicals", a term used regularly by Cincinnati Reds radio announcer Marty Brenneman.

Anonymous said...

Smooth my arse! I'm no old pro, but "stro, nerts, Baize........what a couple of hosers". "F" for effort.

KJGooster said...

@Anon: More like 'Spos 4, 'Stros 3 (Right, Crosscan?)

Pretty tough Monday by my solving time, but I like it. Never heard of BAIZE, and I didn't know NERTS was a thing other than what Liz Lemon says on 30 Rock.

Anoa Bob said...

This wasn't as smooth for me as for PG and others. I was around when The Beach Boys were popular and don't remember "I Can Hear Music". (Big deal, so can most of us.) So the reveal was less than revelatory for me.

A couple of non-theme entries, 3D & 33D, were longer than two of the theme entries. Seems to go against convention.

Are 27A KIT BAGS still part of a soldier's gear? I think they went out after WWI, maybe WWII. (Apparently they went out of PG's "Everything Else" list also.)

24D FIORI and 49D BAIZE looked like later-in-the-week entries. (Been playing pool for decades and never heard BAIZE billiard table cloth.)

I thought the clue and entry at 23D were reversed. "Watercraft" could be clued as "Skiff for one". Every skiff is a watercraft but not every watercraft is a skiff. Watercraft include prams, dories, jet skies, dingies, etc., etc.

Clueing 19A TIDE as "Shore phenomenon" sounded off to me. A tide is a body of water phenomenon. One can observe it from a shore, or from a bridge, or from a beach side condo, etc., etc.

Throw in three partials---12D TO DIE, 55D IF AT (I FAT?), and 62A I TOO---and this was a bumpy ride for me.

Watch out for those HOSERS, eh.

C said...

Cool Monday puzzle. BAIZE is a new one to me and on a Monday, very cool.

I got KITBAG from some random old timey song lyric that popped into my head "Pack up your troubles into your old kit bag and something something ..." I had no idea if the reference was correct or not, it fit so I went with it. The crosses exonerated my complete randomness of thought and I moved on.

A shout out to the con artists of the Great White North. "There's no way I'll crash this, this is a beer truck, eh?"

Anonymous said...

You know, the "AIR" in OFFTHEAIR isn't an air, and the tune in FINETUNE isn't a tune, but the song in FORASONG is, in fact, a song. The metaphor 'for a song' is based on this.

Steve said...

BAIZE is very common usage in the UK - not only for the billiard table cloth, but it's often used as a simile to describe very well-manicured lawn or grass - a pro baseball outfield (the 'STRO's outfield, e.g.) could be described as "smooth as baize".

HOSERS was new to me. Enjoyed the Italian lesson too.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was difficult for a Monday. But not in a bad way. I did not like BATE or STRO, but other than that it was a good puzzle and, like others, I learned some things.

I couldn't get ASK because I thought the clue was "EXHIBITED CURIOUSLY" and a few others like stent and eyer weren't coming to me. For some reason didnt think of RUMP but thought of butt. I alot of words and phrases for some reason took a little longer to come to me today.

Nighthawk said...

My sense was that this was not too smooth. Or if smooth, then more amped up cluing than a usual Moday, at least for me. Started out a bit cranky in the NW b/c couldn't think of PRIOR, wanted something like "before", so moved on.

Had _ _ _ BAGS, but KIT wouldn't come. My sense is that it's a WWI piece of gear, like a messenger bag, and is a sort of Brit term.
@C--to finish the line of that song, "and smile, smile, smile!" That song is definitely Doughboy vintage.

Needed crosses to fill MCKAY, but shouldn't have. Just a brain hiccup.

STRO was easy enough, but didn't like it. Nor did I like EYER.

Another brain hiccup with the language of flowers, thinking, in French, FLEUR, but fixed once KITBAGS appeared.

Guess I just needed a second cup of coffee to clear the cobwebs this morning.

BAIZE is also used for card or game tables and, often, to cover similar tables on which documents are passed back and forth. Think of a diplomatic negotiation at a baize covered table.

Steve said...

@Anoa Bob - regarding the SKIFF - it's a single-seater rowboat, so it's a "watercraft for one" as in "one person".

brainylagirl said...

Only a 'bro would say STRO. (Needed the crosses for that one.)

pjb said...

I grew up in South Africa and we used baize (green felt fabric) to cover our piano - to protect it from dust, and over a wooden dining room table - to protect it from scratches etc.

CoffeeLvr said...

Found this tough for a Monday; but I did have some fun moments like guessing SFO correctly. SKIFF really threw me a curve, since I keyed in ShIps. Had "loin" before RUMP, but MRMOM fixed that. Could not see T SHIRTS for the longest time; thinking of some kind of advertising "slogan" rather than an adage.

Just listened to "I Can Hear Music" on YouTube. Not one of the BB's outstanding songs/tunes/airs. I now understand why I never heard of it before even though I was an avid listener to pop music at the time.

Anoa Bob said...

@Steve, the only watercraft that is for one person that I know of would be a single seat kayak or a single seat racing shell.

I have an 8-foot row boat. Most skiffs are considerably longer. Mine has a single rowing seat, but it will easily carry two people, three in a pinch in calm water. Therefore, I wouldn't describe my boat ("Puff") as a "watercraft for one".

So I don't think either "watercraft, for one" or "watercraft for one [person]" works as a clue for SKIFF.

backbiter said...

"Baize" is my word of the day. Easy Monday nice and smooth. I've always called the green on the Pool Table "felt". I've been wrong all these years.

tutu said...

If "if" was a skiff we'd all be sailing.

I heard that saying a few times, anyone else?

Steve said...

@Anoa Bob - it's funny, but I guess both the constructor and I had the same mental association that a single-sculled boat is a skiff - now I know (that's why I love the puzzles and this blog) that's only one type of skiff.

I lived close to the River Thames on London - a great rowing river - and walking the towpath would mentally check off the boats and crews as they came past - eights, fours, double-sculls amd .... skiffs (or not!)

I wonder if one of the constructors is from the UK? SKIFF and BAIZE might indicate so...

Thanks for the boating lesson!

N. Lee said...

I finished it, but it was a little hard for a Monday. Nerts, kitbag, fiori? Give me a break. They don't call them "kitbags" in Iraq. They did in 1917, in France.

Unknown said...

Shipping from Santa Cruz, Mountain View, Davis, Daly City, Menlo Park, Union City, San Rafael, Contra Costa and Walnut Creek California cities to overseas countries http://www.shippinginternational.com/california-shipping-companies.htm .