Thursday, August 18, 2022 Chase Dittrich

Thursday, August 18, 2022 Chase Dittrich


  School Crossings

With 4 LAT puzzles under his belt, Chase Dittrich definitely qualifies as a Corner veteran.  He is also a Marine Corp veteran and has had 4 puzzles published in the New York Times, including a Sunday.   And be sure to check out Husker's review of Chase's and Jeff Chen's February 12, 2022 themeless outing for Jeff Chen's lavish praise of Chase. (😄)

Today Chase's theme schools us in a bit of  "circular reasoning", something he apparently learned as a math major in college.  So we don't get too lost, we'll start with the reveal and the grid.

37A. Places with guards, and what can be found six times in this puzzle: SCHOOL CROSSINGS. Does your school district have formal training for its crossing guards?  The splash video above will give you some tips about how they operate.

The "six times" Chase refers to are the 6 circles in the grid where the answers to 10 theme clues intersect.  The answer to each of the themers has a double-meaning with the second being a type of school.  Thus we have 10 SCHOOL CROSSINGS:  

Here are the themers:

1D. Captivate: CHARM.  To entice.  Or a CHARM SCHOOL, aka a finishing school for teaching "social graces" to young women.  I think young men might need them more. 

23A. T-shirt size: Abbr.: MED.  Baltimore has 2 top flight MED SCHOOLS: at Johns Hopkins University and the University of  MD.  I  use to work as a lab tech at both and in IT at the latter.

7D. Sous-chef's work: PREP.  The character Everton in the "Chef" clip at 1A below is a sous-chef.  Or an abbreviation for an academic finishing school, i.e. a college PREParatory SCHOOL

10D. Not permanent: ACTING.   Someone filling a position temporarily or until they are officially confirmed. OTOH, if you're interesting in getting your name in lights, here are the 25 top ACTING SCHOOLS in the world.

18A. Uncomplicated: ELEMENTARY.  Looks can be deceiving.  Until 1964 physicists thought that protons and neutrons were uncomplicated.  OTOH ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS are simply for children in grades 1-6.

55D. Swap: TRADE.  Barter.  OTOH a TRADE SCHOOL, (also known as a technical or vocational school) is a post-secondary educational institution designed to train students for a specific job in a skilled trade career.  They are generally far less costly than 4 year college programs and depending on the specialty can pay very well (had any plumbing work done lately?).  Here are some programs in the Maryland area.

53A. "How Great Thou __": ART.   "How Great Thou Art" is a Christian hymn based on an original Swedish hymn.  It is often sung at funerals.  For those who'd like to hear it, here's a powerful performance by CW singer Carrie Underwood (make sure you get out your hankies!).  OTOH an ART SCHOOL is a place to hone the skills needed for fine arts professions such as painting, sculpting, graphic design or teaching art.  The Maryland Institute College of Art, aka "MICA" (see also 62A ) is the Baltimore school where some of my ceramics teachers studied.

46D. Dead Sea Scrolls language: HEBREW.   The Israel Museum in Jerusalem has an exhibit of the scrolls and their relationship to the Hebrew Bible.  A HEBREW SCHOOL, also called a Yeshiva is a Jewish parochial school that does much more than just teach the Hebrew language.

58A. Air conditioner setting: HIGH.  AC setting these days in many parts of the country, or a HIGH SCHOOL for grades 9-12, unless your district has Middle schools for grades 7-9.

60. "Literature in a hurry," per Matthew Arnold: JOURNALISM.   Matthew Arnold (24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. I think that Arnold expected journalism to be something that it was never intended to be. But according to this author, that is no reason why journalism can't be well written.  Here's a review of 12 US JOURNALISM SCHOOLS that can improve the odds of that happening.  The rise of the Internet has seen the advent of a lot of amateur journalists, not always to good effect.

IMHO, sussing the theme from just the reveal would have been tricky without the circles, especially the 4 schools above and beyond the 6 implied in the reveal (a red herring if I ever saw one).  That said I think this puzzle was very clever and its construction, with or without circles, must have been a real bear.

Here are the rest of the clues:


1. Stylish eatery word: CHEZ.  A pretentious way of saying "at the house of" and today's premier leçon de français.  This reminds me of the hilarious BBC series "Chef!" about Le Chateau Anglais,  a French restaurant in the English countryside.  The Chef is Gareth Blackstock, played by comedian Lenny Henry, as a talented, arrogant, tyrannical obsessive who has endlessly inventive insults for his staff, unknowing customers, and almost anyone else he encounters.  Here he locks horns with his wife Janice over the price of turkeys (2:18 min):

5. Irish icon, informally: ST PATA storied saint, who seems to be the patron of  crossword puzzle constructors.  His feast day is March 17th, a good day to plant peas, or so the story goes.
St Patrick
Cathedral of Christ the Light,
Oakland, California

10. Many moons: AGES.

14. "Buenos días": HOLA. Today's Spanish lesson, and a double CSO to Lucina!

15. Google __: EARTH.  Brought to you by the creators of Blogger, Google Earth is a computer program that renders a 3D representation of Earth based primarily on satellite imagery (see also 9D). The program maps the Earth by superimposing satellite images, aerial photography, and GIS data onto a 3D globe, allowing users to see cities and landscapes from various angles.  Here's a snippet from a Google Earth view of the LA Times roof  (if you look closely you can just make out Patti's office on the top floor right Corner):
LA Times Offices
11th Street NW

16. Bit of thunder: CLAP.  Please hold your applause (or raspberries) until I'm finished.

17. Roguish: ARCH.  I don't think our Archbishop is.  He seems like a nice person to me.

20. Shower unit?: RAINDROP.  Technically speaking it would be an H2O molecule.

22. Litmus reddeners: ACIDS.  And BASES make litmus paper bluer.   Litmus papers indicate whether a solution is ACIDIC (e.g. Hydrochloric acid) or BASIC (e.g. Lye):
But these are "either/or" tests.  If you need to determine the specific degree of ACIDITY or BASICITY (aka alkalinity), then you need to determine its pH, a scale with a range of 1 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline).   Rather than a simple binary RED/
BLUE response, pH papers such as the product shown below, give you a reading of the specific pH.  This is very useful, e.g. for testing the soil of a vegetable garden.  Most garden vegetables like a pH of about 7, but some have specific preferences.  pH can also be tested electronically.  Here's some information on pH testers for gardens.
pH paper

24. Kylo __: Ben Solo's chosen name: REN.   I don't speak Star Warsese, but this might help you understand this obviously conflicted person.
Ben Solo
played by Adam Driver

25. Before thou know'st: ANON  Also a famous and very prolific author.

26. Unexpected blessing: GODSEND.  A Deus ex Machina, or one of these ...?
28. Places to get in shape: GYMS.

32. Corp. shuffle: REORG.  This happened to me a couple of times.  One minute you're IN THE LOOP, the next you're not.

35. Half of deux: UNE.  Two divided by two = one and today's deuxième leçon de français.

36. Small battery: AAA.

42. Old tape type: VHS.

43. "Shine a Little Love" band, familiarly: ELO.  The Electric Light Orchestra (or at least their acronym) is a favorite of puzzle constructors.  Here's the song  and lyrics (4:12 min):

44. Joplin's "Me and Bobby __": MCGEEJanis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970 - sadly a member of the 27 club) was an American singer and musician. One of the most successful and widely known female rock stars of her era, she was noted for her powerful mezzo-soprano vocals and "electric" stage presence.  She started out as lead singer for Big Brother and the Holding Company and rose to fame after playing at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.  Here's my favorite (3:31 min),  lyrics:

45. "Hunny" bear: POOH.  One of the great things about being a grandparent is getting to watch all of those old shows over again (and over, and over ...!)
Pooh and his hunny

47. Flub, as an easy grounder: MISPLAY.

50. Kitchen initialism popularized by Rachael Ray: EVOO.  A frequent ingredient in crossword puzzles because of its high vowel content.  Here's everything you'd want to know about extra virgin olive oil .  The freshly pressed olive oil we once bought at an olive grove in the Texas hill country actually had a peppery taste, unlike any we've had since.

52. West Coast NFL team, on scoreboards: LAR.  Los Angeles Rams.

56. Plane area: CABIN.

58. Big blow: HAYMAKER.

62. Layered mineral: MICA.  When I was about 12 I found a very large piece of MICA in a gully.  It appeared very exotic and extraordinarily different from anything I'd ever seen before (12 year olds are easily impressed).  Here is the transparent variety of the mineral (known as Muscovite), large sheets of which were used in the past as windows in furnaces and horse drawn carriages:
Muscovite Mica

63. Gala: FETE.  According to WikiDiff these are not exact synonyms:

64. Doctrine: DOGMA. While this term is generally associated with religion, Etymology Online defines this as "a settle opinion, a principle held as being firmly established, e.g. "settled science", an oxymoron if I ever heard one.

65. Egg on: PROD. I try not to get EGG ON my face, but sometimes I duck fast enough.

66. Don't have to assume: KNOW.  If you want to know how we KNOW, this might help.

67. __ Allen furniture: ETHAN.  A reference to this company, which took its name from this Revolutionary War hero.
Ethan Allen 1777

68. Levelheaded: SANE.  From the Latin sanus "sound, healthy".  More etymology.


2. Goddesses of the seasons: HORAE.  As the Greeks recognized only three seasons: spring, summer, and autumn, there were only three main HORAE, but there were others who represented the "natural positions of time".  Their naming and genealogy seems a bit complicated.
Horae Serenae
Edward Poynter, 1894

3. Iberian folk hero: EL CIDRodrigo Díaz de Vivar (c. 1043 – 10 July 1099) was a Castilian knight and warlord in medieval Spain. Fighting with both Christian and Muslim armies during his lifetime, he earned the Arabic honorific al-sīd, which would evolve into El Cid ("the lord"), and the Spanish moniker El Campeador ("the champion").  By all accounts he was a remarkable warrior and a master strategist and tactician.
El Cid

4. Journalist Paula: ZAHNPaula Ann Zahn (/zɑːn/; born February 24, 1956) is an American journalist and newscaster who has been an anchor at ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, and CNN. She currently produces and hosts the true crime documentary series On the Case with Paula Zahn on the Investigation Discovery channel.  And a CSO to Husker.
Paula Zahn

5. Get sore: SEEREDSEETHED wouldn't fit, but "Singed" would have fit as a clue.

6. Claws: TALONS.  The weapon of choice of birds of prey.  Here's everyone's favorite raptor on this side of the pond:
 American Bald Eagle

8. NCR device: ATMNCR Corporation, previously known as National Cash Register, is an American software, consulting and technology company providing several professional services and electronic products. It manufactures self-service kiosks, point-of-sale terminals, automated teller machines, cheque processing systems, and barcode scanners.

9. Highest mountain range outside of Asia: THE ANDES.  They may not be the highest in the world, but they are the longest.  You can display them from Google Earth by clicking on this link (if you're prompted for which app to use, click on Earth)   Zoom in and rotate the globe with your mouse if you like.  Don't forget to take along some oxygen!  [NOTE: running this on a smartphone requires the Google Earth app].
The Andes Mountain Range

11. Pleased: GLAD.

12. Hearing things: EARS.

13. View: SPY.

19. Sgt. or cpl.: NCONon Commissioned Officer.

21. Khal __ of "Game of Thrones": DROGO.  This is all about Jason Momoa, who played Drogo.  This is all about Drogo.
Khal Drogo

25. Dating profile word?: ANNOSwipe right if you thought this was a Kinder reference?

26. Miracle-__: GRO.  My father swore by it.  We like the kinder, gentler organic fertilizer Epoma Garden Tone:
27. Continental capital: EUROS.  Dollar wouldn't fit, so it couldn't have been Australia.

29. "Fire Island" actor Bowen: YANG.   Fire Island is a 2022 American romantic comedy film directed by Andrew Ahn, and written by and starring Joel Kim Booster. The film co-stars Bowen Yang, Conrad Ricamora, James Scully, and Margaret Cho. Inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, the story follows a group of gay friends who go on vacation to Fire Island, only for things to become complicated by classism and romance.
Bowen Yang
30. World of Warcraft class: MAGEWorld of Warcraft (WoW) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment.  A mage (also called magus, magician or wizard) is a damage-dealing spell-caster.  Scary looking!
Mage Crest

31. Enc. for a 32-Down: SASESelf-Addressed Stamped Envelope.

32. Invitation letters: RSVP.  Répondez š'il Vous Plaît.  "Please respond".  The troisième leçon de français.

33. Zoom meeting annoyance: ECHOLAG was too short.

34. Extremely: OH SO.

38. Beyoncé album and film of 2016:  LEMONADE.  A CSO to our Corner Historian.  Also  the sixth studio album by American singer Beyoncé. It was released on April 23, 2016 and was accompanied by a 65-minute film of the same title. It's her second "visual album" and also a concept album with a song cycle that relates her emotional journey after her husband's infidelity.  I was not familiar with her work and found it impressive. Here's the first track, Pray You Catch Me (3:16 min); lyrics:

39. Award named for a Muse: CLIO.  The Clio Awards (also simply known as the Clios) is an annual award program that recognizes innovation and creative excellence in advertising, design, and communication.  The program was named for Clio, the Greek Muse of history.  I'm not sure what the connection is, but I think they could put a little more "creative excellence" into their logo:

40. Insincere flattery: SMARM.  I suspect we'd see a lot of this at the 39D awards ceremonies.

41. Less than friendly: ICY.  The 39D losers would probably be ICY.

48. Red Cross supply: PLASMAPLASMA is one of 4 major components of the blood.  IIRC you can donate plasma only and get your RED CELLS back, if you don't mind waiting for them to spin the whole blood down and transfuse the cells back into your system. 

49. Nonprofessional: LAYMAN.

51. "The Voice of the Dodgers" Scully: VINVincent Edward Scully (November 29, 1927 – August 2, 2022), the announcer for the Dodgers for  67 (!!!) series.  And not just their voice, but "The voice of baseball".  We lost him just a little over two weeks ago.
Vin Scully

Listen to him narrate some of the openings of some classic World Series ...

53. Director Kurosawa: AKIRAAkira Kurosawa (March 23, 1910 – September 6, 1998) was a Japanese filmmaker and painter who directed thirty films in a career spanning over five decades. He is regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in film history.  Rashomon, which premiered in Tokyo, became the surprise winner of the Golden Lion at the 1951 Venice Film Festival. Kurosawa, is probably best known as the creator of the Seven Samurai, which was later adapted in the American western The Magnificent Seven.
Akira Kurosawa
on the set of the
Seven Samurai 1953

54. Intel mission: RECON.

56. Last name of both "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" filmmakers: COEN.  Favorite directors of crossword constructors. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a 2018 American Western anthology film written, directed, and produced by the Coen brothers. It had a limited theatrical release, being primarily intended for Netflix television (this one flew under my radar scope) and features six vignettes that take place on the American frontier.  Here's the trailer:

57. Wheels: AUTO.   Components of a noun used as its synonym.

59. Concert gear: AMPS.  Or units of electrical current.

60. NYC hub: JFK.

61. Auction unit: LOT.  I liked this puzzle a LOT.


And thanks as always to Teri for proof reading and for her constructive suggestions.


Chase Dittrich, you are invited to post anything you'd like to share about this puzzle, its evolution, the theme, or whatever, in the Comments section below.  We'd love to hear from you.
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