TUESDAY, Dec. 11, 2007 - Gail Grabowski

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: "Teen's response to a parent's 'No'" - the clue to three long answers

Here's a weird coincidence - I was just thinking this morning, before solving today's puzzle, that Tuesday's puzzle, while usually easy, can sometimes get a freaky word or two in it that will completely @#$# me up. I then recalled the PFUI puzzle (see sidebar), which was a Tuesday puzzle, and which tripped me up not only because of PFUI itself, but because of HIYO, as in "HIYO Silver," which I didn't know how to spell (thought "HIHO"). Thinking how cheap and badly executed that puzzle was, I embarked on this puzzle. No real problems, until the very end, when I encounter:

  • 49A: "Howdy!" ("Hiya!")
  • 44D: Land office map (plat)

Allow me to suggest that if you have an "HIY-" word in your grid, you are on thin ice. If you see an "HIY-" word, history says that a freakish word is not far behind. Now PLAT is far far less freakish than PFUI, but I'd never heard of it and had to look it up afterwards to confirm its validity. This is less a complaint than an observation. I actually liked this puzzle just fine. My only objection - theme clues should have read "WHINY (or OBNOXIOUS or PETULANT) Teen's response to a parent's 'No'" - surely not all "teens" are this predictable and cliché in their parental negotiations:

  • 17A: Teen's response to a parent's "No" ("But that's not fair!")
  • 35A: Teen's response to a parent's "No" ("Everyone is going!")
  • 53A: Teen's response to a parent's "No" ("I can't do anything!")
  • 43D: What the teen wishes the parent would do instead (say "yes")
Not much to say about this puzzle I do like that the puzzle's theme is rounded off with the answer SAY 'YES' - and then there are two different forms of "YES" in the puzzle:

  • 36D: "Absolutely!" ("You bet!")
  • 55D: Non's opposite (oui)

Other connections in the puzzle that I like include the intersection of CHAR (23A: Blacken) and CHER (23D: "Moonstruck" actress), and the intersection of anagrams ANDRE (31D: Tennis great Agassi) and ARDEN (31A: Forest in "As You Like It" - which is also the name of our friends' new(-ish) baby, hurray).

Other interesting items:

  • 10A: Bank with significant deposits? (dike) - I'm not visualizing this one at all. I thought a DIKE held back water; does stuff get "deposited" on it / near it? Like ... sludge?
  • 14A: Award for "Hot L Baltimore" (Obie) - Clue may as well have read [Award for blahbittyblah]
  • 5D: Couples' destination (Ararat) - wow, this clue is vicious and fabulous at the same time. I did NOT see the high-end Biblical reference coming. I was back in the land of here and now, wondering where golfer Fred Couples might be going... (FYI: ARARAT is the mountain where Noah's Ark allegedly landed. Hence "Couples" = pairs of animals on board).
  • 12D: Movie-set light (klieg) - learned it from crosswords; makes me so happy to enter a word like that, with its kwirky "K," without the aid of any crosses.
  • 24D: Point from which there's nowhere to go but up (nadir) - one of my very favorite words in the English language (this from a man whose favorite word as a child - my mother will tell you - was MEDIOCRE). This morning one of the Atlanta Falcons' players said something about how they had "nowhere to go but up" (after the double blow of losing badly on Monday Night Football AND having their star player sentenced to 23 months in prison on dogfighting charges). Sadly, said player did not use the word NADIR.
  • 26D: Meteor shooting across the sky, maybe (omen) - Pantheon-bound. Is it weird that OMEN appears all the time. Does it, you know, mean something?

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 9:09 AM  

Are we sure it's not "HIYO" and "PLOT"?

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

A PLOT would be a piece of land; a PLAT is the legal/planning term for a map showing the layout of a town.

Orange 9:51 AM  

PLAT used to appear in crosswords a lot more—so much so, in fact, that the first time I went to the crossword tournament, there was a clue in easy puzzle #1 that PLAT would work for, so I didn't think twice about it. I should have—it turned out that the answer was PLAN, and it left me with a parking-related theme answer that read TOWAWAY ZOTE. *shakes fist at PLAT*

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

Coming from Indiana I grew up seeing a sign before entering many small towns "Platted in 18-something" so this was easy for me. Lori

profphil 10:58 AM  

I too recalled plat from earlier puzzles and put it in immediately and thought of times past when I would first put in Plot or Plan instead and in the end be puzzled that it was really plat.

Dan Friedman 11:10 AM  

I'd just like to point out that BINGO (47D) is another form of "Yes."

Also, am I the only one that hated the clue for 61A? (Wheels for big wheels: LIMOS). I mean, I can't think of the last place I heard the phrase "big wheel" to refer to a big shot, and it's just compounding the obscurity of this clue (for a Tuesday) by using the word "wheels" to refer to the car itself.

All in all, though, an enjoyable puzzle with a fun theme.


Hydromann 11:12 AM  

Dittos on the PLAT comments.

As to HIYA, I had the *IYA first, and I guess, to my generation (I’m 60), HIYA is reasonably familiar, although it probably was more commonly used by our parents.

As to teenagers, Rex, I’ve gotten the impression that your offspring have yet to reach the "age of whineyness." Just wait!

A DIKE is indeed a "bank with significant deposits" in the sense that the earth material from which a levee or dike (same thing) is constructed is--using engineering or geological jargon--"deposited" on the riverbank. Having said that, I am a geologist and I didn’t get this one right away either! So I thought it was a neat clue.

profphil 11:15 AM  


Did you notice the Legal mimi-theme: In re, liable, cite, defame, plat, admit.

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

Stupid PLAT- just when I was going to comment on how strange a word HIYO was! (And after the whole recent discussion concerning such HI-- words, too.) I'll definitely add this one to my lexicon.

I tried using Orange's suggestion about doing one section at a time today but unfortunately I couldn't get enough of the answers right off the bat so not sure if it helped me or not. (Writing in ABUT where OBIE should have been didn't help me any, either.) I'm going to keep trying it, though.

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

I had HIYO/PLOT also. And I actually did think of ARK right away for Couple's destination, but then I dismissed it when I saw there were too many letters in the answer.

Rikki 1:11 PM  


I liked this puzzle and theme. I was able to fill in the theme answers quickly, giving me lots of letters for crosses. The faster I solve, the more clues/answers I miss seeing, but looking back over the puzzle, I liked Ararat and limos... clever clueing. Nice to see Count Basie. I thought both Cher and Nicholas Cage were brilliant in Moonstruck which, to me, is a movie that is perfect in every way... not the least of which is the use of the music of La Boheme. See it if you haven't. It's ageless.

wendy 1:18 PM  

Ah, Moonstruck - one of my favorite self-adopted movie lines is from that flick - "Snap out of it!" uttered the way CHER did. I agree, a perfect movie.

Nothing in particular to comment on today except that I didn't understand ARARAT until I came here. This is the title of an Atom Egoyan flick in my netflix queue but other than that, I knew nothing.

Rob G. 1:20 PM  

I think I'll stick with HIYO/PLOT.

Rex, maybe I think about them way too much, by I had two Simpsons references come to mind immediately:

1. 61A: Last time I heard "big wheel" used in that sense: "Ho ho, I don't know, Bart. My Dad's a pretty big wheel down at the cracker factory."

2. We haven't seen a Gail Grabowski in awhile, so...

"Voice: Please wait by your vehicle between 9 AM and 5 PM for
parking officer Steve...

Male rough voice: Grabowski."

A good puzzle, but I don't like it when there's nothing to "figure out" about the theme. It's all right there in front of you on this one.

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

I enjoyed the big Grabowski, and SPEWED is a favorite word of mine.

At a recent Sonics' basketball game, there was a fire in the central, massive, and (fortunately), lower-able score board. An extremely long delay ensued: the FD had to determine whether or not to clear the building (of 10,000 or so people), the scoreboard had to be lowered, the fire had to be extinguished, the offending light fixture had to be removed, the smoke had to be ventilated out, and on TV, the two announcers had to yap for 30 minutes...which task they accomplished easily, as one of them employed the term KLIEG light, to the others' amazement and amusement, and which term they analyzed, parsed, and guffawed about, fairly inanely, for a good part of the half-hour. Some folks find the term KLIEG highly entertaining. Me, I prefer SPEWED.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

RP - thanks for noticing!

Anonymous 2:09 PM  

Rob G. is hot for noticing the Grabowski Simpsons reference. "You will be assessed the full fine, plus a small ... LARGE ... lateness penalty."

Anonymous 3:39 PM  

I filled in 50 down with the crosses. Would never have thought of dime. The Urban Dictionary defines the phrase as meaning I'll listen to what you say and attributes it to when pay phones were a dime.

Anonymous 4:05 PM  

Ararat: I love an answer I have to look up to figure out what it is. And, the clue is great.

Ditto, ditto the Plat comments,

Who cannot like Spew and Surge when they appear in the lower half. Now if we could just change Erle to Hurl it would be a puzzle Bart would love.

Anonymous 4:59 PM  

Sometimes you can be too clever. My oh-so-savvy interpretation of "Couples' destination" was 'altars.' I awarded a Tony to Hot L Baltimore, and had 'daunt' for 6D. Needless to say, the NW quadrant was the last to fall.

Anonymous 5:07 PM  

I put in ALTARS too. Nonetheless, I had a record Tuesday time for this puzzle. I never even saw the DIKE clue.

Anonymous 5:09 PM  

Very enjoyable Tuesday effort. PLAT was a gimme but (like leon)DIME took crosses. Liked the way the theme was neatly tied up with SAYYES. The ARARAT clue seemed more Thursday than Tuesday. I also tried Orange's strategy which helped in the VIA and DUO areas. Unfortunately I initially had LACE for 1a and didn't immediately see ADMIT or DIKE so it did not go so well in the North.

Anonymous 5:56 PM  

Liked ARARAT; would have loved it but ARARAT wasn't the destination, just where they ended up. There is a difference.

fergus 6:06 PM  

What did Babe Ruth say in response to his introduction to George V of England? "HIYA, King!" The Babe also justified getting a higher salary than the President by saying, "I had a better year than he did."

A little slow on 6D since I couldn't equate DETER with Prevent, and might have preferred DAUNT. Prevent seems more absolute whereas the other two have the connotation that the issue isn't settled yet. Can't argue too strenuously with the dictionary, though.

Took a while to get around to Sunday puzzle. Couldn't tell from either my highlighted grid or the Commentary whether the ELFs were supposed to be depicting something? My only guess would be a cubist Santa if viewed from the SW corner, perhaps nibbling on his Pipestem?

Grand Funk Railroad!

Anonymous 6:40 PM  

would have loved it but ARARAT wasn't the destination, just where they ended up. There is a difference.

If there was an ark, and if there was a flood, and if there was a god who killed durn near ev'ry man, woman, and child, not to mention durn near ev'ry plant and animal (including the dinosaurs), then I'd guess wherever they ended up WAS the destination.

Anonymous 6:47 PM  

Got ARARAT right off because we had a similiar clue for ARK just a few weeks ago. Can't remember the exact clue but it was something like "couples transportation" which engendered quite a lot of positive buzz here.

Those of us who have raised teens recognize the theme phrases but so should any of us (meaning all of us) who were ever teens.

Anonymous 6:49 PM  


You're right. I've always thought where we ended up was where we were supposed to be.

fergus 6:58 PM  

... or as a little two year-old voice from the car seat behind once said, "No, Dada, we're not lost; we're just at somewhere we don't know." We were somewhere in ALAMEDA, which almost fits the space.

Anonymous 7:17 PM  

noah--where we end up is where we end up...there is no "supposed to be".

Anonymous 7:57 PM  

Very existential.

Anonymous 8:54 PM  

Batman and Robin AND Pete Seeger AND Count Basiein the same puzzle? How could I not like it?

My brief career as a real estate market analyst came in handy with PLAT.

Both MOONSTRUCK and CASABLANCA have terrific screenplays, not only in the sense they they have such quotable dialogue but in the structure of the story and the way the characters reveal themselves.

HOT L BALTIMORE was written by (I think) Lanford Wilson. It was the basis for a very short-lived TV series. Why do I remember this stuff???

What did puzzle constructors do before ERLE Stanley Gardner?

Ditto to everyone who enjoyed the cluing for ARARAT. (Wasn't that also a novel by D.M. Thomas?)

Michael 9:07 PM  

Instead of "howdy", I think the clue for "hiya" should be Miss Piggy's exclamation. I know, everyone thinks she says "moi" a lot, but I always like her karate chop shriek.

btw, I started blogging about my appearance on Merv Griffin's Crosswords and credited this blog as a good training resource.

Keep up the good work, Rex.

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