Mar 19, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012 Patti Varol

Theme: P?CK* - Vowel progression in the first syllable of the five theme entries.

17A. Airfare-plus-hotel stay, say : PACKAGE DEAL

24A. Poultry hierarchy : PECKING ORDER

35A. Soul food pork snack : PICKLED PIGS FEET

47A. Coins in one's pants : POCKET CHANGE

57A. Ready to be kissed : PUCKERING UP

Argyle here. "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers." There, got that out of my system. 61 theme squares, one a spanner.


1. Subdued color : PASTEL

7. Take a breather : REST

11. Marx's "__ Kapital" : DAS

14. Christmas carol start : ADESTE. Fideles.

15. Green Gables girl : ANNE. Bestselling novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery published in 1908. Many films and TV specials have been made using Prince Edward Island as a backdrop.

16. All-Star starting pitcher : ACE

19. Convent dweller : NUN

20. Invoice total: Abbr. : AMT.

21. Thrilla in Manila fighter : ALI

22. "I'd be delighted!" : "GLAD TO!"

27. Camaro and Corvette : CHEVYS

29. Sound from a snout : "OINK"

30. Comic actress Oteri : CHERI. From SNL.

31. RR stop : STN. (station)

32. Diagnostic scanner, briefly : MRI

40. Comics cry of disgust : "ACK!"

41. Cold War KGB rival : CIA

42. Stop in the Sahara : OASIS

43. Commotions : ADOs

45. Beachgoer's souvenir : SUNTAN

51. Texas city on the Rio Grande : EL PASO

52. NFL drive killer : INT. (interception)

53. "My lips __ sealed" : ARE

56. Note after fa : SOL

61. Capote's nickname : TRU. (author)

62. "It's her __": relationship ultimatum : OR ME

63. Lack of comfort : UNEASE

64. Has way too much, briefly : OD's

65. Bygone royal Russian : TSAR. and 44D. 65-Across, e.g. : DESPOT

66. Main course : ENTRÉE


1. Mama's main man : PAPA

2. Noted rib donor : ADAM

3. Religious splinter group : SECT

4. "For shame!" : "TSK!"

5. Seventh Greek letter : ETA

6. Inheritance : LEGACY

7. Pizza slice edges, geometrically : RADII

8. 180 degrees from WSW : ENE

9. Becoming tangled, as a fishing line : SNAGGING. Like first attempts at casting, lines can be entangled without snagging a thing.

10. Rat out : TELL ON. Reminds of the joke Spitzboov posted last night.

11. Classic role-playing game, for short : D AND D. (Dungeons & Dragons)

12. Extreme, as pain : ACUTE

13. Barcelona mister : SENOR

18. Yellowstone grazers : ELKS. It would be correct without the S as a collective noun, too.

23. Noah's handiwork : ARK

24. On-the-job extra : PERK

25. Like villains : EVIL

26. "Don't look at me!" : "NOT I!". and 46D. "That's a lie!" : "UNTRUE!" : Things villains might say.

27. Elegant and stylish : CHIC

28. "Darn!" : "HECK!". Mondays are rated PG.

30. Yr.-end auditor : CPA. Isn't that an odd way to indicate an abbreviation?

31. Hot springs facility : SPA

32. Flat-topped elevation : MESA

33. Equestrian's control : REIN. (rain, reign, rein : puzzle seed?)

34. "Baby __ You": Shirelles hit : IT'S

36. Trips to environmentally protected areas : ECOTOURS

37. Part of CD : DISC

38. iTunes download : SONG

39. Destiny : FATE

43. Alias, to the LAPD : AKA. Also Known As.

45. All there, so to speak : SANE

47. Fettuccine topping : PESTO

48. Prayer starter : O LORD

49. Slightly above average grade : C-PLUS

50. Backpack toter : HIKER

53. Petri dish gel : AGAR

54. Bit of chicanery : RUSE

55. Sport with swords : ÉPÉE

58. Nashville-based awards org. : CMA. Country Music Association.

59. Country stopover : INN

60. Badminton divider : NET



Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Not much to say today. Typical Monday puzzle. Figured out the theme with the second theme answer and didn't meet any resistance anywhere. Nothing particularly remarkable in the way of sparkling fill or clues, but also zero junk. Good start to the week!

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Patti Varol, for a swell Monday puzzle. thank you, Argyle, for the review.

Zipped through this pretty quickly.

The them appeared after I was done, but I noticed it had all the five vowels in order, along with the P, C, and K.

DESPOT for 44D is kind of a negative connotation for the TSAR or CZAR. Compared to what followed the Czars, the Czars were angels. My two cents.

I thought the EPEE was the actual sword, and not the sport. However, when I finished I checked Webster and EPEE is also the sport. I learned something.

Like RADII for 7D. Clever clue/answer.

Fun start to the day. see you tomorrow.


thehondohurricane said...

Good day folks,

An oh K puzzle for a Monday. I ran into a couple of ??????'s along the way, but no serious hold ups. Didn't pick up the vowel progression, but it mattered not.

DANDD drove me nuts. Couldn't figure it out, but I was sure it was solid. Thanks for the explanation Argyle. I never knew there was a sport called EPEE. I think of EPEE as a blunt edged weapon used in a Fencing contest.

Liked 55D, All there, so to speak/SANE.


Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Hand up for discovering EPEE is the name of the sport as well as the weapon. I've heard of Dungeons and Dragons over the years, but barely know what it's about. I gather people get pretty wrapped up in it.

These vowel progression grids must take a lot of work to get right. Well done, Patti! Thanks Argyle.

C.C. from early AM - thanks for explaining Yo-Yo. I have said for years that he is one man I'd like to have a few beers with!

Middletown Bomber said...

nice and easy eye opening puzzle great for a monday, hopefully a precurser for the start of a great week. This was a speed run for me. Pattti created a great puzzle and argyle's writeup was a home run.

SouthernBelle said...

Mornin' to all,

Didn't have much time to take sips of coffee with this Monday puzzle..all of the sudden it was finished.

Hands up for STA instead of STN.

Argyle said...

This comes under the "I had no idea" dept. Baby, It's You has been covered a lot. Wiki article. The version I remember best is this(2:48) by a band called Smith.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

I thought this was tougher than the typical Monday fare. Not difficult, just not as easy. It was fast, though.

Argyle, interesting about ELK and ELKS. Doesn't work with DEER and DEERS, does it? Can anybody come up with other words that are plural with and without the "S"?

Avg Joe said...

That's the ticket Argyle. Original blue eyed soul!....and the version that my phonographic memory was playing as I solved.

Good Monday fare. Didn't see the theme until I finished. Even then looked too hard, trying to unify the entire phrases. Finally got it, largely because of reading this blog. Nicely done Patti.

Anony-Mouse said...

Thank you very much Ms. Patti Varol for a nice and easy Monday puzzle... loved the progression of vowels. Thank you Argyle for the sparkling explanations and it was so delightful listening to the Mama's and Papa's song ...made my Monday.!

Like the others, learnt that Epee is also an sport... but is it a spectator sport ?? ... I mean who else or other than the participants actually watch fencing matches ...?

ALT QOD:- I have such low self-esteem. When we were in bed together I would fantasize that I was someone else. ~ Richard Lewis.

Have a great rest of the week, you all.

Mari said...

WBS. Hands up for EPEE being a sport.

I tried UGH instead of ACK, but otherwise all was smooth and zoomed by too quickly.

Beatiful weekend in Chicago. I keep thinking it's May instead of March.

ACK! Now I've got to get to work.

kazie said...

I completed this so fast, I never stopped to even think about the theme, since I jumped right into the sudoku after completing the CW. Contemplated SNARLING before SNAGGING, but not for long, as GLAD TO was obvious. Some other clues I never even read. No missteps or difficulties.

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning, Argyle and all. I was pretty sure of the theme after PACK and PECK and took a flyer by filling the remaining three long entry starts. This was mostly a straight across solve with just a few checks of downs to make sure they looked like good fits.

D AND D almost threw me as I was writing PECKING ORDER and saw that double D. Now, I certainly don't have anything against Double D's, but they sure looked strange following DAN. I parsed it correctly but still didn't connect to Dungeons and Dragons.

My only writeover was starting with PUCKERedUP and running out of letters before spaces. It was easily corrected but 'ready' implied that the person was already puckered. Hey, gotta have one nit to pick.

Great start to the week.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning Argyle and all.

Got the PaeiouCK theme early. Helped start the lower theme fills. Hand up for snarling before SNAGGING. Otherwise, pretty much WBS. Good start to the week.

Enjoying the last day of winter here at 75º.

Irish Miss said...

Good morning everyone:

Easy, breezy start to the week. Just what I needed after yesterday's hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing, eye-rolling, cursed NY Times puzzle. Enough said!

Nice write-up, Argyle, and nice, clean, fun puzzle, Patti.
I did not see the vowel progression until coming here. As I have said in the past, either I'm not fully awake or I need new glasses. OTOH, maybe I was just bleary-eyed from aforementioned struggle.

Happy Monday everyone.

Husker Gary said...

Wind, rain and storms on the prairie today. Hey, it ain’t snow! A just right Monday Patti!

-Thanks for the lovely Monday, Monday background music and write-up Argyle
-When we travel, we like PACKAGE DEALS
-My dad ate every part of the pig but the OINK
-The flora pastels are beginning to emerge early this year
-My daughter loves the NUNS she teaches with. The girls (as she calls them) have wonderful senses of humor and were a great comfort during her cancer scare.
-The Manila fight almost killed ALI
-O’Teri’s characters were fabulous!
-Marti Robbins’ El Paso was a fav of my youth (4:38)
-SNAGGING is also throwing out a fishing line and dragging it back hoping to catch a gator on its side onSwamp People
-D and D is a staple on Big Bang Theory (2:17)
-It’s NOT I and It’s her OR ME in same puzzle. Grammarians?

Spitzboov said...

HG - I'll take a crack at your question. Re: It’s her OR ME, I think you have to treat it as a kind of idiom. This is a relationship ultimatum - lot's of emotion. What the speaker really meant was "You take HER OR You take ME. Take is a transitive verb. It's her or me is kind of a shortcut phrase. Also, some grammar mavens suggest when the traditional rule results in an awkward sounding use, to use the better sounding alternative.

Sfingi said...

I like vowel progression themes, and this one was a good one. But the fill! yuck!

Are the ice creams Wayne Thibault's? I remember seeing his stuff at Yale in the '60s and wishing I could buy one (and eat it).

@Desper-otto - sheep and goats are interesting. We think of goats as having incividual personalities. But sheep? What a bunch of sheep.

@Abejo - just read a book about Barbarians. The author statd that ever since the Khan, who extablished the new capital at Moscow after destroying Kieve, the Russians expect despots up to and including the TSARs, comunists and the present.

Didn't know D AND D stood for Dungeons and Dragons.

tawnya said...

good morning all!

i had fun this morning - near record time for me.

favorite clue was the "D and D". although i never played, i had a lot of friends that did. here's comedian stephen lynch performing the song that will be stuck in my head all day.

enjoy :)

Bill G. said...

Happy Monday! The rain has gone and the gusty winds too. Pretty morning.

I don't much like the clue for 9A. I was a little bit of a fisherman in my younger days. When the line gets caught on something, it's snagged. When it's all tangled up, it's snarled.

That was a very pleasant Monday puzzle. Thanks Patti and Argyle.

Lucina said...

Good day, puzzlers. Thanks, Argyle, for the theme which I didn't even check and the links.

Oh, and for explaining D and D, didn't know.

Breezed through this one with barely a few sips of coffee but did have STA before STN and ACH, not ACK.

Thank you, Patti Varol.

Fencing is an Olympic sport so there must be a wide audience for it.

Buffalo, buffaloes is also acceptable, quail or quails and a few others which I'll have to think about.

Well, winter decided to pay us a last minute visit this weekend.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Misty said...

WEES. A lovely speed run for this pleasant Monday, that was supposed to bring us showers but instead is delivering sunshine so far. Got the theme right away and found the vowel progression delightful--so many thanks, Patti Varol. And thanks for explaining D AND D, Argyle, which I got but didn't understand until the write-up. Thought 'snarling' at first but changed it to SNAGGLING when it didn't work with the acrosses.

We heard a terrific piano performance by Emmanuel Ax last night in a wheelchair-accessible concert hall, so my husband could attend.

Here's looking forward to a great week for everybody!

Qli said...

Good way to start the week. I enjoyed this puzzle, even though ELKS had me puzzled, with that S on the end. and DANDD. I had to come here to find out why that fit, since the perps were solid. A V-8 moment; my nephew played it, and I know that the Big Bang Theory guys play too.

The EPEE clue had me going too, since it was the obvious choice, but I hadn't heard of it being the name of the sport as well as part of the equipment.

Ever heard the Carpenters version of Baby It's You? nice and mello.

CrossEyedDave said...


reminds me i need to cut about 10 feet of line off before i can go fishing (1st clip is the best)

Last week there was a puzzle with church mice, i wish i had found this link then.

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon everyone.

I agree with the comments about EPEE. My late first husband played it in college, so I never saw him and didn't really talk about it except that the epee was the weapon.

WEES about DANDD. Could not figure it out, but it had to be the one.
Appreciate Husker's comment about NOT I and her OR ME. But Spitzboov explained it well.


Husker Gary said...

I agree Spitz. Mrs. Thomsen drilled linking verbs and nominative cases of pronouns into us over and over. You’re right; it can sound awkward and maybe even a little pretentious sometimes.

As my colleague who taught English but couldn’t spell worth a lick said about our language, “people who can spell a word only one way are lacking in imagination.” She was a great right-brained teacher and should have been born 30 years earlier so she could have been a flower child.

My dad always said FEESH for fish singular, plural or as a verb. However, Luca Brasi “sleeps with the fishes”.

Our Cree Indian guide in Saskatchewan was disappointed in how few fish we were catching and so he started throwing out a line to SNAG some northerns in their sides. Only later did I learn that that was illegal. He did get me a 15 pounder I had to fight. He took it off the line for me and cleaned and packed all our fish in dry ice.

Anonymous said...

PS Thank you for your always good write up and chance to learn new information, Argyle. And thanks to Patti Varol for a good and enjoyable Monday. I do love Mondays.

Steve said...

You'll all have a chance to watch epee at the Olympic Games from London this year - about the only time fencing gets any TV coverage, assuming NBC actually broadcast any.

@Sfingi - what's wrong with the fill? "Yuck" for the whole puzzle seems a little harsh.

john28man said...

I also thought this was a typical Monday puzzle.

We are in the Phoenix area for a long vacation and yesterday got thunder,lightning, hail,wind and 2" of rain. Look out to the East.

Lucina said...

If you saw weather forecast you know the 80s are coming.

Very funny church mice!

Off to the gym.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. What yawl said. Misspelled CHERI as SHERI and SPA looked fine for 30D, the clue to which I didn't even read. Then I hit 31D, which is SPA, and knew something wasn't right. Reading the clue to 30D easily set me straight.

Got PACK and PECK, so just went ahead and filled in PICK, POCK, and PUCK.

Of course there was the ole "Will it be TSAR or CZAR" question which resolved quickly.

Had LOVE TO before GLAD TO.

Enjoyed reading all yesterday's late evening comments. Spitzboov, your William Tell joke made me laugh; thanks!

Best wishes to you all.

desper-otto said...

Lucina@11:09 -- Thanks. I couldn't think of any others. Now another question: Are there any plurals ending both with and without "S" which aren't animals?

Marge said...

Hi all,
Another beautiful day in Ga. Son and DH are kept busy with son's house,it needs a lot of work done.

Enjoyed this puzzle Patti, also write-up Argyle.Also had snarled for snagged until perps said no. I got the theme answers but not the theme. I find it really awsome you CW constructers can make these amazing puzzles.

Husker-thanks for the El Paso song.It's one of my favorites.

Great grandson Logan came over to our daughter's house (where we are staying) yesterday afternoon-what fun to watch him play and laugh. He is always on the move.

Thank you C.C. for this fun blog! Good eveving all.

Marge said...

Hi all,
Another beautiful day in Ga. Son and DH are kept busy with son's house,it needs a lot of work done.

Enjoyed this puzzle Patti, also write-up Argyle.Also had snarled for snagged until perps said no. I got the theme answers but not the theme. I find it really awsome you CW constructers can make these amazing puzzles.

Husker-thanks for the El Paso song.It's one of my favorites.

Great grandson Logan came over to our daughter's house (where we are staying) yesterday afternoon-what fun to watch him play and laugh. He is always on the move.

Thank you C.C. for this fun blog! Good eveving all.

Lucina said...

Besides animals, of which there are many, I can't think of any other nouns that could be singular and plural without s.

I don't know if colloquialisms like "it's five foot tall" (feet) qualify.

Tinbeni said...

FUN Monday offering.
Just right for new solvers.

Lucina @3:17 said:
"I can't think of any other nouns that could be singular and plural without s."

I can think of at least one: Scotch
Pinch is another ... as in "I'll have a Pinch."
That could be one (singular) or more (plural).

Here at Villa Incognito, Pinch is rarely singular.


Spitzboov said...

Words like cannon and aircraft might qualify.

desper-otto said...

Cannon looks like a good example. Both with and without an "s" is OK. Aircraft, not so much. I don't think I've ever heard aircrafts to refer to multiple planes. Not sure it would be incorrect, though: "There were hundreds of aircrafts in the sky..." Dunno.

Jayce said...

"Dear Santa, please send me two mongeese."

Nah, scratch that.

"Dear Santa, please send me two mongooses."

Nope, that doesn't seem right either.

"Dear Santa, please send me one mongoose, and while you're at it send me another one."

PK said...

Hi Y'all,

Fun puzzle, walk in the park, Patti! Great links, Argyle & everybody else. Hands up for puzzled by DANDD.

Re last night: BillG, you are right. I forgot about the icing factors.

Forgot to wish Warren happy birthday yesterday, so happy post-birthday!

Susan said...

Hi All!

Guess I need to find new picture now that St. Pat's is over.

Fun, easy puzzle today. Thanks Patti and Argyle. I didn't even notice the aeiou progression. I also couldn't figure out dandd even though I was sure it was right.

Not nearly as windy today and no snow that was predicted. We really need the moisture--everything is very dry. I hope we're not in for another summer of fires.

Have a great afternoon all.

Susan said...

Jayce,loved your letter to Santa.

Jayce said...

Thank you, Susan. Let us know how your real estate endeavors are coming along, will you?

Lucina said...

Loved your letter. Mr. Webster says you can ask for two mongooses but no mongeeses.

CrazyCat said...

Buona sera! Grazie mille Argyle!

Fun Monday puzzle. What everyone else said. DANDD was my learning moment. I have never played that game and I don't think my children did either. All I could think of was charades.

It is so cold here! Lots of beautiful snow on our local mountains and hills.

Does anyone else here play Words With Friends? It's my latest addiction.

eddyB said...


Tampa Bay losing again. Down
to 13/15. SJ plays later.

T&L still in the forcast for
Sunday's race. Humid air will
slow down the cars.

Four hours untill Spring!


Irish Miss said...

Crazy Cat @ 8:13-Yes, I play Words With Friends. In fact, I have a game going right now with my sister. My only complaint is that all sorts of words are acceptable, even though, IMHO, they are not real words. I would prefer more stringent rules such as those of Scrabble. But it is still a fun game. Good luck!

Bill G. said...

I got to thinking about popular music. As you probably know, I don't care much for the modern stuff. But I was thinking about some of the really good older music written by people like Scott Joplin, John Phillip Sousa, Cole Porter, Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern and more recently, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Hank Williams, Chuck Berry, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, etc. I'm guessing their music will continue to be appreciated years from now.

CrazyCat said...

Irish Miss 8:58

I totally agree with you. I entered IRAQ and got the message that it wasn't an acceptable word. Then my opponent was able to enter FINQUE!

Irish Miss said...

Bill G @10:09-I hear you loud and clear. But let's be thankful that we were exposed to and enjoyed all of those great composers and musicians because today's young people won't be. Sad, but true.

CrazyCat @ 10:20-words played by my sister and accepted: wyle, smaze, outshout, and hooty. Enough said!

Anonymous said...

18D: I wasn't aware that the plural of ELK was anything other than ELK.

24D: I've always thought that the slang alternative for the word "perquisite" was PERQ. And that squares with the Urban Dictionary on-line.

38D: I wrote TUNE for an iTunes download. In fact, many of my iTune downloads are just that - tunes - as they have no words, no lyrics and no vocalist. That's why they call it "iTunes."