Jul 12, 2008

Saturday July 12, 2008 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: "I celebrate myself, and sing myself..."

1A: "American Woman" band: GUESS WHO

24A: "Snow White" dwarf: HAPPY

27A: Minute fraction: SIXTIETH

41A: Info. needed by an astrologer: BIRTHDAY

43A: Great Gretzky: WAYNE

60A: "Moon River" singer: WILLIAMS

Happy Birthday, Mr. Editor! May you have many many more years of good HEALTH (42D: Fine fettle) and happiness!

For those who are new to this blog, our TMS crossword editor, Mr. Wayne R. William often HIDES ( Stashes away) behind this alias name Willy A. Wiseman (an anagram of "i.e. Wayne Williams"). He did bravely show his true identity once on the tough "Quad Cities" puzzle last month.

I wish GORE (1D: Piece with a horn) were clued as Al GORE related, it would pair nicely with ELECTION DAY (11D: November date). The clue for NORM (52D: Avg.) should not have been abbreviated. And the clue for ORS (8D: Surgery rms) is screaming for editing, how can you have "Rooms" in both the clue and answer? Very inapt. "Surgery ctrs" would just be fine.


9A: Breakfast choice: OMELET. Perfectly cooked.

15A: Broadcasting: ON THE AIR. Not "ON AIR"? What's the difference between the two?

16A: Small traveling bag: VALISE

17A: Jagger's partner: RICHARDS (Keith). How he could climb over a coconut tree is beyond me.

18A: Puts up: ERECTS. I've never seen the noun form of ERECT clued in a puzzle, have you?

21A: Chirping insect: CRICKET. Wasn't Buddy Holly a CRICKET?

22A: Give guff to: SASS

32A: Sweet, thick liqueur: CRÈME. Here is some CRÈME brûlée for you, Mr. Williams.

34A: Eye defect: suff.: OPIA. Myopia for example.

35A: Conrad or Barbara: BAIN. Big stumper here. I know neither of them.

36A: More mature: RIPER. Very nice anchor for the puzzle!

40A: Two times CCLVII: DXIV. And 56D: Twenty percent of DXXX: CVI. Can you think of better clues for these 2 answers?

44A: Canine command: HEEL

45A: Validate: OKAY. I like how OKAY parallels with BAN (50A: Interdiction).

47A: Object of a computer instruction: OPERAND

54A: Spring back: RESILE. I've never used this verb before. I suppose that's how we get "Resilient".

55A: Meat choice: PORK CHOP

57A: Plant unions: GRAFTS. I was actually thinking of the workers' unions in those manufacturing plants.

58A: Soothing plant juice: ALOE VERA. The juice does not look soothing to me. So sticky.


2D: Les Etats- ___: UNIS

3D: Customary extras, briefly: ETCS

5D: St. Lawrence, e.g.: SEAWAY. New to me. I only knew St. Lawrence the river.

9D: Tax: OVEREXERT. I like how it intersects REST (23A: What's left).

10D: Poughkeepsie college: MARIST. New to me. I only know VASSAR, which is also based in Poughkeepsie.

12D: Guitar run: LICK. New term to me.

21D: Black Sea peninsula: CRIMEA


24D: Beloved in Arabic: HABIB. It's a mysterious word to me. I've never seen it before. Chinese characters for "beloved" are : 心爱的人.

25D: Chinese adders: ABACI. Headache, headache. I really struggled with ABACI in my elementary arithmetics studies.

26D: One who works at a trade: PLIER. I don't under this clue. What is "works at a trade"?

27D:Indian soldier: SEPOY. Another new word to me. Dictionary defines SEPOY as "an indigenous soldier serving in the army of a foreign conqueror, especially an Indian soldier serving under British command in India."

28D: Strong glue: EPOXY

29D: Advertising gimmick: TIE IN. I really like McDonald's Madame Alexander Happy Meal mini-dolls, so cute. Look at this set of "The Wizard of Oz". The "wicked witch of the west" was very hard to get.

30D: Make two: HALVE. I was thinking of "DOUBLE".

32D: Raw state: CRUDENESS

33D: Blue and funny: RIBALD

43D: Rotary engine name: WANKEL. No idea. It's named after Felix WANKEL, the German inventor.

45D: Ancient Greek coins: OBOLI. Or OBOLS. Dictionary says that OBOLUS (plural is also OBOLI) is "a modern Greek unit of weight equal to 0.1 gram". Does it mean that OBOLI can be ancient and modern in the same time? So confusing.

46D: Pope John Paul II's first name: KAROL (Józef Wojtyła). Another unknown. He was always Pope John Paul II to me. Pope Benedict's original name is Joseph Alois Ratzinger. He is such a brilliant writer.

47D: Bacchanal: ORGY. Just learned this morning that the original wild bacchanalia was attended only by women. The admission to the mysterious rites was extended to men only later on.

48D: Nevertheless, in Napoli: PERÒ. In Spanish, it's PERO. Italian and Spanish are so similar.

51D: Mother of Hera: RHEA



Argyle said...

Good Morning

cc, I also had trouble with abeci. I spent five minutes Googling for an image of a Chinese snake called an adder. I have to get some coffee now.

Dick said...

Good morning all. Todays puzzle was a struggle for me. I needed several Googles to complete. Like argyle I was looking for a snake to fill in 25D and it took awhile for my mind to shift gears and look at other solutions.

I did not like the clue for 27A even if it is his age.

Great week end coming up in the Berg so I will be heading outdoors and enjoy the days.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Katherine said...

Good morning
I had trouble with the SW corner, but did pretty good with most of the rest of the puzzle.
Yes, Buddy Holly's band was named the Crickets. Good memory CC.
I was also thinking manufacturing plants for 57A.
So, you actually used an abaci CC?
Have a good weekend everyone!

C.C. Burnikel said...

My instinctive response at seeing the adder clue was also snake related. But HAPPY & ABLE brought ABACI to me rather quickly. Are you OK with the 1A clue? Wikipedia says the band name is "THE GUESS WHO".

I also dislike SIXTIETH clue. Very clumsy.

Yes, I spent several months carrying the abacus with me. It's pretty heavy for a little girl.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Dick & Katherine,
What are your thoughts on 1A answer?

Katherine said...

I knew who the "Guess Who" was. did you know them CC?

C.C. Burnikel said...

No, I did not know them. But is it acceptable to exclude the "the" from the band name?

Katherine said...

It really is "The Guess Who", but we always used to just say "Guess Who". So it's ok.

Argyle said...

Yes, it should be "the Guess Who" but I don't have a problem with it.

Diamond anniverary would have been a better clue 27A.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Katherine & Argle,
I had no idea that you could omit the "the" in the band name.

Regarding RESILE (54A), have you used the word before? Can you give me an example?

Argyle said...

Is there a way to clue that the answer isn't the complete name or title?

Argyle said...

Regarding RESILE (54A), no.

Dennis said...

Good morning, C.C. and gang - I really enjoyed wading through this puzzle - and especially 25D - as with everyone else, I was trying to think of every snake I knew (just the reptiles). Several spots bogged me down; never heard of 'resile', couldn't believe 'sixtieth' was gonna be the answer for 'minute fraction' since I was thinking of 'minute' as in tiny.
C.C., I too thought 1A was ok as is, and I've heard 'on air' and 'on the air' used interchangeably. Thanks for the picture of my favorite desert - kinda makes my bowl of cereal look rather lame.
Hope everyone has an outstanding weekend - looks spectacular here. See you all next week from the Sunshine State.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Yes, but I think Williams purposely avoided that for 2 reasons: 1) He is going for a musician sub-theme: GUESS WHO, RICHARDS, WILLIAMS (Andy). 2) He does not want the solvers to get his theme immediately with too obvious an "Guess who" clue. Did you get the theme quickly?

I think Argyle's Diamond Anniversary is a better clue for 27A. Have a safe trip to Boca Raton. Enjoy the sea & the sun.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Dennis & Katherine & Argyle,
If I clue CRICKET as "Buddy Holly, e.g.", will that raise your eyebrow?

Dennis said...

C.C., I never did get the theme until you explained it. I was just happy I got through the puzzle.
Also, I think 'erect' is either adjective or transitive verb, not a noun. Perhaps Lois has some thoughts on it...

Dennis said...

C.C., I think that'd be a great clue.

C.C. Burnikel said...

When I said noun form of ERECT, I meant ERECTION. I've never seen it in any puzzle, have you?

Dennis said...

Uh....jeez, there's so many can I.....uh....ok, I'll be good. NO.

flyingears said...

This was a hard-to-do X/W puzzle... I used all available sources and still struggled...

Wankel, the German inventor of the rotary engine, used by MAZDA firm and some motorcycles (Suzukis???). It is the competition to valve engines, which are more commonly used. I've seen this clue some years ago.

Anonymous said...

Dennis, I also got stuck to the "adders" as the reptiles... And could not think of the abacus. And, I EVEN OWN AN ABACUS!!!
With 27A, I thought of PIXIEST and was short a letter and don't even think the word exists. But, SIXTIETH??? How did C. C. get this one? when SEPOY was a new word for her??? She's smart and/or a great guesser...

C.C. Burnikel said...

Anonymous @ 7:36am,
No, I did not get SIXTIETH. FYI, I normally don't write comments on the theme answers. I want a clean & unadorned look for the theme title & theme answers.

Argyle said...

"works at a trade"?
the tinker, the tailor, the cabinet maker were all tradesmen who plied (worked diligently) at their craft or trade.
ply, the noun, is a different word from ply, the verb; different roots.

Sometimes it is Buddy Holly and the Crickets, sometimes just the Crickets, and other times, just Buddy Holly. So I would say yes, "Buddy Holly, e.g." for Cricket would work.
and no, I didn't get the theme, tho I think it's great.

NYTAnonimo said...

So is he celebrating his age or the years he has been doing puzzles?


Reminds me of Tyler Hinneman's NYT puzzle of self celebration. Did not make for the most elegant grid.

Nice picture katherine!

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

lois said...

Good morning CC & DF's: If I had a hammer! Struggled a lot w/this Guess Who easily but misread 1D as 'piece' w/a horn? woohoo! Then 18A? Oh yeah! Noun/verb...both work for me! Then holy hotwicks, here comes 32A and the whole center section ending with an 'orgy' in the SW. I know those cowboys are missing me! I need a 'rest' and to visit Karol...on my knees...uh, probably not a good idea with him. Lightning is going to strike me, I swear, but there's no 'wayne' in the forecast. Maybe I'm safe for now. Happy birthday, Mr. Editor!
Enjoy this gorgeous day!

Barry G. said...

Morning, folks!

Today's puzzle started off as a complete walk in the park. I was so proud of myself! And then, of course, came the swift decent into madness....

I did manage to finish the puzzle unassisted, thanks to some educated guessing (like C.C., I figured RESILE must be related to resilient and therefore be a real word, despite the fact I've never heard of it before). But there were a whole host of unknowns for me today, including:

OPIA (although I get it now thanks to C.C.'s explanation)
PERO (I actually know this in Spanish, but didn't realize it was also Italian)

What saved me in the end was the fact that I actually knew who Barbara BAIN was (T.V. actress in the 60s on such shows as "Mission: Impossible" and "Space 1999"), I knew that Andy WILLIAMS was famous for singing "Moon River," I remembered Pope John Paul II's first name, I knew that the GUESS WHO sand "American Woman," I'm familiar with the WENKEL rotary engine (used in the Mazda RX-7) and I [finally] figured out what the clue for ABACI meant.

In other news, I was hung up in the left central section for quite awhile after putting DOPEY instead of HAPPY for 24A. Fortunately, once I figured out ABACI for 25D I got the right dwarf.

One minor quibble -- was it really necessary to have "Trial by fire" as a clue for TEST (14D)? Why not simply "Trial"? I kept thinking it couldn't possibly be TEST, since hat's too generic an answer for such a specific clue.

Oh -- and I completely missed the whole theme. Thanks for pointing it out, C.C.!

flyingears said...

C.C., here is FYI . This site will give you a clue of how the rotary engine works. (should read /Wankel_engine#engineering)

Today's X/W puzzle had me climbing the wall. New words, new clues. It's nice but I felt better last week with the easier puzzles... I still enjoy tough ones 'cause I learn new words and add them to my dictionary...

KittyB said...

Good morning, c.c. and all,

I, too, missed the theme. Happy Birthday, Mr. Editor!

I hate the darned Roman numeral clues! DXIV fell into place when I figured out EPOXY. I'll have to go read the sidebar on numerals.

RESILE, MARIST, ESTE, HABIB, ABACI, PERO and OBOLI gave me grief, but fell into place through other clues. Thank God they weren't all in one quadrant of the puzzle!

I didn't care for ORS for "surgery room."

We owned a Mazda in the 70s that had a WANKEL engine. As with new Operating Systems....NEVER buy the first run of a new design. I think the seals leaked.

I agree with dennis, 'on air' or 'on the air' are interchangeable.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Barry G. said...

And I just realized that I misspelled WANKLE. Not only in my previous comment, but in the puzzle itself.


NYTAnonimo said...

WANKLE it is-I mixed that up too barry! How'd you do with yseterday's NYT?

Barry G. said...

WANKLE it is-I mixed that up too barry! How'd you do with yseterday's NYT?

I actually was post #2 on Rex Parker's blog yesterday. Let's just say I spent a lot of time Googling. Today was much better, though.

NYTAnonimo said...

Just checked Rex's blog from yesterday and saw your comment barry. Haven't attempted today's yet so now I'm more hopeful (:!

winfield said...

I had to do a report on the Sepoy Mutiny in college. Although there was some stirrings earlier the straw that broke the camels back was when the British adopted the Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle. To load the new rifle, the Sepoys had to bite the cartridge open. It was believed that the paper cartridges that were standard issue with the rifle were greased with lard (pork fat) which was regarded as unclean by Muslims, or tallow (beef fat), regarded as sacred to Hindus.

Barb B said...

Tough puzzle for a beginner. I got it without googling, but only because I worked it online and made some wild guesses.

Could be distracted a bit. This is Oregon Country Fair week. I’m 2 miles from the fair, and could hear the drumming till the wee hours.

The fair is a long time tradition here, started by the Grateful Dead. Clothing optional, alcohol, drugs, and orgies not unusual.

Also high quality crafts, theatrical performances, parades, and classes for ‘green living’. No fast food of chain restaurants allowed. No Coke, Pepsi, etc. Everything must be prepared onsite.

I'm trying to decide the best time to go - and what to wear. Every year, no matter how casual or how little I wear, I'm overdressed.

Anonymous said...

Again, thanks to all who helped me get a puzzle while in NY. The AM paper we picked up this morning was 07/11-13, so it was yesterday's.
Today is my LXXVIIII birthday, and July 12 is Orangemen's Day for the Protestant Irish. My mother's birthday was March 17, so we always had fun with that. I've always wanted to paint an orange strip down some street. I'm not of Irish extraction, but I always honor both days by wearing orange.
Having a great time in NY.

Crockett1947 said...

Good morning everyone! I had to do some revising to finally get this one. I mis-read 57A as "Plant onions" and just couldn't come up with an adequate answer. Then, I re-read it, and Bingo! Don't think there should be an abbreviation in the clue for 52D. MARIST, PERO and HABIB were new to me today. WOW! a themed puzzle on Saturday??!! Happy Birthday Mr. Editor. 35A was a gimme for me -- knew both of them (for a change). Working at a trade is sometimes known as plying that trade, ergo the noun form is PLIER. SEPOY I learned through doing crosswords. 43D was also a gimme. Argyle, I hope you enjoyed your coffee. Too funny. Barry and nytanonimo, try WANKEL, not WANKLE, LOL! Barb, you're a brave one. Never wandered down to the Fair because of its free-wheeling reputation. Enjoy.

carol said...

Dennis, oh, go on, explain why your "lucky charm" has never been seen in a crossword puzzle" :) LOL.LOL!
(couldn't resist that!)
More later

MH said...

tough one for me today. I had to resort to google for several answers. Didn't have any trouble with the adders. Couldn't get sixtieth, marist, resile, orgy (!), and some others.

Speaking of adders it reminded me of an old tale that Dick and Dennis will appreciate. Right after God created the Garden of Eden He saw that all the various beasts were happy that they were proliferating. All, that is except the snakes. There were no baby snakes. God thought about it for a while and instructed Adam to cut down some trees and lash them together to create a platform on which the snakes could make their home. After that the snakes became as prolific as the other beasts thus proving that even adders can multiply if you give them a log table.

MH said...

Oh, forgot to mention that I think the clue for 42D: Find fettle was inaccurate. Healthy maybe, but not health.

carol said...

Hi again C.C. and all:
Very tough one for me today! I would never have realized the theme if C.C. had not pointed it out.

There were so many words that I didn't know, I felt like a rank beginner! Some days are like that, huh?
47A makes no sense to me.

How would anyone know "sepoy"? It wasn't even on Google. 54A makes no sense either....ahhggggh!

On a lighter note, barb b, clothing optional when going to the fair?? Really?? Good thing Lois is in Va. or it could get interesting. We three should get together and have some "ribald" times. An "orgy" is always an option too.

It's going to be hot here today..maybe 96. Too much for me!

C.C. Burnikel said...

Happy Birthday!

42D: Fine fettle. Not "Find fettle".

MH said...

CC: typo. Fine fettle means good health or healthy. "Health", at least to me, could be good or bad.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Now I got your point. How about "Fitness" then? Regarding your comment @11:30am, it cannot be HEALTHY. "In fine fettle" would be acceptable.

C.C. Burnikel said...

I agree with your take on 14D. "Trial" should be sufficient.

I have a special Roman numerals post at the sidebar links. Have a look when you have time.

Thank you for the SEPOY Mutiny information.

Barb b,
"no matter how casual or how little I wear, I'm overdressed". I don't understand. How can you be overdressed if you dress very little?

C.C. Burnikel said...

Try oneacross if google fails you.

Re: GUESS WHO. How about "Recognize me"?

carol said...

C.C. Thanks so much for the "oneacross" link info..I will try that next time.

Dennis, hope you enjoy your trip!

Sallie, Happy Birthday!

Katherine, I like your new picture.

lois said...

barb b: Now exactly where do you live?

mh: cute story! Didn't get 'orgy'? We both need to go visit barb for exposure, me for practice.

Dennis: Like Carol said: yeah, go ahead. Explain to us all.

Carol: you are hilarious!

Happy Birthday Sallie...and many more!

Dennis said...

carol, lois, the easy answer is that the crossword only takes up a quarter of a page...

Barb B said...

cc and lois,

It's not that I wear too much clothing, just that I wear normal stuff. My wardrobe just doesn't include country fair wear, which is either minimalist or flamboyant, which takes more courage than I possess. Even so, it's great fun.

I can't seem to make a link work yet (could be I'm working on a mac) but here's a link to cut and paste.....

MH said...

CC: yes, fitness would work for me.

Lois: Yes, I could use the exposure. Actually my sister-in-law is visiting and she figured out "orgy" - she seems to have more experience than I at that sort of thing.

Dennis said...

Just saw the pictures....barb b, how many of us can you put up? Looks like something to behold.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Barb B,
Here is the instruction for comment link. What was Dennis trying to say @ 1:16pm?

Anonymous said...


I know I haven't commented for a long time, but I do read your blog every day. You all seem to get to the puzzle way earlier than I do!

I got today's done without Googling, but had a mistake at 47D. Didn't know OPERAND or PERO, and guessed a letter other than P.

Also, I didn't catch onto the theme until I read your commentary! You have really become one heck of a crossword analyst!

Keep up the good work. My puzzles were politely turned down by the NYT - "not exciting enough". Perhaps I'll send them to TMS.


carol said...

Dennis, are you saying you'd more than fill the area?? WOW, that made me forget about the Puff Adder!!

Dennis said...

Carol, I said it was the 'easy answer'...not necessarily the correct one. Sorry, lol; back to the puff adder...

Argyle said...


for "Guess Who" - what you say when you cover someone's eyes from behind - but somehow make that a shorter clue.

Katherine said...

CC, point well made with "cricket"

lois said...

mh: whenever you get to the 'right' coast, let me know. You'll return to the 'left' coast, as Dennis calls it, 'groking' exposure. (is that used correctly?..& seems like it needs 2k's)

barb b: holy fun times! that's what you call 'a fair'? That's missing an 'f'! It's 'affair'! You guys know how to party!

Dennis said...

lois, that's not me with 'groking' - i never heard the word before this blog.

carol said...

ok gang, what is the meaning of "groking"???

Barry G. said...

"Grok" comes from Robert Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land":

Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthly assumptions) as color means to a blind man.

carol said...

Barry, thanks for the education, that really covered it! :)Now, I have learned another word, see how great this blog is??

lois said...

Dennis: you say 'left' coast. I forgot who introduced 'grok' the other day.

lois said...

mh: sounds like you're in good hands over there with your worldly sister-in-law, but she's family. I think barb b's 'fair' is where we both need to be! I need to come to the 'left' coast instead of the other way around.

katherine: love that picture! Meant to be telling you that.

KittyB said...

Thanks, cc! I knew you had a sidebar entry to help us with Roman numerals. I just hadn't visited it yet. Thanks for all you do to make our puzzle solving easier!

MH said...

OK, catching up...

Lois - it was me that intro'd "grok" and kittyb covered for me with the wikipedia entry. Seems like deja vu today.

As to the (af)fair up there in Portland all I can say is WOW! Maybe we should go!

PS: Lois, it looks like only you got the adder joke - leave it to a teacher. I thought for sure the scientists and engineers would get it. Or maybe they already heard it.

lois said...

mh: I thought it was you, but wasn't sure enough to say...about the grok. Now about that affair.. we haven't left yet? Looks like a wild and crazy time!

embien said...

No time today since I did the puzzle at breakfast (the weekend waitress at the restaurant where I eat breakfast is a puzzle fan. I do Saturday's puzzle while I eat so we can compare notes. Sundays in my paper is the syndicated NYT which takes me too long to do over breakfast).

My last fill was CREME for 32a. I didn't know SEPOY and always thought that the liqueur was something like "Creme de Cacao" or "Creme de Menthe", so I wasn't looking for just the CREME based on that clue.

@mh: the Oregon Country Fair is actually in Veneta, not Portland.

@c.c., thanks for the explanation of the theme. I didn't see it until I came here to the blog!

Favorite clue/fill: adder and ABACI (I've seen it before, but love it!)

Words never seen before today:

Crockett1947 said...

400,000+ hits. HOORAY! HOORAY! HOORAY!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on reaching the 400,000 milestone.


Crockett1947 said...

Barb b, do you get your puzzle ib The Oregonian? I thought you'd get The Register-Guard there and thus have a diferent puzzle. Liked the adder on a log table (retired math teacher here).

Dick said...

Barb b which of the fair photos is the one of you?

C.C. Burnikel said...

Nice to hear from you again. I hope you have good luck with TMS.

I am happy that I can be of some help to you.

Thank you. And you've been with me along the way.

C.C. Burnikel said...

You'd better repost the question to Barb on Sunday's Comment section. She might not travel back to Saturday.