Title guy in HBO animated sitcom / SAT 9-4-10 / Hollywood acronym / Zeros in sports slang / Tekka-maki sushi source / Steam engine pioneer
Saturday, September 4, 2010
The Life and Times of Tim is an HBO comedy animated television series, which premiered on September 28, 2008. The series was created by Steve Dildarian, and is about a hapless man in his mid 20s named Tim (Steve Dildarian) who lives in New York City with his girlfriend Amy. Throughout the series, Tim constantly finds himself in increasingly awkward situations in both his work and personal life. The first season aired in 2008 and has since been aired in numerous countries, and has developed something of a cult following. The second season debuted on February 19, 2010 on HBO. On June 4, 2010, HBO announced it was canceling the show, but there are rumors that it may be picked up by another network--perhaps even Comedy Central, which originally rejected the show before HBO picked it up. On the 16th of August it was announced HBO had gone back on their original decision to cancel the show and as a result a third season was ordered. (wikipedia)
• • •
Well, that was fast. One of my fastest Saturdays ever. Might have been my fastest if I could have convinced myself sooner that SET OF CLUBS (12D: Course load?) and NESTING SITE (55A: Swift retreat?) were real things—by which I mean, valid, believable answers. I think they're pretty terrible, actually. Most of the rest of the fill seems fine, if unremarkable. Actually, I like BAIT BUCKETS alright (1A: Fishing gear), and I like FOR ALL I CARE (49A: Apathetic person's words) even more. The rest, just OK. That [Number] trick is super old and didn't fool me for a second (26D: Number of folks?=>ANESTHESIA). Honestly, I barely remember the rest of this. Again, getting started (NW) took the longest, but today, not so long, and after that, the puzzle felt more like a Thursday to me. Here's what my grid looked like after maybe 30 seconds:
I knew then that I had a good chance to break the puzzle wide open. With the exception of SEE OUT for SEE OFF (21A: Walk to the gate, perhaps), I just didn't guess wrong anywhere. Most frustrating parts were BAGELS (25A: Zeros, in sports slang), because I really really feel I should get all sports slang instantly (and didn't); and TANIA (30A: "Lost" actress Raymonde), as I resolutely refuse to watch this show *but* have seen TANIA clued this way before, *and yet* still couldn't come up with it quickly. ELSIE THE COW (15A: Company mascot introduced in the 1930s that has never been put out to pasture), ANESTHESIA, and IBMTHINKPAD (53A: Laptop tested aboard the Endeavour) all went in with hardly any crosses, which made 3/4 of this puzzle a cake walk. Struggled a bit more in the NE, despite having the middles of all those long Downs ... finally went down to get their ends, and then used FOREMAN to get ALI/FOREMAN (13D: Like the 1974 rope-a-dope fight) and finish that section off (nice tie-in with DON KING, btw => 37D: Promoter of the 13-Down fight). Finished with the "F" in PFC (45A: E-2 Marine) / FRAT (46D: Frequent party planner, for short), though at that point the grid practically filled itself in. No tough words, nothing terribly obscure ... just not a typical Saturday. A decent, but overly quick ride.
- 16A: Group with the '79 double-platinum album "Discovery" (ELO) — Right era, three letters ... gotta be ELO (though I've always got one eye open for ELP now ...)
- 17A: Stance in a fashion magazine (GLAMOUR POSE) — Weird to me that "GLAMOUR" is not an exclusively British spelling.
- 34A: Popular spectator sport that's not in the Olympics (SUMO) — didn't say it was popular in America.
- 38A: Babe-in-arms alternative? (STROLLER) — none of the tricky ones were tricking me today. Had the first letters: piece of cake.
- 52A: John L. Lewis was its first pres. (CIO) — did not know. Would not have gotten. Filled itself in from crosses.
- 5D: Aid to King Hrothgar, in literature (BEOWULF) — after blowing the medieval English DANELAW clue yesterday, I was happy to redeem myself on this one (anyone who's ever read "BEOWULF" should have gotten this instantly). I needed this answer to make sense of BAIT BUCKETS. Before that ... BAIT ... SUCKERS?
- 11D: Comic strip adoptee (SWEE' PEA) — That "W" from ELSIE THE COW came in reeeeeeal handy there.
- 25D: Incentive to buy a CD, maybe (BONUS TRACK) — nice attempt at misdirection here, as a "CD" can be a Certificate of Deposit as well as a compact disc.
- 30D: Hides on a frame (TEPEE) — Clever clue—nice attempt at misdirection with "Hides"
- 36D: Tekka-maki sushi source (BLUEFIN) — had the "LUE," so again, bam bam bam. No sweat.
- 42D: City of 15+ million whose busiest street in Chandni Chowk (DELHI) — cluing just too easy. Massive city in India. Five letters. Not tough.
- 44D: Steam engine pioneer (WATT) — uh, not sure how I guessed this, as I know nothing in particular about WATT's association with the steam engine. Is this the same WATT as the light bulb eponym? Yes. Acc. to wikipedia:
The watt is named after James Watt for his contributions to the development of the steam engine, and was adopted by the Second Congress of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1889 and by the 11th General Conference on Weights and Measures in 1960 as the unit of power incorporated in the International System of Units (or "SI").
- 45D: Parental term of endearment, in Spain (PAPI) — had second "P" from IBMTHINKPAD. As you can see from multiple examples today, getting one long answer in the quadrant of a pinwheel-shaped grid like this one can really help you annihilate the short crosses, and thus get the other long answers, and thus move on.
- 13A: Hollywood acronym (SAG) — that's "Screen Actors Guild."
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]