Monday, July 7, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

Title: Tongue-Tied
Author: Edward Alch
Theme: The four elements of taste, as follows:
  • 3d: Result that is hard to accept (BITTER PILL).

  • 9d: Cocktails made with gin or vodka (SALTY DOGS).

  • 31d: Face-saving disdain of something unattainable (SOUR GRAPES).

  • 35d: Ideal area to hit a ball with (SWEET SPOT).

  • 14d: Yummy thing (and a hint to this puzzle's theme) (TASTE SENSATION).

Good Monday theme, which requires a 15x16 grid to accommodate the 14-letter hint entry down the middle. Actually, I think I've read somewhere that there are really more than just the four so-called basic tastes, but that doesn't really bother me.

Sunny Spots:

    Actually, all of the theme entries I thought were excellent. In addition:

  • 25a: Event with drastically cut prices (FIRE SALE). Good one.

  • 59a: Heat source? (JALAPEÑO). Continuing with a little fire in the mouth.

  • 63a: Heat source (OVEN). Nice clue doubling here.

  • 50d: IBM offerings of the '80s (PC JRS). As fills with no vowels go, this one's pretty cool. I like the PCJ letter combination.


  • 1a: Sworn-upon stack (BIBLES). Easy, but evocative.

  • 13a: Camden Yards ballplayer (ORIOLE). I'll be seeing the Red Sox at Camden Yards in another month. Beautiful ballpark.

  • 29a: Othello's lieutenant (CASSIO). I probably should have known this right off the top, but I needed a couple of crossings before it hit me.

  • 41a: Gumption (SPUNK). Both gumption and spunk are great words.

  • 43a: Dragon roll fish (EEL).

  • 44a: Got the lead out? (ERASED). Cute. As in erased pencil lead.

  • 47a: "Close to the Edge" band (YES). I never even saw this clue as I was solving.

  • 48a: One who adapts orchestral music for marching bands, say (ARRANGER).

  • 50a: 1992 also-ran (Ross PEROT).

  • 53a: Terry Bradshaw was one (STEELER). Quarterback didn't fit.

  • 54a: Liquid-Plumr targets (CLOGS). Never saw this clue, either.

  • 56a: Andean animal (LLAMA). Easy.

  • 61a: One of golf's majors (US OPEN). The golf majors I know: Masters, British Open, U.S. Open, and PGA Championship.

  • 62a: 66, e.g.: Abbr. (RTE). I've never driven on it, that I recall, but I know several versions of the song. Here's a classic by the Rolling Stones.

  • 64a: Shampooing step (REPEAT). Okay, a show of hands: how many of you actually do the repeat step when shampooing?

  • 66a: Feather's partner (TAR).

  • 1d: Gaucho's weapon (BOLA). Also a type of necktie.

  • 2d: "Persepolis" setting (IRAN). Nominated for Best Animated Feature Film this year. It lost to "Ratatouille". Here's a trailer.

  • 4d: Like some bad marriages (LOVELESS).

  • 5d: Passes over in pronouncing (ELIDES).

  • 8d: Western Native American (UTE). Super-common crossword fare.

  • 20d: Disease transmitted by mosquitoes (MALARIA).

  • 26d: 2005 #1 album by Ashlee Simpson (I AM ME).Didn't know this off the top, but was easy enough.

  • 32d: Photographer Leibovitz (ANNIE).

  • 33d: Cardroom game (POKER). My favorite card game after bridge.

  • 42d: Wife of Odysseus (PENELOPE). This was like CASSIO to me. I couldn't come up with off the top, but I knew it once I had a few crossings.

  • 52d: Luxury watch brand (ROLEX). Pretty much the epitome of luxury watch brands.

Suns of Bitches:

  • 10d: Mexico's Oscar (ARIEL).

  • 60d: LaRue of "CSI: Miami" (EVA).

  • Luckily, I didn't need to know either of these.

All in all, a very decent Monday puzzle.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


embien said...

Out here in the west we always called them BOLO ties, but I see on that BOLA may be more correct.

Joon said...

wow, this was a super sweet monday puzzle. (no pun intended. seriously.) four outstanding theme entries, tons of great fill, and very few clunkers. some (extremely common) abbreviations and one roman numeral. i can't get over how awesome this was.

i notice that CASSIO became CASSIUS when he was being recalled in the PENELOPE section. that's from a different shakespearean tragedy.

POKER is okay, but barbu is my favorite card game after bridge. you've gotta try it if you haven't before.

Pete M said...

@joon: Good catch on the CASSIO/CASSIUS. 10 bonus pts.

Joon said...

10, wow. i didn't know they came in denominations of 10.

so how many do i need to trade in for an ipod nano or something?

Pete M said...

@joon: They come in whatever denomination I feel like awarding. -1.67 for the sarcastic "wow". :)

As for redemption, read the disclaimer.

Austin said...

I'm sorry but a FIRE SALE cannot be mentioned without this accompanying video from Arrested Development:

Thank you and that is all.

ruy said...

I agree that this was a nice clean puzzle, and I also particularly liked the PCJRS entry even though the produce itself was, to my vague recollection, right up (down?) there with New Coke.

Yet I find that Monday puzzles in general are feeling almost pedestrian these days. No doubt I'm starting to get spoiled by the more satisfying late-week puzzles. Anyone else suffering from this problem?

Separate question: BITTER and SOUR are being used in their taste senses while SWEET is not. But does anyone know what the SALTY in SALTY DOG means?

Joon said...

BITTER and SOUR are both metaphorical, rather than referring to actual tastes. the clue does not reference an actual pill which is bitter to the taste, or real grapes which have gone bad.

i looked up salty dog once, because it's the name of a seafood restaurant i've driven by on occasion (either around here or up in maine, i can't remember which). it is originally an expression that was roughly the equivalent of "land-lubber," i.e. sailor speak for a non-sailor. (kind of like GOYIM.) not quite sure how it came to refer to this particular drink, but i'm told that sailors do like to drink.

ruy said...

joon, I understand that BITTER PILL and SOUR GRAPES are metaphorical expressions when looked at in their entirety, but within the metaphors, the BITTER and SOUR do refer to tastes. On the other hand, there's nothing sweet-tasting about the SWEET SPOT on a bat or a racket. If SALTY DOG has a similar derivation to "old salt", then I would call that a non-taste use of the adjective, and we have a nice 2-2 split.