3.19.2010

FRIDAY, Mar. 19, 2010 — Dan Naddor


THEME: German puns — familiar phrases where puns are created by turning one word into its (roughly) homophonic equivalent in German. Wacky phrase, "?" clues.


Hey, these puns are actually good. Nice change of pace from the groan-inducing or the simply off. I was sort of tepid toward the theme until I hit AUDI NEIGHBOR, which won me over. Thank god this wasn't AUDI DOODY. Would hate to see the clue on that.



The German things include not only words from the German language, but a product (AUDI) and three names (BACH, KOHL, MARX). A whopping seven theme answers are crammed into the grid, and yet the overall fill, all things considered, is pretty smooth. I have never seen the word QUANTA (43D: Amounts), but after QUANTS didn't work, it was the next best alternative. My biggest problem, time-wise, was in the west, where, for reasons I don't quite understand, I couldn't put SHOW / DOTS together. I may have had DITS or DATS originally at 25D: Bitmap components), and I couldn't make any sense of 30A: Place follower, even with SH-W in place. SHAW? Did somebody named SHAW follow ETTA Place around? Oh. No. If you don't win, or "place," you might SHOW. Pretty obvious, in retrospect.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: German version of GQ? (HERR STYLE)
  • 18A: Section reserved for a German composer? (BACH'S SEATS)
  • 23A: Car parked next to a German sedan? (AUDI NEIGHBOR)
  • 35A: Germans living in the fast lane? (AUTOBAHN SOCIETY)
  • 43A: Give a German philosopher the third degree? (QUESTION MARX)
  • 52A: Former German chancellor's coffee sweetener? (LUMP OF KOHL) — [Result of a blow to a former German chancellor's head?] ... too gruesome?
  • 59A: Causes for alarm in the West German capital? (BONN FIRES)

Crosswordese 101: MEDE (54D: Ancient Persian) — these are the Persians of Herodotus. That's how I know about them, anyway. Often I have to learn these exotic bits of crosswordiana the hard way — from the crossword itself. Here, I actually had some inkling of what MEDEs were from my normal, non-puzzle education (shout-out to Professor Cameron and the Great Books program at U. Michigan, which I was lucky enough to be allowed to teach in for a year, 1998-99). Cyrus the Great put an end to the Medean Empire in the 6c. B.C., taking the name "King of Persia."

What else?

  • 1A: "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" subject (COMMA) — grrr. GRAMMAR wouldn't fit. Put in USAGE. COMMA is the very specific issue involved in the book's (jokey) title.
  • 14A: James teammate (O'NEAL) — as in Shaquille. "James" here is LeBron James, the best NBA'ER currently in the league (besides, arguably, Kobe Bryant).


  • 58D: 19th-century military family (LEES) — possibly the ancestors of Mariners' pitcher Cliff LEE, who was recently suspended for the first 5 games of the upcoming MLB season for engaging in a little military practice of his own — specifically, trying to take the head off of a batter with his fastball.

See you Monday,

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Everything Else — 1A: "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" subject (COMMA); 6A: Interim measures (STOPGAPS); 14A: James teammate (O'NEAL); 15A: Provided home security, in a way (HOUSESAT); 16A: Cousin of danke (MERCI); 17A: German version of GQ? (HERR STYLE); 18A: Section reserved for a German composer? (BACH'S SEATS); 20A: Freshman, probably (TEEN); 21A: Lubricate (OIL); 22A: Back in (RETRO); 23A: Car parked next to a German sedan? (AUDI NEIGHBOR); 30A: Place follower (SHOW); 31A: Put out (EMIT); 32A: Comrade (PAL); 35A: Germans living in the fast lane? (AUTOBAHN SOCIETY); 40A: Acidity-level symbols (PHS); 41A: Manitoba tribe (CREE); 42A: Prolific auth.? (ANON); 43A: Give a German philosopher the third degree? (QUESTION MARX); 47A: Relish (EAT UP); 50A: Bossy remark? (MOO); 51A: La __ Tar Pits (BREA); 52A: Former German chancellor's coffee sweetener? (LUMP OF KOHL); 59A: Causes for alarm in the West German capital? (BONN FIRES); 61A: Excessive (UNDUE); 62A: In a tight row (END TO END); 63A: Paris bisector (SEINE); 64A: Relieve, as of mistaken ideas (DISABUSE); 65A: Searches for (SEEKS); 1D: Search thoroughly (COMB); 2D: Ready to serve (ONE-A); 3D: Cougar or Sable, briefly (MERC); 4D: Speed ratio (MACH); 5D: "The Nowhere City" author Lurie (ALISON); 6D: Subway Series stadium (SHEA); 7D: Suit material? (TORT); 8D: Couple's word (OURS); 9D: Afterthoughts, briefly (PSS); 10D: Go-__ (GETTER); 11D: So far (AS YET); 12D: Not as flushed (PALER); 13D: Dictator's assistant? (STENO); 17D: Prefix with pad (HELI-); 19D: "Sprechen __ Deutsch?" (SIE); 22D: Univ. recruiter (ROTC); 23D: Quickly, in memos (ASAP); 24D: "Don't think so" ("UH-UH"); 25D: Bitmap components (DOTS); 26D: '40s flag-raising site, briefly (IWO); 27D: "The Maids" playwright (GENET); 28D: Pinafore letters (HMS); 29D: Short life story? (BIO); 32D: 2003 A.L. Manager of the Year Tony (PEÑA); 33D: Fabric finish? (-ATOR); 34D: Bobcat, e.g. (LYNX); 36D: Support spec (B CUP); 37D: "Chances __": Mathis hit (ARE); 38D: Men (HES); 39D: Sam-__ (I-AM); 43D: Amounts (QUANTA); 44D: Little rascals (IMPS); 45D: Hugs, in letters (OOO); 46D: Easy to use, in adspeak (NO FUSS); 47D: Subsided (EBBED); 48D: Rice-__ (A-RONI); 49D: Ministers (TENDS); 52D: Place (LIEU); 53D: Coffee servers (URNS); 54D: Ancient Persian (MEDE); 55D: Place for a pad (KNEE); 56D: Comic strip dog (ODIE); 57D: Adonis (HUNK); 58D: 19th-century military family (LEES); 60D: "The Gift of the Magi" gift (FOB).

31 comments:

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Pretty easy Friday puzzle, but a very enjoyable theme… quasi-German words that made me chuckle. Probably the funniest of all of the Dan Naddor puzzles. He was surely the CWP Master-of-Puns.

Starts off with one of my favorite books: “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” by Lynne Truss… a wonderful book on punctuation.

Then Dan uses some very clever clues:
“Suit material” = TORT
“Prolific author” = ANON
“Bossy remark” = MOO
“Support spec” = BCUP
“Adonis” = HUNK
“Place follower” = SHOW
“Fabric finish” = ATOR (Fabricator)

But then there’s DISABUSE. Who the heck ever uses that word?

Seems strange that we see La BREA Tar Pits for the third time this week. That definitely scores high for CW101.

What a nice way to wrap up a beautiful week (and it sure was here in Chicago)---
JOHNNY MATHIS

Time to EAT UP yesterday’s leftover Butter-pecan coffeecake with some yummy hazelnut coffee, then off to the arboretum I go.

See y’all… have a super weekend !

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Rex
Very nice writeup!
Your photo of Butch Cassidy reminds me of one of my all-time favorite movie scenes (and song)...
RAINDROPS KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD
Maybe it's other's too.

Sfingi said...

I got all but the NE corner.

In some ways my German messed me up. The real name for German GQ is HerrenMode, and I couldn't get it out of my head, though it was too long. I still don't see the pun in AUTOBAHNSOCIETY. I think my German is in the infant part of my brain.

Did not know the sports answers ONEAL or PENA. Held on to Kant for awhile before I had MARX. Even though MARX is German, I think of him as English, since he lived there from his 30s. He had more influence in Russia.

Reno911 said...

@sfingi Think of birds

Orange said...

@JNH: I feel ripped off when a decent clue leads to a really blah entry like suffix -ATOR.

@Sfingi: That one perplexed me for awhile too. Audubon Society!

Joon said...

loved this puzzle. how many more naddors are left in the hopper? has anyone been counting? sigh. still can't believe he's gone. of course, the fact that i keep seeing his puzzles every week or two has made it easier to pretend nothing's changed.

seven theme answers is no joke, and every one of them is nice and fresh. overall, the acrosses (including theme answers) were so good that i didn't really mind downs like A RONI, -ATOR, and HELI.

JNH, let me disabuse you of the notion that nobody uses "disabuse." it's both perfectly common and quite useful.

*David* said...

Perfect Friday LAT level puzzle for me. Made me work just enough to enjoy the exercise. The theme count as has been mentioned is impressive amd with such a specific topic to work with is all that more of a feat. Sooo we can accept some OOOs as an answer.

Sfingi said...

@Orange and Reno - thanx - these languages are somehow not communicating in my head. I lernt my German much younger than my factual info about the world. I'm still learning geography from crosswords!

Just noticed it's the late great Dan Naddor.

Anonymous said...

Did this crossword while waiting at the VW service shop to have a minor adjustment to my Passat - it fitted perfectly! Loved it

shrub5 said...

Pretty amazing puzzle from a very creative mind.

Liked ONEA crossing ONEAL. There were a few names I didn't know (ALISON, GENET, PENA) but all were gettable from the crosses. Favorite clue today: Bossy remark? (MOO).

In O'Henry's short story "The Gift of the Magi," the gift from the wife to her husband was a FOB (60D); the gift from the husband to his wife was a set of COMBs for her hair, which I noticed elsewhere in the puzzle at 1D!

@joon: I was wondering that myself. At the time of Dan's death, I think Rich Norris said there were about 20 remaining and we've probably seen about 7-8 so far??

hazel the friendly tutter said...

@Anonymous 8:56 - based on my experience (about 20 yrs of owning VWs), there is no such thing as a minor adjustment! Regardless of the repair shop, all adjustments cost $600. I have a Mazda now.

Thought the puzzle was v. imaginative. The editor should be disabused of the notion that the Subway Series is still played at Shea, though!

Tinbeni said...

@8:56
There was even a clue for you. The ones with no name, the ANON.

I see its Naddor and I know the puns are coming.
WOW, 7 themes, 6 really good.
But I never sweeten my coffee with a LUMP OF KOHL.
Before I receive a Kvetch, I know it is a play on a lump of sugar, but it could have been clued "German Scrooge Gift" and been a better play on coal.
Punny thing, the German parts were the easiest.
Had the AUDI & AUTOBAHN quickly. Neighbor & Society from the crosses.

@Orange & @Sfingi: Audubon Society? I see the play on words, but the clue has nothing to do with birds.

@Shrub5: I also liked the O'Henry reference.

Learning points: GENET, the playwright, and MEDE, the Persian, thanks Rex.

Rex I take it you are not into horseracing, Win, Place & SHOW; 1st, 2nd & 3rd. A gimmie.

Crazy Cat said...

Very enjoyable Naddor puzzle to end the week. I laughed at every theme answer. Took me a few minutes to get AUTOBAHN SOCIETY. Favorite clue: Support Spec. I had BEAM at first. When I finally filled in B CUP it was a major D'oh. New to me was LEES, MEDE and ALISON Lurie.

Very funny clip of Shaquille O'NEAL and Jimmy Kimmel.

C said...

Punny puzzle that wasn't punishing.

Didn't know why the clue for LUMPOFKOHL went the coffee route when there were so many more pertinent ways to clue it. Only reason I could come up with for the approach is that anything to do with coal directly would be too easy.

No complaints, I enjoyed the puzzle.

Anonymous said...

@Hazel - no charge, new-ish car. But regarding the Subway Series, they are referring to when the Yankees played the Mets in the World Series (don't remember the year) and they actually played at Shea Stadium and the old Yankee Stadium.

Tinbeni said...

@CrazyCat
I also like BCUP alot.
Probably because I was always more of a leg man.

Dan was always fair, so he gave the ladies a HUNK.

Forgot to mention the groans:
Fave - TORT for Suit material.
Not Fave - FabricATOR, in such a good puzzle, was lame.

Anonymous said...

Surely 1A should have been PANDA !

McBeal

Joon said...

re: cluing of theme answers, note that none of the (seven! still can't get over that) theme clues makes any reference to the base phrase of the pun. HERR STYLE has nothing to do with hair. no birds in the AUTOBAHN SOCIETY; it's for drivers. LUMP OF KOHL isn't related to bituminous minerals. et cetera.

this is the best and most fun way to clue a pun theme, by referring only to the surface sense of the transformed phrases. if the new phrase doesn't have enough surface sense to clue, then you pretty much have to go back to the base phrase, but unless you're merl reagle, you can't get away with that too often.

hazel the friendly tutter said...

@anonymous - I always loved actually driving my VWs (first the old bug, then a Jetta, then the new bug). The "adjustments" did finally get the best of me though. VW does make cool cars though.

I see your pt on World Series - I was thinking they called all the Yankees-Mets matchups Subway Series(es?) but if you just think of it as the World Series from 2000 - I guess good old Shea can live on forever in the present.

Tuttle said...

For many folks under the age of 40 or so (and all folks not in America) a MERC is a Mercedes-Benz not a Mercury... mainly because Mercury hasn't made much of anything that appeals to people under 40 for quite a while now. Clueing it with Mercedes would have fit the theme.

ATOR should be clued with Miles O'Keef somehow.

lit.doc said...

Fun Friday solve, loved the theme puns. Thanks for the Audi Duty clip, Rex.

Only annoyance was the time I spent going through words for fabric finishes. What, like I've never seen a clue like that before. Geez.

I am, however, still having a stupid moment re that damned lump of KOHL. That's what I used to get in my xmas stocking, no? @Tinbeni, your clue made sense. What part of "Germanish puns on common phrases" am I missing that connects KOHL to a sweetener? Anyone?

Sfingi said...

While rearranging my storage, had several thoughts on German cars on German roads. We had Karmann Ghias, 1969 and 1971. Fun to drive, standard shift, but cold as a witch's t-t. Only the driver had heat. We started off for a wedding in Presque Isle ME. There was a snowstorm on each end. We got to Augusta and decided to stay in a motel until the storm was over. The motel manager forgot to wake us up and we didn't make it. We've had Fords for a long time, now.

Many highways here and in Germany were made with WWII in mind - that they could be airstrips if need be. My sister visited cousins on her Fulbright and tried out the Autobahn with the little ones yelling "Schneller, schneller!" (faster) Sounds like fun. I hear they have no speed rules, but are very particular about not tailgating.

As far as coal/sugar, in Holland and the Northern reaches of Germany, Sinterklass brings candy to the good kids and swarte Piet (a blackamoor dressed in Elizabethan style) brings coal and switches to the bad. It's a stretch.

Hoping sonster clears up this new computer this weekend. There's some sort of Geek get-together in Binghamton and he's promised to stop by on the way back to Boston.

Crazy Cat said...

Finally had a moment to watch the AUDI Doody clip. Thanks for a trip back to Doodyville and King Yahdschtick, the Ruler from Early, Tibet. I loved that the Brownies were from Garden City. That's where CrazyCat husband grew up.

@lit.doc - lump of sugar/lump of Kohl/coal - Actually if you look back at RP's clue, it probably makes more sense. If Dan Naddor was still around, maybe he would have chimed in to enlighten us.

@Hazel - glad you're back.

Joon said...

helmut KÖHL is the former german chancellor in question. LUMP refers to a lump of sugar in his coffee. the "sugar" part is implicit, as in "one lump or two?" (from BEQ's theme last week). coal, as i said earlier, is not part of this answer's surface sense, although "lump of coal" is obviously the base phrase.

Anonymous said...

Then why did the clue have the word "sweetener?"

ANON said...

Joon:
Why did 17A ref. GQ
Using your logic the clue could have been "German version of magazine"
GQ ref. Men which lead to Mister to German Mr. ... HERR ... to the pun play on words HERR STYLE ... Hair Style.

Oh, I liked 42A, Me!

lit.doc said...

Thanks all for the coal/sugar feedback.

Still seems to me that the the final word of all the other theme answers did form part of the unavoidable answer sense, which is to say part of a phonetically familiar English phrase--"hair style", "box seats", "howdy, neighbor", "Audubon Society", "question marks", "bonfires", and..."lump of coal".

Not a gripe about the puzzle, which was wonderful and entertaining. Just a question of the theme answers' internal consistency.

mac said...

I loved this puzzle! Maybe my favorite Dan Naddor one. I'm going to let Ulrich know about it.

mac said...

@#Joon: Kohl does not have an umlaut. Between his political problems and his wife's suicide hia was a very sad case.
We have an Audubon Society in Fairfield, CT. I saw a bald eagle up close in their bird sanctuary. Incredible bird.

Van55 said...

I was a bit under the weather yesterday, so I failed to post my comment. This was the late Dan Naddor at his best! Wonderfully amusing and entertaining.

Jesse said...

Surely 19th century (1800-1900) military family refers to Robert E. Lee??