2.03.2010

WEDNESDAY, February 3, 2010—Dan Naddor



THEME: "Jabbering Away x4"—The first three letters of four two-word phrases are synonyms (roughly) for JABBER

Four wildly divergent things are unified by nothing other than the short words hidden at their starts, so until you hit 40-Down there's a lot of "What the heck is going on here??" I liked the surprise that lay in wait. I liked the theme answers for being mostly the sort of things that are never included in crossword grids. And I liked the fill's use of less common letters (V, Y, K, J) to avoid staleness.

Theme entries:
  • 16A: India's first prime minister (JAWAHARLAL NEHRU). Isn't that fun to spell? (The answer is yes.) I have never used JAW as a verb but have seen it in crosswords plenty. "Talk at length, chatter," says my dictionary (New Oxford American's Mac widget). Anyone ever have a Nehru jacket? This '69 gas station commercial is what came up at YouTube when I searched for Nehru jackets. Boy, they don't make BP ads like that these days. (This is a good thing.)



  • 22A: Washington wine region (YAKIMA VALLEY). Nowhere near as famous a wine name as Napa Valley, but YAKIMA is more fun to say. YAKking tends to be pejorative, no? Dictionary says: "talk at length about trivial or boring subjects." Oh, like this blog! (If you don't like crosswords, that is.)
  • 43A: Chicago 'L,' e.g. (RAPID TRANSIT). To RAP is to "talk or chat in an easy or familiar manner," possibly talking all night.
  • 51A: Part of a twill suit (GABARDINE JACKET). When I was a kid I thought gabardine sounded horribly stodgy and old-fashioned. I think that steel blue suit I rocked in the '90s was gabardine, though. To GAB is to "talk, typically at length, about trivial matters.
  • 40D: Talk on and on, and a hint to the three-letter starts of 16-, 22-, 43- and 51-Across (JABBER).

Highlights:
  • 33A: Malice (VENOM). These are both awesome words.
  • 39A: Iraqi, for instance (ASIAN). Technically, everything from Turkey and Israel on east is in Asia. It's just not all East Asia, you know? I like the clue's off-kilter angle.
  • 3D: Honeymooner, probably (NEWLYWED). How long had the Kramdens and Nortons been married? Why was that show called The Honeymooners?
  • 6D: Polygamous household group (HAREM). I haven't watched the HBO series Big Love, but that's exactly where my mind went with this clue.
  • 23D: Quaint complaint (ALAS). Oh, thank goodness it was ALAS and not, say, AH, ME. I went off on that Tuesday LAT answer in Facebook yesterday. Who says "ah, me"? Nobody, that's who! I want to obliterate that answer from crosswords.
  • Va-va-voom: 24D: Medalworthy behavior (VALOR) is just one of the V words in the middle of the puzzle. VELDT, VENOM, VALUE, VIED.
  • 34D: Tony's portrayer on "NYPD Blue" (ESAI). My husband and I were watching the new sci-fi series Caprica the other night. ESAI Morales plays a dad who's a Taurian, meaning he's from the planet of...Taurus? Tauria? I don't now. Caprica sounds like a Buick, doesn't it? I think it's another planet. Not sure why the place names sound like signs of the zodiac.
  • Dan Naddor did it! He found a trivia fact about crossword constructors' favorite car that freshened up the clue. 45D: Last Olds off the line (ALERO). I checked Wikipedia and sure enough, it was the last Olds off the assembly line. You know what's sad? They saved the very last car and put it in a museum. Because isn't that how Oldsmobile should be remembered, with a dorky compact car?

Crosswordese 101: OREAD is one of several kinds of nymphs in Greek mythology. This one is both 29A: Nymph associated with Artemis and the nymph associated with mountains. (Orogeny is the formation of mountains—that oro-/or- beginning is the same.) Other nymphs seen in crosswords from time to time are the NAIAD (water nymph—rivers, streams, waterfalls), DRYAD (tree nymphs), and NEREID (sea nymph).

Everything Else — 1A: Bogs (FENS); 5A: New moon, e.g. (PHASE); 10A: Month, in Mexico (MES); 13A: Short article (ITEM); 14A: Memory mishap (LAPSE); 15A: Brewer's need (MALT); 16A: India's first prime minister (JAWAHARLAL NEHRU); 19A: Lead-in for suited or timed (ILL); 20A: Slurpee alternative (ICEE); 21A: Wrinkle-resistant fabric (ORLON); 22A: Washington wine region (YAKIMA VALLEY); 26A: Used the alley, in a way (BOWLED); 28A: Tweak, e.g. (ALTER); 29A: Nymph associated with Artemis (OREAD); 30A: Careful shopper's criterion (VALUE); 32A: Pea holders (PODS); 33A: Malice (VENOM); 34A: Thompson of "Sense and Sensibility" (EMMA); 38A: Taxpayer, e.g. (FILER); 39A: Iraqi, for instance (ASIAN); 40A: Subway Restaurants spokesman __ Fogle (JARED); 42A: Lake that's a source of the Mississippi (ITASCA); 43A: Chicago 'L,' e.g. (RAPID TRANSIT); 46A: Leg bone (TIBIA); 47A: Actress Sommer (ELKE); 48A: Model Landry (ALI); 51A: Part of a twill suit (GABARDINE JACKET); 55A: Southernmost cross-country U.S. highway (I-TEN); 56A: Rubberneck (STARE); 57A: Chick tenders (HENS); 58A: Away partner (FAR); 59A: Letter-shaped opening (T-SLOT); 60A: May race, for short (INDY); 1D: Pacific island nation (FIJI); 2D: Research paper abbr. (ET AL.); 3D: Honeymooner, probably (NEWLYWED); 4D: Wee, to Burns (SMA); 5D: Unruffled (PLACID); 6D: Polygamous household group (HAREM); 7D: Cop __ (A PLEA); 8D: FICA funds it (SSA); 9D: Sushi bar serving (EEL); 10D: "Symphony of a Thousand" composer (MAHLER); 11D: Judy Jetson's brother (ELROY); 12D: Leave speechless (STUN); 15D: First name in country (MERLE); 17D: Raised (HIKED); 18D: "The Prince of Tides" co-star (NOLTE); 23D: Quaint complaint (ALAS); 24D: Medalworthy behavior (VALOR); 25D: Homecoming guest (ALUM); 26D: Conk (BOP); 27D: Juegos OlÌmpicos goal (ORO); 30D: African grassland (VELDT); 31D: "Wheel of Fortune" purchase (AN E); 33D: Competed (VIED); 34D: Tony's portrayer on "NYPD Blue" (ESAI); 35D: All wet (MISTAKEN); 36D: Buddy (MAC); 37D: Santa __, seat of California's Orange County (ANA); 38D: Frock wearer (FRIAR); 39D: Confused (AT SEA); 40D: Talk on and on, and a hint to the three-letter starts of 16-, 22-, 43- and 51-Across (JABBER); 41D: Like some swarms (APIAN); 42D: Type of printer (INKJET); 43D: Gaucho's rope (RIATA); 44D: Related to the kidneys (RENAL); 45D: Last Olds off the line (ALERO); 46D: Cry after a hard week (TGIF); 49D: Extend credit (LEND); 50D: Minuscule (ITSY); 52D: It ends in Nov. (DST); 53D: Part of 46-Down (IT'S); 54D: Fraternity letter (CHI).

29 comments:

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Really enjoyed this puzzle...seemed a tad hard for a Wednesday. Had a memory LAPSE... trying to recall Nehru's first name was quite a challenge, but thanks to crosses, I finally got it. The only word that I had to look up was ITASCA (the source lake of the Mississippi River). Knew ICEE, ATSEA, OREAD, and SMA from previous puzzles. I think technically FENS are not the same as "Bogs". The pH of a fen is alkaline whilst the bog is acid. I loved all the V-words and I actually remembered VELDT. Now if I missed MAHLER (Symphony of a Thousand), I'd have to go stand in the corner. Mahler was perhaps the greatest of all classical composers. The first time I heard this piece was in London at Festival Hall... omigosh, a huge huge production!

Rex Parker said...

Whoa, that first "L" in JAWAHARLAL ... never saw it coming. Wrote his whole name in almost instantly, but came up one letter short ...

I kinda like this one, cheater squares and all.

rp

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

I would be remiss if I didn't post this marvelous clip of the London Symphony Orchestra with conductor Jascha Horenstein and oodles of choirs.
MAHLER'S SYMPHONY OF A THOUSAND

Sorry, I didn't have the CSO.

Tinbeni said...

Nehru's first name is a snap. Provided you grab the dictionary.
No wonder they referred to him by his last name. (Thank you crosses!)

Tried as I might, sucker would not fit into 38a, Taxpayer, so I finally entered FILER.

Had JABBER before the 4 theme answers, which were easier once I had the JAW, YAK, RAP & GAB. It was about then that I noticed it was a Dan Naddor puzzle (smile moment).

Glad to see EMMA show up today.
YAKIMA, ITASCA and the nymph OREAD I only know from CW's

Fun puzzle, just right for a Wednesday.

@JNH - I knew you had MAHLER in an instant. I needed the crosses to get him.

@Orange - I had a NEHRU Jacket back in the day, they were comfortable, I wish they came back.
Now that clip got me to actually laugh out loud.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

No, no, no, not the ALERO !
This is the way the Oldsmobile should be remembered---
OLDSMOBILE

hazel said...

Really really liked this puzzle. Timely in that it seems that every day there are more and more outlets for people who like to jabber - even yammer - on.... You can see clips of them on Colbert - or Jon Stewart. Or elsewhere.

I think somebody here might have tried to claim Colbert as their soulmate a few weeks/months? ago - to you, I say a belated back off.

@Orange - I've never used JAW as a verb, but I have used it as a gerund - might be more likely in the south.

Love jabber (and yammer too). Good good puzzle.

shrub5 said...

I was pretty sure NEHRU was the first PM of India but had no idea of his first name so got it entirely through the crosses. Also didn't know what the letter in -SLOT was and couldn't figure out DS- that ends in Nov. -- that was my only blank. Came here and found it was T. D'oh, Daylight Savings Time.

Had ANGRY before APIAN swarms and had trouble with the spelling of VELDT (had VELTE, then VELDE along the way.) New words learned today: OREAD and ITASCA.

This was another very entertaining puzzle from the dwindling Naddor stash. Thanks, Orange, for an enjoyable write-up and the lesson on nymphs.

*David* said...

I'm suspecting some peole would have a hard time with all the names in this one. I found it just right with crosses always available to keep me moving along.

I enjoyed the fact that the majority of the themes were not common answers. I haven't seen the Subway commercials so hadn't heard of JARED. Nice to go to FIJI as opposed to Samoa's capital in the South Pacific.

Parsan said...

A very good puzzle with a fun theme which I caught onto quickly (JABBER) because I did the bottom half first. Knew NEHRU but had to wait for spelling of his first name by crosses.

NEHRU jackets were for women as well as for men and yes, I had a kelly green GABARDINE suit with a Nehru jacket (wish I could fit into it now!). It was tailored and very stylish.

Happy to have remembered ELROY, JARED, EMMA, ELKE, MERLE, NOLTE, our old friend ESAI, and MAHLER (not my favorite, sorry JNH).

@Orange--When I think of HAREM I think of a painting by Childe Hassam in the Sterling and Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. The women look so perfect, but what a life! Like Big Love, a fantasy of some men (98? virgins), or a nightmare!

New words, YAKIMA, ITASNA, ALERO,
and at first thought OREAD would be Diana.

@Orange--Good comments!

Katie Dyer said...

I had "cop a "Feel" and thought it was a bit risque! Fouled me up for a long time.

lit.doc said...

Audio transcript of my first ten seconds: “uh, FENS, uh, ITEM, uh, SONOFABITCH!” Not Dan Nador’s fault at all. It just drives me nuts (which doesn’t burn a lot of gas, to be honest) when my ear knows a word perfectly well but I haven’t a clue how to spell it. The crosses arranged my Scrabble tiles OK except for SM_, which made me very happy to have read Burns (and no, this wasn’t a Simpsons clue).

Speaking as a lover of classical music and an amateur pianist (just trying to minimize incoming rounds), “mahler” is German for “ennui”.

“Juegos Olímpicos gol” (yeah, I know but it *shoulda* been “gol”) was the most unusual clue for ORO I’ve ever seen. But, speaking of Spanish, RIATA was misclued. The clue called for a Spanish word—rEata. “Riata” is an Anglicization.

All told, a good, solid Wednesday solving experience. Now, on to BEQ.

crazycatlady said...

Nice Dan Naddor Wednesday puzzle. Seemed a little tough today, but not too bad. I had no idea what Nehru's first name was, but got it through the crosses. Even if I did know it, I wouldn't have been able to spell it. I kind of like that NEHRU was above JACKET. I had a small problem when I entered HOPS instead of MALT, but once I got ELROY I knew that was wrong. I had a LAPSE at the ITASCA, ESAI cross, because those were both new to me. Now here's my question. Is ORLON still being made or is just under the umbrella of acrylic fibers? I am remembering those cheesy Banlon shirts that guys wore in the 60s a la Kramer. They are now considered "vintage."

Tinbeni said...

@Crazycatlady
Once again my favorite beverage is ignored.

15a "Brewer's need" could have been clued as simply, "Single____"

But NOOOOO!!!

My Avatar will never be changed.
I will take it to my grave.

Wine, beer, bourbon, rum, vodka all get to have their fun in Crossword Puzzles.

My Scotch, Blended and Single Malt, are just fine being loved by me.

Van55 said...

By my count there are just 16 original Naddor creations left in the LAT queue.
I enjoyed this one. The proper nouns made it a bit of a challenge for Wednesday.

Carol said...

Good Wednesday puzzle. Liked all the 'V' words.

@Orange - Good grief, what a terrible commercial! You're right, it sure would not be popular in this day and age!

Margaret said...

"She said the man in the GABARDINE suit was a spy..." Now I will have Paul Simon's "America" stuck in my head all day.

chefbea said...

I agree. A bit hard for a wednesday and more difficult than the NYT

We now have to type a word with no meaning on this blog as well???

Charles Bogle said...

agree w clear consensus--lovely puzzle by the late Naddor; good theme; ....had no idea re "first name in country" and MERLE, but knew ELROY right off. Thanks @orange for wonderful write-up and for OREAD. Was ITASCA ever covered... also loved VELDT, VALOR/ had no clue Iraqi=ASIAN...

Joon said...

margaret: my thoughts exactly. never seen that word used outside of the song. though at least i knew how to spell it, unlike, say, JAWAHARLAL.

Rube said...

Tx Orange for the Xwd 101 summary of nymphs.

YAKIMAVALLEY is a gimme for west coast wine lovers, (especially if you've lived there).

I'm going to have to watch an episode of NYPD Blue to check out this guy with the wierd name that everyone's using in their puzzles.

Anonymous said...

Why do I want to think of Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers film series, whenever I see a NEHRU JACKET?
And whenever I see a GABARDINE JACKET I think of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
Do you think there's some kind of sinister covert connection there?

JIMMIE said...

My last comment didn't publish. I was complaining about the LAT paper fold now atop the puzzle. I prefer folding the paper precisely into four equal parts with the CW within only one of them. Anyone else have this problem with the paper version?

Whitney said...

@hazel Mea culpa. Not sure it would've worked out between Stephen and myself anyway. My boyfriend would get in the way. He's all yours :)

@katie dyer Ditto on "Cop a Feel". LOL. Would've been cool.

Yakima Valley wines are good, but Willamette Valley wines are better :) Gotta represent for OR. Willamette might be a fun crossword entry...

hazel said...

@Whitney - thanks for being such a team player! :)

I'm pretty happy with my husband, though, so I think I'll just be satisfied that his hilariousness exists, and I have access to it 4 nights a week. There is no jawing, gabbing, yakking, or jabbering in our house during Colbert!

Parsan said...

Wikipedia has some very interesting trivia about the NEHRU jacket, including a deal made with Johnny Carson. It said it originated in India in the 1940's which surprised me, thinking it was long standing Indian men's wear.

@Tinbeni--You said you wished they were still in style. The jackets are still for sale on web sites, Italian made in several shades including red and burgundy. Please post a picture if you buy one.

Also on wiki., gabardine, a fabric produced by Burburry in England in the 19th C., is a fine ribbed twill made of wool, cotton, or synthetic. It was worn by Amandsen (South Pole) and Shackleton (Antarctica).

@Katie Dyer and @Whitney--Ditto! And Whitney--Did not know about YAKIMA but had a Williamette wine last night. Very good!

@Orange--Anyone wearing thar shirt is asking for a BOP on the nose, or at least to get JAWed at.

Sfingi said...

His boy ♫ ELROY

Wednesday and still easy. Got the theme pronto. For some reason the name Jawaharlal bubbled up from my memory with spelling intact.

The late Tony Randall championed the NEHRU jacket, but it didn't take off. Oh, it has a "Mandarin" collar, a word with good cw possibilities. There was a push to eliminate the tie as it was considered phallic, and one doesn't wear a tie with the Nehru. Maybe that's why it flopped.

But, where's the Jabberwocky?

@CrazyC - Dupont Orlon was phased out 20 yrs ago, but somehow, sugarbush farmers still use orlon filters. I think they might be wool, actually.
My favorite group - Bad Boy was my favorite song.

ORLONS

@Tinbeni - glad you don't use a Martini glass to represent Champagne. Nehru jackets do look comfy (comfier, comfiest).

@Chefbea - I'm running out to buy a NYT right now!

@Bogle - We had Itasca with the same clue (might have been that other paper) but I can't remember if it had a commentary.

@Orange - the ad was truly lame.

@Katie -Yet, sometimes they surprise and it turns out they really want the word that doesn't pass the b'fast test.

lit.doc said...

The Jabberwocky has spoken.

ddbmc said...

Jawaharlal? Say that 3 times fast! Not responsible for your tongue flipping out of your mouth and ending up on top of your head!

@Tinbeni, I'm with @Parsan! Have to see the Nehru jacket, should you make a spring statement! The question would be, can you wear it to the Pirate Fest next year? Some of those pirate outfits remind me of the Seinfeld puffy shirt! Some may STARE, others will JABBER with VENOM. You can tell them it's your '60's PHASE. Then you can belt back a single MALT and remind the naysayers to "Be-have!"