Mar 13, 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 Jeff Chen

Theme: Build a Better Trap for Them - It would have to be a good trap to hold our diverse rodents that start our theme entries today.

17A. Old-style bottle opener : CHURCH KEY. Let's start with a problem. Several dictionaries state that a church mouse is a fictional mouse created by Lewis Carroll. Unfortunately, nobody can find it in his writings. The idioms "poor as a church mouse" and "quiet as a church mouse" have been around for centuries but still no exact reason why it should be so. So I give you this poem, by John Betjeman, "Diary of a Church Mouse". And a picture of a church key, used for taking the caps off of bottles before twist-offs.

24A. Yankee with a record 18 World Series home runs : MICKEY MANTLE

41A. 1995 Woody Allen film with a Greek chorus : MIGHTY APHRODITE. I would think this grid spanner was the seed for this puzzle.

52A. Highest British military rank : FIELD MARSHAL

65A. Cry evoked by the first parts of the answers to 17-, 24-, 41- and 52-Across? : "EEK! A MOUSE!"

Argyle here. Plenty of theme materials in this puzzle (about 57 squares). Jeff also managed to put in excellent paralleled long Downs.


1. Pointer's pronoun : THAT

5. Supermarket stripes: Abbr. : UPCs. (Universal Product Code)

9. Poe's middle name : ALLAN. His poem was about a raven.

14. Hand-on-the-Bible utterance : OATH

15. Lassie : GIRL. Despite the fact in the television series the character Lassie is female, all collies to play Lassie were male. They weren't Scottish either.

16. Take care of : SEE TO

19. "Are not!" retort : "AM TOO!"

20. Afghanistan's capital : KABUL

21. Honoree of a D.C. monument at 1964 Independence Ave. : MLK. (Martin Luther King). It is hard to get an idea of the scope of his monument from just one perspective so I've linked the Google image page.

23. Treats, as squeaks : OILS

28. Pen point : NIB

31. Bullfight shout : ¡OLÉ!

32. Puzzle (out), in slang : SUSS

33. Idle of "Life of Brian" : ERIC. Monty Python's.

35. Preschool basics : ABC's

38. Charges at some booths : TOLLS

44. Actor Davis : OSSIE

45. Vim and vigor : BRIO. From Italian, of Celtic origin. (Probably can't say that about too many words.)

46. "__ dash of ...": recipe words : ADD A

47. Courtroom entry : PLEA

49. Top-row PC key : ESC

51. Approximate fig. : EST.

57. Both Chaneys : LONs

58. Beverage cooler : ICE

59. Lindsay of "Herbie: Fully Loaded" : LOHAN. Herbie wasn't the only one.

63. Connector with a slash : AND/OR

68. Traffic problem : TIE-UP

69. Wife of Osiris : ISIS. (Egyptian Religion)

70. Racing's Grand __ : PRIX. Oh my, the term is used for a lot more than racing these days. Wikipedia disambiguation.

71. Fruit-filled treats : TARTS

72. Deck chair wood : TEAK

73. Deck chair piece : SLAT

1. Sound heard around the clock : TOCK. But every other second.

2. Sarcastic joke response : HA HA

3. "... three men in __" : A TUB

4. Tap idly with one's fingers : THRUM

5. "I'm not eating that!" : "UGH!"

6. Dental care suffix : PIK

7. Double Stuf stuff : CREME

8. On the q.t. : SLYLY

9. Comparative words : AS A

10. Citrus-flavored refresher : LEMON SODA

11. Change the subject, perhaps : LET IT SLIDE

12. Lagoon surrounder : ATOLL

13. Oater omen : NOOSE

18. Ad-writing award : CLIO

22. Canada hwy. distances : KMs. (kilometres)

25. Modeling material : CLAY

26. Skewered fare : KEBAB. (or kabab, kabob, kebap)

27. Garage occupant : AUTO

28. Animated clownfish : NEMO

29. Van Gogh flower : IRIS

30. Spare-no-cost type : BIG SPENDER

34. Hangs loose : CHILLS OUT

36. EMT's procedure : CPR

37. Draws back, as in fear : SHIES

39. Former Fords : LTDs

40. Airplane assignment : SEAT

42. Ready for a drive : TEE'D. Golf.

43. __ Hashanah : ROSH

48. Friend from France : AMI

50. Unruffled : CALM

52. Scruggs's partner : FLATT

53. Ancient Aegean region : IONIA. Map.

54. Nail the test : ACE IT

55. Della of "Touched By an Angel" : REESE

56. Aerobatic maneuvers : LOOPS. Amazing kit-built aircraft. Clip (4:44)

60. Throw : HURL

61. Sri Lanka locale : ASIA. Off the tip of India. Hit by a tsunami in 2004.

62. First in line : NEXT

64. Rotation meas. : RPS. (revolutions per second)

66. Korean 27-Down manufacturer : KIA

67. Look for answers : ASK



Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Double dose of Jeff Chen today, since he also appeared in the NYT puzzle. Congrats, Jeff!

Nice theme today. I made it through the puzzle in decent enough time, but some of the clues/fill seemed a bit off to me for some reason.

LEMON SODA, for example, seems perfectly reasonable except for the fact that I've never heard of it before. Similarly, it's clear that RPS is legitimate, but I've only ever seen RPM before. I can't say when the last time (if ever) I saw THRUM before - -it seems vaguely familiar, but that's about it. And I'll take it on faith that "Scruggs" has a partner named FLATT, even though I'm not familiar with either one.

On the clue side, I've heard of FIELD MARSHALL before, but had no idea it was the highest military rank.

As I said, not a difficult puzzle by any means. Just a bit surprising.

[w00t! The pop-up preview window is back!!!]

HeartRx said...

Good morning Argyle, C.C. et al.

Wonderful write-up, Argyle. I was fascinated by video of the Twister duo – wow!

I have been doing way too many crossword puzzles lately. When I looked at 49D “Van Gogh flower”, I swear, I actually wondered briefly if there was a city named after the artist that had a river going through it…duh!

I loved the reveal of the theme with EEK, A MOUSE! Fun stuff. Then there were the sparkly long downs that Argyle mentioned: LEMON SODA, LET IT SLIDE, BIG SPENDER and CHILLS OUT. Lots to like in this one.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Not a tough pull today by any means. Put CHURCH KEY right in from just the C, since that's the name my dad always used for the device. Had no idea there were two Lon Chaneys. BRIO seems like such a nice, cheery word! The word "gay" was once so pleasant, too, before it was re-purposed. I wonder if we'll ever get it back.

I'm sorry that Lindsay LOHAN went down the wrong road. She seemed so wholesome at first, as well as good-looking.

Hmmm, somehow my brain just made a connection between a church key and my dad's beer pancakes. Most likely, he needed a can piercer to open the Schlitz ingredient back in the day. Those pancakes were always leathery, but I liked 'em anyway - they seemed rebellious somehow!

Middletown Bomber said...

Nice Puzzle nice write-up LOL on the theme answer. Liked the puzzle good difficulty for a tuesday.

Heartrx I agree you must be doing to many puzzles I did not find 49d at all.

thehondohurricane said...

Good day folks,

Not a Tuesday speed run, but an enjoyable offering from Jeff. Lots of clever cluing mixed in a few ??????'s.UPCS, FLATT, & THRUM were the main culprits.

Ready to drive/TEED took me back to the day when I was still able to play. Once in a while "after the drive", I was TEED off. What say you Husker or Marti?

Appreciated the "Mick" being recognized. He could play the game and play in life too.

Yucky, rainy day in Ct so hopefully I'll finish up our ((@#^&X!) tax returns.

desper-otto said...

Good morning, all.

I think I'm with Barry on this one. It was quick and easy, but something seemed off. Probably me.

I tried to fit ADMIRAL into FIELD MARSHAL, but that didn't work. Wanted AND A pinch at first. I don't understand how LET IT SLIDE would mean "change the subject." Still, any puzzle with TARTS in it must be OK.

Grumpy1, point taken. Thanks.


Avg Joe said...

Pleasant offering today. Seemed Monday level, but that's a swap with yesterday's to me. Roared at the Lindsay Lohan comment, Argyle!

This was as clever and well executed as the Minnie theme from last week, but was probably published too closely on its heels. Had a month gone by, it would have seemed more novel. Was that by Jeff Chen too?

Avg Joe said...

Just went back and checked. The Minnie theme was by Ed Sessa.

HeartRx said...

Middletown Bomber @6:54, sorry, I meant 29D !

thehondohurricane @7:06, TEED is one of those words that screams for some kind of modifier, like "up" or "off", doesn't it? If I were trying to make a living at golf, I'd probably get TEED over a bad shot. But it's only a game to me, so I just LET IT SLIDE.

Puzzle Gal said...

HeartRx: I was about to say, I didn't find 49D, either, but I did remember seeing Van Gogh's Flower. I had entirely forgotten that the last word of the clue sometimes means river. I guess I had best find some more puzzles to do.

kazie said...

I'm with Barry on FIELD MARSHAL, didn't know FLATT, or that ALLAN wasn't ALLEN, but no real problems that held my up today. OILS a squeak was interesting since the squeak associated with this CW's theme might be treated differently.

Have a great day all of you!

Mari said...

Good morning everyone! Fun puzzle, easily accomplished.

- I was briefly thrown off by Supermarket Stripes (5A).
- I liked Treats, as Squeaks (23A).
- I always wondered about those Three Men in A TUB (3D)
- Never had LEMON SODA without a little lime in it. (Maybe a little vodka too.)

Scruggs and Flatt led the Foggy Mountain Boys. Who remind me of the Soggy Bottom Boys.

Anony-Mouse said...

Thank you Jeff Chen for a challenging puzzle and Argyle, thank you - you outdid yourself, such an interesting commentary and such fascinating links !! Loved Benjamin Bettjemans' poem, thank you.

Never heard of 'church key' - so thats what it was called - did they use it before church or after the sermon ?
Field Marshall was probably the equiv. of the Chairman of the Jt. Chiefs of staff.
I always thought it was 'Rock, around the clock' ..... lol.

Just finished reading yesterday's comments - my, we ARE an interesting lot.

PK, thank you for your kind words.... its sobering to see how the other half - or more like, 90% of the world, lives, copes and survives, and be continually and eternally grateful that I was born on the 'right' side of the railroad tracks. I am never going to complain about life again, ...... or maybe for the next 30 days.

Alt QOD;- My friend tattooed his girlfriend's name on his arm. I can see marriage and kids. But a tattoo ? Its so permanent. ~ Drake Sather.

Tinbeni said...

Argyle: Great write-up & links.

Jeff, Thank you for a FUN Tuesday.

Always like a puzzle with a NY Yankee, MICKEY MANTLE.
The EEK-A-MOUSE reveal got a HA-HA!

Lester FLATT & Earl Scruggs are well known to many for "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" used as the theme for the Beverly Hillbillies TV Show.
(I don't think they've heard of Barry G. Sooooo, I guess THAT evens out and we can LET-IT-SLIDE).

Fave today was our SUSS (out).
Write-over at KEBAB (had Kabob).
UGH! Another grid has 'ICE' in it.

A Toast to all with a "neat" DRAM (from YEST) at Sunset.


Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Argyle and Friends. What a fun puzzle! Not Mousy at all, but full of BRIO.

The word "ROSH" literally means Head, or Top, in Hebrew, thus Rosh HaShanah literally means Head of the Year. The beginning of a month is referred to as Rosh Chodesh.

I recently saw a production of The Phantom of the Opera by a company called Vox Lumiere. In the background was the original silent film starring LON Chaney. The Chaney clue, however, briefly had me thinking of our former Vice President.

Glad the Preview Box is back. If only they would bring back the e-mail button back, too. And fix the format for my mobile phone. And fix.... Well, you know.

Yellowrocks said...

Great write-up Argyle.

HeartRX, for Van Gogh's flower, my first fleeting thought was river, too. I quickly remembered the Irises painting Argyle linked, one of my faves.

Thanks, too, for the Flatt and Scruggs link, Argyle. Anyone who knows country and/or blue grass knows FLATT.Flatt and Scruggs are in the Country Music Hall of Fame. They wrote the theme song for The Beverly Hillbillies and acted in some episodes. Their Foggy Mountain Boys were one of the most influential bands of that genre.

LET IT SLIDE can mean to ignore. When you are having an argument and there is no chance of agreement, it is better to just LET IT SLIDE. A polite way to do this is to change the subject.

Thrum (v) is frequently used for idly strumming a guitar. It is often used to decribe the purr of an enigne (N). In novels I have seen it used quite often to describe idly tapping with one's fingers.

Lemon soda is the Italian LIMONATA.
In the U.S. we are more likely to have lemon/lime soda.
Link lemon soda

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Jeff Chen, for a great puzzle. Loved it. Thank you, as well, Argyle, for one of the best reviews I have seen yet. Enjoyed the Church Mouse poem, the airplanes fling, and the Flatt and Scruggs bit. They are my all-time favorite blue grass group. Anyone who has ever seen the Beverly Hillbillies has heard Flatt and Scruggs.

CHURCH KEY was easy. I own several and use them on a regular basis.

The theme came easily. The only one I had to SUSS out a little was 41A MIGHTY APHRODITE. Perps helped.

5A UPCs rule the world, or at least the US. When I gave blood a few weeks ago, they stuck a bar code on me. Every time they labeled a sample tube of my blood, as well as the pint, they scanned the sample and me.

Liked NOOSE. That was certainly a major omen to a cowpoke.

See you tomorrow.


Barry G. said...

"I don't think they've heard of Barry G. Sooooo, I guess THAT evens out and we can LET-IT-SLIDE)"

Really? I post here all the time, so I would have thought you had heard of me by now... ^_^

BTW, Tinbeni, I forgot to mention the other day how much I appreciate the fact that, although you seem to have a bug up your butt about me lately for some reason, at least you don't hide behind the "anonymous" tag when you take potshots at me. It really means a lot to me, seriously.

Barry G. said...

Oh -- and I just remembered...

As I mentioned earlier, I wasn't familiar with THRUM when it comes to tapping idly with one's fingers (although I have seen/heard it used to refer to engine noises before). It just occurred to me that I have always heard and used the expression "DRUM one's fingers."

I wonder if this is an alternate version of the expression or whether I've just been hearing/using it wrong all these years...

kazie said...

I guess I forgot to say I was unfamiliar with THRUM too. I only DRUM my fingers, if I ever get time not to be doing something.

I also didn't know that those openers were called church keys, but the words jumped out after a few perps. I have several--they are mostly souvenirs of places visited in Oz, with little koalas, a Sydney harbour bridge or opera house attached.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone. Thanks for the explanations, Argyle.

Easy enough after getting some spellings straight. I agree with most of Barry's comments. WWII's Brit general Montgomery was a FIELD MARSHAL. The SW was last to fall. IONIA was a WAG, and finally my mind cleared and AND/OR fell. A good Tuesday puzzle with some BRIO. Thanks, Jeff.

The 'Preview' is finally working correctly. Yeeah!

Enjoy the day.

Mari said...

I really liked Cory Matteson's comment from last night's post.

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning gang. Thanks for the write up, Argyle. As I was reading it, I realized that there were clues I hadn't seen since the entries had been completely filled by the crosses.

I guess Rich needs to start running the puzzles past Barry before publication since he has set himself up as the arbiter of what is fair in clues, entries and themes.

CHURCH KEY was the common term for a bottle opener in my neck of the woods.

Marti, I got a chuckle out of your Van Gogh flower comment. I guess we've been solving too many puzzles when we start looking for the misdirection in every clue.

Got to go... time is tocking away.

desper-otto said...

Mari, thanks for posting about Cory Matteson. I missed the late posts yesterday. That was a nice shout-out for CC's blog.

I also missed that discussion about SELA Ward. She must have been a barmaid in an earlier life. Just look at her name spelled backwards...

Yellowrocks said...

My mother always used the term CHURCH KEY.

Here is an interesting article about the origin of the term CHURCH KEY. There are other explanations at other sites.

Today we also use CHURCH KEY for the opener that punches triangular holes, as well as opening bottles.

Barry G. said...

et tu, Grumpy?

I'm never going to apologize for having an opinion, since that's all it is -- my opinion. Agree or disagree with it as you like, but I never claimed to be the "arbiter" of anything.

chin said...

Pretty easy but my paper, Sun News of Myrtle Beach, cut off the last row of clues so I was sort of flying blind. Would have been harder later in the week.

Irish Miss said...

Good morning to all:

Thought this was a very cute, clever, and fun-themed puzzle. Thank you, Jeff, and thank you, Argyle, for a great expo and super graphics. I'm sure Anony-mouse was amused even if Mr. N(ice) Tinbeni wasn't! Cheers, Mr. T.

Happy Tuesday everyone.

Hurray, Preview is back to normal. Also, I just noticed that our avatars are back on the right side. When did that happen?

Tuttle said...

What!? No music link for EEK-A-MOUSE?

C.C. Burnikel said...

Barry joined this blog shortly after I started. His comments have always been brutally honest and highly reliable, esp to me as a novice solver and constructor. There is a reason why WBS exits here.

ARBAON said...

Good morning!
Had to look up the World Series answer, football is more my game! Had to look at my keyboard for 49a...I use the keyboard every day but still have to look at it (and my phone pad) for clues that ask for what appears where.

Since I have no dog in this fight, I`ll remind me to re-read the rules for posting on the blog.

As to "church key"...have heard the term all my (long) life and always attributed it to the use of sarcasm and/or irony.

ARGYLE: As always, you and our other bloggers do such a fine job.

I would love to hear from CA...Ladies of the Coven, do you have any news of her for us?

Lucina said...

Hello, happy solvers, with special thanks to Argyle.

I love MIGHTY APHRODITE! It's such a farce, full of irony and satire which gave Mira Sorvino a vehicle for an Oscar.

Interesting about CHURCH KEY, Yellowrocks. I have wondered about the name. It was very commonly used in the 50s.

Saw a discussion about Van Gogh on PBS yesterday which showed many of his works including IRISes.

So sad about LOHAN because she is quite talented.

Thank you, Jeff, for your lively

Have a gleeful Tuesday, everyone!

Steve said...

I never knew a CHURCH KEY bottle opener was called that. Been using them all my life, too! This old dog just learned another new trick.

Not sure about PIK though - is that a trade name or something?

Nice theme reveal, led me back to fill in Mr. Mantle. Not a big Woody Allen fan, so needed a lot of the crosses for his movie.

LaLaLinda said...

Hi All ~~

A quick and fun Tuesday puzzle. Thanks for a wonderful write-up, Argyle ... lots of info and great pics and links! After getting CHURCH KEY and MICKEY MANTLE, I thought we had some kind of a 'KEY' theme but that was not to be. The EEKAMOUSE theme was even better. The few times I've actually had to say that came after seeing my cats set up camp in an unusual area. I knew what to look for and they were proud for having done their job!

My spelling for KEBAB was off at first and I had to wait to see if it should be 'Allen' or ALLAN. Other than that, it was smooth sailing.

I liked THRUM, SUSS and 'Connector with a slash' - AND/OR. Also - nice, long verticals.

Off to try Jeff Chen's other puzzle ~~ Enjoy the day!

desper-otto said...

Steve, awhile back (20 years?) the latest craze in dental care was the WaterPik. You filled the reservoir with mouthwash, turned it on, and used the pencil-shaped nozzle to spray a powerful stream of liquid on/over/around your teeth and gums. I guess they're still available. You don't hear much about them any more.

PK said...

Hi Y'all,

Always enjoy a Jeff Chen! Good show, Argyle, as usual.

Had a few miss-steps with 5A code and 11D LET IT alone. The later almost worked. It made 46A AnD A.

Barry honey, you are such an awesome solver that we all aspire to rise to your level. Don't take the razzing to heart! The smartest kids in grade school always catch the most miserable flak, don't you know?

Ron Worden said...

Good afternoon to all.Thanks Jeff C. for a fun Tues. and to Argyle for some hahas in the write-up. I got started in the NW corner then churchkey came to me and everthing else went smoothly. I have had lemon soda off-brands of sprite,as for RPS it would refer to a skater spinning or some of the new electric motors. Granny on beverly hillbillies was in love with Flatt and Scruggs. Everyone is entitled to their opinion BarryG therefore we have this blog which I am grateful for.A great day to all RJW.

Qli said...

I really enjoyed this puzzle and zoomed right through it.

When I was a kid, I was always amazed that Mickey seemed so popular. Mighty Mouse was so much cuter, AND/OR could save the day!

Thanks to my Catholic college education, I got CHURCH KEY right away. Aah, the memories...which I do remember, so must not have overused that key.

FLATT was a gimme for any Beverly Hillbillies fan.

It is so nice to have this blog to turn to for help with the puzzle when I need it, and for laughs even when I don't need the help. Thanks, everyone!

Jeff Chen said...

Hi all!

The seed of this puzzle: a random image of a Magnus ver Magnusson type muscleman up on a chair shouting "EEK A MOUSE!". I think I dreamed that, but who knows how my mind works.

Whew, those parallel long downs were hard to work in! LEMON SODA wasn't ideal, but it was the only interesting entry I could make work in that spot. Plus, I like a nice Limonata when I go out to eat.

Happy Tuesday!

lois said...

Good morning Argyle, CC, et al., What a fun puzzle and what a great write up, Argyle. Loved all the links and comments. You do such a good job! Thank you. Love banjo!

This puzzle was so up my alley w/CHURCH KEY, APRHRODITE, TARTS, PRIX, CREME esp when THAT GIRL is not me but her NIBs LOHAN who plays the FIELD better than I AS A BIG SPENDER on a good day AND/OR a bOSSIE ICE princess on a bADDAy. But SLYLY that behavior is her sTOCK-in-trade and keeps her in the LOOPS and her AUTO. They LET IT SLIDE for her. For li'l OLE me? Not ATOLL! I'm not that blEST. Because I'm THAT other GIRL, they'd SEE TO it that I'd get the hot SEAT and a NOOSE AS-An extra measure! But it's all good. I'd just stay CALM & say 'NEXT'!

Y'all enjoy your day.

MR ED said...

C.C., what a beatiful picture of you. Very nice I must say.

Dennis said...

You are over complicating. A church mouse is not a breed. It is simply a mouse that dwells in a church.

eddyB said...


Whata you know? They won last night. CGY tonight!

Used to listen to WSM/Nashville.
Flatt a gimmie.


Grumpy 1 said...

Jeff Chen said "but who knows how my mind works". Jeff, I'd say it works quite well. Thanks for another great crossword. I like seeing somewhat unusual fill... unless it crosses with something else equally quirky :)

CrossEyedDave said...

Re: last nights Fugitive.
The TV show must have aired at 10PM because i remember watching the 10:00 news and was surprised when the announcer came on and said the series is coming to an end, and if you switch channels now, you can see the final moments of this great show. (You will not see competing stations do that today...)

Yay, the old format is back!

Yellowrocks said...

There was an old sculptor named Phidias,
Whose knowledge of Art was invidious.
Without any nightie—
Which startled the purely fastidious.
—Gilbert K. Chesterton.

Like many of you when I encounter a word I have never heard before, whether or not I came up with it with WAGs and PERPs or completley blew it. I figure I learned something.

I realize that sometimes words and names that seem arcane and unusual to others seem common to me. Comversely, when something seems new or unusual to me, some of you find it quite ordinary. You usually post to enlighten us or I look it up. That is the beauty of this blog and of you all.We all lesarn from one another.

I seldom find a clue unfair.

CrossEyedDave said...

Dear Barry G.

Aside from answers to unknowns, and great links, you are the reason i started posting on this blog in the first place. (i am sure that this will cause others to throw more flak at you.) You see, at the time i started reading, you were always first, and never got a single answer wrong. So i started posting as "Cross Eyed Dave" and listed all my screwups in an attempt to make newbies more comfortable.

In the 3 months i have been posting, i have seen your humor, screwups, and honesty. I for one am glad you exist...

(CC:@10:40 i hope "exit" is a typo.)

It has been my experience that when you use an animal Avatar, critics are kinder. May i suggest THIS ONE.


HeartRx said...

Barry G., so many times when I read your posts I find myself nodding in agreement, and other times I wonder "How has he never heard of that one before?" But no matter whether I agree with you or not, I love that you are always "brutally honest".

...except when it is one of my puzzles on the chopping block! (^_~)

Argyle said...

Maybe not CE Dave. Series conclusions are often two hour shows.

mtnest995 said...

Barry, I took Tin's comment to mean Scruggs and Flatt haven't heard of you in response to your comment that you haven't heard of them. I thought it was funny and not meant as a derogatory comment about you. IMHO, no harm, no foul. I'm positive they haven't heard of most of us on this blog.

Irish Miss said...

CED @ 1:24-Thanks for giving me my first chuckle of the day with your link. Even though I'm more of a dog person, this is adorable. Also, thanks for your kindness to newbies like me.

Barry, I have always enjoyed and learned from your posts. And isn't that the purpose of the blog-to have fun and learn from each other? I can't tell you how many times I thought a puzzle was a bear and then came here only to find so many posters thought it was a breeze! Just one example of how different we all are on any given day.

Avg Joe said...

And now for something completely different:

St. Patty's Day is just around the corner. Time to Round Up a few friends for a Guinness (or a Smithwicks if you prefer).

desper-otto said...

mtnest995@2:10 -- You can rest assured that Lester Flatt hasn't heard of the folks on this blog. He died back in '79. So far as I know, Earl Scruggs is still with us; he turned 88 in January. Heard of us, though? Doubtful.

Those of you who still can't place Flatt and Scruggs may remember their pickin' from 1967's Bonnie and Clyde starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Foggy Mountain Breakdown was a big hit that year.

ARBAON said...

Remember the "Foggy Bottom" boys from "Oh, Brother..."? Since the music was Blue Grass, I always thought it was a cinematic nod to Flatt and Scruggs.

Tinbeni said...

mtnest995 @2:10
That was exactly how I meant my earlier comment @8:23AM.

I cannot remember a week of solving the LAT-CW where there wasn't at least one occasion when I had never heard of something referenced in a clue (or its answer).
I call them "Learning moments."

I may not always like a clue/answer but I cannot recall that I ever deemed one to be pathetic or annoying.
(1) I respect our Editor and the Constructors too much for that type of a comment.

I'm at a genuine loss here.
How does a clue/answer cause such vexation?
Then again, I kinda laid-back not easily irritated by these things. (Just say a "Hi-Ho, FTW and away we go!")

Have never rated an entire puzzle "Meh" cause I didn't like the theme or a clue/answer. [See (1) above].

But Barry is right. He's entitled to his opinion.

Plus I like the camaraderie here!

Well, that's my mea-culpa, Cheers !!!

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Argyle, I very much liked your writeup today. Thanks for all your effort.

I love this blog and greatly enjoy reading all your comments. I learn new things almost every day. Always room for one more wrinkle in the ole cortex.

About the puzzle, very cool indeed. Loved the theme. Couldn't get TARTS for the life of me, so I settled for SARTM (a French philosopher? haha) because I so much wanted FLATS and RPM. I guess Rascal Flats is obviously a totally different guy.

Best wishes to you all.

Jayce said...

When I see my wife smile, or hear her laugh, my heart goes THRUMMMMMM!

Jayce said...

Er, that would be Rascal Flatts.

Er, band, not guy.

Anyway ...

One thing I learned, but not here, is that Smithwicks is pronounced Smitticks.

I wonder if I would be ruled wrong on Jeopardy if I pronounced it "smith wicks".

Husker Gary said...

BIL had a medical emergency and the call came just after finishing Jeff’s just right Tuesday puzzle. From there it was off to where I TEED up the ball 36 times. TEED off too Hondo!

-NMTA (Not Much To Add)
-Church key always seemed somewhat irreverent in my youth
-I got a 7 on one whole and told my partner to put down a Mickey Mantle
-LEMONlime/Sprite is my soda choice
-Loved the Alt. QOD and saw a former student with tattoos on her neck that is having trouble finding a good job. Hmmm...
-What Tin Said. The constructors and Rich are very good and I know a grid is tough to fill, let alone perfectly. My comments are always on my meager relative scale as to what I know and didn’t yet know and not an absolute one.
- Love this blog for the learning, wit and camaraderie.

Bill G. said...

I went into a local shop frequented by my wife to say hello to a mother of an ex-student of mine. We had a nice chat. She also mentioned a scruffy-looking fellow who I see often down at the beach in flip flops and looking kinda homeless. Turns out he is an ex-student too. He sleeps on the beach and manages because several of the local business people give him a salary for doing some odd jobs. I'm going to make it a point to stop and say Hi the next time I see him. Sad...

Susan said...

Fun puzzle today and very doable. One mess up; I had Universal Bar Code instead of Product. That gave me Bik instead of Pic. Sounded okay to me except that it's Bic and that's a pen.

Surprizingly I got Mighty Aphrodite and I never watch anything Woody Allen.

Thanks Jeff and Argyle

Avg Joe said...

Jayce, Your pronunciation of Smithwicks is correct. As for your question, I doubt you'd be called wrong on Jeopardy for taking the phonetic approach, but you would earn the disdain of beer lovers the world around. Not entirely unlike crossword solvers that would prefer less brutal honesty.

Lucina said...

Argyle, I love that Church Mouse poem! Just now had a chance to read it.

Doing puzzles is my way of keeping learning alive and every puzzle provides that opportunity. As does this blog when all of you contribute your enlightenment and knowledge.

Barry, you rock!

LA CW Addict said...

Church Key was my first fill (wouldn't you know?)

Lester Scruggs & Earl Flatt used to be guests on the Beverly Hillbillies, among other places! They were a talented country duo, one played the banjo and the other played the guitar. I have not read today's blog yet, so forgive me if somebody else has already mentioned this. I am not sure if either one of them is even still alive.

Argyle: Thank you for The Fugitive links last night. It was nice to relive the theme song, and I wanted to thank you then, but had already exhausted my posts for the evening!

Steve said...

@Jayce and @Avg Joe: Pronunciation Fight!

It's not Smitticks, and I wish I could use the phonetic alphabet to get this across properly, but I can't, so I'll have to try another way.

First off, we're all in agreement that the W is silent, but the "smith" part - it's not pronounced smitt, but nor is it pronounced like the "smith" "blacksmith" with a definite "th". Think of the "ith" sound in "zither" or "dither", put that after your "sm" and before your "icks" and you've got it.


Actually, if you belly up to any bar in Ireland and order "a point o' smirks" you'll be just fine.


Jayce said...

Steve, you rock. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I like this ...still cwing to the best of my ability???

Avg Joe said...

Steve, This has caused me to do extensive internet research. Of course, in order to do this properly, I had to have a bottle of cold Smithwick's in hand. Ah, the sacrifices we make for science! I discovered you are correct. The "th" is not pronounced like a hard T, but a soft "th". No W! Pronounce the W and you'll be cast into the street on your obviously non-Irish ass. Here's a guy that act's like he knows what he's talking about, seems to like it pretty well, and...I presume...knows the proper pronunciation. Smithwick's review

Thanks for clearing this up.

FWIW, I am a wee bit more than 1/4 Irish. Now that I've finished my research, I'll have to save the balance of my supply for Saturday.

Steve said...

@Avg Joe - thanks for confirming my pronunciation - the video at 0:05 is exactly what I was trying to describe!

ARBAON said...

Jayce, What a romantic thing to say about your DW. Newlyweds?

Anonymous said...

if it were not for avg joe confirming it i could not have belived it


PK said...

Didn't Flatt or Scruggs also play a mandolin? Or was that Bill Monroe?

Tinbeni said...

Avg.Joe & Steve:
I thought it sounded like "smiD-icks" in that review.

And I would probably have a pronunciation problem ... BUT after a few, I think it would get easier.

That's why on St.Pat's I just walk over to my local Pub, all .4 miles away, where they offer 50 (YES, FIFTY) different Draft Micro-brews.

It is easy to say: "I'll have the Number 34."


Bill G. said...

PK, yes, Bill Monroe played the mandolin. Combine that with a banjo, guitar, dobro, fiddle and bass and you've got some good music. There are several all bluegrass stations on iTunes radio.