FRIDAY, July 16, 2010 — Joon Pahk

Theme: Catching Some Zs — Two Zs are added to familiar phrases creating new wacky phrases clued wackily.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Amaze a racing legend? (DAZZLE EARNHARDT).
  • 26A: Simple but exciting abode? (PIZZAZZ HUT).
  • 48A: Headgear delayed in shipment? (LATE FEZZES).
  • 61A: Furniture design flop? (FIZZLING CABINET).
Fun theme today! I mean how can a puzzle full of Zs not be fun?! I wish one more answer besides PIZZAZZ HUT had two sets of Zs and if you're going to be nitpicky, I can't really argue over that one, but I decided it didn't bother me. (I guess deciding that something doesn't bother me is different than it not bothering me because it's nowhere on my radar, but the result is the same — lack of botheriness.)

The only thing that really slowed me down was the ACT II / BALALAIKA cross (34A: When Macbeth kills Duncan / 5D: Russian instrument with a triangular body). Obviously, that last letter had to be either an I or a V but, never having heard of a BALALAIKA and not being totally up on my Shakespeare, both choices seemed equally likely. That I was the last thing I put in the grid.

  • 1A: Place to get clean? (REHAB). I say no, no, no.
  • 14A: Roasted, on Mexican menus (ASADA). I can't tell you how many times I've eaten pollo asada and had no idea what the asada part meant. It's always tasty though.
  • 23A: "I ain't got no quarrel with the Viet Cong" speaker (ALI). This made me laugh.
  • 43A: America's most wanted? (A-LIST). Personally, I prefer the D-list.
  • 45A: Yvette's "our" (NOTRE). I could not make sense of this. All I could think was "nous," which means "we" in French, not "our." Damn you France! You have a different word for everything!
  • 46A: "__ chic!" (TRES). Oh good, more French.
  • 6D: Bird feeder filler (SUET). This was actually my first thought and then I thought maybe I was being too tricky and the answer was just plain old "seed." I checked the crosses before I committed. Whew!
  • 18D: Daughter of Henry VIII: Abbr. (ELIZ.). I didn't like this at first, but then I decided that there are probably plenty of instances where this particular ELIZabeth's name actually is abbreviated. Like, for example, in a List of Acts of Parliament.
  • 19D: Is down with (HAS). I assumed this clue was trying to be hip and the answer would be, I don't know … "hip."
  • 27D: Blood of the gods (ICHOR). This really really really feels like something I should be familiar with. Or at least remember hearing about at some point.
  • 31D: Minute piece? (WALTZ). This one tripped me up pretty good. I thought "Well, it's obviously not 'second' because of the question mark, so maybe it's the my-noot pronunciation and the answer is … 'iota'? Crap. Not long enough." Ended up getting this one totally through crosses. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  • 39D: Shed light on (ILLUMINE). ILLUMIN … hey! Where's the rest of the word? (By the way, I came across an article today about language and how it changes and how so many are resistant to (and hostile toward!) the changes. Check it out if you're interested.)
  • 60D: Charon's river (STYX). Because you'd be disappointed if I didn't:

Crosswordese 101: The most popular NITA in crosswords is NITA Naldi, an actress/dancer who was a star of silent films and was associated with the Ziegfeld Follies. The cool thing about NITA Naldi is that both her names are crossworthy — you should also be prepared to see NALDI clued as "Silents star Nita." Other NITAs you might run into are New York congresswoman NITA Lowey and NITA Talbot of "Night Shift" and "The Concrete Jungle" who, for some reason, is never clued with a reference to her work on "Hogan's Heroes," for which, by the way, she received an Emmy nomination.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 15A: Animal in two constellations (URSA).
  • 64A: Toward shelter (ALEE).
  • 2D: Twin in the Torah (ESAU).
  • 44D: Simply designed British firearm (STEN GUN).
  • 58D: Chimp in the Mercury program (ENOS).
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Everything Else — 6A: Dip (SWIM); 10A: Grade-schooler's reward (STAR); 15A: Animal in two constellations (URSA); 16A: "Hiya, José" (HOLA); 20A: Seek retribution, in a way (SUE); 21A: Prefix with meter (ALTI-); 22A: Unchallenging courses (EASY A'S); 24A: A goner, in slang (TOAST); 30A: On the road (AWAY); 35A: Blender brand (OSTER); 37A: Knock out, so to speak (AWE); 38A: Brainchild? (WHIZ KID); 40A: Iris parts (AREOLAS); 42A: Time Warner spin-off of 2009 (AOL); 50A: Draw out (EDUCE); 52A: "Maa" ma (EWE); 53A: Basic religious tenet (THEISM); 56A: Silents star Naldi (NITA); 58A: Four-song discs, briefly (EP'S); 65A: Stooge chuckle (NYUK); 66A: Off one's trolley (LOOPY); 67A: House member (LORD); 68A: Choosing word (EENY); 69A: Newark's county (ESSEX); 1D: Angular measures: Abbr. (RADS.); 3D: Skyline obscurer (HAZE); 4D: Tool whose blade is at right angles to the shaft (ADZ); 7D: Ghostly figures (WRAITHS); 8D: Knesset's land: Abbr. (ISR.); 9D: Femme fatale (MANEATER); 10D: View from Weed, California (SHASTA); 11D: Labourite's opponent (TORY); 12D: Robert of Broadway's "Guys and Dolls" (ALDA); 13D: "Phooey!" ("RATS!"); 23D: Saddam Hussein adviser Tariq (AZIZ); 25D: Defeated in an annual Nathan's contest (OUTATE); 26D: Grab for roughly (PAW AT); 28D: Scrabble 10-pointer (Z TILE); 29D: 12-sign system (ZODIAC); 32D: Not ignorant (AWARE); 33D: Sycophants' replies (YESES); 36D: Like wind energy (RENEWABLE); 41D: Slow mover (OOZE); 47D: Appropriated (SEIZED); 49D: Crumbly cheese (FETA); 51D: Broadband option: Abbr. (DSL); 53D: Maker of nonstick cookware (T-FAL); 54D: Big Island city (HILO); 55D: Weizman of 8-Down (EZER); 57D: Like 41-Down, perhaps (ICKY); 59D: Skunk Le Pew (PEPE); 62D: Emmy-winning scientist (NYE); 63D: Cyclades island (IOS).



A Joon Bazoon!
Wow! How the heck he got all those ZZ words to work, sure has me raZZled.
Very snaZZy, I’d say.

Yesterday I said that with clever theme puzzles we often sacrifice good fill. Well today I’m proven wrong on that… today we have great fill.

I always like a puzzle that teaches me something. This one had several new words for me, which always sends me to Wiki after I solve the puzzle just to research the new words. Today it was EZER Weizman, NITA Naldi, and the Cyclades island, EOS.

As a former mathematician, I can appreciate words like radians (RAD). The radian is the standard unit of angular measure, used a lot in mathematics. It describes the plane angle subtended by a circular arc as the length of the arc divided by the radius of the arc.
1 degrees = 0.0174532925 radians (I.e. Pi divided by 180)
You might want to memorize that useful conversion factor.

Now who was NITA Naldi? I think she would definitely be characterized as a “Femme fatale” (MAN EATER).
Here’s a vid clip of Naldi with Rudolph Valentino in “Blood and Sand” (1922). Of course you all remember that movie, right?

I think today I’ll listen to some good smooth-jaZZ (maybe ZZ-Top) while I make some siZZling cinnamon-raisin French TOAST with pure maple syrup. YUMMZZZZ !

Y’all have a sweet Friday!


I take it that @PG doesn't like 1A "Place to get clean" (REHAB), but in view of the big oil cleanup in the gulf, this certainly makes a lot of sense.

David L said...

Once again, the mutant sheep that say 'maa' -- I know you're doing this just to annoy me.

But seriously, this was a nice puzzle. I even learned something -- ASADA means roasted! I mean, I eat ASADA-y entrees fairly often, but never knew what it meant.

Rex Parker said...


BALALAIKA! Could only retrieve BALAKLAVA. Cool word. Thought ICHOR was ICHER. This was a well-above-avg. LAT Fri.

*David* said...

Let's see Friday, check.

LA Times, check.

Add some letters to make a whacky phrase puzzle, check.

ZZZZ-all right, better then most and the clueing was pretty fresh like for HOLA.

Doug P. said...

Like PG said, lots of Z's = super-fun puzzle. And like Rex said, BALALAIKA! I was also thinking BALAKLAVA/BAKLAVA but couldn't figure out how to spell it or fit it into the grid. Excellent puzzle & one of my favorite LAT's from the past few months. And a Hogan's Heroes reference in the blog makes it a perfect Friday. :) Dismissed!

C said...

I'm down with this puzzle. BALA-I still can't spell it is a very cool word. I lost the coin flip and went with the 'V' instead of the correct 'I'.

@PG, I think 'Is down with' is an old-timey way of saying someone is sick with XXXX or HAS XXXX. Dunno, maybe it's all in my head but that's how I interpreted it.

SethG said...

I knew BALALAIKA. I do not know how I knew BALALAIKA.

Some day I won't start with HAIM Weizman, groan because they left off the 'C', then groan again when I switch it to EZER. Today, with about 15 zeds already in place, I...still started with HAIM.

Tinbeni said...

ZZZZZZZZZZZ ... I should have stayed in bed. Geezzzzz !!!

Started with 1a & 1d being Detox and Degs. (degrees). Boy did that take a long time to fix.

DaZZle Earnhardt got me the theme, confirmed by the Late FeZZes. Nice punz.

Had ACT I_ for the longest time. Finally looked up BALALAIKA for the spelling.

I wanted Seed for the Bird feeder. But those bears, URSA, changed that.

Like Seth G., tried to fit Chaim Weizman, ISR 1st Pres. into 55d. Then realized "let the crosses" get it.

The solve came like a slow OOZE.

Any puZZle with the 3 Stooge phrase, NYUK and AREOLAS is acceptable to me.

Good job JOON!
I'll TOAST you at sunset.

I see the toady/sycophant is saying YESES again today.

Sandy said...

I started very confidently. 1A = detox crossing 1D = degs. It is hard to get right when you start so wrong.

Anonymous said...

Oh, show me round your snow peaked
mountain way down south
Take me to you daddy's farm
Let me hear you balalaika's ringing out
Come and keep your comrade warm
I'm back in the USSR
Hey, You don't know how lucky you are, boy
Back in the USSR
Oh, let me tell you honey

Middletown Bomber said...

@davidL Maa sayers are Lambs when they growe up they say Baa.

@PG Ichor See your childrens obbsession with the Percy Jacksonn Books.


How in the heck could you watch the movie "Doctor Zhivago" (the greatest movie of the 20th century) and not know what a BALALAIKA is?

Van55 said...

This one left me a bit cold. I finally (and wrongly) guessed ACTIV for the killing scene.

View from Weed, California is a mensanized clue for SHASTA.

Had SMOG for HAZE for too long.

The clue for the extremely crosswordy ADZ is also mensanized for no apparent reason other than an artificial degree of difficulty.

ZODIAC is a "system"?

Tinbeni said...

I believe the rating of "The Greatest Movie of the 20th Century" is up for debate.

BALALAIKA's never showed up in:
"Gone With The Wind" or "Ben Hur."

The line is:
Back in the US, Back in the US, Back in the USSR ...

*David* said...

This is where JNH gets annoying. Firstly stating what is not agreed upon as the obvious truth and then expecting people to remember items in said debatable movie as a given.

No BALALAIKA is not an obvious answer and even if it was in Citizen Kane which is ranked the #1movie by most movie critics, I still wouldn't know it.

Joon said...

thanks for the kind and not-so-kind words. i didn't think that BALALAIKA would be such a stumbling block, partly because of the beatles song. that, and i also thought the macbeth clue was easier; he kills duncan and becomes king fairly early on, and most of the play deals with how troubled he is by his guilt and how he gets his comeuppance.

jamming ten Zs into a theme is no walk in the park, and i was hoping to avoid fill like ELIZ but was unable to totally do so. thanks, PG, for legitimizing it (people do actually use ELIZ and EDW and the like), but it's still ugly fill. i guess the extra Z in WHIZKID was self-inflicted, but it's so great i couldn't resist, and then when i thought of the clue i was pretty tickled. probably my favorite thing about this puzzle. or maybe 2nd, after the PIZZA->PIZZAZZ find.

john, i don't think PG has a problem with REHAB or the clue. i believe she's making an amy winehouse reference, although that's just an educated guess. i don't know the song but i know i've seen it used to clue REHAB, i think twice.

John Wolfenden said...

Liked this Friday a lot, cool theme and no real clunkers. A few quibbles:

- I don't buy HAS for "Is down with." Being down with something as I've heard it is to like or approve of it.

- Just as I wouldn't like FORDCAR or NOKIAPHONE, STENGUN is a little meh.

This is has been one of the most solid weeks of the LATC I can remember. Let's hope tomorrow keeps it going.

PuzzleGirl said...

@JohnW: I think "Is down with" is fine if you think of it as having an illness (like @C said).

Boss: "Where's Bob today?"
Secretary: "He's down with the flu."

It sounds a bit old-fashioned, but I'm buying it.

I had no idea that word in "Back in the USSR" was BALALAIKA. I don't know what I thought it was. I guess I never really thought about it at all.

@Van55: You use "mensanized" to describe a clue that's not straightforward. I don't think that phenomenon really needs a name. It's just what puzzles are.

Rube said...

A very enjoyable puzzle with an impressive 10 Zs. Not much new here, but well put together. There are a few clunkers like PAWAT and OUTEAT, but they are at a minimum.

I like Lara's Theme and have been to the Russian Tea House where I learned BALALAIKA, (it's spelled like it's pronounced).

This HAS issue makes no sense. He HAS a cold = he's down with a cold.

Have added IOS to my crosswordese list. (Note that Eos is the Greek Goddess of the dawn -- and the name of an AGU publication). While checking my list, remembered that I had forgotten NYE and ENOS.

Seeing SHASTA from Weed is a gimme for Californians. Had MAta Hari for MANEATER and Kona for HILO. Liked the clueing for WALTZ.

Don't really recall EP records. Weren't they the short lived 16-2/3 RPM records with lots of songs per side but poor fidelity? LPs had 5-6 songs per side and 78s & 45s had one, but extended plays? I don't recall.

Tuttle said...

@JNH; I'm pretty sure there was one in the background of a scene in Battleship Potempkin, another candidate for the 20th century's finest film.

Alas, no BALALAIKA in my candidate for the position; Rashomon. Several shamisens though.

JIMMIE said...

Liked your puzzle, Joon, especially the rare ICHOR.

As I recall. the ability to play the BALALAIKA by the young girl palyed by Rita Tushingham was the big clue for demonstrating that she was the daughter of Zhivago. I'm with JNH on this being a great movie.

Sfingi said...

@Wolfenden - agree on STENGUN .


Went from top to bottom, for some reason. Figured it was ZZ from the first, then "add ZZ" by the second. Never heard of ASADA, but it fell right in.

Then I get to the South 4th. Had cOS instead of IOS; InCh instead of ICKY for like OOZE, Each for EENY (choosing word).
Had to Google for the monkey ENOS. This is just one science area I have no interest in. I guess it's a guy thing, heroes and all. Lotsa primates died: Albert I, Albert II, Ham, Mike, Miss Sam, Pat, Sam. Somebody'll say they didn't die. But who knows all these primates? Yet no one cares enough about the sea to "duplicate" the bathyscaphe.

Also Googled for NYE. Didn't know he won an Emmy and thought I was looking for a Chinese name.

Never heard of EPS.

This was a well-constructed piece, just all my questionables were at the bottom. Not hard for Fri.

Does Brothers Karamazov have a BALALAIKA? A huge triangular one?

CrazyCatLady said...

Enjoyed this jazzy puzzle and theme even though it sent me into a tizzy or two. Had Smog for HAZE and Seed for SUET. Didn't know Robert ALDA or EZER Weizman. Forgot NITA Naldi even though I've encountered her numerous times in CWs. Knew what a BALALAIKA looked and sounded like, but I was fuzzy on what it was called. Favorite clues: Skunk Le Pew and America's most wanted.
We are having weird sizzle and drizzle weather here today.
Thanks Joon for a super Friday puzzle.

Rube said...

Wikipedia tells me that the original vinyl EPS were 7" 45s with thinner grooves, played for about 7 minutes per side, and usually contained 2 songs per side.

Anonymous said...

tinbeni -- thanks for correcting my lyrics. i've never actually heard the song, so i wouldn't know how it goes.

seriously, i just cut and pasted in 10 seconds from a random website without any inspection, because i was surprised no one had pointed out the beatles connection. for me the trick was not knowing the instrument's name but how to spell it.

Tinbeni said...

You had the last verse correct.
I was thinking of an earlier stanza.