MONDAY, May 10, 2010 — Dan Naddor

THEME: J-MEN — phrases that end with plurals of men's names that start with "J"

Didn't grasp the theme as I was solving — though I sensed it had something to do with the second word starting with the letter "J." When I finished (in somewhat longer time than I'm accustomed to on a Monday), I noticed the remarkable tightness of the theme. I couldn't find another man's name that could yield a suitable answer. You've got your symmetry ... most if not all of the names are used in non-man's-name contexts. And, mercifully, the general quality of the fill is solid, virtually unimpeachable (though I'm always going to impeach RAREE — man, I hate that word). All in all, a fantastic LAT Monday puzzle.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Ground beef concoctions on buns (SLOPPY JOES)
  • 23A: Dried meat sticks (SLIM JIMS) — so we've got an "S.J. meat" theme going at this point...
  • 33A: Winter underwear (LONG JOHNS)
  • 50A: Toronto ball team (BLUE JAYS)
  • 56A: Fruit-and-cinnamon-flavored cereal (APPLE JACKS)

I was slowed down thrice today. First, at GLACIER (3D: Ice Age remnant) — needed the first three letters before it would tip. I think I was thinking of something that survived in the ice ... like a Mastodon skeleton? ... and not a very ordinary (if disappearing) ice formation. Then there was SEAL PUP (38D: Sea lion newborn). Many problems here. First, I thought seals and sea lions were different species. Second, I had SEAL- and thought "Is the answer SEALION ... but the clue is SEALION?" So I get SEAL PUP. Which brings me back to my original question about species. Turns out earless seals are "true seals" and eared seals are "sea lions." So sea lions are, technically, on some level, also seals. Making this answer, if not elegant, at least defensible. Lastly, there was AT STAKE (44D: On the line), which really threw me, as I was sure the "line" in question belonged to a telephone. That "K" in AT STAKE (and TENK!?) was the last thing to go in the grid.

Crosswordese 101: SERAPES (39D: Pancho's ponchos) — in its six-letter, unpluralized incarnation, this answer is superduper common. I think the database at cruciverb has a bug, because if you search "SERAPE" you see it's been used 43 times, but if you search the "Top" 6-letter words, it doesn't show up with the other 43s (ASSENT, SEDATE, EASTER, STRESS, STOOGE, AURORA, SPHERE). ASSENT and STOOGE are equally common!?!? Weird. Anyway, that's the company SERAPE keeps, and it's clearly the most exotic of the bunch. No one's going to have to commit EASTER, or any of those other words, to memory. With SERAPE, you might have to do an add. A +1. Manual override of your vocabulary database. Unless you've been doing crosswords forever and/or are familiar with Mexican attire.

See you Friday, when, technically, I'll be in Idaho. But, through the magic of pre-blogging, I'll still be "here."


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Everything Else — 1A: The U.S. minimum is $7.25 per hour (WAGE); 5A: In the phone directory (LISTED); 11A: It can follow poli or precede fi (SCI); 14A: One out of two (HALF); 15A: Break out of jail (ESCAPE); 16A: Refusals (NOS); 17A: Amo, amas, __ (AMAT); 20A: Nervous twitch (TIC); 21A: Kitchen cabinet stack (PLATES); 22A: Light beige (ECRU); 25A: War's opposite (PEACE); 26A: Apprehension (UNEASE); 27A: Food fish that's often red (SNAPPER); 29A: Quechua-speaking country (PERU); 30A: Two-time loser to Ike (ADLAI); 32A: Radical '60s org. (SDS); 37A: Doofus (ASS); 40A: "Do __ See God?": Jon Agee palindrome book (GEESE); 41A: Meat-inspecting org. (USDA); 45A: Visibly embarrassed (BEET RED); 47A: Lynx family member (BOBCAT); 49A: Kind of carnival show (RAREE); 52A: Airline to Ben-Gurion (EL AL); 53A: On the train (ABOARD); 55A: Rockies hrs. (MST); 58A: Samoa's capital (APIA); 59A: Go after in court (SUE); 60A: Surgeon's tool (LANCET); 61A: Long race, for short (TEN K); 62A: Military gps. (TPS); 63A: Military instructions (ORDERS); 64A: Coastal raptor (ERNE); 1D: Bugs's question to "Doc" (WHAT'S UP); 2D: Pooh's creator (A.A. MILNE); 4D: Young newt (EFT); 5D: Nielsen of "Naked Gun" films (LESLIE); 6D: Muslim religion (ISLAM); 7D: Highlanders, e.g. (SCOTS); 8D: Record, à la Nixon (TAPE); 9D: Omar of "The Mod Squad" movie (EPPS); 10D: "L.A. Law" co-star Susan (DEY); 11D: Nestlé brand named for its covering of tiny white confection balls (SNO-CAPS); 12D: Strong-armed (COERCED); 13D: Publishers, e.g. (ISSUERS); 19D: Cherokee on the road (JEEP); 21D: Jammies (PJS); 24D: Handle roughly (MAUL); 25D: "Royal" annoyance (PAIN); 27D: Gin flavoring (SLOE); 28D: Slangy "No way" ("NAH"); 30D: Elderly (AGED); 31D: School dance VIPs (DJS); 34D: Grimm beast (OGRE); 35D: Formerly, in wedding news (NÉE); 36D: Math or soc. studies (SUBJ.); 37D: Side by side (ABREAST); 42D: Run playfully (SCAMPER); 43D: Motel with a sunrise in its logo (DAYS INN); 46D: Relate (TELL); 47D: Pops, as a bubble (BURSTS); 48D: Multivolume ref. (OED); 50D: Italian bowling game (BOCCE); 51D: Southern California hoopster (LAKER); 53D: Open just a bit (AJAR); 54D: 57-Down, for one (BAND); 57D: "Xanadu" rock gp. (ELO); 58D: Chowed down (ATE).


Tinbeni said...

WOW! A Dan Naddor on Monday.
Probably his easiest puzzle, ever.

@Rex: That isn't TENK, the race is a "TEN-K," (as in kilometers) approx. 6.21371192 miles.

RAREE, a Carnival or street peep show, like my comment about ITER, yesterday, was one of the earliest CW101 type of word I ever learned doing crosswords about 35 years ago.
Throw in Adele, Astaire's sister, Eddy, Yegg and a few others, they were my base crosswordese entries.

Then he gave us @Chefbea, BEET RED!

Troops abbr. TPS may be iffy but all in all this was an easy, breezy offering.

Perfect puzzle for any newbie.


Eh, WHAT’S UP, Doc?

I liked this puzzle.
A cute theme in the Naddor tradition, good fill, and clever (but direct) clues.
A perfect fit for a Blue Monday. Fun words and clues like: “Pooh’s creator” (A.A.MILNE), SNOCAPS (I love ’em), funnyman LESLIE Nielson, “Doofus” (ASS), RAREE, SCAMPER, and SLIM JIMS.

This puzzle has to be one of Dan’s latest, because the $7.25 per hour minimum WAGE became effective in July of 2009. I sure hope Rich releases more of Dan’s early-week puzzles.

BOCCE (or Bocci, or Boccie) is a hard-ball sport belonging to the boules sport family, closely related to bowls and pétanque, going back to ancient games played by Roman soldiers.
When I was at Les Tuileries in Paris I encountered a group of men playing this strange-looking game that they called Boules. I stood there for a while and before long I was patted on the back and invited to join in. Although none of us could verbally communicate, I began to feel the warm French hospitality. Despite the myth, I never ever felt any rudeness nor animosity towards us Americans over the many years that I worked in Paris and Nantes.
Vive la France !!!

Y’all have a fun Monday!

SethG said...

I agree, fantastic theme. And super tight--it's not even just J names, it's informal forms of J names.

Amherst's sports teams are the Lord Jeffs, best other option I could come up with.

Van55 said...

Easy, pleasant Naddor production.

Unlike Rex, I wasn't thrilled with the fill. I circled ten examples of answers that I consider overused or lazy, including the dreaded RAREE and the ubiquitous ELO.

I use TPS for personal hygiene -- not to fight for my freedom.

Unfortunately, the store of unused Naddor puzzles in the archives is dwindling.

Sfingi said...

Somebody clue me in to what TPS is - each letter. TP is what my mother wrote on her shopping list when she needed (toilet paper). The unspeakable. I wanted MPS,but side-by-side couldn't be ABREASm.

It was a cute puzzle. I wracked my brain thinking of DAYSINN, though I could see the place in my mind. Hubster gave me BLUEJAYS (sports). The definition of SNOCAPS was strangely unappealing.

The World Series of Bocce is at the Toccolana Club, Rome, NY, Utica's co- county seat. I knew someone with a Bocce court in their backyard until they moved.

The Utica Boilermaker is a 15K in July with top prize of 6K or 6G. Top time, 43 minutes. 10,000 entrants.

Rex Parker said...

I know exactly what TENK is. Do you really think I'd let such an absurd "word" go if I didn't?

lit.doc said...

@Tinibeni, well put—“Perfect puzzle for any newbie.” Easy breezy Monday, with maybe three hiccups. I experienced momentary “No, really?”s at TPS and RAREE (new to me, and duly filed away), and an “Ugh!” at ISSUERS. On the plus side, isn’t this two days in a row with a shout-out to @chefbea?

lit.doc said...

@Sfingi, unless I'm totally missing something, we're looking at TrooPS. Seriously. Anybody got a better idea?

Tinbeni said...

@Sfingi & @Lit.doc
My assumption was 62A, Military gps. indicated an abbreviated letter fill for "groups."
Ergo, the TPS fill meant TrooPS.

But what do I know.

When @Rex in his write-up had (and TENK!?)
TENK Explanation Mark, Question Mark ...
I made the comment it was the common TEN-K ("10-K") race and was admonished appropriately.

Of course when I know something explicitly (Fully and clearly expressed; leaving nothing implied) I always follow them with that said "Explanation Mark, Question Mark" ...

Van55 said...

Yeah, I assumed TPS is Naddor's [lame] abbreviation for troops as well.

Tuttle said...

To me TPS is Throttle Position Sensor, but looking at the acronym finder my TPS is listed 6th and Troops is listed 5th (behind Transactions Per Second, Temporary Protected Status, Toyota Production System and Taxe sur les Produits et Services).

Rex Parker said...

Never saw TPS until just this second. Yes, if that's an abbrev. for "Troops," then that is most weak. Why you don't go the vandalism route w/ the clue, I don't know.

Punctuation Marks anonymous said...

I think the word you want is exclamation mark!!!!


This is the only puzzle that clued TPS as TROOPS.
I found five others that used TPS and they all refer to Toilet-Papers as a prank.
So all you insane nit-pickers can go ahead and cavil the Naddor puzzle.

Friday, September 11, 2009 4D Plays a sophomoric prank on, informally Caleb Madison

Sunday, November 09, 2008 109D Festoons with Charmin, informally Paula Gamache

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 12D Plays a campus prank on, informally Bonnie L. Gentry and Victor Fleming

Sunday, June 12, 2005 58A Plays a prank on, informally Joe Bower

Sunday, January 04, 2004 38D Festoons a tree with bathroom rolls, briefly Patrick Merrell

Tinbeni said...

Of course ...

Rex noted that my first comment directed to him about TENK was absurd and needed no explanation.

It was a lousy attempt at humor.

Geez, tough crowd ... LOL

chefbea said...

@Tinbeni thanks for letting me know about this puzzle. I started out with sloppy joes, snow caps, slim jims, snapper and plates and figured the theme was all about food. Then low and behold...up popped the red tuber!!! Then we have applejacks and gin to wash it all down. However we all know that Tinbeni and I will have Scotch instead

CrazyCatLady said...

Is that George Bush in the SERAPE? What a face! Easy, breezey DAN NADDOR. SCAMPERed through and then got the cool J guys theme. In my 18 or so months of crosswording, this was the first time I've encountered RAREE. It was the last to fall. Hope to remember next time. BEET RED seems to be showing up a lot lately.

Now as to the SEAL, Sea Lion dilemma, Sea Lions, besides having an ear flap also have longer flippers that enable them to walk (in a way) on land. Seals are earless and have short flippers. They propell themselves on land by rolling and hopping on their bellies. They are both pinnipeds. It has taken me 18 yrs of living in CA to get this straight. Harbor SEALS and sea lions make loud honking/ barking sounds. Elephant SEALS, which we recently observed at a rookery on Point Reyes, make sounds that resemble loud impolite digestive noises. The PUPs sound like little birds.
Favorite place to play BOCCE - Baileyana winery in San Luis Obispo. Grab a bottle of Albariño and head out to court overlooking the Edna Valley vineyards and Islay Peak.

shrub5 said...

Agree with those who liked this snappy little puzz. After getting the first (upper) two theme answers, it looked like it was going to be two-word food items starting with S and J. Wow, this was going to be interesting to come up with more of those. But, no. Still, fun to discover the actual theme.

Being basketball crazy, I enjoyed seeing LAKER. BOBCAT could have been similarly clued as N. Carolina hoopster.

Never tried a SLIM JIM or SNOCAPS. Am I missing anything great?

Anonymous said...

SLIM JIM - No, No, No, No, No!

Bradley Booms said...

I would love to see 'TPS' clued as 'Office Space report' or some other witty reference.

Was going good on the puzzle today, but got completely hosed in the bottom corners. Finally finished the right on my own, but couldn't do the left. Started with TURN instead of BEET RED.. and just couldn't get to the end.

C. C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Argyle said...


Friday June 19, 2009 Stella Daily and Bruce Venzke: 73A: Scout units: Abbr.: TPS (Troops). link

Sfingi said...

@Shrub5 - Totally agree with Anon1013 - Snowcaps are smallish nonpareils. I had a hard time finding a photo, so look at the nonpareil photos. They're especially good to stick on cupcakes after they've cooled.
Slim Jims are a sort of pemmican or beef jerky that you take with you on arctic explorations for you and the dogs; or if you're diabetic, in case you can't find anything else to eat.

As far as the awful - not awe-full TPS, we don't really know if the late, great Naddor clued it thus. Perhaps he had, "How your mama indicated personal items on shopping list."

@Tinbeni - I love explanation mark! Up there with automagically.

Welcome Bradley Booms!

Anonymous said...

A hard time finding a photo? Try this.

a guy said...

Overreact much, John?

Who are the insane nit-pickers caviling the puzzle? Near as I can tell, everyone who complained about TPS also called it "a fantastic LAT Monday puzzle", a "perfect puzzle for a newbie", an "Easy, pleasant Naddor production", or the like...

shrub5 said...

@anons 10:13 and 11:25am

Thanks for the info on Snocaps. Now that I've seen a picture, I think I have eaten Snocaps at some time. Putting them on cupcakes sounds delish.

Think I'll pass on the Slim Jims. Don't have any Arctic treks planned at this time.


Sno-Caps date back to 1922 and were originally called Bob Whites.
And NO, I wasn't there when they were introduced.

Okay a bit of theatre candy nostalgia for 'ya... I guess some of these are still around.
Raisinets, Milk Duds, Good 'n Plentys, Lemonheads, JuJubes, Goobers, Sno-Caps, and Black Crows... did I miss any of your faves?

polux said...

its not SERAPE, the word is SARAPE.

This comment has been removed by the author.
Noah Webster said...

The main spelling is SERAPE, the variant appears to be SARAPE.

mac said...

Love the Seal pup.