Mar 15, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008 Tom Pruce

Theme: NONE

Hmm, Ides of March, beware! Et tu, Brute? A REPROBATE?

Even though I spent more than 45 minutes plowing and harrowing this puzzle, I still like it. There are no obscure actress/actor/author names or American slangs to bother me, so the ground is not frozen, and I enjoyed my tilling and digging.

I also like the open structure of the upper left and lower right corners, and I like how 13D: FIERCER and 14D: TENSEST are paralleled in a gradual "er, est" fashion.

I only visited google 3 times, irritated a bit by the SAGITTA/REGINA intersection. Neither of the words are familiar to me. I also had problem committing AVATAR to 45A.

Here are the across entries:

1A: Morally unprincipled person: REPROBATE. Jack Abrafmoff, Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, too many.

10A: Working copy: DRAFT

15A: Fell to pieces: UNRAVELED. Really painful to watch such a brilliant, dazzling Presidential Material Mr. Clean fall down to disgrace so swiftly. I also look at Spitzer's career "with a sense of what might have been".

16A: Unearthly: EERIE

17A: Gossip channel?: GRAPEVINE. E! All I thought was the gossipy E! channel.

18A: City on the Ruhr: ESSEN

20A: Scout's job, briefly: RECON (Reconnaissance)

21A: Jury makeup: PEERS.

25A: Medium meeting: SÉANCE

26A: Asian peninsula: KOREA. I thought of Malay Peninsula at first.

28A: Mommie's sisters: AUNTIES

29A: Must haves: ESSENTIALS. I am so proud that I filled in this word with only one E penned in priorly.

34A: Khrushchev and others: NIKITAS. Hugo Chavez's "The Devil came yesterday" speech in 2006 has put Khrushchev's shoe-pounding incident to shame.

36A: Rolling stone's lack: MOSS (A rolling stone gathers no moss). Or ex-Viking's "I Play when I want to Play" wild receiver Randy. Had Packers signed Randy Moss in 2007, Brett Favre would not have retired today. Poor Cheeseheads!

40A: Of plane navigation: AERONAUTIC. No problem.

45A: Virtual reality folk: AVATAR. I only knew this word as Hindu incarnation of God.

47A: Maine town: ORONO. The college town. Learned it from doing crossword.

48A: Saskatchewan capital: REGINA. Did not known this before.

49A: Cut the greens: MOW. Thick rough, narrow fairway, stupid bunkers, impossible pin positions, shame on you USGA.

52A: Cape Kennedy org.: NASA

53A: Salty: BRINY. I was on the wrong direction, thinking of Senator McCain's snappy, pungent and salty jokes.

54A: No-frills: BASIC

56A: Dressing outfit, casually: TUX

57A: Stop gripping: LET GO

58A: Pen: ENCLOSURE. Oh I felt so smart this morning. Filled it in like it's ALOE.

61A: Stuttering speaker: STAMMERER. Alliteration, J'adore.

62A: Extended gaze: STARE.

63A: Stately court dances: SARABANDS. Have never heard of it before. It's "a slow, stately Spanish dance, esp. of the 17th and 18th centuries, in triple meter, derived from a vigorous castanet dance." SARABAND is also Ingmar Bergman's last movie (2003).

Down clues:

1D: Quality of a cheap toupee: RUGLIKE. Is it even a word?

2D: Caruso and Fermi: ENRICOS. Knew Caruso, not Fermi.

3D: Babblers: PRATERS

4D: Utter sharply: RAP

5D: Beyond: OVER. I put AFAR first.

6D: Angle maker: BEVEL. This small English word posed some problem for me. I kept asking myself "What's the English word for 斜边?"

8D: Mortise's partner: TENON. See this picture. It will show you which one is which.

10D: Dig more: DEEPEN

7D: Carroll's heroine: ALICE. Have never read Alice in Wonderland.

11D: Ushers after the interval: RESEATS. What's the matter with Florida? Every 4 years! Do you know that it's against Florida law to authenticate voters' signatures? The mail-in do-over primary will only invite more troubles. I would not SEAT, or RESEAT any of Florida/Michigan delegate.

12D: Host Hall: ARSENIO. Knew him only because Clinton played "Heartbreak Hotel" on the saxphone on his show in 1992. It's the coolest TV moment, for me. I used to love that man, Mr. Clinton.

13D: More violent: FIERCER

14D: Most on edge: TENSEST

25D: Dey of "The Partridge Family": SUSAN. Only knew her as the LA Law actress.

27D:_ - Margret: ANN. Unknown to me. I got it from across clues. I think I hated this clue. That "-" makes it look like a treaty's name. It should be clued as Swedish actress/singer _ -Margret.

28D: Countertenor: ALTO

31D: Eisenhower and others: IKES. Besides Ike the President and Ike Turner, who else is named Ike?

35D: _ Tome and Principe: SAO. Lots of oil in this small African country, shall we go?

36D: Lose one's _: MARBLES. Better not to go, need to have all our marbles together. Let Chevron and ExxonMobile spread our democracy and capitalism there.

37D: Stuff oneself: OVEREAT. It intersects with 60A: EATEN. But I am not fond of 2 EATs in one puzzle.

38D: Constellation near Aquila: SAGITTA. No idea.

39D: Brandy cocktail: STINGER. No idea, my husband probably knows.

42D: Perfectly: TO A TURN. Have never heard of this phrase. Only knew "to a tee".

44D: Wheedlers: COAXERS. Pas de problème here.

49D: Marine ray: MANTA. Got it. A reverse of yesterday's clue.

51D: Mrs. Fred Flintstone: WILMA. Unknown to me. I just guessed.

54D: Porgy's love: BESS. Funny, I read this clue as Porky's love, so I could not figure out why his girlfriend was not Petunia Pig any more. By the way, I have never heard of Porgy & Bess the opera.

55D: Search carefully: COMB

59D: Galilee or Marmara: SEA. Marmara sea is here. See Istanbul?

Have a great weekend.

C. C.


Katherine said...

Good morning. I was waiting for you! I could not get the upper left corner at all. I put in panel for 21 across. That threw me off. Had no idea what the capitol of Saschat....was, and never heard of sarabands as stately court dances. Have a good weekend.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Good morning Katherine,

Our Saturday/Sunday paper delivery guy is simply not dependable. He is always late.

You were not alone in the "Panel" direction. I was there too.

O Canada I hardly known ya.

Dick said...

Liked this puzzle but really struggled with the upper left corner. Completed in about 30 minutes with some help for the upper left corner. I would not have known 63A but was able to get it by filling in the down clues. I remember Regina from my working days when I had to spend weeks there in that dust forsaken area of Canada.

Dick said...

Once I got reprobate the rest of the upper left corner fell into place. In the Pittsburgh vernacular I will see younz on Monday, Have a good week end.

C.C. Burnikel said...


You seem to have spent quite sometimes outside US. Germany also if I remember it clearly?

So your paper does not carry TMS Sunday either.

Dennis said...

Had to circle back to the top left corner, but otherwise pretty straight-forward. Never heard of 'sarabands' either, Dick, and I've rarely seen 'insure' used for 'making certain', as opposed to 'ensure'.
A google-less week is a good week. Hope it's a great weekend for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Reprobate came easy, one of dad's favorite words, for me most of the time. Had trouble with the cities, as usual. Overall a good Saturday solve without a trip to or Google. Sounds like your Weekend paper delivery guy IS dependable, in a late sort of way.

annieallardlane said...

I loved that I knew the capital of Sask. having taken a train across our northern neighbor, back in my traveling days.

"To a turn" stumped me too, as did the upper left...but, all and all it was still a fun puzzle. Have a great weekend.

I had heard of a Saraband from watching "period pieces" on TV...


C.C. Burnikel said...

Hi Dennis,

Thanks for bringing up the INSURE/ENSURE variation here.

I thought I had filled in ENSURE until I read your comment.

Anonymous at 9:50am,

You are right,our weekend guy is dependably late, all the times. You just never know it's 1 hour late or 2 hours late. Twice last year he decided not to show up at all.

He also enjoys throwing the paper wildly and hard at our garage door.

Our weekday guy is so professional and reliable. He always wraps the paper well, and always puts paper under our door, very quietly.

Unknown said...

I still have a problem with the insure answer.
To insure something is to establish a policy for reimbursement should something happen to it. One can insure one's life, house, or car.

To ensure something is to make it certain. One can ensure success, failure, or security, among other things.

C.C. Burnikel said...


My dictionary (Webster's) says INSURE is a variation of ENSURE.

So technically INSURE a legitimate answer here. I only wish that the constructor/editor had put a "Var" hint besides the clue.

Anonymous said...

I see you had been in Germany, perhaps for some time? Until I read that I thought that you were perhaps too young to know some of the well know things like Porgy and Bess, Ann Margaret who is a famous American actress and has been for many years and Wilma Flintstone. So, glad to know that there is a good reason for you not knowing these things. Thanks for your web-site. It is a neat way to check my answers to make sure I got them right. I love crosswords.

Unknown said...

Yes, that would of have been helpful. :)

Bilkirk said...

43D: Made certain is ensured, not insured. Example: Life insurance does not ensure you'll live.

52A: There is not now and never has been a Cape Kennedy. It's Cape Canaveral, home of NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

sallyjane said...

Hey everyone!

When I saw the stacks of 9-letter words this morning, I was hoping for a challenge. Sadly, was not to be. This one took me about 8 minutes to finish. Frankly, I'm getting a little crabby with our editor. Too many "very easy" to "easy" puzzles, too many days in a row. AAARRRGGGHHH!

1A. REPROBATE - When I first saw this clue I wanted DEGENERATE. Too bad it didn't fit!

17A. GRAPEVINE - Very clever clue.

47A. ORONO - Learned this one from doing crosswords, too, C.C., and then moved to MN which has an Orono, too!

63A. SARABANDS - Never heard of this, either, but it filled in on crosses. Love when that happens!

Hope Sunday at least brings us a fun theme to work on.


Anonymous said...

2 days in a row for Len Deighton. He may now be relegated to the
way-back burner.

Dennis said...

Billkirk, just a point of correction: from 1963 to 1973, Cape Canaveral was officially known as Cape Kennedy.

MH said...

Sorry to be so late commenting on this one but I have an excuse. I was flying from San Jose to Los Angeles on Saturday AM and working the puzzle on the plane. This is a good discipline since you can't use Google or this post to look up the difficult answers (not that I'd ever do that ;-). Well, I really enjoyed the puzzle because I did finish it with the one exception of reprobate - I had level instead of bevel and figured that reprolate must be a word I didn't know. The upper left and lower right gave me fits but I just continued to plow through and finished just before landing (about an hour).

Anonymous said...

Never heard of Wilma Flintstone? Or Porgy and Bess? I must be getting old.

Still, thanks for SARABANDS. I couldn't get that one for the life of me.