Tuesday, 11/2/10

Jonesin’ 4:01
LAT 3:13 (Amy)/3:51 (Jeffrey)
NYT 2:42
CS 5:49 (Evad)

Brendan Quigley’s New York Times crossword

Region capture 23So, I’ve largely given up listening to public radio since I got a car with satellite radio in it. So much music! This morning alone, I listened to three songs or performers I know only from crosswords. Hey! One of those songs is in this puzzle: [1972 #2 hit for Bill Withers], “USE ME.” Great song—you can see a live recording here. (The other songs I heard were TLC’s “Waterfalls”—know their other hits more than this one—and a mid-’90s rap by INI Kamoze.)

After filling in the first two theme entries, I looked for a common thread. DUDE RANCH, WHITE RUSSIAN—white dude! Alas, the words appeared in “dude white” order so that was a nonstarter. With the other theme entries being PARDON MY FRENCH and JULIUS CAESAR, it became pretty obvious that the final theme answer would be salad DRESSING. Make mine a vinaigrette, preferably balsamic. Love the theme! Simple enough for a Tuesday but lively enough to be a BEQ.

Did you notice that the grid is skinnier than usual? It’s 14×15 so that the 14-letter PARDON MY FRENCH could anchor the middle.

2d: BLUTH is clued as [Animator Don]. I prefer George, Lucille, Michael, Lindsay (Fünke), Gob, Buster, and George Michael Bluth of Arrested Development.

My kid’s got a girl in his class named Tevya, which always makes me think of Fiddler on the Roof. 62a: TEVYE is the ["Fiddler on the Roof" milkman]. Milkman? Why is that not ringing a bell? Could be because I’ve never seen Fiddler.

Bruce Venzke’s Los Angeles Times crossword

Region capture 25The theme is torsion:

  • 17a. [Being convincing via coercion] clues TWISTING ONE’S ARM. Clue is awkwardly worded to avoid repeating the ONE in “someone.”
  • 27a. [Making a comeback, say] clues TURNING THE TIDE. This sounds backwards to me. Does anyone ever identify who/what is turning the tide, or do we just hear the nonspecific “the tide is turning”?
  • 45a. [Sneering] clues CURLING ONE’S  LIP. My sense is that “he curled his lip,” past tense, is far ore common in writing than any sort of present tense for this phrasal verb.
  • 60a. BENDING THE TRUTH is [Telling a little white lie]. Hey! I have no quibble with this theme entry.

The fill was most notable for its preponderance of crosswordese—the sort of answers that made my husband use salty language when I quizzed him with their clues. (He’s the sort of solver who finishes crosswords but looks vehemently askance at any fill that’s commonplace enough in crosswords but frightfully rare outside of puzzles.) The key instigators of oaths included the following:

  • 34a. [Vintage car], REO. He wanted BUG.
  • 35a. [Ship-locating system], LORAN. He wanted RADAR or SONAR.
  • 41a. [Part of a front-end alignment] is a TOE-IN. Maybe mechanics and car nuts are up on this toeing-in business.
  • 43a. [Mississippi or Mersey: Abbr.] clues RIV. This appears in the dictionary, but “R.” is a much more familiar abbreviation for “river.”
  • 51a. [Actress Chase], ILKA.
  • 68a. [Melville's "Typee" sequel], OMOO.
  • Region capture 263d. [Opera star Pinza], EZIO. A college classmate of mine just tweeted about him today.
  • 10d. [Netherlands city], EDE. Mac, are you out there? Is this town at least famous among the Dutch, or is it obscure worldwide?
  • 18d. [Mountain lake], TARN.
  • 24d. [Dagger of yore], SNEE.

In sum:

“Ilka and I drove my REO up to the mountain. We spread out a picnic blanket beside the tarn and blasted Ezio Pinza on the iPod while we read Omoo out loud. We had a little bit of a set-to, which got scary when Ilka pulled a snee on me. I was lucky to escape with my life and my first-edition copy of Omoo. I should have broken up with her right then and there, but I tell you, Ilka really sends me.”

Edited to add: Dagnabbit! I forgot that Jeffrey’s in charge of blogging the Tuesday LAT now. I read what he wrote and it cracked me up, so you’re getting double the LAT coverage today:

Jeffrey’s review, same puzzle

Theme –Spinning Your Something

Theme answers:

  • 17A. [Being convincing via coercion] – TWISTING ONE’S ARM
  • 27A. [Making a comeback, say] – TURNING THE TIDE
  • 45A. [Sneering] – CURLING ONE’S LIP
  • 60A. [Telling a little white lie] – BENDING THE TRUTH

Four basic phrases, starting with a spinning synonym. I think that’s it.

Old and other stuff: You young whippersnappers may not be familiar with some of the older references in this puzzle, so let me give you a history lesson, crossword style.

  • 22A. [Bow-toting god] – EROS. Ancient Greek mythology.
  • 33A. [Gossipy Barrett] – RONA. 1970s version of TMZ.
  • 34A. [Vintage car] – REO. More vintage than Pontiac and Saturn.
  • 35A. [Ship-locating system] – LORAN.  Did you lose your ship? Should have used LORAN!
  • 36A. [Yiddish laments] – OYS. As in OY, my ship is farblonjet. Where’s that cockamamie LORAN?
  • 40A. [One of the "Little Women"] – AMY. Never call AMY a “little woman.” She is a height-challenged person.
  • 43A. [Mississippi or Mersey: Abbr.] – RIV. “Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey” was a 1960s song by a Beatles (see below) follower.
  • 49A. ["Was __ loud?"] – I TOO. ITOO DTOO was in Star Wars.
  • 50A. [Drawer feature] – KNOB. Also found on ancient radios.
  • 51A. [Actress Chase] – ILKA. An actress before your time.
  • 56A. [Genetics pioneer Mendel] – GREGOR. A geneticist before ILKA Chase’s time.
  • 63A. [Pasture call] – MOO/68A. [Melville's "Typee" sequel] – OMOO. MOO! O MOO! Where are you, MOO? Where’s the beef?  OY! I need the cow LORAN!
  • 66A. [When one hand is up and the other is down] – SIX. On an ancient clock.
  • 2D. [Goldie of "The Banger Sisters"] – HAWN. Kate Hudson’s mother.
  • 3D. [Opera star Pinza] – EZIO. Who can forget “EZIO and ILKA sing Mendel’s favourites”?
  • 5D. [One who's quick to anger] – SPITFIRE. The definition online says,” a person given to outbursts of spiteful temper and anger, esp a woman or girl.”
  • 10D. [Netherlands city] – EDE. The city of EDE is famous for being three letters long, starting and ending in E.
  • 11D. [Plymouth Reliant, e.g.] – K-CAR. After REO, before Cruze.
  • 18D. [Mountain lake] – TARN. This puzzle is very crosswordesy for a Tuesday.
  • 24D. [Dagger of yore] – SNEE. Old knife.
  • 27D. ["Happy birthday __!"] – TO YOU. YOU are getting older.  TO YOU is not the greatest answer ever seen in crosswords.
  • 28D. [Racers Al or Bobby] – UNSER. Before Al Unser Jr., there was Al Unser.
  • 29D. [Decide to play for pay] – GO PRO. The term used before amateurs got paid.
  • 31D. [Keep from flowing, as a stream] – DAM UP.
  • 32D. ["Orinoco Flow" New Age singer] – ENYA. Her follow up hit was called “Orinoco Dam.”
  • 37D. [Heal, as bones] – KNIT/38D. [Pile-of-dishes place] – SINK. KNIT and SINK are anagrams, except for the letter that isn’t.
  • 39D. [Steed and Mrs. Peel's show, with "The"] – AVENGERS. Not to be confused with the comic book “Avengers vs. Pet Avengers.” With Thor, Iron Man and Captain America mysteriously transformed into amphibians, can they possibly defeat a legion of dragons led by none other than Fing Fang Foom? Not without the help of Earth’s Mightiest Pets, Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers!  [Note – this is a real comic.]
  • 42D. [Homeric war epic] – ILIAD. This goes way back, I think to the 1950s.
  • 44D. [__ VO5: beauty product] – ALBERTO. I’m pretty sure Helen of Troy used this. I’ll have to check the ILIAD.
  • 46D. [Twelve o'clock meeting] – NOONER. This can mean doing the crossword at lunch or something very different.
  • 51D. [Certain PCs] – IBMS. What your parents used before iPhones.
  • 52D. [First of 13 popes] – LEO I. He was in Titanic. My Pope Will Go On!
  • 53D. [Fort featured in "Goldfinger"] – KNOX. Another old movie reference.
  • 55D. [Cigar suffix] – ETTE. Something smoked in old movies.
  • 58D. [Director Preminger] – OTTO. Someone who directed old movies.
  • 62D. [The Beatles' "I Saw __ Standing There"] – HER. Someone who sang in old movies.

Please send all correspondence, complaints and whining about this post to Sam Donaldson at Fiend HQ.

Updated Tuesday morning:

Randolph Ross’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Meet Me For a Drink”—Evad’s review

cs1102 So who’s thirsty? Constructor Randolph Ross suggests places to meet up for a drink:

  • “Where to meet for a drink at the office?” – WATER COOLER. This seems very Mad Man-ish to me; we have this machine at work that makes ice and serves filtered water as well. It makes a lot of noise (think of a hotel ice machine) and throws off a lot of heat; definitely not the place to chat with someone at my office, anyway.
  • “Where to meet for a smoothie” – JUICE BAR. A lot of high-end gyms around me feature these now; I think they’re trying to get people to do more than just work out there.
  • “Where to meet for Oktoberfest” – BEER HALL. Oktoberfest led me to HAUS first, but I see that would be a dupe with the next entry, even though it’s a different language.
  • “Where to meet for drinks with {insert cast of Friends here}” – COFFEE HOUSE. Got to admit, I’ve only seen a few episodes of this show, and they were always in an apartment. Did they all live there? Was Joey the first to move out?
  • “Where to meet for a Tom Collins” – GIN JOINT. So what’s in a Tom Collins you ask? Along with 2 parts gin, add 1 part lemon juice, sugar syrup and carbonated water to taste. The name of the drink comes from a popular hoax of 1874, so people have been drinking these for over a hundred years!
  • “Where to meet for a drink with Archie and Veronica” – MALT SHOP. Another very old-timey entry; there’s a woman named Veronica in my fitness class and I asked her if people ever ask her where Archie was. She looked at me strangely and then I realized at 30 years my junior, she’s never heard of The Archies.

*sigh*

Very dense theme didn’t seem to lead to too many clunkers in the fill, although there were a few more 3-letter entries than I like in my daily puzzles. Appropriate on Election Day to have the clue “Elections after elections” for RUNOFFS; anyone expecting any of those in your part of the country? (I don’t think they have them here in the Comm. of Mass., I think of places like Louisiana having them if no candidate receives a majority of the votes in a primary.) I actually emailed the editor about the clue for 5-Down, “Stuffed delicacy” which ended up as DERMA from the crossings. I’d only seen that clued “Skin: prefix,” but I read here that it is indeed a foodstuff (also called kishke), although its status as a delicacy is definitely debatable. Chacun à son goût!

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “Drug Agent”

Region capture 27Matt interprets the phrase “drug agent” as “secret agent who’s on drugs.” All five theme entries are about James Bond and pot:

  • 20a. [Stoner's 2002 spy movie?] is HIGH ANOTHER DAY (Die Another Day, James Bond).
  • 24a. [Stoner's 1965 spy movie?] is THUNDERBOWL (Thunderball, also Bond).
  • 33a. [Classic line from Agent 00-420?] clues “BONG, JAMES BONG.”  Instead of 007, we get 00-420 because 420 is pot slang.
  • 50a. [Girl pursued by Agent 00-420?] is PUFFY GALORE (Pussy Galore with a puff on a joint). Did Puff Daddy/Puffy Combs choose those names because he liked to light up?
  • 54a. George Lazenby played Bond once. [Star of "On Her Majesty's Secret Stash?"] clues GEORGE BLAZENBY. Roger Ebert follows the @georgelazenby Twitter feed but I have no idea if that’s the actor’s account.

Five clues from the filler zone:

  • 34d. GRAY GUMS are [Drab-colored Australian trees]. Of course, the Australians spell that “grey.” Thank goodness the clue isn’t about someone who is sorely in need of a dentist.
  • 2d. DO THE JOB feels like a weird answer. It’s clued as [Fulfill all requirements]. “Will that answer do the job? I guess so.”
  • 4d. The last name of ["Freaks and Geeks" creator and "The Office" director Paul] is FEIG. Needed all the crossings for this one.
  • 37d. [Ascot or cravat] clues NECKBAND. Say what? Dictionary says a neckband is a “strip of material around the neck of a garment.” I think that suggests it is part of the garment rather than an accessory like an ascot.
  • 12a. ["When I Take My Sugar ___" (Frank Sinatra song)] is completed by TO TEA, and I’ve never heard of this song nor seen TO TEA in another puzzle.
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8 Responses to Tuesday, 11/2/10

  1. Deb Amlen says:

    Oh, come on, you’ve never seen Fiddler? Not even the film??

    Loved this grid, especially the “Game cube” clue :)

  2. pannonica says:

    Starsky is in the movie.

  3. sbmanion says:

    How about bowler Ray BLUTH?

    Fun Tuesday puzzle.

    Steve

  4. I would have gone with the “Arrested Development” family name on my blog, but I gotta tone it down for Dubya Ess.

  5. Ladel says:

    Amy

    anyone who can own to never having seen Fiddler is a grounded well adjusted person, secure in who they are, and in touch with their emotions. still, not good enough.

    Ladel

  6. Meem says:

    My fastest Tuesday. Combination of being totally in tune with BEQ today and concentrating on techniques suggested by Amy and Anne. Loved Jeffrey’s review of LAT. Never saw the clue for 54D until checking finished puzzle. Washington Post also a fast solve today.

  7. Gareth says:

    NYT: PARDONMYFRENCH is going to be hard to top as an entry this week!!! Solidly done Tuesday, but wasn’t expecting anything else from BEQ!

    LAT: Yeah, I started reading your review and got to the bit about “my husband” and went “Jeffrey has a husband?” Decided I must have the days mixed up when it sounded like you (Amy) rather than Jeffrey. The “in sum” piece was a hoot! Enjoyed Jeffrey’s write-up too (of course!) but the puzzle didn’t really grab me either.

  8. Andrew R says:

    I swear to you…I finished the Jones puzzle in exactly 4:20!

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