FRIDAY, Jul. 27, 2007 - John R. Conrad

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: DUST - rebus puzzle where "DUST" must be crammed into six symmetrically organized squares

The "Challenging" part of this puzzle is that you rarely see a theme puzzle on a Friday. I think this is the second one this year. The last one was a CAT and DOG rebus, if memory serves (which it often doesn't, so if you care about such things, look it up yourself). I'm not sure why DUST is so ... important that it should interrupt my regularly scheduled themeless puzzle and force itself upon me. I ended up enjoying the puzzle somewhat. I've done worse puzzles, that's for sure.

DUST answers:

  • 4A: Medevacs, in military slang (DUST-offs) - didn't know this
  • 4D: Quarrel (DUST-up)
  • 9A: Shop coat? (saw DUST)
  • 12D: Furniture protector (DUST cover)
  • 2D: Went kaput (bit the DUST) - my favorite DUST answer
  • 31A: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee known as the White Lady of Soul (DUSTy Springfield) - this was a gimme, as I Love her, and thus the first clue that I was dealing with a rebus - her full name obviously didn't fit. Sadly, I had the D-S part and so still thought the first part was DUSTY (spelled out, not rebused). Eventually SECRECY (3D: Opposite of openness) gave me the "Y" I needed to figure it all out.
  • 37A: Nebulous stuff (interstellar DUST) - along with HIT TUNE (46A: Billboard listing), a very iffy-sounding phrase
  • 42D: Black & Decker offering (DUST Buster) - clever
  • 43D: Classroom sneeze elicitor (chalk DUST)
  • 62A: Janitorial tool (DUST mop)
  • 57D: Cleaning product with the slogan "It's that fast" (EnDUST)
  • 63A: Big band era standard ("Star DUST")
Had a good feeling when 1A: Breakers communicate with them (CBs) was a gimme, but after I got that one, I stalled out for a bit. Very very proud of myself for getting CHEESES (24A: Things wheeled in supermarkets?) after only about five seconds of thinking about it. Had a lot of trouble in the far north, as almost none of those answers came readily to me. I've complained about not knowing SHAKO (8D: Cadet's topper) before, and I failed to know it again today. As for OSAKA (21A: City of canals) ... I had OMAHA, that's how much I didn't know that one. Had HAMAS where FATAH (7D: Palestinian group) was supposed to be. And URIAH (15A: Officer slain in the Old Testament) ... well, I haven't gotten that far in my bible-reading yet.

DADO (19A: Carpenter's groove) is hilarious to me as my wife and I were bonding over having No Idea what this word meant only a couple days ago when it showed up in some puzzle she was doing. I call my older cat, Wiley, BADDO DADDO sometimes ... when No One is around. My wife will be ashamed that I had No Idea what 22D: It contains the elastic clause referred to until I had many letters. I assume that's ARTICLE I of the Constitution. Of the United States. Of America. I'm also assuming that ALTE (58A: Aged Frankfurter?) means OLD in German.

For 1D: Half of a 1970s-'80s comedy duo, I really wanted either LAVERNE or SHIRLEY. I got CHEECH. Only other interesting pop culture answer today is BEV (23A: Roseanne's mom on "Roseanne"), which I could not recall despite having watched that show a lot. KURT (59A: Maestro Masur) would have been pop culture if it had been clued [Aging MTV personality Loder].

I'm tired. Good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 1:26 AM  

As an attorney, I knew immediately that the ELASTIC CLAUSE had to be a reference to the NECESSARY AND PROPER Clause in Article I, but I frankly have never used the phrase in all my years as a lawyer.

The Necessary and Proper Clause authorizes Congress to enact laws that are necessary to effectuate its powers. One of the great early Constitutional Law issues was whether the Necessary and Proper Clause would be given a narrow or a broader interpretation. A narrow interpretation would have allowed Congress to enact only those laws that were necessary to effectuate its expressly granted powers. A
broader interpretation would have allowed it to enact laws that were related to its powers.

You can tell by the name ELASTIC CLAUSE that the more expansive interpretation won and Congress frequently uses the combination of the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause to legislate in areas that would appear to be uniquely local in nature.

Steve M

Anonymous 4:36 AM  

I liked Cow = HECTOR (v.i.).
Love my WEBER kettle.
Had a hard time not believing it was TETRAhedron, but FATAH solved that.
I'm almost willing to bet that STP appears in more crosswords than cans of it are sold.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

Had trouble with SHAKO, TRIER, and AT A BOIL. Didn't know about IRIDIUM but got it from the crosses. Fun puzzle.

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

From a favorite song, 'red giants, black holes, neutron stars/INTERSTELLAR DUST clouds and pulsars'.
I thought a HECTORing voice was more lecturing than bullying.

JC66 9:46 AM  


Sounds like you're feeling better. GOOD!!!

The NW fell very quickly (like a Wed) for me, so the DUST rebus theme became immediately apparent. Still I found it a fun, challenging puzzle. SHAKO/OSAKO were the last to fall.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

Took me forever to find the theme, so I kept second-guessing my gimmes (most of which then turned out to have been right in the first place). Things finally fell into place with Stardust for some reason, and then the puzzle almost solved itself. Frustrating and then enjoyable. Not a bad way to end the work week!

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Stardust! Aughh, I'm an idiot. I got the theme but left that answer as STARS (with ENS as the cross, though I didn't know what it was.) No wonder I couldn't get the applet to accept my puzzle. I kept thinking the problem was IRI[O]DUM/HI[O]TTUNES. Almost every day this week I've made a bonehead mistake like that. I should just go back to the word-find puzzles I loved as an eight-year-old.

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

Wade, you are not alone. Even when I had the theme down pat I insisted upon writing out Ms. Springfield's first name. Bonehead doesn't begin to cover it.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

Great for my birthday puzzle, since I'm beginning to feel as old as dust. :-)

Alex S. 2:00 PM  

It was a good thing that that the theme squares were symmetrical or the Texas region might never have fallen.

fergus 2:03 PM  

Snap NW led to Ms. SPRINGFIELD so I thought that this puzzle would be a tribute to the opening of "The Simpsons Movie." But that all turned to DUST after looking for some stretches for filling in Apu or Otto.

Couldn't understand the Cow/HECTOR combination since I had always thought that to be Cowed was to be appeased or mollified or placated. Well, I was wrong and that means that every time I've seen the verb Cow I've got the meaning entirely wrong. Fortunately I believe I've been correct in assuming that 'having a cow' mans flying off the handle, verbally and gesticulating wildly?

Then I thought maybe the verb Cow is one of those marvels of English that can mean two opposing things at once. But no, several dictionaries proved me wrong. However, the Oxford American did point out that it is usually used in the passive voice, citing a 'cowed by ill-treatment' usage, which made my interpretation more congruent. I had just confused the effect with the cause. (I prattle on here just in case anyone else found the bovine clue confusing.)

And just for the hell of it, my favorite fountain pen is tipped with RUTHENIUM, but that wouldn't fit. IRIDIUM is more the stuff of meteors, and evidence of massive extinctions, but I'm sure it makes for some fine penmanship.

Campesite 2:13 PM  

I know it's conventional construction, but I still liked the symmetry of the rebus squares in the grid. I really enjoyed this puzzle.

Anonymous 5:02 PM  

The first chancellor of West Germany, Konrad Adenauer, was known as "Der Alte," presumably because of his long political life into old age.

Anonymous 5:52 PM  

I was amazed how fast I was on this one for a Friday. Figured out it was a rebus with Dusty Springfield, a gimme.

I question 56A. Is adobe really a reservation dwelling? Maybe in some parts of the Southwest but elsewhere?

And Sue is right. Adenauer, who helped bring Germany back from WWII, was Der Alte, the old one, a title of respect. My first thought was Felix as in Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter.

Anonymous 6:00 PM  

When justices Black and Frankfurter were the sole dissenters in a case the dissent was often disparagingly referred to as Sour-Grapes-from-Burnt-Hotdog. Not really, I just made that up as I sit here killing time at 4:58 on Friday, wondering if it's safe to sneak out the door yet.

Anonymous 6:04 PM  

Hey Rex, glad you are feeling better (or at least assume so from the length of today's post!)
But, what did you find "iffy" about INTERSTELLAR DUST or HIT TUNE? Both seem reasonably common phrases (on the scale of Friday puzzle answers) with pretty straight-forward clues.

I seem to have settled into a new method for solving Fridays: Go through it getting practicaly nothing; get frustrated; fall asleep (this is at lunch time BTW); wake up and it all comes together. Perhaps I'm channelling Rex or one of you other experts in my dreams?

frances 6:26 PM  


I think anything that switches off the puzzle-solving mode primes the pump for new inspiration when you return. My grid was complete except for the entire Texas area, but after a prolonged (and unsuccessful) shopping trip, it miraculously fell into place.


Uriah the Hittite was an army officer, the husband of Bathsheba. King David coveted his neighbor's wife, after spying her bathing naked on what she thought was her private terrace. So immoderately did David fall for her that he instructed Uriah's military commander to assign him to the most exposed part of the battle line. Very shortly after Bathsheba became a widow, David married her.

Anonymous 7:55 PM  

This went very quickly for a Friday. CHEECH and DUSTYSPRINGFIELD were also gimmes for me which gave me the rebus and NW right away. The rest of it fell smoothly with the exception of SE where I had ELITES for ALPHAS on the mispelling of STELLAR (@#%!* dyslexia). WHIPSUP fixed that error. A fun and unusual Friday. Thanks for the info on ALTE and URIAH. It is good to learn new stuff!

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

really enjoyed today's puzzle, I wish the monday thru wednesday were a little harder....

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

Jae, are you still with the 6WL crowd, or have you subscribed?

Anyway....this was a 2 cupper today. I know I really had a good time, because the last couple of gulps of the first cup were pretty cold.

My experience was pretty much described by Rex, except that SAWDUST was my "aha" moment.

I should have pondered the far north longer, as I had OKALA for OSAKA, giving me SHALO for SHAKO (thought I remembered it) and FINK for the "scuba gear" (doh!) In engineering there is such a thing as a "fink" truss. I should have at least checked, but I was too anxious to come here.

I thought there was a city in Florida called OKALA, and assumed it might have canals (it's OCALA, and there IS a canal nearby).

Been to OSAKA (well, through) a few times. Never noticed any canals.

Anonymous 8:01 PM  

6WL ::::

Pretty straightforward for me except for NDakota area. Had no idea about OSAKA. Had "fatwa" for FATAH which really screwed things up.

Rex -- Great choice of Dusty albums. I finally bought the CD to replace my Memphis LP and they had added four songs -- they shouldn't do that! The thing was of-a-piece / a-thing-in-full. Don't mess with it! Don't disturb my beauty/nostalgia exerience. Let it end where it was menat to. Not quite as bad as "greatest hits" albums with "2 previously unreleased songs!!!!!!!!", but still irritating.

Waxy in Montreal 10:08 PM  

Following the universal respect accorded der Alte (Adenauer), the 2nd Chancellor of West Germany - Ludwig Erhard - was known far and (particularly) wide as der Dicke (the Fat One). Hmmm.

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