Busch Gardens locale / MON 11-8-10 / Late 1940s to about 1990 / Commonplace utterance / Rough tumble outdoor kids game

Monday, November 8, 2010

Constructor: John Dunn

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: CATCHPHRASE (64A: Commonplace utterance ... or a description of 18-, 26- and 49-Across) — three theme answers are phrases beginning with synonyms of "CATCH"

Word of the Day: Larry MIZE (7D: 1987 Masters winner Larry) —

Lawrence Hogan "Larry" Mize (born September 23, 1958) is an American professional golfer who played on the PGA Tour and currently plays on the Champions Tour. He is well-known for one career-defining shot — a chip from off the green at the 11th hole at Augusta to win the playoff for the 1987 Masters Tournament, which was his only major title. (wikipedia)
• • •

Really liked the long answers on this one (both Across and Down), esp. GRAB A BITE TO EAT (five words!) and COLD WAR ERA (3D: Late 1940s to about 1990). The theme revealer actually generated an "aha" (or at least an "oh") moment, as in "Oh, that's what's going on." Short stuff was inoffensive, and so, the verdict: Good. Simple theme idea, Monday-easy, but still interesting. Not much more to hope for. Weirdest thing about the puzzle was the way I solved it—or, rather, the path I took to solve it. Diagonal, right through the middle, starting in the NW and headed SE. I don't know how much of the grid I had done before I got a single theme answer, but it felt like a lot. The theme answers are arranged slightly unconventionally, in that usually the first one will be flush left, and today it's flush right. This meant that I bypassed it completely with my initial solving momentum. Feels like SEIZE THE DAY is hanging out up there in its own little treehouse. Had to climb up there and shake it down before finally finishing the puzzle off in the South. Sadly, I finished with a stupid error: Had PAT for PET (41D: Caress) and never checked the crosses (rookie mistake). Had to scan the grid before I noticed SAAL, which I first thought was a typo for Mort SAHL (42D: Comic Mort), but no.

[37D: Singer k. d. LANG]

Theme answers:
  • 18A: "Carpe diem" ("SEIZE THE DAY")
  • 28A: Quickly satisfy one's hunger (GRAB A BITE TO EAT) — Five words. Nice.
  • 49A: Rough-and-tumble outdoor kids' game (CAPTURE THE FLAG)
I had no idea there was a Bush Gardens in TAMPA (33D: Busch Gardens locale). Sounds like an amusement park that belongs in St. Louis, Missouri, but there's one in Williamsburg, VA and TAMPA and that's it (except for another one planned for — you guessed it: Dubai). Had very, very mild trouble getting into the N and NE generally because I worked my way in from the bottom up and neither ON EDGE (8D: Fidgety) nor TAUT (19D: Fully stretched) were clear from their rear ends. Luckily, I remembered that Andrew JOHNSON was the one pre-Clinton impeachment (9D: First impeached U.S. president), and that was enough to get the ball quickly rolling up there. Also lucky to (somehow) remember Larry MIZE. Not sure why his name stuck, considering I don't care much about golf, but it did "Z" and all.

See you tomorrow. I'm going to try to squeeze in another "Mad Men" before bed. That, or keep (re-)reading "Lolita."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


easylob 12:37 AM  

Only one writeover: Oscar for Oskar.
Nice puzzle. Loved capture the flag as a kid. Good memories.

chefwen 1:06 AM  

Never heard of CAPTURE THE FLAG, but then again I was never a rough-and-tumble kind of a kid. More like a whiny, MOM, Mike is teasing me again!

After all these years I still think that the Braves on a scoreboard should be MKE not ATL. Broke my mothers heart when they moved.

Good and easy start to the week.

glimmerglass 7:32 AM  

@chefwen: Lots of us geezers will remind you that the Braves first deserted Boston!
Easy puzzle, even for a Monday. I think Rex made it harder than it needs to be. Solved it quickly without noticing a theme

KooKooKaChoo 7:58 AM  

Spelled "sedar" wrong, and was surprised for a moment there was a gaelic language called "arse." Sadly, there is not.

Loved the "neap" tide today. Twice in a row is what seals it in my memory, and struggled to remember it yesterday. Neap, neap, neap....got it.

Maybe next time, I'll actually look it up.

Fun, quick puzzle. Gotta go now and seizetheday.

joho 8:06 AM  

Very easy Monday.

It was nice to see MAMA bear join PAPA bear in the grid.

CATCHPHRASE was a nice theme reveal.

Looking forward to tomorrow.

retired_chemist 8:24 AM  

Nice easy Monday. Took me 20 seconds or more at the end to find my errors and bring Mr. Happy Pencil out of his hidey-hole. Same PAT for PET as Rex, but also PAT for TAP @ 70A. Otherwise would have beat 5 minutes, my Monday figure of merit.

Thanks, Mr. Dunn.

mistro - a small restaurant catering to men only. Brings new meaning to the word bistro....

Van55 8:35 AM  

Easy with minimal trite fill. Good Monday fare.

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

I’m old enough to remember the ALAMO and, let me tell you, it was no place to place to be just TO GRAB A BITE TO EAT. The Mexicans not only wanted to SEIZE THE DAY, but Santa Anna also wanted to CAPTURE THE FLAG. After a lot of bloodshed and giving no quarters, he succeeded. If only he had known about NAFTA....

Sfingi 8:44 AM  

@Kookookachoo - Maybe there is a Celtic language called arse. I'm just starting to imagine it.

@Chefwen - I've heard of CAPTURETHEFLAG but don't know what it is. I never caught a ball, let alone played rough and tumble. "Mommy, Dede's making that noise again." Seems to me a kid could poke his eye out with a flag pole. Hmm.

@RetiredChemist - No federal funding for your new Mistro!

mac 8:56 AM  

Really good Monday, with a great reveal. No mistakes, but LPN weasn't immediately clear to me.

eyjam? Eeeew!

Tobias Duncan 8:59 AM  

Man by Monday I am so ready for a nice easy palate cleanser.

@retired_chemist - the guy running the espresso machine at your mistro is a Manista.

So can we talk about the friday contest now?

chefbea 8:59 AM  

Found this extremely easy for a Monday. Still have not finished my cereal.

Maybe we'll have baby bear tomorrow and Goldilocks on Wednesday

ArtLvr 9:07 AM  

Easy Monday, even if MIZE was new to me. Quite okay CATCH PHRASES...

But for those who can access the CS puzzle, I recommend today's for a bit more BITE. Also, it includes my old home town -- which was Hemingway's, Edgar Rice Burroughs' and Frank Lloyd Wright's as well. Maybe not used in xwords before?


Glitch 9:14 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glitch 9:16 AM  

Perhaps my fastest ever.

Solved almost exclusively from the A's with only only two or three quick cross checks (e.g.4a - Maine or Alamo?, aha 4d = ARSENAL so it's ALAMO).

Only slight pause was at PHRASE. Having SIEZE, GRAB, CAPTURE, & CATCH, and only skimming the reveal clue, was expecting a similar expression rather than a definition. Skipped over it and by the time I got back, had _HRASE, and the only way I would have found UTEP.

Also would have had trouble with some of the other downs, but was lucky as they were all filled in by the time I got to them.

Took more coffee to write this comment than solve the puzzle ;)


Van55 9:34 AM  

By the way, 19 proper nouns today.

quilter1 9:43 AM  

Quick and easy for me. I liked it. Glad to see Lee J. Cobb show up a couple of times lately. He was a great actor.

SethG 10:06 AM  

Nice theme, Monday easy, and the long downs were winners. Well done.

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

Now that the Friday contest is over, can I comment that I thought it was really unfair to a lot of people. I only do Fridays and Saturdays, and I use across lite, so I did not see the prior day's answers. After being stumped, I finally opened the pdf file on the Times website and saw the prior day's answers. But I think that they should not have used Across Lite as a format for Friday's contest. Just a thought.

foodie 10:32 AM  

Rex, LOL re Bush Garden-- you guessed it: Dubai!!

GRAB, CAPTURE and SEIZE sound more aggressive than CATCH.

Very good puzzle!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:35 AM  

Amen to above - Nice Monday puzzle, and had a smile at the reveal.

Two Ponies 10:39 AM  

Nice clean Monday.
Theme was well done.
Mize was new to me.
I love k.d. lang.
Thanks Rex and thanks John Dunn.
Since the contest is over I think it should be safe to talk about it. Who wants to be first?

Stan 10:50 AM  

Great double entendre in CATCH PHRASE. Really tied the puzzle together...

Nicely DUNN(?)

Shamik 11:08 AM  

Fifth fastest Monday for me at 3:12 so considered easy. Also worked from NW to SE like Rex did, but left the P-T open since both PAT and PET fit. Will get to post more now that I'm laid up with a broken ankle that will need surgery. Don't solve as well on Percocet (yesterday's puzzle). LOL...now that I'm done with this puzzle, bring on the drugs.

Mel Ott 11:34 AM  

I agree with what seems to be the consensus. Nice Monday puzzle.

@chefwen @glimmerglass: My first big league game at age 9 was Boston Braves v. NY Giants @ the Polo Grounds. I can still see the majestic home run hit by Monte Irvin - classy move by the SF Giants to have him throw out a first ball in the WS last week.

archaeoprof 11:43 AM  

No writeovers, smiled at the reveal, and a bit of history in there too.

Very good Monday!

Last time I played CAPTURE THE FLAG, the Braves were in Milwaukee and the Mets weren't anywhere.

Rube 11:54 AM  

Yes, a pleasant Monday puzzle. Had only two writeovers, BOS for ATL and OScAR for OSKAR. Knew better for both, just going too fast.

Had to guess at the TAMPA/LPN cross. Google tells me that LPN is Licensed Practical Nurse and they are also known as LVN or Licensed Vocational nurse in California and Texas. They are call RPNs or Registered Practical Nurses in Ontario.

I think of Bush Gardens as a Chinese restaurant on the corner of Bush and Grant in San Francisco's China Town. It's long gone. Spelled differently too.

efrex 12:00 PM  

TAMPA/LPN cross almost did me in, too. Referencing both mort SAHL and k.d. LANG makes for a decent mix of references and a fair puzzle... LAIC was new (although it's probably crosswordese 101; I've missed it in the past), and TBAR is overused, IMHO.

Nice theme, though, and nice long answers gave an easy puzzle a bit of bite.

PlantieBea 12:12 PM  

An easy and fun Monday. I solved using mostly A clues, so never got to an appropriate WOTD, MIZE. I had to re-write OSKAR over OSCAR. CAPTURE THE FLAG is still played by boyscouts in our area.

Enjoy the Mad Men binge, Rex. We just hit a road block with the end of season 3 during ours and wonder (impatiently) how long it will be before AMC starts season 4 over on demand.

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

I can't imagine that either the government of Dubai or the AB-InBev corporation decided that it was a good idea for an alcoholic beverage company to build a theme park in a Muslim country. Not that I find it offensive - just surprising.

Jessie 12:41 PM  


I believe you can still get the season pass for Mad Men 4 on itunes. The standard definition pass is $22.99. I watch on my computer and HD would be wasted.

JaxInL.A. 1:20 PM  

I'm with @Tobias--need a nice palate cleanser after a very tough Sunday. In fact, it took me all day to finish yesterday's puzzle (well, not nonstop-busy with Mitzvah Day at the temple).

As the poem from several days ago said, it's nice to feel smart again on Mondays. It is fun to see NEAP and the three bears repeat from yesterday. My favorite, though, was the shout out to California's Inland Empire, home of the SAN Bernardino Mountains and my Alma mater, Redlands High School.

Anyone here watch Rubicon, the show that usually precedes Mad Men? I found it fascinating and very well done. It raises very interesting issues, but then leaves the audience to do the work of forming opinions. I find it very engaging.

fikink 1:42 PM  

what Seth said

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

i too spelled oskar with a c. and at first had pat for pet. went through the alphabet for the l in sahl/laic.

Ulrich 3:59 PM  

What fikink said...

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

someone want to e-mail the solution to friday's metapuzzle? I'm going INSANE!!


PLEASE put me out of my misery!

mitchs 4:13 PM  

I completely disagree with Ulrich, but Seth was right on.

Doc John 4:56 PM  

Stupid SEIZE! Got the IE backward and messed up a Monday. I'll blame it on being in a hurry.
As for Busch Gardens in Tampa (and the other one, too) they are both beautiful parks and both had brewery tours at one point. BGT is also famous for having the world's longest escalator at one time (part of the brewery tour).

Anonymous 5:01 PM  

Did anyone CATCH the connection between this puzzle and Obama's immigation policy?

Why Tampa 6:33 PM  

[Busch Gardens] opened on March 31, 1959 as an admission-free hospitality facility for the Tampa Anheuser-Busch brewery on the grounds of the manufacturing plant. ...

Since the Contest is Closed 7:02 PM  

@Anonymous 4:00 PM - ACME gave it away in her post! The first puzzle by Mike Nothnagel set up nine HOLES in the grid. If one literally laid that grid over the next day's completed grid, the letters showing through were an anagram of GOLF ROUND (you, know, like "nine holes".)

mac 7:51 PM  

I love KD Lang. We have a DVD of a whole group of musicians/singers, including Roy Orbison, in which she sings in the background. Every time we put it on we have to watch and listen to the whole thing.

Acme didn't give it away! How could she, she hadn't figured it out.

Anonymous 8:09 PM  

My fastest Monday ever! I finished in under six hours, well, except for the lower left corner where I'd spilled my wake-up Bloody Mary and couldn't see WTF was there. Lost the damn thing on the last mile of the garbage truck route I work on, but I'm sure God will forgive me!

Anonymous 8:28 PM  

Who is ACME/Acme? I want to give her kudos....

Does anything think there is a connection between this puzzle and last night's massacre of the Cowboys?

Adam R 8:45 PM  

Am I the only one who threw down JEEPS instead of JEANS for 9A (Wranglers, e.g.)? I got into that corner via JOHNSON and so jeeps popped right into my head. That was quickly fixed after looking at the crosses, though.

Never heard of the jeans company before now.

Anonymous 8:48 PM  

So Acme is probaby Mrs. T-Rex, but her posting did not reveal anything, only gave a mild hint and you would have to know the answer rto get the hint, and besides I like Mrs. T-Rex more than Mr. T- Tex

Tina 10:01 PM  

I was excited about the Nothnagel puzzle last Friday - but I have a 'weekend' subscription to the NYT and therefore do only Friday's Saturdays and Sundays puzzles. A little thoughtlessness from the editorial department, who should have realized that various subscribers were automatically excluded (but not told they were so they didn't waste their time).

mmorgan 11:15 PM  

Great puzzle -- easy but fun. (I first had UTEX instead of UTEP, but no big deal.)

I know of, but don't really know, k.d. lang, but I really liked her version of Crying that Rex posted.

But I still think the best by far is Rebekah del Rio's Spanish version ("Llorando") in David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive." Fabulous.

acme 11:33 PM  

@anon 8:48
I did not give it away!!!!!!!
I didn't even see the directions to the contest till I read @Rex;
I didn't understand them, figured I was probably ineligible anyway and was simply commenting on the puzzle
(as I am, ahem, wont to do!)

Was excited that there were two back-to-back puzzles from Mike Nothnagel and thought how cool that 1A "____ Hole", thought it was a bleedover/private joke.

Sometimes @Rex does not mention the constructor by name (unless it's the adorable Caleb!) so I didn't realize he was being extry-discrete.

It wasn't till an hour later that I realized what the contest was about and was horrified I might have tipped the hand.

Obviously I would never spoil a contest! Just was happily babbling about the puzzle.

(Before anyone jumps in with something along the lines of my being Mrs. Rex, which would surely end in a murder-suicide...let me just say @Sandy is Mrs. Rex Parker...
at best, I am more akin to the other woman who won't go away!)

ACME is/are my initials of my real name...and what I use when I'm not in the mood to make up a middle name, or have used up my three-and-out quota! ;)


MIZE is a shout out to Tyra Banks' smize (to smile with the eyes)

There, now you can be America's Next Top Model.

Tobias Duncan 11:48 PM  

Well ACME you sure did give a huge hint last week but you were so innocent and cute about it I doubt anyone could possibly be upset.
Those pesky anon however ...grrrrrrrr.

Ok I usually never do the captcha thing but WOOMATE?? I wish I were feeling clever enough to make something out of that.

sanfranman59 1:18 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:17, 6:55, 0.91, 15%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:09, 3:41, 0.85, 3%, Easy

Among the Monday puzzles in my database, only ACME & Kent Clayton's 11/2/2009 puzzle had a faster median solve time in the Top 100 group than this one. The All Solvers group didn't have quite as easy a time of it, but their median time still fell in the middle of the Easy range.

@Adam R ... you weren't the only one who confidently wrote in JEepS for 9A: Wranglers, e.g.. But I didn't notice that the crosses were wrong until the app wouldn't accept my solution. I know the brand of jeans, but finding the error cost me about a minute and a half.

mac 7:07 PM  

@Tobias Duncan: a woomate is your twin.

Citizen Dain 10:46 PM  

"Lolita" is my favorite book of all time and I too just started (re-re-)reading it.

Waxy in Montreal 2:40 PM  

All the Braves chatter 5 weeks ago reminds me of one of the better baseball trivia questions: Who's the only player to have suited up with the Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta versions of the team?
Ans.: Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews who played in all 3 Brave cities from 1952-1966.

Dirigonzo 5:16 PM  

Really, really wanted 4A to be a shout-out to my home state, but it wasn't. Otherwise, what everybody else said about the puzzle. And I love that @Waxy was able to chime in with a bit of trivia that no one else brought up - it's nice when a syndi-solver contributes something original and interesting to the discussion (which I so far have not been able to do.)

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