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Apr 10, 2010

Saturday April 10, 2010 Mel Rosen

Theme: None

Total words: 66

Total blocks: 26

Lower word/block count than our normal Saturday puzzles.

The puzzle is anchored by two grid-spanning 15-letter entries that cross each other right in the middle of the grid:

32A. Text necessity, often: TELEPHONE NUMBER. We also have SCREEN (56A. Listen to before answering).

8D. "The King and I" song about illicit romance: WE KISS IN A SHADOW. Gimme for Clear Ayes, perhaps. I am not familiar with the song at all.

Quite a few tricky clues in this puzzle. I nailed some, and was stumped by some.

Across:

1. Act in the Senate: PASS A LAW. PASS LAWS sounds a better answer to me.

9. Trees yielding beans: CACAOS. Cacao beans. Source of cocoa, chocolate.

15. Pride's prey: ANTELOPE. Lion's prey. Alliteration.

16. Friend of Pete Fountain: AL HIRT. Full name in the clue, full name in the answer. Wikipedia confirmed that they were indeed buddies, both grew up in New Orleans. Mr. Rosen mentioned in the interview that he's a jazz keyboardist.

17. TV show that has spawned 11 movies: STAR TREK. Nice intersecting with ANTENNAE (2. Features of some alien costumes).

18. C&W singer Morgan: LORRIE. No idea. She looks pretty.

19. Mega- squared: TERA. Prefix for "trillion". Mega is prefix for "million". Giga "billion". Stumped me.

20. Fire department practice structure: DRILL TOWER. Was unaware of this special term.

22. Like Dvorák's Symphony No. 8: IN G. The gimme crossing 3D made the G part easily obtainable for me today.

23. Palace overseas: ELYSEE. Elysée Palace, the French "White House".

24. "Buddenbrooks" Nobel Prize winner: MANN (Thomas). Have never heard of the book.

25. Zip: ENERGY

27. Unlike a good excuse: SAD

28. Artist who rejuvenated his career with 1960s serigraphs: ERTE. Stymied me. Just learned that Erte died in 1990 when he was 97 years old.

29. Not fresh, in a way: SALTY. OK, in a way.

30. Municipal: CIVIC

38. "__ Bulba": 1962 epic: TARAS

39. Held up: BORNE. Epitomized the trickiness of today's clues.

40. Simple stuff: ABCS. Alliteration.

44. Sound from a wok: SSS

45. Abdicate: RESIGN

46. Certain sausage, for short: BRAT

47. Execute, in old France: BEHEAD. The clue seems to be asking for guillotine, isn't it? Beheading was a common practice in old China too.

49. "__ me ae spark o' Nature's fire": Burns: GIE. For "give", I suppose.

50. Alloys' principal components: BASE METALS

52. Former NBA star Dave __, now mayor of Detroit: BING. And CHROME (11D. Trim in Detroit). Car trim. I liked the Detroit clue echo. Both clues got me.

53. Menu choice: ENTREE

54. Involuntary exile: DEPORTEE

57. Bath unit?: ONE METER. Bath is the city in England. They used meter there. I don't like the addition of ONE.

58. Photographs: SHOOTS. Verb/noun.

59. Singing birds: WARBLERS

Down:

1. Most ashen: PASTIEST

3. 1979 N.L. co-MVP Willie: STARGELL. Gimme for me. Willie Stargell spent his entire career with the Pirates. Hall-of-Famer.

4. Word sung by Day: SERA. "Que Sera, Sera".

5. Letters on a PC key: ALT

6. Grand and noble: LORDLY

7. Copycat's activity: APERY

9. Joined a talk show, perhaps: CALLED IN. Nice clue/answer.

10. Bushels: A LOT

12. High-flying action: AIR WAR

13. Familiarize: ORIENT

14. "Tristram Shandy" author Laurence: STERNE. Someone mentioned this book on the blog before. Clear Ayes? Lemonade?

21. Fall collection?: LEAVES. Nailed it.

23. "Aida" setting: EGYPT

26. MapQuest.com abbr.: RTE

30. Curve enhancer: CORSET. Some girls just have incredible body.

31. Like kabobs: CUBED

33. Over-the-hill gang?: HAS-BEENS

34. Wks. on end: MOS (Months)

35. Nielsen of "Rocky IV": BRIGITTE. I peeked at the answer sheet. Her face looks very familiar.

36. Driver who's on track?: ENGINEER. Railroad track.

37. Promise breakers: RENEGERS

40. Big sister?: ABBESS. I suppose SUPERIOR can be clued this way too?

41. Bank outlet: BRANCH

42. Big name in convertible sofas: CASTRO. Man, who knows?!

43. Sound buy?: STEREO. So simple in retrospect.

45. Gravelly voiced speaker: RASPER. I wanted BRANDO.

48. Dementieva of women's tennis: ELENA. The answer emerged itself.

51. Intersect: MEET

52. Belgian composer Jacques: BREL. Belgian's most famous musician.

55. White House fiscal planning gp: OMB (Office of Management and Budget). New abbreviation to me.

Answer grid.

C.C.

44 comments:

Argyle said...

Good Morning,

I'm glad I saw there is an interview with Mel Rosen this morning because I was about to say bad things about his puzzle.

OK, I didn't care for it. A LOT of little things, like ONE METER, not only what C.C. said but shouldn't it be METRE?
Aside: What can happen when you go metric? The Gimli Glider. Anyone remember it?

Barry G. said...

The NE corner completely cleaned my clock today. I've know who AL HIRT is, but I had know idea who Pete Fountain was, so that didn't help. Never heard of LORRIE Morgan or Laurence STERNE (or DRILL TOWER, for that matter). And, while I'm familiar with both ERTE and MANN, the clues didn't lead me to them today. I did correctly guess CACAOS, but that was about it.

The SW corner also remained unsolved since I had everything but the M crossing ONE METER and OMB. OK, so Bath is apparently a city in some country where the meter is the standard unit of measurement. I suppose I should be applauding how clever and tricky this clue is. Whatever.

Ah well, Rich keeps saying that Saturdays are going to be getting harder.

tfrank said...

Good morning, C.C. and all,

This was a good workout this morning, but with some good guesses and red letter help I managed to finish in 34 minutes with no lookups. Several unknowns - Lorrie, Mann, Bing, one meter and Sterne were aided by perps.

C.C., if 1A were "pass laws", would not the clue be "acts"? Your link to Brigitte raises the old question: real or unreal?

This is one of those puzzles that seems hard to solve, but later, seems not so hard. I think sometimes we forget how much we pondered over a clue before the light dawned.

The Masters seems to be heading to a great Sunday afternoon contest. How about a Tiger - Mickelson shootout? My man Kim was doing great until that second shot disaster on 18.

Have a great weekend.

Argyle said...

Bath is a city in the ceremonial county of Somerset in the south west of England (Map) and they spell meter, METRE.

Pete Fountain and Al Hirt St James Infirmary.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning. Fairly tough puzzle today but was able to finish without searches. Perps helped ALOT, plus had a couple lucky WAG's. Thought CALLEDIN was clever.
Don't understand the significance of clue for TELEPHONENUMBER although it fell easily. Thought ELYSEE had goofy clue. 'Overseas' was not needed since this country has no 'palaces'.

BREL - Loved his music. Died way too young.

Squeezing into a CORSET reminded me of a BRAT.

Hade a few light snow flurries here this morning. (Came from Wisconsin :-))

kazie said...

Sorry, this one is way over my head--I'm giving up. The only clues I knew for sure were MANN, BREL, ERTE, LOCUST, CHROME, ELYSEE, BRAT, EGYPT. After that, I came here to cheat on the two long ones intersecting in the middle, but ran out of time to go further.

Thomas Mann was a great 20th century novelist who grew up in Lübeck on Germany's Baltic Sea coast. He also wrote Death in Venice I had to read Buddenbrooks in college,but cheated there too and read a translation, since it was too long for me to struggle through in German at that stage. It is largely biographical, he being the one brother in a trading family who did not want to be a part of it, preferring his writing.

Have a great Saturday, everyone!

Andrea said...

Yowza - this was a tough one. Had to google way too many of the names, etc. before there was enough help to start guessing on the clever clues... I didn't even get Brat, and I live in The Brat Capital of the World, for goodness sake! In honor, I think we'll fire up the grill today and enjoy a couple.

Am taking care of 5 year old niece for the weekend, and hear a squabble upstairs - the first of many trips upstairs for me this weekend I imagine. Wow - squabble over, girls are laughing again. Ah, to be 4 or 5 again. :)

Jeannie - have fun shopping with your earnings this weekend!

Happy Weekend, all.

Andrea said...

Oops - better try my link again. No pun intended... :)

Lemonade714 said...

Good morning all:

It may very well be that because I first did puzzles regularly in the Will Weng era at the NYTimes, I am more in tune with Mr. Rosen’s style, but I really enjoyed this puzzle. It was very difficult, but to me the interaction of the clues showed an overall scheme in play that required both a little obscure general knowledge, and some logical thought.

We who use computers are familiar with megabytes, terabytes and gigabytes, but to “do the math’ from MEGA to TERA, I thought was the kind of challenge Saturday s all about.

While I am sure Thomas MANN was a gimme for Kazie, I recognized BUDDEN as being Germanic (I think from BUDEN which means a BOOTH, or a small house?) and since the only four letter German author I know was MANN….of course, since I have cousins named BUDDIN, I may be cheating.

I also loved the inclusion of: Familiarize: ORIENT, which hopefully will remind people there is no word ORIENTATE. The Detroit connection of former Syracuse star DAVE BING who was the basketball star for Syracuse when I began college at the University of Connecticut, which had its first good teams with its own first star in Toby Kimball, brings back some nice memories. Of course, CHROME was what cars were all about when I was young. Also, the simple misdirection of Zip: ENERGY, when we see ZIP as ZILCH, NADA all the time , was also fun. I had a great, great Uncle who was a Cossack, so when the movie TARAS BULBA came out with Yul Brynner and Tony Curtis, I watched it eagerly. I also watched and listened to AL HIRT PETE FOUNTAIN and all the great New Orleans’ musicians.
Go enjoy

Lemonade714 said...

Oh and I did like the reference to BRIGITTE NIELSEN who was married to Sylvester Stallone and recently an item with FlavaFlav . whatever that may be. She was perfect as Red Sonja to Governor Schwarzenegger's Conan the Barbarian

Arbaon said...

Ah, Robert Burns...he "gies" me the need to "burr" my accent even more.

"driver who`s on track" lead to so many avenues as did "bath unit" and "act in the senate."

Jeannie: I vote for Ferragamos! (you`ll have to put "some" with the $100!)

Briggitte Nielsen has the body type to get really huge...(broad shoulders, thick trunk...) ala Jane Russell. IMO

fermatprime said...

Hi Fellow Solvers!

Took a break from taxes. At first thought puzzle would be impossible, so I googled up STARGELL and MANN and then everything seemed to roll right out. Was happy with STAR TREK and WE KISS ETC. (cool)!

Maybe can catch a few winks now.

Have a great weekend!

Thanks Mel!

Annette said...

I really enjoyed today's puzzle! The level of difficulty was perfect for me. Perps helped give me a letter or 2 so I could see where to go, and having red letters on helped keep me from veering too far off course. Common enough words and phrases for the most part, but the clues made me work for them! I enjoyed the thought process.

8D I don't remember this song from the movie at all! But it's been a long time since I've seen it. I needed almost all perps on that one.

I don't know if I'm proud or ashamed that my first fill (and with no hesitation at all!) was 17A STAR TREK...

My grandfather loved Willie STARGELL, so I had no trouble with that baseball clue for a change.

C.C.: Years ago, "Castro Convertibles" used to advertise much more heavily on TV. Also, they seemed to have been the first furniture makers of sofa beds (my guess, not researched or confirmed). The mechanism for opening the couch into a bed does resemble the one used by car convertibles though. Just watch the fingers!

Dick said...

Good morning CC and All, a really fun puzzle today. For some reason I was on the same wave length as Mr. Rosen and I found the puzzle entertaining and relatively easy. On my first pass through I did not have a good feeling about the puzzle, but once I slowed down and studied the clues a bit they all fell into place. I did not know Bing or Brel, but managed a WAG there and got no red letter. Also, I did not know OMB, but it was revealed by the perps.

When I first saw “Execute, in old France I thought they were looking for some French word and was a bit off track there.

Willie Stargell was a gimme as he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates when they won the World Series over Baltimore in 1979. The Pirates had Dave Parker at the same time and Parker along with Stargell made great back to back batters in the line up.

Overall a nice puzzle and a Saturday level of difficulty.

Sunny and in the mid sixties today so I will be out side doing Spring things. Hope you have a great Saturday.

Bob said...

An unusually easy Saturday puzzle. Finished it in 25 minutes with no errors.

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, LOL, C.C. you know me pretty well. I got a few other fill before 8D, but I didn't hesitate when I saw the clue "The King And I" song about illicit romance". We Kiss In A Shadow is such a lovely song.

After that I was ready to like just about anything in this puzzle, and I did.....mostly. I always like Saturday "stacked and packed" puzzles.

I agree about the METER/METRE thing, although placing ONE at the beginning didn't bother me. 8D wouldn't have been possible without it!

I had a problem or two with each corner. NW was STARGELL and TERA. NE was MANN and LORRIE. SE was BING and that pesky METER. SW was CASTRO. I did get them all with some cooperative perps and they all rang a memory bell, except for CASTRO.

I've never heard of CASTRO sofa beds. According to a couple of online references, they were sold in 12 states. It sounds like it was strictly an east coast business.

Argyle, I didn't remember the Gimli Glider and read the interesting (unbelievable?) article. You do realize that one of these days GIMLI GLIDER will turn up as fill with the clue "Empty aircraft". Make a mental note everybody.

Xtulmkr said...

I thought the NW corner was clever crossing. 1A= (pass)alaw, 1D= (past)iest; 2D = (ant)ennae, 15A= (ant)elope; 3D= (star)gell, 17A= (star)trek; 4D= sera, 19A= tera.

Lucina said...

Good, morning all,

Just a quick greeting because I've had no time to do the puzzle or read your comments. I miss that! I shall have to work on them Monday after my guests leave.

Have a spectacular Saturday!

Mel said...

Thanks, all.

FWIW, the puzzle editor may change clues -- and even grids! -- to achieve a desired degree of difficulty or cleverness. My original clue for ONE METER was pretty boring.

OTOH, the cluster of proper names in the NE corner was entirely my doing. Sorry about that!

Oh, and thanks, ZB, for the interview.

Annette said...

Spitzboov: In order to send a text message from your cell phone, you need to know the other person's TELEPHONE NUMBER.

Xtulmkr: Good catches.

Argyle: Interesting story about the Gimli Glider.

Clear Ayes: Thanks for the song link to try and jog my memory.

JD said...

Good morning CC and all,

Loved this puzzle even though I did have a few unsolved areas, like the SW corner( bare metals crossing castro), and then there was the missing M (omb, one meter).

Annette, I had no idea what TV show spawned 11 movies, and so I worked very hard to figure that one out.So that was my big a-ha. My small a ha was understanding in G. D'oh.

I love all the songs from "The King.." and not reading the 2nd 1/2 of the clue, my first thought was "Whistle a Happy Tune" - too long, and didn't match the clue.

Enjoyed big sister/ and trim in Detroit.
You might enjoy this variation of "Mama, Don't take my Chrome away."

Spitzboov said...

Annette: Thanks for setting me straight. I don't do text messaging, so I wasn't thinking of that as a necessity.

Argyle said...

CA, do you remember this Gimli?
(hee-hee-hee)

Jerome said...

Mel is a superstar among constructors and editors. He's also known as a true gentleman. Thanks C.C. for the interview.

Clear Ayes said...

Argyle, Yes I do. As a matter of fact, I thought that "Gimli Glider" could fit in with a Lord of the Rings characters theme. Unfortunately, I can't think of any other characters who could be fitted into a deceiving clue. (There goes that theme!)

However, I was reminded that LOTR has lots of poetry. Most of them are very closely tied to the characters and to insider myths. This one is from "The Fellowship of the Ring". Anybody who has been working hard can relate to the comfort of a hot bath and a cold beer.

Sing hey! For the bath at close of day
That washes the weary mud away!
A loon is he that will not sing:
O! Water Hot is a noble thing!

O! Sweet is the sound of falling rain,
And the brook that leaps from hill to plain;
But better than rain or rippling streams
Is Water Hot that smokes and steams.

O! Water cold we may pour at need
Down a thirsty throat and be glad indeed;
But better is Beer, if drink we lack,
And Water Hot poured down the back.

O! Water is fair that leaps on high
In a fountain white beneath the sky;
But never did fountain sound so sweet
As splashing Hot Water with my feet!

- J.R.R. Tolkien

Anonymous said...

Who's ZB?

Anonymous said...

What a boring blog.

eddyB said...

Hello all.

Fast, fun and easy. Seems Mel and I remember the same things. A lot of gimmies for me.

There was also a rocket probe disaster when someone miscal-culated the rate of decent in metric units.

eddyB

dodo said...

Hello, C.C. and all,
First look at this one almost made me forget it, but after dutifullydoing a run-through I got enough fills to get started. Lots of 'never heard ofs' today, though. Mostly names, and from now on I'm not considering googling C&W and other music/musicians popular since the 70s, and obscure, or even famous, sports figures ,cheating. I'll look at all that as a learning experience, hoping I'll remember them until they show up again in a cw.
Castro was an unknown as far as sofas go but it worked out with perps.

What's a WAG?

CA, I loved that poem, I miss a lot because I can't seem to get into reading or viewing fantasy. I never thought of myself as a realist but maybe I am! I'd think maybe it was an age thing, but I remember even as a child I wasn't crazy about it.

Spitzboov said...

Dodo: WAG = Wild ass guess.

Dick said...

dod, the other guess is SWAG which is a scientific wild ass guess. Usually better than a WAG.

dodo said...

Thanx, Dick and Spitz! I guess that's what I did with 'antelope' today, and it worked! I think it was a memory tweek back to "Planet Earth". The brain is truly amazing, isnt' it?

Clear Ayes said...

It looks like many of us Northern Californians are unfamiliar with Castro sofa beds. Maybe next time CASTRO is a crossword fill, it can be clued as "San Francisco neighborhood". All of us Californians are probably familiar with the wild and wooley Castro.

I have to go tear GAH away from the Masters for an hour or two. A friend of ours is having an open house party to celebrate the completion of her new home. It was about 15 years in the finishing, so she deserves a party.

MJ said...

With all the names, this was a definite challenge for me today, but the more I stuck with it, the more I enjoyed it. A fun Saturday solve. Favorite clue was "Trim in Detroit". My first thought was "detail", but got the CHROME with CACAOS. That really helped with the four names there in the NE! Totally didn't understand ABBESS until reading your write-up, C.C. Thank you! I had been looking for a synonym for "Big". Do'h!

Jeannie-We received a Le Creuset pot as a wedding gift, and it is wonderful. I saw some last fall at a discount outlet (Home Goods--I think it's a local chain only) at the fraction of the cost. I gave one to my son for Christmas, and he was thrilled. Enjoy your shopping, whatever you decide!

Cheers!

Annette said...

MJ/Jeannie: We have Marshal's Home Goods down here in S. Florida too. It's one of my favorite stores. They show several in the St. Paul, MN area.

Annette said...

JD: I certainly didn't KNOW that Star Trek spawned 11 movies either. It was a SWAG where I happened to be on the right wavelength! I thought there were only about 6, and didn't think I'd seen all 6...

And I hadn't realized ING needed parsing until I read C.C.'s write up.

Warren said...

Hi C.C. and gang,

My wife and teamed up again for today's puzzle and it seemed to me that it went smoother than last weeks?

Re: the English city called Bath, we visited and stayed overnight in Bath on our 2007 trip. They have a old Roman bath there that you have to pay extra to enter, we didn't go in but some of our group did. Most memorable thing about Bath was the morning shower -- let's just say it was an invigorating experience.

JD said...

None of my guesses are SWAGs; they are WAGs, especially when filling in 1 or 2 letters to complete a name.I bow to the "swaggers".

Jeannie, besides Marshalls, there may be TJ Maxx or Ross stores in your area which might have your pot...maybe not the color you want. I'd love to have one of those too.

Was Bath in this c/w??

Lemonade714 said...

When I was 10 years old, it was 1958 and we were visiting in Miami, when I told our Cuban waiter the sad story of my uncle the furniture salesman who got fired because he tried to sell FULGENCIO BATISTA a Castro Convertible.

They did not laugh.

Andrea said...

Jeannie -

I vote for Le Creuset over shoes! I dream of having one someday... one of our local home stores had a sale over the holidays, but it was for a really small one, so I passed. Next time I run into some windfall $$ it will be my splurge!

After reading all the comments, I wish I had liked this puzzle more! I do have a great appreciation for Mel Rosen's talent, just not on the same wavelength today.

Brats were yummy for dinner tonight, so thanks for that Mel!

dodo said...

Just a tip to all of you who yearn for a kitchen full of La Crueset, remember that it's VERY heavy even empty and when it's full of soup or stew........well! My daughter has lots of pretty blue ones but her DH does most of the cooking. I had a couple many years ago in my Julia Child 'phase'. It's true they are wonderful to cook with.

Hate to be a wet blanket, but I speak from experience.

MJ said...

JD-LOL at your posting "Was Bath in this c/w??" That's how I often feel when reviewing the puzzle and comments.

Lemonade--Even though "they" didn't laugh, I did!

Jeannie--From JD and Annette's comments, I googled and see that Home Goods, Marshall's, and TJMaxx are all part of TJX Companies, Inc. Whatever the name of the store, a bargain is a bargain, and you are obviously a savvy shopper, or you would not be facing this choice about how to spend your prize. Best wishes!

Clear Ayes said...

I love a nice afternoon party. It was lots of fun with good food and we still got home in time to get a good night's sleep. Tomorrow will be exhausting...rooting for Phil...will he, or won't he?

I laughed about JD's Bath question. It is often the case that an answer or, in this case, a clue takes us sailing on a tangent in an unknown direction.

Wise Dodo is right about Le Creuset cookware, concerning both their weight and their wonderful even cooking. There's always a trade-off.

JD said...

I'm still rooting for Fred, alias Boom Boom.It will be a stretch if he can do the soft shoe shuffle to the finish, but it will be fun to watch.

oh ho...it was. Thanks CA. Bath unit...actually, after having a glass of wine, I find that a very funny clue. Think about it...unit?