May 3, 2008

Saturday, May 3, 2008 Tom Pruce

Theme: NONE

Too hot a puzzle for me to handle today: the palmy CYCADS, the exotic NIPA (Malay thatch), the tropical RATTAN, the LEG, the HES, the ERECTING. Felt like this puzzle was made from Ibiza Islands, for Michael Cretu, whose intoxicating ENIGMA album stole my heart!

I got LAID instead of LAIN at 57D: Reclined, again, just like last Sunday. Really need to look carefully before I jump next time. Money became a huge issue today, as both CRUZEIRO and INTI stumped me hard today. And AZAN, oh my gosh, that clue Muezzin was intimidating! Total SNAFU at the left corner. Lots of troubles in other area too. Tough puzzle.


1A: Shotgun ammo: PELLETS

8A: Cravings: HUNGERS. Are they really the same?

15A: Blood deficiency: ANAEMIA. Shouldn't there be VAR mark in the clue?

16A: Coop flier: ESCAPEE. Great clue. Coop is slang for prison. I think adding a "?" would have made the clue more sparkling.

17A: Hang up: RING OFF

18A: Marine fauna: SEA LIFE

19A: J. Hancocked?: SGD (Signed). I put OK'D first.

22A: Attacked: RAIDED

28A: Actress Gilpin: PERI. Not familiar to me. I penned in TERI.

29A: Political meeting: CAUCUS. This caucus system is too absurd and is not viable any more. Important decisions should not be made by a few party insiders.

31A: CB-ers?: RADIO MEN. Um, I am not impressed by the cluing at all.

34A: Actor Tognazzi: UGO. I've never heard of him. Got it from down clues.

35A: Putting up: ERECTING. I like how ERECTING intersects with ADRENALIN and SEEDINGS. It would be sensational if 14D were not in ING form. I have ING phobia.

39A: The devil: OLD NICK. I've never heard of this expression. I filled in OLD DICK, thinking of "the Devil and Dick Cheney" joke.

42A: "Troilus and ___": CRESSIDA. Tragically, I've never read this Shakespeare play. Not familiar with the title at all.

46A: Like a square box: CUBOIDAL. New word to me. Cubelike.

47A: Of iron: FERRIC. What is lack of iron? ANEMIC?

51A: Muezzin's call to prayer: AZAN. Ridiculously impossible for me. AZAN is "the call to prayer proclaimed five times a day by the muezzin in Muslim countries". See here for Muezzin explanation.

60A: RN's nice: TLC. Wouldn't be cool to intersect TLC and ICU (24D) someday?

52A: Little yelp: YIP. Why not try "Small bark" or "Golf putting phobia"or something else? Ennui!

54A: Prepared for action: READY. Yes, I am! Surprise me, "Denis of Cork", tell me you are for real!

61A: Da Nang location: VIETNAM

63A: Standby army: MILITIA

66A: Unpredictable: ERRATIC

67A: Object of a computer instruction: OPERAND

68A: "The Thieving Magpie" composer: ROSSINI. No idea. I know nothing about classical music.

69A: Island wraps: SARONGS. I like how SARONGS crossing NIPA (Malay thatch), as Malaysians love wearing SARONGS.


1D: Unit of astronomical length: PARSEC. It comes from Par(allax) Sec(ond). PARSEC is "a unit of distance equal to that required to cause a heliocentric parallax of one second of an arc, equivalent to 206,265 times the distance from the earth to the sun, or 3.26 light-years". Umm, hard, I don't understand what I've written down.

2D: Elgar's "_____Variations": ENIGMA. No idea. It is "Elgar's best-known large-scale composition". Do you love this ENIGMA? It's very sensual and sexy, spiritual too. The gasps for air, the whispering, everything is just so enigmatic.

3D: Martin of "Mission: Impossible": LANDAU. Don't know him.

6D: Southern Georgia county: TIFT. I've never heard of it. Is it well known?

8D: All of guys: HES. I put MEN first.

11D: Impure resin of turpentine: GALIPOT. No idea. Did someone use this word at the Comments section lately? I vaguely remember I saw this word before.

12D: Rampant: EPIDEMIC

13D: Something alluded to: REFERENT

14D: Tournament positions: SEEDINGS. I actually like this cluing. I just hate when too many ING's appear in one puzzle.

21D: Epinephrine: ADRENALIN. I did not know the meaning of "Epinephrine", had to look up in the dictionary. But shouldn't it be ADRENALINE?

25D: Classic Dracula: LUGOSI (Béla). Should have a "?" with the clue, don't you think so?

27D: Gandhi's garb: SARI

30D: 3-D shape: SOLID. I like how SOLID crossing CUBOIDAL.

33D: More googey: ICKIER

36D: Catcher-turned-sportscaster: McCARVER (Tim). No idea. I kept thinking of JIM KAAT, but he was a Pitcher-turned-sportscaster.

37D: Brazilian cash: CRUZEIRO. This Brazilian Supermodel will only take €€€, not CRUZEIRO, not even your $$$. Do ya feel lucky, punk? (Update later: Tom Brady is currently dating Gisele).

38D: Arguers: DEBATERS

43D: Instrumental compositions: SONATAS. Like the crossing of SONATAS with ROSSINI.

45D: Three in Roma: TRE. A little bit Chinese for you. This character "一" is one, "二" is two, and "三" is three. Super easy, isn't it?

48D: Wickerwork material: RATTAN. Saw this before.

49D: Not doing anything: IDLING

50D: Group of seed plants: CYCADS. Here is the definition: "any gymnospermous plant of the order Cycadales, intermediate in appearance between ferns and the palms, many species having a thick, unbranched, columnar trunk bearing a crown of large, leathery, pinnate leaves." Look at her CYCAD.

53D: California tribe: POMOS. Saw it somewhere before.

56D: Former Peruvian currency: INTI. SOL is Peru's money unit now, interesting, Sun as their currency. More interesting: INTI was the Sun God of Incas.

57D: Reclined: LAIN

59D: Malay thatch: NIPA. It's a palm in Southeast Asia, with foliage for thatching and basketry. Alright, see these 2 pictures: NIPA palm and NIPA hut.

64D: Celtic god: LER. Sea God. Father of Manannan. I am confused here. The dictionary says Manannan is also a Sea God, who is the Sea God then?

65D: Worldwide help grp.: IRO (International Refugee Organization). I wrote down IMF.

Forgot to say earlier that I dislike the appearances of 2 Roman numerals in one puzzle, very lazy cluing.



Dennis said...

Good morning, C.C. and gang -
Wow, a real hammer today. I think Pruce has some kind of deal with Google; if so, I put some money in his pocket.
C.C., I agree, 'anaemia' should have 'var.' with it. I think either spelling of 'adrenaline' is correct.
Enigma is one of my favorites too; great mood music.
Never knew 'ickier' was in use by anyone over 10.
On 64D - isn't the Celtic God 'Lar'? I know it doesn't fit with 'operand', but couldn't find a reference to 'Ler'.
Oh, and 57D - I got laid too.
Hope it's an equally great morning for everyone...

C.C. Burnikel said...

Morning, Dennis,
LAR is Roman God. I think Chinese has a similar Household God too. It's called Zao Shen (灶神).

Katherine said...

Good morning everyone. Yikes! Didn't get too much of this one, even with the help of Google. I never heard of most of these words! I did know Martin Landau, before your time CC. I got some of them, but not too many. I am glad you got "laid" Dennis........haha, I got lain???
Time to get ready for work. Have a good weekend.........

C.C. Burnikel said...

I am curious to know if CRUZEIRO, INTI, GALIPOT, CYCAD, NIPA, PARSEC, TIFT and RATTAN are gimmies for you.

Dennis said...

C.C., you're right, of course - I found it now. Thanks.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Dennis & Katherine,
My dictionary explains "Recline" as "Lay Back". So technically LAID for Reclined is correct, isn't it? I am very confused about past forms of LAY & LIE.

Dennis said...

C.C., nipa, parsec, rattan, yes; and I grew up in Atlanta, so I knew Tift county.
Never heard of the others or even 'azan'.

Kim said...

Hi everyone!

Just kill me now! After one hour, I got about 50% and I'm done! Seems like I'm not the only one! I agree with the 'var' with anemia, but to my credit, I got Lugosi right off the bat! (Pun intended!) I got ickier too, just not a whole lot more! Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Katherine said...

CC, I was just making a bad joke....
Cute comment Kim.......

Dennis said...

"Lugosi right off the bat" -- Kim, you're fitting right in here. Not sure that's a compliment...

Bill said...

Well, this certainly had a lot of made up words in it. Or, if they're real, definately not heard of by moi!!
But, not having a lot of time to play the game today I came here and found that some of the made up words were actually what I had in mind for some answers but doubted myself.
First guess is always best and I should have done that. Still would have only done half but but that's better than the quarter I did do!
CYA all later.

Anonymous said...

The "solver" must be under 30...Martin Landau was in the original TV series.

BTW, puzzles are SUPPOSED to get harder as the week progresses...Tommy boy out-did himself today!

Barry G. said...


I actually managed to guess my way through most of the puzzle via cross clues (I never heard of "Galipot", "Cruzeiro", "Azan" or "Tift" but was able to get them eventually) until I got to the southeast corner. I would have finished had I figured out "operand", but without it I was clueless (so to speak).

And yes, some of the answers really bugged me. Is "sgd" really an abbreviation of "signed"? Is "anaemia" the standard spelling of the word in the U.S.? And since when is it spelled "adrenalin" instead of "adrenaline"? And is "cuboidal" even a real word?

I don't mind a difficult puzzle, but I really hate it when they play fast and loose with spelling variations without even indicating that its a variation.

Crockett1947 said...

Good morning everyone. This one was a bear in the lower section. Mr. Google and I had a long conversation today. C.C., I agree that the clue for 15A should have a VAR mark. I also think that 21D should be ADRENALINE. I couldn't get your ENIGMA link to work -- only got a blank page. GALIPOT, TIFT, CRUZEIRO, INTI, POMOS and LER were new to me. Great pun, Kim! Have a great weekend, all.

Anonymous said...

anonymous csw

to anonymous at 7:56 a.m. - perhaps you should read c.c.'s About Me on the solutions page.

I really had the most trouble with bottom right - thought 64D was Lar so that had me stumped for awhile. My Wheel of Fortune skills helped me more than actually knowing the answers.
Plus, I dug out my Merriam-Webster Crossword puzzle solver to help on a couple of answers.

Enjoy everyone's comments. Besides, this is my most visited site.

Dr. Dad said...

What an SOB today! ***%$!!!)**&^$%$$#
I haven't had trouble like this in a long time, even with googling. I'm in the same boat as Dennis - put money in the pocket today.
I found Ler, father of Manannan (as C.C. said).
Did you guys get laid or "lei'd?"
Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, both of Mission Impossible and Space, 1999.
Parsec was used in Star Trek, C.C.! Gotta love sci-fi. Cycad and rattan were gimmes. The rest that you mentioned were not.
I think Barry is correct on Adrenaline though you can find some references to Adrenalin.
Anemia/anaemia - either is used.

I found one link for today. Happy Lumpy Rug Day! For those of you who sweep things under the rug, it's time to get the lumps out.

C.C. Burnikel said...

RE: "Get laid": I knew why and how. What I asked you and Dennis at 6:57am is: If "Recline" means "Lay back", then the answer for 57 (Reclined) should be LAID, right? The past and pp forms for LAY are LAID. I did not know that "OLD DICK" is a slang until 15 minutes ago.

I am sorry, I don't get your "Lugosi right off the bat" pun. Something slangy again?

This is Girls Gone Wild Ibiza style puzzle. Lots of palm trees and untamable words.

Anonymous at 7:56am,
"The solver" is going to be 37 years at the end of next month!! TMS puzzle does not get harder as the week goes! It does not follow NY Times pattern. It's random.

I totally agree with your takes on VAR. I wrote an email to TMS specifically regarding VAR. The response was very terse and disappointing!

Sorry the link does not work. You should be able to find it by googling "ENIGMA MCMXC a.D" (1990)

What's the pun behind "Get L'eid"?
How can I get interested in Sci-Fi? Where to start?

lois said...

Good morning CC et al. CC you are soooo right! This is certainly a-'morel'! What a 'hard' and 'too hot to handle' puzzle, but it got my 'adrenalin(e)' flowing for all the same reasons you had along w/the link to Tom Brady!!!! Thought the cross w/'idling' and 'ready' was cute in w/'the devil'...just missing 'workshop'. Also thought 'ring off' in a sense matched 'hungers', 'escapee', leg, 'erecting', &'TLC'. I got 'laid' again as well for the second time in a week. The difference btw lain and laid? It's all in the 'lie'. I love this month! My 'May Pole' across the street is still crying "mayday!"

Have a great day!

Dennis said...

C.C., it's "old Nick", not "old Dick". That'd be me.

Kim said...


Dracula was a vampire "bat"

Kim said...


The other half is "right off the bat" means right away!

Anonymous said...

Good morning, everyone!

Ouch, what a day! I hadn't heard of GALIPOT before, and the bottom left was a hot mess when I couldn't come up with MCCARVER or CRUZEIRO. I should have gotten ROSSINI, but I got tripped up by the LAID/LAIN problem, too.

I think 10D would have been much more fun with a question mark. It drove ne crazy for a while because I kept thinking chicken coop.

CYCAD, PARSEC and RATTAN came easily for me.

MH said...

Very tough one for me. Not much to add over what CC and others have already mentioned. Both cluing and words were difficult and obscure. I live in California and have never heard of the Pomos, however there is a town called Nipomo. To me Cressida is an old Toyota model. Cruzeiro - isn't that what we do in our cars on Main St? It just goes on like that. Oh, well....

Anonymous said...

Martin Landau played Bela Lugosi in "Ed Wood".

Mr. Corcoran said...

whoo whee--nothing like a saturday puzzle to get one's brain revved up. felt like it took more than a parsec in figgering out this one--rossini, cressida and referent i know all about but couldn't figure out why naptha would not fit for turpentine...i guess good old nick was just having a playful day...i liked erratic and enigma since it encapsulated my feelings fairly well...but that ridikilous hes just doesn't make any cents...well cheerio guess it's time for me to ring off or type off as the case may be...and c.c. you remember the hawaiian greeting of receiving a lei around one's neck...well, last week we turned it into a verb (did you get lei'd)...and it's punning on the sound of, perhaps, an impertinent question....also I never get to see your kanji (my computer just gives me little boxes)

Anonymous said...

the Argyle Gargoyle said...

I didn't like the puzzle at all but the comments made up for it.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Which one? Which one? Aqua glass, red glass? Which one?

I knew it's OLD NICK in the puzzle. But doesn't "OLD DICK" carry another slang meaning other than old folk?

Thanks for the explanation. Now I get it. Had no idea that Dracula was a vampire bat.

I see your point on 10D. Interesting observation. But the clue has to be reworded somehow t make it sparking. The "org" has to go I think.

"Cruzeiro - isn't that what we do in our cars on Main St?". I could not get this one. Why?

I don't what I was doing while you guys all got LEI'D.

Does anybody have problem reading my Chinese characters?

NYTAnonimo said...

ANAEMIA is the British spelling. I think it should have indicated variant at the very least.

CBer could be either sex not just RADIOMEN, so cluing was poor.

Found the puzzle ERRATIC-too many obscure words, abbreviations, variations and bad crossings.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

lois said...

CC: Well, it's all in how you look at it, like the 1/2 full, 1/2 empty perspective. I have learned that in either case, aqua or red,1/2 empty or 1/2 full, just gently take the bottle and fill the glass to the brim. After a couple of times, your perspective and insight will be at such an elevated and enlightened level of understanding that you will see the answer clearly. Basically, you won't give a rat's patoot about any of those puzzlements. Life is just so much simpler these days.

Dennis said...

C.C., you're calling me "old folk"??
And yes, 'old dick' does have another, albeit flaccid, connotation. Present company excluded, of course.

C.C. Burnikel said...

You are in Phil Jackson's "ZEN" zone.

Sigh...Your American English is HARD.

lois said...

Dennis: you are so funny! Great explanation!

CC: What a hoot! You have a way of capturing the true essence of things.

Rex Parker said...

Today was the first time I tried doing the Star Tribune. It is, without a doubt, the most poorly constructed puzzle of all the major (and minor) dailies. It's not just hard. Lots of puzzles are hard (see today's Newsday, for instance). It's rife with insane obscurity. The cluing is unimaginative in the extreme. No editor worth his/her salt would ever, ever allow a SE corner like this one had. POMOS next to NIPA next to LER should win some kind of award for silliness. I have been doing 4-7 puzzles a day for a long time now, and I've never seen Any of those words. Ditto CRUZEIRO, INTI, AZAN, the godawful SGD, CYCADS, TIFT, CUBOIDAL (I'm laughing just typing that). AIT is ordinary English compared to all of those. And ... MCD and MCI in the same puzzle??? Terrible. I hope you all complain, and often, not about difficulty level (love a hard puzzle) but about the cheap preposterousness and laziness of this fill. I would not be surprised to hear that this grid was filled in primarily by a computer. You all deserve better. If you really enjoy xwords, I hope you are doing puzzles besides this one. Go to Ephraim's Crossword Puzzle Pointers to find great puzzles waiting for you every day (all of them but the NYT are free).

I'm going to continue to do this puzzle off and on, however, just to stock up on my insane word aresenal. At this rate, my arsenal will be full in 3.6 weeks.

All the best,

Dennis said...

Rex, you really need to open up.

C.C. Burnikel said...

I am glad you tried one. Now you know how we have been treated, day after day. What can you do when your emails to the editor go unanswered? What can you do when your calls are quickly dismissed? The insanity goes on and on! What a shame! So many solvers have been solving this TMS over 10 or 20 or even 30 years. Hard to change morning habits and shift into other puzzles. Williams needs to go! Orange will be a great editor! All of us will be happy then.

Mr. Corcoran said...

I think Rex is dexter here...we moved from bizarrely easy on mon/tues to today's strange agglomeration....ah well we have such funny company...i usually do try to keep up with the latimes but usually need some help with that as the week proceeds...

Anonymous said...


So glad I wasn't the only one who had trouble with Saturday's puzzle. I love this site; just discovered it recently by way of Google. Keep up the good work. So much fun to read - and find an answer when I need it.

C.C. Burnikel said...

We few, we happy few (avec unhappy few), we band of brothers and sisters. We need to have our voices heard.

Dr. Dad said...

Thomas had said that he knew someone who had gone to Hawaii and was asked if they got "lei'd" meaning the noun "lei" had been turned into a verb. Sci-fi channel if you want to get into sci-fi. Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, etc.

Anonymous said...

I have news for you: this puzzle *is* computer generated.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Anonymous @ 5:09pm,
I don't know much about crossword construction, so I am not sure whether it's computer generated or not.

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