Mar 27, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008 Alan P. Olschwang

Theme: Quip

20A: Start of the Evan Esar quip: TO THE NIGHT OWL

37A: Part 2 of quip: IT'S ALWAYS BETTER

57A: End of a quip: LATE THAN NEVER

Technically, Esar quipped "To a night owl, it's always better than never". It seems a bit arbitrary and capricious for a constructor to alter someone's original quip at his own convenience to construct a crossword grid, don't you think so? My nerve is a bit chafed by this granular unevenness in an otherwise very pleasing, smooth & Monday-like puzzle.

If not for the upper left corner AREOLE snag, I would have reached the Emerald city and seen the great Wizard of Oz unaided! I found my yellow brick roads very early on, after 37A revealed itself to me. I easily hoed patches and patches of the loose fields, and I did not really find any hard clumps of dirts, all easily crushable.

On a non-crossword related issue, I think I tend to bristle at things that might not raise your ire at all. Take Clinton's explanation for her Bosnia sniper fire faux pas for example, she said: "I say a lot of things - millions of words a day - so if I misspoke, that was a just a misstatement." Many pundits and reporters pounced on her faulty memory blips.

I actually believe that people do misspeak for things that they may not have experienced. I know I would not even consider venturing to Bosnia under that risky situation. I am, however, bothered by her "millions of words a day". How could that be? At what speed? Faster than an auctioneer?

Someone actually counts the amount of word an auctioneer speaks per minute, and it will take Hillary 40 hours talking non-stop to reach a million word. Is she so privileged that her day is consisted of more than 24 hours? I tend to take the meaning of words very literally due to my lamentable lack of understanding of American idioms and slangs and the habitual exaggeration of certain stuff in American culture.

Now back to today's puzzle, the Grid structure is : 15*15

187 filled squares, 38 blank squares, total words 76 (Across 35, Down 41). Maximum word account for Monday-Friday puzzle is 78 in case you have not paid attention to it.

Here we go:

1A: Valise: BAG. La valise, the suitcase.

4A: Earthquake: SEISM

9A: Car lifts: JACKS

15A: Banks of baseball: ERNIE. Or Els of PGA (or South African golfer Els, Big Easy Els, etc)

16A: Square: UNHIP

17A: Salton or Sargasso: SEA

18A: Face the day: RISES

19A: Saturn or Mercury: DEITY. Both Roman Gods.

23A: Jumble: OLIO. This is a typical Crosswordese (words that only appear in Crosswords). ORT, ETUI, ALEE are of the same ilk.

24A: Turns right: GEES. Enough left and right turns (HAWS)! Try something else. Please jump into the Comment section and share with us if you have a better clue for GEE/GEES.

28A: Cowboy movie: WESTERN

31A: Lay waste to: DESPOIL. Learned this word in 2003 when the rampant looting took place in Iraq and some of the museum pieces were despoiled. But to borrow a line from Rumsfeld: "Stuff happens, democracy is messy, freedom is untidy."

34A: The best __ plans...: LAID

36A: Designer Ashley: LAURA. Never heard of her, a pure guess.

43A: Actress Witherspoon: REESE. I like her "Walk the Line" & "Sweet Home Alabama" only.

48A: Comebacks: RETORTS. I was on the wrong train, putting RETURNS first.

53A: Seine: NET. Got it this time.

54A: Unsolicited ms. encl. SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope).

56A: Viral lump: WART

62A: Bloodsucker: LEECH

64A: Transmitter: RADIO

65A: Drs.' group: AMA (American Medical Association). I am very impressed by the extensive work DWB (Doctors Without Border) has done so far, very far reaching.

69A: Overbearing: BOSSY

70A: Bubbly: PERKY. Want the old effervescent Katie Couric back.

71A: Big Band, for one: ERAS

Down entries:

1D: Confer: BESTOW

2D: Interstice of a leaf: AREOLE. I think I saw this word in TMS puzzle before. Maybe it's AREOLA. Not sure.

3D: Free of charge: GRATIS

4D: Desiccated: SERE

5D: Poetic name for Ireland: ERIN. Good to see ERIN and EIRE (26D: Emerald Isle) in the same puzzle.

6D: Badge of honor: INSIGNIA

7D: Blockade: SIEGE

8D: Interlocked: MESHED

9D: Self-defense system: JUDO. Putin's favorite sport. He is a black belt.

11D: Cool it!: CHILL OUT

12D: Set of a part: KIT

13D: Mata Hari, for one: SPY. A femme fatale.

21D: Steaming: HOT. I kind of like the almost intersection of HOT and NIGHT.

27D: Winged: ALAR. Wing parts are ALAE. Ala is Latin for wing.

29D: Actress Barkin: ELLEN. Not impressed by her role in Ocean's 13.

38D: Beret filler: TETE. Tired of this clue too. Let me see... Port City in Mozambique, no, I don't like it. Don't like French head either. I can not think of anything else.

38D: Resident of a new region: SETTLERS

39D: Tempe sch.: ASU (Arizona State University).

41D: Spatula: SPREADER

47D: Petty dictator: SATRAP. Identical clue on Feb 27 puzzle.

50D: Devastate: RAVAGE

51D: Nervous vibration: TREMOR

52D: Horizontal layers: STRATA

55D: Sedimentary rock: SHALE. Filled in from the down clues. It's "a rock of fissile or laminated structure formed by the consolidation of clay or argillaceous material."

60D: Small notch: NICK



Dennis said...

Good morning, C.C. - you're right, this was another smooth one. Nothing to even comment on. So far, so good; this is shaping up to be my fastest week yet. You know what that means -- look out tomorrow.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Hi Dennis,
Do you keep any reference book or dictionary at hand?

Dennis said...

No, too easy a crutch. I really, really hate having to resort to that. If I'm truly stumped, I'll walk away from it for a while - lots of time, puzzles open up after a break. Strange.

Anonymous said...

He is back to the Thursday Evan Esar quotes :):):) I had the clues Erin and Eire switched for a while and struggled to get the quote... misspeaking the same as lying? Hmmmm

Katherine said...

Good morning. At first I thought I would not get this puzzle, but then it all fell in to place. I did not get the E in AREOLE (2 down), I missed the E for SEA on 17A, but other than that, I got it. I think Hilary KNEW very well what she was saying. It is called LYING in English or any other language. She got caught. Enough about that. Have a good day everyone.

Superfrey said...

Nice puzzle... C. C. I did get stuck on Unsolicited ms. enc. as SASE and 55D Satrap... BTW>.. C. C. Saw Morneau play the Yankees in Fort Myers on March 9... he broke up a no hitter :-)

C.C. Burnikel said...

Dennis, your strategy will never work for me.

I guess novice solvers have to have some sort of tool when they are stumped. I cannot live without my Websters.

Curious to see what reference books others use.

Dick said...

CC how about the singing group The Bee Gees. Now today was fun but it too 20 minutes. I never saw SATRAP before so I need to put this one in the memory bank. Also for 44A I had returns for awhile. Fun puzzle to do.

Anonymous said...

Good morning,

Today's wasn't too bad for me. Smooth sailing aside for having "nook" for 60D (don't know why) and "returns" for 48A. I quickly figured those just couldn't be right. Seine (53A)got me today.

Always nice to see an Evan Esar quote clue, albeit altered. I was wondering where he'd been.

Have a great day!

C.C. Burnikel said...

Dick, I like The Bee Gees clue. You must have skipped the Feb 27 puzzle if SATRAP was a stranger to you.

Superfrey, thanks for the Morneau information. He is really struggling right now.

mkat et al, Sunday March 24's puzzle was also authored by Olschwang, although it was not a quote/quip. I bet Williams made another error.

Anonymous said...

Good morning! It was an easy puzzle for me today also though I didn't get 4A or 4D - earthquake / desiccated. For once, the quip came to me fairly quickly. Enjoy the day!

Dick said...

cc I worked the puzzle on March 24 but maybe the word filled in from other across or down clues. The other possibility is senility.

Dick said...

Sorry I meant Feb 27.

Dr. Dad said...

I'm like Dick - didn't know satrap but it, like areole, fell into place from the other answers. Easy puzzle. I like Bee Gees and for singular how about "_____ whiz!"
Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy doing the puzzle every morning. I just found your site a couple weeks ago. At 67 some of the answers that stump you I know. But the old mind fails me once in a while and I use WWW. I also have Crossword Puzzel Dictionary by Swanfeldt.

Alex and Kerbey said...

Got this help needed!

Love the blog, very helpful on days when my tete isn't working quite as well.

jimhllrn said...

piece of cake. Only needed to do one erasure. RAVISH change to RAVAGE. I must be getting better. After looking up RAVISH, Webster agreed with me, but that didn't make it fit the puzzle. see ya tomorrow.

beccajean said...

I love your site. Just found it about a month ago when I was Googling for help with a clue. I thought it was pretty clever that both seism and tremor appear in this puzzle.

Anonymous said...

I was surprised I finished this one. From the top of it, I figured I was a goner. If I'm not having any luck at first, I tend to start looking through clue by clue and filling in what I know, in hopes of getting started somewhere. Today, I got into it from the bottom right and worked up. The last thing I finished was the top right.

MH said...

I got through with no help in about 20 minutes. Was stuck on seism and had to get it from the the down word insignia. I thought Eire and Erin in the same puzzle was - well puzzling. Attunes threw me - I figured it would have only one t. Also put returns instead of retorts at first. Getting tired of err, olio, gees, lea, epee, ama, era, dye, pat, alar, tete, bee, ego. Also thought that the clue for "small notch" for nick was a little odd.

Crockett1947 said...

This was like a Monday puzzle. No problems at all, and a decent solving time. Bee ____ would work for GEES. Ellie, that is a strategy that works sometimes. Try to use it intentionally and see how differeent the puzzle feels!

MH said...

I always comment before reading comments - probably should change that habit. Anyway, I don't use a dictionary but I have my trusty computer at hand for googling and on-line dictionary. The tool that helped me the most when starting out is the Franklin Crossword Puzzle Solver. It's a little electronic gadget that generates a list of words that fit the known letters in word. For example you type in "?ns??ni?" and it generates insignia, insomnia, and unscenic. I highly recommend this to beginners. They are about $30 online.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know what 45A is?

Unknown said...

I know satraps from the Bible. That's the only place I've heard of it.
Daniel 3:2 And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Unknown said...

I'm a Kirby Puckett fan myself, may he RIP. I would be LOST without this blog. Thank you C.C.

Dennis said...

Anonymous @ 12:30 - 'attunes'

Anonymous said...

Love your Blog - I use it AFTER completing the puzzle - just to see how good I am (LOL) - wish I had it for Saturday and Sunday's Puzzles. Keep your blog coming!!


NYTAnonimo said...

Did you ever wonder who Evan Esar is? Not much out there on him.

M.E. said...

Woo hoo! You're right, this was easy, but those are so satisfying, you know?!? But still, it took me 14:29... that doesn't seem very fast for an easy puzzle. :-(

My 11 yo son helped me with Sargasso SEA... I was thinking they were last names... !!!!

sallyjane said...

I thought the theme/quip of this puzzle was cute, but then again I didn't know the quote had been altered to fit!

Did the puzzle straight through, but have a couple of gripes with it.

5D. ERIN and 26D. EIRE are essentially two answers to the same clue. Yuck.

6D. INSIGNIA - In my mind, a badge of honor would be the DSC or Bronze Star. An insignia can represent anything, honorable or not.

7D. SIEGE - I think of a blockade as a physical barrier, where I think of a siege as an attack.

45A. ATTUNES - By the clue given, wouldn't RETUNES be more appropriate?

Just my two cents!


Anonymous said...

ra from sav ga said, gee and haa are words taught to mules,so they would know to go right or left when plowing. maybe ya'll know this.

Unknown said...

71A is ERA. And for what it's worth, entering DESTROY in 31A really boogers up that area. :)