F R I D A Y   October 15, 2010
Kelsey Blakley

Theme: What the L? — An "L" is added before the "Y" in words ending in "Y," and wackiness ensues.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Mentioned with a yawn? (DULLY NOTED)
  • 23A: Tightfistedness scale? (MISERLY INDEX)
  • 53A: Like a centaur? (PARTLY ANIMAL)
  • 64A: Old enough to know better? (HARDLY BOYS)
Howdy, fellow cruciverbalists. Doug here, pinch-hitting for PuzzleGirl on a Friday. Speaking of hitting, Kelsey Blakley knocked one out of the park! Today's puzzle is excellent. Lots of fun from top to bottom. We've all seen add-a-letter puzzles before. I've constructed quite a few of them myself. Now to make an add-a-letter theme really shine, the constructor has to create phrases that can be clued in clever and surprising ways. I thought the first two theme entries were OK--cute and not terribly memorable. But the last two are just awesome. "Like a centaur?" sounds like the title for a creepier-than-usual Madonna video. And HARDLY BOYS for "Old enough to know better?" is the icing on the cake. Plenty of good stuff in the fill too. Let's look at some highlights:

  • 1A: A popular one is modeled after the Winchester rifle (BBGUN). Nice entry and clue to kick off the puzzle. Clumps of consonants like "BBG" are great for making the solver think he or she has written in something wrong.
    • 21A: Like jellybeans (OVOID). Boring entry saved by a tasty clue.
    • 33A: Lollipop-licking cop (KOJAK). I don't have much of anything to say about the show, as it was a little before my time, but that's one cool-looking grid entry with the J and double K.
    • 43A: Contest entry (ESSAY). I got the initial E and confidently put in ENTRY. Genius.
    • 51A: Battle preparation place, in metaphor (WARPATH). From "on the warpath" I presume. Clever clue. At first, I thought it might be WARROOM, but I couldn't jibe that with the "metaphor" part of the clue.
    • 4D: Black light, briefly (UVLAMP). When I was a kid, I begged my parents for a black light. I thought it would be the coolest thing to buy a couple of those trippy black light posters they sold in comics books. My mom's exact quote: "You're not ordering a bunch of crap from a comic book." Well, I showed her. When I got to college I finally sent away for the x-ray glasses!
    • 8D: Tip of Massachusetts (ONEILL). I figured it was one of those capes (Cod, Ann, May?) but of course none of them fit. I've never been great with East Coast geography. I've only lived in the "big states" out West. You could drop Delaware or Rhode Island into Eastern Montana and nobody but the cows would notice.
    • 27D: God wounded by Diomedes in the "Iliad" (ARES). I love mythology clues. Wounding the God of War? That's hardcore! Brush up on your ARES with this Crosswordese 101 entry.
    • 50D: Home to many Berbers (SAHARA). I misread the clue as "Home to many Biebers" and thought "Oh my god, there's more than one of him!"
    That's all for today, folks. I hope you enjoyed the puzzle as much as I did.

    [Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

    Everything Else — 6A: Three-time A.L. MVP (AROD); 10A: Narcissist's obsession (SELF); 14A: Oil source (OLIVE); 15A: __ fide (BONA); 16A: Gin flavoring (SLOE); 19A: Inn group member (MAID); 20A: __ trap (SETA); 22A: Memo header (INRE); 26A: Swiffer WetJet, e.g. (DAMPMOP); 29A: Bereft (LORN); 30A: Jupiter, for one (ORB); 31A: Allen contemporary (PAAR); 37A: Ristorante staple (VEAL); 39A: Explore deeply (PROBE); 42A: Derelict, perhaps (WINO); 45A: Factor opening (BENE); 47A: Bucko (MAC); 48A: Goofs (around) (BUMS); 57A: Actress Falco (EDIE); 58A: Oarlock pin (THOLE); 59A: Vanishing points (ENDS); 63A: Outfits (RIGS); 66A: Send out (EMIT); 67A: End of a lover's ultimatum (ORME); 68A: Designated (MEANT); 69A: Aussie sleep sounds? (ZEDS); 70A: European coal region (SAAR); 71A: Fire proof? (ASHES); 1D: Mr. Olympia contestants' obsessions (BODS); 2D: RisquÈ (BLUE); 3D: Thin ornamental layer (GILT); 5D: Marshal under Napoleon (NEY); 6D: Good, except on the links (ABOVEPAR); 7D: Eggbeater feature (ROTOR); 9D: Beatnik's address (DADDYO); 10D: Gilligan's shipwrecked ship (SSMINNOW); 11D: Savanna grazer (ELAND); 12D: River through Tours (LOIRE); 13D: Fly-by-night co.? (FEDEX); 18D: "It'll never wash!" (NOSOAP); 24D: Little cut-up (IMP); 25D: Bug like a 24-Down (IRK); 26D: Went off the deep end (DOVE); 28D: Wheels of Fortune? (MBAS); 32D: Knock over (ROB); 34D: "Sands of Iwo __": 1949 film (JIMA); 35D: Med school subj. (ANAT); 36D: "Mayor" author (KOCH); 38D: Doctor's orders, often (LABTESTS); 40D: Stump (BEWILDER); 41D: Plaque holder? (ENAMEL); 44D: James's "Westworld" costar (YUL); 46D: Time slice (ERA); 49D: Aristotle's first element of tragedy (MYTHOS); 52D: Annapolis newbies (PLEBES); 53D: Two-time Venezuelan president Carlos (PEREZ); 54D: Turn on __ (ADIME); 55D: Intolerant (RIGID); 56D: "__ Rae" (NORMA); 60D: Early animal handler (NOAH); 61D: Bit of force (DYNE); 62D: Ret. fliers (SSTS); 65D: Sumac from Peru (YMA).


    Tinbeni said...

    Doug P, thanks for filling in.
    Excellent write-up.

    Wish I could say I "enjoyed" the puzzle as much as you did. But its a "Dog-eat-dog" world out there, and today I was wearing Milk-Bone underwear.
    (Thanks, NNOOORRRMM).

    You know how on some days you are on the constructor's wavelength?

    Well other than that SS MINNOW, today I missed the boat completely.

    Thought it was cute that DADDY-O, said by Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver) on Dobie Gillis, was next to that boat where he played Gilligan.

    Intolerant is RIGID. I was thinking of a word that started with 'R' but I'll leave out the politics.

    Also liked that we had BUMS and WINO's. Was that a mini-theme?

    Finally, it ended with ASHES.
    How appropriate as I crashed and burned.


    Thanks Doug, for pitching in for PG... I enjoyed your writeup,
    especially the “You’ll shoot your eye out" clip.
    Loved this puzzle. Loads of fun!
    Hey, it starts out with B-B GUN and the theme from my fave movie, the "Christmas Story"... that got me chuckling right off.
    And then goes through a blast of very clever and humorous misdirectional clues.
    Ooops, and then it ENDS with the infamous SSTS.
    Even so, IMO, it’s well ABOVE PAR for LAT Friday puzzles.
    Well it’s another “Get the ELL outta here” themes, but that’s okay with me, the cross fill words are pretty darn good: SS MINNOW, UV-LAMP, LAB TESTS, BEWILDER, MYTHOS, and DADDY-O.
    Hands up for those of you who also wrote in BETA for BENE factor.
    Have some nice “above PAAR” memories!!!!
    Jack PAAR, the all-time king of late-night-talk-shows AND comedy.

    It’s off to “Honey Jams” for breakfast.
    Have a great day, y’all!

    Scully2066 said...

    Doug P thank you so much for helping us out today - I needed it.

    Loved several clues especially SSMINNOW (one of my fave shows as a child), WARPATH, KOJAK, BBGUN and ABOVEPAR but after that I was lost somewhere out in the SAHARA.

    Could someone explain the THOLE clue? Couldn't figure that one out at all.

    Oh well, did learn lots of new things today and it's Friday! Everyone have a great one!!

    SethG said...

    Probably a good thing you subbed today instead of me.

    I will say that MYTHOS/SAAR is not ideal, and never having heard of the NO SOAP idiom didn't help me, nor did the use of LORN without the FOR. Crossing PAR with PAAR is nice, though, as is the SS Minnow. Too bad there's no way to tie in KOJAK with YUL.

    Doug P said...

    @Scully -

    From dictionary,com, a THOLE is "a holder attached to the gunwale of a boat that holds the oar in place and acts as a fulcrum for rowing," so basically it's an "oar holder."

    I don't know if this will help you remember it or not, but sometimes editors get cute and clue OARS as "Thole mates?"

    ddbmc said...

    Thanks, Doug, for explaining the "L" addition! I kept thinking it was an "LY" addition, and even recognized "HARD"L"Y BOYS, yet the theme still wasn't gelling. Oh, what the "L!"

    Got 8D: TIP OF MASSACHUSETTS, after a few passes and was quite annoyed with myself,having worked on the Hill, during his reign.

    Yesterday, we had OVATE and today we had OVOID! Yummmm. Jelly Bellies!

    @Tin, I so remember Maynard G. Krebs! "WOOORK?????"

    Also put VINO for 37A: Ristorante staple. Nice misdirect!

    Mini-cleaning theme here? DOVE, DAMPMOP, NO SOAP, MAID?

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

    Anonymous said...

    Hi, I wonder if anyone could explain the clue "wheels of fortune" (ans."MBAs) to me. It doesn't make much sense to me.



    badrog said...

    Having been in the military during the Gilligan years, I had to google for MINNOW (already had the SS). I'm not sure if that show ever made it to Japan ...

    ... but KOJAK sure did---with a marvelous James Earl Jones-ish basso dubbing Theo's voice into Japanese. The first time I saw an original English language episode, my reaction was "What a wimp!"

    Nice to see ZED clued as 'strine rather than as the more common UK-ese.

    Is NORMA ever clued as "Bellini opus" rather than the over-used "_ Rae"?

    EDIE was a gimme for Falco since we had the reverse just the other day.

    Clue of the Day: "Plaque holder" for ENAMEL. S'pose many us have a mental block against anything to do with dentists.

    Clue of the Day, Jr.: Thought for a while that "Derelict" was going to be something nautical to go along with SSMINNOW and THOLE, but crosses gave me the WINO. Just now 'realized' that WINO is probably not a corruption of "oeno-", as in oenophile.

    Overall, a fine puzzle, and a fine write-up! Thanks much.

    ddbmc said...

    @Jeff, MBAs are people who have a MASTERS IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION,-thus big "wheels in fortune" and finance.

    Tinbeni said...

    I think the "Wheels of fortune" being MBAS is referring to the idea that the "Big Wheels" in business have this degree. Go to work on WallStreet and make a fortune.

    Some will say this clever cluing.
    Moi? I thought it was a stretch, at best.

    Anonymous said...


    I had a problem with the "wheels of fortune" clue as well. I have seen that clue many times over the years, and the answer is usually "LIMO". I thought MBAS was poor. I liked the rest of the puzzle.

    Anonymous said...

    @ddbmc, Tinbeni & anonymous

    Thanks for the explanation. What threw me was the capitalization of "Fortune". I agree that it is poor cluing.


    Joon said...

    it's capitalized because it's a reference to Fortune, the magazine, which does features on executives ("wheels") who tend to be MBAS.

    Anonymous said...

    Tip of Massachussetts was a reference to Speaker of the House - Tip O'Neill, not a location. :-)

    ddbmc said...

    @Jeff-it's possible the capitalization of "FORTUNE" referred to those who write for FORTUNE Magazine...Once I got the M, in the cross, the reference kinda fell in for me.

    Anonymous said...

    Uppercase "F"? Think Fortune magazine with its annual list of the 500 largest US corporations, etc., whose execs ("wheels") no doubt have MBAs.

    Van55 said...

    Negatives (for my taste):

    20 proper nouns
    ZEDS (as clued)
    and of course SSTS

    I was always taught that the past tense of "dive" is "dived", but I see that DOVE is acceptable these days.

    The theme was pretty good, I think.

    Eric said...

    @Tinbeni: What you said! I'm totally on your wavelength today -- which is to say, not on this $@(*)# puzzle's! I also crashed and burned.

    Still, there are things to like:
    "Fly-by-night co.?" -> FEDEX
    "Good, except on the links" -> ABOVE PAR (yay, a golf clue I actually got!)
    "Tip of Massachusetts" -> O'NEILL (I actually Google Mapped, looking for a place name; didn't know where Tip O'Neill was from)
    "Aussie sleep sounds?" -> ZEDS (Being from a "zed"-using place, this was a gimme, even though I didn't know they also use it in Oz)

    But I had VINO instead of VEAL, and CADETS instead of PLEBES, which totally messed up their respective sections -- in the latter case, so badly that I deleted correct answers NOAH and DYNE :-(

    Mini-theme: (above) PAR, PAAR, SAAR? My overall reaction to this puzzle, I have to say, is: yaaaaar!

    John Wolfenden said...

    I just was not on this puzzles wavelength and got bogged down halfway through.

    BODS for "Mr. Olympia contestants' obsession" seems girly-man weak to me since bods are the focus of any Mr. or Mrs. contest. Something more specific, please.

    I don't mind the use of archaic words like LORN on a Friday but when they are completely unused in modern parlance I feel like there should be an indication of that.

    Good theme though, and "Tip of Massachusetts" for ONEILL is clever.

    Scully2066 said...


    Thank you for helping me out - will have to add that to the list of items to remember only for CWs.
    Hopefully next time it will pop in when I need it :)

    KJGooster said...

    Nice job, Doug.

    The add-a-letter thing can get a little tired, but I rather liked todays.

    I too knew 37A HAD to be VINO, so the west coast was the last to fall for me.

    Me, regarding 58A: "What's a T-HOLE?"

    And I really wanted "Home to many Berbers" to have something to do with carpet.

    JIMMIE said...

    A THOLE is just two pegs sticking up that the oar fits between.

    Diomedes, quite the warrior, also wounded Aphrodite, but her name didn't fit.

    This was a neat puzzle, as they have been all week, imo. But today's took some luck,as in fly-by-night co. meaning FEDEX.

    Thanks for the write-up, Doug. Very appropriate clip.

    *David* said...

    Tough puzzle and better then most with our typical add-a-letter Friday. I had to take this one to work with me and finish it up at lunch. Lots of misdirection on the cluing, MBAS was too cute. HARDLY BOYS was my first theme answer to fall and the NW section the last to fall, go figure.

    I've seen SAAR and THOLE before so that section came rather easily.

    C said...

    Good, challenging puzzle today. The theme clues and answers were pretty good as a whole. Top didn't provide much of a foothold so I worked it bottoms up.

    I always forget the Napolean Marshal. I always start off with PEY which usually then puts me in a world of hurt. Old skool NY Times answer making it's way to this era and coast.


    Anonymous 9:36
    Thanks for the "tip" on 8D.
    I got the right answer from the crosses, but I was thinking there must be a town on the cape by the name ONEILL. Duh! I never associated "Tip of Massechusetts" with Tip O'NEILL.

    mac said...

    Hi Doug,
    Great write-up, thanks! This was a wonderful puzzle. Tough, but that may be because I spent the day in NY, then came home and spent 4 hours in the kitchen.

    Sorry, not organized enough to comment in detail....

    Scott Schafer said...

    I agree that MBAS was a big stretch.

    "dullynoted" was cute, though.