10.22.2009

THURSDAY, October 22, 2009
Dan Naddor


Theme: In the Mood — Theme answers are rhyming phrases.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Lost it (CAME UNGLUED).
  • 25A: Dismissed out of hand (POOH-POOHED).
  • 37A: Like Starbucks coffee, every 30 minutes (FRESHLY BREWED).
  • 48A: "That's too bad, man" ("BUMMER, DUDE").
  • 60A: "I don't feel like cooking" option (TAKE-OUT FOOD).
Before I get started, I just want to say that I have not been keeping up with the blog lately. I don't know what happened, but my life just got super super busy the last couple of weeks. I've been doing my best to catch up as often as I can but, for example, I haven't read Rex's Monday or Orange's Wednesday post from this week. So if I say something that seems totally stupid to say in relation to either of those posts, well ... now you know why. Also, I've seen all the nice things people have been saying in the comments about this little blogging endeavor of ours and I really appreciate the support. I haven't chimed in because I haven't been getting to the comments until a couple days later, but I do read them all and really am grateful that you all think it's worthwhile to participate. (And those of you who aren't participating: What are you waiting for? We'd love to hear from you!) Okay, as soon as I'm done here, I'm going to go catch up! And I'll try to keep up from now on — I promise!

I really enjoyed this puzzle. The theme doesn't seem particularly inspired, but Dan manages to make it both elegant and fun. Elegant because each rhyming word in the theme answers spells the rhyming part differently. Did you notice that? And fun? Two words: BUMMER DUDE. That's just an awesome answer is what that is. There was also some tricky cluing in this puzzle, which I really appreciate after how the puzzles have been lately. Who among us wasn't trying to think of some kind of disease for 15A: Cause of a worldwide 19th century fever? And you thought the 64A: Capital on the Missouri River would be somewhere quite a bit more southerly than PIERRE, didn't you? Throw in a couple question mark clues, some basic foreign language vocabulary, a Norse god, and an Olympic skier and I say you've yourself a puzzle! This was a little easier than what I think of as a Thursday puzzle, but not so easy as to feel like a waste of time. So thank you, Dan — nice job.
    With attitude:
  • 1A: Sweet Spanish wine (MALAGA). Never heard of it. I got every single letter through the crosses.
  • 11A: Inst. that turns out lieutenants (OCS). Officer Candidate School. In the United States, it looks like each branch of the military has one.
  • 22A: Ivy in Philly (PENN). Do people usually call this school Penn or U. Penn? I always say U. Penn, but maybe that's because I follow the Big Ten and need to distinguish it from Penn State.
  • 36A: Bug (VEX). Wanted irk.
  • 42A: Three-time world champion alpine skier Hermann (MAIER). This guy shows up every once in a while, so try to remember him.
  • 55A: Prime Cuts in Gravy brand (ALPO). They always try to make it sound so delicious. I'm guessing it's really not though.
  • 59A: __ Speedwagon (REO). You may have noticed that I try to pass myself off as a Child of the 80s, but do you really buy it? Do you think I'm really being honest about that? Well, here's some more proof:


  • ["Ain't nobody who talks with his guitar the way Gary does!"]


  • 66A: High degrees: Abbr. (PHDS). I tried nths at first. We had an nth-themed puzzle recently, didn't we?
  • 11D: Austin Powers catchphrase (OH BEHAVE). There have been only two times in my life that I've stopped watching a movie because it just wasn't doing it for me. And one was during Austin Powers. It really seemed like it would be something right up my alley, but it was really, like, not even in the same neighborhood for some reason. (The other time was "Under the Cherry Moon." I like Prince as much as the next guy, but yikes!)
  • 13D: Stretchy fabric (SPANDEX). Please, ladies. Spandex is not always your friend.
  • 49D: Raid target (ROACH). Eewwww.
Crosswordese 101: I briefly mentioned ERE once before when we were talking about ERST, but let's give it the full treatment today. Not that it's going to take much. ERE means before. Unless you're the kind of person who uses words like anon and phrases like yea, verily, this is not a word you use. Pretty much ever. It's used in poetry, so clues will almost always refer to poetry or a bard (i.e., poet). You'll also want to be on the lookout for ERE when you've got a fill-in-the-blank Shakespeare quote and the word that goes in the blank is three letters. For example, "How long will a man lie i' the earth ____ he rot?" from Hamlet.

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Everything Else — 7A: In that case (IF SO); 14A: Moves on all fours (CRAWLS); 16A: Old school dance (HOP); 19A: Victoria's Secret offering (BRA); 20A: Bonanza find (ORE); 21A: In copious amounts (GALORE); 23A: Ivy in New Haven (YALE); 27A: Pizazz (STYLE); 29A: Trumpet sound (BLARE); 30A: Party list (INVITEES); 40A: Bard's "before" (ERE); 41A: Software customers (USER BASE); 44A: Feast where the Haggadah is read (SEDER); 54A: Brazilian soccer legend (PELÉ); 56A: Crude fleet (OILERS); 58A: Busy co. on Valentine's Day (FTD); 62A: Enlistees, briefly (GIS); 63A: Slurpee relative (ICEE); 65A: Wee hour (ONE); 67A: Aftershock (TREMOR); 1D: Real people? (MCCOYS); 2D: Biblical debarkation point (ARARAT); 3D: How bad excuses are given (LAMELY); 4D: Bowl over (AWE); 5D: Guzzling sound (GLUG); 6D: "Piece of cake!" ("A SNAP!"); 7D: Inuit home (IGLOO); 8D: Club for country kids (FOUR-H); 9D: Shuteye (SLEEP); 10D: Anomalous (ODD); 12D: Trapped (CORNERED); 18D: Day-__: pigment brand (GLO); 22D: D.C. deal maker (POL); 24D: Nobelist Wiesel (ELIE); 26D: Preoccupy (OBSESS); 28D: Make certain (ENSURE); 31D: Videotape type (VHS); 32D: Land in la mer (ILE); 33D: Norse god of single combat (TYR); 34D: Diminish (EBB); 35D: Pitching stat (ERA); 37D: German miss (FRAULEIN); 38D: Put back in force, as an expired tax (REIMPOSE); 39D: Blubber (WEEP); 40D: Economic warfare tactic (EMBARGO); 43D: Funnyman Philips (EMO); 45D: Mar the beauty of (DEFORM); 46D: Corrida snorter (EL TORO); 47D: More rare, as steak (REDDER); 50D: Protected by levees (DIKED); 51D: "__ Gold": Peter Fonda film (ULEES); 52D: __ volente: God willing (DEO); 53D: Spew lava (ERUPT); 57D: Show signs of life (STIR); 60D: Service reward (TIP); 61D: Service charge (FEE).

45 comments:

The Corgi of Mystery said...

> Do people usually call this school Penn or U. Penn?

Being an actual student at PENN now, I feel like I have the authority to answer this question...both are definitely in the language, although "I go to PENN" tends to roll more smoothly off the tongue.

Sfingi said...

49D ROACH was a little too close to 55A ALPO. Maybe the baby'll eat it, cuz Scribbles sure won't. Doesn't pass the breakfast test.

By the way, am I missing where ROACH is listed in Everything Else?

Also never heard of Malaga as a wine, but I'm booze illiterate. Did hear of it in reference to Spain - Riviera, soccer.

Gotta go by the NYT.

tinbeni said...

This was bit more testy.
It is only through these things that I associate Trumpet Sound as blare. And I have trouble with catchphrase's from movies I haven't seen.
Though (for whatever reason) got the theme answers easily.
Used raid last night to kill a roach ... ick !!!

Nice write-up ... like the T-Shirt

Orange said...

Sfingi, when we are not too lazy, we delete the items in "Everything else" that we've covered in the blog. Good ALPO gravy!

Sfingi said...

@Orange - I'm either blind or crazy or both, (not mutually exclusive) but I didn't see it in the blog, either.

I was told by Ivies, never to call Penn State (where my sister got her MS in etching) "Penn."

jazz said...

@corgi: if you really want something to roll off your tongue, try "I go to Cornell!"

Nice puzzle for a Thursday...definitely a little higher on the challenge level than most late week puzzles over the past few months.

I had "elastic" for SPANDEX at first, and the northwest part of the grid, usually the easiest, was really a challenge for me for some reason. But still, a fun puzzle!

--Jazz
(Cornell '79)

*David* said...

An improvement on the LAT puzzles over the past couple of weeks with POOH POOHED, OH BEHAVE, and BUMMER DUDE as fun fill. DN loves that TYR, no ODIN in his backyard.

Parsan said...

@PG--Noticed your rare appearance on the blog and know how busy life gets, but happy you're back with an excellent write-up!

This was fun! Really liked BUMMER DUDE, A SNAP, and MCCOYS.

FOUR H(head, heart, hand, health) had fun activities. I went to camp many years where we were in one of four tribes--I was a Mingo. Is that politically incorrect now? IF SO, that is a shame! I haven't thought of it in many years but here is one of the songs we sang around our nightly campfire:

"Alice, where art thou going?
Upstairs to take a bath.
Alice, with legs like
toothpicks,
And a neck, like a giraffe.

Alice, got in the bathtub.
Oh my body, oh my soul,
There goes Alice down the hole.

Alice, where art thou going?
GLUG! GLUG! GLUG!

shrub5 said...

I tend to get a little nervous when I don't get 1A OR 1D right off the bat. But I've learned to be patient...and start somewhere else. Finished in a respectable time without outside help. The clues and answers were a refreshing uptick in difficulty and made for an enjoyable session.

I hadn't heard of MALAGA wine so needed all the crosses -- was slowed down in that process by putting WOW for AWE and GULP for GLUG. The first G was correct but I ditched the whole word when nothing else fit. Had BOP for HOP for awhile until more of the Austin Powers catchphrase came into view. @PG: Yes, I was trying to think of a disease for cause of a worldwide 19th century fever even to the point where I had G-LD and the crossing F-URH. I dismissed all the vowels and figured I had something else wrong. D'oh. That O was the last letter I put in. It was, like, totally a BUMMER, DUDEs.

Parsan said...

I would trade MALAGA for a rioja and make paella instead of ordering TAKE OUT FOOD!

Rex Parker said...

@Orange, I never ever edit the "Everything Else" file. I just copy and paste and assume it all checks out. So apparently I am lazy every day. Sounds right.

All I can say about the puzzle is that it took me more than 4 min. to do, and that is good. Recent difficulty trends are promising. Maybe I'll even be over 5 tomorrow! Come on, difficulty!

rp

Rex Parker said...

Bragging about going to Cornell = Andy Bernard on "The Office" = hilarious.

rp

Joon said...

cute clue for GOLD, but it seems like an outright error given that 51d is ["___ Gold": Peter Fonda film]. if the full title of the work is in the grid, 15a should be clued as [See 51-down] and 51d should have been [With 15-across, Peter Fonda film]. and in a way, that would have been rather refreshing; i've seen ULEE and ULEE'S so many times in a grid, but never the full title of the movie.

for whatever reason, this one didn't hit high on the difficulty meter for me. i see that it took orange over 3 minutes and dan f 2:45 (on paper), so it probably is objectively harder than recent thursdays. (and i think this is a good thing! would love to see the late-week difficulty continue to inch back up towards 2008 levels.) but i blew through it even though, like shrub5, i didn't get 1a or 1d off the bat, and that usually does slow me down quite a bit. but 2d, 3d, 4d, and 5d fell into place, which reminded me about MALAGA, and then i was off to the races, with only a slight hiccup at REIMPOSE. didn't even notice the theme until after i was done. a few too many 3-letter answers for my taste (though i do love me some TYR), but other than the aforementioned REIMPOSE, the longer answers made up for it.

PuzzleGirl said...

@Sfingi: It's the very last item in the bulleted list. Right before CW101. I even made a comment about it. :-)

Tuttle said...

Tyr threw me for a minute. I don't instantly think of him as the god of duels. I'm an ancient history guy and the Germanic predecessor of the Norse Tyr was Tiwuz who was the king of the gods during late antiquity. His name is cognate with deus, deva and Zeus. Sometime in the migratory period he was demoted and Wothan/Odin (until then a god of death) took his place as the leader of the gods.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Puzzlegirl, I hope you realize how much we appreciate the time you spend in writeups, knowing that your first priority is to the Puzzlefamily. We especially enjoy your sense of humor and your good-natured view of CWPs. I love the photo of the Alpo baby.

Thanks, Dan, for a very entertaining puzzle. It was hard to solve, but I never struggled and I did complete it while at Mother's Cafe... that's a good thing because I can't just give in and go to my Google-Mama while I'm there. It's always a good feeling when you can finish a puzzle unhelped.

Lots of funky slang today gets us ready for TGIF.

I love devious clues, like "Cause of a worldwide 19th century fever" = GOLD. Yes, I too kept thinking of 4 letter diseases.

I now call Starbucks coffee, Fourbucks coffee.

My son, John Hagstrom, is second trumpet at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, so BLARE is hardly the word I'd use to describe a trumpet sound.

Well, let's see, what new word did I learn today?...hmmm...I think it would have to be DEO volente (God willing). I always try to use the new word(s) in today's conversation, but this might be tough to use in casual talk.

I wonder if GLUG is the sound you make when you drink GLOG (Glög is a mulled wine that Swedes drink).

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Parsan
Loved your fun stuff about campfire songs. Whenever I'm down I always try to think of some oldtimey ditty and invariably I come up with something from Boy Scout camp or from Indian Guides.

crazycatlady said...

Liked this puzzle a lot and the theme as well. I wanted SANGRIA for MALAGA, which I've only heard of in crosswords. But, obviously it wouldn't fit. The only Austin Powers catchword I could think of was SHAGMEBABY. My best friend went to PENN, and as a native Philadelphian that's what we call it. Love those guys on bikes in their SPANDEX.
@Parsan OMG my mother used to sing that song when I was a child. It gave me bathtub paranoia. Later in life I got shower paranoia from seeing Psycho.
Re: Tribes-We had a huge STIR here in Claremont last Thanksgiving because some kindergartners were dressing up as Native Americans for a feast at school (which they have done for 30 years). Some overly politically correct parent CAME UNGLUED and staged a protest which didn't go over well with the other parents. It ended up on the evening news and front page LA Times. Thanks for the write up PG. I know things get crazy with kids and family life.

Naomi said...

Was no one else annoyed by the natick at 42a and 43d? Two unusual names - the 'e' was a complete lucky guess on my part!

Djinn said...

Quite a pleasure to solve this puzzle! Early recognition of the rhyme-theme helped speed me along. @Tuttle: I adored the ancient history supplement. Keep it up! @crazycatlady: My favorite quote from Austin Powers--"That's not my bag." Thanks for the explanation, PG. What a relief to hear a mundane reason for your absence. You're forgiven. It's better to speak up than to leave the cause for our group-imagination to speculate upon. A mystery unsolved can sorely vex this crowd. Two questions: Shouldn't "miss" be capitalized in the 37D. clue? Why is POL the answer to 22D.?

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Djinn
POL is used a lot in crosswords for politician...Washington is infamous for political deal makers.

Anonymous said...

@Djinn - A politician, or POL, is a DC deal maker. As to 37d, miss is only capitialized when used as a title, eg Miss America, not a little miss of 8, meaing a young girl.

Parsan said...

@crazycatlady--Thought of sherry (dont't like it sweet) before getting MALAGA. In 4-H we studied about our Indian tribes; all in great respect. PSYCHO - me too!

Parsan said...

@crazycatlady--Thought of sherry (dont't like it sweet) before getting MALAGA. In 4-H we studied about our Indian tribes; all in great respect. PSYCHO - me too!

Parsan said...

Oops! familial tremor on occasion. @naomi--Interesting what is a natick to some is a given to others. Know MAIER from the Olympics and EMO only through crosswords.

Djinn said...

Such prompt and lucid answers! I appreciate your help. Thanks, John and Anonymous. @Naomi: That nasty natick in 43D+42A also caused me to guess "E." That's the last square I filled in before calling time. It was on my list to mention, but I didn't comment on it since my earlier post was already a long one. Are the constructor's rules formal and universal conventions or casual and local guidelines?

ddbmc said...

@Djinn, POL is short for "Politico." A POL weals (archaic), wheels and deals on the Hill, in the backrooms and sometimes at the Watergate!

For us newbies, this took me 25 minutes in solve time. Someday, I'll do a 3 or 4 minute dash here. Got waylayed in the SW corner. Alpo just wasn't coming to me, but did love the baby in the dog dish pix.

Oilers-- hockey team...sorry....

Can malaga be used in sangria? Can we merengue and tremor after imbibing? Meringues galore for dessert? Divine! Ifso, I'm in! Oh, behave!

I'd say there's a fair amount of PHDs at Penn and Yale, right @Corgi?

Naomi said...

@ Djinn: It's really nice to be able to comment here in "real time" and be responded to -- my paper prints the LAT on the actual day, but the NYT is syndicated.

housemouse said...

This puzzle was less obscure in cluing than some of Dan Naddor's puzzles, but I do question some of his clues's accuracy at times. It sometimes seems that he tries too hard to be funny or to make the puzzle more "challenging" by making the clues more obscure. I guess I just don't share his sense of humor. At any rate, I don't keep track of the time I spend on the puzzles, because I do them at work, on my break or at lunch. I fit them in when I have time.

I rate the difficulty by whether I have to plug in an umbilical cord to Google, which I often do if the clues involve lots of sports or geographic trivia. I have zero interest in sports and not much more in obscure little corners of the world, so I have to look up a number of those, if I haven't seen them before.

I'm no fan of Austin Powers, so the only catch phrase I recall from that film is "Oh yeah, baby" which obviously doesn't fit. Otherwise, this puzzle was OK. Since when is Thursday part of the weekend, though? The more obscure (challenging, if you prefer) clues are usually in the weekenders. I work 7 days a week, so I don't exactly get a weekend per se. It's all pretty much the same to me.

bohica said...

I liked this puzzle alot with the exception that Joon noted of GOLD appearing in the clues and the answers.

Some seemingly fresh stuff with MALAGA and BUMMERDUDE. I loved all of the Austin Powers movies, but it took a while before OHBEHAVE came to mind (there are so many catchphrases in the films).

Good work DN and nice write-up PG.

Nice to see the difficulty level staying up a bit.

jazz said...

@rex: Ouch. I get this pain in my stomach every time I see Andy on The Office.

Why couldn't he have been from anywhere else?? Colgate, Rutgers, even Slippery Rock are all fine places to be from.

He reminds me of Herb on the old WKRP in Cincinnati show...

Bohica said...

Forgot to mention the old TV show "The Real McCoy's", I remember watching this in syndication as a kid. Loved old Grandpappy Amos McCoy (played by Walter Brennan). I still use one of his catchphrases; "No brag, just fact"!

Charles Bogle said...

I echo @johnsneverhome and others: many thanks @puzzlegirl, @orange, @rex for the terrific work and teaching you give us on the blogs and certainly families, jobs health have gort to come first. I enjoy all of Dan Naddor's puzzles and this one is no exception, even though I missed his usually abundant ? clues...also nice to see difficulty level moving up...first time in five months I've seen "Anomalous"; great clue. Say, who is EMO Phillips? WEEP for "blubber" nicely threw me and had same "fever" mis-direction PG had....liked also: EMBARGO, CORNERED, DEFORM, VEX...did not like: DIKED (properly used?) Had problem of not getting 1A or 1D right off the bat and found myself doing the puzzle beginning in SE and wouldn't you know, 1A and 1D still ended up my toughest and last to fall!

florida grandma said...

Nice puzzle today. Got the theme easily and that does help. Never heard of 1A MALAGA, so I learned something new again!! Hooray, I love cwps! Remembered Maier from the Olympics; had no clue for 43D but the crosses worked their magic again.
@PG, thanks again for a great writeup. Family and kids first is always a must. No apologies needed.

PuzzleGirl said...

@bluebell: Sorry but I deleted your comment from earlier. You accidentally mentioned an important answer in today's NYT puzzle and some here may not have solved that one yet.

@Naomi: Sorry but that's not a Natick. :-( We covered EMO in CW101 a while back. (Although I do recognize that Natick's meaning has morphed into any cross a solver doesn't know and has no hope of knowing. Some call that a Personal Natick, as opposed to a True Natick.)

wilsch said...

I knew a guy once who went to Indiana University of Pennsylvania (a public state university, when the other state system schools were still called colleges). Anyway if people asked him where he went, he's slur over (elide)the Indiana part so he could sound like he was Ivy League.

Margaret said...

Herman Maier I remember from the Olympics, and I've seen Emo Philips on TV, but I don't know what a Natick is. Googling it wants to tell me about Natick Mall?

Anonymous said...

@Margaret - The Natick Principle was a coinage of Rex's, describing unfair crosses of proper nouns.

Sfingi said...

@Tuttle - how long did Odin hold on? We have a family story of the pesky Christians pulling Odin-worshippers out of the Nordsee when they felt it was time to suicide. Is this a common tale?

@Orange - Thanx. A friend has assured me that if I read something that upsets me, I become blind to it.

@Parsan - There was something in the poem about "head like a tack."
I think the tune was, "Look for the silver lining" or similar.

I now think all Naticks are personal.

mac said...

This has been a good LAT puzzle week, a bit more bite!

The only film I ever walked out of was "Mahogany".

@jazz: This is so weird. I had never heard of Slippery Rock until it was mentioned on Jeopardy this evening, and then I find it again in your comment!

I have some McCoy ceramics, sort of a crude Majolica.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@puzzlegirl
You really need to explain the diffences between those two naticks. I feel that ALL naticks are personal and that there is no such thing as an absolute true natick. What's an impasse for one person may be a breeze for another. I had no problem with the EMO/MAIER cross so it wasn't a natick for me, and it had nothing to do with a prior CW101. Who decides what a "true" natick is? Only God! Even the NCWYETH/NATICK cross, that prompted Rex to declare it a natick, was not a problem for me. So although it was a natick for him, it wasn't for me. So even that wasn't a "true" natick.

PuzzleGirl said...

@JNH: I think you are missing the key part of the 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."

It doesn't say that nobody in the whole world will know either one of the words. Because that would be silly. In the puzzle that gave rise to this principle the name N.C. WYETH crossed the proper noun NATICK at the N. As Rex explained in his post, "If you don't know the lesser Wyeth or (choke) NATICK, ... that far NW letter could be anything, any consonant and at least two vowels." That's a true Natick.

Today's cross of EMO and MAIER is not a Natick because: (1) 1/4 of the solving public has likely heard of Hermann MAIER and (2) Even those that haven't have an excellent shot at coming up with the crossing letter because EMO is standard crosswordese.

Obviously, the "1/4 of the solving public" part is not determined scientifically. But I think someone like Rex, who writes about crossword puzzles every day and hears from A LOT of people at all different solving levels about those puzzles, probably has a pretty good idea of what can legitimately categorized as obscure.

Anonymous said...

This is a great blog. Thanks a lot.

Djinn said...

Yes, today's problematical proper noun crossing is not technically a True Natick. I see that now. Nevertheless, it involved two names that were obscure to me, but sharing a letter that is reasonably easy to guess thus forming a quasi-Personal Natick. Whew! Thanks PG, I needed that.

GLowe said...

Hallo from DC. After 12 hours in the saddle, all I got is bad expereience with in-flight cwps, although USA Today started out horrible it ended kinda OK.

Oilers are indeed a hockey team, or an ex-NFL team, but ne'er 3-in-1ers or any other such nonsense (I gocher back @ddb).

Naticks are usually personal, but even though: crossing two place names or whatever, one of them better be kinda gettable. I might be able to get the NUNAVIT/REYKJAVIK cross, but miss the UTICA/ATTICA gimme for everyone else. Therefore,cross REYKJAVIK with something common like, say, BLOONUF [ok there's no common letters but you get the point].