8.04.2010

W E D N E S D A Y   August 4, 2010
Daniel A. Finan

Theme: Wacky Anagrams — Wacky phrases that consist of "[word] IN [anagram of word]"


Theme answers:
  • 20A: Male goose during hunting season? (GANDER IN DANGER).
  • 25A: Sought-after former football announcer? (MADDEN IN DEMAND).
  • 46A: Fencing implement at the shop? (RAPIER IN REPAIR).
  • 51A: Biblical guy who refused to believe the writing on the wall? (DANIEL IN DENIAL)
Fun theme today! Please enjoy this musical interlude while you read about tennis scores.
  • 6A: __ Mahal (TAJ).



  • 9D: Singer with the Blackhearts (JOAN JETT).

Crosswordese 101: AD IN is shorthand for a particular tennis score. Tennis games are scored in this order: 15-30-40-game. BUT, if both players get to 40, that's called "deuce" and to win the game a player must win the next two points. So let's say I'm serving and the score is deuce. If I win the next point, the score would be (formally) "advantage server" or (informally) "AD IN." If I win the next point, I win the game. If my opponent wins the next point, the score goes back to deuce and we keep going like that until someone wins by two points. In the previous scenario, if my opponent had won the point after deuce, the score would then be "ad out," which also shows up in puzzles occasionally, but not often. AD IN is generally clued as "Server's edge," "Point before 'game,'" "Score just before winning," or 52D: Score after deuce, maybe.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 30D: Video game trailblazer (ATARI).
  • 42D: Shallowest Great Lake (ERIE).
  • 57D: Gillette razor (ATRA).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: OutrĂ© (QUEER); 9A: Door parts (JAMBS); 14A: Dictionary note subject (USAGE); 15A: Brandy letters (VSO); 16A: Drools over, in a way (OGLES); 17A: "Call it __": "No winner" (A DRAW); 18A: S or SE (DIR.); 19A: Netizen who might hear "You've got mail!" (AOL'ER); 23A: Novelist Deighton (LEN); 24A: Small, medium, or large: Abbr. (ADJ.); 33A: Le Pew of skunkdom (PEPE); 34A: Like waitresses: Abbr. (FEM.); 35A: Shocking buildup? (STATIC); 36A: Shangri-las (EDENS); 38A: Purple minus blue (RED); 40A: Bingham of "Baywatch" (TRACI); 41A: Get molars, say (TEETHE); 43A: Shiatsu response (AAH); 45A: "Night at the Museum" creature, for short (T-REX); 49A: Free (of) (RID); 50A: __-El: Superman's birth name (KAL); 59A: Part of HDTV, briefly (HI-DEF); 60A: "South Park" brother (IKE); 61A: Main life line? (AORTA); 62A: "Good __!": Charlie Brownism (GRIEF); 63A: Super __: game console (NES); 64A: Cinemax rival (STARZ); 65A: Baby-sits, e.g. (TENDS); 66A: Jetta fuel (GAS); 67A: English class assignment (ESSAY); 1D: Marsh, for short (QUAG); 2D: Meat pkg. letters (USDA); 3D: Take home (EARN); 4D: "Yikes!" ("EGAD!"); 5D: Fix by fusing, as metal (REWELD); 6D: Swanson product (TV DINNER); 7D: B-boy connection (AS IN); 8D: Hoops legend (JORDAN); 10D: With eager anticipation (AGOG); 11D: Fr. miss (MLLE.); 12D: Cold one, so to speak (BEER); 13D: Ukr., once (SSR); 21D: Snorkeling site (REEF); 22D: Chimes in with (ADDS); 25D: Jason's wife (MEDEA); 26D: "Not __ out of you!" (A PEEP); 27D: Driller's prefix? (DENTI-); 28D: "That is ..." ("I MEAN …"); 29D: Rush Limbaugh ex __ Fitzgerald (MARTA); 31D: More agreeable (NICER); 32D: Early seventh-century year (DCIX); 33D: '80s-'90s tennis star Korda (PETR); 37D: Oater lawmen (SHERIFFS); 39D: What a full moon mitigates (DARKNESS); 44D: Cattle unit (HEAD); 47D: Waiting at a light, say (IDLING); 48D: "The magic word" (PLEASE); 51D: Desperate, as straits (DIRE); 53D: Must have (NEED); 54D: Swedish retail giant (IKEA); 55D: Have-__: the less fortunate (NOTS); 56D: S&L offerings (IRA'S); 57D: Gillette razor (ATRA); 58D: Like a shirker (LAZY); 59D: NBA bio stat (HGT.).

41 comments:

Sfingi said...

The theme was great.

Some of the fill was unfair to oldsters! i think.

Since I didn't know MARTA (Rush Limbaugh's 3rd ex? Really?) TREX from a kid's movie, and TRACI, some Baywatch Bimbo, that little mid-east corner was a washout. Roman numeral could have been 602, 604 or 609.

Another whine - does AGOG mean whatever you wish? The all purpose CW word?

Off the subject, many here were afraid it was the end of reading books when a suburban library (Whitesboro) refused to take any more for their twice yearly book sale. But no! - They want to go over them first for retention or - sale on the internet. This may be a trend.

Gotta get the NYT.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

THIS is a super puzzle!
This week, they seem to be getting better and better in the LAT.
A double anagram theme is in itself difficult to construct, but then to come up with good solid and original fill is pure genius. Oh sure, there’s quite a bit of CW101, but we’d have to expect some of that in any creative puzzle. Nice job, Daniel.

Words I liked: TRACI Bingham (of course), STARZ, “Cold one“ (BEER), Michael JORDAN, John MADDEN, and Swanson’s TV DINNER. For us “couch-potato” guys, they all kind of go together.

Out of curiosity, I did a Google search on the word “ANAGRAM” and it came back with “Did you mean: NAG A RAM”. I just about fell off my chair laughing!

I just knew that Van wouldn’t like this puzzle because of the DCIX thing.
I loved the Superman birth name clue, KAL EL.
But what’s with this “Netizen” (AOLER) thing? What, another crappy Internet word coined?

Yesterday we had a less than poor singer (ALANIS)… today we have a much much NICER one… JOAN JETT & the Blackhearts - “I Love Rock N Roll“

Time for my leftover omelet and some good sweet java!

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@PG
Thanks for explaining the tennis scoring for us in your CW101.
Frankly, the reason I quit playing tennis was because of the esoteric scoring crap: 15-30-40-game, edge, ace, duece, add-in, add-out, 30/love, yada yada... I hated all this!!

wilsch said...

Excellent puzzle. We don't see anagram themes too often. To me, anagrams make for a satisfying solve.

SethG said...

To me, anagrams make for an easy solve.

The moon is a mitigater? REWELD, with no clue to the re-? HGT? Those make for an ugly solve.

Tinbeni said...

I caught on to the anagram theme at
DANIEL IN DENILE.
(I hope he didn't get too wet).

LIked seeing Charlie Brown's "Good GRIEF!"

I agree w/Sfingi. Has anybody heard anyone say:
"I'm AGOG over this or that?"

Had the same problem in the Mid-Atlantic.
Who is this smart MARTA? Like I care who that Rush guy ever married or divorced.
Unlike @JNH, TRACI Bingham is a WTF. Never heard of her either.
T-REX confirmed the RN that could only be 609.

How could I not like a puzzle with cold BEER and some VSO (though I prefer the VSOP).

PuzzleGirl: Excellent tennis scoring explanation.
Always thought why not just use "1, 2, 3, Game."
Instead of that pretentious "15-30-40-Game?"
Which raises the question, is that third point really less important? The first two are worth 15 each, the third only 10. WTF is going on here.

Van55 said...

@jnh "I just knew that Van wouldn’t like this puzzle because of the DCIX thing."

The random Roman numeral does detract from the whole, but doesn't make me hate it this time. At least I didn't have to solve an arithmetic problem to find the answer. Nor did it relate to the most obscure "memorable" date the clue-writer could come up with.

I really liked the double anagram theme. Liked the currency of much of the fill.

Don't know what to think about QUEER for 1A given the controversy over the use of other non-PC words in grids, even if given perfectly PC clues. Well, actually I do know what to think of it for myself -- no problem whatsoever for me.

Van55 said...

Oh, and the puzzle is a pangram, too, if you give bonus points for that.

Tinbeni said...

@Van55
For the pangram do we give it points like in tennis?

Are the points worth 15 or only 10?

Forgot to mention, I thought the clue for RED, Purple minus blue was excellent.

For that Shiatsu response, AAH, I was stuck at first thinking shiatsu was one of those small dogs, hmmm, like a shih tzu. Arrrgg!

a-pat said...

Sfingi, why is guessing that a T-REX would appear in a museum movie unfair to old people? What makes Traci Bingham a bimbo?

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

And I thought shiatsu had something to do with the martial arts, so I wrote in UGH.

Eric said...

I'm not a huge fan of themes. Given that they're there, they can help with the solve, but I wouldn't miss them if they went away. This one was cute though, and fun, and funny -- and it helped with the solve. I quite enjoyed it.

JOAN JETT was a gimme; I liked her first solo album back in the day. So was LEN Deighton; I've never read his fiction, but the non-fiction "Fighter" was excellent. And KAL El and "Good GRIEF" of course.

I, for one, liked the East-central section. I don't mind Roman-numeral clues, as long as they're more than just conversion and arithmetic. A couple of days ago we had the one that required you to know some history. Today, the clue for 32D, "Early seventh-century year", gave you, with a little work, the first two letters, but only a hint to help you get the last two from crosses: they have to be legal in a Roman numeral, and "early" rules out any L's.

I didn't know either MARTA or TRACI, but T_AC_ had to be a name; TRACY or TRACI would work, but Roman-numerality ruled out the Y. That left MAR_A for 29D. Another name: OK, likely MARIA but just possibly MARTA. Then: I'd seen "Night at the Museum" once, but forgotten what sorts of critters came to life. Well, the last letter has to be I, V, or X, and mentally plugging them one after the other into _RE_, T-REX leapt out at me -- as, I suspect, it did at the characters in the movie :-)

So that section required, for me, not just memory but deduction -- kind of like a crossword crossed with a logic problem. Sweet!

Cute clues: "Jetta fuel" -> GAS; "Outré" -> QUEER (nice to see that word reclaimed from its "gay" sense for once).

On the down side: I've never ever seen QUAGmire abbreviated. AD IN was totally over my head -- would have put me "ad out" for sure, were it not for crosses :-) (thx for the explanation, PG). Super NES? If you say so...

John Wolfenden said...

My initial impression was, "How often is a Wednesday puzzle easier than the Tuesday before it?" but then got hung up in a few places. QUAG being short for marsh is a real stretch, and if I never see AOLER again in my life I'll die a happy man.

More crosswordese than Monday or Tuesday, but not a bad puzzle.

Eric said...

@Sfingi: I'd always thought AGOG referred to a facial expression, and by extension to emotional states that might produce it. That would fit the variety of clues we've seen for it. But no; according to dictionary.reference.com:
    (adj) 1. Highly excited by eagerness, curiosity, anticipation, etc.

I was confusing the word with "agape", I think. Maybe that's a common mistake? (Ironically, today's the day it's actually clued correctly :-)) That said, they also give a couple of synonyms:
    Synonyms: 1. awestruck, enthralled.

Without going back to check, I think those fit the other clues we've seen of late. So maybe things aren't quite as bad as they seem...

@SethG: In 5D, the clue to "re-" was "fix" (taken as "repair" instead of "affix", and as opposed to the more generic "join by fusing", say).

@Van55: 1066 CE is hardly obscure; it's one of the key dates in English history: the Norman Conquest. Arguably, it is the key date in the history of the English language. Following the Norman invasion, victory and takeover, more-or-less-German (the language of the locals) and French (the language of the invaders) were rather forcibly introduced to each other, in a mating that ultimately produced the weird hybrid we call English. Were it not for the events of 1066, we'd all be speaking -- and constructing and solving crossword puzzles in -- a very different language. For samples, see the Wikipedia article. For just a quick taste, see The Old English version of the Lord's Prayer, though that's most useful if you already know the Modern English equivalent. For the whole story, check out the TV documentary series The Story of English, or its companion book. (Yet another 150-word drastic oversimplification; I seem to be writing a lot of those of late :-/)

*David* said...

I started off filling in TAJ and JOAN JETT and said hmm this is going to be a puzzle with a lot of Js. TRACI, I could live with I remembered her after getting a couple of letters but MARTA was really an odd one. I thought PETR may be another that people didn't know since he was just below the radar of greatness and played over 20 years ago.

The theme was easy once I knew it was an anagram, those come to me pretty quickly. I also liked the contempory feel to it with Night at the Museum cluing and IKE clued as a South Park character.

backbiter said...

With the exception of TV DINNER (personal bad memories) I really liked this puzzle. On a personal note I'm getting pretty GD'd nauseated at your hatred of tennis scoring!!!! You guys can't possibly be serious. Hey Tinbeni, why not just use 1,2,3 in Football? Why not use 1,2,3 in Golf or Bowling?

SethG said...

What is it that restricts a fusion weld fix to only joints or surfaces that have previously been welded? Can't one repair a surface crack or the like with a fusion weld?

Tuttle said...

You guys can't possibly be serious. Hey Tinbeni, why not just use 1,2,3 in Football? Why not use 1,2,3 in Golf or Bowling?

We use 1, 2, 3 in football... just not American football.

Had a brain fart in regards to ASIN. Wanted it to be a Beastie Boys related answer. MCA is too short, Mike D is too long ... what could it be!?

Only truly weak fill IMO was QUAG. I hate four letter abbreviations for something clued as a five letter word and synonymous with a perfectly acceptable four letter word that's actually part of the abbreviated word that's not used as the abbreviation (mire).

Rube said...

Wasn't overly excited about this puzzle, too many abbreviations. QUAG, of course, led the list of dislikes. However, at the end, I had FE_ for like waitresses and AD_ for small, medium or large. Got them eventually, but didn't know the pop stuff, JOANJETT, TRACI, or MARTA, so had to guess the cross there.

Wanted to put arf for the shiatsu response, but thought I'd better wait. When AAH showed up as my last letter, immediately googled and found out that shiatsu is a Japanese finger massage... my WOTD.

Middletown Bomber said...

@Tuttle actually we do use 1 2 3 in american football
1 point is an extra point via kick
2 points is a extra point run/pass
2 points is a Safty
3 Points is a field goal
3 points is a drop kick through the uprights (hardly ever seen but it is still in the rule book).
@jnh Its A personal oppinion on singers Joan Jett was definately more popular in the day. I had the opportunity to here Joan Jett unplugged and she does have a very nice voice unfortunately most of her recorded work is her screaming lyrics. Also Joan Jett's Acting career was less distinguished I recall a movie with Michael J Fox.

Other than that today was easier than yesterday.

Tinbeni said...

@backbiter
The 1,2,3 system of scoring IS used in football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, bowling, horseshoes etal.

OK, there is the differential between a touchdown (6pts) being worth more than a fieldgoal (3pts) based on the degree of difficulty required to achieve said result but in the end they "add up the points" to determine who is the winner.

I always thought tennis players were about LOVE ...

I'm GD'd pissed off that you have lost your sense of humor!!!

Van55 said...

@Eric The 1066 date of the Battle of Hastings is as firmly etched in my memory as my own birthday. I never said that it is obscure. It was a recent Sunday puzzle in which the random Roman numeral was clued "Twelve years before the Battle of Hastings" (or was it fourteen)? In any event, my objection was to the arithmetic; not to the date.

My gripe was meant to refer, not to the Battle of Hastings date at all, but to totally obscure (to me) Roman dates such as "Second year of Pope Leo II's reign" for example.

C said...

QUAG, a reach at best.

Fun puzzle, different than normal LAT themes but a step down on the difficulty scale.

Al said...

Tennis scoring has its origin in medieval numerology. The number 60 was considered to be a "good" or "complete" number back then, in about the same way you'd consider 100 to be a nice round figure today. The medieval version of tennis, therefore, was based on 60--the four points 15, 30, 45 (which we abbreviate to 40) and 60, or game.

I suspect the reason 45 was reduced to 40 somewhere along the line is because the latter has only two syllables just like 15 and 30 do, and 45 breaks the rhythm with three.

Anonymous said...

Tennis scoring has never made a great deal of sense to me --- so the comments helped!

@John's Never Home: Would you be willing to skip your daily "breakfast report"? I am open to feedback but, really, as far as I can tell, no one cares!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure everyone cares, though, about scotch, (sports), and SSTs.

Eric said...

@Van55: Sorry. I misinterpreted you as listing two bad things that this Roman-numeral clue didn't do, but that a single previous clue had done both of -- and then guessed at which clue that was. Given your clarification, I pretty much agree with you. The exception is that I can live with arithmetic, as long as there's more to the clue than that.

Re. totally obscure dates like popes, etc.: absolutely. But then, what's obscure to you or me is right up somebody's alley. If I saw a clue asking the date of release of the Electric Prunes' "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night", I'd be thrilled, but I'm sure most folks would be totally "WTF". (MCMLXVI, for the record.)

On the other hand, a Roman-numeral clue strikes me as typically being a kludgy workaround for a fill problem. That means that the sequence of letters was totally driven by crosses, and the constructor had to come up with some way of cluing what's essentially a random number; in which case, (famous date + offset) is better than (least-obscure thing that happened in a historically boring year).

In summary, my own opinion (and I understand that yours differs somewhat) is that:
    1. Famous date: Good
    2. Famous date + XII: not quite as good, but acceptable
    3. CCXVI + XII: lame
    4. Totally obscure date (by my own standards of obscurity): $@$#*@
    5. Totally obscure date, but that happens to speak to me: Right f'n on! (if unwise for a general readership; see #4)

Jeff said...

Loved it! Excellent work with a nice theme and smooth fill. I would have loved to see the RRN (random roman numeral) removed, but that might be tough. QUAG though seemed like it was a removable piece of crud fill which wasn't a good trade-off for the Q.

Jeff

jazz said...

---OFF TOPIC---

Did anyone watch the first episodes of Rubicon on AMC? One important discovery was that several of the same fills (FILLMORE, FOURLEAFCLOVER, BICAMERAL), clued differently, appeared in major crosswords worldwide on the same day, as a signal to operatives to take some action. This was ostensibly supposed to be difficult to notice, i.e., it took a major US spy agency and some luck to happen onto it.

I (personally) thought it was lame, and very. First, lots of people do multiple puzzles every day. Something like that (not 1, not 2 but 3 long dupe fills) would be noticed immediately by someone, IMHO. Not very secret.

Second, you've got to get all your worldwide operatives to check answers to their respective crosswords every day (the last time it happened [according to characters in the show] was said to be in the 80's). That's a long time to be checking daily crosswords. And then they've got to be sure they don't miss one of their code words. Not very reliable.

Third, you've got to buy off a lot of editors somehow, and insert your puzzle at the last minute for the one they would otherwise run. Messy.

And so on and on. Anyone else share my opinion?

jazz said...

Oh, but easy but nice puzzle today. The anagrams made it easy, I thought. Would have liked to see more fill longer than 5 chars. Seemed like a lot of the shorties were blah.

Liked TVDINNERS, TEETHE, JAMBS.

Not so hot: HGT, TREX, DCIX, MARTA, QUAG.

Thanks for the writeup, PG, and be well, all!

Tinbeni said...

@Jazz
I try to do the LAT & NYT every day.

I watched the AMC Rubicon and liked the crossword tie-in (shout-out to us solvers) but thought it was lame for same reason you stated above.

Now if I see three long answers in both the LAT & NYT clued just a bit different I'll replenish my Hurricane supplies for the chaos about to arrive.

As for the RRN, like most of the crosswordese, they are here to stay. The only good thing about them is if a puzzle has one ... it only has ONE!
But they are fun to blitch about.

I surmise todays DCIX (for the "X")and QUAG (to support the "Q" from queer, and the theme was already determined) were in the grid to get the (not important) pangram.

Zeke said...

If anyone out there is searching for the specific gene which is responsible for determining whether or not a person finds anagrams interesting, I am offering my genetic code as a baseline for those who don't. PG knows where to find me.
Nice enough puzzle, themes are necessary I guess.

Van55 said...

@Eric -- in that case we can pretty much agree to...

agree!

In the case of today's random Roman numeral, it's pretty inoffensive as it is clued straight-forwardly, the first two letters of the answer are gimmees and the last two are easily gettable. It didn't come close to spoiling the puzzle for me.

JIMMIE said...

Hey! QUAG is a perfectly good word in itself, not an abbreviation, according to my unabridged Webster's.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@John Lampkin
Thanks for your support.
I usually pay no attention to the Anonymous commenters. I figure if they have something worthwhile to say, they could at least sign their comment.
-John Hagstrom

Burner 10 said...

Fun puzzle and fun blog. Don't know what I enjoyed the most - I'm leaning toward @AI comments on tennis scoring and the preceding snipes, however the roman numeral thread is a close II - all this and an anagram -wow.

HUTCH said...

Got the puzzle with two G's for Marta and Joan[not John] jett. Love the comments! You all should have a convention. I'll come if invited.

Anonymous said...

A nubie here...I don't understand the relationship between LAZY and the anagram theme. Could someone please help me out?

Anonymous said...

Tennis scoring is no more or, no less hard to understand than many other sports with the exception of the 1,2,3 sports i.e. soccer, baseball and hockey.

But while these sports offer simple score counting they also have more subjective and less definable penalties and rules; infield fly rules & balks (not to mention balls and called strikes), high sticking, checking and "fighting" (isn't it always a fight when you hit someone?), tackling, high kicking, yellow cards/red cards???

If you play, or care about the game that is being played you will learn the scoring methods and rules. If not it seems you will come to a crossword blog and bitch about them.

Jabba said...

wUH

PuzzleGirl said...

@Anon9:34: Do you mean why the word LAZY is highlighted in the grid? Answer is in The FAQ.