Jan 8, 2012

Sunday Jan 8, 2012 Gail Grabowski

Theme: Secret Retreat - See 122D: Secret retreat hidden in this puzzle's nine longest answers: DEN

23A. Lasagna ingredient : WIDE NOODLES

48A. "Beowulf" language : OLD ENGLISH

25A. Vogue publisher : CONDE NAST. Anna Wintour has been the editor-in-chief of Vogue since 1988. Conde Nast imported Tina Brown from the other side of the pond roughly around the same period. Quite a rivalry between those two ladies inside the house.

70A. Arrival of royalty, say : GRAND ENTRANCE

96A. "Works for me" : GOOD ENOUGH

117A. Business identifier : TRADE NAME. Like Remolisher. Contact them if you live in NY area and you need any work done for your home.

121A. Scraps : ODDS AND ENDS

36D. Concert band : WIND ENSEMBLE

41D. "Little Fockers" co-star : ROBERT DE NIRO. Don't put NIRO alone in your crossword. Rich does not like it.

C.C. here. When I first saw the puzzle title, I figured SPA was hidden inside each phrase. That's the retreat I had in mind, but soon grokked Gail's gimmick.

As with most of Gail's puzzles, the theme is simple & straightforward, and the grid is super smooth. Nothing tricky or obscure. And there's always an understated elegance in her puzzles. Look at these clues:

1A. Restraining order : HALT. Not from the judge.

32A. Field workers? : REFS. Not farmers.

59A. Good thing to avoid in public : SCENE. Not crowd.

107A. Port container : CASK. Port wine.

30D. Word often preceding a sentence : GUILTY. Prison sentence.

One clue I don't get is OBIT (55A. Late notice?). Why "Late"? "Final notice" makes sense to me.


5. Cereal fruit : RAISIN. I liked dried dates.

11. "Done!" : FINIS!

16. Personality component : EGO

19. Tiered treat : OREO

20. Cause of some droughts : EL NINO. This is the mildest winter since I came to the US.

21. Offer one's thoughts : OPINE.

22. Lace (into) : RIP

27. Dogie catcher : LASSO

28. So yesterday : OUT. Don't think jeggings will be OUT soon.

29. Quaint curse : EGAD

31. Purpose : USE

34. Raymond James Stadium player, familiarly : BUC. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

35. Barely progresses : CRAWLS

39. Many a ski house : A-FRAME

43. Gulf of Bothnia winter phenomenon : SEA ICE. Gulf of Bothnia is "the northernmost arm of the Baltic Sea". Spitzboov might have mentioned this on the blog before..

46. More chilling : EERIER

47. Halifax hold : GAOL. Jail.

52. Prefix with -frice : DENTI. Dentifrice.

53. Leafy recess : ARBOR

56. Recorded, in a way : TAPED

58. Nutritional figs. : RDAs

60. How to enjoy some amusement park water rides : LAZILY

62. Somme soul : AME. Learned from doing Xword.

63. Asian holiday : TET. Only in Vietnam.

64. Golfer Garcia : SERGIO. He plays with a passion. Dated Martina Hingis for some time.

66. Prior to : ERE

67. Cell in a network : NEURON. Brain cell.

69. Ideal conclusion? : IST. Idealist.

75. Place for a peel : SPA. Facial. Gimme for Melissa.

78. Words to one on the way out : DON'T GO

80. Bygone intl. carrier : TWA

81. Relief givers : EASERS

83. Crunch unit : REP (Repetition)

84. With it : HIP. These fake see-through skirts were HIP for a short period. The panties are printed on the skirts.

85. Appeared in a big way : LOOMED

88. Marathon measures : TIMEs

89. Scoop holder : CONE

90. Where to find a lot of corned beef : ON RYE

92. Marine predator : ORCA

93. Mosey : AMBLE

94. In __: stuck : A BIND

99. Surveyor's drawing : PLAT

100. Take out, in a way : BORROW. Oh, take out a loan. We also have 126A. Provided with temporarily : LENT TO.

102. Prepared to eavesdrop : BUGGED

103. Mends, as a bad stitching job : RE-SEWS

105. Comedian's sidekick : STOOGE

106. Part of a line: Abbr. : SEG (Segment)

109. Flying fig. : ALT (Altitude). For Dudley.

110. Haywire : AWRY. Love this clip Len linked yesterday.

111. Recede : EBB

112. WWII torpedo vessel : E-BOAT

124. Sharer's word : OUR

125. Delta preceder : GAMMA

127. Frenzied : AMOK

128. Comforting companion : PET

129. Game trail : SPOOR

130. Scoundrels : KNAVES. Also learned from doing Xword.

131. Meddle (in) : MESS


1. Yuk it up : HOWL. Did not know HOWL means "laugh" also.

2. Rossini specialty : ARIA

3. Watch displays, briefly : LEDs

4. Hose fillers : TOES. Was picturing a sprinkler.

5. 1906 Runabout, e.g. : REO. No idea on Runabout, Argyle!

6. Unfriendly : ALOOF

7. River near Karachi : INDUS. Originated in China. In Chinese, it's called "Indian River".

8. It builds up in channels : SILT. "It" clue is often tricky. Same with "What", like "What's up" for SKY. Drives me nuts at times.

9. Having four sharps : IN E. I trust you, being musically blind.

10. Feeder with fodder : NOSEBAG

11. Italian flatbread : FOCACCIA. I've never had it, Steve. Lots of rosemary on this one.

12. It can help you carry a tune : iPOD

13. "Collages" novelist : NIN (Anaïs)

14. Bring about : INDUCE

15. Blows a gasket : SEES RED

16. Victorian __ : ERA

17. PX patrons : GIs

18. Decline, with "out" : OPT

24. Par : NORM

26. Not as far from : NEARER TO

33. Job ad abbr. : EEO

37. Sic on : LET AT

38. Hindu honorifics : SRIs

39. 2006 tennis retiree : AGASSI. Look, he's back.

40. Some comedies : FARCES

42. As a companion : ALONG

43. Took by force : SEIZED

44. Complete : ENTIRE. No FINISH. Adjective "complete" here.

45. Albéniz composition "Cantos de __" : ESPANA. "Songs of Spain".

49. Hi-tech titter : LOL

50. Corp. alias : DBA (Doing Business As)

51. Studly dudes : HE-MEN. This is my favorite "He-man" picture. Don't know if I should be sorry or happy for FL.

54. Hold sway : REIGN

57. Court tie : DEUCE. Tennis court.

61. Slowly, to Mozart : LENTO

65. Grass-B-Gon maker : ORTHO

68. Bit of gaucho gear : REATA. Or RIATA.

71. Sitting in a cask, say : AGING. Wine again. Do expensive wines really taste better? Psychologically maybe yes.

72. "Consider it done" : NO PROB

73. Score in a pitcher's duel, perhaps : TWO ONE. Two to One. Low-scoring (2 runs at most), fast paced, few hits, lots of strikeouts. There you have a pitcher's duel.

74. Accomplish using force : RAMROD

76. Future litigator's study : PRE-LAW. Lawyers are all pretty wordy.

77. Items of value : ASSETS

79. Speed demon's delight : OPEN ROAD

82. Fools : SIMPS

83. Assembly line worker : ROBOT

85. Book that might be cooked : LEDGER

86. Old French coin : ECU

87. Former U.N. leader Hammarskjöld : DAG

89. Hotel entrance lineup : CABS. Long clue/answer dupe.

91. "Is that a promise?" : YOU SWEAR? My favorite answer.

95. Angled fairways : DOG LEGS. Not really a problem for short-hitters.

97. Crème brûlée ingredient : EGG YOLK

98. Time pieces: Abbr. : HRs

101. Moist towelette : WET NAP

104. Barely managed, with "out" : EKED

107. "The Mentalist" airer : CBS TV. What's "The Mentalist" about?

108. Taper off : ABATE

110. Shells and such : AMMO

111. Flamboyant Dame : EDNA. Dame Edna.

113. Smile from ear to ear : BEAM

114. Tab-grabber's words : ON ME

115. Fusses : ADOs

116. Chiding sounds : TSKS

117. Tank or tee : TOP

118. Regret : RUE

119. Display on the wall : ART. When I was a child, every family had Chairman Mao's portrait on their wall.

120. Latin lover's word : AMO (I love)

123. Phone bk. info : NOs

Answer grid.

Here is another baseball haiku from Ant's book:

geese flying north
the pitcher stops his windup
to watch



Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Nothing much to add to C.C.'s commentary. The theme was secondary (tertiary?) to the solving experience and didn't impress me that much. The rest of the puzzle was smooth and nothing really stood out as either super clever or irksome. Just a good, straightforward, Sunday solving experience.

fermatprime said...

Good morning!

An interesting puzzle. Thanks, Gail, C.C.

C. C.: A dead person can be referred to as "the late so and so", thus OBIT is in a way a late notice. Also, The Mentalist is a sometimes intriguing series about a fictional California FBI counterpart (the CBI). Simon Baker, the star (quite good, I think) plays a former fake psychic with formidable powers of observation and intuition. (Think a non-buffoonish , cable.)

Favorite answer: GUILTY.

Finally got my holiday letters out. Quite an ordeal this year. Much time using Photoshop and Illustrator. (Some of you remember the ordeal I had getting a MacBook Pro with Snow Leopard, so that I could continue to use these! However, the used machine that I purchased from Apple has several problems and really needs help.)

Have a peaceful Sunday!

desper-otto said...

WBS. A good top-down solve today. No surprises.

Mike Rush said...


My wife and I work these together; I'm not sure either one of us could make it through alone. It's always fun to discover the trivial stuff locked away in her noggin. We actually got all the way through this one, which makes Barry's comment especially true, nothing "either super clever or irksome." Cindy says the "Old English," is alot more like German. I never associated a knave with a scoundrel, but I don't know the exact definition.

Favorite answer: OPINE

Until next week...

Splynter said...

Hi There ~!

I thought this one was a little tougher for a Sunday, since the theme was short and not so hard to get, and a few clues had "dual answers":

Hose fillers - I had LEGS not TOES

Blows a gasket - GETS MAD, not SEES RED


and silly things like BLIZED for BLITZED and the answer was SEIZED anyway, and REtire for ENtire - thinking of retiring the side in baseballl...

Thanks for the shout-out, C.C.

Got some drafting to do today, and I am considering a promotion to the "dark side" at UPS...


Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, C.C. and friends. What a fun Sunday puzzle! I had the same reaction, C.C., to many of the clues. Loved the misleading clues.

As Splynter noted, there were lots of "duel" clues. I learned that a cereal fruit is not a Banana but a RAISIN.

I learned that Hose Fillers are not Legs but TOES.

I learned that Many Ski Houses are not Chalet(s) but A-FRAME(s).

Favorite clues included: It Can Help You Carry a Tune = iPOD.

Port Container = PORT, along with Sitting in a Cask, Say = AGING.

Word Proceeding a Sentence = GUILTY.

QOD: A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. ~ Groucho Marx

Abejo said...

Good Morning, folks. Thank you, Gail, for a good workout yesterday and today. I bought the Sunday paper yesterday and started on this last night. Thank you, C.C., for the write-up. I see where Fermatprime helped with the LATE and the MENTALIST definitions.

Could not get started in the NW, so I went South. My first long answer was GRAND ENTRANCE.

Tried FLAT NOODLES for 23A. That botched up that corner for a while. With the help of ARIA and TOES figured out WIDE NOODLES.

Tried GRIN for 113D, then fixed that to BEAM. Had TRADEMARK for 117A, then fixed that yo TRADENAME.

Other than those, all pretty much fell into place. Lots of thinking.

Thought IPOD was clever for 12D, it can help you carry a tune.

SPOOR was good. Not a word you hear very often.

See you tomorrow.


Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Standard Sunday solve, all the way through, except...the NW corner. Really wanted LEGS for hose fillers, and thought maybe there was some fancy culinary name for lasagna noodles. But, I applied the theme rule, and figured it out.

Morning C.C., we're loving this mild winter so far!

Dudley said...

Learning moment today: SPOOR. I thought it meant just an animal's droppings, but I now see it's wider than that, meaning any evidence of a wild animal.

Mikey said...

What desper-otto said, mostly, but a NE-clockwise-to-NW solve for me. Not very memorable, unlike yesterday.

Ken Adlum said...

New word for the day: “Spoor.”

Favorite clue/answer: “It can help you carry a tune/Ipod.”

Least favorite clue/answer: “How to enjoy some amusement park water rides/Lazily.”

chan said...

Learned something today about SPOOR, NOSEBAG, and SEA ICE, but managed to perp my way successfully through each of them. Rolled my eyes a bit at EASERS. All in all, a satisfying and successfully completed puzzle, though it was quite a struggle at times.

Anonymous said...

job ad abbreviation is always listed in your clues as EEO.
The abbreviation that I see in our paper is EOE for equal opportunity employer. What does EEO mean?

HeartRx said...

Good morning C.C. et al.

My experience matched Hatool's today. (Great game last night, BTW. Geaux Saints!) It was a clean puzzle with some great misleading clues. I didn't mind LAZILY, but thought it might have been fun to clue it as "The best way to rock". My experience of most water rides is more like sheer terror.

Splynter, good luck with your job change decision. Would it involve a re-lo?

Dudley, animal droppings are usually called "scat", but they are also part of what makes up the SPOOR. I doubt if you would ever see "scat" clued as animal droppings in a puzzle, though!

Have a lovely day, everyone - we are certainly getting a break with the weather this winter.

Hahtoolah said...

EEO stands for Equal Employment Opportunity.

HeartRx said...

I think the distinction between EEO and EOE is that EEO, or Equal Employment Opportunity would refer to the job, while EOE (Equal Opportunity Employer) would refer to the company?

Husker Gary said...

I agree with C.C.’s assessment but didn’t see, use or need the theme.

-I loves my Total Raisin Bran
-I switched the I and E in DeNiro at first. I made an attempt to watch the Focker follow ups to the hilarious Meet The Parents but couldn’t stomach them. Hey, even DeNiro has to pay the bills.
-CHALET out as ski refuge, my leafy refuge was first a GLADE and had FEET in my hose
-We had GAOL a few months ago and I remembered for once
-TET 1968 dredges up horrible Vietnam War memories
-3 letter old car? I’m on it!
-A greeting of “What are you up to?” eliciting the response of “Oh, about 6 feet” is irritating
-Did everyone avoid a public SCENE in the Victorian ERA?
-Par ain’t the NORM, it’s the dream and dog legs can be a big problem for this hitter
-Fun links for jeggings and panty skirts but none for titter. C.C.?
-I must be sitting in a cask

Seldom Seen said...

WET NAP? Is that a quickie dream? An afternoon delight, perhaps?

Hey C.C., did the pitcher, mentioned in the haiku, commit a balk? ;)

Lucina said...

Hello, C.C. et alii. Thank you, C.C. and I agree, Dennis is a favorite hunk.

Argyle: FYI, the Charlotte Observer carries the LATIMES puzzle on Sunday. That was a nice surprise.

I loved this semi-easy puzzle from Gail Grabowski! It "grabbed" me.

The top filled easily with no bumps or snags but the bottom was full of misdirection.

a book that might be cooked, LEDGER
scoop holder, CONE
port container, CASK
word often preceding a sentence, GUILTY

Great job, Gail! Thank you.

Marti, I'm with you on those amusement park rides, sheer terror and will never again try one.

Have a delightful Sunday, everyone!

Steve said...

I admit I was looking for something more than just "DEN" in the theme answers, I guess I was a tad disappointed.

Great fill though - FOCACCIA and scrambled EGG YOLKS will do for breakfast - WIDE NOODLES ON RYE not so much!

Have a peaceful Sunday, all y'all

Spitzboov said...

Good morning all. Thanks for the write-up, C.C.

Fun puzzle; not too difficult. Thanks Gail. Agree with Barry's take. Yeah, I think we've had SEA ICE before. The northern and eastern parts of the Baltic ice over in many winters; to the extent that both Finland and Sweden maintain icebreaker fleets, to assist with shipping. Here is a link showing the Finnish ship Urho under way to break ice. While attending a conference I was privileged to attend a reception and smorgasbord aboard the Urho in Helsinki in 1990. Very very tasty.

Have a great day.

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning, C.C., and Sunday Solvers. Not much to add to what has already been said. Some parts filled easily, a few spots slowed me down. SEEthEs seemed so right for 'Blows a gasket', but I already had DENTI. Had I been doing the puzzle on the computer in the non-expert mode, I would definitely have SEEn RED letters there.

Marti, you're probably right about 'scat' as entry for 'animal droppings', but turn it around and use Scat for the clue. 'Animal Dropping', 'a word to your cat' or 'Ella's song style' are all 14 letter fill that could use the same clue.

ant said...

I usually don't read this blog until I finish the puzzle, and since I didn't get around to finishing the Silkie until this morning (held up in that SW corner), I completely missed the Metallica shout-out yesterday. Thanks Splynter!

I'm glad you're enjoying the book, C.C.!

I have to agree with those that were underwhelmed by this puzzle. The theme was so minor, for so major a grid. And I'm curious to hear what more Rube (from yesterday) has to say. The puzzles do seem to be losing a step (B. Silk notwithstanding), but I'm not sure if it's me, or them...

Here's your song for today. The audio/visual is a little rough, but a great ballad from the disco ERA.
KC & the Sunshine Band - Please DON'T GO (4:15)

HeartRx said...

Grumpy 1, cute idea. But it would be impossible to design a grid with three symmetrical 14-letter answers. So here’s three fifteens for any takers:
-Animal droppings
-Word to a stray cat
-Jazzy improv song

Anonymous said...

Hi Y'all,

Really liked the puzzle and your write-up, C.C. Relaxing for a Sunday to fill every square correctly. Not a speed run. What everyone else said.

Ferm explained LATE. I say "My LATE husband now, because he is dead." However, I used to refer to him as "My late husband" during his lifetime because the man never got anywhere on time. Sometimes he'd call up and ask "What time is dinner". The kids said it was because he didn't want to screw up his record and come on time by accident. He did have a lot of very valuable qualities to make up for that though.

LAZILY: Great Wolf Lodge has a Lazy River Ride for the more timid guest. One gets in an inner tube and floats LAZILY along on a mild current. Lots of older folks in there along with some kids trying tricks to jazz it up.

Avg Joe, from yesterday. I lived in Gunnison, CO three summers before they dammed the Black Canyon. Always got severe vertigo standing at the brink.

- PK -

Bill G. said...

Happy birthday Elvis! Barbara never forgets.

The theme was notably ordinary but I really enjoyed all the clever clues (except the one for LAZILY). Well done.

I loved Splynter's link for hose. Geez! I wonder if she is any good at crosswords?

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Fun puzzle today; lovely cluing and some great fill. SPOOR, how great is that?

Agree the Focker movies were awful. Couldn't believe the great Robert De Niro would stoop so low. As Husker said, I guess he had bills to pay.

Splynter, I like the hose fillers you linked to. I actually did pencil in LEGS at first. Well, not pencil in, as I did the puzzle on line because for some unknown reason the San Jose Mercury News doesn't publish the Sunday LAT xword.

Also, Splynter, congratulations on being offered a promotion. I know it's a tough decision whether to cross over to the dark side. I've been there, didn't like it at all. Worst years of my life. Been happily back on the "light side" again for the last 20 enjoyable years. I'm far happier rolling up my sleeves and doing the actual work than wrestling P&L statements and appeasing board members.

Best wishes to you all.

len said...

Hi all,

Great write-up, CC. I liked HRS/Time pieces and GUILTY before a sentence.

One thing I find, especially after doing these longer CW's,is that after all that staring at the screen, it's hard to proof read your effort if the Congrats button doesn't come on. Then you click on the red letters and what should have been the most obvious to spot typo pops up. Kind of like not being able to see ATHOS! Or the Gestalt switch.


Anybody else have this problem. Vive the red letters!

len said...

One more thing.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that there was an experiment going on to try to establish whether human intentions, mentally directed, could effect events in the "real" world but I couldn't remember the details. I'm not endorsing this website in any way, but, for anyone that might be interested, here is the link:

Mind over matter


LaLaLinda said...

Hi All ~~

I like that this puzzle made me think in a few spots, unlike many Sunday puzzles that I just fill in as I go along. Often the only challenge is that they're long. I caught the theme fairly quickly and it helped with CONDENAST, which I didn't know.

I was slowed down in a few sections with things like DBA, SEAICE and the clue for GAOL. Thanks for clearing all that up, C.C! I'm glad I wasn't the only one unfamiliar with SPOOR. It filled in but I looked it up after I finished so I hope I'll remember it the next time it shows up.

~~ I liked some of the fill I don't recall seeing before - or at least not recently, ie. NOSEBAG, FOCACCIA.
~~ Fun misdirection in a number of clues!
~~ Favorites were 'Word often preceding a sentence' - GUILTY and 'Is that a promise' - YOUSWEAR.

~~ One of my 'Comforting companions' was glued to my side (as she usually is) as I worked on this. >^:^<

Have a good evening!

Rube said...

C.C.! Of course! What was I (not) thinking?

Found this a fair to middlin' puzzle. Good Sunday fair if not particularly sparkly. Slightly easier than the NYT, but not significantly so. Questioned "Halifax hold" as GAOL, but Google tells me that there is a Halifax in West Yorkshire, pop. 82,056 in 2001, so OK, I guess.

FYI, according to XwordInfo there are 217 entries for OREO and most of them are unique. By far my favorite is "It has 12 flowers on each side".

Really wanted bAnana before RAISIN. Wanted to measure marathons in mIlES rather than TIMES. Loved ODDSANDENDS and detested EASERS. Yes, DENIRO was a gimme, but what an embarrasment for your IMDB entry. Also thought TWOONE was a bit arbitrary for a pitcher's duel... OneOne or shutout sounds better. Still, it's a GOODENOUGH puzzle.

Lucina said...

Today my two sisters and I went to see the musical, "Memphis," and it's fabulous! Great music and story about a dark era in our history which I hope is changing every day for the better.

We are in the process of cooking paella and taking many photos. With any luck some will be on the blog.

I printed Saturday's puzzle and will take it with me to work on the plane as I already did the one from the magazine. Looking forward to a Silkie!

MR ED said...

where's Dennis?

Grumpy 1 said...

Mr Ed, my guess is that Dennis has his hands full...

TarHeelFrank said...

Just joined this blog. The LA Times Crossword is published in the Greensboro NC Sunday paper. I usually miss an average of 3-5 letters, but I aced today's!

Anonymous said...

great puzzle

Bill G. said...

Did you enjoy the last Closer episode? Let's see if I understood it.

We still don't know who the leak is.

Fritz had a bug planted in the bad guy's place (but did we know that ahead of time?) and arrested him based on his incriminating himself.

Sharon Raydor is turning out to be a better person than she seemed originally.

Pope and her attorney weren't worried about clearing her and even named the Johnson rule after her further besmirching her reputation.

She is pissed off.

Lucina said...

Bill G., I think you got it. I'm looking forward to the next segment.