Mar 17, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008 Ed Voile

Theme: All about "O" (Happy St. Patrick's Day!)

17A: Willa Cather classic: O Pioneers!

26A: 19th Century Italian song: O Sole Mio

37A: Trial-of-the Century name: O. J. Simpson

54A: Gunfight site: O. K. Corral

64A: 1973 Malcolm McDowell film: O Lucky Man!

A few questions for you before I start today's recap.

1) Have any of you constructed a crossword before? I am a bit baffled by the surfeit of "e", "o", "s" carpeting Tribune's Saturday puzzles. Does the lack of theme entail the excessive use of vowels & affixes?

2) To readers in Chicago: What puzzle do you have on your Sunday Tribune? Is it the same as mine? Or are you offered a different plate of puzzle (NY Times/LA Times syndication)?

OK, now back to our O Fest. I had a very sluggish start. Once again, the upper left corner stumped me. The theme was actually crystallized very early on, but I just could not muddle through my way out of SNAFU & the faraway African animals. I spent over 1 hour on this puzzle.

Across entries:

1A: Reach for a pianist: SPAN

9A: "Sweet" river of Robert Burns: AFTON. No idea.

14A: River into the Wash: OUSE. It's in England. Unknown to me.

19A: Mil. mess: SNAFU. "Situation Normal: All Fouled Up"

21A: Hollow part of a bird: AIR SAC

23A: Greek letters: NUS. I waffled between NUS and MUS.

24A: T. S. and George: ELIOTS. Please give Eliot Spitzer a chance!

29A: Riviera resort: SAN REMO. Or Nice.

31A: Noisy insect: CICADA. Indeed, ear-splitting blast.

33A: Broom made of twigs: BESOM. Is that the kind the wicked witch of the west used?

41A: Dutch commune: EDE. My mind somehow jumped to URI (the Swiss canton).

45A: Leaning precariously: ATIP. I salute your ingenuity Mr. Ed Voile. Very creative way to make up a word. See if others care!

49A: Tongue: LINGUA

51A: On the line: At STAKE

57A: Came to a stop: HALTED

58A: E O'Brien film: D.O.A. Well, the movie was titled D. O. A, no need to abbreviate Edmond O'Brien's name on the clue, don't you think so?

61A: Arab cloak: ABA. I am not fond of the image this cloak summons up. Let's try American Banker's Association (ABA). Can not understand how these highly educated guys get us into this subprime loan mess. But what a bargain for JPMorgan! $2 a share. Where else can you find a 93% discount?

66A: V-formation flock: SKEIN. I put GEESE first.

68A: Money factory: MINT. Not surprised that the Zimbabwean Mint is now mothballed, talk about inflation/hyperinflation.

70A: Popeye's charge: _ Pea: SWEE. Boy, those Linemar Popeye wind-up toys can fetch over $1,500 on ebay, esp with the original box.

Down entries:

1D: With the least delay: SOONEST

2D: Of an eye part: PUPILAR

3D: Utterly stupid: ASININE. So many asinine mistakes are made by so many intelligent guys, every day.

4D: Modern prefix: NEO. William Kristol is probably the only Neocon guy I read/listen to.

5D: Generation-based bias: AGEISM

6D: _do-well: NE'ER. That's James Cayne (the ex-CEO of Bear Stearns). This guy played rounds after rounds of golf while his company stock sunk. He actually put his scores on line. Dick, his scores are 96, 97, 98.

8D: Maxwell and Schiaparelli: ELSAS

10D: African fox: FENNEC. Utterly unknown to me. He looks so cute!

11D: Emotional wounds: TRAUMAS

12D: Ahead of the puck: OFF SIDE. Hockey lingo.

13D: Tahlequah, OK school: NSU (Northeastern State University)

14D: Archibald of the NBA: NATE

22D: Chanel and others: COCOS. Or Red Sox center fielder Crisp.

28D: Feed-bag bite: OAT. You've got to try Bear Baked Granola, so delicious!

35D: Pet protection grp.: SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Sometimes it's ASPCA (American SPCA). IGGY, Ellen DeGeneres' dog, knows both them better than I do.

40D: Part of NLCS: NATL. NLCS is National League Championship Series. Rockies is the 2007 NLCS champion.

41D: "Xanadu" grp.: ELO. Learned it from doing crossword.

42D: Small African antelopes: DIK-DIKS. They are herbivores.

43D: Uses a cipher: ENCODES

46D: Japanese mats: TATAMIS. I tried once, did not like it.

47D: Flower arrangement: IKEBANA. It's definitely a high art. I really like the paralleled structure of these 2 Japanese words.

48D: Nit-pickers: PEDANTS

52D: "Growing Pains" star: THICKE (Alan). He is a stranger to me.

53D: Can. province: SASK.

56D: S. Dey series: LA LAW. Why does the editor keep abbreviating actor/actress names this morning? Too tired to write Susan? Or watched too much Bay Hill Invitational yesterday?

63D: Way in: abbr.: ENT. Entry.

65D: Singer Sumac: YMA. She is still alive!

C. C.


Dennis said...

What a fun time today - my google-less week is shot already. Just did not know fennec or ikebana.
C.C., SNAFU is military talk for Situation Naturally All Fouled Up, hence a 'mess'. Also, you're offside in hockey if you cross the blue line before the puck.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Good morning Dennis,

What is the answer for 45A? Now I have ATI_. Not sure if PEDANTS is right for 48D.

Dennis said...

C.C., it's "atip"; pedants is correct - they're people overly concerned with precision, etc.

C.C. Burnikel said...

But ATIP is not a word. I cannot locate it anywhere in any dictionary.

Dennis said...

Wow, you're right - can't find it anywhere, although I've seen it in crosswords for years.

Anonymous said...

I thought the theme was a cute idea but I don't like the use of African animals. This one, to me, was iritating. I can think of a better clue for skein, like yarn amount. Maybe it's just a Monday thing.

Anonymous said...

Hi CC and Dennis,

Was this really a Monday crossword? I, too, was at a loss for IKEBANA and FENNEC. Though, I have to admit, 42D gave me quite a time as well.

And, what is with the continual use of either DEY or something related to her? ;o)

I was reading your exchange re: ATIP (45A), I've heard it before, however it doesn't surprise me that it isn't in the dictionary.

Wow - didn't know SNAFU was an acronym. Thanks, Dennis!

Have a great day.

Dennis said...

And just an FYI - the version of SNAFU I gave you has been 'sanitized' from the original.

Katherine said...

Good morning. Got a late start today. The bottom right corner gave me trouble. I didn't get any of it. I also never heard of fennec, or dik-dik. Never heard of nus for a Greek letter. Never heard of afton (9A). I also put geese in for 66A, never heard of it referred to as a skein. I always thought of yarn. AND, last but not least, never heard of ikebana for a flower arrangement. It was a hard one for me today.

Dick said...

Dennis I liked your sanitized version of SNAFU. You must be ex service person. This one drove me crazy with such words as FENNEC, IKEBANA and the use of skein in lieu of geese (Lois I agree with you on this one). I think I will go back to bed and rest my brain.

C.C. Burnikel said...


I second your take on the theme.

Mksq et al:

IKEBANA: Bana means flower. Ike is let it live. Together it's fresh flower arrangement. It's a very important practice in Japanese Geisha culture.

The philosophy behind Ikebana is kind of like the Zen Garden: Asymmetry is beautiful, less is more, nothing needs to be in perfection.


Dennis was a Marine.

Dr. Dad said...

SNAFU - the "N" is usually found as "Normal". "F" has already been covered by Dennis' sanitization.

Anonymous said...

This one was a killer! My husband looked over my shoulder and got a few, but we were both completely stumped on 46D and 47D. I got the antelope clue and he got the fox clue.

I've gotten to where I finish more of them than not, but this one stumped me.

Leslie said...

Wow - this took me about 1 1/2 hours with Google. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog here as I can get immediate gratification/answerification when I either finish or slam into the wall. Thanks!!! Leslie

Leslie said...

Oh, and I totally agree about Skein?? What the hell? Never heard of a flock of skein?

Anonymous said...

SNAFU also means "situation normal all fouled up"
I do this crossword puzzle in the Bangor Daily News, Maine

MH said...

The words that I knew would be a shorter list than the words I didn't know. Key among those that I had for which I had no clue: O Pioneers, fennec, dikdiks, oluckyman, ikebana, pedants, skein, besom. Even Google didn't help and I had to resort to my Franklin Crossword Puzzle Solver for some of the words. It probably took over an hour even with computer and solver help. In addition to the "O" theme there seemed to be two other minor themes: african animals and rivers. This was humbling.

MH said...

sorry for the bad grammar up there - I'm too lazy to fix it. skein is another word for flock (not geese) as in a "skein of geese". I agree that it was a pretty obscure clue.

Anonymous said...

Oooof. Took a real kicking today: IKEBANA, FENNEC, DIKDIKS, EDE, SKEIN (put down GEESE), OPIONEERS, OLUCKYMAN, LALAW (even though I had LAxAW!), YMA, AIRSAC. I start these without Google (or C.C.) and look things up only if I am really having a hard go of it. Oh yeah, and ATIP.

Anonymous said...

Seattle chiming in! Is it really Monday (puzzle-wise?).

46D. & 47D. Tatami and Ikebana were a given for me...been married to a Japanese-Am. (and his family) for a very long time.

I screwed up this puzzle from the 'get go' and I so looked forward to attacking it with ease for a Monday morning.

2D. Pupilar - I put occular at the start.

10D. Fennec - African fox. Never heard of them.

Like others 66A. way!

These are just a few. Took me about 30 minutes when I came over to your site to put myself out of misery. Thanks for being here!

Off to do the NYT. Hopefully hubby will wake up before I get too frustrated.

TTFN. See you tomorrow! AlohaSpirit

Anonymous said...

Me again. Realized I still haven't finished the darned puzzle.

69A. Plus feature?

62D. Retirement group? SSI?

Help! Any folks still out there?

Thanks in advance.

C.C. Burnikel said...



62A: SSA (Social Security Admin)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much C.C. for still being here (or at least looking back (smile))and providing me with the last two answers. For 43D I put "Uncoder" with an 'r' instead of an 's', which made 69A. 'isret' (huh?)

If you have access to the NYT puzzle, do it...I feel somewhat redeemed! Whew!

Ciao! AS in Seattle (now rain so far)

Anonymous said...

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise;
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

good day all J.R.F.

Anonymous said...

NLCS also on Sunday puzzle. Another interesting acronym used frequently in the army: F.U.B.A.R. "Fouled up beyond all recognition."

Unknown said...

Wow, usually Monday's crossword puzzle makes me feel very smart, but not today. Skein? Dikdiks? Holy moly.

jolienb said...

I was hoping for a more fun theme on St. Patty's day than just boring 'ol "O".
I find that when the theme doesn't excite me as much as others do, I don't have the passion to finish the puzzle and succomb to reading the answers here.
Oh, well....

C.C. Burnikel said...

Dennis et al,

Chicago Tribune Sunday puzzle is indeed the same as our Star Tribune one. And it's printed in their Tribune Magazine (part of their Sunday Paper). It's not available on line.

Thank you again, Rae in Chicago, for providing this information to me.

NYTAnonimo said...

I had never heard of FENNEC, DIKDIK or AFTON either. Was also disappointed in the lack of a St. Patrick's Day theme, so I went on a hunt. Best one I found was in the NY Sun. Amy Reynaldo explains the answer at her blog. And here is a timely spoof. Wishing you the luck of the Irish, today and always!

C.C. Burnikel said...

J.R.F @11:13am,

Thanks for the Sweet Afton.

I wish Afton were in Ireland rather than Scotland. It would have added some beauty to this puzzle.


I thought the theme O was quite St. Patrick's Day related.

Most of the Irish people have this O in their name, I can think of 2 of JFK's Irish Mafia members: Ken O'Donnell, Larry O'Brien. Oh, also, Fox News Bill O'Reilly.

Also, the clue for 58A: E. O'Brien.

Unknown said...


I've been following your blog for a few weeks now, ever since I googled on "Mythical Crier" (Niobe) and stumbled on your site. Now, like many others, I'm a daily visitor.

My paper is the Times-Union, published in Albany, NY.

Seeing how determined you are to complete this crossword without googling has inspired me to take up the challenge too. Working without the Google safety net has forced me to be more patient and work out all the clues -- first across, then down, and then back again to try to figure out the missing answers from the partially filled in grid. If a sincere efforts still leaves me stumped I will google, whereas heretofore I usually let my curiosity get the better of me and would google as a first resort.

Your candor is quite admirable and refreshing. I would be hard-pressed to admit to the world all that I do not know (which is considerable), let alone describe myself being "bloody and battered" by a difficult crossword puzzle (although in truth I have been), as you did in the "Niobe" post.

Today's puzzle was indeed a difficult one. I tried looking up "Atip" in our gigantic Random House Dictionary and it wasn't there, although I did find "Atilt," meaning tilted. Also, for future reference, there was "Atingle" for tingling, or stimulated, and "Atiptoe" for standing or walking on tiptoe.

Every day as I'm doing the puzzle I find myself wondering if this is the day that you will reach your goal. You've been so close, it's bound to happen soon. I'll be checking in. Good luck, and thanks for this wonderful blog which I so enjoy.

P.S. - Will Francisco Liriano be able to regain his form? With Santana in the Big Apple, the Twins are going to need someone to put up some W's for them.

NYTAnonimo said...

You're right c.c. I often can't see the forest for the trees!

C.C. Burnikel said...


Many thanks for your note.

I made use of ATINGLE in today (March 18)'s puzzle. I probably mangled its usage.

I envy you guys for Santana. Cannot say enough good things about what a class act he has been.

I hope Liriano regains his old form. I really hope so.