10.05 Wed

October 5, 2011
Clive Probert

Theme: I'm tryin' to sleep here! — Theme answers are noises that might make it difficult to sleep.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Honk ... honk ... honk ... (AUTOMOBILE ALARM).
  • 27A: Woof ... woof ... woof ... (BARKING DOGS).
  • 42A: Drip ... drip ... drip ... (LEAKY FAUCET).
  • 54A: What you'll get as a result of 17-, 27- or 42-Across? Not! (GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP).
Cute theme idea. I have definitely been deprived of a GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP by all of these things at one time or another. I'm not crazy about the execution for two main reasons. First, it's a CAR ALARM. Nobody calls it an AUTOMOBILE ALARM, so that seems like cheating. Also, why is BARKING DOGS plural when the other theme answers aren't? It really only takes one dog barking to keep a person awake. Again, sort of cheap using that S to make the phrase long enough to work with the theme. I would rather have seen this theme worked on a little longer to see if it could be accomplished with a better set of theme answers. And if, in the end, it was determined that these were the best options, well, I probably would have kept the idea in my notes and not acted on it unless a really good set of theme answers presented themselves. Also, what's with the reveal clue? Why get all cutesy all of a sudden? I'm sorry to be so negative today, but these are the kinds of things I notice and the whole premise of this blog is for me to write about my solving experience. So there you go.

  • 10A: 1996 title role for Gwyneth (EMMA). I didn't see this movie, but I'm guessing it's a modern take on Jane Austen's classic. For more Austen-y goodness, jump down to LYDIA (30A: Youngest "Pride and Prejudice" Bennet sister).
  • 21A: Help in a bad way (ABET). I've seen this clue before, but it still managed to fool me today. Love it.
  • 25A: Cheeky pet? (HAMSTER). I do not know what this means.
  • 36A: Bonehead (DOLT). It seems like there are a lot of choices for clues like this: DODO, DOPE, BOZO … I'm sure there are others.
  • 37A: Pong maker (ATARI). Thinking about Pong kind of freaks me out. I mean, look at today's video games and then remember how excited we were about Pong.
  • 2D: Roy Orbison song that was a top ten hit for Linda Ronstadt (BLUE BAYOU). Sparkly entry of the day.
  • 5D: "To Where You Are" singer Josh (GROBAN). I don't know this guy. If you had told me the name, I would have guessed he was an actor on a show like "How I Met Your Mother" or something.
  • 50D: Red-bearded god (THOR). This little tidbit must have been in the back of my mind somewhere because I wrote it in without even thinking about it. But even while I was entering it, I was thinking "THOR has a red beard? Huh."
  • 55D: Creator of Watson, a memorable 2011 "Jeopardy!" winner (IBM). Speaking of memorable "Jeopardy!" winners … Did you all see Joon last night? He is a freaking ROCK STAR. He made the decision to bet it all on that mental math Daily Double so quickly that I didn't even hear him say it because the audience was still applauding about the fact that he had found the Daily Double. BOLD is what I'm saying. So proud…. ::sniff::
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 1A: The duck in "Peter and the Wolf" (OBOE).
  • 37A: Pong maker (ATARI).
  • 48A: Fragrant compound (ESTER).
  • 58A: Normandy river (ORNE).
  • 4D: Expressive rock genre (EMO).
  • 8D: Sargasso Sea denizen (EEL).
  • 51D: __ Reader (UTNE).
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Everything 1A: The duck in "Peter and the Wolf" (OBOE); 5A: Hail (GREET); 10A: 1996 title role for Gwyneth (EMMA); 14A: "Project Runway" host Heidi (KLUM); 15A: Ardent lover (ROMEO); 16A: Business jet company founder (LEAR); 17A: Honk ... honk ... honk ... (AUTOMOBILE ALARM); 20A: Conifer with springy wood (YEW); 21A: Help in a bad way (ABET); 22A: Jargon (LINGO); 23A: City on the Shatt al-Arab waterway (BASRA); 25A: Cheeky pet? (HAMSTER); 27A: Woof ... woof ... woof ... (BARKING DOGS); 30A: Youngest "Pride and Prejudice" Bennet sister (LYDIA); 31A: Love, in Málaga (AMOR); 32A: In the center of (AMID); 36A: Bonehead (DOLT); 37A: Pong maker (ATARI); 38A: Brit's floor covering (LINO); 39A: Men (GUYS); 40A: "Will be," in a Day song (SERA); 41A: Prefix meaning "hundred" (CENTI-); 42A: Drip ... drip ... drip ... (LEAKY FAUCET); 44A: Mime who created Bip the Clown (MARCEAU); 48A: Fragrant compound (ESTER); 49A: Gesundheit evoker (ACHOO); 50A: Walrus's weapon (TUSK); 52A: Filmmaker's deg. (MFA); 54A: What you'll get as a result of 17-, 27- or 42-Across? Not! (GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP); 58A: Normandy river (ORNE); 59A: Kentucky pioneer (BOONE); 60A: Like lawn spots in need of reseeding (BARE); 61A: Some wallet bills (ONES); 62A: Social customs (MORES); 63A: Jeanne and Geneviève: Abbr. (STES.); 1D: "Sure" (OKAY); 2D: Roy Orbison song that was a top ten hit for Linda Ronstadt (BLUE BAYOU); 3D: On the surface (OUTWARDLY); 4D: Expressive rock genre (EMO); 5D: "To Where You Are" singer Josh (GROBAN); 6D: Spa convenience (ROBE); 7D: Send out (EMIT); 8D: Sargasso Sea denizen (EEL); 9D: It may be tapped at a concert (TOE); 10D: Brat Pack novelist Bret Easton __ (ELLIS); 11D: Intended (MEANT); 12D: Bart's mom (MARGE); 13D: Mail at the castle (ARMOR); 18D: "Ave __" (MARIA); 19D: Poor request? (ALMS); 24D: "Saturday Night Live" fare (SKITS); 25D: "Yippee!" ("HOORAY!"); 26D: Business opening? (AGRI-); 27D: Skyscraper, e.g.: Abbr. (BLDG.); 28D: Cake, in Calais (GATEAU); 29D: Former Berlin currency, briefly (D-MARK); 32D: Kayak maker (ALEUT); 33D: Pie filling that may include beef (MINCE MEAT); 34D: Meddle (INTERFERE); 35D: "Just __!" (DO IT); 37D: Where landlubbers prefer not to be (ASEA); 41D: Winery containers (CASKS); 42D: Boxer Spinks (LEON); 43D: Admits, with "up" (FESSES); 44D: Cartoon Mr. (MAGOO); 45D: Squirrel's find (ACORN); 46D: Avignon's river (RHONE); 47D: Works on a program (CODES); 50D: Red-bearded god (THOR); 51D: __ Reader (UTNE); 53D: Rock of Gibraltar mammals (APES); 55D: Creator of Watson, a memorable 2011 "Jeopardy!" winner (IBM); 56D: Gunk (GOO); 57D: Ft-__: energy units (LBS.).


Conrad said...

@Joon- Yes! True Daily Double! That is awesome!

Anyway, not a bad puzzle today. The theme may be a little easy for a Wednesday; I filled in the reveal answer (I always think of it as the "punchline"...) before any of the other themes.

However, some uncommon fill makes up for it (BASRA, LYDIA, and the top-left and bottom corners).

And back to deci/deca, I thought CENTI and centa were the same; centi being 1/100 (a la centimeter) and centa being 100 (a la centa...something...). Never mind.

Sfingi said...

@PG - HAMSTERS have chubby cheeks.

Happy for Joon! Trebek seems impressed, too.
In my mind Watson was a bum. I don't think IBM got a true test since Watson got to ring in first.

Writeovers - siRs before AGRI; keg, then alE, then TOE.

Wanted twoS instead of ONES. Maybe for Friday.

Anonymous said...

"ham"ster - play on cheeky

Matthew said...

Smooth solve today, with no writeovers. Liked MINCEMEAT, although the clue was a bit obvious. One thing I noticed is that ROMEO crossed TOE at 15A and 9D, which is identical to a set of crossing answers in yesterday's puzzle (at 16A and 13D in that puzzle). I assume the editors do that on purpose (I mean, it would be a heck of a coincidence for two different authors to come up with the same cross on consecutive days), but my question is, why? Or am I just being too skeptical?

Anonymous said...

Being new to crosswords I'm wondering about the definition of the 'reveal
answer' and the answer 'utne' for reader.

mac said...

Very easy puzzle, did most of it across only. Never saw mince meat. Shouldn't that be minced meat ;-)?

That's very cute, ham-ster with the two meanings for cheeky. Just watching a chipmonk stuffing his little cheeks with acorns. This morning a large Tom Turkey knocked on our window. He was out there with 12 ladies.

Josh Groban has a beautiful voice, but very poor choice of music, IMHO.

I'm planning my day in the city around Jeopardy! Go Joon!

VirginiaC said...

Wow! Joon is amazing!

What is "utne" reader?

Tuttle said...

Conrad, the clue is incorrect for 41A. CENTI- is, indeed, 1/100th. Hecto- is the prefix for 10^2/x100. The only common unit to use hecto- is the hectare, one square hectometer. For uses where it seems like 100 (century, say) it's not actually a prefix but, rather, the etymological root of the word (f. L. centum; one hundred).

Anonymous & VirginiaC, the UTNE Reader is a magazine.

Steve said...

@Anon 7:01 - if I read your question correctly, the "reveal" is the clue/answer which ties the theme entries together.

The experts can chime in here, but I understand that the reveal should not come before the theme entries so as not to "give them away", and that a puzzle which has the theme alluded to in the puzzle title (such as the Sunday puzzles in the LA Times, other puzzles elsewhere) then there's no reveal. The weekday LA Times puzzles don't have a title, but they do have a theme. The Saturday puzzle is themeless.

Go @Joon! And remember to let Alex milk the audience reaction to one of his jokes before you call for the next question :)

Anonymous said...

A good Wednesday puzzle.

BarkingdogS is better than just one barking dog, since the 2 (or more) keep the conversation going. At least that's the way it seems when I'm trying to sleep.

Almost had Atari resting on Sega. Alas, que sera, sera.

*David* said...

Easy puzzle with the F word written all over it, lots of fun indeed.

Rube said...

Wanted to put Sonia in for the duck at 1A, (ref. the Disney version). That was the answer in a puzzle sometime back for the same question. Also wanted "Weekly" Reader of course, but it wouldn't fit. First ran into UTNE Reader in a xword awhile ago. Haven't heard about it since. Not having read much Austen, know EMMA and LYDIA also from xwords.

Looking at the above paragraph, I'm thinking that crosswords are beginning to define my literary life.

Good, easy, Wednesday level puzzle... enjoyable, IMO, @PG's criticisms aside.

Misty said...

Got a gift subscription to the Utne Reader many years ago. You never know when these things will come in handy, like today!Have to say I actually loved this puzzle just because it was so alive with barking dogs, hamsters, ducks with reed-y quacks, and, in contrast, Marcel Marceau's very quiet Bip to hush the drip, drip, drip.

Made for a fun Wednesday morning, to be followed by a fun Wednesday night "Jeopardy'! Some day they'll put Joon up against Watson, and Joon will win!

Johnw said...

While a fair amount of trivia thought it was fair and got through it fairly easy thanks to crosses. Took me a while to get oboe, got blue bayou and utne finally. I agree with PG on barking dogs.

Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when Elaine was kept up by one small dog. Lol

Anonymous said...

The 1996 version of Emma with Gwenyth Paltrow wasn't an updated version - it was actually a period piece set in the accurate Jane Austen time period. And it's quite good! I recommend it.

Goliebabe said...

Can't believe you never heard of Josh Groban - "You Lift Me Up". You must give it a listen. He is fabulous.

Yea! Joon.

Sfingi said...

@Goliebabe - some of us are old. Ever hear of Frankie Laine? He had 22 Gold records, 3 #1 hits in 1949. Sicilian-American. As someone once said, "Were not dead yet!"

To reinforce Tuttle, we use Greek for words denoting value or quantities >1, Latin for <1 (for those who believe in numbers less than 1).

I have a weakness for the cuteness of rodents. I caught 8 mice in one day and released them on Oneida Square. I used to let them out at the KFC (not the K of C) dumpster, but it's gone.

CoffeeLvr said...

I agree with @PG, no one says AUTOMOBILE ALARM, which is probably why I first entered AUTOMOtIvE. LINGO and jargon are a great entry/clue pair, although my first thought was argot.

I filled in the reveal answer at the very end, and when I saw APES at the tail, I read the clue. This sent me to Wikipedia, as I did not believe there are APES on the Rock of Gibraltar. Technically, I was right, as they are Barbary macaques, a tailless monkey, not true apes. Still, I didn't know about them at all.

Joon was great on Tuesday, I am sorry I missed the first few minutes (he was at $3600 when the local Amber Alert details ended.) Even a DVR will not prevent preemption. I should clarify, I was already aware of the Amber Alert; I do think they are very important. Sadly, the infant is still missing.

CoffeeLvr said...

Another clarification, the monkeys are Gibraltar are colloquially referred to as APES, so the clue/entry pair is valid.

Ed Ellesson said...

@Sfingi - FYI: one jargony exception to Greek vs. Latin rule: In Telephony biz we used CCS (Centum Call Seconds) to describe 100 call-seconds of holding time (traffic) on telephone network circuits. An alternative unit was called an Erlang (one hour of holding time instead of one hundred seconds). Some traffic tables that we used to determine how many circuits were required to provide a given grade of service were in CCS and others were in Erlangs.

(I used to be a telephone and data network engineer.)

Van55 said...

The Utne Reader is a biweekly complilation of articles from other sources. Wikipedia is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utne_Reader

Commit it to memory. It creeps into crossword puzzles about once a quarter in my estimation. Perhaps more often.

pamela said...

Maybe I was just in a mood today, but I got a kick out of the pair of Austen clues, "Emma" and "Lydia" which you've already mentioned. And then there were the clues "hail" and "ave___", which I believe means "hail", yes? (I don't profess to speak Latin.) Also (okay, this is stretching it, I'll admit) "Boone" and "fesses" because Fess Parker played Boone, right?

Goliebabe said...

@Sfingi - Have I ever heard of Frankie Laine? Sweetie I am 75 years old. Seriously, you should hear Josh sing "You Lift Me Up".

Anonymous said...

PG - Near the end of a Bowl rehearsal featuring Herbie Hancock, 3 grubby and rude young guys plopped into an "off limits" box in front of me. When Hancock finished his last chord, one of the guys ran and jumped up onto the stage near Hancock, grabbed a mike, and began singing. Hancock began accompanying him. I learned it was Josh Groban. At least I knew the name, but I didn't know what he looked like. Janet, Sherman Oaks

Anonymous said...

Theme should have included Snoringwife (sorry honey). Still a nice Wednesday offering.

Hey Joon was awesome. He bet it all on the Daily Double when he was far ahead and he could have lost it all. Just Awesome!! He makes Ken Jennings look like a piker.
(Alec T. is so darn smug, I sure miss old Art Fleming and Don Pardo.)

mac said...

The first time I saw and heard Josh Groban was on Ally McBeal, where he played a very shy singer.
The classical piece he performed was incredible. Ever since I get goosebumps listening to him, except I hate his choice of songs!

Anonymous said...

Mea Culpa re my post above on Groban at the Bowl rehearsal...I should have written that his voice was absolutely gorgeous and heavenly. My anger at his looks and behavior turned a 180 with his first notes. Google his "interviews". He is grounded and brilliant, with a great sense of humor! Janet, Sherman Oaks.

Steve said...

@Janet - I had the same kind of experience at a restaurant in Toluca Lake that used to have a piano in the bar - I was having a cocktail after work with a girlfriend, and four "gangbanger"-looking types walked in, all baggy pants and backwards-facing baseball caps. I didn't pay them too much attention, but inwardly groaned when one of them sat down at the piano and did the "maestro knuckle-crack" - and then started to play ... beautiful classical jazz. The other three stood round singing amazing harmony. Then I realized one of them was Will Smith, and his three homeboys must have studied with him at Julliard.

I kicked myself hard for my stereotypical preconceptions.