9.03.2010

F R I D A Y   September 3, 2010
Anthony J. Salvia

Theme: Identity Theft — Theme answers are familiar phrases with the letter string ID removed, thus requiring wacky clues.


Theme answers:
  • 17A: Like a dialect coach? (ACCENT PRONE). [accident prone]
  • 53A: Answer from LL Cool J? (RAP RESPONSE). [rapid response]
  • 11D: Christmas? (PRESENTS DAY). [Presidents Day]
  • 25D: Herbivorous reptiles? (FLORA GATORS). [Florida Gators]
  • 36A: Web danger, and a hint to this puzzle's theme (ID THEFT).
Before we get started today, I just want to say that I've noticed a few people venturing out of lurkdom recently and I want you to know I appreciate you! It's always a pleasure to hear new voices chiming in — so thank you!

Now this kinda theme right here? This is what I'm talking about. It's not just random "add this letter" or "remove that letter" — the letter removal actually has a point. The letters ID have been stolen, see? The phrase is "identity theft" and ID has been stolen. Mad props to Mr. Salvia for a clever theme that makes sense. (Do you think he knows his last name anagrams to "saliva"? Yeah, you're right. He probably does.)

Couple things I didn't know in this puzzle:
  • 6A: 1990s-2000s Irish leader Bertie (AHERN).
  • 50A: Titania's consort (OBERON).
  • 28A: Whalebone (BALEEN).
I feel a little bad about not knowing OBERON. Seems like something I should know. The others though? I'm gonna let myself off the hook for those.

More:
  • 30A: New York home of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (TROY). I did know this one. RPI is, of course, the alma mater of one Tyler Hinman who just happens to have a redesigned blog these days. Speaking of Tyler, if you haven't seen the documentary "Wordplay" yet, you really should rent it or put it in your queue or whatever it is people do with movies these days. I watched it again last weekend and it gets better every time.
  • 42A: Key of Mozart's Symphony No. 40 (G MINOR). The thing to remember about musical keys is that (1) the first letter can only be A–G and (2) the rest of the entry will follow the pattern M**OR because it has to be either MAJOR or MINOR. So even if you don't know the key of the piece of music in question (and really, who does?) you can definitely fill in three of the letters and have a pretty good head start on one other.
  • 3D: Slicker (MAC). Hmmm. Both MAC and 6D: Record label launched in 1968 (APPLE) in the puzzle today. Subliminal advertising?
  • 4D: Performer with five #1 hits in his first year on the Billboard charts (PRESLEY). Me while solving: "Why won't ELVIS fit?"
  • 29D: A or Ray (AL'ER). Thank you all for being so nice yesterday about my spectacular bungling of the Major League Baseball division explanation yesterday. Central! Ack!
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 62A: They're heavier than foils (ÉPÉES).
  • 9D: Toon dog (REN).
  • 31D: City SE of Cherbourg (ST.-LÔ).
  • 46D: Cigna competitor (AETNA).
  • 50D: Boy with a fishing pole in a '60s sitcom title screen (OPIE).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: What some sirens do (TEMPT); 11A: Pres. counterparts (PM'S); 14A: It may be blank (STARE); 15A: Food processor setting (PUREE); 16A: Outback critter (ROO); 19A: End of an academic address (EDU); 20A: Periods (SPELLS); 21A: Amount-and-interval numbers (DOSES); 23A: Not connected (OFFLINE); 26A: Reel art (CINEMA); 27A: Knack (TALENT); 31A: Three-time French Open champion (SELES); 32A: Its symbol is Sn (TIN); 35A: Musical knack (EAR); 38A: Murcia Mrs. (SRA.); 39A: Nutritional stat (RDA); 40A: Like some panels (SOLAR); 41A: Genesis locale (EDEN); 44A: Where the Maine sank (HAVANA); 46A: Expects (AWAITS); 48A: Consequences of an all-nighter (RED EYES); 49A: Obsess (EAT AT); 52A: General on a menu (TSO); 58A: Where Nina Totenberg reports (NPR); 59A: Inuit for "women's boat" (UMIAK); 60A: Gives some TLC to, with "in" (TUCKS); 61A: Doofus (ASS); 63A: Source of brown fur (STOAT); 1D: Airport safety org. (TSA); 2D: Last letters on some lists (ETC.); 5D: One at the edge of the gutter (TEN PIN); 7D: Pitch (HURL); 8D: Lover of Psyche (EROS); 10D: Most impoverished (NEEDIEST); 12D: Cable __ (MODEM); 13D: "Semper Fidelis" composer (SOUSA); 18D: It may pop up in a clearing (TENT); 22D: Vending machine insert (ONE); 23D: Fish-eating mammal (OTTER); 24D: Capacitance unit (FARAD); 26D: Bass symbol (CLEF); 28D: Joy of "The View" (BEHAR); 33D: Papas of "Zorba the Greek" (IRENE); 34D: Family matriarchs (NANAS); 36D: "For real?" ("IS IT TRUE?"); 37D: Oxford fellows (DONS); 41D: Become balanced (EVEN OUT); 43D: Athletes for Hope co-founder Hamm (MIA); 44D: Word on a towel (HERS); 45D: Embraces (ADOPTS); 47D: Mud daubers, e.g. (WASPS); 48D: Smells (REEKS); 51D: Highlands hillside (BRAE); 54D: Rock concert fixture (AMP); 55D: U.S. Army E-6, e.g. (NCO); 56D: Jamaican genre (SKA); 57D: Phila. setting (EST).

33 comments:

wilsch said...

I did this puzzle very early today. The dogs got me up at 5 am (EDT), so I read the Paper (Reading Times (PA), and did the puzzle by the time I Had my first cup of coffee before I let the chickens out at 6 am. Great theme. Pretty easy for a Friday. BALEEN is new to me; I got it from the crosses.

Al said...

About the six-letter musical key comment, you do have to watch out for A-G SHARP instead of MAJOR or MINOR, so don't be too hasty filling in partial letters without some crosses...

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

A pretty nice puzzle, but I solved it too fast for a Friday morning... maybe I had too much coffee. The theme was fun and I enjoyed learning about all the new words... for me it was OBERON, UMIAK and AHERN. I love seeing new words in a puzzle. It sort off makes the puzzle EVEN OUT if there's some crappt fill.

I sure struggled with trying to make BEHAR into one of the theme words (BIDEHAR, BEHIDAR... duh!), because I thought all themes had to have symmetry, then I realized that the ID THEFT was not a theme word in itself, but rather a reveal word and so that rule doesn't apply here.

Here's a great clip of Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in GMINOR played on my favorite musical instruments.

I really appreciated Puzzlegirl's explanation of those _MINOR/_MAJOR entries. That's the kind of logic stuff that helps us get through those "sticky wickets".

BTW, to smooth over @PG's thing about Salvia:
It so happens that Salvia is one of the most beautiful of flowers and it's considered a very low-maintenance plant to use in your garden.

Nate said...

Great Commentary today PG! I thoroughly enjoyed it as well as the puzzle even if I didnt get the theme until the 4th Theme answer. Just backin' into it on a Friday. Happy Labor Day to all!...Nate

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Forgot to add this for Tony---
SALVIA

Thanks Tony, that was a super puzzle!

Y'all have a wonderful and safe weekend... Happy Labor Day!

Van55 said...

This is the best LAT puzzle of the week so far. Enjoyed it.

Sandy said...

Don't sweat the baseball stuff, PG. In CrossWorld, there are only two leagues.

cw stewart said...

Clever puzzle, Anthony. Enjoyed it! Like that you told us what was stolen.

Scully2066 said...

Wow - I really struggled today - not focusing well and was getting discouraged but kept going and was so delighted with the theme. It really worth the effort - learned a few new things like UMIAK and HAVANNA and really liked MAC and CINEMA - very clever clues - Everyone have a great long weekend! Thanks PG!

Lime D. Zeze said...

Does SKA qualify as crosswordese yet? It seems like I'm seeing it more and more lately in different puzzles. Big fan of early Jamaican ska!

*David* said...

I found this puzzle relatively easy for a Friday except for the NW where I spent as much time as the rest of the puzzle. I got the theme before I got any of the theme answers.

My problems were I put SLATE instead of STARE and had OHERN instead of AHERN. I finally broke through with MAC and then TEMPT. Quite frustrating when everything else moved nicely but there you go with some mistakes, the unravelling becomes all that more difficult.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

In the clue for 1A shouldn't "sirens" be capitalized?
Seems that it should, when used in the Greek mythology sense (the tempters) and not describing a warning device.

hazel said...

Cool puzzle. Liked its sense of purpose too.

Love to kayak (palindrome!), which it turns out means "man's boat" (at least at Wikipedia). Had never heard of an UMIAK. Nice word. Hope I can remember it.

Rube said...

Wow, 11 posts and no-one's picking any nits, (so far). This has to be one well constructed puzzle. Aw, I can't let this pass. As I've said in the past, I really dislike EATAT. However, after one or two more appearances of this most repulsive ugly fill, and I may have to get used to it.

Great puzzle! FLORA GATORS... what a concept. This is where I got the theme.

I've seen OPIE so often in puzzles that I had to investigate. The Andy Griffith Show, eh? I guess that there is a subset of us solvers who work with the handicap of never watching sitcoms.

AHERN and BEHAR were new to me.

Tuttle said...

JNH; there's also the sense of "seductive woman" for 'siren' that, unlike the proper noun for the mythological creatures, doesn't require capitalization and could fit the clue.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

I don't think I've ever referred to a seductive woman as a "siren" before.

Tinbeni said...

@JNH
When I saw "What some sirens do" my thought process ran to "make me happy!" (damn, it wouldn't fit).

Tight themes and reveal. Good job Mr. Salvia.
Nice FUN Friday.

Was working on some Tax stuff, up very late into the night, so RED EYES and TIN felt like a personal reference.

Ahhh, my favorite ST LO is back.

A's lose 4 to the Yankee's, Ray's are still lurking.
The AL EAST is fun to watch as my local team tries to beat out my favorite team.

BALEEN was a gimmie, but that Irish leader, AHERN, and "women's boat" UMIAK were new. Always a good thing.

Anonymous said...

"Puree" (15 across) is for blenders; I had "pulse" for the longest time, which took me the wrong way. "Pulse" is for food processors. Otherwise, it WAS quick for a Friday.

Anonymous said...

No one has commented on the recurring letters "pres" Presley, Presents day, ra-pres-ponse.

CrazyCatLady said...

I had a tough time getting started since I had TEASE instead of TEMPT and SLATE instead of STARE. I also had PULSE instead of PUREE. Hopped around quite a bit, but finally finished. Enjoyed the puzzle and the theme. BALEEN was a gimme for me too since my kids studied whales in elementary school, before going on a whale watching field trip. I'm a big fan of Joy BEHAR. I usually have The View on while I'm solving. She's a funny lady.
@JNH - I have lots of different salivias in my garden. They grow like weeds here.

*David* said...

@Anon re the "pres" commection we were actually waiting for you to bring it up, thanks and keep up the good work.

CrazyCatLady said...

salvias

Anonymous said...

Nice, solid puzzle. I much prefer being too easy to less solid.

Nice Cuppa said...

Nice?? Gr....!!!!

Since Kazie criticized me yesterday for being "pissed off" (I only titled my comments "Dammit I'm mad!" because it was the only vaguely appropriate palindrome I could come up with at short notice. To avoid further confusion, hint: ignore the punctuation in today's title) I thought I'd just make a few upbeatish comment today. Maybe not.

"After the Lord Mayor's show..." was my major impression, following yesterday's collective euphoria. Much too easy for a Friday. Now I will have to return to my day-job for the rest of the day.

It's a pity Bertie** AHERN (6A), the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister*** - see 11A) from 1997-2008, was unknown to so many of you. He was cosignatory to the "Good Friday" agreement of 1998, the first serious peace accord between "all parties" - i.e., the Irish and British governments and the major political parties of Northern Ireland, including Sinn Fein - which is widely believed to have been the "beginning of the end" of the sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland ("The Troubles"). Growing up in England in the 1970s, I thought that the "Northern Ireland problem" and the Soviet Union would be with us forever. Happily, both have gone.

** How many Berties do you know? Not a common name these days - pet form of Robert I thought. Bertie (pet form of Bertram in this case) Wooster was the only one that came to my mind - albeit fictional and dated, though the humor is not.

Google informed me of Bertie County in North Carolina - I wonder how many Berties live there?

"Ah yes, that's Bertie from Bertie, don't you know..."

And then there's a Bertie Higgins from Florida, some singer I had not heard of.

***"Counterpart" is only partially correct, since a Prime Minister is the Leader of the Government but not the Head of State. In Britain, it's considered OK, nay one's duty, to be a rude as possible about the former; but it's very poor form, nay treasonable, to criticize the latter (that's the Queen).

Some Brit-speak/themes:

"Mac" as a raincoat (after the Scottish Inventor, Charles Macintosh". I did not think "Mac" in this sense was known over here. "slicker" is not known over there, or here, it seems."

The Beatles' Apple record label - famous, I thought, until today (was a clue to Apple computers vetoed here despite the thematic connection as well as the Mac in 3D).

For 5D (one at the edge of the gutter) I had ....IN and wrote in URCHIN, before realizing that neither sense of "Siren" was likely to end in U.

18D. One of the American great living poets, Dick Allen, wrote "Tone Poem In A Small Forest Clearing"

24D. It seems everyone loves TESLA, but nice to see Michael Faraday (you might remember the Faraday Cage - "no charge on the inside of a hollow conductor" - one of those ditties that stuck from my High School Physics lessons) getting a look-in.

26A. I Iiked "reel art" - had to go fishing for that one...

25D The only answer I did not like was "FLORA GATORS", although it does sound like the name of a Northern lass I once went out with (=dated).

Finally, talking of "BRAE" (51D), that standard filler, there is one obscure connection in this crossword. "REEKS" (48A) is also a term for mountains (translated as "stacks") in the Irish range, "MacGillycuddy's Reeks". They are in County Kerry, near Killarney. Not a lot of people know that.

Sfingi said...

@PuzzleGirl - Thanx for explaining ALER.

A cute puzzle.

I had to Google AHERN, or I wouldn't have been able to decide between EROS or AmOr. (Just tell me Latin or Greek.) Some strange titles these Irish politicians have: Taoiseach, Teachta Dala, Tanaiste. I can't even remember them from here to there.

Also Googled the mud dauber WASP, and the G of GMINOR.
I wanted "fell in" for TENPIN, but it didn't fit.

Now, is the coach ACCENTPRONE, or the student? Hmm.

RPI, My non-German grampa's Alma Mater, '09. That's 1909. No one showed at the 100th. Gramdma went to Emma Willard where she learned to paint pottery. I spent my Freshman year at Russell Sage, and my ancestor Abraham Lansingh was a founder, so naturally Troy is part of my personal geography.
Several films were made there, maybe because of the many ORIELS such as show up in CWs: The Age of Innocence, Bostonians, Ironweed, Scent of a Woman, and more.

For OBERON, there's also the actress, Merle, who tried to pass herself off as Oriental.
But mostly, the ballad, "From Oberon in Fairyland, and Shaks, Midsummer Night's Dream.

As someone whose main license plate reads OCDOCD, obsessions do not EATAT us. They are our buddies.
That we can't shake.

This is still the Summer from Hell. Hurry storm!

Here's a cute STOAT, just being himself STOAT

Eric said...

A big fat DNF. I made the mistake of doing the puzzle last night, when I really needed to get to bed and so was both tired and impatient. But I suspect it would have been a DNF today too.

AHERN and FARAD were gimmes. BEHAR and UMIAK were new.

I know of BALEEN, but had CORSET :-) I didn't know that "whalebone" referred to baleen; I thought it meant, like, bones from whales. Go figure. I now read that whalebone isn't even made of bone, but of keratin (same protein as hair, fingernails, etc.).

Also, I had FATIGUE for RED EYES. Well, it fits!

@Nice Cuppa: You beat me to the punch on AHERN -- and explained things better than I would have done.

@Al: There's still a MAJOR or MINOR, isn't there? I.e. it'd still be A-SHARP MAJOR (or B-FLAT MAJOR). Or are you saying that constructors cheat and leave that off?

"Rock concert fixture" -> AMP: too true!

xxpossum said...

Hey,Pzl Grl!!Can forgive ya for OBERON and AHERN, but BALEEN? C'mon,dude!!!!!

syndy said...

Had trouble with Baleen-now if they had asked for whale teeth! Yes Irish is indeed unfamiliar to mort of us having been outlawed by the English for so very long.and heres to Bertie Ahern, Lovely puzzle-would a fumigator be one that lived on mists?

backbiter said...

I liked this puzzle a lot. New word for me is umiak. Anytime I have to look up an unfamiliar definition is okay in my book. 7D Pitch: Just once I'd like the clue to read 'Puke'. Nice review as usual PG with one minor nitpick. "So even if you don't know the key of the piece of music in question (and really, who does?) ...." Um, I would. I took a very mild offense at that. "(and really, most don't)..." would have been better. My favorite clue/answer 5D: One at the edge of the gutter A: Tenpin - DOH! I had crackheads, winos, bums and hookers swimming through my head. Speaking of the gutter I'm going there now. I would have clued 5A as 'Lunatic producer,e.g.' And while I can't say what my answer would have been for 63A, I can say the first two letters of my answer are identical to the first two in the answer of 15A.

Well, okay, have a happy three day weekend and don't show up to work Tuesday with RED EYES. Ah, hell, do it anyway. Enjoy and Cheers!

Nice Cuppa said...

@CIndy

Nice one. Best I could come up with were:

aggregator - works on a farm
irrigator - works at a Factory Outlet store
delegator - breaks limbs in one bite
tailgaitor - tells stories
interrogator - tells scary stories
propagator - the Real McCayman
investigator - party animal
mitigator - prefers diamonds (or day-dreaming)
navigator - lives in canals

Anonymous said...

@PG

Have you posted your unpublished grid anywhere so that we could take a hack at it? I'd be interested in how you avoided the three-letter fill and the
"desperation" words.

choirwriter said...

@John - if there is anyone who did not click on your Mozart symphony link, they missed a great one! How the heck did that guy do that? I can't imagine how long it took him to set that up. Go back up to the top and give it a click, y'all!
Can't wait to show that one to my students next week. Oh, yippee - school is starting up again. No more leisurely mornings with my cuppa coffee and the LA Times crossword. *sniff*

badrog said...

Re the keys of musical compostions, I've learned not to assume it's major or minor until I've got the M, O, or R. Composers, performers, afficionados, publishers, and recording packagers may always use major/minor as part of the key signature, but CW constructors do not. For some, misdirection is part of the process, as in C SHARP. I especially enjoy finding cases where one such intentional misdirection fits with another, and I find myself stumped for a while.

FWIW, umiak occasionally appears as oomiak.