Autodom's Beetle / TUE 7-27-10 / Sighter of pink elephants / Potter's potions professor / Battleship Potemkin port

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Constructor: Mike Torch

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: [The whole ___] — five theme answers have this clue

Word of the Day: Artie SHAW (6D: Clarinetist Artie) —

Arthur Jacob Arshawsky (May 23, 1910 – December 30, 2004), better known as Artie Shaw, was an American jazz clarinetist, composer, and bandleader. He is also the author of both fiction and non-fiction writings. [...] In addition to hiring Buddy Rich, he signed Billie Holiday as his band's vocalist in 1938, becoming the first white bandleader to hire a full-time black female singer to tour the segregated Southern US. However, after recording "Any Old Time" she left the band due to hostility from audiences in the South, as well as from music company executives who wanted a more "mainstream" singer. His band became enormously successful, and his playing was eventually recognized as equal to that of Benny Goodman: longtime Duke Ellington clarinetist Barney Bigard cited Shaw as his favorite clarinet player. In response to Goodman's nickname, the "King of Swing", Shaw's fans dubbed him the "King of the Clarinet." Shaw, however, felt the titles were reversed. "Benny Goodman played clarinet. I played music," he said. (wikipedia)

• • •

Another Tuesday quickie—the only resistance today was provided by theme answers, two of which I've never heard anyone use, and one of which I've never heard or seen before. Had to get most of the crosses before SHOOTING MATCH became clear to me—that's a phrase I know only from ... maybe from crosswords, somehow. Certainly never heard anyone use it. SCHMEAR was the big mystery, though. Must be a City thing. Luckily, I never saw the clue—looked over, saw -CHMEAR, and just wrote in the "S" without looking. I really missed BALL OF WAX. Glaring omission. Otherwise, the grid seemed fine. Acceptable. Reasonably clean (with the exception of, for example -ATIC, SECY, ETS, NEOS, and AAHED, yuck). VEEDUB felt pretty adventurous, and pleasantly colloquial (23A: Autodom's Beetle is one, slangily). Also liked the clue on RED DOT (49D: Mark of a rifle's laser sight), though it results in a puzzle with some pretty violent undertones: assassination here, and then caning at 21A: Mementos of a caning (WELTS). I associate caning almost exclusively with Singapore, probably because of a fairly high-profile case where an American kid convicted of vandalism was caned there some years back (1994).

Theme answers:

  • 15A: Stack-serving chain, for short (IHOP) — helped me confirm that 5D: Salad bar bowlful was, in fact, OIL. Seems odd. Is there just a bowl of oil sitting at the end of the bar? Really? A bowl?
  • 68A: Potter's potions professor (SNAPE) — if you commit one bit of HP lore to your memory, let it be this name. Or Harry's pal RON.
  • 9D: Ninth-inning hurler, often (CLOSER) — This really makes me want to post the "coffee's for closers" clip again ... oh what the hell?

[uh, there's profanity in here, so, you know ... careful]
  • 13D: Sighter of pink elephants (SOT) — glad I never saw this clue, because I'd have had No idea what to do with it. This must be some olde-timey cliché about drunks.
  • 50D: "The Battleship Potemkin" port (ODESSA) — Double dose of marine movies today with this one and "DAS Boot" (42D: "___ Boot").

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Tobias 12:10 AM  

Secy?? Really? This was so unlikley to me that I somehow went with MOXS and SEXY. There used to be a company in my little town that made "Taos Mox"so somehow my brain figured that moxs was better that uggg SECY. Cabinet position ??? Just figured thats what the kids were calling it these days ...

Pink elephants are what cartoon drunks see.

Odile 12:25 AM  

I was okay with Sec'y, but where was KIT AND CABOODLE? I got enchilada off the E, and was all psyched for the puzzle because I knew that k and double-o were coming, and at a glance 38A looked like the right number of letters...needless to say I was very disappointed.

andrea snit/spit michaels 12:35 AM  

well, take BALLOFWAX 9 and KITANDCABOODLE 14 find another 9 and another 14 and get to work!

Steve J 12:36 AM  

This fell a bit flat for me today, especially compared to yesterday's gem. I like the idea of the theme, but half the answers I didn't find as fun as at least one (indeed, ball of wax) that was left out.

The non-theme fill just didn't work much for me. Nothing that caught my attention in a good way, one that caught my attention in a very bad way (AAHED - perhaps constructors and editors should use as a guideline that if the first 50 search results for a word come from dictionaries or crossword resources, like is the case for AAHED, then the word isn't actually in the langauge and shouldn't be used). And some cluing that I wasn't wild about (really, in all the infinite expressions the language affords, "What this puzzle has 78 of" is the best you can come up with for CLUES?).

Although, positive points for a reference to "Battleship Potemkin" and one of the most famous - and duplicated - scenes in movie history with the ODESSA steps.

A decent theme helped salvage this to mixed bag instead of dislike for me.

foodie 12:52 AM  

Rex, I actually say the whole SHOOTING MATCH ... Although I'm not sure where it comes from.

I too was hoping to see the whole KIT AND CABOODLE in the puzzle. And the whole SPIEL.

In general, I really liked the theme. It made me aware of the fact that in English people underscore the idea of "whole" in such a wide variety of ways. Not sure it's true in other languages...

I wrote OSLO for the Nobel Prize City and then hesitated. I'm used to thinking of Stockholm as THE place for Nobel prizes. In science, we say things like: "If I knew the answer to this question, I'd be on my way to Stockholm". But I guess the PEACE prize is awarded by a Norwegian committee in OSLO.

ANYHOW in lieu of ANYWAY got in the way in the southeast.

In general, good theme, uneven fill.

des 12:59 AM  

With these fill-in-the-blank themes I am always interested to see which one will be my first thought (before looking at the number of letters). This time it was SHEBANG, which in some ways was the strangest of "the whole shebang!" For those of us in the East, SCHMEAR was easy enough, and especially for those of us who have spent any time in NY - after all, it really refers to the cream cheese on a bagel.

chefwen 2:20 AM  

SCHMEAR is kind of a Yiddish thing, Grandma really loved a lot of schmear on her bagels. We always left off the G in SHOOTIN MATCH.

My biggest problem was filling in ODIST at 16A instead of 19A. None of the downs would work and I thought, I know this guy was an ODIST, why doesn't this work? Geeez, I hate when I do that. Grrrr.

Not too crazy about SECY also.

I will not tell you my reaction to a crowing rooster at 4 A.M. It certainly is not to rise, but it ain't purdy! @Rube can attest to the annoyance of those pesky beasts.

husher - someone needs to invent one for roosters, I'll invest.

thewertle 6:52 AM  

Re: Caning in Singapore

I read a story about a tourist sentenced to caning got vandalism in Singapore about a month ago. So it still happens

k1p2 7:13 AM  

Put in ENCHILADA right away and then anticipated trouble when I saw the other places it might fit - pleasantly surprised when I placed it correctly - usually doesn't work that way.

Got VEEDUB but only because of the crosses - totally new to me.

SethG 7:25 AM  

I know SCHMEAR goes on a bagel, I had no idea about "the whole schmear". VEEDUB was new to me too, and maybe to English language.

And I've never seen a single SHEBANG outside of "the whole shebang", though if you have more than one it's a Ricky Martin song.

imsdave 7:53 AM  


Having just returned from Mumbai, I'd like to offer an alternative clue for REDDOT. Tilaka. OK, maybe that's a bit on the Friday/Saturday level, but since I just learned it I thought I'd throw it out there.

OldCarFudd 8:02 AM  

Veedub is common slang for car nuts who play with Volkswagen Beetles.

joho 8:09 AM  

I have never seen a bowl of oil at a salad bar and hope I never do. That cluing and some others in this puzzle seemed off to me. I don't think of INANE meaning totally absurd, that would be more like insane. And IDUNNO but I had the opposite reaction as @Rex to VEEDUB.

The caning clue made me cringe.

archaeoprof 8:45 AM  

I misread "Autodom's Beetle" as Audobon's Beetle, and that REALLY slowed me down.

Otherwise, I agree with @ChefBea.

dk 8:46 AM  

A strong undercurrent of rage in this one.

*** (3 Stars)

I liked the fill and theme. Thought PRELL had gone the way of Ipana and for some reason I feel compelled to get some MOCS. Perhaps because it has been in the last trillion puzles.

Lovely wife has a crush on SNAPE. Google SNAPE is hot and you will see she is not alone.

The origin of NINEYARDS is interesting. I learned from retail consulting it refers to the amount of material used in a suit and is related to "dressed to the nines." Using the whole 9 yards from a bolt of cloth implies quality... or at least substance

Bob Kerfuffle 8:47 AM  

Agree with Rex and joho, having a bowlful of OIL at the salad bar seems very strange. A bottle perhaps, or a cruet?

jesser 9:02 AM  

1) I serve on the board of directors of the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley, and tonight we are having a town hall meeting with the SPCA to discuss operational issues.

2) The Whole ENCHILADA Fiesta is held every September in Las Cruces. It's been an annual event since about 1979.

3) I had a gym teacher in junior high who wielded an English school cane on miscreants. I was not always well-behaved. I remember those WELTS well. Times sure have changed.

4) Was not SODOM the original San Francisco? I wanna go to both places!

All in all, this puzzle was very... familiar. And while I have used the phrase 'the whole SHOOTING MATCH,' SCHMEAR was all new to me. As was SNAPE. Ugly word/name.

Writeovers were at 47A where I first put in SECt, at 5D, where I had dIp, and at 46D where I wanted YAk. None of them were terribly problemATIC to fix.


Supoks! (Nods of permission from the Soup Nazi to proceed through the line) -- jesser

Bob Kerfuffle 9:02 AM  

@dk - I happened to be listening to a segment on language on my local public radio station last Wednesday, and one of the things the host said was, "Please don't call us about the origin of 'The whole nine yards'. There are a dozen theories, but no one knows for sure."

Here is Wikipeda's take on the question.

David L 9:06 AM  

Not sure I've ever heard anyone say "veedub" -- and I used to have one, years ago -- but I like it anyway. Here in the DC area we have the George Washington Parkway and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, known as the Gee-dub and the Bee-dub respectively. Well, by some people.

The whole nine yards -- stories abound for the origin of this phrase, but the truth is no-one knows.

Howard B 9:07 AM  

VEEDUB sounded like an alien word to me, having no sound or origin related to any terrestrial language. I swore that it was yet another of my infamous applet typos, until the solution was accepted! I still don't know if it's too bizarre to belong in the puzzle, or just very fresh and cool.
But then again, I can't tell my alternator from my condenser, so take it with a whole canister of salt.

JenCT 9:15 AM  

Did the most write-overs of any Tuesday I can remember. Just had theme answers in the wrong places.

Love that scene from Glengarry Glen Ross - one of my favorite movies.

Seemed a little harder than a usual Tuesday.

jesser 9:17 AM  

@ Tobias: You're in Taos? I lived there and edited The Taos News from 1991-95! Lived on Kit Carson Avenue, and called the Taos Inn my watering hole most weekend evenings. Went to a surreal rooftop party with then Rep. Bill Richardson and Dennis Hopper. We should swap stories!

nanpilla 9:20 AM  

I loved VEEDUB. We have owned many models over the years (starting with a 1974 bug and currently a CC), and have frequently referred to them this way.

Very slangy puzzle, including, of course, all of the theme answers.

Beats me (as a clue) and WELTS in the same grid really bothered me. And OIL in a bowl is stupid.

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

@rex: how did you get the unlock code so early for your puzzle? the red triangles usually show up when you ask it to reveal the answers...?

bowl of OIL: this begs the question of how to get the oil out of the bowl. do you pour it? spoon it out? use an eye dropper?

i use SHOOTIN' MATCH a lot. i don't use "SCHMEAR." probably a result of growing up in the plain states. we don't SCHMEAR much but we do SHOOT.

the people i know who say VEEDUB usually have a VEEDUB bus or a bug. i don't think jetta owners say it...could be wrong.

i like SPEWS. very visceral.

does PRELL still come in a tube? it was probably a good idea to switch from the glass bottle to the plastic one...i wonder how many people cut themselves on broken PRELL bottles in the shower.

chefbea 9:21 AM  

Good puzzle. Was looking for the whole magilla

Never heard of veedub

Clue for oil should have been "salad bar cruetful."

@archaeprof . I think you meant Chefwen..I know all chefs look alike!!!

rlb4 9:28 AM  

9 across said there were 78 clues. I only counted 70. Was I wrong?

John V 9:31 AM  

Veedub was new to me,caused minor slow up in NW. SNAPE totally new, as well. Very easy Tuesday.

Van55 9:33 AM  

For me today's theme did not overcome the lousy fill: ETS, GPS, SRO, GRE and THO, for example.

Mr. Helpful 9:36 AM  

rlb4, note that 1, 5, 9, 35, 38, 42, 48, and 59 had both across and down clues...

CaseAce 9:55 AM  

On the WHOLE, Mike TORCH-ed us in so many ways!

Jo 10:14 AM  

Liked the theme, am fond of sayings and knew all of them pretty quickly. Got stuck in the rest for some time, having SECT instead of SECY (wondered whether ANTWAY was a word for nonetheless) and TOO before Boot; we used to own a beetle, never heard it called a VEEDUB, so that one was new. @dk thanks for the nineyards explanation.

Jo 10:15 AM  

Liked the theme, am fond of sayings and knew all of them pretty quickly. Got stuck in the rest for some time, having SECT instead of SECY (wondered whether ANTWAY was a word for nonetheless) and TOO before Boot; we used to own a beetle, never heard it called a VEEDUB, so that one was new. @dk thanks for the nineyards explanation.

Scarlett 10:16 AM  

OK I'm still not getting EOS - can anyone explain? Also 48 across - SRO and 11D UDE? Other than that - could fill out the rest.

Two Ponies 10:25 AM  

Like anon 9:21 I shoot more than I schmear but I figured out all of the themes early enough.
I feel lukewarm about the fill.
Aahed only seems OK when paired in the phrase "oohed and aahed".
Bowl of oil is ridiculous. What was Will thinking?
Welcome back @ imsdave. I like your suggestion for the red dot. I figured there was a name for that but never knew. Saturday material for sure.
St. Croix yesterday and St. Barts today.
Almost a shout out to me at 2D.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

@scarlet: EOS is the titan goddess of the dawn. aurora is her latin counterpart.

48a = Standing Room Only
11d = UNI (you had it wrong), which is the prefix for UNIform.

EOS shows up a lot in these puzzles.

Mel Ott 10:35 AM  

Never heard of VEEDUB, but I sure loved my 1965 bug. First new car I ever bought.

Like some others on this blog I have always used SCHMEAR to refer to what you put on a bagel. Don't think I've ever heard it used in the sense of 51A.

Zeke 10:39 AM  

While doing the puzzle last night & wondered what could possibly be worth discussing today, figured it had to be the origin of the whole nine yards. I looked it up ages ago, and there's nothing definitive, but most speculations do seem to revolve around what was once the standard length of a bolt of cloth. Some sources cite going back to medieval times, where a monks garb required nine yards, so taking your final vows was going the whole nine yards.
Thanks IMSDave for the alternative REDDOT answer. Man, it must be confusing to be a sniper in India. Do they use blue lasers there?

Martin 10:53 AM  

I think veedub is a California word. Does experience here confirm?

pinkie 10:55 AM  

Random thoughts on this puzzle

ailed and welts on the same line
snap to and rise on the same line
Lots of "o" emdings...oslo, sro,neo(s), trio, snap to, tho.
The veedub made me think of Molly Ivins and her coinage of Dubya.
There was a bar in Fort Worth Tx called the Pink Elephant. Also, weren't there pink elephants in Fantasia as hallucinations?

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

@martin: not necessarily. i used to call them that (back in the goofy bus/bug days of the late 1960's and early 70's). i think the VW was far more popular was, at that time, just about the only affordable import that i can remember. plus it looked funny. so we had that little sobriquet for it 'cuz it was so cute.


@mel ott: what did you pay for you bug in '65? i remember ads well into the 70s talking about the bug "still" being $1995.

Steve J 11:05 AM  

VEEDUB was widespread enough that VW has put it in commercials (these annoying commercials were running around the middle of the decade).

The campaign was not popular. The fact that so few people seem to remember the use of VEEDUB would seem to indicate that, as I think most people ran from the room rather than be subjected to this multiple times.

Mel Ott 11:33 AM  

@Anonymous 11:00

I think I paid about $1600-1700 for the bug in 1965 (actually late 1964). Was a starving student at the time. Only able to afford it because of the settlement from someone rear-ending my second hand 1957 Ford Fairlane on the LIE.

Dough 11:48 AM  

From the movie "Caddyshack":

Give me half a dozen of the Vulcan D-tens and set my friend up with the whole schmear. You know, clubs, bags, shoes...gloves, shirt, pants.

mac 12:05 PM  

Nice Tuesday puzzle.

Didn't know the veedub or this use of schmear, either. For the nine yards, I thought it had something to do with saris. Just looked it up, the ladies use 5.5 - 9 yards. I suspect they needed the whole nine yards before they introduced petticoats in the Victorian era.

Tobias 1:11 PM  

@Jesser I wonder if the rooftop party you went to was at my next door neighbor's house (RC Gorman estate).
He died a few years back and they buried him in the dirt field next to the house.

Tinbeni 1:13 PM  

We just called Volkswagen Beetles BUGS.
VEEDUB seemed like a stretch off the "dubya" for 43.

As for those Pink Elephants. They never appear.
Now those Hippo's in Tutu's ... well that's another story

Been there, seen that 1:18 PM  

@Tinbeni - You have to actually stop drinking for the pink elephants to appear.

Glitch 2:07 PM  


You're correct:

In 1905, the Union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved, which meant the responsibility for awarding Nobel Prizes was split between the two countries. Norway's Nobel Committee became responsible for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize and Swedish institutions remained responsible for the other prizes.


DannyB 3:00 PM  


Anonymous 3:04 PM  

I, too, waited for kitandkaboodle and ballofwax.
And I cringed at the thought of a bowl of oil.

I'm new here.


J 3:08 PM  

I personally think that anyone who says DUB for W ought to be beaten with sticks. A pet peeve of mine.
Also, VW should hire a new ad agency; they've had lousy commercials for twenty years.

Is it ST. BARTS or ST. BARTHS? I've seen it both ways.

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

@Tinbeni said...

We just called Volkswagen Beetles BUGS.
VEEDUB seemed like a stretch off the "dubya" for 43.


A much earlier source for DUB than George "W." is familiar around the Pac-10 Conference. From Wikipedia:

The University of Washington (UW, commonly called U-Dub) ...

Go Bears, beat the UW DAWGS (actually Huskies; the mascot of the University of Connecticut is also Huskies -- why is left as an exercise for the reader)!!!

Larry the Bear

Sparky 3:27 PM  

I think the pink elephants are in Dumbo. A schmear is sort of slathered on so maybe the whole schmear is a slathering. I have heard and used the expression. Never heard of VEEDUB and don't even understand it. Originally had VEEDUu, double u. Ah well. Have a good remains of the day.

Sparky 3:31 PM  

Forgot, Cabinet position: Secretary of State, Secretary of the Interior, etc.

Marilyn vos Savant 3:38 PM  

I recently posted this puzzle in my column in Parade Magazine. Feel free to post the answer if you get it on your own, but, please, not if you read it in Parade. (Most of you folks are too intellectual to read Parade, I'll guess.):

Fill in the ? in the following sequence:

1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ?, 1, 1, 1.

BrianR 3:40 PM  

Wasn't crazy about the theme. Really wanted BALLGAME somewhere but SHEBANG was gratifying and SCHMEAR was lost on me. Can't believe NINEYARDS didn't come to mind sooner.

Lots of write overs: PETA instead of SPCA, HAIR instead of NOSE, and JULIET instead of ANTONY which led to some difficulties. Also really wanted my VEEDUB to be ABUGGY, likely because of the game where you spot one and punch your little brother/friend in the arm.

Probably more trouble than a Tuesday should have given me but luckily didn't put me in a SNIT.

Anonymous 3:47 PM  

1,1,1,1,1,1... etc. Assuming each 1 represents the number of sil-lab-les in the letter. So the ? is either 2 (Dub/ya) or 3 (Dub-le-you)

Rather timely re-cycling of your Parade puzzle. Vee-dub.

JenCT 3:53 PM  

@Sparky: VEEDUB = VW

I've never seen a bowl of OIL at a salad bar.

Sfingi 3:59 PM  

Agree with so much of what is said today, so I have to also agree this one's a loser, though the theme's idea was good. And no, I can't construct 'em.

When I saw AAHED, I involuntarily moaned.
WELTS. Well, I knew "mementos of a caning" wasn't going to be from the perspective of a kitchen chair.

@Imsdave - Caning, roosters and discussion of India put me in mind of another nasty punishment - murgha, a Friday word?

We know we need no more than one rooster (capons are fine). But do we need even one if you want just eggs? Especially kosher eggs? In the case of animals raised in the city, I don't remember Grampa having a rooster, and eggs we got.

VWs seem to have improved since our two (rusty, freezing, bouncy) 912s. (They had seats in the back, but that was a joke.) An appealing ad might be in order to point this out, though I understand the Cabriole was ein Hund.

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

Late to the party so, what everyone else said.

Re: SHEBANG- all I could picture in my mind was that goofy guy on American Idol a few years back singing Ricky Martin's She Bangs.
That clip cracked my kids up.

chefbea 4:44 PM  

@Marilyn I look at Parade every Sunday...Don't read all the articles but like the cartoons and some of the recipes

JenCT 5:00 PM  

@Sfingi: you certainly don't need a rooster to get eggs. We keep our rooster in order to raise new chicks ourselves, instead of buying them. His name is Testy, because he has a lot of testosterone!

My first car was a '74 Beetle.

Three and out.

Ulrich 7:11 PM  

Shucks-I'll never own a VW again in my life, I think, and will never have the opportunity to use "veedub" in daily conversation, my favorite word of the day. (Well, I also like imsdave's, but that's not really in the puzzle)

Finally had the time to look at the DAS BOOT trailer. For all who wondered what the ominous voice says at the beginning:

Imagine a world where your ears become your eyes, where death is ever-present, the air you breathe is rationed, and your only exit leads to doom.

I never forget watching the movie in close proximity to someone who must have been on a submarine once: He got so into it that in one scene, he jumped up and yelled "don't do that" to an actor on screen, who apparently was about to do something incredibly stupid.

Anonymous 7:31 PM  

Can someone tell me what a CLUE is?


Two Ponies 8:20 PM  

@ Ulrich, I meant to make some favorable comment about Das Boot but forgot. What I never will forget is that movie. Very compelling and so suspenseful. I vividly remember the rivets popping on the hull and shooting by their heads like bullets. Thanks for the translational of the trailer.

@ Eduardo, I don't know because I don't have one.

joho 8:29 PM  

@Ulrich & @Two Ponies ... Das Boot is a movie I'll never forget.

retired_chemist 8:42 PM  

Nice puzzle. Other than that I have nothing to say.

Anonymous 5:44 PM  

Looks to me like there are 70 across clues and 64 down clues in this puzzle. Something is wrong with 9 across.

Waxy in Montreal 5:57 PM  

@Anon 5:44 PM
9A's fine. Please count the actual number of clues in the grid. There are 35 across ones and 43 downs. That's 78. (Hint, there is no 14, 15, or 16 down for example or 18 across.)

Joshua 11:14 PM  

Glitch 2:07 PM: Actually, the will of Alfred Nobel, written in 1895, already provided for the peace prize to be given by a committee appointed by the Norwegian Stortung (parliament), while the other four prizes would be given by institutions in Sweden.

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