May 9, 2008

Friday, May 9, 2008 Doug Peterson

Theme: P Transformation (New word/phrase is formed when you insert letter P in front of letter L)

17A: Cork-based courage?: PLUCK OF THE IRISH (Luck of the Irish)

29A: Jet for honeymooners?: LOVERS' PLANE (Lover's Lane)

46A: Baseball lineup?: PLATE COMERS (Latecomers)

61A: Powerful faction's advocate?: MAJORITY PLEADER (Majority Leader)

A couple of things first:

1) ANENT. Johnboy called it a "pure cruciverbonym" at his 11:20am comment yesterday. In fact, this kind of word is referred to as "CROSSWORDESE" (Words that are often used in crosswords and rarely used in our daily conversation). In her book "How to Conquer the NY Times Crossword Puzzle", Orange gave "PTAH, OONA, ORT and ESNE" as examples.

2) Letters to the Editor: As you all know, I've been very disappointed and angry with the feedback, or rather lack of feedback, from our editor Mr. Williams and his staff. He does not seem to care what we are thinking and he seems to have no desire to improve the quality of the TMS puzzles. I think we deserve better. We deserve a good editor.

Let's write to Mary Elson. She is the Managing Editor of Tribune Media Services. Her email address is Please, don't be silent any more. We have to voice our opinions if we want quality crosswords like the NY Times'. We deserve a capable editor who is passionate about his/her editing job and care about what we readers think.

Now come back to the puzzle. I had huge problem with my open tee shot today. Except "A Walk in the Cloud", I've never seen any Anthony Quinn movie, so ZORBA was hard for me to get this morning. I guess I've heard of ZORBA the Greek before. I've never heard of ACK-ACK gun. Saw "Presumed Innocent" before, but I did not pay attention to the actor name RAÚL Juliá. And to compound the problem, I penned in SONG rather than SOLO for 20A: Recital piece. So I could not even get my BACON for 4D. A total SNAFU in the first hole! But I did find my swing back quickly and was able to complete the round without getting too frustrated with my clubs.


1A: Anthony Quinn title role: ZORBA. Here is the original movie poster of "Zorba the Greek".

15A: Jab deliverer: FIST. Ugh, I just can not stand the double appearance of FIST in both the clue and the answers. See 19D.

21A: Ultimate letters: XYZ. I love this clue! ELSE, enjoy your stay in ELBA!

22A: Sheathe: ENCASE

26A: Comic Margaret: CHO. Not my cup of tea.

35A: Classic sitcom mom: HOUSEWIFE

37A: Skater Harding: TONYA. I just can not resist the temptation to put Plushenko's skating video here.

38A: Plugging away: AT IT

38A: Scrawny one: SCRAG

41A: Sporty trucks, briefly: UTES. Utilities.

42A: Olympian's reward: MEDAL

52A: Huge fan: ADORER. Somehow I have problem accepting this word ADORER.

57A: Right on maps: EAST

64A: Aoki of golf: ISAO. Golf Hall-of -Famer. I don't think I've ever seen him playing golf, either at PGA, or Senior PGA. Shingo Katayama & Shigeki Maruyama are probably the only Japanese golfers who are well-known in the PGA tour.

66A: Marshmallowy treat: S'MORE. I've never had this treat before. I don't like marshmallow.

67A: Leveling wedge: SHIM


3D: Actor Julia: RAÚL. Here is more information about him. Is he a gimme for you?

5D: Half an antiaircraft gun: ACK. ACK-ACK derives from A. A. (abbreviation of AntiAircraft.) Wikipedia says ACK- ACK is "WWI phonetic alphabet for AA".

7D: Posh hotel name: RITZ. I like the Z's in today's puzzle. ZIPS, ZORBA, RITZ, XYZ, and the clue 68A Zounds.

10D: Distribute: PARCEL OUT

11D: Inter __ (among others): ALIA

18D: U-shaped river bends: OXBOWS. No idea.

19D: Ham-fisted: INEPT. I've never heard of "Ham-fist" before.

25D: Bring to life: CREATE

26D: Titleholder: CHAMP & 30D: Winner: VICTOR. This CHAMP is a very interesting fill today, as P is indeed part of today's puzzle title.

27D: Red Monopoly piece: HOTEL. Ah the thick and lush Chocolat Chaud in HÔTEL RITZ! Please visit Paris 75001, with your AMIS (52D: Paris pals), have some TÊTE -A- TÊTE (44A: Private chat), heaven!

28D: "A Dog of Flanders" writer: OUIDA. No idea. But it's gettable. OUIDA is the pseudonym of British novelist Maria Louise Ramé. Wikipedia says she derived her pen name from her own childish pronunciation of her given name "Louise".

31D: Violinist Zimbalist: EFREM. EFREM was clued as Zimbalist Jr. of F. B. I. on Tuesday. Father and Son.

33D: Natasha's negatives: NYETS. Whoa, hold on one minute! You don't think "Putin's negatives" mean much after he stepped down 2 days ago? Man, you need to really look at the man in the eye and see his Never-Give-Up-Power KGB soul. I love the alliteration of the clue/answer. Excellent!

36D: Cruise compartment: STATEROOM

40D: Pet in a cage: GERBIL. I've never heard of this animal. Here is a picture. It looks like a mouse to me.

47D: Purplish red: CERISE. I want these CERISE roses and these fresh cherries. CERISE is French for cherry. (Update later: I made a mistake, those flowers are carnations, not roses)

54D: City near Santa Barbara: OJAI. Not familiar to me at all. I got it from across clues.

55D: Banks of talk TV: TYRA. Again? Infatuated with TYRA lately?

56D: Parroted: APED. This is probably related to the puzzle title. I don't know. I am not so sure of my title summery today.

62: Yank hard: TUG



Dennis said...

Good morning, C.C. and gang - thought this was a decent puzzle. Never heard of an 'oxbow'. Didn't know that Efrem Zimbalist Jr.'s (77Sunset Strip, FBI) father was a noted violinist.
About 8 minutes today.
Make it an outstanding weekend!

Dr. Dad said...

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. of the FBI a while ago, today his father.
The Ox-Bow Incident, a western starring Henry Fonda and ANTHONY QUINN. Raul Julia - played Gomez Adams in the movie "Addams Family."
oxbow lake
Yesterday was "No Socks Day" and since some people may have lost them when they didn't wear them, today is "Lost Socks Memorial Day." Also "National Third Shift Workers Day."

Only 9 minutes today. Catching Dennis. Have a good Friday!!!!!!!!!1

Dick said...

Hello cc Dennis etal. Good puzzle today. I did not know 26A CHO and 28D so I had a blank there until I saw cc' answers. Neither did I know 54D OJAI but that one could be had be the other clues. Probably spent about 12 minutes on this one. Hope you all have a great weekend. It is going to be wet and cold here in the berg this weekend so I guess it will be indoor activities.

Dick said...

drdad you must be a movie buff as you seem to have a very thorough knowledge of this industry.

Dr. Dad said...

A lot of the old movies yes, dick. Some of the new ones get me. I often go to the vides store and pick a few out to watch.

Dr. Dad said...

Here's more sci-fi (albeit old) - "Colonel Steve Austin - a man barely alive." Played by Lee Majors in "The Six Million Dollar Man." The character, Steve Austin, was from Ojai, California.

Katherine said...

Good morning CC and gang. I had a little trouble with this one, but got most of it with your help CC. I did know Raul Julia. I got oxbow with the other clues. I never heard of Ouida the author. I loved the cerise flowers. I would LOVE to try the Chocolat Chaud at the Ritz my some ami' to join me?
Have a good day everone....

C.C. Burnikel said...

Dennis, Drdad and Dick,
I am not very happy with my theme title summary today. Any better idea from you guys?

Anonymous said...

Good morning CC, et al. Thought this might be the 'mothers day' puzzle w/ 35A...NOT. Remember well Raul Julia as the 'papa' Gomez. Miss him. Actually, the only good part of this puzzle was the Hunk on Skates video and that will keep me going for a while. Thank you CC. You saved the day/wk. I'm holding a service for my Lost Socks tonight.

Hope you enjoy this day!

Dennis said...

Had a feeling we'd lose Lois again with that video.
C.C., I couldn't think of anything better than what you had. I was trying to work something off "take a P", but came up short.
Bad choice of words there...

Superfrey said...

Interesting puzzle.... I thought that 46A Platecomers was a lousy clue. With all of the other P clues if you dropped the P you got a recognizable answer for the clue given. Following this logic... why would any one think of a baseball lineup as LATECOMERS. C.C. to me this is an example where the editor just closed his eyes and let it go by.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Great puzzle today! Difficult enough to be interesting, but not full of obnoxiously obscure (or entirely made-up) words. The only word that had me completely stumped was OUIDA (for "'A Dog of Flanders' Writer"), but I was able to get it relatively easy from the cross clues. And yes, ZORBA, CHO, OJAI and OXBOW were gimmes for me. :)

A couple of minor quibbles about todays puzzle, though. First, why is TYRA clued as a "Banks of talk TV"? I thought Tyra Banks was a model for Victoria's Secret or something. Did she get a talk show when I wasn't paying attention? Second, shouldn't the clue for 44A indicate that the answer is in French? Or is tête à tête now considered standard English?

Also, just thought I'd mention that I personally prefer themes involving puns or wordplay like today's over those with an unattributed quip. And that's because it's actually possible to figure out the answer to one of the themed clues all by itself without needing to fill in every cross clue. I hate seeing the clue "quip, part 1" since there's no context (not even the author) to help you solve it. I just hate knowing that it's IMPOSSIBLE to get the answer to a clue without first solving the cross clues (and I hate it even more if I'm having trouble with one or more of the cross clues). Anybody else feel this way?

Katherine said...

Barry, Tyra did get a talk show. I have never seen it, but she has one now.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Great to finally see you! Who is the cutie in your arm?

Thanks to Melissa, I've become a Plushenko ADORER. Have a look at this Godfather piece.

PLATE COMER: I guess that's why there is a "?" after the clue. It does sound very strained though.

Yes, TYRA Bank has her own talk show. RE: TÊTE -A- TÊTE. I am not sure. I confuse French with English all the time.

I totally agree with you on TMS QUIP puzzles(all of them have been authored by Alan Olschwang). They just drive me nuts. I do love QUOTE puzzle though.

Superfrey said...

C.C. Back to 46 A Platecomers... it would have been better as a race horsing clue... such as Driving Thorobred or Stretch Runner... but definitely not a nonsensical baseball clue...

Dr. Dad said...

C.C. - I like Dennis' response.
"Take a P" is good with me. Wow - that even rhymes!
Barry - here you go - Tyra Banks Show

Dr. Dad said...

I have to agree with the arguments against Baseball Lineup for Platecomers. All of the other theme answers (when you remove the P) have something to do with the clue given - Irish and cork (as in popping the cork to have a drink), Lovers and honeymooners, Majority Leader and powerful faction. No part of the answer "late comers" has anything to do with baseball. Don't know if I'm saying it right to make my point but this answer/clue set is more disjointed than the other three.

Dick said...

CC your theme P Transformations is as good as it gets. I will never understand Plate comers as the answer tot46A, it just doesn't make any sense to me. I agree with superfrye's comment about horses. By the way superfrye how is the knee?

Katherine said...

CC, that is Emma, my youngest of 3 grandchildren. She is 4 now. They moved to Florida 2 years ago, and broke my heart!

Dr. Dad said...

C.C. - I missed it but Ditto to the congrats on 200,000!!!! Excellent job.

Superfrey said...

Dick... knee is good today... of course I have not done anything yet :):):) ON the 46A clue again... they could have used a transportation type clue.... such as "A delayed train" or I am partial to the horse racing clue though ...til tomorrow...

C.C. Burnikel said...

Superfrey, Drdad & Dick,
Got it! Now I agree with you!

Barry G. said...

So Tyra has her own talk show, eh? Guess I need to watch more daytime TV.

Or not... :)

Bill said...

Barry, you probably haven't missed much by not seeing daytime TV !
Not too bad except I got off on the wrong foot with 17a. Used PLUCK OF THE GRAPE which made perfect sense to me but not the rest of the NE corner. Stubborn as I am, I refused to see any other answer so finally came here to see what went wrong. So while I did fairly well it could have been better.
C.C., I never picked up on the "P" theme till I read your comments. Then looking at the thing again every thing made sense ( well, except 46a but I got it anyway)
My paper was real late today (8AM) my whole day will be messed up.
CYA so

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

I thought this was a decent one, too. I got OXBOW immediately from filling in the X in the perpendicular. I was stuck on the top theme clue for a while. I kept thinking cork as in wine bottle, rather than Cork as in Ireland. I think that the clue should have had Cork capitalized, though, since it is the proper name of the Irish county.

Barry, I agree with you about the theme puzzles versus the quip/quote puzzles. I often find them frustrating.

I guess I had my sock days mixed up, because I spent some time yesterday sorting out odd socks from my boys' dressers. I don't know how he does it, but the little one goes through socks like no tomorrow. Every time I turn around he's got another hole in a sock!

Maybe I'll hum a little hymn for them when I put them in the big trash bin. :)

Dick said...

Bill, from your profile it looks like you are the Blue Grass guys but we did lose one of the original Country Western singers yesterday with the death of Eddy Arnold. I enjoyed his music.

MH said...

Got it all today except for the intersection of Cho and Ouida. This is great for me given this week's track record. I intuited oxbows from the across clues and having heard of a river town called Oxbow. Loved some of the unusual words such as tete-a-tete, cerise, nyets, gerbil. We Californians get Ojai pretty easily. I was a little uneasy with "ados" for 58D: States of confusion. I think of an ado as more of an argument or dust-up. The other iffy word is "scrag" - probably correct definition but not one I've ever heard used. All in all a very satisfying puzzle for a Friday.

On Plate Comers, I think the clue is intended to mean those who come to the plate to bat. The other P clues all referred to the phrase as modified by the addition of the letter P (e.g.: Pluck = courage, Pleader = advocate). It's still a little weak ;-) How about Ps in a Pod for a theme?

Bill said...

Have only been involved in bluegrass for a few years but for 35 years prior to that I cut my teeth on the old country tunes. If there were a market for it in this area I probably would still play country classics but everybody seems to be into the heavy, angry sound and I've never been a fan of distorted sounding instruments in music.
Ergo, I play more bluegrass, which is all acoustic.

Anonymous said...

CC: Thank you for the Godfather piece....altho it's a little young for me. I prefer the manly man piece. It's exciting to watch him skate anytime.

Dennis' theme idea was 'Perfect!

Happy Trails to Eddy Arnold. He was a good one all right.

Pop a cork from Cork. It's about lunch time.


Boomer said...

I performed lousy on this puzzle, as the Twins did yesterday. Couldn't get my mind into it. I was still pining over Jim Thome's second stolen base of the decade after platecomer Paul Konerko deked everyone into thinking he had drawn a walk. The Beantown Bombers are in town this weekend and the Twins better take some Ginko to get their heads in the game. I wish Manny would get a haircut.

Anonymous said...

Hey guy, those are cerise carnations. Okay I'm picky but it you send
a girl carnations and call them roses you've got a real problem on
your hands.

Anonymous said...

I didn't even notice that this puzzle is "double-fisted". I got all of the Down clues that covered 15A.

7 minutes 15 seconds this morning. It took a while to catch on to the theme.

I'm still undecided on "Plate Comers". I didn't have a problem with it until I read what superfrey wrote. (Great nickname, btw!)

I will staunchly stand by 'cruciverbonym' as the "a word that appears only in crosswords".

Crosswordese is the "language" of crossword puzzles. A cruciverbonym is one component of crosswordese. It's analagous to 'word' as part of the 'English language'.

I really think that people who enjoy crosswords should be much more creative with their noelogisms.

The '-ese' suffix is just too common. At work, I
speak "computerese". Lawyers speak "legalese". Surely, cruciverbalists can rise above that standard.

I really, really need a vacation.

C.C. Burnikel said...

I think I like Superfrey's comment at 7:10am. Another reason why 46A feels weak is because "LATECOMER" is one word, while the other 3 theme entries are all phrases. A lack of consistency here! "Ps in a Pod" is too weak. Dennis' "Take a P" is too strong.

You sure are stubborn! Did you read the link I posted yesterday in response of your "cruciverbonym"?

Crosswordese does NOT refer to the language. It's a term to refer to those words. Your Word/Language analogy does not apply here.

Barry G. said...

As per the Wikipedia link C.C. posted, "Crosswordese" is "a term generally used to describe words frequently found in crossword puzzles but seldom found in everyday conversation."

I read that as meaning that it describes the words in general and not any specific word. It's the same way that, while "legalese" isn't a separate language spoken by lawyers, neither does it refer to a particular bit of legal jargon; instead it's a collective term for all the words of jargon they use. You can't refer to an individual word as a "legalese". Instead, you'd have to call it, at best, a "bit of legalese".

Same with "crosswordese". You can talk about crosswordese in general or a bit of crosswordese, but there's no currently accepted term for an actual bit of crosswordese. Which is to say that I think johnboy is perfectly justified in coining his own word for it.

JIMBO said...

C.C. I marvel at your intelligence, especially since you are somewhat of a newcomer to this country.
You must be a fast learner! Were you ever on "Jeopardy"?
Strangely enough, it was the "easy clues" that gave me the most trouble today, like 66a and 52d. Did'nt know "Ojai" or "Isao". Finished the puzzle with a little help from you and "Mr Atlas".

I love your explanation of the clues and also your comments. Don't ever leave us!!

Anonymous said...

I prefer to think that I have high standards.

Crockett1947 said...

Good morning everyone. C.C., I thought 5D would be totally foreign to you. Liked the 21A clue as well -- clever. GERBILs were a fad pet back in the 70s. Wanted SHEA to be 13D, but the anagram is correct, of course. Hometown bad girl skater made the crossword today. She had the technical skills but certainly missed out on the people skills. We have an Oxbow Park here in Multnomah County where the Sandy River makes that U-shaped turn (18D). All those socks are not LOST, they were sacrificed to the Dryer God! Barry, I'm with you on the quip, part 1 puzzles. Drive me up the wall!

Anonymous said...

We once had a gerbil named Zorba. Alas a hawk made off with him one sunny day.

Our tete a tete with Mother promises to be quite an ado.

She loved that scraggy gerbil...

Dr. Dad said...

I, for one, am going to stop my use of cruciverbonym. The two times I used it yesterday and once today are the last times. Who cares what the hell it's called as long as we have fun doing the puzzles and visiting this site?

C.C. Burnikel said...

I see your point. But I am not fully convinced of Johnboy's "cruciverbonym".

I will have been living in the US for 7 years on May 15, 2008. So I am not exactly a newcomer. I know stuff like ISAO AOKI or other PGA/LPGA/Sr.PGA names because I happen to like golf. I am not a good reader, so I am very weak in literature, author names. And actors, actresses, singers, nurse rhymes, TV series, old films, almost everything pose a threat to me. Jeopardy is definitely out of my league.

I did not realize the ASHE/SHEA anagram until you point it out. I've never paid attention to this stuff before.

I think we have to clarify this crosswordese definition. It bothers me.

Dennis said...

drdad, AMEN! Enough with the nitpicking - this is supposed to be a fun site; there's no need to put too fine a point on things. Let's just all enjoy this great blog C.C.'s created.

Jeez, I feel like I should be singing "Kumbaya"...

Orange said...

Inside my brain, there are two kinds of crosswordese. There are the ordinary little words that are used often in crosswords, but much more seldom outside of crosswords. Words like OLEO and ERN--you need to know these if you're doing crosswords a lot.

The other kind of crosswordese includes the horribly obscure words that used to pop up in the NYT puzzles back when Eugene Maleska was the editor--things like [Malay thatch]/NIPA and [Japanese deer]/SIKA that even regular crossword solvers won't recognize unless they drag out a crossword dictionary. Most other newspaper crosswords avoid this sort of crosswordese--they're words that even an educated, well-read American who's done thousands of crosswords (*waving hello*) wouldn't know.

C.C. Burnikel said...

What about Johnboy's comment at 9:57am? Was he correct?

melissa bee said...

c.c. and all - today's came easier for me than yesterday's, which was a bear.

i liked how champ intersected with medal. also ritz, lovers, tete a tete, hotel and adorer .. sweet.

i did not get the theme until i saw c.c.'s post. but even if i did i don't think it would have helped. i agree that platecomers was a seventh-inning stretch. as was ham-fisted.

i don't know if doing crosswords staves off senility .. but i'm absolutely CERTAIN that watching that skater video does .. i know because i can no longer do the crossword without it.

Dick said...

My God Melissabee you are worse than Lois and that is good.

melissa bee said...

dick ... tee hee.

Anonymous said...

As the perpetrator of the crosswordese/cruciverbonym war, I hereby declare a unilateral truce.

As a peace offering, I refer you to site dedicated to curciverbalists. I especially recommend the 'clever clue of the month'.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Good observation on MEDAL& CHAMP intersection. And I love your "ritz, lovers, tete a tete, hotel and adorer .. sweet." remark.

Orange has addressed my question @ 1:49pm in email. Crosswordese it is! The website you mentioned is already listed in my "I love these links" sidebar.

Anonymous said...

johnboy: So, was it the thought of dennis singing kumbaya that got you to acquiesce?
Dick: that was funny!
Melissa Bee: I agree that the skater video is good for what ails you, but it grabs my attention too tightly to even think of doing something else simultaneously. Breathing is difficult for me when he rips off his shirt...when the pants go? Well, the crossword is NOT getting done. I admire your ability to forge on.

Dr. Dad said...

Lois - I bet you were wishing for the pants to go yesteday when it was "No Pants Day." Don't lie - I can tell.

Johnboy - thanks for the peace offering. Time to move on.

Mr. Corcoran said...

hello goodbye this is undoubtedly the last post for this one...on the plane for awhile and did fly over ojai...why, yes i do believe tete a tete is fairly well accepted these days in the US (along with freedom fries, just love the grease, dontcha)...okay, and now something for the gents, let's get over the plushenko vid and move on to tonya's unusual antics!) Hope we can get back to more highbrow literary references tomorrow!

Unknown said...

13D… Arthur Ashe Stadium, used for tennis. Also happens to be located near Shea. This puzzle was terrible. Plus, I see no mention of the puzzle's theme except on this blog! What gives?

C.C. Burnikel said...

Compared with other TMS puzzles, this one is a pretty good.