TUESDAY, Feb. 12, 2008 - Deb Amlen (SALSA PERCUSSION)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: (Walking through the park and) Reminiscing - familiar phrases have a RE- prefix attached to the beginning, creating wacky phrases which are then clued, each clue starting "Reminisce about ..."

A very easy Tuesday. My only impediment was the theme itself. It's a fine theme, but I couldn't get into a groove, couldn't pick them off easily. Oh, I also pulled up short / lame at 64D: Home for Bulls, but not Bears: Abbr. (NBA), in that my brain went into a CHI loop, as in "CHI ... CHI ... CHI." Had to pull out and regroup. As for the theme, I'm not sure I noticed the theme until late in the process. I have one criticism about theme implementation - and it involves the last theme answer, RECOUNT CALORIES (which my wife and I both dislike, but for different reasons). For me, RECOUNT is fundamentally different from REMEMBER, RECOLLECT, and RECALL, all of which are specifically memory-related. Now, I realize that all the words here can be used to describe someone actually saying something, and yet my sense of the fundamental difference between the last answers and the others remains. My wife didn't like how CALORIES was clued. "CALORIES is not a 'pig-out,'" she exclaimed. I see what she's saying, and yet can't think of a better way to clue the answer.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Reminisce about a nice facial outline? (re member profile)
  • 27A: Reminisce about spring cleaning? (re collect dust)
  • 47A: Reminisce about working in a restaurant? (re call waiting)
  • 63A: Reminisce about a pig-out? (re count calories)

"Reminisce" is not a word I can type over and over without feeling slightly disoriented. It looks like a typo, like letters are missing. And that -SCE ending! For some reason I can handle it in a word like "coalesce," but with the "i" ... no.

Oh, one other thing, before the bullet list - I had an error. A flat-out error. The kind that will cost me dearly in a tournament situation. Not just a mistake, but a mistake of the kind that a simple once-over will never catch. The problem: 14A: Vega of "Spy Kids" movies (Alexa) - never having heard of such a person, I wrote in ALEXI. This gave me LIMB in the Down cross, which is clearly not an acceptable answer for 5D: Mild-mannered type (lamb), but it's a word nonetheless, and not one anyone is likely to blink at while scanning the puzzle for errors before turning it in. Ugh.

Remarkable things:

  • 15A: Marilyn Monroe facial mark (mole) - weird to have "facial mark" and "facial outline" (17A) in clues so close to one another. Also weird that I just yesterday included Emily Cureton's puzzle-inspired drawing of Ms. Monroe in my write-up.
  • 21A: Cartoon villain Badenov (Boris) - Ah, Cold War cartoon villains. Scrumptious. "Moose and Squirrel!"
  • 22A: Gangsters' gals (molls) - up there with YEGGS among my favorite words. I've spent a lot of time with olde timey crime fiction.
  • 23A: Ambassador's forte (tact) - I like that TACT and TACIT (60A: Not spoken) are both in the puzzle. And that one has to do with speech, and the other with not speaking.
  • 36A: Trifling amount (sou) - this was one of a series of words that came to me instantly, words that I threw into the grid quickly, with more hope than confidence, but that ended up being right. Other such words today included BOAS (67A: Jungle menaces), MANSE (68A: Minister's home), MARACAS (45D: Salsa percussion), and T-TOP (60D: 'Vette roof option).
  • 54A: Starch-yielding palm (sago) - I like this word (which I learned from xwords). I find it ... bouncy. Like POGO mixed with PAGO PAGO mixed with A-GO-GO mixed with ... SAGE?
  • 6D: Lagasse of the Food Network (Emeril) - I think I'm supposed to admire the pairing of this answer with its counterpart BAM (44A: Catchword of 6-Down), but what I admire more is the paralleling of EMERIL with GORILLA (7D: Big bully).
  • 49D: Waikiki wingding (luau) - Wow, "wingding." Nice to see that word up and working again.
  • 61D: Parts of a drum kit (toms) - not ... in my vocabulary, I don't think. TOMS are turkeys, as far as I know.

See you tomorrow,
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 8:58 AM  

I wrote in GOLIATH for 7 Down "Big Bully" and since it worked for EGAD and MOLE it stayed there for a while.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  


"Me play 'tom toms' in jungle.


keith richards 9:54 AM  

Charlie always calls his drums TOMS but I like to calll them Lolas after a bit of a night out.

Norm 9:57 AM  

see picture of drum kit -- including "toms" -- here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drums

Jim in Chicago 9:58 AM  

Very little to say today. I would rate this Easy-Medium as well, although I had an unusually large number of writeovers today (I use pen). My problem was the incorrect assumption that the long clues would all begin with the same word. I got RECOLLECTDUST first, madly filled in RECOLLECTTIPS (which I'm quite fond of as an answer)followed by RECOLLECTORGIES (which I much prefer to RECOUNTCALORIES, BTW).

With the IES for ORGIES all working just fine I was off to the races for awhile, but then nothing else seemed to fit.

Then REMEMBERPROFILE fell into place, seemed quite contorted for the clue, made me think for a minute, at which point the "drop the RE, dummy lightbulb went off" and then it all made sense.

But, as is often the case with Tuesday I'm left with no real feeling of accomplishment.

Orange 10:04 AM  

My aunt and uncle were friends with the Little River Band circa 1979.

PhillySolver 10:49 AM  

I REdeem this a worthy Tuesday puzzle. I will say that I do have several handicaps in my puzzle solving and one is referenced in this blog today. I don't spell nearly well enough to excel and often the errors I have to fix when doing the crosses is how I mis-entered my answer. Today, I put in afords, which doesn't look right here, but was fine for about 30 seconds in the NE. One other write-over was saga not SAGO, but all in all a very smooth Tuesday. Thank you Deb (If I might be so bold as to use your first name.)
Looks like we are giving this high REmarks.

karmasartre 10:52 AM  

The first time you get together with friends to talk over old times you minisce. At subsequent gatherings, you reminisce.

rick 10:58 AM  

and in Crossworld you'll probably get a chance to rereminisce

Leon 11:14 AM  

Boris Badenov's voice was done by Paul Frees who also voiced Morocco Mole.

Here's a clip of Boris characters.

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

The most fun for me today was the reference to Rocky and Bullwinkle. Not until I was much older did I appreciate how much of the humor was way over my head as a child. A good example is today's Badenov which is a play on Godunov (I think). I wonder if Netflix carries this cartoon. Two Ponies

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

One could draw upon the definition of RECOUNT of "to relate or narrate; tell in detail; give the facts or particulars of" even with the dangling preposition.

R. Kane

Frances 11:43 AM  

My favorite clue/answer pair today was ZOUNDS/EGAD. Let's hear it for propriety in expletives!

Michael Greenberg 11:47 AM  

Definitely a fun Tuesday puzzle, if a little quick. I like GRAMMAR and LEARN, and EMERIL and GORILLA make for a fun pair, too. My favorite clues were definitely 55D Honkers (GEESE), which made me laugh, and 53A Messenger ____ (RNA). I'm really happy to see science and computing sneaking into the puzzles -- last week we had both URL and HTTP, no?

wendy 11:47 AM  

Anon 11:17, yes netflix has some nice old Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose stuff. ;)

I love this intro, "For wit so wry and dry it makes Death Valley look like a rainforest habitat, look no further!"

It was definitely one of those subversive shows that could be enjoyed on many levels, no matter your age. I'm sure most of the subtext of the humor went over my head at 9 years of age, but I believe that it infiltrated me on some level and is in part responsible for my various sensibilities today.

Fergus 11:53 AM  

The whole "Rocky and Bullwinkle show was extraordinary. Fractured Fairy Tales, Sherman & Peabody, Bullwinkle's Poetry Corner, etc.

Agree that RECOUNT was the odd man out among the Reminiscences.

The LAW Clue, Postgraduate study, seemed odd to me. In England, postgraduate is anything after BA or other undergraduate degree, but in the US postgraduate refers to work done after a graduate degree. So this seems peculiarly, or should I say, chiefly British?

That the answer GOER stood adjacent to LAME was most appropriate.

Fergus 11:56 AM  

... or maybe not so British, since I think those who read LAW in English Universities start right in as undergraduates.

Jim in NYC 12:02 PM  

The LAW Clue, Postgraduate study, seemed odd to me. In England, postgraduate is anything after BA or other undergraduate degree, but in the US postgraduate refers to work done after a graduate degree. The LAW Clue, Postgraduate study, seemed odd to me. In England, postgraduate is anything after BA or other undergraduate degree, but in the US postgraduate refers to work done after a graduate degree. So this seems peculiarly, or should I say, chiefly British?

I agree. The clue should have been "graduate study" if we're talking about the US.

literarychica 12:22 PM  

prof. rp: does it matter that i would rather do today's puzzle than read melville's "benito cereno"? :-)

Rex Parker 12:30 PM  

While I'm quite sure that the person who commented as "Keith Richards" is not, in fact, *The* Keith Richards, I should say that I just got an excited phone call from my mom asking me if I'd seen who commented on my site today...

And literarychica *should* put the puzzle first. I do think, however, that Melville rates a close second.


jls 12:34 PM  

really enjoyed this puzzle, though it took me a loooooooong time to fathom the theme -- slowing me down on those 4 theme fills; got the "reminisce" part, but was not understanding the big picture enuf. loved the dawning of the light!

>63A: Reminisce about a pig-out? (re count calories)

but "reminisce about food-related energy units" is just so durned on the nose, no? ;-)

"sou" was the *last* to go for me. just couldn't see it to save my life.

lots of vivid imagery with this puzzle as well: gorillas with maracas (and toms...), oatmeal eating grammarians, democrats reading us magazine...

cheers --


Karen 12:56 PM  

I wanted MARIMBAS for percussion, I'm not sure why.

miriam b 1:25 PM  

Rex, I couldn't agree with you more about Emeril. I know he's basically a kind soul, but his TV persona is such that if he happens to come on screen when I'm off guard, I switch off the set without prejudice. He may be a good cook; who knows?

I watched an entire show once just to see whether I was missing something significant. At one point he announced that he was about to add still MORE garlic to a dish. When his claque-like audience went into orgiastic paroxysms, I just couldn't take it. Had they no pride?

Mind you, I love and often consume large quantities of garlic; however, I don't consider it an object of prurient interest, as Chef Bam and his audience apparently do.

Other Food Channel no-nos are Semi-Homemade, which I consider to be Wholly-Imbecilic; and Rachel Ray, whose meteoric rise I can't fathom.
Her food is a nutritional disaster and her constant gesticulation and cutesie catchwords are dreadful. Need I mention her voice?

I miss The Melting Pot. Happily one of its chefs, Michael Simon, is now an Iron Chef and gets to participate in the frenetic romps in Kitchen Stadium. The judges there are often interesting, but Jeffery Steingarten is so full of himself that he doesn't need food.

Way off topic, I'm sorry.

I need some lunch.

dk 2:35 PM  

To all who commented:

You can get Rocky and Bullwinkle's first season on DVD and perhaps through Net-Flix.

My favorite are the metal munching mice who eat all the TV antennas in Frost-bite Falls.

My son (chef) carped about Emeril all the time until we went to his place in NOLA... yum and eat at the bar.

jae 3:21 PM  

Very nice puzzle. I thought this was easier than yesterday's. I also tried MARIMBA, had STARE for GLARE, and agree the RECOUNT seems out of sync with the rest of the theme answers. I always find stuff like GOER a little forced.

I was a big fan of Moose and Squirrel, nice to know Net-Flix has them.

PhillySolver 3:46 PM  

Ok, you Rocky (not the Philly boxer) fans...here is a nostalgic look at your heroes...


and I am going to try an HTML called here... VIDEO

JC66 4:34 PM  

Thanks, phillysolver.


Orange 4:59 PM  

I had reservations at Emeril's NOLA restaurant around 1994, but I had a terrible cold and cancelled, much to my husband's disappointment. Then Emeril got famous on the Food Network, and I had regrets. Until I learned that one of his mottoes is "Pork fat rules!" I won't eat anything cooked with/in lard or bacon grease. Nope.

doc John 8:10 PM  

Interesting that today's puzzle has TOMS when so many people (myself included) wrote it in a day early in yesterday's puzzle (well, the singular anyway).

This puzzle left me a bit flat and not thrilled about the theme or the cluing, especially the "pig out" part. Also, People's rival is Us Weekly, not US MAGAZINE (their website is usmagazine.com), although it's hard to call them rivals- their content is vastly different. That said, it wasn't hard to figure out what the true fill was, so I guess the clue did its job OK.
I did like [48D. Unlike this answer]=ACROSS, though.

billnutt 8:17 PM  

I wa never a fan of the limited animation donefor TV shows (of which the Hanna-Barbera programs were the first, I think). But Jay Ward's shows were a triumph of writing and timing.

That's a long way of syaing that, yes, I'm another fan of Moose and Squirrel. And let's not forget the versatile vocals of June Foray, who was both ROcky AND Natasha Fatale. (And who, in real life, swears like a sailor, according to my nephew, who's met her.)

Today's puzzle was - as others have pointed out - a Tuesday. OK, but nothing startling. I likede the proximity of APSE and MANSE. I also like BAM and EMERIL both being in. (I ate at Emeril's at Universal Studios in Orlando. Oh baby...)

Now if you'll excuse me, it's time to watch the Westminster Dog Show.

Hope school has a delayed opening tomorrow!

Now if y

Bill from NJ 10:31 PM  

Had STARE for GLARE which held me up for a time but all in all a brisk solve

Anonymous 4:17 PM  

I'm shocked that no one else has pointed this out (I'm very late getting to this week's puzzles):
There is no such thing as "Us Magazine." Since the year 2000, the publication is known as "Us Weekly." Either the clue should be "Former People rival," or the answer should be different.

Anonymous 2:58 PM  

CAlady said:
Can't agree more with Marian! Am I the only one out here who USED to watch the Food Channel? It has become an in-group of "chefs"-and eternal reruns. But the TV I watch when I can is Crosswords-was that Orange the other day in green sweater? Sorry she lost, but the puzzle was an almost unfair one. Full of the type of words that would be mostly "gettable" only with help from the cross words, which of course weren't there!

Anonymous 6:51 PM  

Late Anonynous @ 4:17 PM - Doc John already pointed that out.
But nobody mentioned that 5d and 7d were both animals, and symmetrically 45d and 61d were both percussion instruments.
This may be a stretch but you also had RECOUNT and GOER (almost Gore)in a Tuesday puzzle.
I never got to see much of Rocky and Bullwinkle, but I didn't like what I did see because it was always continued until next time, never any conclusions. Even the "Cold War" eventually ended; I think that it had something to do with it being Canadian.

SW LaGland

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