WEDNESDAY, Nov. 5, 2008 - Doug Peterson (Truman declaration of 9/2/45 / Pink-legged wader / Dickens moniker)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: LONG DIVISION (55A: Arithmetic exercise ... or what literally occurs in 20-, 33- and 40-Across) - the word LONG is "divided" by intervening letters, resulting in three different phrases

I was up late watching this Awesome fight, so I don't have much gas in the tank this morning. I like that LONG is "divided" three different ways in the three theme answers (with the split after the N, the O, and the L, respectively). I'm not that fond of the answers themselves, as LONE STAR FLAG (20A: Sight at the Texas capital) feels like a poor substitute for LONE STAR STATE, and LOBSTER FISHING (33A: It's done in Maine waters) is more commonly known as LOBSTERING, if my daughter's picture books are to be believed (their reliability is sketchy, I'll admit):

LANCE ARMSTRONG (40A: Athlete with four ESPY awards) is a fine answer, but not exactly scintillating.

I confess to a massive crush on Peggy NOONAN (31A: Political columnist Peggy) and therefore must object to this puzzle's smashing her in the head with the word VIRAGOS (9D: Shrewish sorts). She's a lot of things, but a VIRAGO isn't one of them (not sure about LONI - 22D: Anderson of "WKRP in Cincinnati"). There were just two iffy parts for me in this puzzle. the first was the West, where LHASA - better known to me in its APSO form - remained elusive for a bit (33D: Captial with the Potala Palace), and ASKANT ... well, the "old-style" part of the clue does mitigate the blow a bit, but not much. The word looks and sounds fantastic, but so does SKARDANT ... if you follow (if you don't follow, SKARDANT is not a word). The next iffy part (iffier) was the far SW, where I had to burrow hard to get into that little crevice, where rat-like BOZ (58D: Dickens moniker) was hiding with his pal IPO (59D: N.Y.S.E. event). The only real breeze among those 5-letter Acrosses was OP ART (63A: Dizzying hangings), which was a breeze Only because I am a trained professional and therefore adept at spotting this oddly common answer. BIJOU (58A: Delicate ornament) tricked me because I didn't know being "delicate" was part of the job, and ZOWIE (66A: "Awesome!") ... well, it could have been WOWIE the first time I saw it.

Special notice:

  • 15A: Dose deliverer (hypo) - "deliverer" is almost, but not quite, as bad as APER (7D: Simon Says player). "Player" is free to go.
  • 9A: Truman declaration of 9/2/45 (VJ Day) - an answer I like for its consonant pile-up. See also the weird consonant combo at the end of P AND G (26D: Consumer products giant, briefly). That's one of your less common ampersandwiches.
  • 2D: It can create quite a buzz (kazoo) - always an attractive word in the puzzle. Always an annoying instrument in real life. Here is the "song" that immediately comes to mind when I see KAZOO, or even think of the sound a KAZOO makes. God bless/curse Sid & Marty Croft:

  • 1D: Pink-legged wader (stilt) - man, there are a lot of waders. Yesterday AVOCET, today STILT. These are slightly higher-end waders. Normally it's all EGRETs and IBISeseses.
  • 5D: Event with a 16-pound ball (shot put) - good clue/answer. And BOWLING fits, dammit.
  • 13D: Couturier's monogram (YSL) - among the recently deceased crossword icons. See also YMA SUMAC.
  • 29D: Prime minister after Eshkol (Meir) - had the ME-, so no problem. Actually, just seeing that the answer was four letters long would probably have gotten me the right answer. I think I've actually seen ESHKOL in a puzzle before. That's just mean.
  • 43D: Morning TV staple since 1997 ("The View") - one of the most merciful things about the end of this campaign season is that I no longer have to suffer the major news networks treating ignorant shouting matches on "The View" as if they are news. "The View" - Bad for Women, Bad for America. Why can't Sarah Vowell, Samantha Bee, Wanda Sykes, and Betty White have a morning show? Come on, Barack. You have magic powers, right? Let's see some Real change.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS "Safety Dance" finished yesterday's Video-as-President voting just two votes ahead of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (out of 202 votes cast). Since neither video got anywhere near 50% of the vote, there will be an early January run-off, which, one can only hope, I will forget all about.


Orange 9:24 AM  

VIRAGO's archaic definition is "a woman of masculine strength or spirit; a female warrior." Sometimes modernity is no improvement: The current definition's "a domineering, violent, or bad-tempered woman." You see what the patriarchy did to a perfectly good and powerful word? They turned it into a slur. I'm reclaiming it.

Let me deplore [Shrewish sorts] as the clue. I'm trying to purge "shrew" as a female-only insult from our language.

PuzzleGirl 9:54 AM  

Fun puzzle. Never Ever seen the word VIRAGO before. And I had trouble parsing OP-ART (most likely because I'm just an amateur). The only thing I really didn't like in this puzzle was baby BUMP. For some reason, that phrase creeps me out. And I'm pretty sure I told Doug that the last time he had it in one of his puzzles. So Doug, what up?

I was trying to decide if any other women should be considered for your proposed View rival and ... nope. You nailed it.

joho 10:01 AM  

I liked this theme ... I don't remember seeing a word broken up in this fashion. I also liked seeing ZOWIE, VIRAGOS, KAZOO, ASKANT, BIJOU and BOZ in the grid.
A really nice Wednesday puzzle.

Shamik 10:05 AM  

I'll stand shoulder to shoulder with Orange against the definition for VIRAGO. VIRAGOS (or VIRAGOES) of the world unite!

Baby BUMP? What is that? I'm certainly hoping it doesn't pertain to the pregnant female form. If so, it is as daunting a definition as VIRAGO.

ASKANT is awkward. You can look "askance" at someone, but haven't ever seen ASKANT.

Going to call this one a medium-challenging, but then I had trouble sleeping last night...too much adrenaline.

OHMY for OHNO (it could happen)

PANDG is just plain ugly. Cold this morning in the Phoenix area. Guess I'll have to close the windows.

Crosscan 10:13 AM  

Please, no run-off. I have conceded to Orange (see comment in the voting thread). Let the healing begin!

LO-NG puzzle actually a short one for me.

HudsonHawk 10:16 AM  

Some of the boys in Stand By Me would object to the cluing for 11D:

Gordie: Alright, alright, Mickey's a mouse, Donald's a duck, Pluto's a dog, what's Goofy?
Vern: If I could only have one food for the rest of my life? That's easy, Pez, cherry-flavored Pez. No question about it.
Teddy: Goofy's a dog. He's definitely a dog.
Gordie: I knew the $64,000 question was fixed. There's no way anybody could know that much about opera!
Chris: He can't be a dog. He drives a car and wears a hat.
Gordie: Wagon Train's a really cool show, but did you notice they never get anywhere? They just keep wagon training.
Vern: Oh, God. That's weird. What the hell is Goofy?

miriam b 10:42 AM  

VIRAGO: Nasty word, derived from the Latin vir = man.

I'm free-associating as is my wont:

"Arma virumque cano..."

And of course there's the wonderful British publishing house Virago Press, which specializes in books about women and no doubt titled its enterprise with tongue in cheek.

Frances 10:53 AM  

Another context for VIRAGO:

In Cole Porter's appallingly male-chauvinist-piggish but exceedingly clever "Kiss Me, Kate" (based on "Taming of the Shrew," an early example of male-chauvinist-piggery), Petruchio ruminates about his previous lady-loves, and recalls "...Fedora, the wild VIRAGO; it's lucky I missed her gangster sister from Chicago."

Wade 10:55 AM  

I thought the objection to Goofy being a dog was that he owned a dog, Pluto.

Betty White? I don't know who any of those other women are, but Betty White?

Good Wednesday puzzle--I have no objection to LONE STAR FLAG, though I agree it's not quite a phrase that rolls off the tongue. I don't understand how "askant" is different from "askance." Are they both adverbs? I'd have thought askance was similarly old-style--when I hear it used, I hear at least a suggestion of quotation marks around it. I guess if I heard anybody use "askant" the quotation marks would scream out, and in any event I'd probably hit the person.

Janie 11:09 AM  

shamik said: PANDG is just plain ugly.

for me it was not ugly visually. it was an annoying reminder to me, however, that i *still* forget to think of "(initial) AND (initial)" with this kinda clue/fill some 80% of the time...

on the other hand, loved the look of GOOFF in the grid -- and solving this one in general. especially in the euphoric aftermath of last night's news.

happy day!!!!!



archaeoprof 11:09 AM  

Mis-starts: "part" for SKIM, "evenup" for TOSSUP, "ejects" for EVICTS.

In Cincinnati, my home town, there has long been a radio and tv station, WKRC. So the show was always close to home.

chefbea1 11:18 AM  

This morning when the clock radio came on guess what song was playing.... total eclipse of the moon!!
What do we call that?

Great puzzle and very easy. Second time recently that oreo has been an after lunch snack.

Peter 11:32 AM  

Nice puzzle by Mr Peterson today -- I wished I'd thought of the theme.

As for the video voting, I wonder how many people succumbed to the "Tyler Effect"? That is, they went in fully intending to vote for "Total Eclipse of the Heart", but when it cam time to pull the lever, they just couldn't bring themselves to vote for someone with big hair.


Wade 11:39 AM  

That voting is rigged, by the way. I know because I voted seven or eight times for Total Eclipse myself.

Orange 11:41 AM  

We appreciate Crosscan's gracious concession and look forward to coming together as a nation. Keep hope alive! Our children may someday know a land where neither "Total Eclipse of the Heart" nor "The Safety Dance" will matter.

Z.J. Mugildny 11:43 AM  

I found this one more on the challenging side for a Wednesday. Solid puzzle though -- good theme with some lively fill.

ArtLvr 11:46 AM  

I'm with Orange on a campaign to purge pervasive perjoratives for women from civil discourse, but we do have an uphill battle here -- hard to pick one example to make taboo, like the N- word vis a vis racism. Too bad such humor was a staple of society for eons and Shakespeare such a genius!

The divisions of LONG march down at a slant from LON-G through LO-NG to L-ONG, like those ANT inclusions in a recent puzzle. A bit too abstract compared with creepy-crawlies and not as many of them, though. It's not quite a pangram either. There were good moments -- I liked the GOOFF ending with cross in a FOG, and others already mentioned.

Not particularly keen on "baby" BUMP, but it reminds me of an occasion long ago when I was enlightened about various cultures' biases in the humor area. There was an American film shown on an airplane flight which featured a very pregnant woman floundering around in an upper berth -- the viewers from the US found it a riot and certain others definitely did not. I think the explanation was that the French see joking about pregnancy as disgustingly bad taste... Chacun a son gout.


p.s. Golda Meir was from Chicago, like our new President!

chefbea1 11:57 AM  

I meant: total eclipse of the heart.... not moon. Sorry. no trash can

gypsy 11:58 AM  

I had to stare at GO OFF for quite a while, trying to figure out what a GOOFF was. Time for more coffee.

Not a fan of PANDG or baby BUMP...for me, anything involving pregnancy doesn't quite pass the Sunday Morning Breakfast Test.

gypsy 11:59 AM  

Also, I always thought Goofy was a cow.

Cheryl 12:28 PM  

I had trouble in the SW and didn't get it until I looked at it a second time this morning when OP
ART poppped into my head.

I exacerbated my mistake of half for SKIM by writing in heron for my wader. So I ended up backing into that section with Lone star flag, realizing my error and cursing the hubris of ink over pencil.

I know clues like to be alliterative, but isn't totem (53D, Clan carving) more of a tribe thing than a clan thing?

Enjoyed the puzzle very much.

Doug 12:31 PM  

I thought I was going to get shut out on this one, courtesy of Washington and Cal-ee-FOR-nee-ah (spoken in good Austrian English.)

Washington: TACO is not a "munchie" unless Americans have finally decided that those little Doritos are simply too much effort and a TACO-sized chip is required for the job. KAZOO: Had DRINK, JOINT, but alas no. SKIM: Had SEMI,PART,SOME,HALF.

Calif: No gimmees so just played with it off IPO and LYNN, LARA, LANI, LANA, etc. until LORI seemed to work.

I work in the grocery biz, so PANDG was a gimmee. One person's Dante is another's soap powder manufacturer....

Can say that I've only seen THEVIEW for the amount of time it takes my remote control finger to blast past it. Amazingly, 4 of the women offer complete sentences on top of each other in that short time span.

mexgirl 12:41 PM  

Mickey has a friend who is a dog, and a pet who is a dog. His dog-friend wears clothes and talks so, I guess, he (and we) can't get confused as to which one he should take out for a walk... although, in all fairness, both dogs are kind of stupid and Mickey has to always get them out of trouble or is scolding them all the time.
Maybe, this whole idea has always been a shameful attempt to perpetuate cartoon discrimination toward poor old, domestic or not, dogs.
Shame on you Walt!

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

But what is BOS for? Do tell!

miriam b 1:07 PM  

Do you mean BOZ? That was Dickens' nom de plume.

Orange 1:18 PM  

I forgot to mention this recent Onion article: "900-Pound Giant Squid Joins Cast of 'The View'."

Karen 1:20 PM  

Man, I would totally watch Rex's View. I love Sarah Vowell. (I've got a copy of that book on my coffee table). Maybe Orange could participate too.

Easy-medium for me too. I thought BOZ was a gimme and OP ART slowed me down, for some reason I briefly had St Elmo instead of OLAF, thankfully I never saw the P&G clue. INGE is my go-to guy for four-letter playwrights, I'm happy to see him.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Stealing directly from "Wiki Answers":

Dickens said that Boz was 'the nickname of a pet child, a younger brother, whom I had dubbed Moses, in honour of Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield, which, being pronounced Bozes, got shortened into Boz'. The real name of the brother was Augustus. Dickens' own son was christened Charles Culliford Boz Dickens.

Dickens used a pen-name for his first stories because he was, at the time, a serious political columnist, and the lightweight sketches and stories he first published might have damaged his credibility.

Janie 1:34 PM  

artlvr -- it ain't deep, but i'm pretty sure that golda meir was a wisconsin gal (by way of russia of, course!). or did the family stop in chi-town first?



evil doug 1:50 PM  

Nobody in its hq city, Cincy, says "Procter and Gamble." Always P&G. Adding Loni and the Ohio River makes this a Queen City can of corn. Or box of Tide....

Had my first--whatchamacallit?--when I started out with "oreo" in the "taco" spot, only to correct it and use oreo later.

If Goofy and Pluto were in Korea, who would eat who? My money's on Pluto being the diner, Goof the dinner....


miriam b 1:57 PM  

@artLvr 11:46 AM: I thought Golda Meir was from Milwaukee. Could be wrong - too rushed to Google right now. I do know that her sister, Clara Stern, lived in Bridgeport.

I would probably not have been amused at the film involving the pregnant woman because it would have brought back memories of a harrowing personal experience.

One lovely summer day long ago I accidentally locked myself out of the house. I was barefoot (and very pregnant!)at the time. This fact figures in the narrative. I decided to climb in through a window, this being back in the pre-paranoia era when people didn't always lock their ground-floor windows. As I was raising the sash, a yellow jacket stung me on the sole of my foot.

rafaelthatmf 2:02 PM  

No puzzle for me today. All dead tree versions sold out. Did something important happen last night?

Mike the Wino 2:36 PM  

BOWLING not only fit, it was the first word I put in the grid, mostly because my ball is 16 lbs (and it hooks like a big dog!). So that screwed me up for awhile.

That Wanda Sykes is one funny chick. Her "racist dolphin" routine was hilarious. I think she'd be AWESOME as a replacement for any of the others on The View, whoever they are...

Chip Hilton 2:44 PM  

One of my life goals is to attend the St. OLAF's holiday choral concert. As tickets are harder to score than fourth round at The Masters, guess it'll have to remain a dream.

Nice puzzle, easy for midweek, but BIJOU was new to me. Thought of it only as a movie house!

Jet City Gambler 3:07 PM  

BOZ was also a disasterous first-round pick for the Seahawks, Brian Bosworth, a juiced linebacker from Oklahoma, notable for a memorable Monday Night game where Bo Jackson flattened him on his way to a 92-yard TD run in the Kingdome.

NOONAN is also a shout on the golf course, specifically an attempt to break the concentration of someone making a putt. You can never have too many Caddyshack references ...

SethG 3:27 PM  

Also didn't know BIJOU, and I considered MAW for the tool. Which seems just as likely, it's just not actually correct. But I chose...wisely.

Never heard of VIRAGOS. Like everyone else I started with MEANS instead of MODES. Bigger problems in ND, but nothing too serious. I've also been stung by a bee, and I also like Samantha Bee. Dinner with some St Olaffers tonight; I went to the other one.

PS I'm really upset by the election results. I mean seriously, people, Safety Dance? I intend to remind Rex to hold the run-off, and I'll campaign until then with hat firmly in hand.

Wade 3:53 PM  

It's bogus. "Safety Dance" isn't even a song. It sounds like a bunch of guys with no hats playing kazoos. And it's condescending to be told I can dance if I want to. As if they have any say in when I can dance! How about "Come on, Eileen"? Can we compromise with Dexy's Midnight Runners?

Anonymous 3:59 PM  

I'm relatively new to puzzles and Rex, but it seems to me that there's a growing trend for the puzzlemaker not to abbreviate the clues when the answers are, indeed, abbreviations. Anyone else notice this?

ArtLvr 4:40 PM  

@ miriam b -- You're right, Meir was born in Kiev and lived with her family in Milwaukee until about age 16. She ran away to stay a while with married sister Sharya in Denver, then returned to finish high school in Wisconsin. She taught briefly, married Morris Meyerson at age 19 and they emigrated immediately to Palestine. What I was recalling was a turning point for Israel when she came to Chicago, having failed in a secret mission to persuade the Arabs not to invade upon the withdrawal of the British troops. -- (the following from a bio)

In January, 1948, Golda Meir flew to the United States to raise funds for the arms that were urgently needed to defend the 700,000 Jews in Palestine who were threatened with concerted Arab attacks. She made an unscheduled appearance before the Council of Jewish Federations in Chicago on January 2, 1948. Her speech came from her heart... and moved thousands to give more. The Israeli Prime Minister, Ben- Gurion later described the result of her mission: "Someday when history will be written, it will be said that there was a Jewish woman who got the money which made the state possible."

Later off course she served as the first and only woman Prime Minister of Israel.

jae 4:45 PM  

Medium for me. Had problems with the NW and had to come at it from the south. VIRAGO was new to me also and ASKANT just looks strange. Could be an advice column for bugs? That said, I liked this one. Seemed about right for a Wed.

Count me among those who would actually watch Rex's version of the view, including Betty White. She was hilarious a few seasons ago on Boston Legal.

Doug P. 5:19 PM  

@puzzlegirl: Yes, you did chide me once for using "baby bump". I'll just say that the clue in the puzzle wasn't the clue I submitted and leave it at that. :)

I voted for "Cum on Feel the Noize" and think it's grossly unfair that Quiet Riot wasn't invited to any of the debates.

fikink 5:38 PM  

I'm sure I would have enjoyed your original clue for "baby bump" more, doug p. I am sorry it was changed.
As for NOONAN, I think you could have as easily clued her with "smarmy Peg" - I've not seen too many people so impressed with their own pedestrian intellect.
This was an enjoyable puzzle, the morning after, which I managed to do in a FOG. Really liked GOOFF.

Edith B 6:47 PM  

I'm familiar with the feminine warrior aspect in the definition of the word VIRAGO. I don't use the word myself and was appalled to find how the definition has degenerated.

It seems that every time our strength as female people is highlighted, it turns into a slur.

When I looked up the word today the warrior aspect of the word is listed as archaic. In a dictionary for children of all places! And I hate it!

And Doug says his original clue for BUMP was changed so it is coming at us from all directions and not all of them are meant to be malicious. End of rant.

I liked todays puzzle as the theme is so fresh - not add something to something or take something away - and I liked the way the theme entries were not all one thing - a flag, an event and a name.

And the misdirection of the fill - GOOFF OPART VJDAY BIJOU made for a fun puzzle.

joho 8:34 PM  

@fikink: Wow, I'm stunned. "Smarmy" is the not word I would pick to describe Peggy NOONAN. Eloquent, intelligent, gracious ... definitely NOT smarmy.

Anonymous 8:48 PM  

I'm glad I learned Boz from a previous puzzle, otherwise I don't think I would have gotten that corner.

I got the three long answers before the answer connecting them and I was wondering what it could possibly be. A fun aha moment for me.

Don't forget that Pete (the cat) has a dog Butch, and in an episode called "Pluto's Best" Butch and Pluto compete in five categories to see who will win the trophy for top dog. I won't ruin the exciting ending.

From now on if anybody asks I'm gonna say my sign is VIRaGO.


foodie 9:26 PM  

Couldn't seem to focus on the puzzle this morning because last night I was too excited and couldn't go to sleep till dawn... I started in the NW and had HALF for 1A and HERON for 1D and made a general mess of that corner and soon gave up. I came back late this evening and zipped through it. Amazing how that works.

And to show you how this puzzle/site have insinuated themselves into my psyche-- I heard on the news that the Obama transition team includes Federico Peña and my first thought was: Didn't we see him recently in the puzzle? What did Rex say about him? Sure enough, he was with us on Sept. 16, in a Michael Langwald puzzle with a food-related theme (Woohoo!) and Rex said: "My favorite Pena is Tony"... who did not make the transition team.

fikink 9:49 PM  

@joho, I know...isn't it awful? I didn't mind Peggy NOONAN when I read her, but watching her pontificate this election season, I can't SLOW my conclusion that she is a fraud. All the cloying pauses before her "Listen-up!-I'm- about-to-be-profound" delivery and the lugubrious "weight of the world" on her shoulders as a pundit is just too much. I expect her to finish it off with, "I vant to be alone."

Orange 10:00 PM  

Well, I was telling my husband about the '80s music poll/election tonight.

1. He rolled his eyes at the mention of "Total Eclipse."

2. He said "Safety Dance" was awesome.

3. He sang a line or two of "Mr. Roboto" and I'll be damned if it hasn't earwormed itself into my head. I am not pleased.

My husband rocks, except for the earworming.

Wade, I bought a giant multi-disc '80s compilation for $100 a few years ago, and copied it all into iTunes. I could be listening to "Come on Eileen" RIGHT NOW. But my kid's just falling asleep, so I won't. (Oh, the sacrifices we parents make.) The Tommy Boy scene where Chris Farley and David Spade sing along with "Eileen"? Priceless.

Crosscan 10:31 PM  

"Come On Eileen" is ok; "Gloria" is better. Laura Branigan died way too young.

Vega 12:16 AM  

I was going to say many things about how angry this use of "virago" makes me and see that others have already said what I've been thinking, and I couldn't agree more.


andrea carla michaels 3:11 AM  

@joho, fikink, orange

i think Peggy noonan is a virago.


we really DO think alike, I too had HALF/HERON making ICON a plausible LION. oy.

@evil doug
it's "malapop", damnit! Now even I think you're evil!

william e emba 1:05 PM  

Just wanted to say it took me about 15 tries before I even found a NYT to buy. All that for a Wednesday crossword puzzle. Sheesh.

And I know and care as much about 80s pop music as I do about Uzbek politics. I guess Uzbek politicians aren't very crosswordy or something.

Anonymous 11:57 AM  

re the peterson puzzle on 11-05 HST announced the surrender on August 14, 1945 at a press conference in the White House. That was when we celebrated VJ Day. The surrender documents were signed on 9/2/45, but VJ Day was 8/14/45.

Deborah Boschert 10:25 PM  

I'll humbly add Faith Salie to Rex's View cast. Anyone enjoy "Fair Game" on PRI Radio as much as I did before it got yanked?

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