TUESDAY, Apr. 28, 2009 - M Ginsberg (Eric who played 2003's Hulk / Pacific archipelago nation / Nordic runners)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: SIMILES (51A: Theme of this puzzle) - all 17 theme answers are phrased "_____ as a something"

Word of the day: GAGES - (21D: Light green plums)

Greengage

Green"gage`\, n. (Bot.) A kind of plum of medium size, roundish shape, greenish flesh, and delicious flavor. It is called in France Reine Claude, after the queen of Francis I. See Gage.

"Greengage" appears as one word in most descriptions I found. To complicate things further, "GAGE" appears also to be simply another word for "plum," as the definition of "plum" at Wikipedia begins, "A plum or gage is a stone fruit tree in the genus Prunus ..."

I did this one in well under 5, but still found it much thornier than your typical Tuesday (though with Tuesday, really, who's to say any more?). There was a veritable pantheon of B-to-C List crossword acting talent, some of whom didn't come readily to mind (most notably that damned ERBE woman - 57D: Kathryn of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"); there were plums I didn't know and a peninsula I'd never even heard of (KENAI - 40D: Alaskan peninsula where Seward is located), and then SERAPH (48D: Angelic figure), which I knew but couldn't spell immediately (SERIPH? Ugh - 48D: Angelic figure). But my two main sticking points came about as a result of my simply not knowing (or not readily getting) a couple similes. The two:
  • 10A: _____ as a post (DEAF)
  • 66A: _____ as a judge (SOBER)
Now, when I look at them, they seem familiar and right. But my brain wanted only DULL and DUMB for the "post" clue, and when you throw in the fact that I completely misread the clue for AARON (12D: Baseball All-Star every year from 1955 to 1975) as [Baseball All-Star event ...] and then throw in a sch. abbrev. that ended up looking like a typo (UCAL -> 15A: Golden State sch.) - it was all a recipe for small-scale disaster. The "judge" simile just isn't that familiar to me. I know I've heard it, but not nearly as often as the others. And there was ERBE, withholding the key letter. My dislike for the entire "L&O" franchise continues to grow...

Other theme answers:
  • 24A: _____ as a pin (neat)
  • 25A: _____ as a fox (cunning) - isn't "sly" more common?
  • 26A: _____ as an ox (strong)
  • 37A: _____ as an owl (wise) - with the bonus SAPIENS at 5D: Latin for 37-Across
  • 41A: _____ as a dog (sick) - not a phrase I want to think about right now
  • 56A: _____ as an eel (slippery)
  • 67A: _____ as a doornail (dead) - SICK and DEAD. Nice.
  • 68A: _____ as a diamond (hard)
  • 6D: _____ as a drum (tight)
  • 25D: _____ as a whistle (clean)
  • 27D: _____ as a rail (thin)
  • 29D: _____ as a bell (clear)
  • 34D: _____ as a kite (high)
  • 51D: _____ as a rock (solid)
  • 54D: _____ as a bat (blind)
Gotta take the dog in for her follow-up pneumonia xrays this a.m., so quickly...

Bullets:
  • 14A: Pacific archipelago nation (Samoa) - Kiwis (and perhaps others) put the stress on the first syllable of this word. Hard to get used to.
  • 19A: Actress Singer of "Footloose" (Lori) - she and BANA (54A: Eric who played 2003's Hulk) and ERBE are all here auditioning for the Bobby SEALE biopic (31A: Newton's Black Panther Party co-founder). I misread this clue at first and thought it was looking for an actress/singer from "Footloose." So naturally I thought of this:


  • 23D: Lawrence Welk's "one"/"two" connector ("and a") - yuck. Common enough, but yuck.
  • 28D: Literally, "scraped" (rasa) - and the Latin lesson continues...
  • 58A: It means nothing to Sarkozy (rien) - and some French for good measure.
  • 2D: Auto denter in a supermarket parking lot (cart) - "denter" is cute. Most words undergoing crossword "ER"-ificiation aren't cute.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

90 comments:

HudsonHawk 8:02 AM  

All of the similes were familiar, but there wasn't much of a payoff with this puzzle. It must be Tuesday.

At the very least, I had hoped that the word of the day would be MAGMA, and we'd get a good Dr. Evil clip.

chefbea 8:12 AM  

Harder than usual for a Tuesday. Didn't know the peninsula in Alaska. Never heard of deaf as a post.

Yummm nachos!!

Congratulations imsdave on your award at the tournament.

DanaJ 8:16 AM  

DEAF as a post?? I am familiar with "dumb as a post". Maybe if a post is dumb, it is also deaf? Like Rex, I got hung up in the NE with DEAF and UCAL. Agree, tough for a Tuesday. But I liked the answers NACHOS and PEEN.

fikink 8:18 AM  

DEAF as a post? No way.
Block that simile!

joho 8:21 AM  

I felt thick as a plank when I reached GAGES. I totally guessed that it ended with an "E" because it seemed the most plausible. Then I remembered Bobby SEALE. I also wanted UCLA, my mom's alma mater, but did manage to get UCAL, my dad's alma mater ... but we always called it Berkeley.

I kind of liked seeing so many similes in one puzzle and thought this a fun Tuesday for that reason.

Thank you, Matt Ginsberg ... you're sharp as a tack!

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

Its hard as a rock and sly as a fox not like the puzzle answers! colfballman

retired_chemist 8:24 AM  

Eighteen similes fit into a puzzle is a tour de force , but that per se doesn’t make it good. I had about an average time (for myself) but not a lot of fun: 10D is not the only DULLNESS herein. All the similes were pretty much gimmes, although I needed a couple of crosses before I remembered two or three of them. None provided a learning experience, i.e. a cliché I didn’t know (which I wouldn’t use anyway). Outside the theme answers, SEALE (31A) and KENAI (40D) might have been for some but I knew them. ERBE (57D) – my wife (a L&O fan) and I discussed her by chance just yesterday. BANA (54A) was new to me, but by the time I filled it in I didn’t care. LORI (19A) too. She was my last fill, and at that point I didn’t care even more.

And who calls Cal anything other than Cal, UC, or UCB? As an alumnus, I think that UCAL (16A), while gettable, Just. Ain’t. Right. OK, if you google U. Cal. (but not UCAL) you get Berkeley as the first hit, but I think that is googlemanship on Cal’s part since that text is not on the page. CAL. U. turns out to be California University of Pennsylvania. THAT tidbit was my favorite learning experience associated with this puzzle. So far, anyway. I expect the blog will continue to provide fun and enlightenment as usual.

Orange 8:31 AM  

It's always appropriate to partake of "Let's Hear It for the Boy." Timeless lyrics: "Maybe he's no Romeo, but he's my lovin' one-man show."

In college, a friend's roommate was from KENAI, so that helped.

Sandy, do you pronounce the Samoas Girl Scout cookies the American or Kiwi way?

@colfballman, you must be half-wrong because Ashford & Simpson are always right: Behold "Solid (As a Rock)." (But I agree that sly is far more common than cunning as a fox.)

Crosscan 8:33 AM  

Quick as a wink: right as rain.

Karen 8:50 AM  

Definitely harder than a usual Tuesday. I didn't know SEALE, and had Teale instead. (And I was worried about the GAGES.) And my brain stuck on DEEP as a post (although I do know the deaf simile).

spyguy 9:05 AM  

I wonder if some of these similes are regionally different. I also think dumb as a post.

On a different note, I work nights and print the puzzle out when I get home in the morning. I was hungry, so I got out some leftover chili to heat up. Which, of course, led me to believe for a while that 11D (Gastroenteritis cause, maybe), with the "LI" at the end filled in, was "chili". Soon saw the error of my ways (and finished my breakfast dinner with no gastroenteritis).

PIX 9:19 AM  

@ 67A: "DEAD AS A DOORNAIL" goes back to at least Shakespeare's time:
"I have eat no meat these five days; yet, come thou and thy five men, and if I do not leave you all as dead as a doornail, I pray God I may never eat grass more."
2 KING HENRY VI

fun puzzle; more difficult than average for a Tuesday.

Megan P 9:21 AM  

I think "deaf as a post" whenever I try to have a conversation with my mother-in-law.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

According to my old set of the OED, "deaf as a post" dates back to at least 1845. And,. gotta say it's more realistic than "sober as a judge."

Chorister 9:47 AM  

Well, I liked it. I knew all the old SAWS except cunning as a fox, being in the sly camp myself. No, wait, that didn't come out right.

Fun, easy except for UCAL which nobody ever called it when I grew up in CA. Oh, and I had Teale for a bit as well. There I go, blanking out the 60's again.

Took a ridiculous long time for Kenai because I'm pretty sure ex had a tshirt with that & a moose on it when his dad worked in AK. Bana is completely new to me, and I could see some crying "Natick!"

retired_chemist 9:59 AM  

Deaf as a post is certainly on my "commonly used" list. My mother eventually was. She hated her hearing aid, which wasn't much help anyway. When I left her 80th birthday party I kissed her and said (lovingly), "You're deaf as a post." Her reply was "What did you say?"
`

Anne 10:03 AM  

The puzzle was harder than I thought it would be - I was whipping along, thinking this is so easy only to discover that I had made a mistake. That happened several times so I had to retrace my steps, as I often do later in the week. I wanted dumb as a post but I have heard of deaf as a post, maybe it's a southern thing. I have never heard of gages. (This has nothing to do with plums, but while in China I discovered kumquats and have been eating them since I got home. Life is always new.) I digress - as they say - my favorite L&O is Criminal Intent so I know Erbe very well. I misread auto denter and spent too much time there. And I guessed the a in Bana/Kenai.

A much better than usual Tuesday, and to end on the right note, Matt is smart as a whip.

chefbea 10:08 AM  

Just thought of two more: white as a ghost

And of course you all the the next one........

jeff in chicago 10:11 AM  

I wouldn't go so far as to say this was dull as dishwater, but it didn't have much sparkle for me. I did like that we have SOBER as a judge and HIGH as a kite. Other than that...

retired_chemist 10:11 AM  

red as a barbabieta?

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

I was smart as a whip today.

hazel 10:21 AM  

I love similes and, as a result, loved this puzzle! Thought it just right for a Tuesday. I thought the hard as a diamond one was a bit iffy - does anyone really say "that's hard as a diamond!". I mean diamonds are hard (consult your MOHS scale), but its just not something one says. I thought sober as a judge definitely had a southern flair to it - but turns out its been around since 1694 (dictionary.com).

As for deaf as a post, from d.c,
The first simile has its origin in John Palsgrave's Acolastus (1540): "How deaf an ear I intended to give him ... he were as good to tell his tale to a post."

While I agree the constructor is sharp as a tack, I thought this one was easy as pie!

fikink 10:21 AM  

@Anne, retired chemist, - Mr. Fikink, who grew up much farther south in the country, told me "deaf as a post" was commonly heard in those environs when he was young and "dumb as a post" came later. Anecdotal, I know, but perhaps it is regional.
chefbea: you beet me to it!

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

The northeast corner tripped me up too, and I blame "The Simpsons" -- Bart once said he was "dumb as a post," regarding his smarts.

I'm guessing that "dumb as a post" once referred to speech, considering the simile's closeness to "deaf as a post." The meaning probably changed as the usage of "dumb" changed.

Alby

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

I was dumb as a shoe today.

Two Ponies 10:27 AM  

Nice to have a bit of a challenge on a Tuesday.
Some similes must be regional.Hard as a diamond makes perfect sense but I've never heard it used.
Agree that the NE corner was.... ugly as a mud fence.

nanpilla 10:28 AM  

I liked this one. It had a mini-Sunday feel to it, with such a high density of theme answers. The similes were all at least familiar to me, although I always confuse DOORNAIL/POST dead/deaf.
This one made me happy as a clam.
Nice job, Matt!

Ulrich 10:35 AM  

@alby: You make so much sense, you can probably explain also what "speak" means when said to a dog. It's now the second time I've seen it, and I'm not the wiser for it.

For me, the puzzle was to the point b/c it put my knowledge of common clichés to the test, which I passed, except for the already much-commented-upon post and fox.

retired_chemist 10:35 AM  

@ fikink - regional fits. I grew up in WV and my speech patterns were those of my mother's large family, which was from VA.

retired_chemist 10:44 AM  

@ Ulrich - the dog is supposed to bark when you say "Speak."

At Westminster 2 years ago, Pepper was "interviewed" for Australian radio. They wanted a dog that could "speak," since if there is no sound the interview sounds kind of stupid on radio. She doesn't bark on the "speak" command but she will bark at a laser pointer light. Which was perfect. The interviewer would say, "I have CH. Glengowan's Sugar and Spice here," I would shine the pointer on the wall, and we got our bark immediately.

Jim in Chicago 10:57 AM  

UCAL? I don't think anyone has ever called it that. And, the clue is "Golden State sch." SINGULAR. There is no University of California except as an administrative unit. There are several campuses, each (including Berkley) individually named.

Now, Samoa. I have a couple stories.

1. Odd things stick in my mind, and for some reason I remember and still chuckle about an old episode of Password where the word was SAMOA, and the person giving the clues tried to get it out of the contestant by using "something you say when your still hungry" as in "I want somemore". It didn't work.

2. As a child, there was a brief craze (at least in my hometown) over cookies that were called Samoas. They flew off the shelves at such a rate the stores were actually rationing them, one package to a customer. They were some fairly horrid cookie/caramel/chocolate/coconut contoxtion. Very sweet.

I was glad to see PRIMP appear in the puzzle, as I just complained about an answer in a previous puzzle that was PREEN when I tried to use PRIMP.

"Deaf as a post" is very much in my vocabulary, and I'm a bit surprized to here that many haven't heard that used. Ditto for "sober as a judge".

XMAN 11:09 AM  

For me it was the SW. My mind was RASA, for a time anyway.

I'm more apt, if ever I were to say it, to use CUNNING as a fox rather than sly.

retired_chemist 11:41 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 11:46 AM  

See http://tinyurl.com/d2vdg for one among many lists of similes.

Ben 11:49 AM  

Well, The New York Times is now presenting Tuesday puzzles at the third grade level. My 8-year-old could fill in these blanks. This stuff is boring for adults

archaeoprof 11:50 AM  

NE problems for me too. DUMB as a post led to "binge" instead of FLING. Sudden stop at that point.

Good puzzle for a Tuesday, the most unpredictable day of the week.

Truly great player, AARON. First all-time in HRs, and 3rd in hits, behind Cobb and Rose.

ArtLvr 11:58 AM  

I'm with Hazel and those who got a big kick out of this puzzle -- The piling on of the similies "trite and true" reminded me of my mother, whose odd favorites were a running family joke... Thanks, Matt!

∑;)

easylob 12:01 PM  

I confidently wrote in sapient for wise, and that led to teale for seale, as others have mentioned.
BTW,If you asked the "man on the street" what sapient meant, he'd probably guess something close to the opposite of wise.

Jet City Gambler 12:03 PM  

I liked this puzzle, at least it was something different. What, you wanted another puzzle where E is added to the beginning of familiar phrases, which are then clued whackily?

Agree with chemist and Jim that UCAL is just wrong.

Drunk as a skunk.

dk 12:06 PM  

Being a lowly worm I misspelled AARON as Arron and could not figure out what UCrL was.

The rest was a hoot. For a moment I thought it was last week.

@Ulrich, I have a few bad jokes that involve dogs that SPEAK if it will help. For example:

A 3 legged dog walks into a bar and states: "I am lookin for the man what shot my paw."

Hope that helps ;0

mac 12:12 PM  

I found this a great puzzle for a Tuesday, and my only problem was a personal Natick: Kenai - Bana. I've been to Seward, but I still cannot remember hearing that word.

Greengages were a gimme, even their French name Reine Claude. They are far and away my favorite plums, very hard to get here. They are a little denser en much more flavorful than most kinds.

This whole exercise made me think of Princess Diana, who called herself "thick as a plank".

mccoll 12:13 PM  

Good thing I am as sharp as a tack today and didn't have to work like a dog to fill this as quick as a wink!It was as easy as falling off a log.
Our old Prof cautioned us that triteness is as dull as dishwater so we took it to heart and avoided it like the plague.
Also, he said that avoiding repetition cuts down on redundancy, as well.

Matt 12:13 PM  

The "hard as a diamond" simile has a (vaguely) interesting back story. I originally clued HARD as [Rock-like] with SOLID having the same clue. Will changed all the clues from [x-like] to [___ as an x], and decided that he didn't want two identical clues, given the theme. I still don't know if that was right or wrong but agree that, for me, at least, "Hard as a rock" is more common than "Hard as a diamond".

Greene 12:18 PM  

"Deaf as a Post" is very much in the language down my way in Florida where everybody is as "Old as the Hills" and "Deaf as a Post" to boot.

I'm uncertain as to why sobriety should be associated with being a judge, but again, very much in the language. I'm reminded of a lyric from Bye Bye Birdie during the press conference scene where Conrad's manager is trying to divert attention away from his client's drinking problem:

He's as decent as a minister!
He's as SOBER AS A JUDGE!
He subscribes to ev'ry charity!
And his hobby's making...fudge!

I liked the puzzle just fine. Had a little trouble with GAGES, but it all turned out well.

@JEFF IN CHICAGO: While not the same as dishwater, your remark reminded me of Walter Kerr's crack about a lousy play being "of the variety that gives ditchwater a bad name."

PlantieBea 12:21 PM  

This felt like such a busy Tuesday puzzle with all the themed answers. I had trouble with the unknown KENAI/BANA and chose an O for KENOI/BONA. Oh well. I did guess right on the GAGES/SEALE crossing, also unknowns. Overall I liked this--something different for a Tuesday. Thanks Matt G.

Vega 12:24 PM  

I did 90% of the puzzle in 5 minutes, and that last NE corner 10% took another 5. I suppose a FLING is, technically, an impulsive indulgence, but why does that seem so off to me? DEAF as a post took way too long in coming to me though I'd heard it, I "knew" UCAL couldn't possibly be right, didn't know LORI, so stared and stared. Ugh. Tuesdays are beginning to frighten me.

-Vega

Frieda 12:27 PM  

Loved the similes (and so many more here!) I agree re cunning vs sly, regarding foxes. NE likewise a knotty little mess that straightened up when the post went deaf rather than dumb.

Teaching two daughters each in her time to cross streets safely, I always said I didn't want her to be "dead as a doornail, flat as a pancake." The whole phrase stuck as family lore--stories about my saying it, and their repeating the warning to younger kids.

joho 12:27 PM  

@Matt -- thanks for sharing how things work when you're creating your puzzles ... it's really interesting.

@dk ... NEVER stop telling your stories!

Somebody on the phone just said "quick as a cricket."

fikink 12:40 PM  

@mccoll, Your last line reminded me of a gym teacher I had who introduced calesthenics every day with, "Let us commence to begin."

Thanks for the memories;)

Ulrich 12:46 PM  

@retired_c and dk: Thx--it's now locked in my brain. However, I tried it on our dog, and it didn't work. She either speaks no English or is dumb as dirt.

Which reminds me: There is an intelligence test for dogs, which our Belle failed with flying colors. You put some food into their dish and cover it with a napkin. Smart dogs use their paw to remove the napkin (evolutionarily speaking, they are well on their way to bipedalism). Average dogs use their mouth to remove the napkin. Dumb dogs look at their owner with an expression that says "and what do I do now?" Our Belle barely managed to do that.

edith b 12:52 PM  

My roommate in college always used "deaf as a post" but she pronounced the word so it sounded like "deef". She was from Texas and said it had the same sound as Deaf Smith, one of the heroes of Texas Independence.

And "sober as a judge" refers to the alternate definition of sober meaning upright, like a pillar of the community.

I enjoyed running through all the similes in my head. Some of them were awkward, but for the most part, they worked like a charm.

imsdave 1:15 PM  

Damn good thing DEAD as a doornail was in this puzzle, as I had already entered DEAD as a post (don't ask) and I hadn't noticed that I'd create DLING in the process. I thought it was a fine puzzle.

Anonymous 1:18 PM  

Having seen 'The Hunt For Red October' countless times, I can practically quote this scene:

As they are trying to track the Red October, Senior Sonarman Jones is trying to educate his traineee about how to remain undetected.

Trainee Beaumont: Won't he hear us?

Sonarman Jones: Not if we stay in his baffles, Seaman Beaumont. Come in behind his propellers and he's DEAF as a post.

RT

Bob Kerfuffle 1:42 PM  

As I was solving this puzzle, I was thinking, This must have been quite an impressive job to construct, but (sorry, Matt) it is, to borrow from BEQ's 4/1/09 commentary, insultingly easy to solve.

One thing no one else has mentioned: 15 A, "Young Frankenstein" role, four letters, starts with "I", , must be . . . but IGOR just didn't make sense with potential crosses. So I didn't put it in, waited for the crosses to give me INGA.

Megan P 1:42 PM  

@Ben: send your 8-year-old over to this blog - he/she might enjoy it, and we crossword fans would appreciate a little demographic expansion.

foodie 1:59 PM  

It's good to be back in the US, and to get a very colloquial puzzle to solve. I thought it was fun!

I agree that UCAL feels wrong. Either Berkeley or CAL for the Bay Area campus. If this is meant to indicate the whole system, it's called the UC system. I too wanted UCLA (where I got my doctorate) and stared at UCAL for the longest time after I had it in the grid. Try to googe UCAL and see what turns up.

I like the way TREND was clued.

@Chef Bea-- I was a million miles away, in Beirut, eating a wonderful meal at a restaurant on the Mediterranean, and there were beets on my salad. I thought of you and smiled. My friend asked me what was amusing. It was hard to explain about this blog, you and the beets... I simply said that beets are a very special food and it makes me happy to see them : )

DirtPile 2:24 PM  

Perhaps Eric BANA (54A) was in todays puzzle because he plays Nero, the villain in the latest Star Trek feature, 'Star Trek.' After all, ABRAMS was in Monday's puzzle.

Daniel Myers 2:36 PM  

@those of you who missed "SAPIENS"--You must belong to a different species.:-)

ileen 2:47 PM  

I had UC_L for a long time, and for some reason Hank Aaron wasn't coming to me. I only knew UCLA, UCSB & UCSC, but thought there could be another campus I'd never heard of (maybe they have no sports teams of note). I don't think I would have gotten GAGES or SAPIENS on their own, but Bobby SEALE showed me the way.

No new time goals achieved for me this week, but I'm still hanging in there.

CalAlum 2:55 PM  

I have but one favor to ask. If you please, never call the University of California at Berkeley "UCAL." Berkeley, Cal -- usually for sports -- and God's University are all acceptable. UCAL certainly is not, ever.

I'm not quite as angry as my friends and I were when we arrived at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando and found "California State" cups for sale.

Thank you, merci beaucoup, and Go Bears (Never "Go Cal")

chefwen 3:10 PM  

I never tell my dogs to speak, I'm usually telling them to shut up. One of them is an Australian Heeler and the cows that graze on our property can set him off in a heart beat, the little guy always follows suit, and don't even get me started on the much hated UPS guy.

After ICERS my secong fill was IGOR, wrong. And I really wanted bling for FLING.

Enjoyed the puzzle but it did take a tad bit longer than a usual Tues.

retired_chemist 3:40 PM  

As posted earlier, another Golden Bear Alum here. Glad to see we all hate the misbegotten abbreviation UCAL. I trust all the Bruins, Anteaters and Banana Slugs who post are with us on this.....

FWIW the TAMU Aggies use TU or TeaSipper as an intended slur for The University of Texas (UT to y'all). I know because both daughters and one son-in-law are Aggies.

jae 3:44 PM  

Yep. Got slowed down in NE with UCLA, DUMB, and BINGE. Took a while to fix. If, unlike Rex, you are a fan of L&OCI you should catch Jeff Goldblum as the new detective on the show.

Liked the puzzle.

Two Ponies 3:49 PM  

@ Ulrich, that dog test sounds interesting. I'm going to try it when I get home. I wonder what it means if the dog eats the napkin and the food? (With one of my dogs I suspect that will be the outcome.)
@ chefwen I agree, I'm more concerned with the dogs shutting up than speaking!

Alex Greenberg 4:19 PM  

The Kenai/Bana cross seemed a little sketchy, esp. for a Tuesday. Any vowel could have gone in there: Bona/Kenoi, Bena/Kenei, Buna/Kenui, even Bina/Kenii (assuming you pronounce it "Keni'i".

PhillySolver 5:15 PM  

My dog just ate the napkin! I laughed like a hyena. I think this was a fun puzzle and an entertaining blog today. Thanks to all.

Jane Doh 5:30 PM  

This theme was almost too easy for a Monday, but the sheer quantity was delightful. Monday puzzle with Tuesday nontheme clues? UCAL seems kind of bogus, I must agree.

--JD

fergus 5:41 PM  

So wanted to enter DRUDGERY for 10 Down. By the way, this puzzle was nothing but. It felt like one of the most lively Tuesdays in a while.

Looks like the UCAL issue has been beaten to a pulp. When there's a campus in Alta Loma, only then would this work properly.

joho 5:48 PM  

@Ulrich @Two Ponies @PhillySolver:

My dog, after a bit of fretting, poked his nose under the napkin and stole the treat leaving the napkin in place. I was amazed.

I ran an errand and tried it again when I got back. Same thing!

Where do you suppose Riley rates on the intelligence test?

treedweller 5:51 PM  

I enjoyed this. Yes, it was a bit easy, but it's Tuesday. The way the similes kept coming was fun, I thought. I did stall a bit in northern CA, since STRONG was slow to come (always looks like there's too many squares for that word to me) and RASA/THIN/SAWS/SNACK were all not quite gimmes.

Re: dog intelligence tests
I bought a book (maybe the same test already discussed here, maybe just similar) at a thrift store once just to see what my dogs would do. One of them was not too bright, and did about that well on the test. The other was actually pretty smart, but when we tried to hold him back from the food until we could finish setting up the test, he became so freaked out he was afraid to go get the food once he was permitted. He failed the test miserably.

And I have definitely known other dogs who would eat the napkin.

retired_chemist 5:57 PM  

@fergus - Alta Loma (unincorporated) merged with Cucamonga and Etiwanda to form Rancho Cucamonga in 1977 a/c to Wikipedia. That would make it UCRC. Boy, we are beating this one to absolute SMITHEREENS!

fergus 6:06 PM  

... and I was just fabricating Alta Loma -- didn't realize it actually existed. Pulverized.

Lucas 6:57 PM  

check out john prine's it's a big old goofy world.

his similes are also quite entertaining.

Anonymous 8:17 PM  

My grandmother said deaf as a post, as well as smart as a whip and smart as a tack. She was an old-school New Englander.
- Tom in Pittsburgh

Ulrich 8:55 PM  

@joho: I would say: not ready for bipedalism yet, but definitely far removed from any post, figurately speaking--literally, it may be another story.

JannieB 9:11 PM  

Fun puzzle - favorite simile from an old Law & Order (the original) - You're dumber than a sack of hair.

joho 9:14 PM  

@Ulrich ...oh, and other thing, Riley walks on two legs.

joho 9:18 PM  

@Ulrich ... I should clarify that last remark: only when he's dancing.

Chris Kern 9:34 PM  

I put DRUNK (as a judge) first but I was remembering a joke rather than an actual saying.

fergus 9:51 PM  

retired chemist,

Seems like there are quite a few of us alumni percolating today. Having spent the past weekend hearing the Campanile chiming at 8am and pealing some tortured tune at 5, getting a jag of the stimulation reminded me that facility with the crossword puzzle is close to superfluous in such a locus of intellectual ferment.

I hope the touchiness with respect to the nomenclature does not reflect poorly upon us.

'79

michael 9:52 PM  

I thought this was a very easy puzzle until I came to k_nai/b_na. I guessed right, but this really was for me (as for others) a Natick (except that "Natick" is not a Natick for me).

luisa massim 11:07 PM  

Let's try again:
UC Berkeley
UCSB
UCSD
UCLA
UC Santa Cruz
UCSF
UC Riverside
UC Irvine
UC Davis
UC Merced

No UCAL

andrea carla michaels 12:08 AM  

This may come out not as I mean it, but I think folks have the UCAL thing backwards...it's IN the puzzle so needs to be defined and that expression does exist (maybe not for alumni but I've certainly heard UCAL-Berkeley hundreds of times)

So Matt would have had to change the corner (wish he had as I fell for the DUMB as a post which cost many seconds of undoing at the LA tourney at Non UCAL-Loyola) to what?
He had that in the puzzle, it's an existing phrase and that's how it is defined...

but it was weird bec without the sheer number of similes it would have been way too easy and not sophisticated enough somehow...

Glad to learn that SOBER meant upright, that makes more sense...

ok ok I'll write something about LA!

fergus 12:23 AM  

When I was a High School senior, listing the preference of UCs was part of the application process in choosing among that list.

I was amused to see Santa Cruz rated lowest among the latest rankings among UCs, because that ranking is likely deserved, even though it is a rather fine institution in many departments.

fergus 12:27 AM  

Andrea,

Please tell the late crowd something about LA.

CalAlum 1:01 AM  

Andrea,

Please tell us where you have heard "UCAL-Berkeley" hundreds of times so that we can revoke the appropriate privileges.

Anonymous 1:02 AM  

Light green plums (gages) brought back memories of a lovely, slim novel, "The Greengage Summer," by British author Rumer Godden, whose many novels also included "Black Nacissus" and "Breakfast with the Nikolides." Greengage Summer was made into a movie, as was Black Narcissus (in 1947, with Deborah Kerr). Makes me want to bite into some juicy plums -- and to reread Greengage Summer.
kwa in nyc

Bob Kerfuffle 6:46 AM  

@Chris Kern - The actual simile you may have been thinking of is "Drunk as a Lord", a possibly dated reference to the supposed irresponsibility and above-the-law status of the English aristocracy.

mac 8:31 AM  

@kwa in nyc: thank you for reminding me of this wonderful writer. I seem to remember several books placed in India by her. I'm going to Amazon to check it out!

WilsonCPU 11:29 AM  

I'm surprised no one complained that the theme answers aren't symmetrical. I thought that was a Law From On-High!

And I'm pretty sure Lawrence Welk's phrase was "anna" or "ann-a", as in "a-one-anna-two"... that "d" was conspicuous by its absence. How about "Shave-haircut" link for "AND A"?

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