Thursday, September 29, 2022 MaryEllen Uthlaut


Quiet Cities

Incidental music for the Irwin Shaw play Quiet City
Aaron Copeland, 1939

By my count this is constructor MaryEllen Uthlaut's 20th appearance in the LA Times, the last one a Sunday puzzle on August 14, 2022She also contributes to the New York times.

The 5 themers are clued with descriptions of small cities with some unusual inhabitants, and each is filled with a common town name suffix, prefixed by a word that results in an idiom or metaphor.  As these cities are not well advertised, I call them QUIET CITIES:

17A. City for delinquent library patrons?: FINE POINT.  Not to put too FINE a POINT on it, but my DOWN FALL started when I figured out that it was cheaper to buy books than to pay all my library fines.  My eventual undoing was the accursed Amazon 1-click.

25A. City for look-alikes?: DOUBLE PARK.  Legendary "look-alikes" even have a name: doppelgänger, from a German word for a biologically unrelated look-alike, or a double, of a living person.  German composer Franz Schubert wrote an eerie song about a doppelgänger, but it was way too scary to share.  Even some contemporary physicists wonder if there is another 'You' out there in a parallel universe.

37A. City for undercover agents?: MOLE HILLS.  The State Department recently announced that the Rooskies funneled over $300 million into other countries to influence foreign elections, but  I'm sure that none of it ended up in the hands of undercover agents here.  OTOH, the furry critters that create  real MOLE HILLS are no laughing matter if they infest your garden.

53A. City for bank managers?: SAFE HARBOR.  I guess banks are probably the the safest place to HARBOR SAFES, but a determined specialist still knows where to find them:

Willie Sutton

63A. City for feather-bed manufacturers?: DOWN FALLS.   In a fictional FALLS called BEDFORD,  in the film It's a Wonderful Life, a man named George Bailey, faces his DOWN FALL as the result of a mistake at a BANK, and is saved only through the ministrations of an angel called Clarence. We'll be seeing it soon. Christmas is just around the Corner!

Here's the grid with all the quiet cities:


1. Lacking refinement: RAW.

4. __ list: WISH.

8. Young deer: FAWNS.  Or its homophone FAUNS.  The ballet Prelude of the Afternoon of a Faun put composer Claude Debussy on the map.  The role of the FAUN in this performance was the great Vaslav Nijinski, born in Kyiv, Ukraine:

13. Comedian Nwodim: EGOEgobunma Kelechi "Ego" Nwodim born March 10, 1988) is an American actress and comedian who is a cast member on Saturday Night Live, joining in the 44th season in 2018.  Of Nigerian heritage, she hails from Baltimore.
Ego Nwodim

14. "Luther" star Elba: IDRISIdrissa Akuna Elba OBE (born 6 September 1972) is an English actor, producer, and musician.  An alumnus of the National Youth Theatre in London, he is known for roles in the HBO series The Wire, the BBC One series Luther, and as Nelson Mandela in the biographical film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013).
Idris Elba
16. Be of use to: AVAIL.

17. [See theme expo]

19. Sturdy fabric: SERGE.

20. "My Cousin Vinny" Oscar winner: TOMEIMarisa Tomei (born December 4, 1964) is an American actress. She is the recipient of various accolades, including an Academy Award, in addition to nominations for a British Academy Film Award, a Daytime Emmy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Marisa Tomei

21. A bit loopy: DAFT.  I resemble that remark!

23. "How about that!": GEE.  Or partnered with HAW, voice commands used to tell a draft horse to turn right or left when pulling a plow or other farm equipment, or to direct sled dogs pulling a sled or sleigh.

24. Cleveland pros, for short: CAVS.  Okay hoopsters, here's everything you need to know about the 2022-23 season.
25. [See theme expo]

28. Broke bread: ATE.

29. Part of an ear: COB.  Also a male SWAN.  Here's the haunting English Horn solo from Jean Sibelius' tone poem The Swan of Tuonela:

30. Lack of societal values: ANOMIE.  Is it just me or are "societal values" just so yesterday?

31. Short and snappy: TERSE.  I'm short and sometimes snappy, but I've never been called TERSE.

33. "The Little Mermaid" voice actress Benson: JODI.  "Benson" cues you that it's the 1989 film, not the upcoming 2023 remake starring Halle Bailey. Here's JODI singing Part of Your World:

And here's JODI live at the Disneyland, Florida:

Jodi Benson
While researching this clue, the plot of the Little Mermaid struck me  as very similar to the plot of the opera  Rusalka by Czech composer Antonin Dvorak.  Through a strange coincidence, I happened to be listening to a broadcast of Rusalka while working on this review and the announcer mentioned that the opera plot originated with Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid.  Like many European fairy tales Andersen's story ends sadly, as does Rusalka.  Disney's version of course is an American fairy tale and thus has a happy ending.  Here's the famous statue of Andersen's Little Mermaid in the Copenhagen's harbor:
The Little Mermaid
Edvard Eriksen, sculptor

And as an bonus, here's the beautiful Song to the Moon from Rusalka (with English subtitles), sung by the divine Renee Fleming.  A CSO to Jayce and OMK.
36. Cook fast, as tuna: SEAR.  In Sushi World it's called Tuna Tataki.

37. [See theme expo]

40. Fruit that lives up to its name: UGLI.  I just couldn't bear to bare a picture of one.

43. Bodega fixtures: ATMS. I don't think this is a first time for this clue.

44. "Sailing to Byzantium" poet: YEATSSailing to Byzantium is about end times, our personal end times.  My favorite William Butler Yeats poem, The Second Coming, is also about end times, but not necessarily the religious end times that the title might suggest.  Published in 1920, in the aftermath of the Great War, Yeats seems to be prophesying WWII and it's aftermath, our times characterized by widespread ANOMIE.  The question raised in the final stanza is one that many of us might be asking at this critical time in world history.
William Butler Yeats

48. Nucleus particle: PROTON.  The positively charged PROTONS in the atomic nucleus are bound to charge-less NEUTRONS by the strong force, which also binds the QUARKS which comprise both particles.  And the composition of Quarks?  Turtles all the way down!

50. Prompt: CUE.

52. "What a lousy play!": BOO.  Sports not a drama.  But in Italy you sometimes hear BOOS in OPERA performances.

53. [See theme expo]

56. Org. that delivers: USPS.  They were having a rough time of it during the pandemic, but seemed to have recovered. 

57. __ for tat: TIT.   Also a type of bird.  Here's the song of the great tit, (Parus major) a passerine bird in the tit family Paridae.

58. Christian with style: DIOR.  Fashionable crosswordese.

59. Creator of many talking animals: AESOP.  Here's a partial list.  And here's the story about the creator.  Your grandchildren can keep you awake for hours with these tales.

61. "Dragon Ball Z" genre: ANIMEDragon Ball Z is a Japanese anime television series produced by Toei Animation. Part of the Dragon Ball media franchise, it is the sequel to the 1986 Dragon Ball anime series and adapts the latter 325 chapters of the original Dragon Ball manga series (comics) created by Akira Toriyama.  Got that?  It later became the basis for a 2022 movie.  Here's the trailer:

63. [See theme expo]

66. __ salami: GENOAGENOA is also famous as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, although he has fallen out of favor in recent years.  IMHO it's a pity that we now hold the past up to our current high standards.

67. Dark beer: STOUT.  The essential ingredient of Guinness Punch.

68. Capital of Vancouver?: VEE.  Clever misdirection.

69. "Last Night in Soho" director Wright: EDGARLast Night in Soho is a 2021 British psychological horror film directed by Edgar Wright and co-written by Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns. It stars Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, Rita Tushingham, Michael Ajao, Terence Stamp and Diana Rigg.  Here's the trailer.  I think it's kinda scary ...

70. Gas brand with toy trucks: HESS.  For all the NICE children on Santa's list, here's this year's model.

71. Inexact fig.: EST.


1. Call the shots?: REF. To REF, as a verb.

2. Stir up: AGITATE.

3. Brought around: WON OVER.

4. Erase completely: WIPE.

5. Enthusiastic yes: I DO I DO.  Also a 1966 musical by Harvey Schmidt, with lyrics by Tom Jones, about a couple who enthusiastically said YES:

6. __ Lanka: SRI.   Much of the recent news from Sri Lanka has not been good.

7. Diwali celebrant: HINDUDiwali is a festival of lights and one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs. The festival usually lasts five days and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November).  One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance".
Diwali Rangoli
Illuminated mandala

8. Secure: FASTEN.

9. Map abbr.: AVE.

10. Military exercise: WAR GAME.  I wish all WARS ended like this one:

11. Gulf of Guinea country: NIGERIA. LIBERIA might have also fit, at least the Southern tip of it:

Gulf of Guinea
12. More streamlined: SLEEKER.

15. Try: STAB.  A common strategy for solving NATICKS.

18. 911 responders, briefly: EMS.

22. Swing wildly: FLAIL.  See 15D.

24. Laser pointer chaser: CAT.  Does the ASPCA know about this?

26. __ d'art: OBJET.  On Teri's recent birthday we had lunch at Gertrude's restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art and then headed upstairs to the Cone Gallery, an extraordinary collection of modern art assembled by the independently wealthy sisters Claribel and Etta Cone from the late 19th thru mid 20th century, and later donated to the BMA.  In addition to over 3000  objets d'art collected over 50 years, the exhibit also has a state-of-the-art interactive touch-screen computer simulation that enables the viewer to navigate images of the sisters' Baltimore apartment and see where many of the objects were first displayed.

27. Western outfit: POSSE.

29. Rosalind Brewer of Walgreens, e.g.: CEO.Rosalind G. Brewer, also known as "Roz", is an American businesswoman serving as the CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance. With her appointment at Walgreens in March 2021, she is one of only two Black women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies (along with Thasunda Duckett).
Rosalind Brewer

32. Whack, biblically: SMITE.

34. Physicist with a law: OHMGeorg Simon Ohm ( 16 March 1789 – 6 July 1854) was the physicist and his eponymous law defines the relationship between the voltage, amperage, and resistance in electrical circuits.
Georg Simon Ohm
35. Summer songs?: DISCO. "Summer" as in Donna SummerLaDonna Adrian Gaines (December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012), known professionally as Donna Summer, was an American singer and songwriter. She gained prominence during the disco era of the 1970s and became known as the ""Queen of Disco", while her music gained a global following.  Here's her Last Dance:

38. Open veranda: LANAI.  A lanai or lānai is a type of roofed, open-sided veranda, patio, or porch originating in Hawaii.  Many homes, apartment buildings, hotels and restaurants in Hawaii are built with one or more lānais. 

Lanai is also the name of the sixth-largest of the Hawaiian Islands and the smallest publicly accessible inhabited island in the chain.  It is colloquially known as the Pineapple Island because of its past as an island-wide pineapple plantation.
(just West of Maui)

39. Soap chemical: LYE.

40. Steal the spotlight from: UPSTAGE.

41. Ending for coarse and cross: GRAINED.  Here are some definitions of GRAINED.  With reference to wood here are six types of grains:

42. Sending high in the air: LOFTING.  Or Dr. Dolittle children's author HUGH LOFTING who, like AESOP was the creator of many talking animals.
45. Clear: ABSOLVE.  Or FORGIVE.

46. Knocks over: TOPPLES.

47. Brief alarm: SOSS.O.S. is an abbreviation for Save our Ship or Save our Souls, an easy to remember, easy to send alert in Morse Code.

49. "I have concerns": OH DEAR.

51. First planet discovered using a telescope: URANUSWilliam Herschel (né Frederick William Herschel, 15 November 1738 – 25 August 1822) is most famous for discovering the planet URANUS, but what is not so well known is that he was also an accomplished composer of Baroque music, with over 200 works to his credit.  Here's his Fugue in d-minor for forte piano.
William Hershel
54. Some pretzels: RODS.

55. Stock: BROTH.

56. "Latino __": podcast hosted by Maria Hinojosa: USAMaria de Lourdes Hinojosa Ojeda (born July 2, 1961) is a Mexican-American journalist. She is the anchor and executive producer of Latino USA on National Public Radio, a public radio show devoted to Latino issues. She is also the founder, president and CEO of Futuro Media Group, which produces the show.   In 2022, Hinojosa won a Pulitzer Prize.
Maria Hinojosa

60. Terrarium youngsters: EFTSThe odd life cycle of the Eastern Newt.
Red eft stage

62. Extinct New Zealand bird: MOA.  A lot rarer than EMUS, although not in crossword puzzles.  I believe this is the 3rd or 4th time I've blogged a MOATrigger warning: this is way too much information about MOAS.
Haast's eagle attacking moa

64. Misfortune: WOE.  Well don't say I didn't warn you.

65. Good to go: SET.  We're SET. On to the comments!

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



MaryEllen Uthlaut, 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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