Apr 14, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008 John Underwood

Theme: BAR





The theme entries today are not as awe-inspiring as Underwood's last "Chess Mate" theme, still great though. Would be better if BAR is not clued as the Answer to 70A: Stand in the way.

But I tanked! Could not get on his wavelength this morning. He was in AUGUSTA, MA. I was in AUGASTA, GA bemoaning Tiger's lost chance and his draggy putter. Coulda, shoulda, woulda, oh, Tiger!

All in all, a very foggy round of golf. Sun never came out and water never parted. Teed off OK, but lost my ball quickly after 2 holes. Put MING for Ho Chi _ City, had no idea what was SHIV, did not know the meaning of "licketys-split". Nightmare there! Also made a Herculean effort trying to putt ULRIC into the hole. Had trouble reading the line. Could not see where the breaks were. "Tack room" was a complete stranger to me.

Had lots of fun at the upper right corner though. The intersection of SEX with MANS, Knee-bending movements and IMAX made me laugh. BRAS & INKY night brought up a vivid picture, not to mention the evocative French words PARC, Semisoft BRIE, FEU (fire), AMIS (though not clued as male friends)!

Did you pay attention to the Front Nine (ACROSS) clues? They are probably the shortest I've ever seen in TMS puzzle. Felt like John Daly's golf style, powerful & quick.

Alright, let's take a mulligan and tee off again!

Front Nine:

1A: Sphere of power: ORB. A nice change from the "Poetic peeper" or "Eye, poetically" clue.

4A: Shillong's state: ASSAM. Have never heard of Shillong. It's the Capital city of ASSAM state. I want to take a walk at this ASSAM tea garden. Darjeeling tea is pretty good too.

9A: Adagio, allegro, etc.: TEMPI. Plural form of Tempo. Would have never strung this word together if not for the IMAX.

15A: Florida city: MIAMI. I love Will Smith's "Welcome to MIAMI".

16A: King's territory: REALM

20A: Audiophile's setup: STEREO

21A: Street-fighter's blade: SHIV. A knife, esp switchblade. says it is probably originated from gypsy language "Chiv", meaning blade.

25A: Go lickety-split: ZIP. Now I know that "lickety-split" means "At great speed, rapidly".

35A: Tint: COLOR

36A: Closet type: LINEN

37A: Longfellow's bell town: ATRI. The Bell of ATRI.

39A: Go-ahead: SAY SO

41A: Tater: SPUD. Do you know that "murphy" is also a potato?

42A: Tack room gear: REINS. Alright, "tack room" is "a room in or near a stable for storing saddles, harnesses, and other tack."

44A: __ Loa volcano: MAUNA

46A: Switchback curve: ESS

52A: "Dune" composer Brian: ENO. The Microsoft Sound guy (Windows 95 start-up sound).

55A: High shots: LOBS. This would be a great clue entry for yesterday's The MASTERS puzzle.

58A: Code for one-on-one: DUELLO. No idea. It's of Italian origin. "The code of rules regulating dueling"

65A: Lennon's "Instant __": KARMA. Never heard of it. The only Lennon song I like is " Imagine"

68A: Simple weapon: SPEAR. Very simple indeed. Wikipedia shows 8 different kinds of wielding methods!

69A: The March King: SOUSA

Back Nine:

1D: Untitled work: OPUS. How so? Why untitled?

3D: Semisoft cheese: BRIE. Have some, avec Pinot Blanc.

4D: Of a single-celled organism: AMOEBIC

5D: Hot Sahara winds: SIROCCOS. Also spelled as SCIROCCO. Weird looking word. My Webster's says it originated from Arab word "sharq", means "east, to the rise of sun". Hot, oppressive wind blowing from Libyan deserts (Sahara Desert) across Mediterranean into S Europe. It seems more like north wind rather than east wind, doesn't it?

6D: "Casablanca" pianist: SAM. "As Time goes by", play it again, Sam. I don't like the crossing of SAM with 4A: ASSAM. (Updates from drdad and the Gargoyle. In the movie, Ilsa said, "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By"'. Rick said, "You played it for her, you can play it for me. Play it!")

7D: Writer Kingsley: AMIS. Father of Martin Kingsley, who was romantically involved with Tina Brown in her earlier lumpy days in London.

8D: Ho Chi _ City: MINH

9D: Insignificant: TRIVIAL

10D: Med. printout: EEG

11D: Provides with a crew: MANS

12D: Knee-bending movement: PLIÉ. Ballet movement.

13D: Big name in big pictures: IMAX (Image Maximum)

18D: Monks' titles: FRAS

24D: Genoese specialty: SALAMI

19D: Magnitude: SIZE

26D: Greek letters: PSIS

27D: San __, CA.: MATEO

28D: First Pope-canonized saint: ULRIC. Or Saint ULRICH, bishop and patron saint of Augsburg. Big stumper for me.

29D: True blue: LOYAL

30D: Crewman under Capt. Kirk: MR. SULU. Like this clue a lot.

31D: Dismantle mortise joints: UNPEG. Hurry up, you EMIRS of the Golf states, unpeg your currency from US dollars, Greenspan might be right this time!

32D: Try it again: REUSE

33D: Extremes: ENDS. Tire of this cluing.

34D: Paris Greenery: PARC (Park in French)

38D: Black as night: INKY

40D: As commanded: ON ORDERS. This phrase, together with SAY SO, A POP and a few other colloquial expressions in his other 2 puzzles has convinced me that Underwood is a very young guy. What do you think?

43D: Of constellations: STELLAR

45D: Maine's capital: AUGUSTA

48D: Each: A POP

52D: Moose cousins: ELKS

53D: Tidal situation: NEAP

54D: Made-up Monster: OGRE. Indeed, it's made up.

56D: Bikini parts: BRAS

59D: An arm or a leg: LIMB

60D: _ Linda, CA.: LOMA. Nope, I have never heard of this city.

61D: Unique person: ONER

63D: Doctor's org. AMA. I am an IATROPHOBIC, deeply skeptical of anything AMA recommends.

64D: Pot-au-__: FEU. Literally Pot on Fire. Needs some Dijon extra strong to spice it up!



Anonymous said...

Good morning CC.

Wow, I am not a fan of today's puzzle. I struggled with a good many of them. I thought it was a good sign that 1A came so quickly . . . but, then it seemed to be one stumper after another. I've never heard of Loma Linda CA and pot-au-feu. And then once figuring out the answers from the surrounding clues, I couldn't understand why I struggled so. Oh well. Perhaps next time I should get the coffee, THEN do the crossword!

Have a great day!

Katherine said...

I bombed on today's puzzle. Totally bombed. I only got a few right.
Have a good day to all.

C. C. said...

Morning mkat,
Here is a plate of pot-au-FEU for you.

Hi Katherine,
You got the upper right corner, did you not?

lois said...

Good morning, CC, mkatesq, et al, I wanted to shred this puzzle with my "shiv" and feed it to "Mauna Loa". Bad "karma" today. All I can say is THANK YOU, CC! You make the day a good one. I've got Underwood's bar right here! The crow I'm using on this puzzle! My frustrations are eased now. Have a great day!

Anonymous said...


I think I could have done without that picture! :o) It'll be a while before I get my stomach back to eat my breakfast (yummy peaches and granola).

And I'm a little happier to see that I am not the only one who is annoyed with today's puzzle. But, I take solace in the fact that there were no roman numerals! ;o)

drdad said...

Opus (plural opera) ia a musical composition that is given a number in order of its issue or publication. Thus, it has no name/title. In actuality, the words "Play it again, Sam" were never spoken. What Bogart said was "Play it, Sam." A wind similar to the scirocco is in the U.S. where the Great Plains meet the rockies and is called a chinook wind. There were bad spots in this puzzle. I had a lot of wrong answers for awhile and got way off track. Middle left and right were bad for some reason. Maybe like everyone else - no "karma" or just not "alert."

C. C. said...

Your comments always, always make me laugh, thank you!

No more pot-au-FEU picture next time. I promise. Only GATEAU for you.

Maybe the editor will clue FEU as _de joie next time.

I need to rent "Casablanca" again. I thought Bogart said "Play it again, Sam".

What I don't understand about SIROCCO is why the root word is "EAST" when the wind is actually blowing from South to North? What is the direction of chinook wind?

Nobody wants to hazard a guess on Underwood's age?

NYTAnonimo said...


I can't find Ulric

Longfelloow's ATRI


Brian ENO

Sir Kingsley AMIS

I had to use One Across to finish the part of the puzzle containing PARC, ULRIC and INKY. Have to go more later.

Ellie said...


I didn't think I was ever going to get through today's puzzle-- and I was really surprised when I realized I had finished it.

Definitely a challenge this morning. I think all my success came after the coffee had warmed up my brain a little.

Here's a nightmare word for you. In Malta, a SIROCCO is called a "xlokk." Can you imagine seeing that in a puzzle?

Have a good day, everyone.

Katherine said...

CC, I got most of the right corner, but not the T in Tempi. I think the Pot au feu looks yummy. Lois, that was funny, you wanted to shred your puzzle with your shiv! haha I had no clue what that answer was.

C. C. said...

Did you guy notice the excessive amount of letter M in this puzzle?

Lots lots of AM, MA. The ASSAM part of puzzle kind of reminds me of SAM I AM, I AM SAM.

Boomer said...

Oh, Thank you all,I feel much better after reading your comments. I got about 8 answers, totally stumped, and quit. I guess I was Fred Couples or Gary Player - just an old guy who missed the cut. So, I put some surface on my Storm Attitude Shift, and prepared for my year end tournament.

MH said...

I had a hard time today, especially the left middle and middle middle. Didn't know ulric or atri so I had to look up atri. I figured everything else out but it wasn't pretty. I actually kind of liked bar as the final across answer to juxtapose with the theme.

I don't know about the age of the author. I think "apop" is an old-fashioned expression. And I don't see the others you mention as particular to the young.

Opus is used for untitled works such as "Beethovens Opus 18" - it literally means work. I've never heard that it is the plural of opera, though. That's interesting.

NYTAnonimo said...

ONER was in the NYT puzzle today too clued as "Humdinger" instead of "Unique person".

I misread the clue for 28A-thought they wanted the first pope who was canonized a saint rather than the first saint canonized by a pope. Guess I didn't see or understand the hyphen. Found it here though.

Could this be the John Underwood who does puzzles? More by him here.Maybe not since according to this "There are 1,197 people in the U.S. named John Underwood"!

Thanks for the write up c.c..

jimhllrn said...

I could not get 27A because I'm not a StarWars fan and grammatically, could not start a name with MR. (stupid I know.) In my defense, his name was SULU and MRSULU would be his title, but that's a pretty flabby excuse.
Never heard of ULLIC and I was a Catholic kid who had to go through the Litany of the Saints a couple of times a year and the only bell town I recognize is Adano. Anyway it was a fun half hour.
POT-AU-FEU - - I found the recipe and made it one day. Wife gagged, kids grossed out, I it threw out. But - I never forgot it.
Imagine how bad I was when I started these things in 1974.

C. C. said...

That SHIV picture is good. Thank you. Those puzzles you linked are from our John Underwood I believe. The author picture is probably not him.

Now we've got PARC, JARDIN (Garden) is not far away!

Where did you get that wicked xlokk?

ATRI is clued as Italian Bell Town on March 10.

I like pot-au-FEU, I also like ASPIC. I am RARA AVIS here in this blog.

Anonymous said...

You refered to his age....I'm showing mine (74) Never heard of "APOP". It reqally threw me.

drdad said...

I actually stand corrected as well. It was not Bogart but Ingrid Bergman (as Ilsa Lund) who says the oft-misquoted line.

drdad said...

The scirocco is created by pulling of warm air from the Sahara northward by low pressure cells moving "toward the east." The wind is moving thus towards the northeast but more in an easterly direction. Chinooks are hot and dry and begin on the eastern slopes of the Rockies and then move eastward across the plains.

rosebud said...

Normally, I'd agree with you that a word in a clue should not be in the grid as well, but I rather liked having the last across answer be "BAR" in this case. It made me smile.

Crockett1947 said...

Good morning everyone!

Struggled with ULRIC and DUELLO, liked the theme answers, and I even liked BAR for 70 across. Sorry, CC, I know it's not elegant, but I enjoyed the tie-in. Even with the hesitation mentioned above, I finished with no help in 13 minutes. Don't forget to pay the piper -- tomorrow's T-Day!!

Anonymous said...

Ilsa said, "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By"'.

Rick said, "You played it for her, you can play it for me. Play it!".

This was one of those puzzles that I walk away from then when I come back, it's like, "What was my problem?"

the Gargoyle

Crockett1947 said...

Dennis, no criticism was intended, it just seemd that you were the first comments poster last week. I always enjoy reading what you have to add.

Anonymous said...

Feel much better after reading all these comments. Had a terrible time doing this crossword and I had my coffee. Have never heard of APOP as well. Like his use of Bar for last box..otherwise not looking forward to his next one.

drdad said...

I've heard a pop used for each. I don't know if it is a good example but here goes - It will cost $20 a pop to play the game. $20 each person, $20 each try, etc.

C. C. said...

Thanks for the explanation on the wind, very helpful. You sure know a lot of stuff.

Rosebud and crockett1947,
Thank you for letting me know your opinions on 70A: BAR. Hmm, I still dislike it.

the Gargoyle,
I've added you wrote here to my blog entry. Thank you.

Anonymous @ 11:37am,
Like drdad, I've heard of A POP for each also. Maybe it's a regional saying, like Soda, Coke, Pop?

Anonymous said...

Heather A. said...
Where do you get these crosswords? Can't we get any Canadian ones? The clues are extremely difficult.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Dad and c.c.- after I wrote what I said about APOP..I realized I had heard it in my is def. slang..20$ a pop...the clue should of read..slang for "each"..something like that. I just didn't really like this puzzle..felt he was reaching just a bit too far or just too often in this puzzle. Urge for Advocate..Say So for Go-Ahead..APOP for each..for me it was irritating.However, due to the difficulty of this puzzle I went online to check some answers out..and found this spot. So something good came out of it. In answer to Heather..I get the Philadelphia Inquirer every in NJ and do the crossword in that paper..Wednesday's are usually the easiest. When visiting in-laws in Vt. We all do the NY Times Sunday one. Way too hard for me. Def. need help when doing that one.

Ellie said...

C.C., I found "xlokk" while I was looking up which direction the sirocco winds blow this morning.

It seemed like a nice bit of trivia. As for a reputable source, I found it on the page about Malta, along with a couple other places.

Funny Mana said...

Today's puzzle was hard. I thought Monday's is easier... I hated last Friday's so I was looking forward to the nice one today. ah well. Try again, tomorrow.

C. C. said...

Anonymous @ 2:33pm,
I also groaned a bit over URGE for Advocate. But I was OK with APOP & SAY SO.

Heather A @ 1:40pm,
I presume you are a Canadian. The puzzle your paper carries is TMS (Tribune Media Service) syndication.

If you think this is tough, imagine how those solvers in Asia & Europe feel every morning!

You should voice your opinion to your local editor, make yourself heard. There have to be some great crossword constructors in Canada.
Thanks for the information. I like Lonelyplanet.

Funny mana,
Our puzzles are randomly churned out. They do not mirror the NY Times/LA Times more-difficult-as- the-week pattern.

But Wednesday tends to be the easiest because the constructor is always Philip J. Anderson. Many solvers have figured out how his brain is wired!

Dennis said...

Greetings from the land of the big yellow thing in the sky.
For some reason, I got this one done fairly quickly, mostly because the answers I didn't know fell into place from their perpendicular cousins.
C.C., I think you enjoy publishing pictures of inedible foodstuffs. Between aspic and that fire stuff, I've lost all desire for sustance.
Until dinner.
Crockett, no offense taken - we're all just happy to be here, right?
Hope it's a great evening for everyone.

C. C. said...

I am speechless! ASPIC & Pot-au-FEU are perfectly delicious food!

Foodies, any foodie here???

lois said...

Dennis, good to hear you made it safely. As far as the things on today's puzzle that you didn't know and that came from its perpendicular cousins, I can only imagine what kind of mutants those things are! That is some family tree! You and crocket1947 are amazing!

And drdad, thank you for all the fabulous information! I have heard of " a pop" but had it all as one word "apop". Couldn't make that leap. Must've been b/c I broke my toe yesterday. And the only chinook I knew of was the army heliocopter w/2 rotors. Dated one of those pilots once upon a time. He was a chinook and his rotors were misdirected. Unforgetable. Now I see he was also a blow hard! I learn so much from you all.

Dennis said...

Lois, I think parallel cousins are far mor likely to create mutants than perpendicular ones...

lois said...

Dennis, you are absolutely right. It's all in how the twains meet or in how you stack 'em. Nevertheless, you and crocket1947 are still amazing.

Anonymous said...

Good evening everyone. Missed all of you for the last week due to being on the Oregon coast and having computer problems. With that said, I royally sucked for a Monday.

Did anyone try the NY Crossword this morning? I can't believe I was able to finish it in less than 20 minutes, but could hardly get 1/4 of the way through the Star.

Did get all of the left bottom corner and after that I bombed. Still working on it and may come back here to vent some more.

TTFN, ~Aloha Spirit in Seattle

Dennis said...

"It's all in how the twains meet, or how you stack 'em".....I may ponder that one for days.

Thomas said...

(always seem to do this at the end of the day here when others have surely started the next puzzle) here on the west coast we deal with our own sirocco variant (the Santa Ana winds...also known as the devil winds...of course they usually come out of the East but that's not always the case). did this puzzle fairly quickly but needed the crosses for atri and just guessed at duello. I think the puzzle maker must be d'un certain age (like me) since "a pop" rings a bit old fashioned to my ear. thankfully we've moved past the aspic and etui and Ocala!