Hip-hopper's headgear / MON 9-3-12 / Pyramid-shaped hotel in Vegas / Cookie trayful / Old jalopies / Big containers in tavern

Monday, September 3, 2012

Constructor: C.W. Stewart

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: QUITE A FEW (59A: Many ... or a hint to the ends of 17-, 23-, 34-, 40- and 46-Across) — final words in the theme answers can mean "QUITE A FEW":
  • BOX SCORES (17A: Printed results of baseball games)
  • PARKING LOTS (23A: Tailgate party places)
  • WORKLOADS (34A: Sets of tasks, as at an office)
  • JUNK HEAPS (40A: Old jalopies) 
  • BEER BARRELS (46A: Big containers in a tavern)

Word of the Day: ELUL (14A: Jewish month after Av) —
Elul (Hebrewאֱלוּל‎‎, Standard Elul Tiberian ʾĔlûl) is the twelfth month of the Jewish civil year and the sixth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is a summer month of 29 days. Elul usually occurs in August–September on the Gregorian calendar. (wikipedia)
• • •

A theme you look back on and notice only once you're done. Holds up nicely, though I don't like the revealer much at all. It's drab, despite the "Q"; just a definition of "Many." I really like revealers to have some kind of sparkle or punch, not be simply literal. The theme density is impressive, but it necessitates chopping the grid up like crazy, such that most of the answers we're left with are short and rather crosswordesey. There were some nice moments, though, such as the HIBACHI / SUSHI intersection (41D: Japanese grill + 64A: Japanese restaurant staple), which nicely picked up the Japanese theme started by FUJI (31D: Japan's tallest peak). Despite the fact that WORKLOADS stands out as the only phrase that is not a two-word phrase, the theme execution on this is nice—all answers are made up of two words (even if "workload" is a compound), and they are all clued in ways unrelated to "many"-ness. Rest of the grid is boilerplate, but at thematically, at least, I think it's solid.

Earlier today, I watched "They Drive By Night" (1940), starring George RAFT (11D: Castaway's makeshift vessel), Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino, and Humphrey Bogart. It was not filmed IN HD (66A: How many TV programs are aired nowadays). I recommend it, though it's an odd amalgam of little-guy-makes-good and film noir. Lupino is fantastic as the bony, vicious femme fatale—probably the only character in cinematic history to commit murder by simply walking away from a garage... (there's technology involved—director Raoul Walsh was kinda tech-obsessed, if this movie and 1949's "White Heat" are any indication ... but I digress).

Only slow-down occurred when I dumped DOUGH in the slot where BATCH was supposed to go (61A: Cookie trayful). I had to go back and fix two mistakes I made in my dash through this (easy) puzzle. Had LAXOR (?) instead of LUXOR (3D: Pyramid-shaped hotel in Vegas), probably because I couldn't remember the name of the hotel at first, and then because ELAL didn't make me blink during a rough eye-scan. Also I had RATTLE instead of RATTLY because ... well, come on. RATTLY? (45D: Sounding like a jalopy) I'm sure my brain (rightly) balked at the idea of RATTLY's being a word. But DENE is undeniably not a word, so I really should be more careful.

Gotta go. Happy Labor Day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:06 AM  

It's tough for me to comment on a Mon. mostly because, well it's a Mon.   I mean erasures are very unlikely, Naticks are unheard of, no tricky clueing, zippiness tends to be minimal, little or no  chance of a DNF... you're  left with how fast did I do it, how clean was the grid, and how did I feel about it.  OK, here goes:

Speed:  This was fast for me even using one finger on the iPad.  So, easy.

Grid:  Grid looks pretty clean to me.  TAE, IST, and ETAL are not pretty and ELUL seems a bit non-Monday but it mostly looks good.

Feelings:  Liked it.  About what you want on a Mon.

Random observation based on an answer:  BRIAN William's daughter is worth watching in the new HBO series Girls.

Evan 12:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evan 12:16 AM  

I too looked askance at RATTLY. I thought at first it meant "rat-like." It looks more like the name of some dapper, 1920's-era British nobleman, Mr. Rattly, Esq.

Maybe the other "Family Guy" fans out there will back me up when I say I hope I wasn't the only one who looked at PHONY and instantly remembered the scene where a shopper repeatedly accuses Peter of being a "big fat phony" for tricking him into thinking that Peter was playing an electric piano when it was just the demo? The clip is linked above.

GILL I. 12:16 AM  

@Rex: "We're tougher than any truck ever came off any assembly line." Loved (love) that movie.
Speaking of....SCORES, LOTS, LOADS, HEAPS and BARRELS of a fun Monday. 18 esses and nary a Z!!!
BOX,PARKING,WORK,JUNK and BEER - could be a tailgate party!
No SUSHI today but there'll be QUITE A FEW DIBS on ribs.
Good one C.W. Stewart.

JFC 12:31 AM  

@Rex - Looks like you took the day off. But I still think your comment was entertaining, so enjoy the holiday.

PS. How many people know Ida Lupino was married to Howard Duff? How many of those know who Howard Duff was?


JFC 1:09 AM  

@Deb - I know you are not asking why I mentioned Howard Duff but I will tell you just the same. Rex, our beloved Rex, cited Humphrey Bogart in "They Drive By Night" (1940). As you don't know (or maybe you do) Bogart played Sam Spade in classic movie "The Maltese Falcon." Well, as you really don't know (or maybe you do but don't care), Howard Duff on radio played Sam Spade from 1946–1950, starring in "The Adventures of Sam Spade." Now I know you are not asking why I made that connection but I will tell you that I did not. My brain did and I am still trying to understand my brain....


chefwen 1:22 AM  

@JFC - First question, I did! Second question, I do.

Printed out a copy of the puzzle for my husband and his first comment was that RATTLY was a bull@*%t word. Wasn't too fond of ORT either,although he should know that one by now. We weren't too keen about lice on dogs vs. fleas but upon further research we discovered that dogs also get lice, just not the same kind that humans get.

Super easy Monday, as Mondays are wont to be. One write over as I don't know my HIBACHI's from my HaBACHI'S. Given my location, that was a very inane error.

dk 7:46 AM  

Howard Duff brews the beer sold at Moe's.

I have been shopping for a HIBACHI. I remember the one my parents owned as having a lid. Now a days they do not. I lust for a Green Egg but need to finish the deck first.

Walleye on a stick and a wine smoothy comprised my State Fair meal. Fear of swine flu kept most away from the poor pigs. I was brave... foolish.

Fine Monday.

*** (3 Stars)

Glimmerglass 8:16 AM  

East Monday — what else is new? I do Mondays only because of my OCD. One quibble, though. You're in big trouble if your dog is infected with LICE! Fleas, ticks, okay, but LICE?

Zwhatever 8:36 AM  

@Gill I.P. - To fill the Zvoid I must comment.

@jae - I see a potential natick at ELUL/LUXOR. I almost put in ELaL but decided that the airline flies more than one month a year. Ran the vowels to get the U.

This played medium for me. I was a little slow out of the gate in the NW and had an inexplicable (in retrospect) slowdown in the SW. I guess the euphoria from another Tiger sweep of the White Sox blocked the notion of DEFEAT from my brain. in the SE, IN HD also tricked me as my initial thought was a large RRN, something like MMML.

jackj 9:09 AM  

Mondays should be the most interestingly crafted puzzles of the week, (and sometimes they are, especially when Acme or Lynn have the constructor’s by-line), but today’s puzzle rates pretty low on the “Sparkly” scale.

Ms. Stewart tries hard to please with fill like DORAG and PARASOL but falls woefully short when she needs to use such as ELS, INS, OHO, INV, GOO, TAE, SSS, IST, OPP, UTES, NOWS, ORTS, ADDS, ET AL to pull the puzzle together, (makes it seem sort of RATTLY, actually).

The theme, looking for words representing “Many” or, as the reveal indicates, QUITEAFEW, is as bland as bland can be, with precious little attraction for regular folks just looking for a bit of fun and interesting wordplay.

SCORES, LOTS, LOADS, HEAPS and BARRELS are the relevant theme entries and seem to need no further comment to emphasize their lack of pizzazz.

Redeeming entries were the “K” words, STOKE and KIOSK, along with the hard C, K cousin CRISP, plus WEAVE (as clued), PURSE (as clued), ELFIN and the fun reminder of grade school one-upmanship, DIBS.

Waiting for a dynamite Monday puzzle can be as frustrating as “Waiting for Godot” and unfortunately we didn’t get a great puzzle and Vladimir and friend are still looking for their missing man.

chefbea 9:14 AM  

Easy Monday. My only quibble was the tongue twister. Had forgotten that one. Wanted woodchuck but it wouldn't fit.

Have a great labor day all...very dark here...waiting for another storm.

joho 9:16 AM  

Loved the theme density and the descriptive SCORES, LOTS, LOADS, HEAPS and BARRELS. I think that's why, like @Rex, I was sort of let down by QUITEAFEW. I wanted something more fun with more punch like gazillion or caboodles.

Still really a nice Monday packed with theme.

Thanks TONS, C.W. Stewart!

jberg 9:50 AM  

Maybe this is another way of saying what @Rex did - but in a good revealer, it should be the answer that reveals. The clue by itself should not be sufficient. Once I got PARKING LOTS and JUNK HEAPS, the theme was clear, so the only real purpose of the revealer was to be witty.

And what about STOKES? I thought stoking was the act of adding wood, coal, peat, or whatever to a hire, rather than of stirring it up. Is this yet another word I've been using wrong all my life?

The Duff-Lupino marriage, and who Duff is, were both known to me once - I'm sure I've seen the two together in a movie at some point - but they are not memories I could have dredged up unaided. In fact, when I see Ida Lupino mentioned, I usually think "wasn't she married to somebody?"

She's getting a lot of discussion for someone who wasn't actually in the puzzle!

OldCarFudd 10:18 AM  

The word RATTLY is well known to anyone who owns a Model T Ford.

I had the same reaction to STOKES as jberg, but, both uses are correct. Always good to learn something new!

quilter1 10:20 AM  

I knew about Ida and Howard. I think they did act as part of a TV drama series with a repertoire cast.
I know the tongue twister as how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. I suppose like the hide and seek refrain it varies regionally.
I'm spending my holiday visiting my mom and sewing to classical music. Very relaxing. Have a good one, everybody.

Loren Muse Smith 10:21 AM  

@Gill. I.P. – “DIBS on ribs” – good one!

@chefwen – I can never spell HaBACHI, either.

UTES right next to TEPEE, crossing WEAVE; they WEAVE beautiful baskets.

I liked the Iditarod SLED next to the thousand plus MILEs that the dogs run.

ALOHA has POI, and we have the EVIL OGRES, LICE, and LEECHes. And a BALE of cotton, BATCH of cookies, and BARREL of beer.

I also appreciated ET AL right under QUITE A FEW.

Just lacking yesterday’s Z!

Thanks, C.W. You STOKEd it!

Carola 10:39 AM  

A nice Monday. Like "burned to a CRISP" parked over HIBACHI, the RATTLY JUNKHEAPS in the PARKING LOTS, and the ORTS left after the SUSHI feast.

Bonus answer: (a) RAFT.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:48 AM  

I got my smile as follows (your reaction may vary): At 24 D, I had the KI, glanced at the clue but mis-read it as "Newsreel" (!), had thoughts of some word related to KINO, which I believe is German for "cinema." Smile came later when I saw clue was actually "Newsstand" and KIOSK fit nicely.

Mel Ott 11:04 AM  

Does anyone know whether UTES actually lived in TEPEEs? I associate TEPEEs in my mind with Plains Indians, and I thought UTES were more of a Southwestern mountain/desert dwelling group.

JohnV 11:05 AM  

Very easy here. Happy and safe Labor Day to all.

Sandy K 11:17 AM  

For a Monday, thought this puzzle had a BATCH of good stuff. Theme was fine, fill was not filled with HEAPS of JUNK, reveal was not RATTLY to me...

Whenever I hear Ida Lupino, I think Howard Duff. Knew they were a Hollywood couple and had a series "Mr.Adams and Eve" which I only vaguely recall- so I googled it.
They did not have a fairy tale ending...

Happy Labor Day!

Bob Kerfuffle 11:32 AM  

@Mel Ott - I wondered about the UTES/TEPEE connection myself. A search of the internets suggests that they did use tepees at least part of the time in part of their range, so good enough for a crossword answer.

mac 11:38 AM  

Easy-medium Monday, quite good. A couple of write-overs: pedis for the very old perms, and the y in rattly.

I don't understand 35D OPP for "Like an antonym", but it appeared through crosses. Also never heard of box scores.

Happy Labor Day!

jae 11:53 AM  

@glimmerglass -- OCD works for me also. If I in any way purchased it, I need to do it. Thats one of the reasons I was glad to drop my subscription to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Their local puzzle sucked. The LA Times is a much better place to be.

@Z -- I disagree on the Natick potential of LUXOR/ELUL. First, I don't recall seeing ELAL clued with any thing other than some sort of airline reference and second, unless the laxative industry has a hotel in Vegas I don't know about...

Lewis 12:05 PM  

Hand up for RATTLE for the same reason as Rex. Like JackJ, I thought the puzzle lacked spark for a Monday.

@mac -- OPP for opposite

Happy Labor Day! Don't work too hard.

Zwhatever 12:11 PM  

@jae - to quote the FAQ page - "NATICK PRINCIPLE — 'If you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of, you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names.'"

I think it certainly plausible that less than 1/4th of Monday solvers are unfamiliar with LUXOR. ELUL may be "reasonably common" in some circles, but not in mine. I got the "U" using the Evan principle, being totally unfamiliar with both the Jewish Calendar and Casinos outside of Detroit except for their occasional appearances in xword puzzles.

Zwhatever 12:15 PM  

That would be "...less than 1/4th ... are familiar...

syndy 12:23 PM  

"1/500th of indy 500" seriously that clue is RATTLY!

Karnak the Magnificent 12:37 PM  

One might have been able to intuit LUXOR, as opposed to LAXOR, from the city of LUXOR, once Thebes, the sight of the ruins of the Temples of Karnak and Luxor.

You didn't think anyone in Vegas actually came up with a name on their own, rather than copying from something already famous, did you?

Cheerio 12:53 PM  

Theres also that pyramid - Egypt connection.

jae 1:38 PM  

@Z -- I agree with you about ELUL as I indicated in my initial post. It's LUXOR where we part ways on the 1/4 requirement. Plus, @Cheerio & Karnak, there's the Egypt thing...

Miette 2:53 PM  

RATTLY is a legitimate word. In nursing, we use it to describe a person's breathing or lung sounds when they are in the end stages of CHF and are filling up with water.

Doc John 3:26 PM  

What's so bad about RATTLY? It made me think of this!

John in Philly 3:31 PM  

I liked this puzzle because I finished it in under 10 minutes - my benchmark for a good Monday!!

Sparky 8:11 PM  

Had to be easy. Like @John in Philly under ten is greaat for me. Had aHa before OHO, Ity before IST. Agree with meh for the reveal. What bothers me, per my OCD, is that there are a bunch of clues I didn't even see. I do like my plodding all across, all downs way.

Always look for the Union label...Happy Labor Day.

dbleader61 2:28 AM  

Rex, Dene is a group of native tribes and their language in Northern Csnada, but of course it doesn't fit the clue!

But given the 2 Es and the common D and N, it would make some good fill someday

Aloha Crisp Miles 3:39 AM  

I thought this was an almost perfect Monday...TONS of fill, nice consistency with all the Ss, and Scrabbly.

The words that preceded the HEAPS and SCORES were fun and intriguing...
BOX, JUNK, BEER ...i couldn't wait for the reveal thinking it would unify those words!

Plus lots of CRISP clues , like Burned to a CRISP, Old jalopies, "Caught you redhanded!"... The puzzle had a rhythm.

LOL...but I didn't know that's what the 500 stood for till just now!

The only think I would chance is the LEECH/LICE crossing, icky images, depressing clues.

(And fwiw, DENe IS good in Scrabble...
It means "a valley")

Surprised that folks are putting down QUITEAFEW...the Q is fab; the puzz didn't even need a reveal, but there was a 9 letter phrase to match BOXSCORES...What's not to like?

I appreciate the compliment @jackj, but I can't think of a better reveal...maybe $#i%LOADS, but that was taken with WORKLOADS. TONSANDTONS?

I dunno, kind of hard, but I liked! KIOSK, the Japanese subtheme @rex mentioned, the fact that the quantities were presented with different meanings (particularly LOTS AND SCORES)
I actually made lots of mistakes initially, PARKINGLane, WORKLists, etc. (maybe I need a car, to drink alcohol and a job to get these right off the bat, but I got LUXOR without blinking, damnit!)

And if we are recommending films, LUXOR reminded me of this fantastic documentary ("The Queen of Versailles") whose protagonist is married to the man who built the Westgate timeshares in Vegas which is now bankrupt.

Acme 3:52 AM  

PS Make that "I would ChanGE (not chanCe) LEECH/LICE"

And I sort of missed @Joho. 's clever, and lettercount appropriate suggestions of GAZILLION and CABOODLES as reveals.

@Carola. Great observation about RAFT and someone else's about ETAL.
I suspect this puzzle will grow on folks in retrospect!

Spacecraft 10:47 AM  

An easy do, theme OK. Remarkably inconsistent with the fill. On one hand, clunkers like SSS and INHD--but take a look at the NE corner. All actual WORDS! A thing of beauty. Too bad they don't all work out like that. I'll give it thumbs-up for the shout-out to one of my favorite authors, ISAAC Asimov. If you have yet to read the Foundation trilogy, please do.

And now to prove that I'm not one of his favorite subjects: a robot.

David Bowman 1:04 PM  

56A: ORTS is new to me. 29D: ADIN left me completely perplexed. And the fact that the word describes a "situation after deuce" is even more confusing. This must be some obscure reference to a game with which I am not familiar. A comment on 60D: ALI: He was self-proclaimed "the greatest." He pretty much invented the obnoxious practice of athletes disavowing any semblance of humility. You never heard him say, "Thank you for the compliment. I just try to do my best." In fact, you would have never had the chance to say that. By the time you opened your mouth, he would have already let you know that, in his mind, he was "the greatest." 49D: I have a bone to pick here. Pixies are "pixielike," gnomes are "gnomelike," and elves are "elfin." By the same token, pixies are not "elfin." Seems obvious to me. As for 39A: TEPEE, the Utes are a tribe of the Great Basin. My old college textbook on North American Indians, by Merwyn S. Garbarino, states that all Great Basin tribes used a wickiup - not a TEPEE. On 14A: ELUL, I guess I need to memorize all the Hebrew month names. Or not.

David Bowman 1:20 PM  

BTW: STOKE means to "stir up." You use a stoker, a long metal tool, to stoke the fire. You'd have a hard time adding wood or other fuel to a fire using a stoker. Also, when you "stoke up" an angry mob, you stir them or rile them up.

DMGrandma 1:50 PM  

Happy Monday! A smooth solve with only a pause to replace aHa with OHO. Agree with those who found RATTLY hard on the ear. As as for "dene", I I thought puzzles had taught me that it is the British word for "dune"- shall have to look that up. Now for the Captcha!

DMG 2:52 PM  

I stand corrected. Depending on the dictionary you consulr "dene" means either an ethnic group or a valley. Something new every day.

Dirigonzo 8:36 PM  

Puzzle originally appeared on Labor Day and now it reappears on Columbus Day - Syndication synchronicity!

Weekend puzzle partner undertook to do this on ther own and did remarkably well, considering that I was sitting next to her making unintelligible noises the whole time. Her only writeover was aHa/OHO, which made perfect sense if you hadn't already put in BEBOP. Ultimately she (we) ended with a Natick at the ELeL/LeXOR cross - but at least we knew it wasn't ELaL!

@Petrovich 1248 - If I'm not mistaken, this is your first comment here in syndiland. Your thoughts on the puzzle are a welcome addition to the conversation here. I hope you'll come back often.

Ginger 10:39 PM  

Late again, but here goes. @DMG You were right the first time. According to Wiki, DENE is a British word for dune, sand hill. I know I've seen it in other puzzles many times.

@Petrovich1248 AD-IN is a situation that occurs after 'deuce' (40/40) in tennis. If the server wins the 'deuce' point it is said to be AD-IN, if the receiver wins, it is AD-OUT. It is a rather archaic term. I haven't heard it used in years. I also would like to welcome you to the Syndiland corner of Rexville.

Ida Lupino was a feminist, before feminism became feminism. She directed several movies and many TV shows, all at a time when women were still cinematic objects. She also wrote many of her projects. Very interesting person.

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