Mar 11, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 Jim Page

Theme: WOW!

17A: Wow!: Sakes Alive!

39A: Wow!: Holy Cow!

59A: Wow!: Great Scott!

11D: Wow! Lo and Behold!

25D: Wow!: What on Earth?!

Never read Superman or any comic book, never heard anyone gasp "Great Scott".

But WOW, what a proper and fitting theme for thousands of solvers this morning. I am just so stunned and stupefied by Governor Spitzer's "private matter". Down a hero (49D: EAT)!

I was so enamored of his Eliot Ness - style aggressive & relentless pursuits of those criminal dealings in Wall Street. I could not tell you in words how impressed I was of him when he forced Richard Grasso (NYSE) to pay back part of his scandalous compensation package. I learned the word "fiduciary duty" from him. The thing that bothers me is: Who leaked it to the press?

I had another tough uphill battle today. I put IRAN for 6A: Persian's contemporary (MEDE), and I ended up with ALTO for 8D: TOP vocalist (DIVA). I did not know Runner Zatopek's (EMIL), then I could not fill in anything sensible for 21A: NATO, for one (ACRONYM).

Here are the across entries.

1A: Kind of flu: ASIAN. I penned in AVIAN.

6A: Persian's contemporary: MEDE. They lived in ancient Media.

10A: Pig vittles: SLOP

15A: Runner Zatopek: EMIL. Never heard of him. If it's clued as Chef Lagasse, I would've got it. (Update: I blundered again. Lagasse's name is Emeril)

20A: Elmer or Jerry: RICE

21A: NATO, for one: ACRONYM. Of course! General Patraeus will be an awesome NATO Commander.

23A: Certain metal craftsman: PEWTERER. Never knew that a pewter maker is called a pewterer.

28A: Exist as a characteristic: INHERE

29A: Harrow's rival: ETON. Both Prince William and Harry attended ETON. James Bond too. Churchill and Nehru are Harrow graduates.

36A: Kind of trooper or line: STATE

37A: Skinny twins?: ENS. There are 2 letters "n" in the word "skinny". Last time many people were confounded by the clue: Minnesota twins?.

38A: Meow Mix eater: CAT

43A: Stand by: AWAIT

44A: Fleshy fruit: POME. I never heard of the word "Pome", so I was marshaling all the 4-letter fruits in my mind: Pear, Plum, Kiwi, Date.

47A: Camelot magician: MERLIN. No idea. But I read almost every book about JFK and his Camelot legacy.

51A: Explosives with pins: GRENADES

53A: Erupt: FLARE UP

57A: Lena of "The Ninth Gate": OLIN. She had a role in Chocolat (Juliette Binoche).

58A: Cooking fat: LARD. Stop larding the spending bill with your stupid pork-barrel earmarks, you bigwig in D. C. (SEN).

65A: "A Girl Like I" author: LOOS (Anita). She is back, 2 days in a row. I found out that besides Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, she also wrote But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes.

66A: Temporary contract: LEASE

67A: Actress Madeline: KAHN. So sorry. I really did not know you.

69A: Ill-fated Ford: EDSEL

Down entries:

2D: Place for fish and ships: SEA. Misread it as Place for fish and chips.

3D: Sort: ILK

5D: More snoopy: NOSIER

6D: Free-for-all: MELEE. Donnybrook.

7D: Radio static, in brief: EMI (Electromagnetic Interference). Sometimes it's clued as British record company.

9D: Power, in brief.: ELEC

10D: Keep under wraps: SIT ON. To suppress the release of certain news I suppose.

12D: Like Woodsy?: OWLY. I made a guess. I had no idea that Woodsy Owl is the owl icon for the US Forest service. I only knew Smokey Bear.

22D: Give a face-lift to: RENEW. I groaned after the answer emerged.

23D: Zodiac sign: PISCES

24D: Coop up: ENCAGE

26D: Knotting again: RETYING. Very gnarly clue.

30D: Diplomatic asset: TACT. Bill Richardson seems to be very well respected outside US for his diplomatic tact.

33D: Personal instability: ANOMIE. Unknown to me. According to the, it's "a state or condition of individuals or society characterized by a breakdown or absence of social norms and values, as in the case of uprooted people."

36D: Shredded side: SLAW. Add some raisins, it will be tastier.

39D: Undue speed: HASTE

40D: Be light chips: OWE. (Update later: According to drdad, "In poker, if you are "light chips" that means you "owe" the pot/kitty.")

44D: Strutted about: PRANCED

47D: Run in the heat: MELT. Good clue.

48D: Isolate: ENISLE. Saw it clued this way before, so no problem this time.

50D: Dale of "Flash Gordon": ARDEN. No idea.

52D: Prepare peanuts: ROAST.

53D: Excessive criticism: FLAK. Both the Clinton & Obama campaigns have brought FLAK into an elevated art form.

54D: Actress Turner: LANA

55D: Wrinkly fruit: UGLI. Never had it. I don't think our Rainbow Foods even carries it.

56D: Masters players: PROS. Those PGA golfers. Tiger Woods probably will win Masters again this year. But I am rooting for K. G. Choi (South Korean). He is such a workhorse, well, not as crazy as Vijay Singh.

60D: PAU's successor: OAS (Organization of American States, US is a member). Gimme for anyone who paid attention to the tense situation in Columbia last week. Oh, PAU stands for Pan American Union.

62D: Mao _ -Tung: TSE. Could also be clued as Literary monogram (T. S. Eliot).

I forgot to mention yesterday that NPR's On the Media Sunday had a very good segment on crossword and ACTP 2008. In case you missed, you can hear it here.

C. C.


Dennis said...

I think Crockett1947 is right - age helps with these puzzles. Breezed right through this one, in part because I remembered things like who Dale was on "Flash Gordon, and how outstanding Madeline Kahn was in "Young Frankenstein".
"Owly" for "Like Woodsy", however, is one of the most obscure clues/answers I've yet seen.
I'm curious, C.C., what age range are you in? I myself am older than fluids...

Unknown said...

When I put accords in for 21A I really had that corner screwed up and it caused lots of problems. Also "Owly" is a reach I tink.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Good morning Dennis,

Good to see you back. My age? That's a very expensive question!

OK, I am 36. But due to my lack of understanding of American culture, my intelligence does not reflect my age.

I was born during Chinese Cultural Revolution and grew up speaking Mandarin Chinese. Moved to MN from Canton, China in May 2001 and got married to my husband (American). Then I had to speak English, all day long. Very tough for me in the beginning, but now I dream in English.


ACCORDS is not bad guess, but what did you fill for 13D Tropical tree?

C.C. Burnikel said...


I just added one paragraph to my blog today about NPR's On the Media segment (Sunday) on crosswords.

In case you missed it.

Anonymous said...

I like how you add explanations to some of the answers. I have learned a lot from you. And I agree with Dennis. Age helps with the answers and Flash Gordon proves it.

Katherine said...

Be light chips????? Owe???? You have to be kidding me! This one was tough for me.

Anonymous said...

Good morning, all.

I see I'm a little late today. This was a weird one for me, again. But, I would agree, fitting given the headlines re: Spitzer.

Could be wrong, but I know that EMIL (15A) and UGLI (55D) tend to be repeat offenders. However, I don't know when they last appeared. Definitely agree that age could be helpful, but recalling the rascally repeat offenders helps to combat clues where age may help (i.e. ARDEN for 50D, as I'd seen that before in a crossword). I won't rat myself out re: my age. ;o)

C.C. - perhaps I should be asking your help to improve my mandarin skills! :o)

C.C. Burnikel said...

I still don't understand why 30D: Be light chips means OWE, can anyone explain to me please?

Mkat,Ni Hao (Hello)

I will be very happy to help you with any Chinese language related issue.

I will put UGLI and EMIL in the list later.

AGE...hmmm, but Dennis has helped me a lot with my blog, and he never asked me any question.

Seriously, I don't mind at all. I am exposing all my ignorance every day and I am getting pretty pachydermatous.

Dr. Dad said...

In poker, if you are "light chips" that means you "owe" the pot/kitty.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Thanks drdad,

I've copied and pasted your answer to my blog.

Anonymous said...

We have two puzzles in our paper and I leave this HARD one (I think so) for my husband and I do the other one (EASY)one and then we switch if we can't finish them. This one was a doozie for me. There was a couple neither one of us knew and we are in our 60's. This keeps our brains working a little any way. It's fun for both of us and keeps us away from the TV for awhile.

winfield said...

Great Scott

Used not only by Superman but Dr. Watson in the movies, In the Rocky Horror Picture Show,Christopher Lloyd in Back In The Future.

winfield said...

Original Camelot was not connected with JFK. A town named Camelot was first introduced into the legend of King Arthur although there has never been a town of that name found in England.. Camelot, was also a Broadway musical about the court of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table, which opened in December 1960, just weeks after JFK's election. Starring Richard Burton and Julie Andrews, the popular show was a hit with the country and a favorite with President Kennedy. A connection between an idealized King Arthur's Court and the Kennedy White House was mentioned by Jackie Kennedy shortly after JFK's assassination in November of 1963.

feste said...

29 I knew it was wrong, but "plow" played across my mind. I guess that's what happens when one's reared in a farming community.
I believe Merlin was the wizard/sorcerer in King Arthur's time.

MH said...

I never heard of pome or anomie - other than that it was a straightforward puzzle. There were a couple that I had to get from the puzzle. Agree with Dennis, (list ender): "owly"? I know there's a Woodsy Owl (kinda like Smokey Bear), but still...

C.C. Burnikel said...

I checked, owlish, or owllike are real words. Owly does not exist.


I read Ted White's original interview with Jackie Kennedy on an old LIFE magazine, where she connected JFK's 1,000 days in the White House to the Camelot myth. She had a very fascinating and imaginative mind.

Anonymous said...

I player CANCER for 23D Zodiac sign because I had xxxCEx. I forgot about PISCES. Encouraged by this, I played REP for 45A Bigwig in D.C.. It was all downhill from there.

BitchKitty said...

I noticed your answers were missing for 32A (BAA) 41A (HOP) and 34 down (ASPENS)...just in case any fellow crossword fans needed those. BTW..Love the blog.

Deana (another 30 something crossword fanatic)

Anonymous said...

CC, you couldn't have gotten EMIL if it was clued as "Chef Lagasse", because his name is Emeril.

C.C. Burnikel said...


I don't normally key in entries I deem to be self-evident. Too lazy.

Anonymous at 6:07pm,

Thank you so much for pointing out my mistake.

Should've watched Emeril Live rather than Rachael Ray's 30 minutes' meal.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Oops, bitchkitty, I am sorry for writing your name wrong in my last post. Mea Culpa.

Anonymous said...

just to make light chips clear, when a player is out of chips and wants to raise, he pulls chips from the pot and declairs the pot is light. he then places the borrowed chips from the pot in front of him.

Jim Liu said...

I had a hard time with:
28A Exist as a characteristic - inhere
35A great quantity - scad
31D of the ear: pref. - oto

So what is an 'oto'?

I was laughing at someone saying saying you have to feed the kitty (the poker pot), since we know that kittens eat Meow Mix!

Anonymous said...

oto is repeat offender, Latin prefix (think otolaryngologist)

C.C. Burnikel said...

Anonymous at 7:54pm,

Thank you for the additional information.

Jim Liu,

"Oto" means "ear", as in Otology. Oh, I just saw that Anonymous at 8:46pm also explained. Thanks.