Mar 25, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 John Underwood

Theme: Slip

17A: Slip: PETTICOAT (Half Slip)

26A: Slip: RECEIPT (Paper Slip)

35A: Slip: FREUDIAN GAFFE (Freudian Slip)

47A: Slip: DECLINE (Quality/Quantity/Standard slip)

56A: Slip: YOUNG GIRL (Slip of a Girl)

OK, I've heard your voices, to borrow a line from Justin Timberlake's song, "I am bringing sexy back" on Thursday. But what's the raison d'ETRE (15A) for you guys to read my "Struggle Part" of the blog? Je ne comprend pas!!! Misery loves company?

I've never heard of the expression "She is a mere slip of girl, or he is mere slip of a lad", so it took me forever to figure out where I was going. It would really really drive me crazy had this new constructor Mr. Underwood used the pottery term Clay Slip.

Grid Analysis (15*15):

Total words: 78 (37 Across, 41Down). Total blank square: 38

I only realized this morning that the grids, as a rule, always have a center row (Today's puzzle: FREUDIAN GAFFE) and a center column (Today's puzzle: BRAY DEALT PONE). And they are always made up of an odd and equal number of squares on each side. That's why the total word counts for Across or Down are always odd number, hence the total word count for the whole grid has to be an even number.

There are 16 3-letter blocks in today's puzzle, very clunky and ungainly. Please do not put IRE and IRK in the same puzzle any more. And I am not fond of the intersection of 35A & 37D. The words FREUD & FEUD should never be put so close together. But it could be worse, suppose he put FEUD directly under the letter F in FREUD instead of the F in GAFFE, imagine how I would react!

Across clues:

1A: Pizzazz: ZING. I put ELAN first. I really do not like the letter of the clue makes a second appearance in the answers, unless it is alliteration, like Split into splinters: SLIVERED (Sunday March 23.).

5A: Small amounts: DABS

9A: Discompose: ABASH. I mis-read it as Decompose. So I was in the "rotten" direction.

16A: Rich cake: TORTE. Interesting. My dictionary says that Torte comes from German or Italian word Torta (cake, or tart) or Latin Torta (kind of bread). Wonder if anyone has ever made any savory torte before.

20A: Other side: ENEMY. Not fond of this clue.

21A: Exclude: DISBAR. I have nothing to say about this word. I keyed in this word only because I do not want to receive another email complaining about my omitting of certain non-gimme clues.

25A: Joe and his comrades: GIS

27A: Allocation plan: BUDGET. Without the letter B from the down EBB, I would've filled in TRIAGE. My brain was trying hard to allocate Katrina victims to different hospitals.

29A: Record of a voice-over: DUB

39A: In good order: NEATLY. Put NICELY first.

40A: Collection pieces: ITEMS. Had _ _ _ MS in place already, so I put in POEMS, thinking of Carl Sandburg and his annoying Chicago Poem collection last Thursday.

45A: Most remote, initially: ULT (Ultimate)

46A: Take for granted: ASSUME. I don't take your help for granted, guys. I deeply appreciate every piece of information you've offered to me.

50A: Star Wars, initially: SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative). I was thinking of Lucas' movie, not Reagan's Star Wars Proposal. OK, so initially it was SDI, then Clinton changed the name to BMDO (Ballistic Missile Defense Organization) in 1993, then Bush renamed it MDE (Missile Defense Agency) in 2002. Why did they keep changing the name? Trying to leave their own distinctive presidential legacy? Trying to claim the credit that they created some new initiative?

53A: Give a ring: PHONE

55A: "Six O'Clock" painter John: SLOAN. The painting is "Six O'Clock, Winter". OK, Mr. Underwood, even if you hate winter, you should not, and you can not omit the name part of a masterpiece. The season (Winter) and the time (pm) is essential to the the understanding of the subject of this painting.

60A: To the point: TERSE

61A: Hostile to: ANTI. Don't quite like the clue.

63A: Not so ordinary: ODDER. I am not fully convinced of this clue either.

64A: Kettle of fish: MESS. Never knew this expression before. It's also a comedy movie nobody probably have watched.

65A: Scottish terrier: SKYE. Are they the same? Wikipedia explains that "SKYE" and "Scottish terrier" are 2 different breeds of terrier.

Down entries:

1D: Use a stun gun: ZAP. Since Tase/Taser did not fit, I started thinking that maybe the Israeli gun UZI could be used as a verb. ZAP never entered my mind, esp since I could not get ZING for 1A.

4D: Box office take: GATE. I wanted CASH. At this point of my solving, I was only sure of AREA for 14A, so all my guesses were wild.

5D: Falseness: DECEIT

6D: Hee-haw: BRAY. Donkey cry.

9D: Top story: ATTIC. I was trapped. I was on the train of "Headline news". The fact that I misread 9A Discompose as Decompose only made things worse.

10D: State capital meaning "Wooded": BOISE. I never knew this before. But it was easily inferable.

11D: Asian peninsula: ARABIA. Ugh. I felt stupid to miss this one. Wanted it to be Malay or Korea. Neither fitted, so I ran away from this corner in utter exasperation.

12D: Subway loops: STRAPS. The overhead hanging loop.

13D: Quarter deck?: HEARTS. I love this clue!!

18D: Innocent heroine: INGENUE

21D: Remove hidden ears: DEBUG. Great clue too.

23D: Wide separation: GULF. Had some problem with this word, esp since I could not get 27A BUDGET quickly enough.

26D: Inclined to flow: RUNNY

28D: Stefani or Verdon: GWEN. Knew Stefani well, vaguely heard of Verdon. Why not give PBS anchor Gwen Ifill a try. I like her style.

29D: Distributed hands: DEALT. Of course, I fell into the _ _ _ ED bunker.

32D: Championship: TITLE. Not a gimme to me at all.

33D: Bringing up: RAISING. Love the movie Raising Helen starring Kate Hudson. Her How to Lose a Guy in 10 days is pretty good too.

34D: New newts: EFTS. Another tough one for me.

36D: Frighten off: DAUNT. I put SCARE first.

37D: Clash of clans: FEUD

42D: Makes greater: ADDS TO. Good clue, simple yet trappy due to S.

43D: ___ over (fainted): KEELED. For some unfathomable reason, I penned in ASA instead of AKA for 42A: Pseudonym intro (AKA). What/Who was I thinking? So I was hellbent to put SWOON in, even though the clue was clearly asking for a past tense.

44D: Conflict compromise: ACCORD. I thought of some kind of armistice or treaty. Stupid! I was actually reading a short article on Oslo Accord last night.

46D: Poster boy: ADONIS. This word always reminds of the "Hunk Flunks" JFK Jr.

49D: At the center: INNER

50D: Locks up: SHUTS

53D: Corn mix: PONE. Never had this before. Not interested in any corn product.

58D: Flattened fish: RAY. What is this? Why is it flattened?

59D: Heavy-duty cleanser: LYE

My prediction for tomorrow's puzzle author: Philip J. Anderson.



Dennis said...

This one went ok until I got to the top right corner. As with C.C., i was locked into a newspaper meaning for 'top story'. 'Subway loops' got me too. 'Quarter deck?' was a great clue.
C.C., I was under the impression that a Skye terrier was a type of Scottish terrier. Also thought 58D should've been 'flat fish'.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Good morning Dennis,

I thought 58D Should be "flat fish" too.

Did the grid bother you this morning? Just felt so locked.

C.C. Burnikel said...

By the way Dennis, did you get the theme quickly?

Dennis said...

Good morning, C.C. - I never pay attention to the structure of the grid, to be honest. Smokes my brain enough just trying to get through the puzzle...

C.C. Burnikel said...

How about the theme?

Katherine said...

Good morning all. This was a hard one for me. I also put elan for 1 A. at first. I put rearing for 33 D. And 53 A really threw me, but it was funny. NEVER heard of FEUD for clash of the clans. A RAY would be flattened I guess because it IS flat, like a pancake, LOL. How To Lose A Guy is a hilarious movie. Loved it. The look on Matthew McConaughey's face at the things Kate Hudson did cracked me up. Have a good day.

Dennis said...

Yes, got the theme early on. A good one, I thought.

Dick said...

Good Morning. Liked the puzzle today except for the upper right corner. I, like you, wanted to put some news story in for 9D. Also, 12D got me in more trouble but once I got 9A the others fell into place.

Dennis said...

Katherine, probably the most famous 'clan' feud is the Hatfield/McCoy one. I'm sure google has tons on it.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Not the Romeo and Juliet clan feud?

Anonymous said...

I did not like this puzzle, but I've been on vacation and today is like Monday. 12D Straps? How does that work w/subway? I liked the Freudian "slip" idea, but gaffe didn't work for me. Still don't get that. Like some of you zing, zap,attic, the clue discompose threw me. Ok, time to live...I mean leave (my Freudian slip is showing). Have a good day.

Anonymous said...

Could not seem to get my brain to work this AM. Thank goodness for this BLOG!

Dennis said...

Lois, the straps for hanging on, on a subway, are overhead 'loops' of leather. A clever clue.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhhh, thank you, Dennis. Have never been on a US subway. Would never have thought of that. What about Graffe?

Dennis said...

Hi Lois - a gaffe is a mistake, usually social in connotation. "He made quite a gaffe when he used his salad fork for his entree", for example.

Anonymous said...

Faux Pas? Thank you again, Dennis. Didn't know "gaffe". I learn so much from you guys.

MH said...

I struggled. The theme didn't help me at all. Clues for DISBAR, DAUNT, ARABIA, DEBUG, ABASH seemed to mean nothing to me. I finally got it with some help but not my favorite.

Scottish terrier - I guess Skye is in Scotland. Since "terrier" wasn't capitalized it simply meant a terrier from Scotland.

On the flat fish (RAY) I'm surprised you didn't get it CC since it was recently in the news that a woman was killed when struck by a RAY while on a boat. Manta rays and stingrays are flat fish (i.e. horizontally oriented).

Anonymous said...

Re: Slip of a Girl...How old are you anyway???

Anonymous said...

Good morning all (a little late),

I have some dog health issues right now, so my crossword puzzle was delayed.

This was a little troubling for me, but I think it's partially because I've been so worried about my dog.

Because I'm just in a griping mood right now, I have to admit that I wasn't too fond of 32D, 58D, 20A. And, I also used "elan" for 1A and "scare" for 36D.

I think I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to do the crossword today.

Have a great day.

dugglesmack said...

Tried to post earlier, but I must have failed to click post or something... if this (or something similar, with CC's name wrong) shows up twice, my apologies...

CC, I found your blog when I googled "subway loops straps" this morning. I was gratified to learn that I wasn't the only one who had a problem with that clue, but more gratified that I found your blog!! We get the Star Trib puzzle in our Little Rock AR paper on the same day so I was thrilled to know that I have a place to vent, as well as a way to find the answers without waiting until the next day... ;-)

Thanks for your efforts! I know I'll find this site helpful and enjoyable. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

The Terriers of Scotland, believed to be developed from common stock:
Dandie Dinmont, Scottish, Skye, Cairn and West Highland White Terriers. We have a Westie.

Anonymous said...

I just learned that the unused or darkened blocks in a crossword puzzle must be in the same position when the puzzle is held upside down. I guess I am a slow learner... the upper right was a struggle for me today... had to google it.

winfield said...

flatfish is also the common name for flounder, halibut, plaice, sole, and turbot.

Dennis said...

I don't think anyone would've had a problem if it had said "flat fish". "Flattened fish" had a different implication, at least to me.

NYTAnonimo said...

Found this info

By the late 1700s, the Highlands of Scotland, including the Isle of Skye, were spilling over with little terriers originally known by the generic term "short-haired" or "little Skye terriers." Toward the end of the 19th century, it was decided to separate these Scottish terriers and develop pure bloodlines and specific breeds. Originally, the breeds were separated into two categories – Dandie Dinmont terriers and Skye terriers.Eventually, the Skye terriers, thought to originate from the Isle of Skye, were further divided into the Scottish terrier, West Highland white terrier and cairn terrier.

at this web site

Thought I had a torte recipe for you c.c. but it's a trifle-LOL!
And it is really good!

Here is a little info on the star wars saga and alphabet soup of names for it.

Here is a video of sting rays that I think you'll find intriguing. Steve Irwin died in a freak accident involving one and so did this woman last week. Guess their flat because they evolved to adapt to their environment.More here if that's not enough!

C.C. Burnikel said...

mh, I did not pay attention to the leaping ray accident. I guess I cared more about FL Primary rerun.

Anonymous at 10:00am, I am not going to answer my age question any more. As I said in my previous post, my ignorance is encyclopedic.


You misplaced your earlier post in another entry, which I have read earlier. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

(AlohaSpirit, Seattle here)
Good morning CC and everyone: Thanks cc for rethinking your comments and answering my ???s. I'm mixed and part Chinese myself. As for the other 'parts' other 'alias' is "JALAPINA". Does that help?

Onto the puzzle: I STINK! and CC you make so much sense with your explanations when I read them. I found this puzzle a bit hard because I wasn't close to being on the same wavelength as the author. e.g., 9D-top story, 20A-other side, 12D-subway loops, 32A-acad. sec., 40A-collection pieces, 63A-not so ordinary, etc. The theme just threw me completely.

I learn so much from all of you. Thank you! Enjoy the day! ~AS

Anonymous said...

Well, glad I wasn't alone on the top right corner! I was looking at news meanings for "Top story" and thinking about track shapes for the "Subway loops." My husband eventually got attic, and the rest of it fell into place.

I wasn't thrilled with the structure of today's puzzle. I don't like the long columns of three letter answers. The theme was pretty clever, though.

Crockett1947 said...

RATS. I had a post that disappeard when I went to PREVIEW. Let's see now -- This one was a real struggle. I had to start in the lower right corner and snake my way back to the top. The upper right killed me. I had RELAPSE for 26A and wouldn't give it up. I had 19A and just KNEW that 16A should be TORTE, but I couldn't get the downs to make sense, so I set it aside for an hour or so. When I returned I read 12D correctly; for some reason I had it as "freeway loops" in my head. That lead me to BOISE and RECEIPTS, and finished in less than 5 minutes more. I also had a newspaper image for 9D so ATTIC was tough to come by. SHEESH!!

Josh said...

Just stumbled across this blog - awesome resource for us MN Crossworders! I'll definitely be returning. I'm a devout Strib crossworder.

Anonymous said...

irritating puzzle. the upper right corner had me very perplexed. The "straps" and "hearts" were annoying, but finally got them.

C.C. Burnikel said...

AS Seattle, last time when you got both TATAMI & IKIBANA, I thought you had some Asian heritage.

ellie, I am glad that I am not the only who dislikes the grid today.

crockett1947, good to see you back. Hope your trip went well in San Antonio.

M.E. said...

I do the puzzle in the Chicago Tribune, but it's the same puzzle.

And it's quite often a "fine kettle of fish" that it gets me into!! (Yes, what a mess, especially when we use pen and then have to change the letters!)

jimhllrn said...

The KNEAD and KNOT words led me to assume, and sooo wrongly, that the Qusstion mark (?) on 38A needed a key word with "K" in it. When I finally got it and saw ARSON going down, I thought it was a terrible clue, but I see the twisted logic. Good puzzle. It was a 15 minute one except for 38A.

Crockett1947 said...

c.c Thanks for the welcome back. San Antonio was great. Very crowded -- Spring Break for most of Texas and it seemed like all of them were visiting The Alamo. Mostly upper 70s for highs and only one day of rain. Returned home to 50s for highs, but no (well, a little) rain yet.