Singer Julius of early TV / TUE 7-23-13 / Bygone Ford van / NBC newsman Richard / Styptic pencil targets

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Constructor: Jean O'Conor

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging



THEME: BEACHGOER (59A: One packing up the answers to the seven starred clues, maybe) — all beach items have non-beach clues

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *Abrupt reversals of opinion (FLIP-FLOPS)
  • 23A: *Uninjured, after "in" (ONE PIECE)
  • 26A: *Hoosegow (COOLER)
  • 36A: *Scandal damage control (COVER-UP)
  • 39A: *Across-the-board (BLANKET)
  • 49A: *Ghostly figures (SHADES)
  • 51A: *Kind of insurance policy (UMBRELLA)

Word of the Day: Richard ENGEL (53D: NBC newsman Richard) —
Richard Engel (born September 16, 1973) is an American journalist and author who is NBC News's chief foreign correspondent. He was assigned to that position on April 18, 2008 after being the network's Middle East correspondentand Beirut Bureau chief. Engel was the first broadcast journalist recipient of the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism for his report "War Zone Diary".
Prior to joining NBC News in May 2003, he covered the start of the 2003 war in Iraq from Baghdad for ABC News as afreelance journalist. He speaks and reads Arabic fluently and is also fluent in Italian and Spanish. Engel wrote the book A Fist in the Hornet's Nest, published in 2004, about his experience covering the Iraq War from Baghdad. His newest book,War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq, published in June 2008, picks up where his last book left off.
Engel is known for having covered the Iraq War, the Arab Spring and the Syrian civil war.
• • •

Hrm. I found this one deeply unpleasant to solve. It was clued too hard for a Tuesday, but more than too hard, it was just annoying. Too choppy, too many abbrevs, a stupid partial for a theme answer, and in the end just a bunch of beach stuff. The grid isn't terrible, really. Long Downs are nice. But with eight theme answers (that's a ton), the fill creaks a little in spots. Perhaps it's remarkable that it's as good as it is, given the theme constraints. Long way to go, a lot of fuss, for a very little pay-off, theme-wise.


How is OHO "jolly"? In what universe? You know it's fundamentally different from "HO HO HO," right? If Santa caught you masturbating, he might say "OHO!" I don't know if his tone would be "jolly," though. Never happy to see Julius LAROSA—I know him, now, but I still don't like him (as an answer; I never met the man, obviously) (33A: Singer Julius of early TV). A pretty obscure piece of high-end crosswordese. Could not get from "furniture protection" to PRIMER to save my life. I was like "Uh ... ScotchGuard? WTF?" ECASH is ECASH, i.e. E-terrible. I have only ever seen the phrase "styptic pencil" in crosswords. Do people use those? Don't we put Band-aids on "NICKS"? I had -ICKS and still didn't know (35A: Styptic pencil targets). TICKS? And ["Daughters" rapper]?? That is some Saturday cluing for NAS. Crazy. I mean, it's a rapper in three letters, so not *hard*, exactly, but I'd never heard of it. Turns out it's the third single from his 2012 (!!?) album. He is not famous for that. Guaranteed. Song *was* nominated for a Grammy, but my point stands. Not famous. Peaked at #78. Not famous. Fine clue. Just not for Tuesday.

Lastly, I think I'd've clued SOPUP as [Beginning of heart-to-heart with small dog].

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

104 comments:

Steve J 12:11 AM  

I liked this one overall. I thought the various theme answers flowed together well and didn't feel at all forced (other than the cluing for 23A; seems like that could have been done without a partial), and none of them felt like a stretch, either in service of the theme or in how they were clued.

The only thing that struck me as a bit odd as I was solving is that it seemed like there were a lot of ____UP answers, but looking back I just see three. I must have solved all of those in close proximity, creating the impression.

I really wish ECASH (along with ezines and all other e-something constructions other than email) would shuffle off into crossword Valhalla and never be heard from again. Nobody uses those phrases outside crosswords, and there's no way to have them show up without having the puzzle sound very much like your corny dad who's trying to sound hip and is proving with every word just how much he isn't.

By the way, styptic pencils can still be found anywhere high-end and/or traditional shaving supplies are sold.

And I still don't get PRIMER as furniture protection. To me, PRIMER is what you apply before you paint.

Anonymous 12:13 AM  

SO, PUP made it worthwhile.

Anonymous 12:17 AM  

ONE PIECE for "Uninjured, after "in"" is a truly horrid eight-letter partial.

Styptic pencils may be kind of old-timey now, but certainly styptic powder is still common enough; helps to stem bleeding. Pet owners may keep some handy in case they clip the quick when trimming nails and such. A cut quick, even a seemingly minor one, can bleed a ton.

I've never needed it with my African hedgehog, but do have it on hand. Corn starch would be my first choice if something happened. Styptic powder can burn.

Sophie says hello:

Sophie

Sophie

Anonymous 12:24 AM  

Very much agree with Rex.

Compared to yesterday's puzzle, this was VERY difficult; like going from 0 to 50 in short time.

Overall, felt the puzzle was more annoying then cute; when i figured out the difficult ones (for me) - like "one piece" or "cooler" - wanted to say "ah" (as in, I am relieved) rather than "aha!" (as in, that was clever.

Sorry for prolixity.

Anonymous 12:24 AM  

ONE PIECE for me is a tiny bit of a stretch theme-wise.

It also wouldn't hurt to go a little bit more to pop culture instead. ONE PIECE is a heavily popular well-received manga series, that has also been converted into an anime series. Certainly more well known than JIBS

Gill I. P. 12:28 AM  

OHO dear, I really don't like my first answer to be an acronym. Wasn't that crazy about the three UPS either.
I wonder how many texters really use OTOH - it sounds so, I don't know, worldly....My versions
IMF [I must fart]
ARI [All right idiot]
CIE [Can I exit?]
CNN [Can't, not now]
MCS [My can smells]
RAH {Run and hide!]
Did like LADY LUCK and VAGABOND but agree with @Rex...this was a Tuesday?????

Evan 12:33 AM  

I blame my slower-than-normal solving time on my inability to type correctly. I must have hit the wrong key at least twice per answer at the very beginning, even when I knew what the answer was. Also started writing in VAGRANT at 38-Down only to find out I was a letter short, but changed it to VAGABOND quickly enough.

I like the long downs too, but I think my least favorite entry has to be TARRER -- a bizarre noun-from-a-verb conversion if I've ever seen one. You don't add just an -R or an -ER, but an -RER to make it work. A TARRER is one who tars. If anyone ever finds that word in a job description anywhere, do let me know.

That LAROSA/ARS crossing is bound to be troublesome for at least a few people. I mean, you could probably infer it since we see "ARS poetica" often enough, and I don't think the other options give you a Latin word, but still.

I don't think I've ever heard DOGS as slang for feet -- come on, quit dragging your DOGS and get moving! That sounds creepier and creepier the more I think about it.

retired_chemist 12:37 AM  

SO, PUP - let's do your nails now. Styptic powder is useful if you quick a dog's nail when you trim it. My father used to keep a styptic pencil with his shaving supplies, in case he nicked himself.

Liked it. Didn't find the cluing un-Tuesdayish.

Wonder just how much ERSE is actually spoken around Loch Ness. I think Gaelic and its dialects is pretty much limited to the more remote islands. Philologists, please correct me if needed.

LA ROSA was a staple for a couple of years (1951-53) on Arthur Godfrey's show. Until Godfrey fired him on air, that is. That was around the time we got our first TV. Quite a scandal......

Thanks, Ms. O'Conor.

okanaganer 12:39 AM  

Anon 12:24...surely cluing ONE PIECE as "(something) Manga series" would be of late week difficulty/obscurity?

My peeve with this puzzle was: too many plurals. There are eleven (!!!) -S plurals in the acrosses alone, if you include ETATS!

Davis 12:51 AM  

I used a styptic pencil relatively recently (until I lost it down the drain). Stings like heck, but really effective.

jae 12:52 AM  

Medium-tough for me too.   Especially the NE corner.  HELMS did not come quickly and HELIO also took some staring.   And, unless you are up on old Fords, ECONOLINE might be a problem. 

Re NAS:  I couldn't pick a NAS song out of an audio line up or his face out of a visual one. But, three letter rapper starting with N has got to be NAS i.e. stuff I only know from crosswords.  But, is that a Tuesday level clue? Same with CIE, ENGEL, ARS, LEMUR...

That said, I liked the theme and the fill was pretty good with a few exceptions ( TARRER?....).

Evan 1:00 AM  

And let's all remember today as the day that Rex reminded us how crosswords unite people not only in their love of knowledge, but in their discomfort in the knowledge that Santa might catch them masturbating.

Anonymous 1:13 AM  

Need help

Clue: Pain in the neck?

Answer: tie

A neck tie is a pain? Seems like a bad clue.

Thanks

Dodo

oh use my name if you are so kind to reply so i can find
it easily.

Mike 1:44 AM  

New to posting, not a particularly accomplished solver here (struggle towards the back end of the week)so I feel I might be more attuned to the early week difficulties than some others.

This one felt tough, harder than some Wed or Thursdays. Didn't help that I stuck in PRISON for COOLER and refused to let it go, URL for DSL was the wrong sort of connection and EXECS for HELMS left my grid in tatters. Throw in GIN for WAR (2 player card game)and you can see why the upper half of my puzzle was sadly barren several minutes in.

I've seen ELOISE a dozen times but can never pluck it out of my brain. Random French (ETATS!) always trips me up. After living in Cincinnati for several years when I hear LAROSA I think of a pizza chain, not an obscure singer.

Finally as a dedicated wet shaver (brush, creams, etc...) styptic pencil was right in my wheelhouse. For those who don't know that (or an alum block) is used to staunch the bleeding from little NICKS that occur while scraping metal against flesh.

chefwen 2:06 AM  

@Dodo - Are you looking at a different puzzle, I don't see that clue.

As a teen I suffered with a lot of canker sores, my dentist told me to hold a styptic pencil against it until I could not longer stand it. Worked like a charm. Usually gone the next day.

@Evan - Have a good friend who suffers from sore feet, his daily comment is "Man my dogs are really barking at me today" Funny guy!

Anon @ 12:17 - Sophie is a cutie pie.

Liked this puzzle a hellova more than Rex did. Zipped right on through it. Only write-over was at 2D when I started to put in SELma (thinking Hyack sp?) Had too many squares. Remembered that girl who is off/on again with that creepy Beiber (sp?) dude and came up with the correct SELENA.

Enahoo, thought it was a cute puzzle. Thanks Jean O'Coner.

sanfranman59 2:31 AM  

I literally lol'd at "If Santa caught you masturbating, he might say "OHO!". And then again @Evan's comment. I hope I didn't wake my neighbors!

WAG 3:57 AM  

@dodo -- At one time a hanging was called a "neck tie party?"

IAStateGal 5:18 AM  

I've been lurking on this forum since I discovered it years ago, but especially since I subscribed to the Magmic app in April. I'm not the best solver, and my times are nowhere near most of you, but I found this puzzle to be pretty easy. It was the first one in a long time that I didn't have to Google anything (and when I do Google, I try and stay away from the crossword sites unless I'm desperate). I think DOGS was the first answer I filled in. I'm not sure if it's a Midwest thing, but "my dogs are barking" is something with which I am quite familiar. What I didn't know (NAS, COOLER, LAROSA), I was able to get from the crosses. Figuring out the theme helped when I was stuck. I thought the theme was cute. Not an extremely satisfying solve, but a fun puzzle none-the-less.

loren muse smith 6:09 AM  

Ok – I agree this was a tough Tuesday. @Evan – I officially dnf with “ers/Lerosa.”

@Gill I.P. – funny!

@Rex – we have a styptic pencil in ourbathroom, and I do use it occasionally. @chefwen – I often suffer from canker sores and will definitely give that a try!

I liked the theme and have actually given this some thought. This could easily be expanded to a Sunday puzzle in my world. When I head down to the beach for the day from our rented beach house, I almost need a pack mule to tote the requisite equipment: COOLER, BLANKER, cabana, UMBRELLA, (yes, both), radio, chair-with-the-hole-for-your-face-to-read-your-book-if-you’re-on-your-stomach, volleyball net and ball, nerf football, Kubb set (any Swedish readers here?), Frisbee, kite, metal detector (just kidding), boogie board, sand castle paraphernalia, binoculars, sifter thingie to help with finding sharks’ teeth, phone in a baggie, walkie-talkie to call up to the house for more Fritos, iPod, People and Us magazines, Rosemary Rogers novel (ok – maybe not anymore). . . Sheesh. All that stuff only to return to the house after several hours with a serious BURN.

Thanks, Jean – nice romp!

WesIsland 6:35 AM  

I'm with @lms, no trip to the beach is complete with less than about 50 items...in our case Folly Beach, outside of Charleston, SC. This year, tiring of all the lugging, we invested in a "beach cart." Turns out, it's harder to pull through soft sand than the previous pack mule approach. Should have got the expensive one with the balloon tires, I guess.

Puzzle was really easy for me, but it may have skewed towards older solvers. I too remember Julius Larosa's dismissal on TV, and thought that everyone was familiar with styptic pencils.

Doug 7:02 AM  

Agree with Rex totally on this. Hard for a Tues. and not very satisfying. Took me forever to get the NW. Solved from bottom up. And DOGS was the last thing I filled in -- never knew this was slang for legs. VAGABOND and KABOOM were good, however.

John V 7:21 AM  

Save for ECASH, which is not a thing, a good Tuesday, NE a touch gnarly.

I am a shaving klutz. Styptic pencil is my best friend.

Raining in Albany, finally.

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

Styptic pencils are great. They really work. Who wants to leave a hotel room with a piece of tissue on your face.

Doris 7:38 AM  

Julius LaRosa was a Navy (I think) veteran who sang on the Arthur Godfrey show until Godfrey (BTW, remember him—a thoroughgoing monster?) fired him for having "lost his humility." LaRosa subsequently enjoyed a long career as a host on local New York radio. Godfrey was the model for the Andy Griffith character in the great film "A Face in the Crowd." I guess that's enough trivia for a Tuesday (or any day).

Milford 7:38 AM  

Thought this played very average for the wide swing of times that can be my Tuesday solve. I liked the appropriate beach theme, and appreciate the non-beach cluing. If ONE PIECE is ever clued as a Manga title, it had better be Saturday.

I agree with @lms that the beach is perfect place to catch up on US and People reading. We've also been known to bring the NY Times with us, since we actually have time to look at it there!

Loved LADYLUCK and VAGABOND, KABOOM crossing A ROOM.

LET'S DANCE is an awesome song, but I feel very old that it's from 1983.

Hand up for styptic pencils for cutting dog nails, and for using the phrase "Geez my dogs are barking" after a long day.

The OHO comment is priceless, @Rex. It may have been what drew out at least two new posters today. Welcome @Mike and @IAStateGal (from that favorite crossword, Ames, yes?)

Mitzie 7:44 AM  

This is a perfect Tuesday!

Kinda crappy, but not really...maybe it's hard, maybe not...people can't tell if they like it or hate it...pretty boring, but sort of fun...

When this is the result, you have produced a Tuesday puzzle.

@Evan: add the 'foot' definition of DOGS to your lexicon - it's a real thing. I seem to remember old-school Looney Tunes often playing on that concept, with, as you can imagine, *hilarious* results.

Glimmerglass 7:48 AM  

A hard Tuesday is always more fun than an easy one. Hard is good. This one was very fair as well as hard. Didn't care for OHO and TARRER, but the rest was excellent fill. As a bonus, the theme was clever.

dk 8:00 AM  

What @Mitzie wrote and I expect Rex will get genital warts in his stocking this year. Santa is not amused.

I am in the midst of building some furniture and PRIMER is not any layer of protection. My first layer of "preparation" is a product known as Sand and Seal.

See Rex's post for an indication of a another type of protection. I believe it is Hasidic Law that offers up the removal of ones hand for the wonton spilling of one's seed. On your knees Sodomite! Enough about that.

���� (2 Stars) Oddly satisfying my favorite part was the picture of Sophie from 12:17 Anon.

evil doug 8:16 AM  

Maybe Santa would like a nice circle jerk for Christmas. Invite Cupid to join in....

Why slap a band-aid on your face when a styptic pencil does the job with a minimum of muss and fuss? And tissue? Puhleeeze. I have an old liquid styptic gizmo that's terrific, but I can't find those anymore. Probably causes cancer or something....

Mike: LaRosa's Pizza is like ketchup on white bread. But we lack good pizza in Cincy. One of the few things I miss from my Chicago days.

'Shades' are ghostly figures?

I'd take this puzzle any ol' Tuesday. Compared to some of the pap we get---yesterday, for example---this is a nice early-week effort.

Evil

Catherine Park 8:17 AM  

My outburst of laughter at the Santa line put me in an interesting position vis a vis my ten-year-old son, who was in earshot. I tried to weasel out of it, but ultimately had to explain the concept of masturbation to him! This is like the time I got to explain heroin use because Homer was shooting up donuts in a Simpsons episode.

I had an okay solve except for the NE corner, which was hellish. Also, hoosegow? That's quite a clue for a Tuesday.

Susan McConnell 8:32 AM  

Yes, I too blurted out a laugh at Rex's OHO Santa line...OMG...

Like evil doug, I couldn't understand how SHADES made sense.

When we went to the Cape a couple of weeks ago, Hubs brought two new, pricy "hole-for-your-face" chairs. Plopped his down, sat in it, adjusted the back with the arm thingy, and CRASH! Broke it. He was so rip roaring mad. Had to rig the strap to the arm somehow to give him a tiny bit of back support. Left chair at beach trash barrel. It's surprising how many chairs were left there. Now he resumes his search for the perfect beach chair. Recommendations welcomed.

evil doug 8:34 AM  

Catherine: 10? He's only pretending he doesn't know what masturbation is. Check under his bed....

Evil

Z 8:35 AM  

@Rex as a parenting aide. Scary.

@Evil - SHADES can be used as a synonym for ghost, unless you leave them in @ LMS's BEACH GOER Uhaul.

As reported earlier, I was at the beach last week. I took my baseball cap, t-shirt, swim trunks, and Chuck Taylors. Returned sans BURN after having a great time in the water. I never could understand reading at the beach.

13 minutes, no idea why since I had no real hang ups.

CIE - IMF

jberg 8:43 AM  

Yes, back when I used to listen to Arthur Godfrey on the radio, before he fired Julius LAROSA, men shaved with razors that only had one blade and cut themselves so often they had to use STYPTIC pencils frequently, and complained about their tired DOGS all the time. No doubt more people spoke ERSE back then, as well. So the real mystery is how NAS got into this hoary old puzzle.

That said, it was easy for me, and I enjoyed finding so many theme answers. It all depends on what you like, I think.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

We always had styptic pencils in my house (near my father's shaving supplies) when I was growing up. Always thought it was a highly bizarre word.

Matty 8:50 AM  

Like it. Only issue is main revealer of BEACHGOER. I don't feel like that gets used often. Maybe BEACHPARTY? Or BEACHDAY? Dunno...

HELMS HELIO ECONOLINE hard for me to see.

jberg 8:54 AM  

OTOH, Santa is not a prude! Just ask Cyndi Lauper.

fvigeland 8:54 AM  

This one definitely played harder than your average Tuesday. My solving time was about two and a half minutes slower than last week Tuesday.

@Anonymous, who I'm assuming is Sarah from yesterday: ONEPIECE as anime is in no universe more well known than JIBS. I am really curious what your aversion to that word is, which, while not everyday parlance, is common enough.

I thought the puzzle was harmless, I like this kind of theme, ECASH was my only real wince, and Rex's OHO and SOPUP comments are priceless.

jackj 8:55 AM  

Santa aside, Rex has it about right. I’d add, INFLOW for cash received, is something not even the nerdiest of nerdy accountants would use in any context.

The dreadful TARRER was saved from my Hall of Infamy when a quick scan of today’s Boston Globe crossword proved slightly worse as the Globe’s 2 across clue read “Archer in action” seeking AIMER. AIMER, meet TARRER.

Packing up the necessities for a day at the beach, eastern Massachusetts style, means commandeering carts, wheelbarrows, any conveyance available, loading it with UMBRELLA(s), COOLERS, BLANKETS, boogie boards, toys, balls, volleyball nets, food, drink, etc, etc, etc and with kids in tow, (looking for all the world like Okies escaping the devastating ‘30’s drought with all their belongings), as folks head to the local beach, having parked their car a mile away to avoid a parking fee.

Based on what other posters have noted, this is not just a regional thing; such is summer fun.

Carola 9:00 AM  

I liked this ode to summer - thought the theme was cute, liked the non-beach-related cluing. Nice Downs - LADY LUCK, VAGABOND, LOUSE UP, LET'S DANCE. Agree with Rex on it being tough for a Tuesday. Found it hard to get started in that top row.

OTOH, I remembered seeing Julius LAROSA on TV - thanks, @retired_chemist, for reminding me of that scandal - and owned a styptic pencil until my grooming habits went to the DOGS, so those were easy.

Besides BURN and maybe LEER (at those not wearing a ONE PIECE), I considered 27D "Sommer" a bonus (German for "summer").

joho 9:01 AM  

I was impressed by the theme density. Plus this seems a perfect summer puzzle for all BEACHGOERS.

I also like the bonus answers of BURN, DOGS (either your hot feet or the ones you're eating) and LEER which a lot of guys do at bikinis or the topless.)There may even be a couple going at it who need to get AROOM!

Yes, there were flaws esp. the ugly TARRER (TAR beach anyone?) but regardless I thought this a way above average Tuesday.

FLIPFLOPS made me smile.

Thanks, Jean!

Marley's ghost 9:42 AM  

This exchange, in which Dickens puns on two meanings of the
word shade, takes place between Scrooge and Marley's ghost
in the first chapter of A Christmas Carol:

``How now!'' said Scrooge, caustic and cold as ever. ``What do
you want with me?''

``Much!'' -- Marley's voice, no doubt about it.

``Who are you?''

``Ask me who I was.''

``Who were you then.'' said Scrooge, raising his voice. ``You're
particular, for a shade.'' He was going to say ``to a shade,'' but
substituted this, as more appropriate.

chefbea 9:50 AM  

fun easy puzzle. Lots of hominy down here!!! They make everything with Grits.

Puzzle husband has 2 styptic pencils. One with his shaving stuff and one in the suitcase for when we travel.

Sandy K 10:18 AM  

I really enjoyed the BEACH theme- lots of fill to like: AL GORE, LET'S DANCE- which is currently featured in a TV ad- VAGABOND, LOUSE UP...

Didn't love all the ISPS, DSL, E-CASH, OTOH, etc.

Agree with @Rex- harder than your average Tues. and OHO made me LOL too-thanks for the visual!

@Carola- Thanks to you I did the PB!
Tho it was more a DNS (Did Not Start) than a DNF, it was challenging and a lot of fun! Spent waaay too much time trying to get COCKTAIL to give me shuttleCOCKs- but it was not to be. Thanks again!!

Two Ponies 10:35 AM  

Easy, cute timely theme.
Grits are essentially corn. (I do love my grits.)
Shades for ghosts made me say Huh?
@ Mitzie, Thanks for the Looney Tunes memory of those panting feet.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:40 AM  

Years ago, when I first went on prescription blood thinner, I was advised to get a styptic pencil, which I did. Fortunately, have never needed it.

My beach gear always includes a sheaf of printed-out crosswords from BEQ, WSJ, Newsday, etc., as well as the daily New York Times puzzle if the paper has been delivered before I leave the house.

gifcan 10:51 AM  

Evan - very funny reply.

I was distracted at the end and messed up BEACHGOER, technically a DNF.

Hey, I learned something on Friday. Rather than drag a puzzle around for days, which I am known to do, set a time limit. So, now on Saturdays it is two hours and that's it, done.

chefbea 10:55 AM  

and speaking of grits...there is a group of ladies here in Wilmington called GRINS and GRITS

Girls
Raised
In the
North

Girls
Raised
In
The
South

Dick S 11:04 AM  

Staring at Nero for along time. Not a clue as to the theme until the very bottom 'beachgoer'. Then the sun came out. Tough for a Tuesday. Surfs' up, Dude.

DBGeezer 11:18 AM  

Could someone please explain to this ancient geezer what OTOH stands for?

JFC 11:24 AM  

Once again, Rex, you missed it. If Santa caught me masturbating, I would go OHO!


JFC

loren muse smith 11:28 AM  

@DBGeezer- On The Other Hand

retired_chemist 11:29 AM  

@ DBG - On The Other Hand

Lewis 11:30 AM  

@evan -- I think it was on the Murphy Brown show where Wallace Shawn would come in, take off his shoes, sit down, put his feet on the table, and say with a luxurious smile, "Aaah, it's time to air out the dogs..."

@mitzie -- well put, your description of this puzzle.

@jberg -- great post

I liked this puzzle. Not a whole lot of grid gruel -- certainly TARRER (for shame!), ARS, MSG, maybe ARI and MCS and NAS. The theme helped my solve, which felt Tuesdayish to me. I liked LADYLUCK and VAGABOND.

I see we have SELENA in a ONEPIECE, ELKE in a BLANKET, and ELOISE in an ECONOLINE.

Some of you have judged this as meh, but it felt zippy to me. Thank you, Ms. Jean!






Masked and Anonymo6Us 11:54 AM  

I recommend bringin some spf-30 lotion along; or is that what COVERUP is? Not a big beach bunny, so maybe that's why that entry is today's: Themer of Mystery.

Printer not working with new computer yet, so after several days of abstinence, decided to solve via Across Lite. Forces one to contemplate one's time spent in solving. Slightly-off-INFLUX, paired with can't-remember-squat-actor-names-SELENA, ate up precious nanoseconds in the NW. The rest went in pretty smooth, since LAROSA was a golden gimme.
KA-Ching: 16 min, 49 sec.

@4-Oho: Primo SOPUP clue.

Carola 11:57 AM  

Maybe TARRER will show up in a future puzzle as "Partner in archaic punishment."

@Sandy K - And we're still in ONE PIECE! COCKTAIL was my last entry, and I had to anagram it. I can't tell you how many times I counted spaces and letters and tried to make "Collateral" fit.

Notsofast 12:08 PM  

FLIPFLOPS, WAR, COVERUP. I first thought the theme was going to be REPUBLICANS! This was pretty crunchy for a Tuesday, but welcome after a string of too-easy's. I vaguely remember some kind of scandal involving JULIUS LAROSA. But can't recall.

Rob C 12:19 PM  

Challenging Tues. for me. No real major trouble, just slow all the way through. I liked the theme. Neat how all the beach gear can have non-beach meanings.

Like others, I've never heard of SHADES for ghosts. Didn't like TARRER, OHO, and a few others either. But in my book, a dense theme more than makes up for a few clunkers.

For PRIMER, I took it as outdoor, wooden furniture. That may be a stretch. If it is the case, it should have been clued as ...'some' furniture.

Sounds like Rex has the beginnings of a sequel to 'A Visit from St. Nicholas'

Janet 12:39 PM  

What up with this puzzle? I'll tell you what up! Too many damn ups is what up.

There is sop up, then there's louse up and then there's the cover up.

M and A also 1:02 PM  

p.s. Would enter into the What Santa Sees discussion, maybe even have a top ten list, but it feels like it's already been beat to death...

@Gill I.P.: Excellent list. IMF is a genuine keeper. I learn so much invaluable stuff from doin the puzs.

Was at a big beach with a boardwalk once, in Virginia Beach. They had a great place for seafood, a block or less inland; was in a big house with a screened-in porch (COVER-UP?). Called Tautogs, I think. Tasty.
But I digress...

OISK 1:06 PM  

A very slow Tuesday for me, although I remember Julius Larosa very well, and have used styptic pencils. I don't like (that doesn't mean they don't belong here, just my personal preference) pop culture, rap, product, and texting slang. David Bowie? NAS? Mini Cooper, OTOH, Too old to be familiar with "Eloise" books, never heard of Richard Engel, (I would like a clue such as "German with a halo?) agree with many others about "OHO" not being "jolly". That's enough to make this one below average in its appeal to me. I did like the way two clowns were placed side by side in the SE...

Lewis 1:07 PM  

@m&a -- first paragraph made me smile...

LaneB 1:15 PM  

Agree with rex re PRIMER clue, ECASH and NAS. Those words really slowed me down, but with a little Google help confirming spelling of SELENA, ENGEL and HELIO, did manage to finish at my usual snail-like pace. Happy to see the medium-challenging designation, however.Made me feel less of a slowpoke because of my using POLISH and VENEER for PRIMER in the NW corner after filling ISPS immediately.

Z 1:21 PM  

@M&A - but like an 18 year old boy, it keeps coming UP.

Anoa Bob 1:40 PM  

So, Julius LA ROSA, ELKE Sommer, and John CLEESE are making out in an ECONOLINE van while parked at the BEACH. They don't even bother to use a BLANKET to COVER UP, lest they LOUSE UP the ACT.

AL GORE drives by in his Mini COOPER and yells "OHO! Get A ROOM!" But, KABOOM, it's too late. SHE says "Meh. SO SO INFLOW." Details at ten on CNN.

Sandy K 1:47 PM  

Had to google Julius LAROSA as it reminded me of my grandparents boycotting the Arthur Godfrey show after he fired LAROSA on the air. Surprised to learn he's a Brooklyn boy and still alive!

COOPER- Ok. TARRER- not so much!

@Carola- Funny! 'Kokomo' helped me get COCKTAIL as it was filmed in the original TGI Friday's- song sounded familiar. My eyes were SPINning, so I cut out the circle...

@M&A- Did U know U made the puz yesterday?

Melodious Funk 2:14 PM  

The Talmud (basis of orthodox Jewish tradition) has some choice words about spanking the monkey. Those interested can go here:

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/09/masturbation-cautionary-tale.html

Otherwise I'm reminded of the hoary oldie: the father catches his son in the act and says, "don't do that or you'll go blind!" The son says, "can I do it until I need glasses?"

I mean what is there to do otherwise but for to laugh.

Milford 2:16 PM  

@Rob C - I was thinking Rex had a chance to rewrite ""Santa Claus is Coming to Town":
"He sees you when you're sleeping..."

Melodious Funk 2:24 PM  

BTW, Julius LaRosa lives down the road from me about 2 miles. He's in his eighties now, seven years older than i am, often eats at a local restaurant near him in Dobbs Ferry, NY. The restaurant is just pitiable, people stay away in droves. He's been going there for 30 years and no one can convince him not to. So to speak.

Arthur Godfrey may have been somewhat despicable but he could play a very professional ukulele. Seems weird to say that, but anyone that heard him would think it gotta be a fancy guitar. The guy was a musical phenom. But what he did to Julius was unconscionable. It put a damper on both careers.

Some people are just unreconstructed schmucks

Rob C 2:43 PM  

@Milford - but in Rex's scenario, it wasn't Santa that was coming...

sanfranman59 3:12 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

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

Tue 9:01, 8:13, 1.10, 73%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Tue 5:38, 4:57, 1.14, 82%, Challenging

Santa 3:18 PM  

I don't judge, I just watch. I like to watch.

Merle 3:30 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. Certainly not medium-challenging for me -- it all fell into place, so medium at most. Medium-rare, maybe. All it needed to be medium-rare was for O rare Ben Jonson be part of a clue/answer set-up. Yes, more difficult than usual for a Tuesday -- Monday and Tuesday puzzles are usually easy-peasy (clue that, puzzle constructor!), so a puzzle a bit more challenging than usual for a Tuesday is not a challenging puzzle, just more fun.

What's with the Julius LaRosa bashing? His heyday was not the most scintillating in American pop music, but he certainly was a competent performer. I did not particularly care for the genre of pop music he sang -- I preferred the evolving music of Bill Haley's
"Rock Around the Clock", and then Elvis, and then Chuck Berry, Little Richard, the Penguins, as well as the Weavers.... But Julius LaRosa was an able performer in his genre.

What's with the fuss about styptic pencils or shades meaning ghosts or spirits? Just run of the mill general culture, isn't it? Nothing arcane, just the usual. Evil Doug,
Dante called the dead in "The Inferno" "ombras," "shades".

Other cultural references in the puzzle offered a wide-enough range for solvers -- Eloise from "Eloise at the Plaza", Nero as the emperor on a Roman coin during his reign, John Cleese of Monty Python, and a hash of David Bowie and Ed Sullivan and Selena Gomez and Ovid and Virginia Woolf -- something for everyone!

Good puzzle! Well done, Jean O'Conor!

Merle -- she's ba-a-a-ck! 3:33 PM  

Shout-out to Melodious Funk -- yo, big dawg, we're neighbors. I'm from Sleepy Hollow. Where the shade of Washington Irving haunts the Old Dutch Reform Church 'neath the shade of the old old trees.

And yo, all you wankers who can't get enough of the oho jokes. Getting any?

Anonymous 3:59 PM  

I couldn't get the "feet, in slang" clue, but when I saw the answer I immediately thought of John Candy as Del Griffith in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles": "My dogs are barkin'!"

David from CA 4:16 PM  

@Merle - Rex's difficulty levels are all relative to the day of the week; so you are basically completely agreeing with his "Medium-challenging" rating - i.e. more difficult than a normal Tuesday, but not extremely so.

Joe The Juggler 5:09 PM  

Meh. I thought it was SOSO.

Other than PRIMER and OHO, the rest were at least comprehensible.

Joe The Juggler 5:12 PM  

"I don't think I've ever heard DOGS as slang for feet"

You're kidding me. That's not at all an obscure usage.

I remember some time ago it was used in a shoe commercial. The recently sold person joyfully exclaims, "My dogs are breathing!"

Joe The Juggler 5:16 PM  

Anonymous said...
"ONE PIECE for me is a tiny bit of a stretch theme-wise."

Only for full-figured gals.

Joe The Juggler 5:21 PM  

"By the way, styptic pencils can still be found anywhere high-end and/or traditional shaving supplies are sold."

Like Walgreens:
http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/clubman-styptic-pencil/ID=prod6143533-product

My grocery store also carries them. I'm not sure why people think this was a very obscure clue/answer either.

Melodious Funk 5:38 PM  

Merle: ttown here. Only the most discriminating live in Sleepy Hollow.

CLARA DOMB, M.A., M.Phil. 6:38 PM  

My father belonged to a LODGE but I don't think he was ever stuck in it.

August West 8:11 PM  

Mom's suit? ONE PIECE

TARRER? Oof.

OHO. Um, no.

Dug seeing ECONOLINE a short one from (Live) RUST. Of course, now I've been crooning a la Neil for 20 hours.

ahimsa-NYT 8:23 PM  

I had the opposite reaction from so many posters who thought this was only SO SO. I loved this puzzle! It had a very light and breezy feel to it. And I loved how the theme entries were all clued with meanings different from the actual beach items.

So, kudos to Jean O'Conor!

Someone here posted that ONE PIECE is a stretch for a beach item. Really? Not for me! "Hmm, shall I wear my bikini or my ONE PIECE? And should I tie a sarong around my waist or wear that pullover COVER UP?"

I enjoyed LADY LUCK, VAGABOND, and LETS DANCE. ECONOLINE was a bit obscure for me. Was that the model of the Scooby Doo gang's van? :-)

I did not know Julius LAROSA (only know the pizza place) but it's a common last name. And the cross was Latin so it had to be ARS. I knew Ovid had written Amores and Metamorphoses (go see the play of the same name by Mary Zimmerman if you ever get a chance!) but not ARS Amatoria.

TARRER is not so great but even that did not LOUSE UP the puzzle for me. It somehow reminded me of how the asphalt or tar gets sticky on those very hot summer days. So, even the dreck fill fit into the beach theme for me.

Z 8:36 PM  

Given today's news, I have to wonder if it was Anthony Weiner or Geraldo Rivera that Santa walked in on.

ahimsa-NYT 8:45 PM  

@Janet, I just saw your comment. ("Too many damn ups")

I've given UP trying to figure out when repeated words are okay and when they are not. It's a mystery to me.

@Anonymous 12:17 AM, that first photo of little hedgehog Sophie is adorable!

Ann Heil 9:41 PM  

Another lurker coming out of the closet.... I loved this one and just wanted to be sure to say so in case the constructor checks Rex's blog. I breezed through it, perhaps because I haves been spending my weekends at the beach this summer, appropriately laden with COVERUP, COOLER, SHADES, BLANKET, ONEPIECE, boogie boards, towels, etc. Thanks Jean!

sanfranman59 1:56 AM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

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

Mon 5:20, 6:09, 0.87, 3%, Easy
Tue 9:05, 8:13, 1.10, 76%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:22, 3:46, 0.90, 5%, Easy
Tue 5:25, 4:57, 1.09, 72%, Medium-Challenging

Joe The Juggler 2:31 PM  

"Someone here posted that ONE PIECE is a stretch for a beach item. Really? Not for me! 'Hmm, shall I wear my bikini or my ONE PIECE? And should I tie a sarong around my waist or wear that pullover COVER UP?'"

Yep. I think some people are confusing their own ignorance with poor puzzle construction.

When I don't "get" an answer, I generally assume I'm the one missing something, and not that the constructor erred. Some folks seem to be proud of their ignorance of pretty common usages with a blind spot for even considering that it might be their own ignorance.

Ari Corks Minces 1:21 AM  

Breezy perfect summer puzzle with a female vibe!
Loved it!

LETSDANCE, KABOOM,VAGABOND, ALGORE among the many highlights to go with astounding theme density!

OTOH, lotsa lotsa abbrev/initialisms:
ISPS, DSL, OTOH, CNN, IMF, CIE, MSG and one too many UPs...but maybe the UPs were to echo FEDEX!

@lms your writeup will have me grinning into next week!

LADYLUCK doing this puzzle in Vegas, had particular resonance...and BURN, TARRER EBBS and INFLOW added to the beachiness.

I liked learning about LAROSA and what a jerk Arthur Godfrey was last time this came up in a puzzle.

Tita 2:35 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tita 2:36 PM  

Good grief - after a so--busy-at-work-imposed hiatus, I am like a kid in a candy shop, working back in time through the week.

Liked the theme. As a BEACHGOER, I often go for a SPIN in my top-down MINI COOPER. Did you know that the glove box is a COOLER? You can direct the AC in - holds 1 can of one's beverage of choice.

Decades ago, Mom & Dad would pile us in the car and drive to Jones Beach.
We would rent an UMBRELLA there. The thermos, COOLER, and picnic basket would be hung from the pole, then my older sister and brother took one end each, and we would walk to the perfect site.

We also had a really great cabana - till Jones Beach started outlawing them - maybe because too many people were offending Santa Claus inside...

spacecraft 10:34 AM  

I'm surprised. Expected OFL to rate this easy, or at worst easy-medium. After all, it includes YET ANOTHER RAPPER. That square (#35) was a true natick for me. Never mind the down; that's an automatic unknown. But was it NICKS or hICKS (short for hickeys)? I finally decided that no constructor--or editor--would be so thoroughly cruel as to clue a common word like "HAS" by way of rap, so I went with NAS. Ugh! When will it stop?!

In the Who-in-real-life-actually-says-that department: INFLOW, BEACHGOER, and the best: TARRER. Say that one three times fast.

This puzzle seemed, as others have said, out of place for a Tuesday. Simple clues like "Red and white stoppers" emit that subtle misdirect usually reserved for Thursdays and beyond. I actually feel lucky that I could latch onto a for-me gimme: Mr. LAROSA of Arthur Godfrey fame. I still remember the falling-out they had--and poor Julius was seldom heard from again. You did not want to get on the big G's bad side.

On the bright side, lots of fun downs prevail. Gotta love KABOOM, LADYLUCK, and the Bowie classic LETSDANCE. Also VAGABOND, though "Wayfarer" seems an inexact definition. While all VAGABONDs are doubtless wayfarers, the reverse is not even close to true.

That's enough for today; the discussion of OHO is, IMHO, TMI.

Singer 11:55 AM  

Hits on Bing:
Beach Goer: 3,500,000 (all meaning exactly what the clue says it means)
Inflow: 1,500,000 (most meaning what the clue says it means)

These are common words, in common usage.

OTOH, tarrer: 145,000 hits, and most have nothing to do with tarring a roof.

Solving in Seattle 1:23 PM  

@spacecraft, I couldn't agree with you more. It's like the media showing Miley Cyrus over and over and gasping how rude at the same time.

When in Hawaii, the cool beach-goers take the fewest things to the beach. We take a beer cooler (styrofoam is not cool), short-legged-high-back chairs and one body surfing fin.

Also, FLIPFLOPS are called "slippers" (pronounced sleepers)in Hawaii.

Nice work for a Tuesday, Jean.

capcha: rogumen. What Attila called his possee?

DMG 2:35 PM  

Guess it all depends on when you were born. Julius LA ROSA was a drop in for me. I was actually listening to the show when he was fired. As I recall, he got on the daily show by winning on Godfrey's weekly talent search, and Godfrey thought he owned him.

On the other side of the coin, I've never heard of NAS, and using something (someone?) called Manga to clue ONEPIECE would have been an equally ????? As for the idea it could have been clued with "anime" - that must be something the younger folk understand. I first came across anime in a puzzle last week and know nothing about it.

My only slip-up happened before I got the theme, and I had jumPshiPS for reversals. It really didn't fit the clue, and it really took a lot to correct. Particularly since I've never heard of INFLOW and tried enaMEl for the wood thing.

Just thumbed through a dozen or so impossible Captchas, print so contorted I can't read the letters. Wish me luck as I try this one! WOW the Captcha just jumped to a new one when I went to use it. So now to hunt again!

Dirigonzo 3:01 PM  

INcome/INFLOW and Polish/PRIMER, both easily fixed and clear sailing until I arrived in the NE (I took the scenic route) where the HELMS/HELIO/MSG/LODGE crosses eluded me longer then they should have. Lots to like, little to complain about = darn good Tuesday.

@spacecraft - Wasn't TARRER, TARRER, TARRER the name of the movie about the attack on Pearl Harbor?

@SiS - so you are a "cool Hawaiian beach-goer"?

Solving in Seattle 4:29 PM  

@Diri, you bet. Been working on it for years. Except I have to wear a rash guard shirt these days so I don't scare the women and children with my beer gut.

spacecraft 7:49 PM  

@Diri: Har har har. Only the BOSTON movieGOERS called it that.

Ginger 7:50 PM  

Just read through 98 postings, and no-one questioned red and white stoppers. Okay, CORKS stop up wine bottles (just in case there's a little left}, but what's UP with the red and white?

The puzzle was okay, a little tough for a Tuesday, but it was fine. OTOH, there are some prize winning posts. I've been guffawing ever since Rex's OHO comment. And the double entendres, being answered with a straight face (I think) have been priceless. Another text mess ROTFLMFHO.

Thank you @Rex, Thank you to this community, and Thank you Mz O'Conor

Solving in Seattle 8:17 PM  

@ginger, red wine - white wine.

Ginger 8:31 PM  

Duh head slap Thanks @SIS

Cary in Boulder 11:47 PM  

I was surprised and pleased at how much bite was in this Tuesday. Spent a lot of time looking at barren real estate all over the map before coherence began to crystallize. Good theme and more fun to have to work a little than the usual Tuesday tap-in. It wasn't until I read the immediately preceding comments that I got the red & white part of CORKS.

Anonymous 12:42 AM  

Here in San Diego the beach list often includes things like roasting sticks and even a can opener for cooking at a fire ring. Don't forget the flashlight for finding all the sand toys etc when you stay too late.

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