Nov 19, 2011

Saturday, Nov 19, 2011 Bruce Venzke

Theme: None

Words: 68

Blocks: 37

Well, I have to say, yesterday's puzzle took longer than today's - two Bruce constructors in a row, and I guess I was on Bruce Venzke's wavelength, even at this hour of the morning. Truly, my only hang ups were at a couple of DOWN clues. I hope your Saturday solve was just as inspiring, and for those persons who dared try a Saturday for the first time, this grid was a good jumping off point~!

Double symmetry, which I don't often see, with corners of triple sevens, and;

Two grid spanners -

29. First of an old film septet : ROAD TO SINGAPORE - A comedy series that included six other locations, and three main stars - Bing Crosby (who will be crooning in my parent's house for the holidays), Dorothy Lamour (who I don't know), and Bob Hope, who was more a comedian for me than a movie star - never saw any of his films

38. Hold back : KEEP AT A DISTANCE

and two of 13-letters -

19. Obviously fearful : WHITE AS A SHEET - not that I had GHOST to start, but I did the DOWN clues to begin, which gave me "H" from ROTHS at 10D - but I also had the "E" from ULEES at 11D.

51. Howls skyward : BAYS AT THE MOON - which makes me think of this classic song from Ozzy Osbourne, and the number of letters is the same, but...."Listen in awe, and you'll hear him - link to the song"

Half a dozen abbreviations in the three-letter answers, and quite a bit of musical variety, as well

Yes, No, Maybe, Not ???


1. Quinine target : MALARIA - well, I wanted "LEG ache" or something like that, since we had this in the Jeff Chen "Q" puzzle from Sunday....

8. Smartened (up) : SPRUCED - right before your date gets to the door, one would "spruce up" the place - I haven't had to do much sprucing, lately....

15. Hard to nail down : EVASIVE

16. When parents don't want a teen to be home? : TOO LATE

17. Equity complaint : "NOT FAIR~!"

18. "Don't Wanna Lose You" singer : ESTEFAN - Gloria, and I will link this one to offset my Ozzy indulgence

21. Like some jokes : TASTELESS - I just used this word in last Saturday's blog

22. Red Ryder ammo : BBs - oh, we are getting close to that classic seasonal movie (clip) - always brings a smile~!! Also - 35D. Shooter insert : PEA

25. Richard Marx label : EMI

26. Crude amt. : BBL - short for Barrel, and I know this corner has had a long discussion on why this is so in the past

36. Drawer : ARTIST - nice misdirection, but I has some letters from the DOWN clues, including the ending -ST, so I was not fooled.

37. Freezes over : ICES UP

42. "Merv Griffin's Crosswords" announcer Hall : EDD

43. Spring sign : BUD - Not LEO,

that's a summer sign, but a flower bud - got me for a second; over-thinking on Saturday is usually the norm (and I just learned that

44. Do some needling : SEW

45. Doughnut-shaped treat : LIFESAVER - candy, and a corporate plug - not that I like them

55. Rolling service station? : TEA CART

56. They were the Browns before they moved from St. Louis : ORIOLES - this was once my favorite baseball team, because I liked their old logo

58. High-speed contest : AIR-RACE - tragic incident in Reno on Sept. 16th

59. More restless : ANTSIER

60. Crept : SNEAKED, and 8D. Enter stealthily : STEAL IN

61. Sages : NESTORS - a reference to the wisest Greek of the Trojan War


1. "So many __, so little time": Mae West : MEN

2. Declare : AVOW - start with AV_ _, wait on the perps

3. Stucco strip : LATH

4. Comparable to a fiddle : "AS FIT as a fiddle"

5. Gaucho gear : RIATA

6. Wrigley Field features : IVIES - Baseball

7. Does some lawn maintenance : AERATES

9. Western group : POSSE

10. Some IRAs : ROTHS

11. "__ Gold": 1997 film : ULEE'S - becoming a crossword staple

12. Bookstore area, often : CAFE

13. French political division : ETAT - French for state - Lemonade is Mr. French around here

14. Outdoor shelter : DEN - I had HUT, thinking of this crew

20. Event before finals : SEMI - meh, it's a bit off for me

22. Gas neighbor : BRAKE - ah, the pedals on the floor of your car, truck, van, etc. - again, I was over-thinking it

23. Made holes : BORED

24. Full : SATED

26. Some crew members, casually : BO'S'NS - nautical term Boatswains

27. Giants manager Bochy : BRUCE - More baseball, and a self-shout-out for Mr. Venzke - hey, I try and do the same in every puzzle I have constructed....SPY and RICH work so well

28. Romantic toon mammal : LEPEW - doesn't this clue sound like it's asking for "SKUNK" ???

30. Roller coaster element : DIP - not CAR

31. Defense agency since Nov. 2001 : TSA - I am sure they're hiring for the holiday season

32. Baseball's Little Giant : OTT - and yet more baseball - do we long for April already ???

33. They're often in a mess : GIs - General Infantry - OOPS, totally wrong my whole life - the soldiers that eat in the mess tent

34. Patriot __ : ACT

39. Looked out for? : ABETTED - the "lookout" is charged with aiding and abetting during a crime

40. Attic collection : DUST - no need to over-think again

41. Gem State native : IDAHOAN - The Gem State - good site to know for future puzzles - bookmark the link now ~!

45. Wet suit material : LYCRA

46. "Wicked Game" singer Chris : ISAAK - and another musical link, this one is raunchy - at least it was when it came out

47. Burlesque : FARCE

48. Sci-fi pioneer : VERNE - Jules, who some believe had visions of the future, and could see the things he wrote about long before they were invented - or did he just inspire them?

49. Gives forth : EMITS

50. Nocturnal resting spot : ROOST

51. "__ Green": Kermit's song : BEIN' - OK, here's Kermit, but this one is my favorite

52. Bern's river : AARE - map

53. Variety : OLIO

54. Start to do well? : NE'ER-Do-Well

55. Jobs for grad students : TAs - Teaching Assistants

57. Many SAT takers : SRs - Seniors

Answer grid.

Movin' Right Along ~!!


Note from C.C.:

Happy Birthday to our sweet Creature. Thanks for the kindness and caring you've shown to all of us in the past year.


Dennis said...

Wow, in contrast to yesterday's, this was a flat-out speed run. I was done before I knew it, and there were only a couple spots where I had to perp up to finish. I did, however, spend a fair amount of time when I was done trying to see a theme, even though it's Saturday. The thing that got me looking was seeing the beginnings of 38A, 'Keep at' and 51A, 'Bay'. Sometimes it's best not to overthink things.

Some very clever clues, including 'rolling service station', 'gas neighbor' and 'they're often in a mess'. And of course, who did we all think of with 1D?

But a bigger question for me is, why the hell am I up at 4am?

Nice job, Splynter, as always a great read. And a Happy, Happy birthday to one of our outstanding posters, Creature! I hope this one's your best yet!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Yep, this was the easiest Saturday puzzle we've had in a long time. A few unknowns (BRUCE Bochy, NESTORS, BEIN' Green) and some learning moments (wetsuits are made of LYCRA? I always thought they were made of rubber or neoprene), but nothing the perps couldn't handle. And everything else, including the long answers, thankfully, really just fell into place.

Sometimes it's nice to not have to strain my brain on a Saturday morning...

desper-otto said...

I agree. Today was a speed run. No burps or hiccups, just twelve minutes top to bottom.

Voice of experience: Don't take your pea shooter and pepper the sand your neighbor is going to use for wall plaster. 'Course I was just a sprout then.

We had lots of sick folks yesterday. Hope you're all doing better today...and hope you've all had your flu shots.

Bruce S. said...

Nice writeup splynter. I agree, super speedy solve. Almost wish I had timed myself on a saturday. Very little to slow me down. Have a nice saturday all.

SouthernBelle said...

Mornin' Ya'll,

What a whiz of a puzzle; especially for a Saturday morning!

Ulee's Gold was partially filmed in my city and my husband was "one of the crowd". He was so proud of his role as priest of our church.....but you know the rest of the story...he ended up on the cutting room floor! Just a short glimpse of him, but we had to watch it five or six times.

Wasn't it nice to have the letters just jump in.....without really thinking?

Thanks Splynter for a great job.
Great way to start off the weekend.

HeartRx said...

Good morning Splynter, C.C. et al.

Fun puzzle followed by a witty and informative write-up, Splynter - thanks! My one mis-step was to fill in "ghost" instead of WHITE AS A SHEET. Should'a done the downs, like you.

Just wanted to stop by to wish our dear Creature a very, very happy birthday! Make it a good one!!

Husker Gary said...

I agree Splynter, yesterday was tougher but this was a pleasant exercise. Everything fell quickly with the NE the only area that took an extra visit (dang GHOST).

-My uncle got malaria in the South Pacific in WWII and took quinine pills his entire life
-Wrong but soon right missteps – GHOST/SHEET, ELUSIVE/EVASIVE, SAME/FAIR, LEO/BUD, SKUNK/LEPEW, SNEAK/STEAL although SNEAK visited later
-I feared mom and dad did not want teen home TOOSOON in case they were amorously engaged
-Grandson may get BB gun for here and not home – with mom’s permission
-Drawer joins number, summer, et al in misdirection puzzle section
-NESTORS is new to this rural bumpkin (see yesterday’s lazy cluing)
-Aerate? Yup! Power rake? Nope!
-Curly’s Gold was an unfortunate sequel to City Slickers
-HBD, Creature!

kazie said...

A relative-for-Saturday speed run for me, with a few missteps: EVASIVE and GHOST before their corrections and not knowing NESTORS together with brain fart on NE'ER, left the R slot blank. First time for ages I got into a Saturday puzzle so easily and enjoyed the solve this much.

A very happy birthday, and I think it was your son who is just home after brain surgery. What a great blessing and a birthday gift for you that he is doing well!

Spitzboov said...

Good morning all. Good write-up, Splynter.

I agree with the 'speed' comments. Definitely easy for a Saturday, and significantly easier than Bruce's Friday offering. The long acrosses actually helped with the solve. My only nit was with TSA. It is a 'security' agency. They are in the Dept. of Homeland Security; not in the Defense Department. You would be hard put to find the word 'defense' anywhere in their website description of themselves.

Have a good weekend.

Tinbeni said...

Splynter: Nice write-up & links.

Though, if you want to call a clue/answer 'meh' I would have put it on 25-A, Richard Marx label/EMI.
(Other than the Beatles & Apple Records, I can't say I care to remember any ARTIST's record label).

20-D, Event before finals/SEMI wasn't 'meh'
(in-my-book) ...
Unless we are now putting that term on clues/answers that are "too easy."

Had ULEES early, so that Ghost never appeared..
Liked all the baseball clues/answers and how BRUCE got his self-shout-out.

Only write-over; Aver before AVOW for 'Declare.'
Couldn't make sense of nEt-fair (NOT-FAIR) before the V-8 can smack.

Happy Birthday Creature.
39 Again? ... I'm not surprised!

The first Sunset toast is to you.

Anony-Mouse said...

I tried the 'Saturday' and initially it seemed 'good going' - but eventually I got bogged down ... Oh well. Thank you Splynter for an interesting commentary.

Alt QOD:- If God decides to deliver a message to humanity, He will not use a messenger from cable TV with bad hair. ~ Dave Barry.

Lucina said...

Good day,Splynter and weekend warriors. Nice going, Splynter, and thank you.

Thanks to Bruce Venske for this much easier than usual Saturday puzzle. I see he got his name in the puzzle though I did not. Had ICESIN

Hand up for going across and down although MALARIA appeared instantly.

Two spoil spots, BEIN Green and BBL gave me a DNF. Thought 22A BBS and 26A BBL might be the same at first.

Happiest of birthdays, Creature! How wonderful that your son is doing well.

Have a super Saturday, everyone!

Sfingi said...

Agree, way easier than Fri,


Had a few writeovers:
jUnk before bUST (as in Ancient Greek) before DUST;
WElls before VERNE;
nYlon before mYlar before LYCRA;
EST before BBL.

PEAshooter with BBgun reminded me that Robert Blake was Little Beaver 1944-7. Originally Mickey Gubitosi, a much abused child actor - which explains why he eliminated Blakey.

Misty said...

Well, unlike everybody, I found this tough. Spent all day yesterday in Emergency with my husband, who was admitted with dizzyness and nausea and couldn't stand up to go home. So am distracted and a bit worried (although no new stroke apparently). Takes a toll on the little grey cells, as Poirot liked to call them. So especially grateful for Splynter's write-up.

Mike said...

An embarrassing DNF because of an irrational insistence that Bern's river was the ARNE. Thus couldn't make sense of AINRACE in spite of the recent Reno accident which took the life of a friend, and of course TERCART didn't make much sense either.

Friday, however, was a speed race for me. Different strokes for different solvers, I guess...

Splynter said...

Hi Again,

Tin, I was of the mind that if the event is the finalS, then the series before that is the semiS - that's why I gave it my "meh"...

And I had no clue on EMI, so I should have said it was a WAG.

Thanks for all the comments ~!

On to re-insulating the attic ~!


Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Zoomed through, seemed like about a Wednesday.

Hand up for GHOST, which ULEE exorcised.

WBS. When I got certified for diving some years ago, wet suits were made of nitrogen-blown neoprene rubber foam. LYCRA could have been the outermost ply, I suppose, but who knew?

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning, all. Thanks for a great write up, Splynter, for an easier than normal Saturday puzzle.

Happy birthday, Creature.

Although I was always good at geography, I've never been able to keep straight where all of those four letter European rivers flow. I usually need a perp or two. The ghost didn't visit my puzzle since I already had called in the POSSE and that 'S' pointed to SHEET. had RIATo (I've seen it spelled both ways), but ToSTELESS jokes didn't seem quite right.

Our GIS would be in a real mess (not the mess tent) if they had to rely on PEA shooters and BBS. Interesting to see TSA and Patriot ACT symetrically placed in the puzzle.

Thanks, Bruce for a fun Saturday.

Misty, here's hoping all goes well with your DH's recovery.

JD said...

No time to write, but wanted to say Happy Birthday to Creature. Here is a bouquet for you.

Misty said...

@Grumpy, many thanks for the good wishes. I'm off to the hospital in another fifteen minutes, with fingers crossed and prayers that we'll get him back home soon.

Here's another of my naive questions: what does DH refer to? It was in a recent puzzle and I had no idea.

Again, many thanks.

Bill G. said...

Happy birthday Creature!

I enjoyed this Saturday puzzle! That is almost a first for me. I guess it's because many of the answers were in my mental ballpark. Thanks Bruce and Splynter.

Lucina said...

DH means Dear or Darling Husband. Clear Ayes calls hers, GAH, Golf Addicted Husbanc.

We teachers know too well what SEMIfinals mean before final exams.

Qli said...

I had a bit of a hard time with this puzzle, but I went home early due to a headache yesterday, so feel like dishwater today (yeah, that's it). Or it could be the fact that in the North, Mud shows up before BUD in the spring.
ICES UP is what happens when FEMA attempts to put trailers in places they know nothing's gonna be a long winter, I'm afraid.
Pepe LEPEW was one of my favorites; I have a collectible jelly jar with him on it!
Great writeup, splynter.

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Wow! Thanks for the great Saturday puzzle, Bruce. It was one of the easiest Saturday puzzle I remember. Enjoyed it. Thank you, Splynter, for writing it up.

Got the whole NW corner right off the bat. Then the NE corner. I had stop and think, did I have the right puzzle?

The four long clues/answers came easily. The South also came quite easily. My hangup area for a while was the SW. I had NYLON for a spell and BARCART. Fixed those with perps to LYCRA and TEACART. BEIN came with perps.

I remembered Gem State native/IDAHOAN from some earlier puzzle. It always stuck with me, for some reason.

Off to raking leaves. 56 bags put on the curb, so far.

See you tomorrow.


Abejo said...

To Creature:

Happy Birthday. Always enjoy your posts.


Avg Joe said...

I couldn't believe that it took longer than 10 minutes for THIS misstep by Lee Corso on Game Day to go viral. (Language warning). But he already has apologized live.

Keith Fowler said...

Yes, easy as pie. My only error was in sticking BORON in for BRAKE. It was an impulse; I've learned to trust them--except of course when they are wrong.

I remember my Red Ryder "Daisy" rifle. Ryder himself didn't use BBs, but we kids did.

Ah, the ROAD TO SINGAPORE! I loved the Road films and for a time Bob Hope was my favorite movie star--always wise cracking, tossing off cynical asides, always like Pepe LE PEW angling to get the girl, then terrified once he got her! Bing was always slick, but I guess he established the idea that the straight man needed to have an additional talent (such as singing) to justify his screen time.

Steve said...

@Barry - "easiest puzzle we've had" - Really? Not for some of us, let us have our own opinion, eh?

@Misty - best wishes and prayers for your hasband

Annette said...

Happy Birthday, Creature!

JD, watching those BUDs bloom was so beautiful! I wish they'd have paused a moment as each one fully opened so you could enjoy it more.

Some thought-provoking clues/fill, but no interesting comments about them are coming to mind. However, I did appreciate the unique layout of the puzzle itself! It reminds me of a Battleship! game board.

C.C. - a bit of feedback for you: I really like that you're no longer combining two days of blogs on one page. It makes it much easier to jump to the bottom and check for new comments to that day's blog throughout the day - not that I have as much time for it lately... :( I hope it's not causing you more work, storage space or money though.

eddyB said...


Seems like old times.

Sorry Neb fan.

Waiting for Rangers and Montreal.


Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Happy birthday wishes to you, creature.

Damn hard puzzle yesterday, not as hard today. Enjoyed both, but enjoyed today's more.

Had MUD instead of BUD at first. Had a problem with SEMI, as I cannot imagine, for example, an Emcee saying, "Welcome to the semi!"

Wanted BUNDTCAKE for 45A for far too long a time before seeing the light.

Had RAS instead of TAS for 55D, which in conjunction with not remembering AARE, prevented me from getting TEACART. I kept thinking, "What the heck could RE_CART be?"

So technically a one-cell DNF.

Best wishes to you all.

Bill G. said...

Off for a short bike ride and a macchiato. But before I go, here's a great video of a much-better-than-usual magic act.

Anonymous said...

Well, all you folks who thought this was easy may be correct. I, who usually get between five and ten fill-ins on Saturday almost finished it after a long time and a number of Googles. I appreciated it being "easy" because I do get so discouraged sometimes.

ant said...

I thought I was finally getting these Saturdays down, and felt pretty good about my time (which was half of yesterday's). It turns out that everyone nailed this one. Ah, well...let's see how I do next week...

I had ULEE'S in the grid, but I was so sure of "ghost" that I took it out, thinking something else would fit with gold.

HG, I had that same thought about the parents hoping not to get caught by the kids, though I didn't go so far as "TOO soon." Good one!

Gloria ESTEFAN did a cover version of Carole King's It's TOO LATE. Here's a video of them singing the song together (4:29) in 2009. It's an amateur video, but well done and worth watching. I can't believe how great they both look!

Happy Birthday, Mrs C!

rondo said...

Question: doesn't the answer to 8 down "steal in" violate some unwritten rule that the answer not be related to the clue, in this case "enter stealthily"?

just wondering...

looking forward to the holidays - our son returns from Iraq!

happy thanksgiving, rondo

ant said...

Bill G, thanks for the magic video. Whenever I see magicians now, especially "theatrical" magicians, I can't but think of GOB from Arrested Development. And now I hear the series might be coming back to TV for a few episodes prior to a release on the big screen.

rondo, good catch!

LaLaLinda said...

Hi Everyone ~~

I thought maybe I was getting better at Saturday puzzles, but nope ... it was just much easier than usual! I had many of the same experiences that others have already mentioned. Somehow I don't think of a 45A LIFESAVER as much of a treat. I'd prefer the donut itself or maybe Jayce's bundt cake!

I enjoyed your writeup, Splynter. I was unsure of FARCE and NESTORS although the perps filled them in. All in all this was enjoyable!

Happy Birthday, Creature! I hope you've had a wonderful day.

Splynter said...

Hi again,

HB Creature~!!, and best wishes to you and your DH, Misty.

OK, I can see word before finals, but still, regarding SEMI, I agree with Jayce on this one....

And I missed the STEAL/STEALTHILY altogether - good catch Rondo.


Linda said...

Good evening to all. Found Lemonade`s request and, since next Wednesday will be frantic for the hostess, thought I`d let you all know we are alive and kicking. Had our 50th anniversary celebration last May. My husband said (a few day`s before the event), "I`d like you to go with me to pick out your present" to which I replied, "How much are you prepared to spend!?" The result was princess cut, diamond earrings!
Woo hoo!
Preparing the guest house and my house for 14 for Thanksgiving...I`m really counting my blessings because a friend of mine is having 60 something guests!
I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a "prospero ano!"
Lemonade, your desire to get old friends together is a wonderful one. After everyone leaves I`ll sit down and enjoy the messages from the responders.

kazie said...

Hi Linda,
I meant to react to your earlier post, but have been busy most of the day and didn't get back to thinking about it. Good to see you here again. Sounds like that gift was a real hit--they sound beautiful.

Sounds like you will be busy all the way from now until after the guests are gone. So have a great Thanksgiving!

Lemonade714 said...

Bruce S. how nice to see you on a Saturday; happy birthday to all our November corners.

Anonymous said...

hi everyone, enjoy this column. please what is perp in this context?