09.27 Tue

September 27, 2011
Steven J. St. John

Theme: Flight From Hell — Each theme answer is a not-uncommon inconvenience related to air travel.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Invasive airline inconvenience (BODY SCANNER).
  • 29A: Uncomfortable airline inconvenience (CRAMPED SEAT).
  • 46A: Wearying airline inconvenience (LONG LAY-OVER).
  • 64A: Excruciating airline inconvenience (the last straw!) (LOST LUGGAGE).
I have mixed feelings about this puzzle. The theme isn't very exciting, but it's cool how the theme answers are in order (from top to bottom) of how a person would experience these things on an actual trip. Also, the fill is quite good (and Scrabbly!). So overall, I found it an enjoyable puzzle with a "meh" theme.

Standout entries for me today include:
  • 5A: Talisman (AMULET). Makes me feel all mystical just reading the word.
  • 3D: Awe (BEDAZZLE).
  • 6D: Spaghetti go-with (MEATBALL). Mmm … meatballs.
  • 39D: Military day starter (REVEILLE). I tell you what. No one can be more surprised than me that I plopped this baby in with the correct spelling the very first time I tried.
  • 40D: Shame (DISGRACE).
The most troublesome spot for me was in the northeast where KNAVISH (21A: Untrustworthy) crosses LINK-UP (8D: Connection). As I've mentioned before, sometimes I have a hard time "seeing" the vertical words in the grid. With LIN*UP in place, I just couldn't figure out what was going on. I could see that an E would make sense there, but I just couldn't get that to fit the clue or the cross. I finally wrote the vertical word out horizontally so I could actually "read" it, and, well, not exactly voilà. I still couldn't make sense out of the grammar. I was thinking of LINK UP as a verb, but I finally decided that, with a hyphen, LINK-UP can also be a noun. Mystery solved. Whew!

  • 1A: Dinner wear for the highchair set (BIBS). The phrase "highchair set" tickled me.
  • 39A: Flippable card file (ROLODEX). I think you can still buy ROLODEXes at the Flintstone Office Supply store. They're old-fashioned is what I'm saying.
  • 67A: One way to share (EVENLY). Huh. Not feeling this one.
  • 9D: Barbara who played a genie (EDEN). I don't have anything to say about this clue/answer, but I know Doug wouldn't forgive me if I didn't post a picture of Barbara EDEN with the opportunity just handed to me like this.
  • 13D: Papa Smurf's headgear (RED HAT). I guess I've never really looked at Papa Smurf long enough to register that his HAT is RED. I see RED HAT listed nine times in the Cruciverb.com data base, and it's never been clued in relation to the RED HAT Society, which I guess might be a little obscure for a Tuesday, but I'm surprised it hasn't been used at all.
  • 58D: Bright star (NOVA).

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 36A: Island ring (LEI).
  • 52A: Moonfish (OPAH).
  • 66A: Due-in hr. (ETA).
  • 57D: Baldwin of "30 Rock" (ALEC).
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Everything 1A: Dinner wear for the highchair set (BIBS); 5A: Talisman (AMULET); 11A: Spoil (MAR); 14A: Working without __ (A NET); 15A: Next to (BESIDE); 16A: Sam Adams product (ALE); 17A: Invasive airline inconvenience (BODY SCANNER); 19A: Groovy relative? (RAD); 20A: One with an office couch, maybe (ANALYST); 21A: Untrustworthy (KNAVISH); 23A: __ garden (ZEN); 24A: A/C measure (BTU); 26A: Durante's "__ Dinka Doo" (INKA); 27A: Wood-dressing tool (ADZ); 29A: Uncomfortable airline inconvenience (CRAMPED SEAT); 33A: President when Texas was annexed (POLK); 35A: With 1-Down, discoverer of cave treasure (ALI); 36A: Island ring (LEI); 37A: Salon polish target (TOE NAIL); 39A: Flippable card file (ROLODEX); 43A: Mag. edition (ISS.); 44A: Father's Day mo. in Australia (SEP.); 45A: Congenial (NICE); 46A: Wearying airline inconvenience (LONG LAY-OVER); 51A: Lawn strip (SOD); 52A: Moonfish (OPAH); 53A: Lumberjack's tool (AXE); 54A: Subj. with x's (ALG.); 56A: Faraway (DISTANT); 59A: Paid no attention to (IGNORED); 63A: Roam (about) (GAD); 64A: Excruciating airline inconvenience (the last straw!) (LOST LUGGAGE); 66A: Due-in hr. (ETA); 67A: One way to share (EVENLY); 68A: Clickable image (ICON); 69A: Not optional: Abbr. (REQ.); 70A: French film festival site (CANNES); 71A: "__ la vie" (C'EST); 1D: See 35-Across (BABA); 2D: Part of, as a plot (IN ON); 3D: Awe (BEDAZZLE); 4D: Panache (STYLE); 5D: Basics (ABC'S); 6D: Spaghetti go-with (MEATBALL); 7D: Mil. branch (USN); 8D: Connection (LINK UP); 9D: Barbara who played a genie (EDEN); 10D: Giga- x 1,000 (TERA-); 11D: Oceanic (MARINE); 12D: State with the Big Dipper on its flag (ALASKA); 13D: Papa Smurf's headgear (RED HAT); 18D: Pop music's 'N__ (SYNC); 22D: Sight (VISION); 25D: "More than I need to know!" ("TMI!"); 27D: Suited (APT); 28D: Scooby-__ (DOO); 30D: Mrs. Gorbachev (RAISA); 31D: Skip church, in a way? (ELOPE); 32D: Sci-fi's Lester __ Rey (DEL); 34D: Jumping chess piece (KNIGHT); 38D: Comm. for the hearing-impaired (ASL); 39D: Military day starter (REVEILLE); 40D: Shame (DISGRACE); 41D: Green prefix (ECO-); 42D: Struck (out) of the text (X'ED); 44D: Red or White team (SOX); 46D: Inn resident (LODGER); 47D: Morphine, e.g. (OPIATE); 48D: Where YHOO stock is traded (NASDAQ); 49D: China's Sun (YAT-SEN); 50D: Pealed (RANG); 55D: Spock's forte (LOGIC); 57D: Baldwin of "30 Rock" (ALEC); 58D: Bright star (NOVA); 60D: Dolls' dates (GUYS); 61D: They may not be quiet on the set (EGOS); 62D: Small body-shop job (DENT); 65D: Former Opry network (TNN).


Sfingi said...

I rather liked the theme as a statement. 'm one of those people who haven't flown since 9/11.

My beef is with the over-abundance of abbrevs.: ALG ASL BTU ECO ETA ISS RAD REQ SEP TMI USN XED ABCS NASDAQ, some worse than others, plus another eleven 3-letter words: ADZ AFT ALI AXE DEL DOO GAD LEI SOD SOX ZEN. And some others that were really variations on 3-letter words: ANET, BIBS, EGOS.
ADZ and AXE in same puzzle is good, though. But just comparing to yesterday's answers on the same page points out how Mr. St.John's is too much.

However, all is forgiven if his middle name is Jill.

@PG - had to check - Yes, you can still buy ROLODEXes at Office Max for those who want to play old-fashioned office. I have a roll-top desk to sell you.

Did like KNAVISH.

Matthew said...

I actually liked NASDAQ (but then, I like words that end in Q, so sue me). Also liked KNAVISH and POLK (there's a president who never gets any shout outs). Had a problem with 6D though. In my life, I have never said "spaghetti with meatball". It's always plural. All in all, though, a pretty nice puzzle.

Doug P said...

Yay, Barbara Eden! PuzzleGirl's the best.

VirginiaC said...

I thought the theme was okay and sorta enjoyed the puzzle but have a problem with 41D - Eco as a "prefix" to Green? Ecogreen??? what does that mean?

Anonymous said...

Green as in environmentally friendly.
Not green as in the color.

Good theme, too many abbr.

Misty said...

I really enjoyed this theme. Sometimes miss the trips we can no longer take since my husband's stroke. So it's great to be reminded what a misery air travel can sometimes be.

But I also liked "knavish" and "knight," and "amulet," "bedazzle," and Barbara "Eden"--a great favorite of mine way back when. Thanks for posting her picture, PG!

Steven J. St. John said...

I'm enjoying the feedback for this, my first published puzzle. The no. of abbr. is definitely less-than-desirable, though honestly I hadn't realized that until seeing them listed like that. Meatball was Mr. Norris' clue, though I probably left him little choice because my clue was about 15 words long (it was a recipe!). Trust me, I had like 20 other better puzzles, which I'll publish if Northwest ever locates my suitcase...

Rube said...

Found this to be a very quick and enjoyable Tuesday level puzzle with a theme many of us can relate to. Only there was no reference to loooong "security" lines. My only writeovers were APT/fiT and ZEN/tEa.

Time has apparently befuddled my mind as I'm confusing Barbara EDEN with the "Bewitched" TV show, probably because BEDAZZLE, (great word by the way), appeared shortly after I got EDEN. (Actually never watched either of them on a regular basis.) I just Googled and found out that the network executives were concerned with showing Barbara Eden's belly button with her Genie costume and insisted that it not be exposed. That was in the '60s. How times change!

REDHAT to me refers to a version of Linux.

Thanks for the appearance Mr. St. John. Always nice to get feedback from the constructor. BTW, I assume your middle name is not "Jill"... (a concept better left alone).

Steven J. St. John said...

Sorry to post twice, but for Rube - to me Red Hat is Linux too. Mr. Norris changed that clue, probably wisely recognizing that was an obscure know-it-or-you-don't clue. (I actually don't know about Papa Smurf's headgear - but at least I could get HAT from headgear...)

The J is Jill if it really wins me a supporter...

Dennis said...

What is a "meh" theme?

hebow44 said...

Caught in the same void as PG with Lin_up and _navish. I eventually put the "e" in, thinking this was another word I needed to learn for CW puzzles. Guess I should have used my ABC's instead. Rumor has it that we will be loosing one of these in flight complaints with the new 787. Anyone checked into a maiden flight?
Had to laugh at the Redhat answer, as this was the name we gave to the most accomplished sand-bagger at our golf club. Then one of the guys changed it to Papa Smurf ... and now I know why.

CoffeeLvr said...

Haven't flown in quite a while, but expect to next spring. However, between work and vacations I flew a lot for about ten years. I don't miss any of the "inconveniences" at all. But I really liked seeing them in my puzzle this morning. Very clever. Great job, Mr. St. John. Thanks for coming by, I always appreciate the constructors point of view.

I had ROT before MAR (it is Tuesday), but otherwise very smooth. I need to learn OPAH, maybe associate moon (fish) with OPAl, then OPAH.

Surprised to have Scooby DOO in the grid and INKA Dinka Doo in another clue. Boy, Durante, I can hardly remember.

A lot of nice Scrabbly letters, but an F and a W short of a pangram.

I don't mind abbreviations per se, just when they are not in the language, such as ISS and ALG. But BTU, TMI, USN, even REQ are just fine by me. @Sfingi, RAD is slang, and I think of it as a word, although it is a truncated form of radical.

Have a good Tuesday, all.

Steve said...

I fly all the time - 160,000 miles last year, 100,000 so far this year, and I'm writing this at JFK waiting for my flight back to LAX having arrived last night, so this theme resonates :)

And no, I don't work for an airline!

I rarely check baggage, so the lost luggage has only happened to me once, but the rest are a regular occurrence!

Travel light, leave your jewelry at home and don't wear boots that lace up to your knees, because you're going to have to take them off.

@PG - I remember REVEILLE spelling by REVE meaning dream, (French!) ended by ILLE

Bugle Boy said...

So REVEILLE is an ill dream. I thought as much.

Steve said...

@Bugle Boy - it would be just an ill dream, except you personify horrible reality (that and the Drill Sergeant being way too loud for that time in the morning!)

CrazyCat said...

Nice Tuesday level puzzle. MEATBALL! Yum!

Count me in for having LINE UP before LINK and wondering what ENAVISH was. Didn't have time to dwell on it.

I can really relate to the theme. Delta has LOST my LUGGAGE twice and my husband's once. His was lost somewhere between LAX and Rome at the beginning of two week trip. Didn't show up until after we were back in CA for a week. Worst airline inconvenience - sitting on the tarmac for five hours and then being stranded in the Atlanta airport overnight on the way to my MIL's memorial service. That was a very LONG LAY-OVER. Delta again! Rant over.

Margaret said...

I can't get the old Alka-Seltzer commercial out of my head now: "Thatsa one spicy MEATBALL!" Anyone? Just me?

Hand up for Linux/REDHAT -- my husband is a Linux guy.

I thought the theme was better than "meh" BTW; luckily I've never had LOSTLUGGAGE which is probably because I always carry on!

badams52 said...

Finally a TMI abbreviation that is for Too Much Information! I'm so used to it being clued for Three Mile Island instead which I am tired of.

Theme was o.k. would have preferred cramped seating as that's how I think of airplanes, but I know it doesn't fit the pattern.

Otherwise enjoyed the spin.

Misty said...

@Margaret--yep, I remember that spicy meatball too.

I got Papa Smurf's Red Hat, but somebody please tell me what Linux is?

Brian said...

Doug would have found a better picture of Barbara Eden IYKWIM

mac said...

Nice puzzle, funny theme, not looking forward to my long flight on October 16....

Knavish is unusual but gettable, and rolodex is a little old, but the rest is fine.

It must be awful for a constructor to have so much of his puzzle redone...

Mokus said...

@Margaret, I too remember the Alka Seltzer ad but the entry reminded me of an old Josh White number. A guy with only a dime goes into a restaurant and orders one meatball. The waiter calls out so all could hear, "One meatball and no spaghetti! You gets no bread with one meatball!"

I enjoyed the puzzle and the theme. I hate to fly for all the reasons listed and about a dozen more.

CoffeeLvr said...

@Misty, this is probably too late, but Linux is a computer operating system, an alternative to Windows.