Aug 27, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 Gareth Bain

Theme: Fits to a "T". Put a "T-" in front of the first word of each of the theme answers and you have a new noun. Theme answers are placed in Down for visual effects.

3D. *Hearty repast : SQUARE MEAL. T-Square. My woodshop teacher walloped me with one of these when I was about 13, so I remember this carpentry tool well. I deserved it too, so no complaints.

9D. *"Politically Incorrect" host : BILL MAHER. T-Bill. Well-known to solvers, but I realized I'd never actually seen one, so here we are. In the words of Dr. Evil - One MILLION Dollars!

31D. *Sensitivity to cashews, say : NUT ALLERGY. T-Nut. I've never used one. I wonder if there are T-nuts in a T-top?

35D. *Fine porcelain : BONE CHINA. T-Bone. Food! Unlike the T-Nuts, I've cuddled up to one or two T-Bone steaks in my time. You get a twofer - tenderloin and strip, so you get the best of both worlds

The reveal:

29D. Sporty car roofs, and, literally, what the first words of the answers to starred clues can have : T-TOPS. Largely defunct now that engineering advances mean that you don't need the structural roof elements to keep the car from flexing like a Muscle Beach exhibitionist.

Salut, amigos and amigas. Steve here with a fun Gareth Bain offering which shows a 90-degree shift in the usual theme entry orientation. I enjoy the times I have to figuratively turn my head sideways to see what's going on. I loved that the theme required not just the "T", but also the "-" to make sense of the new nouns.

Let's see what else we've got:


1. Bygone U.S. station name : ESSO. Standard Oil (of Texas). What's the word for the verbalizing of an acronym and the resultant spelling of that to make a word? If there isn't one, we should come up with it.

5. Subsides : EBBS. Moons wax and wane, tides flood and ebb.

9. Parade group : BAND

13. Chef's hat : TOQUE. A great word. No French chef worth his sel would be caught without one. It all got a little silly when the height of your toque was meant to represent your superior standing in the culinary world

15. Rich topsoil : LOAM

16. Java Freeze brand : ICEE

17. Lies next to : ABUTS

18. In __: actually : ESSE

19. Cry out for : LACK

20. Plays first, in some card games : LEADS

21. Innocent : CHILD-LIKE

23. Comedy Central send-up : ROAST

25. Chowder morsel : CLAM

26. Pre-A.D. : BCE. Hmmm .. why the "E"?

28. Portable Asian dwellings : YURTS

30. Horses' tresses : MANES

34. Gyro meat : LAMB. Food! I love lamb, and gyros. If you are ever on the I-15 driving though Baker, CA (usually on your way to or from Las Vegas) then stop at "The Mad Greek" for the best gyro you'll ever.

36. Portable bed : COT

37. Without even a scratch : UNHURT

38. McFlurry option : OREO

39. Rounded hill : KNOLL

41. Italian hot spot : ETNA. The most famous volcano in the world of cruciverbalists.

42. Sounds echoing through the castle : CLANGS. Usually accompanied by the cries of those unfortunates consigned to the dungeons with all kinds of unpleasantness to follow.

44. Quill, perhaps : PEN

45. Commuter's option : RAIL

46. Clark Kent, at birth : KALEL. Crosses all the way. Must ... remember ... this ... for ... future ... crosswords .... Nope, it's already forgotten.

47. Son of Sarah : ISAAC

49. Gettysburg Campaign VIP : LEE. Why am I thinking "desserts" here? Oh wait, it's "Sarah" in 47A, not "Sara".

50. Use profanity : CUSS

52. East Asian capital : SEOUL

54. Where it'll all come out? : IN THE WASH. Not always, I've got some white shorts that never recovered from the person next to me on a flight dumping a cup of coffee in my lap and then my own self-abasement when I dropped my in-flight pasta on top of the original sin. My bad. We both blamed the excellent wine selection in the United lounge pre-flight.

58. Oldest of the Stooges : SHEMP. Completely, never, ever heard of him (?). Is this the "Iggy" Stooges or the "triple" incarnation? I await your wisdom.

61. Amos at the piano : TORI

62. Early Genesis brother : ABEL

63. Stooges count : THREE. Ah, apropos of 58A above, I believe that Iggy Pop had more than three sidemen, so I'm guessing this is the "Curly" cohort count.

64. All tied up : EVEN

65. Anti-leather gp. : PETA

66. Sweetie : SUGAR

67. Chichén Itzá builder : MAYA. Great clue for an old staple. I learned something today - that's why I love the crosswords!

68. KFC side : SLAW

69. London's __ Park : HYDE. I saw Queen play a free concert in Hyde Park in 1976 - the first free gig since the Rolling Stones in the 60's.


1. And others, in citations: Abbr. : ET AL.

2. Maker of Lifewater beverages : SOBE

4. Surpass : OUT-DO. I'm not sure if the hyphen is required, but it looks better to me.

5. It can't help being negative : ELECTRON. Favorite clue/answer combo of the day.

6. "Poppycock!" : BOSH


8. Detect, in a way : SMELL. Usually "in a bad way"! Smells seem to be bad, aromas are good. English is a tremendously confusing language. I've no idea how C.C. et al manage.

10. Berry sold in health food shops : ACAI. Messed up with "GOJI" first,

11. Giraffe's trademark : NECK. Does it come with a ™ symbol?

12. Fake in the rink : DEKE

14. Test type you can't really guess on : ESSAY

22. Rhett's last word : DAMN

24. Lures (in) : SUCKS. Nice, polite clue

26. Inhibit : BLOCK.

27. "Cheers" waitress Tortelli : CARLA

32. Bert's roommate : ERNIE

33. Old : STALE

37. Radii neighbors : ULNAE. Latin "ii" in the clue suggests Latin "ae" in the answer.

40. Legislation pertaining to dogs : LEASH LAW

43. Stuff to stick with? : GLUE

47. "Eva Luna" author Allende : ISABEL. It seems all proper names are "Help! Crosses!" for me, particularly today.

48. Goes for : COSTS

51. Scoreless Words With Friends turns : SWAPS. I know the app, but I don't have it and have never played it. Good to know that you can swap. Is it like Scrabble when you've got a rack of Q's, W's and K's and you burn a turn dumping all seven tiles and drawing a new set but miss a turn? Always sounded like a bad idea to me.

53. "That's correct" : UH HUH

54. Couple in the news : ITEM

55. Old Chevy : NOVA. Plenty to choose from, but the "V" was there so it was a fill-in.

56. "South Park" co-creator Parker : TREY. Middle name "Genius" IMHO.

57. __ good example : SET A

59. Ancient drink making a comeback : MEAD. Comeback? Really? Tinbeni - have you tried this stuff? I'm sure it can't be pleasant - the whole reason wine was sweetened with honey was because the wine was too nasty to drink.

60. Paris pop : PÉRE.  Because "Orangina" doesn't fit. Neither does "Le Coke".

That's about it! Enjoy your Wednesday!


P.S. I just want to take two seconds to give an enormous shout-out to C.C. for her amazing generosity with her time, encouragement, help and advice to an originally clueless constructor!

Oh wait - I need to upload the grid - I always forget about that!

Notes from C.C.:
1) Working with Steve is unique & inspiring! He grew up in the UK, reads extensively and is very knowledgeable about lots of subjects. He was never discouraged by the "No" answers I sent to him regarding certain themes or fill. He's always eager to learn & is super efficient. Just what you expected from a triathlete.

2) Happy Birthday to Charlotte's grandpa Lemonade, who has been our Friday Sherpa since March 2010. Lemonade sees beauty in every crossword and is attentive to both newbies and regulars. I'm so pleased with his two LAT puzzles and looking forward to his solo. Please click here for more pictures. Love his purple shirt here.

 Charity Award Time

 At Work with Aaron

  Charlotte, happiest baby, bar none