Gossipy Barrett / MON 6-3-13 / Rod who was seven-time A.L. batting champ / Stimpy's bud

Monday, June 3, 2013

Constructor: John Lampkin

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Porcine — theme answers are common phrases that all start with either living or dead pig

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Unseen purchase (PIG IN A POKE)
  • 11D: Ecstatic state, informally (HOG HEAVEN)
  • 39A: You can't make a silk purse out of it, they say (SOW'S EAR)
  • 34D: Clumsy (HAM-FISTED)
  • 63A: Like some wasteful government spending (PORK BARREL)

Word of the Day: RONA Barrett (16A: Gossipy Barrett) —
Rona Barrett (born Rona Burstein, October 8, 1936, New York City) is an American gossip columnist and businesswoman. She currently runs the Rona Barrett Foundation, a non-profit organization in Santa Ynez, California, dedicated to the aid and support of senior citizens in need. (wikipedia)
• • •

The theme is old-feeling, and also weirdly and creepily inconsistent. You have PIG, both sexes of PIG, and then dead and edible pig, all happily co-habitating here as if they were the same thing. This reminds me of signs/logos for barbecue places where the pig is smiling and winking at you while eating ribs. "See, even pigs love it!" Fill is unremarkable, though there is evidence of a noble attempt to zazz it up with some Ks and Zs and a J and what not. I felt all-thumbs while solving this, and I never got a good flow going, and yet I was done in 2:46, so it must be pretty damned easy. Had RIP OUT before ZIP OUT (6D: Like some detachable linings). Took a while to get ROOT (41D: Part of a plant or tooth). Made some dumb fumbling typos in the NE. Otherwise, zero problems.

Hey, how did the pig sign his contracts? (A: IN OINK!) (52A: How to sign a contract).

I'm done. Dinner awaits. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Evan 12:43 AM  

Didn't find the living/dead PIG split to be a problem, I just figured it was phrases that begin with something PIG-related. I'm guessing the pig meat options made for more interesting theme answers. SWINE FLU might have been a good one, though I can't think of any familiar phrase that starts with BOAR.

CARHOP is a new word to me, although I remember seeing an episode of The Simpsons where Marge worked as one, so I could at least picture it.

jae 12:58 AM  

Easy smooth Mon.  Amusing theme.   Only two answers I "only know from crosswords"--IRAE and OTOE.  

Erasure: ZIPoff for OUT.

Do we still TOOT AT CARHOPS?

RANKLE is a fine word.

Liked it!

Gill I. P. 1:07 AM  

Cute little Monday.
Why did the pig take a bath?
He heard the farmer yell "hogwash...."

Anoa Bob 1:28 AM  

Started great. Loved PIG IN A POKE, SEE THRU, & ZIP OUT in the opening corner. When HOG & SOW came along, I was still lovin'it.

Then HAM showed up. This was a clanger-off-the-rim-shot for me, kinda like when a needle jumps a groove while an LP is playing.

I'm seeing PIG, HOG, & SOW occupying a different Venn Diagram circle than the one for HAM & PORK.

Overlapping circles yes, but to my mind, all the theme entries should be in the same circle.

That said, there was lots of great fill and clueing that still made this an enjoyable solve.

chefwen 2:03 AM  

Jon came home a couple of nights ago and found two DOGIEs 3D in our driveway. Too young to know if they are HEFERS. Grabbed avatar (Skipper) a Australian cow heeler and Skip did his job and rounded them into a fenced pasture. Have no idea where they came from and how they managed to get to our property without getting run over on the highway. Made a dozen phone calls and no one has taken claim. Guess we have a couple of new babies. So cute.

Jon didn't get 10A regardless of the fact that every time he walks though the living room and Dr. Phil is on he lets out a very audible sigh. How can you watch that SHIT? He said "is there a Dr. Paul?" I said "who do I watch every day?" He said "OH SHIT"!

Jon's a funny guy.

Ellen S 2:20 AM  

I didn't like yesterday's puzzle (I mean today's -- Sunday) at all and had such trenchant, witty and profound things to say about why that I decided I would have to type my post on a real computer. But when I sat down--7am this morning!-- I saw a bunch of emails from people who needed me to do stuff. And by the time I got loose of them it was time for a 10 o'clock conference call followed by another one followed by another one! And then my brother's computer crashed and he called asking for advice (no luck) and then it was now -- time to do the Monday puzzle before dragging off to bed. Well, it's a Monday. Easy, inoffensive. I am immune to the nuances of pork vs sow. I ain't going to eat them anyway. (New Russian restaurant here serves smoked EEL, though I'm not eating that either. But thanks to the commenter on the Sunday Puz opining that "ELHI" should be a school for EELS -- perfect.) g'nite all. Nothing trenchant or witty to say.

Arietta Carew aMore 2:27 AM  

oh goodie, I get to tell my childhood baseball story again!

In the '70s I was sitting in a MacDonald's in Minneapolis, watching two adorable children running around, who were this perfect blend of black and white.

I went over to the father and said I was not a kid-person per se, but they were the most beautiful children I had seen.
He was a handsome black guy wearing a Cha'i necklace. That struck me odd at the time.
You rarely ever saw folks in Minneapolis who were of color in those days, much less someone who was black and Jewish.
He said he was pleased bec most folks didn't come over to him to talk about his kids.
We chatted a bit more, I left.
Later that week I realized he was the guy on the cover of Newsweek, who was going after some homerun record by Hank Aaron or some such...
In the article they mentioned that this Minnesota Twin was married to a Jewish woman... and it ALL made sense. I had met Rod CAREW!

I tried DOGEY, so Mr Wiesel saved me there.

I didn't like the triple play of NIPAT, TOOTAT, and ATSEA and the mix and match was odd, but it didn't RANKLE me.
He even snuck in an ARAB in the corner who probably does not eat pork.

Here is a must-see video, this little boy should become the spokesperson for vegetarians everywhere!

acme 2:37 AM  

veggie video

acme 3:22 AM  

found it, July 18, 1977...
OK, it was Time, not Newsweek and nothing to do with Hank Aaron's record... But if you look closely you can see the Cha'i...and he does indeed have three little girls (the youngest died at 18 bec they couldn't find a blood match for someone half Panamanian half Jewish. Sad.)

good news is I have learned to embed...
three strikes I'm out, right?
Rod Carew

Mike Ben-Ari 4:00 AM  

acme, you have more class and wits in your non-pork pinkie than all the... video is adorable, just delicious, thanks for sharing

Z 6:42 AM  

A little religious sub-theme going with ELIE, SION, JIHADS, ASSISI, and KEANU.

ROOT next to UP A TREE, cute.

Easy Peasy.

loren muse smith 6:52 AM  

I have *never* seen the word DOGIE and thought, “Seriously? That’s a variant spelling?” Then I looked it up. Cool.

@Anoa Bob –I see you point about your porcine Venn diagram.

@jae – yes- RANKLE is great word.

ROOT could have been clued piggily, too. In fact, there’s a bit of a farmy feeling here: ROOT, TAIL, SOUNDS, SILO, DEERE, DOGIE, WASHTUB, CEDAR, OAK. . .Definitely not the RITZ.

I prefer SEW ON patches to IRON on. Those IRON-ons never stay. Ever.

@Acme – ARAB *and* JIHADS. No bacon for them.

AMORE, ARIETTA, O SOLE, ASSISI, EMILE, HEIRO. . . poor Dad. At least EIS is two English words.

Speaking of which, I counted, what, twelve entries that were more than one word. Nice!

I thought this was a fine Monday. Thanks, John!

Rob C 7:24 AM  

Easy. Not sure if I've ever heard the SOWS EAR phrase, but it fell right into place given the theme.

Where's Kevin Bacon when you need him?

dk 7:29 AM  

Given that Babe is one of my favorite movies how could I not like a porcine puzzle.

Remembering a big todo at a former workplace when one of my more obnoxious nerd employees was RANKLEd over the appearance of PORK in the linch room. Something to do cloven hooves. In a fit of intolerance I smote his job and sent out for hot dogs.

🐷🐷🐷 (3 Little pigs)

Milford 7:36 AM  

Cute theme, easy Monday. Didn't really think of the live/dead pig thing, myself.

I realized I never really knew what PIG IN A POKE meant. It makes me think of "Euripean Vacation".

Wrote in HAM-handED before HAM-FISTED.

Beastie Boys' "Sure Shot" has the lyric "I got more action than my man John Woo, I got mad hits like I was Rod CAREW."

Lots if nice long entries, PRESLEY, ATTACHÉ, IONIZES.

Milford 7:38 AM  

*European Vacation :)

Susan McConnell 7:51 AM  

This was a fine, fun Monday. I'm glad the theme was PIG stuff instead of "Wood for a chest" which is what I first suspected it might be.

VaBeachpuzzler 7:52 AM  

Puzzle shoulda been in Chinese, considering Smithfield's possible sale ...

DBlock 8:03 AM  

If we were allowed expletive filled answers (and apologies to those who deem what follows a violation of the breakfast rule, so please stop reading), I would have liked Piginshit for 11D

Rob C 8:04 AM  

Interesting factoid somewhat related to the puzzle - The Phillies AAA team is the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs in Allentown, PA. The team name had been put to a fan vote when the team moved here several years ago and Iron Pigs was selected as a play on pig iron, an ingredient in steel as an homage to the area's steelmaking history at Bethlehem Steel.

Every night, there's a race beltween mascots dressed as bacon, pork, ham, and brat - like the presidents' race at Nationals Park in DC.

It's a fun night out if you're in the area.

joho 8:11 AM  

I have a soft spot in my heart for pigs and like @dk, loved "Babe," so I liked the theme.

I did write in the margin, however: PIG, HOG, SOW = animated, HAM & PORK = edible.

This was easy and perfectly placed on a Monday, I give it two hooves up!

lawprof 8:54 AM  

Fun, easy way to start the week. Especially gratifying to see one of my all-time favorite ballplayers, Rod Carew, make the cut. Somewhere along the line I acquired (don't remember whether I bought it, found it, was given it or stole it) a Rod Carew Louisville Slugger signature bat. Still have it, although it's now relegated to pinata duty at birthday parties.

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

i counted 14 proper names (not including assisi) - a bit much, eh?

chefbea 9:16 AM  

John Lampkin certainly brought home the bacon with this puzzle!!! What fun and very easy.

jackj 9:18 AM  

You know you’re dealing with a free spirit when you check the Home page of pianist John Lampkin’s web site and find it features a book for sale that claims to be written by a “Musical Madman” and gives itself a proud promo of, “Not a single week on the NY Times Best Seller List!!”

John doesn’t disappoint, as the wackiness is hinted at on the first line with ZION, (the Jewish “Holy Land”), that then shoots off into a theme of “tref-i-ness” with five non-Kosher porcine phrases, all with a light, giggly touch, my favorite being HOGHEAVEN, (but, BACON, John, where’s the BACON?).

While there’s a bit of potential Middle East tension as a sideline, evidenced by ARAB and JIHADS, the puzzle keeps it’s deft touch and quickly moves on to a full sty of clever fill that nicely complements the oinking theme entries.

Favorite straight bit was RANKLE, the best fun entry was WASHTUB, (with visions of a Gomer look-alike strumming paeans to LOSTLOVE on his beloved gutbucket), while ARIETTA and IONIZES battled it out for least likeable Monday answer.

UPATREE and ZIPOUT made their own cases for special recognition, while Bay State solvers likely would have preferred one down to be re-clued as “Ann and Cod”.

Welcome back to John Lampkin; may he continue to please us with his lively offerings.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 9:22 AM  

Did you have pork chops for dinner? Those BBQ signs with the little pigs are all over in the south. Huge turnoff, ugh.

I liked the puzzle tho.

jberg 9:46 AM  

Listen, I used to read RONA Barrett's column in Parade Magazine every week, honest, but for some reason I remembered her as RENA, and when that didn't fit changed it to RiNA/HiGH HEAVEN, thinking, "that's not really right." So without that vertical theme answer, I didn't count HAM-FISTED either, and ended up not only with an error, but thinking this puzzle was much worse than it was. My only excuse is that I'm a little sunburned from yesterday at Crane Beach.

A little sunburned, and a lot old, judging from @Evan's comment that CARHOP is a new word to him. I knew they were a thing of the past, like buggy whips -- but everyone has heard of them, right?


mac 10:09 AM  

Fun little Monday puzzle! Easy alright, only one write-over at ham-handed.

@Andrea: great post! And timely, with the noise about the Cheerio's ad.

@Evan: I have never seen a carhop in my life. Would have liked to go to a drive-in movie theater, but I guess they were gone before I got here, or at least in the areas where I have lived. BTW, Boar's Head (cold cut co.) is an option.

I thought the clue/answer combination floundering/at sea was funny. I guess a flounderer is related to an eeler.

Good start of the week, puzzle, blog and comments included!

Bob f. 10:10 AM  

Started with Perkins instead of Presley for Blue Suede Shoes singer. Carl Perkins had the original, and bigger, hit.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:20 AM  

CARHOPS are definitely not a thing of the past. They are a feature of Sonic Drive-In restaurants, one of which is a mile up the highway from me. (Any relation to Sonic the HedgeHOG?)

And, ha-ha, 8D/23D, O-A-K/A-O-K.

R. Duke 10:25 AM  

Rob C - the Milwaukee Brewers have a similar race, but with a hot dog, bratwurst, Polish sausage, Italian sausage, and chorizo. You never know who will come in first, but everyone's a wiener!

Carola 10:51 AM  

Witty theme, fun puzzle. After I filled in PIG IN A POKE, I went and looked for the SOW'S EAR and PORK BARREL. Had to wait for HOG HEAVEN and HAM-HandED, that is, -FISTED. My other do-over was Perkins to PRESLEY, like @Bob f. Also loved RANKLE - was sure it was going to be something like "gnaw at" so almost wrote the "at" in. Fun to get faked out. Thought AMORE and IRAE made interesting neigbors.

@loren - On that farm, there's probably somebody that LAYS EGGYs, too.

Kevin 10:52 AM  

No major hiccups for me, but the puzzle felt like an anachronism. The majority of the theme phrases (pig in a poke, sow's ear, ham fisted) are not often heard (at least not by me) in the 21st century.

John V 10:56 AM  

I really like this one as it strikes me as a good gateway for newbies, such as non-puz spouse. Por moi, may be the easiest Monday ever; barely touched the down clues. Just filed itself.

A good Monday, Mr. Lampkin.

Sandy K 11:09 AM  

Fun, easy Monday fare- needed a rasher of bacon and IN INK shudda been "I OINK"...

@acme- Enjoyed your Rod CAREW story. Sorry he's so close to 57D- your un-favorite. ; )


Lewis 11:41 AM  

I've heard PIGINAPOKE all my life but never said it and never knew what it meant, so I got this out of the puzzle.

Not bothered by before and after death pig answers -- the theme is pigs, good enough for me, especially on a Monday. Heck, I would have been okay with PORKSALADANNIE.

Good, fun Monday fare...

Sfingi 12:02 PM  

Five oinks for Lampkin. PIGs be cute. Easy and fun.

Also liked 2 "Wood for a chest" clues.

Hubster got in trouble in school when the teacher said, "A male pig is a boar. What is a female pig?"
He didn't say SOW. His friends didn't give him up, so they all got punished.

PIG IN A POKE is mostly a Southern expression.

@Kevin - Agist. You're gonna hafta wait til were dead.
And I remember the CARHOPS on roller skates at Kewpie's, which I called Pukies.

Rob C 12:14 PM  

@R Duke - Thanks. Now that you say it it sort of rnigs a bell, but for some reason I thought there were racing beers in Milwaukee. You know, Brewers, Miller Park...it would fit the theme.

Tita 12:34 PM  

@Evan - one of my top 10 restaurants is the Sycamore - a drive-in from the 50's. that still has CARHOP service.
(And awesome onionburgers and homemade rootbeer.)
The anti-Sonic, which is mere marketing and retro decor ordered from a catalogue. (Sorry, BobK - I invite you up to Bethel this summer!)

@acme - Fun story...

Major nit today...
When people say EGGY, they always mean yolky...
Meringues are the whites only.
Technically correct, I suppose, but completely wrong according to the only way the word can ever be used.
The iconic dessert in Portugal is Ovos Molos, which is basically a dozen yolks and a pound of sugar. Now THAT is EGGY!
(I am a Meringue Maven - the Portuguese call them Suspiros (sighs), and I make them for nearly every occasion!)

Liked the clue for ATSEA having a marine twist.

Thanks for an easy, fun solve.

Tita 12:52 PM  

Meant to add...the Ovos Molos came first - the Suspiros were simply the inevitable frugal reaction to having all those leftover whites.

Nick 12:56 PM  

Didn't have the same flow (or pig) problem as Rex -- this one was smooth and easy and also fun.

Anoa Bob 1:03 PM  

I wonder if Homer Simpson did today's puzzle. He once mused (hi Loren) "Wow! Four different foods, PORK, HAM, saugage, and bacon. and all from just one animal. Amazing!"

Anyone ever try pickled pigs feet?

Bob Kerfuffle 1:10 PM  

Never pigs feet, but when I was much younger and my digestive system stronger, often had pigs knuckles with sauerkraut at a (now long-gone) restaurant in New York City.

@Tita - I've never actually stopped at Sonic; just drive past it occassionally!

Bird 1:48 PM  

I like today’s puzzle. Nothing fancy, but it’s Monday.

CENSOR before SOUNDS (didn’t notice “and” in the clue implying a plural answer, but it was my first thought and it looked good)

IMO, 38A should be Made in the USA
How many African antelopes are there?
Sue Grafton seems to be getting a lot of grid time

IMDb 1:55 PM  

@Evan - Haven't you ever seen . . .

The Hollywood Knights


American Graffiti

acme 2:01 PM  

Ha! You caught me! But you know the old adage, if you don't have anything nice to say... (Tho that's never stopped anyone on Rex's blog!) "Sides, I'm still hoping she'll plug "No Kidding" on her show!

Love that story of your stolen bat!

You know, in retrospect, I think you are dead on, they are super oldie expressions, and throw in CARHOP and it's very retro. Hmmm, good call. Sooooooooey!

Evan 2:14 PM  


No, I haven't seen either. In any event, it's the word CARHOP which is new to me. The concept isn't.

chefbea 2:42 PM  

Use to have car hops at Steak and Shake in St. Louis. We have a Sonic here in Wilmington. Went once and left. Couldn't see the menu board from the passenger seat.

John V 3:10 PM  

Just learned that CARHOP is an anagram of OH CRAP. Just passing along.

Old Macdonald 3:22 PM  

Lots of animals in this grid . . .

And SOW'S EAR next to SOUNDS and TOOT

Tita 3:34 PM  

@Old McD...don't forget the Flounder in the clues!

Milford 3:52 PM  

@Anoa Bob - good one with the Simpsons reference! We call the PIG the "magical animal" because of that episode.

retired_chemist 4:21 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
retired_chemist 4:25 PM  

Didn't notice anyone reporting that Sonic Drive-in (at least, in Texas) still has CARHOPS. On roller skates.

Five days off and I am off my game. Typing and typos added about a minute to my time. Easy puzzle, nothing troublesome except RIPOFF => RIP OUT => ZIP OUT.

Thanks, Mr. Lampkin.

chefbea 4:50 PM  

@retd chemist. The sonic we went to and left had carhops on skates

The Invisible Man 5:02 PM  

@retired_chemist - Did you notice Kerfuffle at 10:20 AM?

retired_chemist 6:06 PM  

Nah - I am bleary-eyed from 6 days out of town and only half read the blog.

Victor 10:00 PM  

@ACME and @Sallie: Last winter driving throughout the south and southwest we came across a number of anti-abortion billboards with the tagline "abortion stops a beating heart" In Texas we came across a very large billboard which said "A pork chop stops a beating heart. Go vegan."

JenCT 11:13 PM  

@mac: There's a drive-in movie theater near my house......road trip???

@Tita: Agree about EGGY

Fun puzzle.

Anoa Bob 12:24 AM  

Milford, a belated thanks for "magical". Couldn't recall that gem from the quote that made Homer's line so Homeresque!

Cannonball 3:28 AM  

Phooey! Missed the Breeders on tour in NYC last moth. The video with the write-up was the Deal-breaker. Still a chance to see them in old stomping grounds in Illinois.

PIX 5:11 PM  

Did I have a different puzzle? The gray boxes (NY Times print edition) all form the name of snakes: cobra,adder,mamba, python,anacanda. I hate snakes but it does make the puzzle that much more interesting.

NM Robin 12:12 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
NM Robin 12:15 PM  

@Evan & jberg: I must be really really old. I was a CARHOP on roller skates no less at Big Boy's, an old drive-in restaurant in NM. They served hamburgers, shakes, sodas, and the like. Not an easy job.

I thought the puzzle was easy but had one mistake. I didn't know RONA and didn't check my downs as usual. Still, I liked the puzzle

spacecraft 12:32 PM  

The "POKE" in this case is a bag in which the gold prospector carries his nuggets/dust/whatever. The expression was "Who would buy a PIGINAPOKE?" meaning that without proper assay papers to back it up, the stuff in there could be worthless. Why they picked a pig to be the symbol of worthlessness is a part of the story I do not know.

Today's POKE was full of pig, but some nuggets too. I guess PRESLEY'd be one of the latter; for so many years now simply known as Elvis, or the King, his surname has become dust-covered. Nice to see him in a grid, though I agree that the "Shoes" clue belongs more properly to that OTHER 7-letter P. It's not as if there weren't a few DOZEN smash hits that belong to EAP alone.

In my only writeover, I HAMhandEDly had my FIST open at first. I don't want any trouble. Nice, unforced use of the Z's. There's a nearly complete name at 29a/37a: KEANU YVES. Cool.

rain forest 2:11 PM  

I've missed a few days while touring Okanagan wineries. Tried Saturday's puzzle last night, and had a monster DNF, so today's was a nice change, and a fun puzzle to boot. Coherent theme, dead pigs or live, and good clean fill, almost sparkly. One nit: an aerosol is what the spray can produces--it is NOT the can. Agree with @Spacecraft that "Blue Suede Shoes" is not a typical PRESLEY song. In fact, I think Pat Boone first had a hit with it, if memory serves.

DMGrandma 2:18 PM  

A fun romp through the porcine world with only one correction, HAMFISTED for HAMhandED. Felt really dated by the CARHOP comment, but then I also remember listening to RONA on the radio. Tempus fugit!

Dirigonzo 3:33 PM  

This from wiki: ""Blue Suede Shoes" is a rock and roll standard written and first recorded by Carl Perkins in 1955 and is considered one of the first rockabilly (rock and roll) records and incorporated elements of blues, country and pop music of the time. Perkins' original version of the song was on the Cashbox Best Selling Singles list for 16 weeks, and spent 2 weeks in the No. 2 position.[1] Elvis Presley performed his version of the song three different times on national television. It was also recorded by Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran among many others." PRESLEY needs another clue.

Fat Boy Drive-in restaurant just a few miles from here still has CARHOPs but we don't TOOTAT them (wouldn't that be rude?), we just turn our car lights on to get service. They also have the best lobster rolls in the area.

I guess it's too early in the week to give EIS a German clue?

Would it be un-PC to say that this puzzle was definitely not Kosher?

Ginger 6:13 PM  

@spacecraft - Just guessing here, but could the 'pig' in a miner's poke mean 'pig iron' instead of gold? Seems reasonable...

@rain forest - Washington makes some wonderful wines. Your tour is on my list ;-)

About the puzzle, love the comment about Kevin Bacon. Also, the Kosher Quip! It did have an old timey feel, with car-hops, early Elvis, etc. The theme phrases were all well known to me, I think I've used them all, so yes, I'm a little long in the tooth.

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