THURSDAY, Sep. 13, 2007 - Joe Krozel & Victor Fleming

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Legal phrases - 7 15-letter answers all related to the legal system

This puzzle is pretty damned impressive. Can't say that I've seen this many 15-letter answers in a Thursday puzzle. It's usually Friday or Saturday before you see stacks of 15s. And almost all of those answers are good ones - the one stretch was ADMISSION TO BAIL (32A: Order sought by an accused before trial) - though I'm sure it's a legitimate phrase, it's not as in-the-non-professional-language as the others are. The non-theme fill doesn't suffer too much in order to accommodate all the long answers, either. There's perhaps one too many trips to the foreign-language well - ESSA (13D: What she is in Italy), ERES (41A: You are, in Aragon), ESSE (42A: De bene _____ (of conditional validity)), PASTO (22D: Meal, in Milan), TASSE (37D: French cup) - but a lot of the necessitated abbreviations (e.g. 51D: From Nineveh: Abbr. (Assyr.)) and two-word phrases (e.g. 38D: "Coffee _____?" ("... or tea")) are actually very appealing. And the puzzle managed to stay pretty easy despite containing at least three answers that were totally unknown to me.

The theme answers:

  • 14A: Serious crimes (capital offenses)
  • 17A: Perry Mason line ("The defense rests") - I love that the legal world of this puzzle included a line from the work of the guy whose name probably appears in the puzzle as much as if not more than any other: ERLE Stanley Gardner. Also, I just love that the puzzle went to fiction at all. Way to spread out the frame of reference.
  • 39A: Hearing, e.g. (court appearance)
  • 40A: Lawyers' requests at trials (motions to strike)
  • 57A: Equals at a trial (jury of one's peers)
  • 63A: Specialist's offering (expert testimony)

Here's the stuff I didn't know:

  • 5D: Erstwhile military aux. (W.A.F.) - Women in the Air Force; this seems pretty obscure. If you Google [waf] there is exactly one site that comes up in any relation to the Air Force, and it's about the W.A.F. band.
  • 66A: _____ Tamid (synagogue lamp) (Ner) - if W.A.F. is obscure, this is invisible. Yikes. Does anyone not in the religion know this?
  • 28A: Dr. _____ Schneider, historian who was a love interest of Indiana Jones (Elsa) - you're kidding me, right? Half of me hates this, the other half loves that you went to a tertiary character in an 80s adventure flick when you could just as easily have gone to the damned lion. Good for you.
  • 26A: "_____ Robin Gray" (classic Scottish ballad) ("Auld") - "Screw 'Lang Syne,' I'm going with more crap no one's heard of!" - again, I have to respect this move.
  • 18A: Crest bearer, in heraldry (orle) - I knew this at one point in my life, but that point was not last night.
  • 61D: Good name for a flight attendant? (Stu) - oh (I just got it this second), is this because it's short for STEWARD? Man, that is capital "L" Lame.

Must take daughter to school. More in a bit.

And I'm back...

Liked the combination of ACTOR (1D: Part of a company) and EMOTE (46D: Overplay). Also loved the vintage pop culture ("vintage" in relation to my lifetime) we find in 4A: Johnny Carson persona (Swami) - I was thinking Carnac - and 47A: Title locale in a Cheech Marin film (East L.A.) - I can hear the theme song as I sit here typing (sung to the tune of Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A."). I believe Mr. Marin, in some form or another, has now been in the puzzle more this year than many, many actors of, let's say, higher stature. Which is to say I've seen him at least twice.

Rough but ultimately gettable for me were 9D: First multiracial coeducational college in the South (Berea) - this resurfaced after being buried in my memory since the days when I was researching colleges; 25D: Steel support for concrete (rebar), which was probably a gimme for many of you, as it was for my wife; and 49D: Fastenable, as labels (tie-on) - took me a few passes to parse because of that unlikely -EO- sequence. 29D: Legal scholar Guinier (Lani) was a gimme for me, but must have been rough for at least some people, as, outside of legal circles, she was only famous for like a month in 1993 when Clinton nominated her to be Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. That ... did not go well. She sort of got shafted. Must ... keep ... blog ... apolitical ...

My favorite answer of the day: 8D: Suppose (If, say, ...). I would have expected [Suppose] to be in quotation marks, because it's being used in highly colloquial fashion. But still, that's just a perfect use of colloquialism - saves the puzzle from what would likely have been a difficult rewrite, with the probable result being a much less interesting Far North.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

45 comments:

HappyDad 9:10 AM  

I thought the "Stu" answer was actually the funniest one in the puzzle. That's what makes horse-racing, I guess!

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

Me too, Stu.

Maybe it was all that scary courtroom drama but I also loved the appearance of

Night stand leader?

That was ONE for the books.

Penny (Puns 'R Us)

Alex 10:23 AM  

I too was unfamiliar with ADMISSION TO BAIL but figured it out.

One problem I had with THE DEFENSE RESTS (though I like it on its own) is that I don't think this line was ever uttered by Perry Mason. The famous cliche of that show was that the real murderer would always be revealed in a dramatic courtroom confession while the trial was still ongoing. I don't recall a trial ever actually going to jury so Mason was never given a chance to rest his case. Matlock would have been better since his cases almost always went to jury where the defendant was found not guilty.

It is a very impressive feat of construction. But the other day I said I really don't like the use of foreign words to fill the grid since it feels like a cheap way out once painted into a corner. It seems like almost any combination of letters is a word in some language.

And even though most were gettable and some more common in English, for me there was just too much to enjoy it.

Italian: PASTO, ESSA (and everything I've looked up says ESSE is not even a current Italian word for she but rather a feminine it)
Latin: ESSE
Greek: ZETA
Hebrew: NER
French: TASSE
French abbreviation: STE
Jamaican accent: MON
Scots: AULD
Spanish: ERES, TIOS

mmpo 10:27 AM  

I don't know if it's still used, but stu (or is it stew? probably not) was definitely in the language some years ago...Where did I first hear it? Was it in "Coffee, Tea or Me?" (And I like the OR TEA just above STU).
Thought this was a wonderful puzzle but was totally stumped by top third. Did a Google search on the exact phrase cluing 9D and was directed to one and only one site (now there are two), a blog by Donald, who contributes here, done up in waffling legalese today -- very funny.
http://donald-tnytciglargeprint.blogspot.com/

mmpo 10:42 AM  

Of course, Alex, you're entitled to not like having so many foreign words or bits of words in the puzzle, but with the possible exception of ner, these are all very much in the language for a broadly educated English speaker. To my mind, all of these bits are very much in the spirit of the NYT crossword, which purports to take clues from a wide range of human knowledge (among well educated English speakers).
I won't go through your list point by point, but here's one: we all sing Auld Lang Syne to herald the new year.

Jerome 10:56 AM  

I thought this was a terrific puzzle for a Thursday.

Those of us alive during WWII are very familiar with WAF as well as the Flintstones' DINO.

No, you don't have to be non-Jewish to not know NER Tamid.

Yes, pre-PC, flight attendants were always referred to as stewardesses, or stews for shorts, and therefore, STU is a great answer to 61D.

Like you, I had to use crosses to get ELSA & AULD.

Not knowing ELSA, REBAR was a bear for me to get.

Kumar 11:05 AM  

Got snagged in two places. Keep thinking it was not entirely my fault.

Had "Remission to bail" instead of "Admission to bail" in 34 Across. While I had not heard of Remission earlier, I confirmed that "Remission of bail" was a phrase in use and thaught this was a variant. Oh well.

The other problem was spelling "Offenses" as "Offences" in 14 Across. That was how they taught me to spell it where I grew up and 35 years in the US has not changed this instinctive childhood reflex.

jae 11:15 AM  

This one felt more like a Friday or Saturday. Not easy-medium for me but definitely doable. I had FEDERALOFFENSE for a while (eventhough I was pretty sure 4d was STE) so the top third took a while. The lucky guess of the day was the MAHRE ORLE crossing. I did not know either one and guessed right on the R. I'm with Alex on the abundance of foreign words, too many for a Thursday. Otherwise a fine effort.

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

Between Born Free and Indiana Jones, didn't we see Mrs. Charles Laughton a few weeks ago?

windsor9

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

Phil and Steve Mahre are twin brothers who were superb skiers in the late '70s and early '80s. Phil is generally considered to be the greatest male American skier of all time. He won the World Cup several times in the early '80s. Phil and Steve once finished 1-2 in a slalom event in the Olympics. Bode Miller might have replaced Phil as the greatest American skier, but his inconsistency and, in particular, his failure to win at the last Olympics have tarnished his star.

Steve M

karmasartre 12:15 PM  

My first thought, after seeing all the legal-related clues, was calling in Harriet Miers to work the grid: she's far more qualified.

I had none of the 15-letter answers for quite a while. Finally the "ff" from IFSAY and FETE, combined with the "al" from WAC and ALE, gave me CAPITALOFFENSE. But, the fact that WAC was wrong caused a RELAPS.

Eventually I got rolling, but found it nicely challenging all the way through. LANI crossing ELSA required guesswork. I liked "Kind of hand" for HIRED.

Aside to Perry fans -- around 1958, MAD magazine had a one-page cartoon featuring Perry Masonmint. The murder occured at home plate in Yankee Stadium during a game. Mister Burger's assistant tells him "We have the murder weapon, a signed confession, and 50,000 witnesses." Mister Burger says, "I don't care, what night is the trial and who is the defense attorney?" Assistant: "Saturday night and Perry Masonmint." Mr. Burger: "We're sunk!"

Fergus 12:32 PM  

My first encounter with the term 'Stew' came from Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" which was a diary account of the 1969 baseball season. Even if you're indifferent to baseball this is a very amusing story about "grown men playing a children's game." (May not be the exact quote, but close enough.)

Since this puzzle was more of a start-right-in than a stare-befuddled-at-all-the-clues variety, I didn't get the theme until the JURY ... TESTIMONY showed up. I liked ESQUE down in that region; not something I'd seen before, but it was the key that opened up the puzzle for me.

The only follow-ons that came to mind from Lazy____, were BONES and SUSAN, which along with REBAR, gave the middle tier enough to go on. But I was stuck on Perry Mason being a prosecutor, so the DEFENSE never sprouted from my bean, which as a clue for IDEA was as clever as it was cheesy.

I got the wrong language on 41A since I confused Catherine of Aragon with Eleanor of Acquitaine, but that was just sloppy thinking. On the issue of non-English clues, I'm almost fully accepting. Xhosa term for exhumation, might however be taking that liberty a bit too far.


---


Note to Blogger Rex: It's seems like the spell-check in the comments section works in Firefox but not in Explorer. I've noticed several other differences between the two browsers. Could point them out, if you're curious.

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Foreign and soiled? I guess they wanted it that way because, as mentioned before, they had other options.

Greek: ZETA Jones
Hebrew: NER Plan's end
French: TASSE Demi's mate?
STE a total gimme
Jamaican accent: MON Tue Wed
Scots: AULD Lang Syne as mentioned
Spanish: ERES to ya, matey!
TIOS another puzzle gimme

Remember the other day? Cabinets and grinders and such. Just remembered a most amazing term used by Italians on Federal Hill in R.I. Spaghetti sauce is called GRAVY!

Penny

Jonathan 12:56 PM  

Net Tamid is also the name of the Boy Scouts religious award for Jewish Scouts

Fergus 1:23 PM  

The Sopranos gang were all dripping in GRAVY, too. I especially enjoyed Paulie's request for the familiar sort when presented with the squid ink sort in Napoli.

And since Perry Mason was the name of the show, I guess it doesn't require that he utter the line.

Orange 2:18 PM  

Penny, I don't think Will Shortz would go for [Plan's end] for NER, as NER isn't a suffix (the -ER is, and then the N is doubled).

Katie 2:43 PM  

I still don't get the "Bean sprout?" clue. Can someone explain to me how this relates to "idea"?

Anonymous 3:11 PM  

to katie---one's brain is sometimes called one's bean, hence something coming from your bean or 'sprouting' is an idea.

I liked the opposites of the long answers--offense versus defense and peer versus expert.

Mary 3:19 PM  

I knew that watching all those "Law & Order" reruns would pay off!

Katie, "bean" is a colloquialism for "head" so something that sprouts from one's head might be an "idea." Maybe not a great one.

Anonymous 3:29 PM  

To MMPO et al:
Yes, foreign language clues are fine as long as they are accurate. Having started with ELLA (for "she" in Italian) it took me quite a while to fix the top half of the puzzle. Yes, ESSA is the feminine form of "it" in Italian - but if that makes it "she" then every word in its feminine form would be a possible answer (ugh).

DS

Vic 4:00 PM  

Thanks for all the nice comments on the Thursday Times puzzle. Rest assured that it was largely Joe's work. He sent me a filled grid that needed a bit of tweaking, which I did. I then sent it to Will with a set of clues that needed tweaking, which he did - and he did it well.

Vic

Spencer 4:04 PM  

Rex,

You left out 32A Admission to bail from your list of theme answers.

I wasn't alive during WWII, but I still knew WAF (although I had WAC first).

jlsnyc 4:20 PM  

"one night stand"

the b'way show avenue q is a fave of mine. it follows the sesame street model, using puppets and humans to give little "life lessons."

this show includes puppet sex and nudity and is not fer kids. ;-)

the jumping off point for one of the little lessons involves casual sex. projected stage right and left are graphics depicting, first: 5 nightstands; then, 4 nightstands; then 3... down to...

so glad to re-visit the idea as a puzzle clue and fill!

cheers!

janie

PNR 4:45 PM  

Hated REBAR. Rebar reinforces concrete, doesn't support it.

Karen 5:10 PM  

When I realized it was legal clues, my heart sank, since I don't watch L&O or Perry Mason or Matlock. However, after getting the bottom clues I perked up, and felt good at completing this different puzzle. Were many of the fill clues legal also? There was LANI (and boo crossing two obscure names), what about De bene ESSE? I thought there were one or two others also.

Anon 3:11, thanks for pointing out the symmetry of the clues, I missed that.

Anonymous 5:12 PM  

Loved the puzzle, though as usual I got some of the ones Rex didn't know immediately, and missed many of his gimmes, at least on the first few passes.

Isn't REBAR a contraction of reinforcing (or reinforcement) bar? Or is it its own word at this point?

Anonymous 5:29 PM  

don't think Will Shortz would go for [Plan's end] for NER ...

Well nerts say I.

Penny

Fergus 5:42 PM  

Simpson's fans will be reminded of the episode where Grandpa makes it his mission to have a major thoroughfare be named the Matlock Freeway to honor the great man.

C zar 6:20 PM  

Well, an apt puzzle for me today. Why? because I had to go to court this morning (a minor disagreement about the speed limit on our local highway) and because my name is Stu!

This is one of the very rare times that I've seen my name clued in a puzzle, and I have to admit I'm not impressed with the clue. First, I thought stewardess and stew were no longer politically correct terms for flight attendants. Second, are there no great people in the world named Stu? How about Disco Stu on the Simpsons? Stu Phillips, composer for Battlestar Galactica? Stu Dodge the director of "Cheerleader Autopsy"?

-- Stu

campesite 6:22 PM  

This was a very good puzzle, but somewhat intimidating: 2 two-tiered stacks and one three-tiered stack of 15-letter word answers with a legal theme? Yet the puzzle was clued cleverly and fairly, so it fell for me. Maybe the BOOZE helped.

Alex 6:32 PM  

mmpo said...

Of course, Alex, you're entitled to not like having so many foreign words or bits of words in the puzzle, but with the possible exception of ner, these are all very much in the language for a broadly educated English speaker.


I just just don't like it stylistically. I except that it is valid fill but I'm a broadly read American who did all of his foreign language study in non-Romance languages (Russian, German, and Arabic, and Japanese) so having to keep straight the pronouns and conjugations of "to be" in French, Italian, Spanish, and Latin annoys me.

But these weren't all that hard, TIOS and NER were the only ones that posed a big problem (I still don't know which men in the family are tios). I just think 11 of them is excessive.

And we don't sing Auld Lang Syne, though I am certainly aware of the song. I have never actually been anywhere on New Year's Eve that it was sung. It is something I only see in movies and on TV.

ayoung 6:57 PM  

I was all ready to put in escutcheon for 18A and, darn it, there were only four spaces. I was initially daunted with today's puzzle; more like a Friday but I "gnawed" at it for awhile. Admission to bail still doesn't sound right and needed to know that a comma is needed to understand 8D.

wade 7:24 PM  

Thanks jlysnc for explaining "one night stand."

The MAHRE/ORLE crossing was foul play in my book, but hey, we all got our own different books. Great puzzle notwithstanding.

aaron 7:25 PM  

I had LIT instead of ATE for [Showed enthusiasm for, with "up"], which I still like better. Other than that, though, I was very pleased that this puzzle was at once specialized and accessible. I'd never heard of ADMISSION TO BAIL either, but I've never seen so many 15-stacks before, especially not all with the same theme, and that more than makes up for it.

Chip Ahoy 7:50 PM  

Me like lawyer puzzle.

Anonymous 7:53 PM  

Ner Tamid is admittedly obscure, but it's a nice touch given that today is Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year).

Anonymous 8:02 PM  

I had LIT instead of ATE for [Showed enthusiasm for, with "up"]

Just realized how funny my take was on this one considering my age and recent lack of sleep. I had SAT :-)

Penny

jae 8:55 PM  

The WAF was a post WWII organization created around 1948. The WWII women pilots were called WASPs (Womens Airforce Service Pilots) . The USAF actually wasn't a separate organization until after WWII. During the war it was part of the Army.

jae 9:26 PM  

BTW I hope the WAF info makes up for poo boy.

Anonymous 10:35 PM  

ONE NIGHT STAND was the best for me.

Kahlaala 2:41 AM  

I figured out Bean sprout after awhile, but still can't get the connection in 49D "Fastenable, as labels" = "Tie-on"??

Anonymous 8:05 AM  

kahlaala,

Think about those little tag thingies that have string through a hole punched in them that _ _ _ _ _ to, say, an item of furniture at a yard sale.

kim 9:31 AM  

Loved 'bean sprout' 'stu' and 'one night stand'.

My favorite Perry Mason line is mid-way through the show when he barks at his client "What ELSE haven't you told me?"

Martin 1:26 PM  

Yeah, good puzzle. Vic Fleming is a judge in Little Rock, which probably helped with the theme.

I got sidetracked thinking of Columbo line: "just one more thing..." for the Perry Mason clue. They live so close together in my brain.

shirleyinboston 5:32 PM  

I, too, wasn't alive during WWII, but gees, I thought the WAF was better known...women of the Air Force were integrated into the full USAF in 1974, but were WAF's beforehand. (Ok, I'm a former AF officer....)
Great site...I really appreciate knowing others are out there thinking through the same entertaining head-scratchers. (I found this one in a collection of NYT puzzles, so I'm a bit late to the party...)

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