Sep 3, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 Ned White

Theme: GET IT IN GEAR.  The first word of each two-word theme answer is the name of one of the gear selections for an automatic transmission shift lever.

17. Canadian natural resource manager : PARK WARDEN.  An unlikely looking clue, but sussable with perp help and a little head scratching.  You can read about them here.  PARK is the selection for keeping the vehicle stationary.

24. Dramatic backwards hoops move : REVERSE DUNK.   Better seen than explained.  A car in REVERSE goes backwards.

36. Photon, e.g. : NEUTRAL PARTICLE.   Protons and neutrons are polarized, photons go lightly down the middle of the road.  NEUTRAL is a resting position between REVERSE and DRIVE.

46. Push one's buttons, and then some : DRIVE INSANE.  Is there someone who knows how to push your buttons? I can be maddening. DRIVE is the selection for actually going somewhere.

56. Like many diets : LOW CALORIE.  Weight watching strategy. LOW gear is for low speed and controlled power.

64. Shift letters spelled out in 17-, 24-, 36-, 46- and 56-Across : P R N D L   Vide infra.

Strangely, in the following video London gets it right - at least that part of it.  In the industry this bit of apparatus is indeed called the PRNDL, just as she pronounces it.

Hi Gang, JazzBumpa here, your chauffeur for the day. Let's DRIVE on through Ned's puzzle and see if we can avoid pot holes and speed bumps.


1. Plentiful : RIFE.  This old Anglo-Saxon word might have originated with the Old Norse word for "acceptable."

5. Green-lights : OKAYS. Allows or permits.  Looks odd spelt out.

10. Fruit-bearing trees : FIGS.  They are native to the Middle East and Western Asia, now cultivated throughout the temperate zone.

14. "Tiger Beat" cover subject : IDOL. As in pop star.  Per Wikipedia, Tiger Beat is an American fan magazine marketed primarily to adolescent girls.  

15. Pentagon quintet : SIDES.  Tautologically true.

16. Cumming of "The Good Wife" : ALAN.  A legal and political drama on CBS.

19. Desi Arnaz's birthplace : CUBA.   More specifically, Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha, III (March 2, 1917 – December 2, 1986) was born in Santiago, where his father was the mayor.

20. 10 to the 100th power : GOOGOL.   Just a really big number.

21. Party amenity : FAVOR.  A trinket given to party guests.

22. Get on : AGE.  No comment.

29. Play to __ : A TIE

30. "Carmina Burana" composer : ORFF .  Carl ORFF composed this cantata in 1935-6, based on 24 poems from a medieval manuscript of the same name containing 254 poems in Latin and vernacular languages.  The entries are ribald, irreverent and satirical.  Here is the most famous segment.

31. Polio vaccine developer : SABIN.  Albert Bruce Sabin (August 26, 1906 – March 3, 1993) developed an oral polio vaccine.

33. Bk. after Galatians : EPH.  The letter to the EPHesians, traditionally attributed to Saul of Tarsus [aka Paul the Apostle] is the 10th book of The New Testament.

40. Photo lab prod. : ENLargement.  When a right click is not enough.

41. Words said while folding : I'M OUT.  Of a poker game, not putting away the laundry.

42. Outer Banks st. : N. CAR. North Carolina.

43. Island near Corsica : ELBA.  Everyone knows this as the site of Napolean's exile, but he spent his final six years confined at the British island of St. Helena.

44. Result : EFFECT

51. Facial feature above la bouche : NEZ.  The mouth and nose on le visage.

52. Fluttered in the breeze : WAVED

53. Passionate : ARDENT.

55. School where part of "The Madness of King George" was filmed : ETON.   British school, four letters, fill it in and move on.

60. Dubliner's land : EIRE.  Or ERIN.  Always need perps.

61. The Little Mermaid : ARIEL.

62. Little woman : GIRL.  Not so sure about this one.

63. Photographer Pattie who was married to George Harrison and Eric Clapton : BOYD.

65. Ripoff : SCAM.


1. Mending target : RIP.  Sew it up.

2. St. with a panhandle : IDAho.  I wanted FLA.   Can we use that pan to fry up some potatoes?

3. Absent-minded : FORGETFUL.  Again, no comment.

4. Nevada county or its seat : ELKO.   In the North-east corner of the State on the Humboldt River.

5. Oklahoma natives : OSAGES.  Originally from the Ohio River valley, they migrated West of the Mississippi by the mid 17th century to avoid the invading Iroquois.

6. Renamed Russian ballet company : KIROV.  Earlier the Imperial Russian Ballet, now the Mariinsky.

7. Throw for a loop : ADDLE. Confuse, befuddle.

8. "__-haw!" : YEE.  I wanted HEE.   Eiher way a western or rural expression of joy or exuberance.

9. Form 1040 ID : SSN. Social Security Number.

10. False front : FACADE.

11. Sweet tweet : I LUV U.  I somehow misread this as sweet treat, and was thoroughly ADDLED.

12. Equatorial African country : GABON.  On the West coast, below The Gulf of Guinea.

13. Snide commentary : SNARK.

18. Apple invader : WORM. Of the pome, not the computer.

21. Fencing ploy : FEINT.  A deceptive or distracting movement intended to create an opening.

22. Do a makeup job? : ATONE.   To make amends, and thus make up for some transgression.   I love this kind of clue.

23. Bridge immortal Charles : GOREN.  Charles Henry Goren (March 4, 1901 – April 3, 1991) was a player who wrote many books about the game and did much to popularize it.  He was the leading American bridge personality in the 1950s and 1960s.

25. Moroccan capital : RABAT. Just up the road from Casablanca.

26. The hoosegow : STIR.  Alternate slang words for jail.

28. Immature newt : EFT.

31. Memorial __-Kettering: NYC hospital : SLOAN.  The world's oldest and largest cancer center.

32. Manjula's husband on "The Simpsons" : APU.

33. Quirky : ECCENTRIC.  Literally, off-center, into English from Greek.

34. Venue : PLACE.

35. Alamo competitor : HERTZ.  Car rental, not the Mexican-American war.

37. Rankled : RILED.

38. Both: Pref. : AMBI-.  Could be ambiguous.

39. Like Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 : IN F.   The Key of F Major.

43. Reached equilibrium, with "out" : EVENED.

44. Final goal : END ALL.

45. Experience : FEEL.   I'm trying to experience the equivalence here, but don't quite feel it.

46. One who may be "adorkable" : DWEEB.  Dork, DWEEB, nerd - a socially inept intelligent person.  Think Sheldon Cooper.

47. Proportional relation : RATIO.  Math.  It represents for some quantity of thing A how much there is of thing B.  It can look suspiciously like a fraction.

48. Target of elephant poachers : IVORY.  Tusks.

49. Politely admitted : SAW IN.  Escorted to one's seat, frex.

50. Parabolic, e.g. : ARCED.   The classic arch.

54. Yuletide quaffs : NOGS.  Eggy drinks.

56. Race unit : LAP.  Once around the track.

57. Bruin great : ORR.  Bobby, the Boston hockey player.

58. Tax shelter initials : IRAIndividual Retirement Account.

59. Spreading tree : ELM.  Are there any left?

Okay, folks, the DRIVE is over.  No traffic jams nor detours, and only a couple of minor bumps along the way.  Hope you enjoyed the journey. Now it's time to put it in PARK.

Cool regards!


Argyle said...

I loved the clueing today.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Off to a slow start today due to putting in RENO for ELKO at 4D and refusing to accept IDA as a possibility at 2D (like Jazzbumpa, I went with FLA).

I also struggled with figuring out what type of WARDEN they wanted for 17A and what sort of PARTICLE they wanted for 36A.

It was only after I figured out the them that was able to go back and throw down PARK WARDEN (as well as NEUTRAL PARTICLE), and that opened up the NW corner for me.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

I liked this one. Didn't notice a theme until the reveal, but it didn't matter. Needed a vowel run to settle the E in GOREN. Started to write TUSKS, but switched to IVORY in mid-U.

ALAN Cumming is familiar to me only as the host of Masterpiece Mystery -- never got hooked on The Good Wife. Interesting to see the Roman aqueduct photo. I just watched an Ancient Impossible episode about them yesterday.

Just gotta ask, JzB. To whom (who?) are you maddening?

Found out that it's bark beetles that killed my big pine tree. My regular tree guy's quote was more reasonable. It's comin' down this weekend.

Lemonade714 said...

I enjoyed this midweek masterpiece, not at all ambivalent. The closing as Argyle pointed out was fun. And JzB always gives us a great ride in his tour bus.

I loved watching Charles Goren explain bidding and play on the TV bridge show, a real master even if the game has changed since then.

Does everyone else know ORFF but me? What a nice consonant string...

Barry G. said...

As an aside, I suppose you know you've done too many crossword puzzles (or too many bad ones, at least) when you seriously consider putting in ARCAL as an answer to "Parabolic, e.g."

HeartRx said...

Good morning everyone!

Nicely executed theme, and fun to solve. I loved the symmetry of FORGETFUL and ECCENTRIC.

Wonderful writeup today, Jazzb. Wow - I got to listen to "O Fortuna" and Beethoven as I perused your captivating insights. (Yes, Lemony, I do know ORFF, probably because of his close ties to Munich, where my friends live.)

I also read it as "Sweet treat," and had to smack myself in the head with the V8 can when I LUV U appeared. My other stupid moment occurred at "Parabolic, e.g." I was thinking of the noun, not the adjective, so couldn't quite get my head around ARCED, even though the perps were solid.

I need another cup of coffee...

Mari said...

Good morning everybody,

I liked the cluing in today's puzzle, but I had a lot of unknown answers. New to me were: ORFF, GOGOL, KIROV, GABON, GOREN, RABAT. It looks like a different language!

I hope you're all having a great week.

Anonymous said...

We all had a shout out on Jeopardy last night!

Husker Gary said...

If you won’t let go of GOOGLE for GOOGOL, you’re gonna get a DNF, Gary (math teacher)

-A word with those letters in sequence - PeRpeNDicuLar
-I never took a course where a photon’s charge or lack thereof was a topic
-LOW CALORIE – let me get this straight, they charge more for what they DON’T put in
-On Pawn Stars I learned the Pentagon built with those 5 SIDES because it is surrounded by 5 roads
-If you got ORRF, I doff my chapeau
-A wealthy man in town whose son in law ran a SCAM that cost people here millions
-I wonder if RABAT High plays Casablanca High in sports
-Wealthy people can be ECCENTRIC, non-wealthy are called…
-Life usually gets EVENED out if you AGE long enough
-LAP can be a coaches punishment
-What might happen if you “don’t care a feather or a FIG?”

OwenKL said...

Wrote the lim last night, but overslept this morning.

He drove her to a dark lane to PARK,
But she put REVERSE to his plans for a lark.
Her feelings were NEUTRAL,
His sex DRIVE was revved full;
She kneed and left him to moan LOW in the dark!

▩ Had troubles in the south, had DRIVE-IN ???E and couldn't get further for a while. DRIVE-IN ATM had buttons, but too short. DRIVE-IN SONIC has buttons, but too long. DRIVE-IN MOVIE ditto, and its only button was a volume knob. Finally got it, but no ta-da. Did a spelling check before reds, and found S.CAR. should be N.CAR.
▦ Hand up for treat before tweet -- composers pull things like that on purpose, don't they?
▩ ?RFF had too many consonants to possibly be right.
▦ Too bad RABAT, RABAT didn't come up on the first of the month.
▩ My first wife's family name was PRiNDLe.
▦ Didn't the R used to come at the end? I understand a lot of accidents involving seniors are caused by them putting the car in Reverse instead of Drive or vice versa.
▩ Since my given names are OK, I usually insist on spelling out OKAY when that's what I mean.
▦ I thought la bouche would be the bush/mustache.
▩The last across is ripoff, the first down is RIP -- nice symmetry.

OwenKL said...

▦ You might grow up to be a pig.
▩ I'm a lumberjack and I'm O.K!
▦ Watch my bullets as you tap [ctrl][+] a few times.
▩ Now you can tap [ctrl][0].

Jerome said...

GOOGOL was also the author of "Taras Boulba" It's also quite interesting that Googol was not his real name. It was simply a play on, and an anagram of the word Goolog, which is where Boulba imprisoned his enemies.
It's not known how or when Googol died but many saw him wandering the Steppes as a religious mystic after being baptized in the Voolga with a REVERSE DUNK by a backward monk who was a SEVERE DRUNK.

(Facts courtesy of Wikipedia)

desper-otto said...

I'm also familiar with Orff. Carmina Burana, all 25 tracks, has its place on my music server. It was a gift from MIL in Munich.

OwenKL, nothing happened to your bullets when I tapped [ctrl}+[+] on my IMac. Maybe your gun was empty?

Husker, you might grow up to be a pig. (That's in answer to your question, not snarky commentary.)

Rev said...

The crossing of Goren and Orff was my undoing. Otherwise a nice Wednesday with a fun theme.

Lemonade714 said...

OK (OKAY?) Anon at 8:15, I did not get to watch Jeopardy last evening, what was our shout out?

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Good commentary, JzB. That prindle video was a hoot.

Slow going until sussing the unifier at 64a. Then quickly filled in the 1st letters of the remaining theme acrosses. Got it all - no searches or strikethroughs required. Liked seeing FAƇADE.
Nice breezy puzzle, Ned; Thank You.
PRNDL - Had to rely on memory for 'L'. My present one has an 'S' for 'select shift'. Sic Transit Gloria.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I liked the theme and cluing but, alas, an embarrassing DNF, on a Wednesday, no less. Northwest corner did me in: had raft/rife, could not get Ind. and never heard of Tiger Beat, probably because I'm not an adolescent girl.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the solve, Mr. White, nicely done and thanks, JazzB, for your witty and informative expo.

Have a great day.

Lucina said...

Greetings! Thank you for a witty drive, Jazzbumpa.

One of the categories in Jeopardy was Crossword Clues.

And thanks, Ned White, for a drive around the PARK today. I started in the middle with TOTEMS and GOREN then worked my way around being very familiar with ORFF and Carmina Burana.

Thought of my granddaughter at ARIEL/GIRL as she loves that Disney movie.

What DRIVEs me INSANE is French words like bouche about which I have no idea. Pure guesswork.


Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!

Lemonade714 said...

Thanks Lucy, sorry I missed the episode.

IM, I know Tiger Beat and I am not an adolescent girl; they just show it all the time on TV with the teen throb of the moment from Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy to Justin Bieber and Joey Lawrence, or whomever.

Qli said...

Nice puzzle. I first learned about GOOGOL from the introductory lecture by our our pathologist when I was a student. He was a character: his lecture was long and rambling and had nothing to do with the lab. I only remember hearing about GOOGOL and his fancy gold Cadillac. Fun memory.

Hand up for knowing Alan Cumming from Masterpiece. It's weird to hear him on trailers for "The Good Wife" when he drops his native accent.

Thnks for the musical links, JazzB. Loved the Beethoven. The Orff (never heard of him), not so much, but it was a learning moment.

The tree guy is coming today to trim our lovely and perfectly healthy silver maple. The SNARKy woman next door thinks it is hanging too far into her yard. Poor tree.

Nice Cuppa said...

Thanks, JB, for illuminating the fine and some of the messier fill.

Enjoyable, except for "PHOTON" as clue for "NEUTRAL PARTICLE". Personally, I don't know about you, but I like my particles to have mass, and to behave like particles. The photon is principally a (propagating) disturbance of the electromagnetic field (i.e. a wave = LIGHT), and its particle-like behavior is largely an invention of physicists/mathematicians.

A possible problem for the constructor here is that the only well-known classical elementary neutral particles are NEUTRons and (maybe) NEUTRInos. Although you might add the HIGGS BOSON, since it has been prominent in the news recently. But of course, "ATOM" would have done the job admirably - OK it's made up of protons, neutrons and electrons, but it is overall neutral.

And of course this clue might have been tied in with Hertz (35D, crossing), the unit of frequency. 52A could even have been WAVES. There is also EFFECT, RATIO, ARCED, ECCENTRIC, GOOGOL - could have been quite a scientific-themed crossword.

Must be feeling grumpy this morning. As some of you know, I drive a stick-shift, and always will, before my brain gives or I lose the use of one (or more) of my legs. So PRNDL meant nothing to me, even though we have had it before, about 2 years ago.


Misty said...

A perfect Wednesday puzzle, a little challenging, but doable--many thanks, Ned! Had trouble only with GOOGOL and ORFF, but got them with perps. But I still had a few dumb moments. Why did I keep thinking SALK instead of SABIN? And I initially read "St. with a panhandle" as "Saint" with a panhandle (Catholic upbringing, I guess) and for the life of me couldn't figure out what a panhandle had in common with a saint.

I am so glad that crossword puzzles have taught me OTT and ORR as sports figures (I'd never have heard of them otherwise). They come up all the time and it's a huge help expecting them.

I was excited to see Crossword Puzzles on "Jeopardy" last night and expected the answers to be words that crop up in puzzles all the time. But it was just regular questions and answers.

Thanks for posting ALAN's picture, JazzB. I love his "Masterpiece Mystery" intros, but didn't know that was his name.

Have a great Wednesday, everybody!

Chairman Moe said...

The Little Mermaid ARIEL,
Came up from the sea, for a spell;
She rented a car,
But did not go far,
When she couldn't fathom PRNDL!

My "puzzling thoughts":

First, from late yesterday, thanks Anonymous T for the Mel Brooks/Bea Arthur clip from the movie HOTW, Part I on the "philosopher" . . . classic!

Today's CW seemed a bit harder than most Wednesday offerings, but the "theme" came easily, and was very clever. I had far too many write-overs, and will admit to a look-up in the NE corner to confirm ALAN as the solve to 16A. I did see RIFE and IDA in the NW corner, but ELKO did not immediately come to mind. GOOGOL is not a word I am familiar with, nor is KIROV, but WAGS proved correct here.

I push Miss Ellie's buttons far too far, so DRIVEINSANE was a SLAM DUNK (no REVERSE here); I too, had TUSKS before IVORY in 48D, and thought the Simpson's character in 32D was ABU and not APU, so NEUTRAL PARTICLE took a while to appear.

JzB - great recap, and I loved the links to the classical music. My daughter is a classical musician, so I can never get too much Mozart, et al.

Nice Cuppa - I also am among the minority who drive a car with a manual gear box. Wouldn't have it any other way!

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

I'll admit I had difficulty with the puzzle, and sussing the theme was a big help. That IDAHO pan handle almost did me in.

I knew ORFF. The Detroit Symphony performed all of Carmina Burana a few years ago. Quite a wild night.

Haven't played much bridge in recent years, but I love the game, though I'm not very good at it. So GOREN was a gimmie.

We drove to eastern PA last week to visit step-son Tom and his fam. 600 miles each way. I'm still recovering.

Cool regards,

Chairman Moe said...

Limerick #2 for today's theme:

Driving cars with a manual clutch,
Involves having a measure of touch;
So it's an easy transition
To shift to auto transmission,
Just like walking, and using a crutch!

C6D6 Peg said...

Nice theme, and very nice cluing.... had me thinking twice about answers.

Thank you Ned and JzB for a great write-up.

Lucina said...

I wish I could drive a shift gear but my legs are too short. My late brother wanted to teach me in his 60's Mustang but I couldn't reach clutch.

I now know that extensions are available, but it's too late.

Lucina said...

Oops. "the clutch"

Irish Miss said...

Lemonade @ 10:09 - Whenever a commercial comes on, I automatically (and successfully) "tune out." Lucky me, eh?!

Chairman Moe - Loved your limericks!

I never learned to drive a stick shift but I'm curious about the seemingly strong attraction expressed by Nice Cuppa and C Moe. Comments, please?

CrossEyedDave said...

Easy theme, combined with very difficult fill,,, ergo, I did not get Orff on this puzzle...

That PRNDLs video has taken a life of its own...

Americas #1 Anti Theft system.

Toyota Prius gearshift.???

Don't worry, I got this...

Lime Rickey said...

IM@12:43: "I'm curious about the seemingly strong attraction expressed by Nice Cuppa and C Moe."

I suspect it's largely "a guy thing". With a manual transmission you feel like you've got more control over what the car's doing. It shifts when you want it to shift, not when it wants to shift. There are also some practical considerations (such as the ability to "pop start" it if the battery's dead . . . and you're on a hill). I'm sympathetic to this view but I'd no sooner go back to a manual transmission than I'd go back to doing crosswords on paper. Still, it's probably a good idea to know how to drive one. Just in case.

Steve said...

Thanks for the expo, JzB.

Didn't help that I thought the "L" stood for "Lock" (as in transmission) - funny that I've never used that setting.

Didn't know ORFF but did know the music - nice link!

I walked across the Pont du Gard some years ago - there wasn't much to stop you wandering over the edge, I wonder if it's still like that?

In England, everyone used to learn to drive a stick - if you took your driving test in an automatic you couldn't drive anything else. It's still the most common type of transmission in the UK - if you rent a car, you have to specifically request an automatic if that's what you prefer. When I moved here I bought a stick-shift Camaro and got a great deal on it - the dealer told me it'd been sat on his lot for months because no-one wanted to drive it.

OwenKL said...

Jerome @8:45 am
I was dismayed at your misspelling of Nikoli Gogol until I realized the entire comment was a nearly complete hoax, with Goolog for Gulag and Voolga for the river after shave comes from, Aqua Volga.

Chairman Moe said...

Irish Miss @ 12:43 - glad you enjoyed the lim's today!

I guess for me, the "attraction" to a manual gear box/stick shift, is being in control and "driving" the car, rather than letting the computerized shifter do it for me. I enjoy hearing the rev's of the engine, and "feeling" when to shift, up OR down.

I learned how to drive on a stick, and then spent some 35 years driving Automatics, due to working in sales for a company that provided me with a car. Once I "retired" from corporate life, and had my "mid-life crisis" "buy a sports car moment", I feel like a kid again!

Also, from a safety standpoint, it's extremely difficult, and irresponsible, to hold a cellphone while you're shifting through gears. Or eat a sandwich; drink a beverage, etc. So maybe we "shifters" are doing a public service by not being tempted into multi-tasking while driving!

Of course, the above may be all a bunch of Bull-Shift! ;^)

Ol' Man Keith said...

Yeah, since when does YEE beat HEE, or GEE for that matter?
And what's with SAW IN for "Politely admitted"? I've seen ushers and maitre d's who were far from polite yet discharged their duties. I wanted BOW IN except for the tense error. That center bottom section almost made me cheat.

Chairman Moe said...

Lime Rickey @ 12:52

Not sure it's just a "guy thing", as I suspect there are a number of women who drive cars with a manual gear box, too. And perhaps the common "thread" IS the "being in control" issue, which is not gender specific.

And as you might have guessed, I solve my crosswords on newsprint with a pen. I like computers just fine, but doing a crossword in a newspaper and manually shifting a car just seem more natural to me . . .

Ol' Man Keith said...

I thought those letter PRNDL looked familiar. I got them all right, but didn't catch on until seeing JzB's explanation.
When I first drove, everything was stick shift. It wasn't so easy learning in San Francisco. You learned to hate those stop signs at the tops of hills, and you learned to tolerate a little roll backwards before engaging 1st gear to start up again.
The worst was the guy who'd stop right behind you, leaving no clearance for the roll-back.
You learned quickly NOT to be that guy.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! This was harder than I expected on Wed. Thanks, Ned. Always a sweet treat to travel with you, JzB.

Looked all over the computer keyboard trying to figure out what to plunk into the "Shift" space before the PRNDL dawned on me. Duh! When I first made the transition from stick shift to automatic transmission, I expended a lot of energy pawing the floor board with my left foot, trying to stomp on the non-existant clutch.


My new neighbor has long red hair like ARIEL and is in a wheel chair. Do you suppose...?

Sweet tweet: hand up for thinking candy until coming here. I even thought "I LUV U" was the message on those little candy hearts. Duh #2.

One of the answers on Jeopardy was cruciverbalist.

Chairman Moe said...

OMK @ 1:33

I recall Subaru re-introducing the Hill Holder on many of their standard transmission vehicles, as a means of "selling" them to skittish buyers. I've never used this, but I suspect that in the Bay Area it would be an asset to have if you drive a stick . . .

Nice Cuppa said...

I agree with most of Lime Rickey's initial sentiments. The control element is key, especially in hilly areas; and it is not so much a macho thing as cultural; my European girlfriends prefer stick-shifts too.

The curious thing about automatics is that only U.S. and (non-French) Canadians drive them. The rest of the world seems wedded to manual transmission/stick-shifts.

In the U.S., traffic-management in most cities and urban areas is STOP-START-STOP-START. It seems that there is either a STOP sign or a STOP LIGHT at every intersection, which suits automatics better than manuals. In Europe and elsewhere, the road systems are designed to keep traffic moving as much as possible, with ROUNDABOUTS (traffic circles) instead of STOP LIGHTS, and "GIVE WAY" rather than STOP signs; both of which favor the flexibility and nimbleness of the stick-shift, even at low speeds.

Also (this is somewhat tangential), in most countries, the concept of "not impeding the flow of traffic" is strongly ingrained, such that cars will pass a slower vehicle as quickly as possible, and then move immediately to the inside lane. Two quick gear changes (down-then-up) are often required. Otherwise they will incur the wrath of faster drivers. In the U.S., this concept is only loosely and sporadically adhered to. I see what I call the "2-car block" daily on my commute to work - where 2 cars travel at approximately the same speed on a 2-lane divided highway, occupying both lanes side-by-side and apparently oblivious of the rest of the world. The 3-car block is also fairly common on 3-lane highways. The 4-car/lane block requires genuine coordination between drivers and is rarely seen.

It is not really about speed, more about concern for others' (and the collective's) needs: as the average traffic speed increases, traffic density decreases, so everyone reaches their destination sooner.

End of polemic


Argyle said...

Bill Cosby - Driving in San Fransisco

Pat said...

For some reason I feel that today is Thursday and my experience with the puzzle confirmed that. Wrong! The northeast was empty and refused fill in. Thanks Ned White for the challenge. JzB, thanks for all the help.

I got the theme today, an unusual occurrence for me!

Several unknowns that have already been discussed.

I've owned 3 VW Bugs, each with stick shift. In hilly Cincinnati I'm very happy with my automatic transmissions.

Have a great day!


River Doc said...

Happy Wednesday everybody!

Well, it would've been a TaDa except for the KIROV-GOOGOL intersection....

Speaking of intersections, thanks Argyle for the Bill Cosby clip! I've driven the hills of SF with a manual transmission, and all I can say is thank God for the emergency brake handle just to the right of the gearshift....

I learned to drive a manual in an old Ford pickup, with a "Three on the Tree" shifter....

My first car (65 Mustang) had a C4 "Cruise-a-Matic" transmission. The interesting thing was that there were 3 forward gear selections, but you only got all 3 gear shifts by utilizing the middle selection....

Doc out

Kevin said...

Hi everybody!

I think I am in the minority today. I was sort of frustrated with this Wednesday puzzle.

The theme entries came too easily and felt more like a Monday.

In contrast, some of the obscure answers felt more like Friday to me. I had trouble with some unfamiliar crossovers: GOREM/ORFF, ELKO/GOOGOL/KIROV, RABAT/SABIN/SLOAN. I would like to say that three naticks is too much for a Wednesday puzzle, but I am sure most of the other solvers were familiar with some of these clues, so I will chalk up this DNF to my own ignorance.

In the end, I have at least learned something today due to JzB and everyone else's expo. So thanks Corner!

Now, I am just waiting for a constructor to surprise me with a puzzle based on automatic transmissions.

CrossEyedDave said...

Nice Cuppa @ 1:44 reminded me that whenever I see that 2-car block ahead of me, I always announce to whoever is in the car, "They're playing Parcheesi again!"

I was always curious as to why they say "an automatic transmission wastes more gas than a stick shift," And why the car won't go when all the transmission fluid leaks out.

Both questions were answered when I discovered The Miraculous Torque Converter!

If you read all 6 pages, you will also find out what causes that awful overheating smell when you have been climbing a steep hill too long. (It is not a burning clutch.)

Bill G. said...

I haven't read any of the comments yet so I don't know how everyone feels about this puzzle. I really liked it. As I was quickly working my way through it last night, my brain kept jumping to the correct fill answer (no red letters) seemingly because my brain and Ned's brain were in synch. I would stumble upon some clever clue, I would smile and then fill in the correct response. I thought all of it was fun!

Now I've read the other responses. D-O, we had to have a HUGE Monterrey pine tree removed from our front yard a couple of years ago. It was fascinating how they did it.

The arches in those particular Roman aqueducts don't look like parabolas to me. The tops look much more like semicircles, a completely different conic section.

I have always enjoyed driving a car out in the countryside with a clutch and gearshift. But when I'm driving in LA traffic, I much prefer an automatic. I taught Barbara and all of our kids to drive a stick. It says something for my patience I think.

Lime Rickey said...

CM@1:30: "Not sure it's just a "guy thing"

I didn't say it was just "a guy thing", I said I suspected that it was largely "a guy thing".

Anyway, put me down as having little patience with what NC calls "the 2-car block". I think the guys (and yes, it's another guy thing) who hang out in the left ("passing") don't want to admit that the guy behind them might be driving faster.

By the way, I'm the guy chugging along in the right lane at the speed limit in my 12-year-old Subaru.

Jayce said...

I enjoyed this puzzle today; found it to be amusing and fun. Once I caught on to PARK, NEUTRAL, and REVERSE, the other two shift-lever positions were self-fillers.
I learned to drive in my dad's "jalopy," an old beater with a three on the tree shifter. Even the starter was operated by depressing a big plunger-like piston on the floor with your left foot. Later, when I was old enough to legally drive and take official lessons, the training car was an early Plymouth Fury with the automatic transmission selections made by pressing one of five buttons (PRNDL) that were located on the center hub of the steering wheel. Like PK, I kept trying to stomp on the non-existent clutch. Nowadays I far prefer automatic. In fact, with a hybrid there is no other choice.

desper-otto said...

My pickup is a 5-speed manual -- from the last year that Ford offered one. In December I drove through snow and ice in west Texas, and was really glad I had a stick. Starting and stopping on ice is much more controllable with a manual.

BTW, new avatar shows our latest two rescue cats, Lulu and Izzy. They're quite the handful.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

I learned to drive on a variety of manual transmissions, and have owned many over the years. In High School it was kind of a big deal, an important accomplishment, to be able to handle a clutch. Now I just don't care. However, I do firmly believe that the lack of exposure to RPM management has made today's drivers that much worse. Accelerator use is far more ragged nowadays.

Driving rented cars in England and Oz was tricky: having the gearshift in the left hand takes a bit more concentration, particularly in a tense traffic situation.

Anonymous said...

The two car block. Did you ever try to pass someone who speeded up whenever you pulled even and then slowed down when you dropped behind? Or even worse, would not let you pass and matched your speed so you could not pull in behind, and then laughed his head off.

Bill G. said...

Dudley, yes, regarding shifting gears in the UK. We rented a smallish car in Edinburgh for a two-day jaunt through the midlands. The first thing I did wrong was to climb into the wrong side of the car. When I noticed there was no steering wheel in front of me, I realized my mistake and told Barbara that 'her' side of the car checked out OK and that I'd try the other side. I really did OK driving most of the time but when some small emergency arose requiring a quick shift, old habits took over and I would try shifting with my right hand. It didn't work. There was nothing there except the right-hand door handle. I hit it with the back of my hand several times and had a black-and-blue bruise there for a couple of weeks.

PK said...

Anon at 5:05: Yes indeedy! One night I was driving on a four-lane divided highway with very little traffic. I came up behind these two old pickups driving side by side. They kept going slower and slower and I was getting alarmed about it. I didn't want to be stopped and car-jacked or something. Then a big SUV came barreling down the road in the passing lane. As it rapidly approached, the old pickup in that lane pulled ahead and got into the slow lane. I let the SUV pass me then floor-boarded my car and passed both old pickups to see an old coot in each one grinning broadly at me. I figured they were buddies who got their kicks on Saturday night in this manner. @##$%%$

Casually Curious said...

Anon, above at 5:05 or 1705 Hrs. I know exactly what you mean. I've seen this happen so often, that I'm convinced we all have a strong latent sadistic gene deep within our DNA. The other side of this equation is the road rage we see so often, because of the above mentioned behaviour.

There are drivers who want to turn left, and when they see a long line of cars behind them, especially on a two lane street, - they just take their own sweet time to make the turn. Well knowing, they are holding up the entire line of cars, and the impatient traffic seems to give them some sort of sadistic pleasure.

But if a car wants to turn left, and is on a cross side street, and you are on the main road, barreling down, then the drivers seem to take all sorts of risks, and cut in ahead of you.

I have a neighbor who drives at, or below the speed limit and always, always is on the left, fast, passing lane. He is oblivious to all horns, and has the temerity to sport this bumper sticker ..

"I may be slow, but I'm ahead of you !".

One day, he's going to end up dead.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

WEES - fun theme with some obscure (to me at least) perping fill. ORFF / GOREN, AMBI / ELBA. Misspelling ARIEL and GOOGOL didn't help much either. Final score a DNF. You got me Ned.

I started off OKAY. LOW CALORIE was 1st theme to fall. So, PRN(?)... mmmm, I must be parsing this wrong. V8 hit - PARK, REV, etc.

Fav was 11d, though I don't tweet, DW gets those texts from me.

Thanks for the writeup JzB!

Argyle - you beat me to the Cosby link :-)

My PRNDL says 1,2,3,4,5, R. It was the only used standard at the dealership. I like it for all the reasons stated and the gas milage is a plus.

My wife came to visit me at Ft. Hood during Desert Storm. We only had a GLC w/ a stick. She was on crutches and used the crutch to hit the clutch!

Cheers, -T

Bill G. said...

Wow! I wonder if they would let me take it for a spin? MACHINE

Anonymous T said...

Bill G. - From his links, I think CED could handle it :-)

Cheers, -T

Abejo said...

Good Thursday evening, folks. Thank you, Ned White, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Jazzbumpa, for a fine review.

Well, I am a day late with this. Just finished it early this morning and had no time today to check until now.

Took me a while to get RIFE. I think ELKO gave it to me. I have been to ELKO in years past. Used to work in Nevada, up north.

Liked the Transmission theme. Clever. I always liked stick shifts. Have owned several.

GOOGOL was a new word for me. got it with perps.

Liked RATIO. I have used ratio and proportion all my life.

I will now cut out of here since I am a day late and no one will probably read this anyway. This puzzle was fun, as they all are.

See you Friday.