Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013, Gary "The Holy" Cee


The Channel is called the BEEB (25D: English channel's nickname, with "the") eh? By whom? Must be those crazy Brits, 'cause I've never heard it before.* We'd also never heard of SNOWJOB being a 8A: Soft soap relative. Really? There's a soap called "Snow Job?" Or, wait… is "soft soap" slang for false flattery? Either way, I didn't know it.

The vertical tens were all quite nice. MAGNACARTA (27D: King John sealed it), and LIQUOREDUP (5D: Smashed) especially. We had a slight quarrel with black licorice being called ANACQUIREDTASTE (17A: What black licorice or blue cheese is, for many), because in our experience, you either like it or you don't. And furthermore, why would one ever try to like black licorice? Blue cheese, sure. I, myself, have come to like blue cheese, and have done so by sampling it over and over again when Frannie got some, or at a party, or whatever. But black licorice? I see it, I know I hate it, and I avoid it.

Obviously, we looked up BLUETOOTH (32D: Technology standard named for a Danish King) after that sensational eponym teaser. King Harald Bluetooth (anglicized name) was a tenth-century ruler who united several tribes into a single kingdom, Denmark. The logo is a combination of the runes that make up his initials. Fascinating.

We're sure that frequent commenter englishteacher59 will have filled in CAREW (38D: All-Star 18 consecutive times from 1967 to 1984) even more quickly than we did, which was quite quickly (off the C). And we're thinking that maybe we could try to get a VCHIP (44D: Blocker working with a receiver) (!), installed somehow into another frequent commenter, Huygens, who will no doubt DROOL (24D: Go gaga (over)) over THEURGE (58A: Sexual desire, euphemistically) and BOOTEE (32A: One might be made for the shower). (Oh… wait… maybe not that second one.)

But seriously, this puzzle had a lot of good clues. 40A: Person who may work a lot (VALET) (a parking lot! I didn't get until just now!), and we also enjoyed 11D: Inquiry made while half awake, maybe (WHA). If you need to get "wha" into the grid, that's a good way to do it. Much better than "bygone hockey league." Some nice "second-level" French with ANGE (26D: Being with one aurĂ©ole) and PERDU (45D: Out of sight), and bonus Latin and Massachusetts material with ENSE (Massachusetts motto opener) ("… petit placidam sub libertate quietem").

Thumbs up.

- Horace

* Well... Tonight I asked a British friend if he had a nickname for the English Channel, and when I suggested "the Beeb," he laughed for a good long while. It is the nickname for the BBC. We were duped! Very nice, Mr. Cee... you've won this round.


  1. Yeah, funny about CAREW. I thought of it immediately, but didn't put it in until relatively late. Bench crossed my mind too, but since he was a catcher I figured he wouldn't have maintained excellence for 18 years. Good, hard Friday, but unfortunately a DNF for me because of a wrong guess at the crossing of BEEB and BAM. I had it narrowed down to two (of course) and went with the W. A lot of times a DNF-producing wrong guess seems silly in retrospect, but after the fact I still think weeb and BEEB are equally ridiculous. I can never quite remember the Mass motto word. At least now, though, I have it down to esse or ENSE. I too liked WHA. Very fresh and a tad edgy. I had a double write-over at 41-Across: first I wrote in deb, then tee, and finally EYE. I prefer my first two tries. For some reason I liked seeing MANHOUR in the grid. I know ENTRAIN is nothing new, but it still pains me every time I encounter it. Right, Horace, the BOOTEE Huygens would DROOL over is the -y one, as in "booty call." I kind of agree with you on ANACQUIREDTASTE. I'm not sure there is such a thing, and I'm especially dubious about anything that isn't good for you. Why would anyone try to develop a taste for something like bleu cheese or licorice? Spinach, sure. Or banana.

  2. Did you see my footnote about BEEB? I think I was adding it right when you were writing your comment.

    Also, banana?

  3. Sure, bananas. I eat many bananas that are less than totally delightful, but I choke them down anyway because I think they are good for me. It's far from my favorite taste and soft ones--of which I eat many--sometimes dance on the line between edible and nauseating. For some reason, if I eat the soft ones with OJ, they are more tolerable. And, yes, I now see the note. Bravo, Mr. Cee, indeed. I stand fairly defeated.

  4. Untimed (>2:00)
    DROOL and THEURGE were starred, as was WHA.I also loved LIQUOREDUP. I was in a bit of a pickle in the east, though, because I'd originally filled in facETOfacE for 29D Direct, as a confrontation (NOSETONOSE), but once that fell, everything went quickly. VALET was great, as was TOCCATA. I'd put in CAREy instead of CAREW, but got it finally with the cross. This puzzle took awhile, but I'm obviously not completely CLUELESS.