Mar 26, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 Philip J. Anderson

Theme: Lament (Homophones)

17A: Baker's lament?: I KNEAD (NEED) A VACATION

38A: Bored big game hunter's lament?: SO WHAT ELSE IS GNU (NEW)

59A: Frustrated sailor's lament?: I'M KNOT (NOT) ON THE HELM

Ai ya (Chinese for D'oh)! I missed another precious opportunity to finish a puzzle unaided today. I simply forgot SISAL for Agave plant, and had no idea that MITER could also be a carpenter's box. I also put CLINCHED instead of STITCHED for 40D: Sewed up. My March Madness moment I suppose! So I screwed up the whole corner. Oh well, next Wednesday then. Anderson is probably the only constructor whose wavelength I share.

Grid Analysis (15*15):

Total words: 78 (37 Across, 41Down). Total blank square: 34

I forgot to mention yesterday that besides the center row and center column, the grid (always diagonally symmetrical of course) also has a center square (or cell). In today's case, it's the letter L (intersection of 38A and 29D). That's why the total square counts for the grid is always an odd number (191 from Monday to Saturday's 15*15 puzzle and 441 for Sunday's 21*21 puzzle).

Today's grid has only 4 less blank squares than yesterday's, yet it just felt so open. I don't know why yesterday's puzzle bothered me. I had a quick check last night at some of the puzzles we've done, and found out that I actually enjoyed quite a few with similar counts of 3-letter words (if not more). Maybe yesterday's grid just did not fit my eyes.

Across entries:

1A: Employees: STAFF. Did not fall to the S trap due to the quick crumbling of 5D: FAA

5A: Ballet Bend: PLIÉ. Past participle of verb Plier (Bend in French). There are 2 plié styles: demi-plié (half bend) and grand-plié (full bend).

14A: Preminger film: LAURA. No idea. Pure guess. Knew Preminger only because his given name OTTO keeps coming up in the puzzle.

16A: Ticklish doll: ELMO. Silly.

20A: Physical starter?: META. Metaphysical. Ah, Aristotle and his Metaphysics! I guess those ancient Greeks did not have much to do in their spare time besides going to their mall (AGORA), so they contemplated about life and universe hard and deep. Nowadays, who else except Bernard-Henri Lévy has the time or élan to think?

22A: Beekeeping site: APIARY. Where are you, bees?

23A: Japanese zither: KOTO. Here is a beautiful picture of women in traditional Japanese kimino playing KOTO. A gimme for our fellow solver AlohaSpirit in Seattle I hope!

25A: Fraternal org.: BPOE (Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks)

26A: Word to the wise: ADVICE. Not "word from the wise"? I don't get it. Don't you get advice from the person who is wise?

29A: "Micheal Collins" star: REA (Stephen). Tired of him. Time to challenge us with Latin Mens REA (guilty mind).

34A: Settle down for the night: ROOST. Wow, I always thought only birds roost.

37A: Keanu in "The Matrix": NEO. Not much going on with Keanu lately.

42A: Nautical lift: DAVIT. Here is a DAVIT for you.

43A: Strict: STERN

44A: Jodie Foster film: NELL

47A: Matched up: PAIRED. Why "matched up"? Isn't "matched" sufficient?

48A: Pitcher Hershiser: OREL. Another repeat offender.

50A: Brewer's grain: MALT

51A: Pat and Debby: BOONES. Father and daughter ("You Light up My Life".)

54A: Islet: AIT. It's clued as River inlet on Sunday's puzzle.

62A: Metric meas.: KILO

63A: Merit: RATE. Yep, let EARN rests for a while.

64A: Partner of vice?: VERSA. Vice Versa is also a 1988 film title.

65A: List ender: ET AL

66A: French/Belgian river: YSER

67A: After-market purchase: ADD-ON

Down entries:

1A: Actor Pickens: SLIM. A total stranger to me. Was his original name SLIM?

3A: Uncle's mate: AUNT. Wonder how Carson (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) reacts to this clue.

4D: Strange: FREAKISH

5D: Air-travel watchdog grp.: FAA (Federal Aviation Administration)

6D: Socrates' pupil: PLATO

9D: Adventure: ESCAPADE. I love this word and desperado, both evoking an image of some bold, fearless, wild and daring acts. I am totally buying the conspiracy theory that Roger Stone is behind Spitzer's escapade exposure.

10D: One's specialty: MÉTIER. Pas de problèm!

18D: Oasis fruit: DATE. Have you ever tried fresh palm date before? So delicious!

24D: Group of eight: OCTAD. The other word "Octet" is a composition for 8 voices.

25D: Beauty's beau: BEAST. I often wonder why "Beauty and the Beast" is not "The Beauty and the Beast", or "Beauty and Beast". What's the rationale behind the inconsistency of "the"?

26D: Burning desire: ARSON. Need a question mark here: Burning desire?

27D: "Lorna __-": DOONE. Learned from doing crossword of course.

28D: "Wheel of Fortune" buy: VOWEL. These might be tough for those solvers in Asia/Europe who do not watch "Wheel of Fortune".

33D: Word with bite or barrier: SOUND

35D: Angle maker: BEVEL. Nailed it this time.

36D: Agave plant: SISAL. Have to commit this word to my memory!

39D: Wall hanging: TAPESTRY.

40D: Sewn up: STITCHED. Naturally!

45D: Palindromic Asian leader: LON NOL (Cambodian Prime Minister)

47D: Track through a forest: PATH

50D: Carpenter's box: MITER. Never knew this before.

56D: Animal group: HERD. Talk about over-thinking and unthinking. I stretched myself to the world of PETA and SPCA, and there is no abbreviation mark in the clue to suggest that, you dummy!

58D: Fed: TMAN (Treasury)

60D: PAU's successor: OAS (Organization of American States). I bet Castro took it as a badge of honor to be excluded from OAS. As for PAU, it stands for Pan American Union.

61D: One Gabor: EVA

OK, I am ready for an Alan O. Olschang's quip/quote puzzle. Bring it on!



Dennis said...

The perfect puzzle for hump day! Finished in well under 10 minutes with no snags.
Good morning, C.C. - I agree with you that 'matched' doesn't need the 'up'; also, the saying really is "a word to the wise"...and now that you've made me think about it, it seems like it should be "from". Great point.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Good morning Dennis,

I never knew that "a word to the wise" was an idiom. Had I known it, I would not have questioned the preposition.

Do you like my ID picture?

Dr. Dad said...

Dang! Had to google for ballet bend = plie. Would have never gotten Metier if not for Vacation in 17A. I think birds are the only things that roost but they are settling down for the night. C.C - tsk, tsk. Sisal was in one of the more recent puzzles - that's how I remembered it. Same for that "ait" for isle (I think it was in a previous puzzle. I agree with you though, a word FROM the wise is advice. Why would you give wise people advice? They already know everything.

Dr. Dad said...

C.C. - How did you know the puzzle would be by Philip Anderson?

Katherine said...

Good morning to everyone. This one was easy today. I had no clue what METIER was, but got it because of the other clues. Thanks for the great picture of the Japanese women playing KOTO. That was great.
Who is the picture of CC?

C.C. Burnikel said...


Re Sisal: I know! My brain simply refuses to accept certain words.

Yesterday's puzzle author call? I am a genius! Seriously, I checked my own file and found out that almost every Wednesday's puzzle (except Jan 23) is authored by Anderson.

Dennis said...

C.C. - your favorite ballplayer?

C.C. Burnikel said...

Katherine & Dennis,

That's Justin Morneau, Twins First Baseman. My favorite Twin at this moment.

NYTAnonimo said...

Check out yesterday's NYT's puzzle-its theme was homophones too. Really wanted ARDOR for "burning desire" instead of ARSON so it took me longer than I like to finish it. But it was an enjoyable 20 minutes.

Dr. Dad said...

Keeping files on puzzles? That's serious puzzle solving. I wouldn't think to save them and go back for reference. Might have to, though. A neat idea.

C.C. Burnikel said...


You can check it too. Notice the words "Labels" under the Comments? Just click on the author's name, it will show you all the puzzles he has done since I started my blog.

I am not a paper file keeper. Peste (one of our fellow solvers) has a good collection.

Anonymous said...

Good morning.

Not a bad Wednesday puzzle - though it started slowly for me, it call came rushing forward once the first theme clue was flushed out.

"Octad" threw me off, I put "octet" and though I wouldn't have known "miter" in any other context, I think I've seen it hear before. Had no idea about "davit" -that's definitely one to keep in the memory bin!

Seeing "doone" and "boone(s)" made me smile for whatever reason.

Have a great day all!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad this was a snap for you all. I struggled. I thought some of the clues were misleading like merit ( I put earn), stroke gently? not a 'pat', touch gently maybe but not stroke, and brewer's grain?What does malt come from? I know there's malt in beer but never knew it as a grain. I agree with you on 'from' in 26A, but I got that one. Usually I like Anderson. Not this one though. But it's hump day, like Dennis said and it's a beautiful day. Hope all of you enjoy it. I love this blog.

Dick said...

Good morning cc. Todays puzzle was not a snap for me. It took about 25 minutes to complete and I never did get 44A/45D intersection. Guess I will have to read up on Jodie Foster. 36D sisal was used in another puzzle recently. Had problem with 26D until I finally saw roost for 34A. All in all it was a good puzzle and got the mind going early.

Dick said...

I have never heard the expression "Word to the Wise" expressed any other way than as it is shown. It is a very old expression that I have heard all of my life and it does mean take my advice. Maybe it is more of a regional thing.

Dick said...

Sorry. In my previous post I meant to say it does mean not doesn't mean advice.

Anonymous said...

Dick, you're right. It infers that you're wise if you listen and take the advice, not that you are already wise. I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggled a bit this am.

MH said...

This was a good puzzle for me - challenging but I did it without any help. I thought the theme was good. I had a little struggle in the middle and in the lower right. There were a few I didn't know but got them from the puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Oh, bother. I'm going to blame today's puzzle on not being able to sleep last night. At least I did remember SISAL this morning. I agree-- 26D (Burning desire) really does need a question mark. I put in ARDOR.

This was a bad day for me. I just couldn't get my brain in gear!

Hooray that the commentary on the puzzles is back! I missed it.

jimhllrn said...

OOPS I put this on the wrong day.

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.

March 26, 2008 10:09 AM

Virginia Striper Fishing said...

Slim Pickens real name was Louis Bert Lindley, Jr

He was in:
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb as well as Blazing Saddles(one of my all time favorite movies)

see for more info.

Dennis said...

Ah yes - Slim riding the atomic bomb down at the end of the movie is indelibly etched in my brain. Just a great movie- the perfect period piece for that time.

jimhllrn said...

C.C. Re. ACVICE - You give advice to anyone. Wise or stupid. The advice you might give a wise man could be, "Psst, you're fly is open."

Crockett1947 said...

Finally back in the groove. Doing a week's worth of puzzles in a day really fried my brain, but today flowed nicely although I had to start in the top center and back-fill the upper left. A miter box helps keep your angles consistent in woodworking. An octet can also be a group of eight (musicians or singers, e.g.). 49D could become a frequent offender. Loved the palindromic clue! Have a great Wednesday everyone!!

Anonymous said...

(AlohaSpirit, Seattle chiming in)

Good morning everyone! CC I just have to say 'thank you' for starting this blog; I look forward to it every morning now.

Onto the puzzle: Thank goodness I feel a bit redeemed this AM.~~approx. 20 min. with a wee bit of help. I've become so gunshy that I started doing the puzzles in pencil again.

23A. Koto - yes, a gimme. (smile)

I put "octet" at first.

stumbled on:

54A. Islet. I guess I just have to remember this one

50D. Carp. box. Only got this from the other clues being solved.

38A. Before I had many answers, I put a "B" at the beginning, thinking 'hunter' 'bow'. HELLO?!

42A. nautical crane: Davit, OK. Another one I haven't heard of.

"dumb" mistakes:

5D. I put "FDA" huh? It wasn't until I filled 14A with LaurD that I filled 5D in correctly. (sigh)

Overall happy as a 'clam' to be able to finish a puzzle with little help.

CC: quick question. Do you find yourself a bit naive on some sayings like "up one's sleeves", "over a barrel", etc.? A professor friend of mine whom I've worked with for 15+ yrs, gets a 'kick' out of me flubbing up sayings. I can never get them right, get frustrated and everyone gets a good laugh. I know sayings in japanese, hawaiian, spanish that sometimes are similar. Last year he bought me a gift. A book entitled "Heavens to Betsy! and other curious sayings" by Charles Earle Funk, 1955. It's definitely a wonderful reference for me personally.

Sorry for the length this morning! and have a good day! ~AS

Anonymous said...

Addendum: CC, I always learn something new here. I've never heard of the word "homophone"...looked it up! WOW! Thanks!


MH said...

I thought everyone might get a kick out of this. We have another puzzle in the San Jose Mercury called "Super Quiz" supposedly by Isaac Asimov. Anyway today the theme of this 9 question quiz was "What are they called?" The ninth question is "People who create crossword puzzles" and the answer is "Cruciverbalists". I thought this to be a bit strange since crossword puzzles didn't exist when Latin was a spoken language so I Googled it. And yes, it's a pseudo Latin word made up in the 1980's as a crossword puzzle word. So remember it - it may come up in some future puzzle. It's a 14 letter word so it would have to be one of those long words in a 15x15 puzzle.

C.C. Burnikel said...

mkat, this is the second time OCTAD is clued as Group of Eight in the Tribune puzzle. Feb 24 has exactly the same clue/answer. Hope you dog is getting better.

dick, you can put in NELL every time a 4-letter Jodie Foster movie comes up.

Lois, got your point on the "word to the wise". I am happy that you like this blog.

virginia striper fishing, thanks for the information.

crockett1947, glad your trip went well. Could not believe you got stumped at the upper left. Agree with you that LON NOL was nicely clued.

AS Seattle, I heard from 2 other solvers (via email) that they also put FDA for FAA. So you are not alone. That book sounds like a wonderful read.

I really struggle with English idioms. I guess that's why I can never get Olschwang's quip puzzle. I also tend to omit prepositions when I speak. One thing I do notice is that I have a bigger vocabulary than some Americans. I just do not always use them properly.

mh, thanks for sharing with us your Issac Asimov quiz question for "Cruciverbalists". You can find their community website under my "I love these links' sidebar. Not sure if the word itself has ever appeared in any crossword before.

Are you familiar with the word Crosswordese? It refers to word that only comes up in crossword, like ORT.

1soni said...

I scanned the puzzle and quickly guessed homophones/puns. My first guess for 17a was "I KNEAD SOME DOUGH". That worked fine for the upper left corner. Then I crashed in the center and upper right. Knew MITER from the old HS shop classes, but not KOTO. My mind also went straight to Dr. Strangelove.

I'm glad you are back to publishing your comments.
I never have time to work the puzzle through in the morning and just try to bang it in during the day.

Anonymous said...

I do the wash post crossword and stumbled on it.. Nice to see a whole world of enthusiasts out there. It took me quite a while to figure out "Davit". Because i wrote octet and then octal.

Anonymous said...

The Chicago Tribune had several clues that were different from what we saw in our local papers.
34A Perch 37A Modernist 43A Strict
46A Favorite 61D One GBOR
With the exception of 61D, I liked these clues better. Why does the "Windy City" get the easy ones?


C.C. Burnikel said...


I have no idea why your clues differ from ours. 61D obviously is a typo.

Remember the Local Poet puzzle we did on March 20? It was a tailor-made Chicago Tribune puzzle, not for us at all.

M.E. said...

BC: We get the Chicago Tribune, too, but didn't have "perch" as a clue for "roost". Strange!

Love the word cruciverbalist! (Latin Crux, crucis: cross)

Oh, and for the carpenter's box / miter,think of "mitered corners" or "mitered joints" in carpentry. Here's a miter box. I love the stuff you learn doing crosswords.

ORT was one of the first crossword words I learned, from my aunt.