11.04.2009

WEDNESDAY, November 4, 2009—Dan Naddor



THEME: "Your INLETS Are All Mixed Up"—Four phrases begin with anagrams of INLETS

I don't know about you, but I thought this puzzle was way on the easy side. I've got a bug of some sort, not as bad as the flu (that's a stuffed animal version of the H1N1 virus in the picture) but it's still slowing me down on crosswords. Despite that, I finished this one in a Mondayish amount of time. I suppose it helps that I have a knack for anagrams—PuzzleGirl says she finds them vexing. Though in this case, you don't need to anagram anything because the theme clues play it fairly straight.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Respond to Uncle Sam's poster request (ENLIST IN THE ARMY). That's not exactly the sort of phrase that passes muster 100% as a crossword answer, as "enlist in the Army" isn't quite a discrete unit of meaning. "Enlist in the Air Force," "enlist in the Marines," "enlist in the Navy"...they're just variations on the "enlist in the [branch of the armed forces]" concept.
  • 28A: Movieland (TINSELTOWN). Good, colorful answer. Tinseltown sounds old-timey to me, though I don't recall whether the term was used in the period piece L.A. Confidential.



  • 40A: "Pat attention!" ("LISTEN HERE!"). I like crossword answers that shout at me or make conversation.
  • 53A: Passive-aggressive tactic (SILENT TREATMENT). I'd rather fight than sulk silently.
  • 43D: Coastal irregularities, and word anagrammed in this puzzle's four longest answers (INLETS).
Crosswordese 101: Who doesn't love five-letter abbreviations? The ASCAP is 9A: Music performance rights org., short for American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. The motto atop ASCAP's website is "We create music." Other common clues run along the lines of songwriters' org., Tin Pan Alley org., BMI rival, music creators' org., and music-licensing org..

Hey! Tin Pan Alley! That gets a shout-out here, too—at 2D, TIN PAN is clued by way of ___ Alley: old music-publishing district.

What else?
  • 15A: Where work may pile up (IN-BOX). INAHEAPONMYDESK wouldn't fit.
  • 23A: Hope/Crosby film title word (ROAD). As in Road to Rio, Road to Bali. I've never seen one of these old movies.
  • EENIE MEANIE miney mo. 32A: ___, meenie... (EENIE)/44D: Stinker (MEANIE).
  • 46A: Retailing pioneer R.H. ___ (MACY). Those are MACY's initials? I had no idea. All I know is that Chicagoans were made grumpy by Macy's obliterating the Marshall Field's name, labeling the flagship State Street store "Macy's," and using crappy, poorly printed plastic bags in lieu of the classic green Field's paper shopping bags. Boo to R.H.!
  • 6D: Sac fly stat (RBI). I dreamt that the Yankees had swept the World Series in three games and I would no longer have to see breathless baseball updates from people on my Facebook page. Alas, the Series is still going on. Wake me when baseball is over, okay? I mean, really. It's November already. Do we need to anoint a player "Mr. November" now that baseball lasts so long?
  • I misread 10D: Furry North Pacific swimmers (SEA OTTERS) as Funny so initially I didn't notice the undesirable duplication between this clue and FURS (26D: Animal rights activists' concerns).
  • 30D. Loneliness syndrome when kids leave home (EMPTY NEST). Remember that sitcom? I was just reminded of it when I did this sporcle.com quiz on child actors. I didn't recognize Kristy McNichol at all. (She wasn't a kid on Empty Nest, but she was in the '70s drama Family.)


Everything Else — 1A: "__ be an honor" (IT'D); 4A: Absurd sham (FARCE); 9A: Music performance rights org. (ASCAP); 14A: Fizzle out (DIE); 15A: Where work may pile up (INBOX); 16A: Bit of wisdom (PEARL); 20A: Navajo relative (APACHE); 21A: Wood decay (DRY ROT); 22A: Tall and long-limbed (LANKY); 23A: Hope/Crosby film title word (ROAD); 24A: Captured (TOOK); 27A: __-Cat: winter vehicle (SNO); 30A: Eliminate entirely (ERASE); 32A: __, meenie ... (EENIE); 33A: Outdoor nap site (HAMMOCK); 36A: Women, in old-fashioned parlance (FAIR SEX); 38A: Blow one's top (ERUPT); 39A: Chasms (GULFS); 40A: "Pay attention!" ("LISTEN HERE!"); 43A: Pesky little tyke (IMP); 46A: Retailing pioneer R.H. __ (MACY); 47A: Eternities (EONS); 48A: Zellweger of "Chicago" (RENEE); 50A: Anxiety (UNEASE); 52A: Texas metropolis (DALLAS); 56A: Land along the ocean (COAST); 57A: Two under par, on a hole (EAGLE); 58A: Up to, in classified ads (TIL); 59A: Aches (HURTS); 60A: Father of Beau and Jeff (LLOYD); 61A: Go out with (SEE); 1D: Lofty principles (IDEALS); 2D: __ Alley: old music-publishing district (TIN PAN); 3D: Old White House middle name (DELANO); 4D: Suspicious (FISHY); 5D: Poker payment (ANTE); 6D: Sac fly stat (RBI); 7D: Approve tacitly (CONDONE); 8D: Crowd scene actors (EXTRAS); 9D: Copycat (APER); 10D: Furry North Pacific swimmers (SEA OTTERS); 11D: Hanna-Barbera output (CARTOONS); 12D: Escort's offer (ARM); 13D: Thickness (PLY); 18D: "Gross!" "(ICK!"); 19D: Jekyll's alter ego (HYDE); 23D: Actuary's calculation (RISK); 25D: Cut or scrape, in totspeak (OWIE); 26D: Lego relative (KNEX); 28D: Tic __: mint (TAC); 29D: Eric the Red's son (LEIF); 30D: Loneliness syndrome when kids leave home (EMPTY NEST); 31D: Repetitive learning method (ROTE); 33D: Captain's position (HELM); 34D: "Carmen" highlight (ARIA); 35D: Like weightlifters (MUSCULAR); 36D: Animal rights activists' concerns (FURS); 37D: Draft choice (ALE); 39D: Five-star leader (GENERAL); 41D: Nifty (NEAT); 42D: Low-cost lodging (HOSTEL); 44D: Stinker (MEANIE); 45D: Mortar and __ (PESTLE); 48D: Gave a PG, say (RATED); 49D: Shade tree (ELM); 51D: Tolkien tree people (ENTS); 52D: Six-time Emmy winner Tyne (DALY); 53D: Teaching inst. (SCH.); 54D: Chit (IOU); 55D: Bigheadedness (EGO).

28 comments:

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Orange, hope you pop back in good health real soon. Sheesh! Only in America would you find a stuffed toy of a virus.
Well today we have Dan N in his best form... still a word-play, but oh so clever to have worked in anagrams into four big phrases... and he still maintained good solid fill. Not a lot of three letter crap, but good words like DRYROT, HAMMOCK, FAIRSEX, HOSTEL, PESTLE, EMPTYNEST, SEAOTTERS, TINPAN, CARTOONS, DELANO, MUSCULAR, etc. WOW! Now that's quite a feat!

However, Mr. Naddor, you hit a hot button with R.H. MACY. Booooo! In Chicagoland his company is much resented. Chicagoans hate when our venerated institutions are renamed, eg. Sears Tower (aka Willis), Marshall Fields (aka Macys), Comisky Park (aka U.S. Cellular -Ugh!). And, Mr. Zell, don't you even think of selling the name for Wrigley Field... DON'T YOU DARE!!! Think of a million angry Cubbies parking their cursed billy goat on your big rosewood desk.
[John steps down from his soapbox here].

Liked: ARM for "Escort's offer"
Disliked: ITD for "___be an honor"
(I hate these ugly blankety-blanks).
Also disliked: SCH for "Teaching inst."

Best contemporary actress: RENEE Zellweger. Also, she's pleasant and sweet... the only Hollywood actress who isn't spoiled.

I got ASCAP correct, but didn't have the foggiest as to what it means until I read Orange's good writeup.

Didn't understand DELANO for "Old White House middle name"... thought it was FDR's middle name.

Time for my coffee! Hmmm... let me see... should i have the ECLAIR or the TART? EENIE, meenie...

Van55 said...

Fresh and original. Great puzzle, even if on the easy side.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

(44a) MEANIE = "Stinker"
Reminds me of an old plaque that used to hang over my desk at work:

"Why be difficult, when with a little effort, you can be a real stinker"

I took it down because I thought that sign would never get me a promotion.

tinbeni said...

Knew 'it would' be fun from the very first clue. Always like apostrophed contractions in their proper usage.

Theme answers solved easily before I realized there was the hidden anagram coastal irregularities 'inlets' for 43-D.

Being an Emptynester had no idea that Lego (blocks) are related to Knex (blocks). Is that on there mother's side ???

Here in Florida, on the gulfcoast we seldom (never) need a Sno-Cat in winter but we do like our hammocks.

I agree with Van55, this was fresh & original. Not a farce, no pearls of wisdom, typical LAT Wednesday fare.

Sfingi said...

Luv those plush microbes!

Initial booboos:
I had "gorge" for 39A GULFS.
Thought for an instant "sex" for 12D ARM (Escort's offer)(3-letter fill).
Thought a sac fly was some sort of bug and figured his stats must include egg-count, which only God's mind would know. My husband explained it as a baseball thing(6D RBI). Then I made the mistake of asking him what happened a few days ago with the 2 bases.
Still think of a gulf as an inlet, not a chasm.

@John - Macys also bought out a favorite store in New Hartford, NY and one in Baltimore. Good news - I saw his grave in the Bronx! In Woodlawn with Grampa Fritz. Just as dead.
I'm related to the Roosevelts (early Dutch) but not the Delanos (Fr. DeLannoy) or the Knexes. Knex is Lego compatible. Patent must have run. Check out www.thebricktestament.com
Legos acting out the Bible.
Rated - sex, violence, bad language.

Joon said...

FUR/furry is an undesirable duplication, but it's not as bad as COAST/coastal (in the "reveal" clue, no less). yes, i'm a grump. luckily i'm not sick, though.

other than that, cute theme and a well-executed puzzle, as usual. i dig anagrams.

GLowe said...

It's always a good day when no one gets vitrioled.

Good theme and fill. Nuthin else to say.

Carol said...

Enjoyed the puzzle & the write-up.

Get well @Orange!

*David* said...

I do like taking common crossword fill and seeing the anagrams it can make. The puzzle was easy but it didn't feel "dialed in" and was fresh for an easy puzzle.

Rex Parker said...

I once saw the star of "Empty Nest" in The Russian Tea Room.

Agree w/ virtually everything you say, Amy, esp RE: first theme answer.

rp

scott said...

This was an excellent monday puzzle! Love the theme, the fill was smooth with a few neat longer answers like SEAOTTERS, EMPTYNEST, DRYROT, PESTLE. The only stinker was `enlist in the army'. Too bad this is wednesday's puzzle, but this is a nice puzzle.

C said...

Fun, easy puzzle due to cluing, I would like to have seen the original clues or authors preferred cluing. The clue to the first theme answer seems very unlike Mr. Naddor, my guess was that it was dumbed down to allow most people to get at least one themed answer so that they had a foot hold on the anagram theme. Just a guess on my part.

jazz said...

I though it was easy, but to Dan Naddor's credit, I didn't see many cheap fills.

(Cheap as in "feels forced and invented or not in common usage.")

OWIE maybe.

I liked the clue for ALE ("Draft choice") and LLOYD ("Father of Beau and Jeff").

crazycatlady said...

I enjoyed this puzzle and didn't find it all that easy. I found the fill to be new and refreshing. I liked TINSELTOWN (they still call it that on shows like Entertainment Tonight), SEA OTTER, PESTLE, IN BOX and SILENT TREATMENT.
@JNH MACY's has taken over everyone, including Bloomingdales. The stores are always a mess and the customer service is abysmal. I'll take Nordstrom any day.

I adore my children, but I must confess I had EMPTY NEST syndrome for about 10 minutes. Never heard of KNEX, but have a huge box of Legos - waiting for grandkids someday.

bluebell said...

Words I have learned from crosswords include eagle, since I am not a golfer. Words I have not yet learned from crosswords include Knex, which I have never seen nor heard of. Legos, yes. With the advent of grandchildren we handed over our son's extensive collection of Star Wars era Legos for enjoyment by the next generation. Definition that made me do a second take: the White House at one time had a middle name?

shrub5 said...

I noticed the 43d clue (with anagram hint) right off although could not come up with the answer at that point. As soon as I got ENLIST IN THE ARMY though, I figured out INLETS. This made the other theme answers easier to figure out. I was expecting LISTEN and SILENT but TINSEL was a surprise.

Regarding the above comments on Macy's, several Northern CA department stores were gobbled up here, too: The Emporium, Capwell's and Weinstocks. I miss them as they each had their own unique style and merchandise offerings. Sometimes when shopping at Macy's, there are so few salespeople that I want to scream "Hey, does anybody want to take my money?" Times are tough...

Regarding Orange's picture of the H1N1 virus plush toy, you can find lots of others for sale at giantmicrobes.com, e.g., E. coli and the organisms that cause syphilis, Lyme disease and malaria. We had a few of these hanging as decor in the lab where I worked. They bear a crude resemblance to the actual microbe i.e., the googly eyes are not accurate... :-)

JIMMIE said...

As a native son of Illinois, I have no problem with Zell selling the name of Wrigley Field. As long as he sells it to the chewing gum company.

Fun puzzle and writeup. I didn't need the anagram, nor know KNEX or ASCAP, because things crossed.

Bohica said...

It was an easy puzzle but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Liked TINPAN, DRYROT, EMPTYNEST and FAIRSEX (though I'm more familiar with "fairer sex").

Didn't like SCH, but hey sometimes you back yourself into a corner. I'll gladly suffer one ugh for the other great fill.

Same story here re: Macys; they took over the Bon Marche. Had the same experience as shrub5. I swear there were about 3 or 4 salespeople on the entire floor, I searched for what I was looking for about 20 minutes gave up and went to J.C. Penney's. Take that Macy's!

Charles Bogle said...

agree w van55 and tinpeni--fresh and original, nice theme and fill...thanks Orange for the shout-out to TINPANALLEY...responsible for a lot of great tunes by folks like Billie Holiday...also liked LANKY (wish I were)

Had no idea about KNEX or who Eric the Rd's son was and had trouble there because "chasms" threw me...had to reach personally to get GULFS...so tough at the old finish line!

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

I just returned from Nordstroms and Penneys... I'm very impressed with their quality of service and products.
Macys in Chicago is going to flop! For two reasons:
1) The quality buyers are now boycotting Macy's because of the name change.
2) Mismanagement of a great store.
Understaffing and removing the good old-line products from a store that used to have as it's motto "The customer is always right".

When I was at the Mall of America in Minneapolis I went to LEGOLAND.
OMG, I instantly turned into a 12 year old boy. Is that ever an amazing place. Never heard of KNEX before.

FAIRSEX... I think that's what my ex-wife said after our honeymoon.

mac said...

That was a nice puzzle! I missed some of the theme clues/answers because I was going all Across or Down (always a problem when doing the puzzle on-line), but that's the beauty of Orange's write-up; she highlights all the beauties. Hope you'll feel better soon! Was blown away when I found out there are actually stuffed bug toys is this country!

Now you got me thinking and asking around, who should be Mr. November? I might be happy this World Series thing is almost over, but then it's football, which I like less.

For some reason I really liked the It'd answer. Also, isn't Sfingi getting funnier every day?

You may have heard of the "largest dairy store in the world, Stew Leonard's. Their motto is:
Rule Nr. 1: the customer is always right.
Rule Nr. 2: If the customer is ever wrong, reread rule Nr. 1.

Anonymous said...

ha ha chicklets field

ddbmc said...

Love me some cartoons! Hanna-Barbera's "The Flintstones" was a take off on the "Honey Mooners." Props to Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Beanie and Cecil,Beanie and Cecil Meet the Marx Brothers in Phantom of the Horse Opera
Rocky and Bullwinkle, Peanuts.

But what really tickled my funny bone were the macabre drawings and wry humor of Charles Addams, "The Addams Family." Addam's home in Westfield, NJ, served as the muse for Morticia and Gomez's creepy abode. Charles Addams

My kids had Legos and Knex--still finding the pieces around the house. (some indication of my house keeping abilities.) No empty nest here because college boys are like boomerangs-they keep coming back-with laundry!

Great Youtube video of the Sea Otters holding hands in the zoo.
Otters Holding Hands You've probably all seen it before.

Thanks to @Orange for pointing out Dan's clever anagrams. I went round and round on the theme answers, looking for wacky phrases, word-tie-ins, theme links. @Orange, even with a fever, those synapses are firing!
Niiiiice stuffed virus??? Go to the web page and they have a link for a stuffed worm and leech! "Here, honey, do you want mommy to read you a story while you cuddle with your stuffed leech?" @Glowe, just glad to see there was no stuffed vitriole!

kskelly43 said...

not that easy for wednesday for newbies

crazycatlady said...

@mac Amen!

crazycatlady said...

What I was referring to is what Shrub said earlier. If you are at Macy's and you want to buy something, you have to hunt for someone to pay. Hello! I have money to give you for this item. Does anyone give a ##XX!???

Sfingi said...

Serious news - Claude Levi-Strauss died; almost 101. NYT had a whole page on his life. I was very moved when I read Tristes Tropiques. Online, the obit's in the NYT under World-Europe.

@ddbmc - just bookmarked Tom Thomas. My son was going to help with embedding, but the last time he came up it was for the funeral of my brother-in-law who died either of the evil eye or some unknown brain disorder (does it matter) and I was too upset.

@Mac - you make me feel so young!

ddbmc said...

@ CCL, I feel your pain! Our Macy's was once Bamberger's! No one seems to ever be at the cash register. Prefer shopping at Kohl's, as they have "check out lines," instead of individual register kiosks.