Apr 23, 2011

Saturday April 23, 2011 Michael Wiesenberg

Theme: None (or rather E-less)

Total words: 72

Total blocks: 31

Today's puzzle includes a question which appears in the newspaper and in Across Lite Notepad, but not in LA Times on line Java format. Notepad asks: "Can you spot the unusual feature in this puzzle's clues and answers?"

Can you? Did you? I noticed letter E is missing from the clues/answers only after after I solved the grid. Incredible construction, as E is the most popular letter in crosswords. I can't imagine the time and effort that went into building this puzzle. Daunting task!

Some of the clues are a bit stretched due to the E elimination, for example: 56D. Quondam JFK arrivals : SSTs. Quondam is Latin for "former".


1. Hardly an intimidating soul : PUSSYCAT. Nice start.

9. Rap caps : DORAGs

15. In custody of, as a library patron : ON LOAN TO

16. Moon mission : APOLLO

17. Spot to savor old standards : PIANO BAR. "Play it again, Sam".

18. '60s-'70s Saudi king : FAISAL. I can never remember this guy. Wiki said he was assassinated by his nephew in 1975 for unclear reasons. 

19. Sch. north of Gulfport : USM. OK, University of Southern Mississippi.

20. Pull : CLOUT. Noun "pull".

22. Woodworking slot : DADO. See here. We've got two groovy carpenters on the blog: Jerome & Splynter.

23. Natural bath body scrub : LOOFA

26. Canadian prov. : ONT

27. Old Roman port : OSTIA. No idea.

28. Civil rights activist Roy : INNIS. Is he very well-known?

29. Harts : STAGS

31. Org. with a multi-ring logo : IOC (International Olympic Committee)

32. Just okay : NOT SO HOT. Lots of Os in the puzzle.

34. Cockpit abbr. : ALT

35. Show sympathy toward, with "on" : GO SOFT

38. Qom inhabitants : IRANIS. Iranians is more common.

40. Auckland yam : OCA. It's not clued with reference to South American/ Andean due to the E concern.

41. Tough task : NO PICNIC

45. __-fi : SCI

46. Popular talk show : OPRAH

47. Spanish girl : CHICA

51. Bochco drama : L.A. LAW. Steven Boncho produced the show. Unknown fact to me.

53. In this location: Span. : ACA. So how do you say "You're here" in Spanish?

54. Soothing hot drink also known as Lucky Dragon : HYSON. Green tea. I've never heard of Lucky Dragon.

55. Kin of Osiris : ISIS. His sister/wife.

56. Apron : SMOCK

58. Roman 151 : CLI

59. Last innings : NINTHS

61. Short approach, in golf : CHIP SHOT. Hope Husker Gary chips in once in his pointless golf outing today.

64. Quit : GOT OUT

65. Island off California's coast : CATALINA

66. Liquor gulps : SNORTS

67. Butt loci : ASHTRAYS. D'oh, cigarette butt.


1. Vox __ : POPULI. Literally "voice of the people".

2. A choir may sing in it : UNISON

3. Apply strongly, as to start braking : SLAM ON

4. Offspring : SON

5. Shanghai-born NBA star : YAO (Ming). Yao is his surname.

6. Old FNN rival : CNBC

7. Stuck : AT A LOSS

8. Canadian city : TORONTO

9. Crazy : DAFT

10. __-Locka, Fla. : OPA

11. Sports no-nos, informally : 'ROIDS. Steroids.

12. Big companion dog : ALSATIAN. German shepherd? I'm not a dog person.

13. Plants with spiky blooms : GLADIOLI. Quite pretty.

14. Stand-up comics, typically : SOLO ACTS

21. Its motto is "Industry" : UTAH. Our motto is "L'Étoile du Nord" ("The Star of the North).

24. Dry Spanish libation : FINO. Spanish for "refined". Can't have "Sherry" due to E again.

25. So far : AS OF NOW

27. Bird with a strong kick : OSTRICH. I've never encountered an ostrich.

30. Antonym of withdraw : GO IN

33. Trans Am option : T-TOP

35. Young birds : GOSLINGS

36. Birthday, say : OCCASION

37. Bawl out : SAIL INTO. Criticize.

39. Hurting : ACHY

42. Nanny's aid : PRAM

43. "Talking Straight" co-author : IACOCCA (Lee)

44. Mambos' cousins : CHA CHAS

48. Volcanic Italian island known for its spas : ISCHIA. See this map. Learning moment for me.

49. Ant group : COLONY

50. Hill and Bryant : ANITAs

52. Fur tycoon : ASTOR

57. Kin kin : KITH

60. Shanty : HUT

62. Way to stand : PAT. Stand pat.

63. Nikon product : SLR



fermatprime said...

Nice Saturday effort, Michael. Fine write-up, C. C.

Unusual to work a Sat. puzz. in 20 minutes! Hard ones few and far between and taken care of by perps. Had to write the letters that I had in GLADIOLI sideways to see the answer.

Too cold here lately. Nightmares of a high order caused by being outside of covers and in too much pain.

Really miss salmon. Russian friend cooked me frost bitten patties for dinner. Yecch. Not interested in farm-raised abominations. Irradiated ones thankfully not available!

There is going to be a Bones spinoff called Finder, or such. Looks like a good new way to waste time. (But Bones not renewed yet.)

To whom it applies--Happy Easter!

WikWak said...

I surprised myself by actually completing a Saturday puzzle without red letter help... in my book, that makes it a red-letter day! [grin]

It's interesting (at least it is to me) that before World War I nobody had ever heard of an "Alsatian" dog. Apparently during the war lots of loyal British citizens didn't want to call a "German Shepherd" by that name since they were at war with Germany, so they began calling it an "Alsatian," after the French region of Alsace-Lorraine. Some time in the mid-1970's kennel clubs around the world made it official: it's a German Shepherd Dog (GSD) and that is that.

And fermatprime, from me to whom it applies, Thank you!

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers - Crafty puzzle today! I had about 40% filled, mostly in the south, before I noticed there were no E's. This observation came in handy when the middle morphed into NOT GREAT (after having been JUST SO SO). All of a sudden that lone E stuck out.

Tried Vox HUMANA at first. ALCATRAZ looked good for a short time. Struggled with the meaning of Quondam - figured it was a foreign city. This was a no-peeky, after all. Other unknowns: INNIS, ACA, CHICA, HYSON.

What an effort must have gone into this! Thanks C.C. for shining a light on the darker spots.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

I didn't notice the missing E's, although I did think the clues were oddly phrased. This one actually ended up kicking my butt and I ended up with a big fat DNF. In particular, the crossings of FINO/INNIS and ISCHIA/HYSON were my undoing, as I did not know any of those words and guessed wrong at their crossed letters (FENO/INNES and INCHIA/HYNON).

Of course, I also didn't do myself any favors by misspelling 18A as FAASAL and wondering what the heck ROADS meant in a sports context.

Ah, well...

Old Canada said...

I realized there were no Es only after I finished the puzzle. Cool!

I also liked the intersection of TORONTO and ONT, since Toronto is in Ontario, Canada.

Anonymous said...

You're here in Spanish is "Está(s) acá. Aquí is used more frequently than acá.

Dennis said...

Good morning, C.C. and gang - I found this to b a rathr amazing ffort by Michal. 'Quondam' is what finally mad m ralize th answr to th qustion. I had thought svral clus wr rathr stiltd, but just figurd it was th constructor's styl. I can't imagin how long it must'v takn to find both clus and answrs with no 's. Nicly don, Michal.

Off to play in th rain. Hop it's an outstanding astr wknd for all (whr appropriat).

thehondohurricane said...

Good day folks

and Bottoms up! Yep, South went first and the upward progression gave me a foot hold for the North. Until I began dickering around in the South, I had been ready to toss in the towel.

In the North the S was a wag for the cross of Hyson & Ischia and the F was a swag for the cross of Loofa & Fino. All four words were unfamiliar to me, although I vaguely remembered Fino from my Spanish classes eons ago. My other hang up in the North was Innis.

Until I read CC's write up, never noticed the E's were missing. It would be interesting to know how long it took for the puzzle construction.

Rainy, blah day in CT.... again. We have yet to see temps in the 70's and the 60's have been infrequent. In a word the weather this Spring has stunk.

Enjoy the day

Tinbeni said...

C.C., Outstanding write-up !!!

What a slog.
Did NOT notice the "E" thingy.
Did notice my final grid is an Ink Blot Test.
Damn, there are 13 write-overs.
Not good when you do these things in ink.

Fave (of course) was SNORTS next to ASHTRAYS.
In my life they do seem to go together.


ALSATIAN I got because we had it earlier this week (or was it last week?).

Oh well, a 'Toast' to all at Sunset.

Cheers !!!

(Dnnis, rally njoyd your commnt!!!

Husker Gary said...

Windy Good Morning from the Great Plains! Went out to survey golfing options and then opted for the puzzle. No idea on the theme or the S in the hySon/iSchia crossing. A day late and a letter short. While the construction may have been Herculean, it didn’t add anything to my personal enjoyment. Oh well, I enjoyed it anyway!

-NW filled quickly and NE corner finished last
-What very funny movie included an older woman asking a young man to LOOFAH her stretch marks?
-The IOC makes the Afghan gov’t look honest!
-Kazie, does Auckland really have OCA’s like South America or just sweet potatoes?
-My pointless golf game had a chip in for an eagle 2 weeks ago! Hey, even a blind squirrel finds some nuts!
-Loved Capri, but never heard of ISCHIA
-ROIDS are going to keep a lot of players with gaudy statistics out of the Hall of Fame

Splynter said...

Hi There~!

I did notice that the grid had no "E"s in it after I was finished, but I had to go back through the clues to see if there weren't ANY at all - and I WAGed the meaning on Quondam, only since I had _S_ _ - yes, a good word for a Saturday puzzle, but now I really know why ~!

Well DONE~! - I am sure it took a long time to get the grid right; fortunately, English has quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to clues ~!

And C.C., "groovy" was just the right word, wasn't it ~?

Well written, Dennis ~!


Abejo said...

Good Morning, folks. Hey, great puzzle Michael W. Finished it faster than I normally do on a Saturday. Good write-up C.C. Thank you much!

I tried the NW, like I usually do. No cigar. I headed south and found it much easier. My first answer was IRANIS, since I have been to Qom.

I had NESLINGS first. I thought that looked odd without the T. Then GOSLINGS appeared with GOSOFT. I had UPTONOW instead of ASFORNOW for a short while.

I had GLADEOLI instead of GLADIOLI. Therefore I had an E in the puzzle until I read the write-up by C.C. I never figured out there were no E's until the write-up. I was not aware I had to look for something. however, this was very clever. Great job.

The NW was my last fill. It was tough getting started there. Wanted STEPON, but SLAMON and UNISON got me started.

ALSATIAN has been used in other puzzles recently. interesting.

Fun morning. See you tomorrow. Happy Easter. I am playing in church in the morning.


Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning, all. Thanks for the explanation of the unusual feature, C.C. I had not figured out the unusual feature, but Now I understand why some of the clues seemed 'forced'.

My first pass through yielded a largely empty grid, but working off of the few entries in which I had confidence yielded more and more. It finally came down to the crossing of HY_ON/I_CHIA. Both were unknowns and no letter looked quite right, but the 'S' looked less wrong than the others.

Hat's off for a clever job of construction.

Husker Gary said...

Addendum to this eless puzzle.

Did anyone else...

- think of Abba’s Chiquitita when CHICA revealed? If not, enjoy the fun music anyway!
-think of WIFI, SEMPERFI or HIFI first?
-grow up around ASHTRAYS and now can’t stand the sight of them?

Oh well, time to eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee on down the road!

dulburm said...

Did notice that there were an awful lot of O's in the grid.
Seriously doubted that this was the questioned feature.
Didn't stop to think why there might be so many O's.
Thought for a very brief moment that Quandom might be a Tasmanian subsidiary of Qantas and that the answer (at JFK) might be LOST, but perps gave good ol' SSTS and realized that Quandom must be one of those good ol' Latin Q- words.
Thought that 54A might be green tea, but recognized neither Lucky Dragon nor Hyson.
Passed through Gulfport once, long ago, so USM came easily.
Knew OSTIA, but not ISCHIA.

Enjoyed the puzzle and the write-up. Thanks to all involved!

g8rmomx2 said...

Hi c.c. and all:

Great puzzle. Didn't realize the e was missing until I cam here. Brilliant! I had a couple of unknowns: Ischia and Innis, but it went pretty smoothly.

Dennis: Very funny! Loved it!!

Have a wonderful Easter weekend to those who celebrate it.

Zcarguy said...

I C no E

Very clever puzzle , Googed a couple unknowns and it smooth otherwise,
Did you that Iacocca's name referred to his job title at Chrysler ??


Happy Easter all

Zcarguy said...

What did today's constructor tell himself regarding the puzzle and the blogger ??

I O. CC an E

JD said...

Good morning C.C. and all,

Thanks for the terrific write up. It answered all my questions; loved the map.

It seems I still am wobbly at filling in multiple word answers. Took longer than a sec to read dorag.Therefore, I got a bog laugh when filling "not so hot."

DNF, too many unknown crossings: roids/dado, hyson/ischia,and fino/innis.

gladiolas, oops,i...these bulbs spread EVERYWHERE; never noticed they were spiky.

Alsatian came easily with the a; didn't know it was a GSD.Our 1st dog was a magnificent all white one. They were not recognized by the AKC at that time.

JD said...

Fermat, FINDER should be a hit in today's world that bases programs by the looks of the "star". Geoff Stolts is certainly eye candy.I like Kathy Reichs (sp?) books; too bad BONES hasn't done well.

Splynter said...

Hi Again ~!

Jayce, the interview went well, but it was a third-party intermediary that actually did the process - they were going to decide if I was suitable to be presented to the actual company.

The woman who did sit with me was very impressed, and said I would get an email at the end of the week - but I didn't see one -

No matter, I got the urge to look for similar jobs, and found an even better offer, and I applied there on this past Wed. - as it turns out, the posted fax # was bad, but I tracked down the posting in the paper, got a proper email address, and I am thinking I am the "ONLY" person to have applied - I expect an email after this holiday weekend.

Thank you for asking.


Spitzboov said...

Good Morning C.C. and all.

Good challenge today, but finally got it done. Hand up for not getting the unusual feature of the e-less puzzle until coming here. Solve experience seemed similar to Grumpy's. Finished in the NE after finally getting DORAGS and ROIDS. Quondam elicited a ???? but the perps augured for SSTS so that was that. Although the TORONTO/ONT cross was an early WAG, the NW held me off until I finally remembered INNIS. Other unknowns included HYSON and YAO. I was able to dredge ISCHIA up from my brain recesses somehow. Overall, a good but fair Saturday stumper.

CATALINA - I spent 4 days in 1958 steaming around Catalina in 1958 on an LST.

OSTIA - C.C., I believe this is the ancient port serving Rome during Roman times. The harbor was subject to silting and eventually fell into disuse. It was located at the mouth of the Tiber River.

Argyle said...

For Spitzboov:

Santa Catalina(2:35) 26 Miles.

Anonymous said...

The Fox writers and producers stole
the idea and three main characters
for Finder from Burn Notice on USA.
Law suit??
Anyway, Fox reaches more households
than USA and it may do ok. I don't plan to watch it.

Lucina said...

Hello, Puzzlers. Lovely blog, C.C.

Not much time because I have my baby granddaughter here and glad I was able to finish the puzzle in spite of that. Fairly easy for a Saturday and clever, too. I noticed all the o's but not the lack of e's.

DNF on ROIDS and HYSON as both are unfamiliar. ALSATIAN appeared last Saturday and INNIS is known from xwds.

What a superb effort by Michael W. as E, noted by C.C. is the most frequently used vowel.

If memory serves right, King Faisal was NOTSOHOT as a monarch and in fact visited more in Egypt than in Saudi. He was known for his huge appetites in every thing.

Anon@6:59, aca is not usually heard; aqui is more common.

Have a super Saturday, everyone!

Lucina said...

I meant to say anon is correct.

JD said...

happiness and sunshine to all

Argyle, enjoyed Santa Catalina, a beautiful place

Anonymous said...

About 28 across, Roy Innes....He was very prominent as a civil rights leader for some time, but I haven't heard of him in several years. Maybe he retired.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Just a quick note to say I did not notice that the letter E does not appear and that I also got stymied at HYSON/ISCHIA. I ended up not filling in that letter S, so DNF.

At first I thought the unusual feature had something to do with the letter Q, especially since I really wanted IRAQI instead of IRANI.

Had only the slightest difficulty with FINO because my wife and I toast each other with a glass of "Vino fino" during dinner. Didn't know that was what it is really called, though.

I also liked how ONT and TORONTO intersect.

Best wishes to you all.

GarlicGal said...

Completely missed the missing E's! Thanks C.C. Of course, I also missed pussycat, on loan to, Toronto and most of that corner. Too clever for me today.

Maybe tomorrow will bring sunshine and a doable puzzle!!

Spitzboov said...

Thanks Argyle. Now, if only the throb of the mighty (LST) Diesels could be dubbed in, my nostalgia could even be heightened.

creature said...

Good Evening C.C. and all,

We are on satellite internet; and with our non- ending rain and storms,there was no internet. I'm at my daughter's so its great to check out my newspsaper -worked puzzle. She read the question this AM on the phone, but I only noticed the big amt of 'o's and 'c's- can't believe I missed the no 'e's.

I liked that there was more to the puzzle, even though I didn't get it.

DNF- HYSON and ISCHIA cross.I was not alone on this, I see.

Thanks,C.C. for all your effort in the write-up,and also getting the gimmick to us. Lots to cover.

Thank you to Michael, too.

Have a nice evening everyone.

Bill G. said...

I enjoyed the puzzle today. I was looking for the "no Es" gimmick because I remembered a similar paragraph from years back.

"How quickly can you find out what is so unusual about this paragraph? It looks so ordinary that you would think that nothing is wrong with it at all, and, in fact, nothing is. But it is unusual. Why? If you study it and think about it, you may find out, but I am not going to assist you in any way. You must do it without coaching. No doubt, if you work at it for long, it will dawn on you. Who knows? Go to work and try your skill. Par is about half an hour."

Bill G. said...

Recently, a hologram bracelet is making the rounds. It's supposed to increase strength and balance. There are a lot of professional athletes wearing them, either because of their superstitious nature or because they've been paid for their endorsements. It's supposed to work with your body's natural frequency. How a hologram can emit healing frequencies is never explained.

Then, a few years back, ion bracelets were all the rage. They looked neat but again, no scientific evidence of anything therapeutic going on. There's a lot of money to be made from these kinds of gimmicks.

Zcarguy said...

Bill G

It has all the alphabet letters except E ?

Anonymous said...

We have a tv reporter who tries out all the hyped products on air. He said, (after trying them) that those "balance bracelets can`t harm you...but don`t do what they claim."

Seldom Seen said...

HG: Caddyshack

My favorite scene.