, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: Saturday, Dec 3rd, 2011 Brad Wilber


Dec 3, 2011

Saturday, Dec 3rd, 2011 Brad Wilber

Theme: None

Words: 64

Blocks: 38

Another brain-buster from Brad ~! This one got me, in the sense that I had to check some of my WAGs with Red-letter help....oh well, I like to get stumped every now and then ~! This is the least number of words in a puzzle I have blogged - most Saturdays are 70 or 72, Brad's puzzles have come in at 66 and 68 - I attribute this to his unique grid patterns. Today's grid is nearly circular in appearance, with a circular center, and if you ran into trouble there, maybe you couldn't get a foothold on the top or bottom sections. I did OK on top, but too many names slowed me down in the lower half.

Two grid-spanners;

14. Poster-mounting aid : DOUBLE-SIDED TAPE - yeah, OK, this was a good one - I kept thinking of that gummy putty that you use to keep from marring the walls....

45. 2006 Cate Blanchett film : NOTES ON A SCANDAL - never saw it; here's IMDB's take - anyone have a crush on a high school teacher? Mine was my 10th and 11th grade math teacher...ah, was she a doll...

Yes, No, Maybe, Not ??

Onward ~!

mostly ACROSS:

1. Auctions : PUBLIC SALES - no guess to start, got the -IC SALES part, had to wait

12. Counterproductive "Get Smart" apparatus : CONE OF SILENCE - Here's the unit functioning, as it would, in a comedy

16. White and black pawns, e.g. : OCTETS - ah, over-thinking this one; two sets of eight

17. "The Da Vinci Code" monk : SILAS - Paul Bettany, I like him as an actor, seen here

18. Filet mignon sources : LOINS - ooh~! a WAG I didn't realize was a good one ~!

19. Zoo feature : MOAT - oh, I would have preferred a Castle clue for this one - love castles

23. Some peculiarities : TICS

24. [More on next pg.] : CONT.'d

25. Tierney of "E.R." : MAURA - also Kelly on Rescue Me, right Ferm ???

26. Mother of divine twins, in Greek myth : LETO - the Wiki on this woman

27. Twin who adopted the surname Bunker : ENG - Chang and Eng, the conjoined twins - and one died before the other - creepy

28. Student employees, usually : PART-TIMERS - like me, but not right now - full time at UPS - all your Christmas presents pass thru my hands....

30. Ruby or tawny drinks : PORT WINES

31. Where some washers are kept : TOOL CHESTS - did not know which washer we wanted - the machine, of that part within; in this case, it's the part

32.DOWN - With 33-Across, common tourist transport : OPEN-TOP

33. See 32-Down : BUS - Image

36. Dogpatch creator : CAPP

37. Conical brewing equipment : OASTS - a crossword staple, and I did not know it was conical in shape

38. Tendency : WONT - As in "Splynter was wont to stretch before hockey games"

39. Fivers : ABES - yeeacht ~!! I have seen FINS, but ABES ?? I get it, but....

40. Retired boomers : SSTs - Super-Sonic Transports; the Concorde

41. One who's been rubbed out? : GENIE - oh, yes, fools me every time

42. Nebraska tribe : PONCA

44. French enforcement unit : SURETE - I haven't had me some French in a while

50. Classic 1913 novel called "the tragedy of thousands of young men in England" by its author : SONS AND LOVERS - the author, D.H. Lawrence, and not in my wheelhouse

51. 1983 best-seller with a misspelled title word : PET SEMATARY - the author, Stephen King, and his stuff IS in my wheelhouse - although this one creeped me out a little too much; I did have a '74 Cutlass that had the adopted name of Christine - today, my car's name is Erin - and the van is Bert. What's the name of your car ?


1. Looking grumpy : POUTING

2. Straightened : UNBENT

3. Shots taken quickly : BELTS

4. '50s Dodger pitcher Billy : LOES - and to you, my baseball fan host.... (C.C.: Might have this card. Don't recall the name though.)

5. Hypotheticals : IFs

6. CBS ratings giant : CSI - Crime Scene Investigation, which I do like

7. Rocker Vicious : SID - of the Sex Pistols, not the Syd of Pink Floyd fame

8. One might be blonde : ALE - I gave up on the ALE, but not yet on the blondes...

9. Watch readouts, briefly : LEDs - I think L C D when I think of watches

10. Qualifies : ENTITLES

11. More reptilian, in a way : SCALIER

12. Silkworm's protection : COCOON

13. Solar year/lunar year differentials : EPACTS - great learning moment for me - the difference between the two, which I knew, but not this term, for determining Easter - and it gets complicated

14. Sweetly, in some suites : DOLCE

15. Brand with a tiger mascot, once : ESSO

19. __ Vineyard : MARTHA'S - Map Image

20. Where many homesteaders headed : OUT WEST

21. Museum VIPs : ARTISTS

22. Besmirches : TAINTS - there's another definition for this word ???

25. Aquino's predecessor : MARCOS - The Philippines leader, here

28. Race competitor : POLitician

29. Marzo, por ejemplo : MES - uh, I believe this is Spanish, March, the month

30. Billboard magazine's milieu : POP SCENE - I had HIT SONGS, POP SONGS, POP STYLE to start

31. Things to avoid : TABOOS

33. Drought-stricken : BONE-DRY - are bones really dry~? The ones I can feel are wet

34. Baltimore NFLer called "The Golden Arm" : UNITAS - Johnny, and more Wiki for those who wont want more

35. Mill output : STEEL - ah, which mill? The Flour, the Fabric, the Gin....

36. Abridgment on the bridge? : CAP'N - over-thinking again - looking for a sign on a road bridge that said Caution, or SLO, or something like that - nope, just your slang Captain

38. German director Herzog : WERNER

41. Tropical fruit : GUAVA - not Mango

43. Part of PDA: Abbr. : ASST - Personal Data Assistant, mostly your Smart Phone these days - I desperately want to replace my I - P - O - S

44. Macbeth, for one : SCOT

46. Treaty gp. that admitted Belize in 1991 : OAS

47. Denver-to-Bismarck dir. : NNE

48. Fleet VIP : ADMiral

49. Radical org. in 1974 headlines : SLA - I can never remember which one this is; the SAS, the SDS, the SDA, nope the Symbionese Liberation Army

Answer grid.

One week down, three to go - work weeks to Christmas, that is....




Dick said...

Splynter you get up too early. Good write up on a difficult puzzle. A tough brain work out this am.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

I almost crashed and burned on this one. The top half wasn't too bad, but the bottom half... ouch!

GENIE was clued brilliantly at 41A, but I didn't get it for the longest time. I think I've heard of SURETE, but it certainly didn't spring immediately to mind. NOTES ON A SCANDAL? SONS AND DAUGHTERS? Sorry, never heard of either one (although I was eventually able to make guess as to what letters could make real words).

I had POP MUSIC for the longest time instead of POP SCENE. I also thought Macbeth was a DANE instead of a SCOT. Got him confused with Hamlet, I guess.

Oh -- and we rode an OPEN-TOP BUS while sightseeing in London. Except that everybody everywhere called it a DOUBLE_DECKER BUS instead. True, it did have an open top, but does anybody actually call it that?

PONCA? I think we've had it a few times before (either in this puzzle or in the NYT), but it just won't stick.

What finally broke open the South for me was a complete WAS as to the direction from Denver to Bismark at 47. I figured the last letter was probably an E and then the middle N looked better in the grid than an S. And then the initial E worked better than another N. Once I got that, I got PET SEMATARY and was able to guess the other long answers down there.

SouthernBelle said...

Mornin' to all,

Ouch! What a way to get the little gray cells working on a weekend!

Started off easily with CSI, SID, LEDS & COCOON.....then was stumped till MARTHAS (vineyard).

Anyone else have trouble with POL for 'race competitor'???? Thought that was a real bummer!

But, it is Saturday..#4)...hardest puzzle of the week...squeezed between two '#3s'~.

desper-otto said...

Two toughies in a row! I, too, was stuck for quite a while with those ICkySALES. I thought there were thirteen 28-day lunar months in a year so EPACTS started out as ONEDAY. PONCA was OMAHA. Hand up for MANGO and POPMUSIC. The only part that came easily was that circular center. My newspaper is a mess this morning.

Splynter, thanx for the link to EPACTS. Definitely a learning moment. No Moonie, me.

Brad, thanx for exercising my mental muscle.

Argyle said...

Re: PONCA. Used twice on Saturdays in NYT.(Found using xwordinfo.) We've had one mention in the comments section about Ponca City.(Found using the blog search and NotePad++)

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

A hard pull, today. I found the best footing right in the center and radiated outward from there, with many a misstep along the way. Was thinking POP MUSIC and WARREN Herzog. At least I knew SURETE, so that fixed a few problems.

Fell in love with sweet little MAURA Tiernay on ER. I recently caught an ad for the next season of The Office in which Maura was announced as some new character. Might have to take a look, but I don't like the show much.

Anonymous said...

Dennis: Be forewarned, an 81 year old man has been arrested in south FL for impersonating a doctor and giving breast exams!

Anonymous said...

anon, see last night's late posts.

Dunder Mifflen said...

Maura Tierney was on The Office this past week.

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning, Splynter and Saturday Solvers all. This was certainly an interesting exercise. I don't think I've ever seen a puzzle laid out as a backward 'S' before.

Fortunately, my kids loved "Get Smart" (yeah, that's my excuse for watching it) so CONE OF SILENCE was a gimme. A few of the easy three letter fill crossing that and the rest of the top fell into place.

MARCOS and MARTHAS gave me the center section, but I had to wag the 'T' in the LETO/EPACTS crossing as the only letter that looked like it would work.

OPEN air BUS slowed down the bottom, but again, the three letter fill gave me just enough to see SiNS AND LOVERS... oops, make that SONS... and then I was on TOP of it. I've ridden many of those buses in locales around the world. We usually call them HOHO's (Hop On, Hop Off) since they usually stop at several points where you can hop off, tour the area attractions and hop on the next one a half hour or an hour later.

Grumpy 1 said...

I rubbed the GENIE out of the lamp without any difficulty this time. I seem to recall we had a similar clue recently. PONCA and NOTES ON A SCANDAL were 100% perps.

Got it done, but it was quite a bit of pick and shovel work in the bottom.

Thanks for a great write up Splynter.

Tinbeni said...

Splynter: Great write-up & links.
Esp.liked the EPACTS link/learning moment.
Admit, when the perps got it, from my SILAS wag, my first thought was WTH ... another "E"word thingy.

OK, the middle was (almost) easy.
The top, with my CONE-OF-SILENCE giving a foothold, doable.

But the bottom was a mugging.
Hmmm, a 2006 movie and 1913 book I've never heard of ... along with another book I've never read. (Not a King fan).
Throw in my OPENair BUS along with LADY Macbeth ... well, it was like what Forrest Gump said: "Sh*t Happens!"

So with only 2/3rds correct and a bottom INK BLOT test ... another Saturday DNF.

BONE-DRY until my Sunset "toast."
Cheers !!!

@Barry: How did you fit the 16 letter SONS AND DAUGTHERS into the grid???

Mr Greenjeans said...

Good morning, Cap'n!

Nice to see ADM and CAPN in the same grid (Kirk comes to mind). And the grid itself reminded me of Jeff Chen's Yin/Yang puzzle in last Sunday's NYT.

However, I don't understand how the VIP in "Museum VIPs" netted no abbreviation (ARTISTS)...but right below, "Fleet VIP" did (ADM).

Anonymous said...

Totally off my wave length today. Had eight words filled in correctly by my third pass through. Consulted with Splynter to get some traction and filled in some more. Erased a lot.

I thought the monk was Damon, the mother of twins was Hera, and Sioux fit nicely. AAAAAGH! Had BUS so thought the mill output should be sugar.

Oh well, I'm warm and dry on a rainy day, so life is still good.

- PK

Ken Adlum said...

I've never read "Pet Sematary." Could someone please explain the significance of the misspelled title (i.e. why it is misspelled)?


Uncle Stevie said...

Semantics, Ken. Just childhood semantics.
Gotta love those sweet innocent TICS!

Barry G. said...

@Barry: How did you fit the 16 letter SONS AND DAUGTHERS into the grid???

See what I mean? Even after getting it, I can't remember it. SONS AND LOVERS.

@Ken Adlum: That's the way it was spelled on a hand-scrawled sign the protagonists found in the woods behind their new house.

Misty said...

Arrgh--second DNF for me, this week, with two in a row. Got the middle on this one, thanks to Martha's Vineyard and Port wines (I guess I'm better on grapes than other stuff). I might've gotten the NE corner, but was sure the mother of the twins was "Leda" (Yeats's "Leda and the Swan" is one of my favorite poems) and "snakier" rather than "scalier." I finally got "Sons and Lovers"--in my wheelhouse, thank goodness--but not the Cate Blanchett film or the King novel. So, a humbling Saturday, saved only by Splynter's great write-up!

Ron Worden said...

Good afternoon to all. Wow that was a tough Sat. workout for me. Had to google for 50A. Great write-up Splynter I have to agree with you on abes never heard that one before. I thought scalier was odd too. Portwines could have been clued as the thing Gorbachev had on his forehead. To Splynter, where do you play hockey? I was a cert. ref and coach for Inlines and coached a team of 17 and under boys that won the world inline breakout championship. I call my suv a buick never called a car a name unless it brokedown, and can't repeat those here. Have a great Sat. to all RJW.

JD said...

a wag-wag here, a wag-wag there, here wag, there wag, everywhere wag-wag

Good morning all.

Beautiful grid, but only filled in 10 words 1st go around.Made me really dig deep--even for ONE letter!

Splynter, thanks for all the info-especially liked the creepy Chang & Eng story.

Saw Maura on The Office, but that is not my kind of humor.She's the wife of the CEO and wants a job.

Steve said...

Great write-up, Splynter - 22D had me sniggering when I saw the clue. SID Vicious - not a rocker, a PUNK (in the real sense of the word) who was off his ROCKER.

@Barry, yeah, we call them open-top buses. Not all double-deckers are open-top, but all open-tops are double-deckers.

I love Saturdays. No gimmicks, no kinda-sorta theme answers that don't quite work, just hand-to-hand combat with the constructors and Rich.

Obscure movies? Bring 'em on! Early 19th-century literature? POW! Baseball pitchers I've never heard of? ZAP! French, Spanish and Italian? THWACK! Misdirection? THWOCK!

As Archimedes almost said before a Roman soldier got impatient and chopped off his head: "Give me some crosses and I will solve the Earth".

I had a classic XJS V12 Jaguar convertible until quite recently. You don't want to know the names I called that car. One of my friends, observing it once again on a flat-bed tow truck said "You know, it looks really good up there, almost as if it was designed to be seen like that".

Husker Gary said...

The snow is here and outside looks like a snow globe outside. I still took Joann to a craft show and got a few “atta boys”. An intimidating looking puzzle that was fun to do as I worked from the middle out.

-OMAHA Indians took backseat to PONCAs (both Nebr. Cities too)
-MARCOS first big fill
-My pawns were PIECES first
-SILAS was one messed up dude. Being overly zealous in a religion can make people lose contact with reality
-MAURA today MOIRA earlier are unknown to me
-The gov’t wants to make fieldwork for PARTTIMERS under 16 illegal. Kids have been in cornfields for generations here and this would kill the hybrid seed business.
-First thought of SLIMIER reptiles but of course, they aren’t
-JFK Jr. and Ted Kennedy had crashes near Martha’s Vineyard
-POPmusic first also

Dudley said...

Used Dunder-Mifflen's link above to watch the Maura segment on The Office. She's still cute, but otherwise, meh.

For you fans of open topped double-decker buses: I just happen to have one for sale. Really! It's a 1974 Daimler, formerly a London Transport bus, and it needs a new home. So if you know of anyone needing a bus, please drop a line!

LaLaLinda said...

Hi All ~~

Another Saturday that I thought I had no chance of finishing ... yet somehow I did. The last to fill was the CAPN - PONCA cross and I guessed right. As others have said, the middle gave me my start and I worked out from there.

The long titles filled in with perps and more good guesses, since I wasn't really familiar with any except PETSEMATARY. I read all of Stephen King's books back in the 80s but not much recently. I had a hard time getting into any of them. I might try his latest: "11/22/63."

I don't recall ever using the word WONT but some years ago I had a friend who used it often and it impressed me ... not sure why. I put it in at 38A, took it out for 'Bent' and then settled on WONT.

For some reason I saw 'Auctions' and 'Straightened' as verbs and that really messed up those areas for a while. Eventually it all came together and it was done!
Another wonderful write-up, Splynter!

xtulmkr said...

This puzzle's clues fall into the "never read/watched/seen/listened to or heard of" classification for me.
17A neither read nor watched.
25A never watched
26A wrong twins, I had Leda.
45A never saw or heard of
50A didn't read
51A didn't read
4D never heard of
7D never listened to

I had a Johnny Unitas autographed football that I gave to my then 10 year old son. He used it for the neighborhood game ball.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody, and thank you, Splynter.

Yup yup yup, wanted POP MUSIC and OMAHA. Got CONE OF SILENCE immediately, having been a huge fan of Get Smart back in the day.

Names of cars? Sure, I almost always have named my cars. One of my first cars, an early Mazda RX7 (the one with the rotary engine) I called Rex. My 1981 Datsun (now Nissan) Maxima I called Max. 1991 Honda Accord LX was, you guessed it, Alex. Our Camry XLE was called Axel. Then we ran out of names with X in them, so our current car is called just plain Buddy.

I'm sorta inclined to rent Notes On A Scandal now.

My maternal grandmother is a pure-blood Macbeth and is permitted to wear the clan tartan. I've never seen her wear it, but her brother, George Macbeth of Macbeth-Evans Glass (later bought by Corning Glass), looked positively regal in his dress kilt.

Sorry about too much information on Arabic g's, k's, and q's last night. I do sometimes talk too much.

Best wishes to you all.

Jayce said...

I'm not a fan of Stephen King either. Tried, but just couldn't ever get into his stuff. The only book of his I ever finished was Misery.

Ken Adlum said...

Thanks Barry.

Susan said...

I was so proud of myself yesterday because I got almost all of it without help. Then came today.

Great job, Splynter. I had to peek at your answers a lot.

I used to enjoy King novels, but I don't so much now. I read Salem's Lot when I was still living with my mom. It was an extra hot summer and early every evening there were a lot of people just walking up and down the sidewalk--spooky stuff.

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, A difficult puzzle which we seem to see from Brad Wilber. I had to Google the films, and best sellers, etc. Steven King is not a favorite of mine, and I haven't been to a movie for a very long time.

Ponca was the last tribe that came to mind for the Nebraska Natives. Omaha was my first choice.

Also, Open air bus was first on my list for Open top bus. So the eraser got a good workout today.

I always feel good, though when I finish a hard puzzle even if I do have to us helps like Google and a CW dictionary. Learning is my goal. Today I learned a LOT.

Great writeup, Splynter. I don't know how you do it week after week with these difficult puzzles. More power to you!

Bill G. said...

We just got back from lunch at a Greek restaurant, oddly called Old Venice. (Well, they do have Italian food too.) We had a traditional soup with chicken, rice and lemon; a Greek salad including anchovies; baked Feta cheese, and a souvlaki wrap on pita bread. With two Arnold Palmers, the total came to $38. Very reasonable I thought.

Time for a nap.

~ Bill

Anonymous said...

Ditto to everything Xtulmkr said, except Leda and the football tragedy.

- PK

Lemonade714 said...

The sign for the pet "Semetary" was misspelled because it was created by kids, who were innocent. It was adjacent to the 'secret' burial ground which was the real center of the story and the demonic plot. I like hte mention of the Micmacs, as my mother's family had married some of that little known tribe.

Puzzle was hard and I too finished with Ponca, which I did not recall. A classic Brad effort which was hard as Saturday is intended, and Splynter you do them justice.


Lucina said...

Hi, Splynter and all.

I almost missed this party as have been busy all day prepping my condo for decorating. Whew! So much work.

I did this off and on and all day and am nearly breaking my arm congratulating myself on finishing a Saturday Brad Wilber puzzle!

I had to look up WERNER Herzog and Cate Blanchet's movie which I do recall seeing when it came out. Very disturbing!

Johnny UNITAS though came out of nowhere and so I could finish the bottom.

A solid puzzle today, thanks, Brad.

I hope this Saturday has been a fruitful one for you, everyone!
My grandbabies are here so must go.

fermatprime said...

Good evening, all!

Thanks for fun puzzle, Brad. Only 2 googles, no reds. Swell write-up, Splynter! Am watching a Hertzog film on the installment plan and had consulted IMDB so WERNER one was a gimme. (My attention span for the TV has become rather short!) Liked King's The Stand. Loved CONE OF SILENCE.

Yes, Tierney had an impressive turn on Rescue Me, Splynter. (Was surprised Tommy did not give her a ...)

Had a great sleep and a nice swim. Must be that spinach juice Harvey and I made in the blender with almond milk, onions and ice cubes. (I managed to get up and down a few stairs with my quad cane, holding on to Harv, and go to my long lost kitchen!)

A peaceful Sunday to all!

*David* said...

The set up created three puzzles. The middle was easy and both the top and bottom were hard, with the bottom being harder. I made lots of mistakes on the bottom has OPEN AIR and POP SONGS then STARS. I finally called it a day and snuck a couple looks at a completed puzzle, kind of disappointing.