Mar 1, 2008

Saturday, March 1, 2008 Annabel Michaels

Theme: NO

My worst Saturday ever! Thorns everywhere.

If not for good old BOB DOLE (54A, One Soldier's Story author), I would've been struck out in every corner. So many unknown names, places and new words.

I surrendered very quickly, after 20 minutes of muddling around. Then I tired out Mr. Google.

Across entries:

1A: Exploitation: OVERUSE

8A: School filmstrip grp.: AVS (Application Visualization System). Unknown to me.

11A: Quartermaster: RSO (Regimental Signals Officer). Another stranger.

14A: Inventors' exclusive rights: PATENTS

15A: At the ready: SET

16A: UFO pilots: ETS

17A: Temporary expedient: STOPGAP

18A: Play about Capote: TRU. Brought a Tony for Robert Morse in 1990.

19A: Demure, in London: MIM. Dictionary says it's a British dialect, the origin could be a mixture of "mum" or "prim".

20A: Actor Alejandro: REY. I forgot his name.

21A: John Wayne movie: THE ALAMO. Never saw it. It's the first movie "Duke" ever directed.

23A: Tearjerkers, of a sort: ONIONS

26A: Retirement title: EMERITUS

27A: Jai alai ball: PELOTA. No idea. But I am happy to learn this new word. Kind of tired of Jai _ clue.

28A: Chanted hymn: CANTICLE

29A: Before takeoff: PREFLIGHT

31A: Howdy-does: HIS

32A: Gypsum crystals: SELENITES. Unknown to me. They are often transparent and colorless. Here is more information: "Selenite, satin spar, desert rose, and gypsum flower are the four crystalline varieties of gypsum."

36A: Actress Arthur: BEA

39A: Historic Site in Kansas: NICODEMUS. Never heard of this place. It's "the only remaining western community established by African Americans after the civil war."

43A: Widely prevalent: EPIDEMIC

47A: Desert blooms: YUCCAS

48A: Circus Hall of Fame location: SARASOTA. Never knew that there's even a circus Hall of Fame in existence. OK, more information for you, the International Circus Hall of Fame in based in Peru, Indiana.

49A Ranges: SCOPES. I put Stoves first.

50A: Run away: TURN TAIL. Never heard of this expression.

51A: Khaki shade: TAN

52A: Can or cup ending?: OLA (Canola and Cupola). I got this one.

53A: Ltr. holder: ENV (Envelope)

54A: "One Soldier's Story" author: BOB DOLE

58A: Chinese Dynasty: WEI. "Any of several imperial dynasties of China ruling from 220 to 265 and from 386 to 556." OK, I found more information for you. If the clue is 3-letter Chinese Dynasty, it's either Han or Wei. If it's 4-letter Chinese dynasty, then the answers are Ming, Tang, Chin, Tsin or Sung.

60A: Dahl and Francis: ARLENES. Unknown to me. If it's clued as Senator Spector, I would have nailed it. (Update: I was wrong about Senator Spector's given name. It's ARLEN, not ARLENE, sorry Senator.)

61A: Universal meas.: STD (Standard)

62A: Some ER staffers: MDS. Is it an abbreviation of medical doctor or doctor of medicine?

63A: Prescient woman: SEERESS. Easily got this one.

Down entries:

1D: Wife of Saturn: OPS (Greek equivalent is Rhea). She is also the mother of Jupiter. Man, I had no idea that Saturn even had a wife. I've got to find a way to remember the names of those Roman/Greek Gods/Goddesses. They are killing me very time they appear.

2D: Industrial container: VAT

3D: Ike's command: ETO (European Theater of Operations). Got this one.

4D: Admonitions: REPROOFS. I put Reproves first, and it fit perfectly, too bad it's a verb.

5D: Rough and rude: UNGENTLE. I tried to put Ungainly, which did not really match the clue, but I've never heard anyone use the word "ungentle".

6D: Triangular wind-catcher: STAYSAIL. Never heard of it. Sailing terms tend to trip me all the time.

7D: Mind reading: ESP

8D: Of a respiratory disease: ASTHMATIC

9D: Dancer Ben: VEREEN. Never heard of him. He is the Godfather of R&B Singer Usher. Interesting, he also starred in the Broadway Musical Wicked as the Wizard.

10D: Dollar bill artist: STUART (Woods). My ignorance knows no limit.

11D: Chance to get even: REMATCH. "Revenge" came to my mind immediately.

12D: Incentives: STIMULI. One of the first words I filled in.

13D: Diffusions: OSMOSES. One of the last words I filled in.

21D: Specialized: TECHNICAL. I was thinking of a verb ended with a past tense. I like the clue though.

22D: IV x XIII: LII (4 x13 = 52)

23D: Antithesis: abbr.: OPP (opposite)

24D: Saul's uncle: NER. Did not know this one.

25D: __ du Diable: ILE. Devil's Island.

30D: Some prepositional phrases: GENITIVES. Is this a gimme for you?

33D: F.A. O. Schwartz, e.g.: TOY STORE. A rare gimme for me today.

34D: Capable of being taught: EDUCABLE. A tiny bit of Bushism: "Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?"

35D: Motion supporter: SECONDER. OK, I second your motion, does that make me a seconder?

36D: Confers: BESTOWS

37D: Shoulder decoration: EPAULET. Unknown to me.

38D: Bombardment: AIR RAID

40D: Women's Lib opponent, for short: MCP (Male Chauvinist Pig). I was pissed off beyond comfort at this point of my solving.

41D: Abu Dhabi loc.: UAE. Another rare gimme for me.

42D: Draft letters: SSS (Selective Service System)

44D: Quayle or Marino: DAN. I wonder how much NutriSystem paid Dan Marino and Don Shula to pitch for their diet.

45D: High regard: ESTEEM

46D: Lamented loudly: MOANED

54D: __ - relief: BAS. Low relief. See this picture. Here is an image of high relief (Alto-relievo).

55D: Single unit: ONE

56D: Paul of guitars: LES. Learned his name from doing crossword.

57D: Snaky letter: ESS. Repeat offender.

Have a good weekend.

C. C.


Katherine said...

Sure was a hard one today. I did know Ben Vereen, but not much else!

C. C. said...

Good morning Katherine,

I am curious to know: Do you use a pen or pencil when you solve the puzzle?

C. C.

Anonymous said...

This was a hard one today! Two days - no theme. I think I need a roman numeral cheatsheet or something. ;o)

Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

Friday Feb 29 clue for 67A "Formal introduction" I interpreted introduction to mean that the clue was a prefix for formal: semi-formal Another one would be annual introduction - semi-annual or automatic introduction - semi-automatic

Dennis said...

I think you meant SarasoTa (FL) for 48A, given that you had Genetives right.
Never heard "ungentle" used either; a bit of a stretch. Tough one today.


C. C. said...


Saturday's puzzle is always themeless.

Don't use cheat sheet. You will be depending on it so much that you will never be able to wean it off. All you need to know is V for 5, X for 10.

Then you remember LCD (L is 50, C is 100, and D 500).

You should have no problem associate M with 1000.


Now I am a bit confused. For example, can you clue JAI as alai introduction? In this case, Jai is not a prefix of alai.


Thanks again. I am surprised that nobody complained about NICODEMUS. Is it a very well known place?

C. C.

Dennis said...

C.C. - certainly not to me; I think I remembered it from some obscure class in school. First time I've ever seen it in a puzzle.

Crockett1947 said...

c.c. I think you forgot 47A YUCCAS in your original post. Wow, this one was difficult. "Turn tail and run" is the complete expression, I think, for 50A. Have a marvelous week-end.

Anonymous said...

Obviously not everything in front of a word is a prefix - but when the clue "introduction" was given with "formal," it was a subtle hint that the crossword answer of "semi" would be at the beginning of formal - since semiformal does not mean formal introduction.
So what would your explanation of semi being the answer for clue formal introduction be? I was responding to a question given on Friday wondering how semi-formal meant formal introduction.
When the answer is "jai" I have seen ____ alai to indicate the first part is needed. But, when the author is trying to be clever, then words such as "introduction" are used.

C. C. said...


I've added yuccas. You too, have a great weekend.

Anonymous at 2:26pm, I got your point.

C. C.

little lj said...

Hi C.C.

Toughie today as well! I feel like I havent solved a puzzle without googling for many moons!

To respond to your question yesterday, no Im not at the competition this weekend.. I thought about going, but the weekend ticket was too expensive (as I am a poor intern), and it turns out I actually have a LOT of assignment work to finish this weekend, which sucks, or I would have gone just to watch the sunday playoffs.

I am reading Rex's live updates on his blog tho! Sounds like a lot of fun!

MKat - I agree with C.C., cheat sheets seem like a genius idea, but you start to rely on them, and you feel so much better when you solve a puzzle using the power of your own memory!!!

Happy Weekend everyone! xx