W E D N E S D A Y   August 18, 2010
Dan Naddor

[I'm having some technical difficulties this morning. This is all I can do for now. Will try to get an actual write-up posted later this afternoon.]

Theme answers:
  • 16A: Some den boxes (CABLE CONVERTERS).
  • 22A: Hookups to many electronic devices (POWER ADAPTORS).
  • 35A: Jacob Riis et al. (SOCIAL REFORMERS).
  • 44A: Currency pros (MONEY CHANGERS).
  • 55A: Insurance investigators (CLAIMS ADJUSTERS).
Crosswordese 101: I know we've talked briefly about OBIES before, but today I want to give this word its day in the CW101 sun. OBIES, or Off-Broadway Theater Awards, are presented annually by the Village Voice, a New York weekly newspaper that I always think of as "alternative," though I'm not entirely sure what that means. OBIES are generally clued as "Village Voice awards," "Theater awards," "Tony's cousins," or 45D: Big Apple awards.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 19A: Mimi's "mine" (À MOI).
  • 52D: Airline to Tel Aviv (EL AL).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]


Rex Parker said...

Liked this one OK, though "REFORMERS" didn't quite seem to fit with the others. Was quite sure at first that the fourth theme answer was MONEY MANAGERS (CHANGERS are "pros"???).

Nice clue on PACMAN.


Tinbeni said...

Saw it was a Dan Naddor, anticipated the puns, which probably slowed me down a bit. (Damn, that was A DAB, like the old Brylcreem ads said: "A little Dab will do ya!").

Caught on to the theme at POWER ADAPTORS.
Five good ones from Dan seemed about right.
Learned about a SOCIAL REFORMER, Riis, always a plus.

Any puzzle with Alley OOP is OK by me.
AMONGST, another fave. I just like the way it sounds.
Queen of Mean, LEONA crossing HOJOS, now that just doesn't seem right.
Also liked seeing the "Big KAHUNA."

The PACMAN / LOSERS stack was great, you're not ever leaving the game a winner (check wallet).

All-in-all, a FUN Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

@rex Reformers make changes too. And it's currency pros, not financial pros. They change your money when you're going to a different country, right!
Like THOR & AXED in close proximity. Great theme.

Anonymous said...

MONEYCHANGERS were pros, maybe a thousand years ago. The last time money changers was a profession was back in medieval days, they morphed into bankers. Mostly they were crooks, so they probably morphed into a variety of modern day crooks, bankers, arbitrageurs, etc.

Wade said...

I don't do this puzzle often--maybe twice before--because the online solving program thing drives me nuts. Same deal with the Onion puzzle. I grew up on AcrossLite, and using another program (is it called "the applet," or is that just a word that means . . . something else?) is like trying to understand Glaswegian: you can do it, sort of, if you concentrate really hard, but you feel so brutalized by the process that you don't really get any joy out of the conversation. (Is AcrossLite v. the applet common chatboard stuff, like New York v. L.A. in standup? If so, I don't think I've ever seen a riff on it.)

Anydamnhow, I think I can see how the applet (is it with a "the"?) could be preferable to AcrossLite, and I really liked this particular puzzle, mostly because of "scrimmage," a word I have always liked and always wished had a more useful meaning or lent itself to broader metaphorical application. It's a beautiful word. Sometimes I pronounce it sort of like the way irritating non-French people pronounce the French word for cheese.

Oh, and great write-up, Puzzlegirl. For when you, you know, get a write-up done.

Van55 said...

I think it was Zeke who pointed out that evaluating crosswords is far more than counting up 3 letter crap and giving a failing grade when you get to five. He's right, of course. But when the constructor has to resort to entries such as STS, SSNS,, MCCI, SYSTS and YRS (yes, that's five), the theme and other entries had better be damned good to justify them. This one didn't cut it for me. Way substandard for a puzzle by the late, great Dan Naddor. I was hoping the LAT was saving the best of his posthumous entries for last. Looks like I hoped in vain.

CrazyCatLady said...

Every time I see Dan Naddor's name, I think his puzzles must be getting RARER and RARER. I liked this one just fine especially DEEP SIXED and SCRIMMAGE. Wow, LEONA Helmsley - I had forgotten about her. She was a nasty woman. As soon as I saw SSNS, I thought "OOH we're going to hear about this from @Van55." I think we all have our particular CW bug-a-boos. Mine are A words and Roman numerals. POOFS and PACMAN were cute too.
Fun, breezy Wed. puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Can you explain why the puzzles posted here (on Sunday) have been different than the ones in my last two Sunday L.A. Times

Sfingi said...

@CrazyCat - you're going to hear from me about the dreaded SSNS and from @Vans about the Roman numerals.

@Rex - I definitely thought of Matthew 21:12, the MONEYCHANGERS in the cleansing of temple and the tables being pushed over - before Jesus learned to control his testosterone, I guess.

And, for me, DEEPSIX refers to being buried, six feet under; whereas, it's "Full fathom five my father lies." S. Tempest, I-ii.

A smooth and easy Dan Naddor, may he rest in peace.

Rex Parker said...

@Wade, you know that you can do the LAT in AcrossLite...? I do. I wouldn't use the applet if you paid me. Well, if you paid me a Lot, maybe. Just go get Boisvert's Crossword Butler and then pick the puzzles you want downloaded to your desktop, in .puz format, every time they come out, and voila.


Doug P. said...

@Anonymous 10:52 - The syndicated LA Times Sunday puzzle edited by Rich Norris doesn't appear in the LA Times. (Yes, I know it doesn't make any sense.) The LA Times runs puzzles by Merl Reagle and/or Sylvia Bursztyn on Sundays & those are covered on the blog.

Interesting theme today. I never would have thought to use "CONVERTER" synonyms for a theme, but Dan pulled it off nicely.


I was always a big fan of Dan Naddor and thought his puzzles were great. Today I could make a list of tired out old crosswordese (and there’s quite a bunch), but I won’t. Instead I’ll focus on all the cool words, like: PACMAN, DEEP-SIXED, POOFS, YODA, KAHUNA, ABRA Kadabra, HOJOS, and Alley OOP… oh the memories!

Remember when you traveled in the old days (before the Golden Arches) and looked for those nice orange-roofed restaurants on the road called Howard Johnson’s, later to be called HOJOS? Pure comfort food… and you actually sat down to eat your meal.

One of my favorite songs:
"Weird Al" Yankovic singing YODA to the tune of Lola.
Oh, why couldn’t we have more wise leaders today like YODA?

43D “Dorothy Gale’s state” (KAN)
Dorothy Gale is a fictional character, the protagonist of many of the Oz novels by American author L. Frank Baum, and the best friend of Oz's ruler Princess Ozma. Dorothy first appears in Baum's classic children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and reappears in most of its sequels. She also is the main character in the classic 1939 movie adaptation of the book. The name of the character comes from Baum's own niece, Dorothy Louise Gage, who died when she was an infant. Baum's wife was deeply attached to the little girl and deeply grieved by her death, so he inserted her into his story as a memoriam. ~Wikipedia
What makes Dorothy Gage so interesting to me is that I just photographed her grave in Evergreen Cemetery in Bloomington, IL as part of my Route 66 history research. Her grave is surrounded with a special memorial and scores of tiny little baby graves.

I had SCRIBBAGE instead of SCRIMMAGE… goes to show you how much I’m into football. Well hey, SRIBBAGE is a super game and it’s played in a grid, so it makes more sense to me. Besides, where the heck did the stupid word SCRIMMAGE come from?

Okay guys, be honest, how many of you sexist males filled in HIM for 33D instead of HER Royal Highness (H.R.H.)?

The only ugly word I found in this puzzle was 50D (SYSTS) for “Handicapper’s methods: Abbr.”

@Sfingi I too thought of Matthew 21:12 right away when I saw 44A.

Now, when I come back in a future life, I want to be the boyfriend of that cute little Meg RYAN…. I love her movies (especially “You‘ve Got Mail”). I do cringe however, every time I hear that malapropism.

Okay, I’m outta here. POOFS !hationce

CrazyCatLady said...

@JNH, That's interesting about Dorothy Gale. L. Frank BAUM was in the NYT puzzle today clued as Toto's creator. One of his sons, Robert Baum was a successful citrus rancher here in town and in the 1940s moved to a beautiful prairie style home a few blocks from where I live and just a few blocks south of Rte. 66. It still has an air of fantasy about it with many animal topiaries, a waterfall and koi pond.

Anonymous said...

It comes from skirmish.

Lotta essays today...

mac said...

Nice puzzle, interesting how many synonyms there are. Thought of pssss instead, but poof is really funny. Plenty of sparkly words, but also some REAL crosswordese.

The first time I ate at HoJo's was on my honeymoon, just over for the wedding from London, and I was made to eat a clam roll. I didn't have a problem with that at all.

Sfingi said...

@CrazyCat - Apparently Baum's kid moved away from Upstate NY. Go figure.

CrazyCatLady said...

@Sfingi -Yes, I believe he went to Cornell. L. Frank built a house in Hollywood in the early 1900s with a wonderful garden and his kids followed him out here.

Favorite PA Turnpike HOJOS childhood food combo - cheeseburger, fries and a *real* chocolate shake.

ddbmc said...

@JNH, enjoyed your Frank Baum story. Sure is better than hearing about Snooki's 'POOF' on that damn train wreck of a show, Jersey "Snore." I would have no problem if the show were AXED or DEEP SIXED. Would the CLAIMS ADJUSTERS have to come out, then? I guess I could just unplug my POWER ADAPTERS, and then I wouldn't hear anymore sound bites about those nitwits! In these parts, the TART and her entourage are always on the news. They are a cottage industry for Seaside Heights! Don't think they'll be earning any OBIES soon.
I know. I'm sounding like a MEMBER of the SOCIAL REFORMERS...
Nice to see another Naddor, tho. How many are left?
Ymmm. Burgers and Shakes at HO JO's! Now that is a fine memory.