F R I D A Y   October 29, 2010
Jonathan Porat

Theme: Hold the Mayo — Four familiar phrases are transformed into wacky phrases by adding a letter at the beginning. The added letters spell out MAYO.

Theme answers:
  • 19A: Designed for ancient sorcerers? (MAGE-SPECIFIC).
  • 27A: Pranks at the Bohr Institute? (ATOM FOOLERY).
  • 46A: Genesis baking ingredient? (YEAST OF EDEN).
  • 54A: Banning CFC production, e.g.? (OZONE DEFENSE).
  • 35A: Sandwich request, and a literal hint to how the answers at 19-, 27-, 46- and 54-Across are formed (EXTRA MAYO).
Holy crap, how did it get to be Friday already?!? I still have a ton of things to do to get ready for my weekend guests, the Parkers. We'll be down at the National Mall tomorrow doing our part to restore sanity and/or fear. If you're interested in the event, I'm pretty sure we'll both be tweeting about it, so follow us! [Follow Rex Parker] [Follow PuzzleGirl]

Oh, and one more thing before we get to the puzzle. Patrick Blindauer, who I'm sure some of you know as one of the most creative puzzle constructors in the business, has put together a puzzle contest that's sure to be a ton of fun. The contest consists of a suite of 10 puzzles that you'll solve in order to come up with a "final answer." Patrick says the puzzles will have a difficulty level of about a Tuesday/Wednesday New York Times, which certainly makes them accessible to readers of this blog! The puzzle entry fee is only $9.99 and you can find all the details at Patrick's website. I've already ordered my puzzles and can't wait for them to be delivered on Monday. I hope you all will check it out too.

So. Today's puzzle. The theme was pretty tricky. I solved a little more deliberately than I usually do, not trying to fly through it as fast as possible, but instead plugging away section by section and trying to grok the theme. When I read the reveal clue, I assumed the theme had something to do with MAYO because the first theme answer started with MA. So, even though it didn't fit, "hold the mayo" came to mind and I thought maybe the phrases all started with MA and ended with YO. Of course, that doesn't really make sense because that wouldn't be holding the mayo, that would be the mayo holding it, but I was just thinking it through is what I'm saying. When I got the second theme answer — ATOM FOOLERY — it all clicked into place.

  • 16A: Blanket-toting toon (LINUS). I put this in, took it out, put it back in.
  • 17A: Met notable (OPERA STAR). Tricky cluing during the World Series. I know I was thinking baseball's New York Mets and not "The Met."
  • 23A: Sonoma prefix (OEN-). I guess Sonoma is in wine country. We usually see this prefix as OENO-.
  • 42A: "C'mon, man!" ("DUDE!"). Anyone see Jon Stewart call President Obama "dude" the other night? Classic.
  • 64A: George of "Cheers" (WENDT). Noooorm!
  • 12D: It helps prevent stumbling (CUE CARD). Also a teleprompter. Unless there's a typo.

  • 28D: Rubble creator (TNT). You wanted this to be about the Flintstones, didn't you?
  • 35D: What can turn one into many? (ESS). The letter S (ESS) added to the word "one" makes the word "ones," which can mean "many."
  • 41D: Rookie's initiation (RAZZING). Have you all heard about this rookie golfer who's doing his own RAZZING? On December 10, Jon Gidney will play a round of golf in a skirt to raise money for breast cancer research. Seems like he's having a lot of fun with this. And for a good cause.
  • 48D: Single (ONE). I was very surprised to see this answer after thinking so much about the word "one" in a previous clue (35D).
  • 63D: Amer. capital (USD). The old capital = money trick. In this case, U.S. Dollars.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 1A: Type of pigment used in artists' paints (AZO).
  • 26A: Western treaty gp. (OAS).
  • 52A: Co-producer of U2's "Achtung Baby" (ENO).
  • 29D: First NHL defenseman to score 40 goals in a season (ORR).
  • 37D: Product at a stand (ADE).
  • 44D: Scary magazine holder (UZI).
  • 56D: Atlantic flier (ERNE).
  • 59D: It's a loch (NESS).
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Everything Else — 4A: Cul-__ (DE-SAC); 9A: Panic button (EJECT); 14A: 1989 Peace Prize winner (DALAI LAMA); 18A: One often working on Sun. (NFL'ER); 21A: Digs (CRIB); 24A: Batman after Michael (VAL); 32A: Late party attire (PJ'S); 33A: Dealing with (IN RE); 34A: "The Neverending Story" author (ENDE); 39A: USN officers (CDRS.); 43A: Do a little math (SUM); 50A: Soda bottle meas. (OZS.); 51A: Former Vietnam area mostly S. of the 17th parallel (DMZ); 53A: Exile of 1979 (AMIN); 60A: Stadium entrance (STILE); 61A: Like some windows (DRIVE-THRU); 65A: Foresees (ENVISIONS); 66A: Beats 1-0, say (EDGES); 67A: Film holders (REELS); 68A: Mess of dough (WAD); 1D: Trouble (ADO); 2D: Cook with waves (ZAP); 3D: Oxford campus (OLE MISS); 4D: TV screen meas. (DIAG.); 5D: Ultimatum end (ELSE); 6D: Concerns for jrs. and srs. (SAT'S); 7D: "... draw you __?" (A MAP); 8D: Package directive (CARE OF); 9D: Sea change with far-reaching effects (EL NIÑO); 10D: Two shakes, with "a" (JIFF); 11D: Pep up (ENLIVEN); 13D: Original Dungeons & Dragons co. (TSR); 15D: Kaffiyeh wearer (ARAB); 20D: Corp. boss (CEO); 21D: One on a beat (COP); 22D: "The Big Bang Theory" character from India (RAJ); 25D: Soap component (LYE); 27D: __-en-Provence (AIX); 30D: Maryland's Fort __ (MEADE); 31D: Sign of summer (LEO); 36D: Campaign weaponry? (MUD); 38D: Nikkei 225 unit (YEN); 39D: Actress Charisse (CYD); 40D: Taken down a notch (DEMOTED); 43D: By doing whatever it takes (SOMEHOW); 45D: Explorer initials (MSN).
  • 47D: Beliefs (TENETS); 49D: Raw material (FODDER); 53D: Piedmont product (ASTI); 55D: Merrie __ England (OLDE); 57D: What musicians take between sets? (FIVE); 58D: Austin Powers' nemesis Dr. __ (EVIL); 60D: Northern Eur. land (SWE.); 62D: Cellular messenger (RNA).

    Van55 said...

    In a rush today, so DNF. The SUM/OZS/SOMEHOW/AMIN section just wouldn't come to me. I wanted ADD and LTR. Oh well.

    Liked the puzzle quite a bit otherwise. NFLER kind of sucks in my opinion. Didn't like the clue for INRE, though it's original.

    Everyone enjoy your weekend!

    badrog said...

    Thanks again, PG, for very interesting remarks!

    You mentioned LINUS as an in-out-in solve. Mine was COP at 21D---was stuck on Oxford U's colleges/halls before OLEMISS came to mind.

    To Do List: Find out if EXTRAMAYO is one of the things Subway charges more for.

    'Tho I usually have trouble with personal names in pop culture, today was sort of the reverse. My entry in the theme structure was remembering that 39D Charisse's first name is spelled CYD.

    And....., the long-ish answers at 14A and 17A, where I expected names, turned out to be a title and a generic.

    New Word of the Day: MAGE at 19A, altho knowing magi and magus at least pointed me in the right direction. It's not often that I'm led astray by interest in puzzles and quiz shows rather than video games and fantasy fiction.

    Clue of the Day: 45D, "Explorer initials". Spent way too much time trying to make BSA work, and when it didn't, spent still more on Columbus/DeGama/Magellan types. MSN tells me that my mental processes are nowhere near 100% on-line.

    Does the timer/clock on LAT's applet need fixing? My completion time shows as "0:00:47" which to me means 47 seconds. I'm pretty sure it was more, even, than 47 minutes! Perhaps 1 hr., 47 sec.?

    Tinbeni said...

    PuzzleGirl: You have exceeded even your High Standards with today's write-up.

    WOW, I needed that Air Blast !!! lol

    Been working on a project (not too hard but it had to be done and sent, ZAP, back to Moscow by 4:00 am EDT) so I got my St.Pete Times and ...
    Holy crap, they have todays puzzle.

    I liked the theme and having been up for over 24 hours (the mind gets giddy) I'm even thinking 'O'PERA STAR and 'D'RIVE THRU fit into my theme world today ... SOOOOO, I guess the reveal s/h/b EXTRA 'O'MAYO'D' ...

    Yeah, Tinbeni needs some sleep ... or more Avatar.

    NNNOOOORRRMMM! My drinkin' buddy is in the house. This is shaping up as a spooky weekend. Cheers!!!

    Oh well, that sleep can come later.
    Kris and I are off to Hospice (We're on a mission from god!) to get her brother laughing for a third day in-a-row.
    We're taking some tricks-and-treats to him and everyone else there.
    Hospice is such a class organization they even put up with the likes of me.
    (Thank God they exist!)

    *David* said...

    This is my type of puzzle where the fill isn't all that tricky but the clues are. Anyone can find obscure fill to stump you with, but I enjoy it when I look at the fill and go that was easy but why was it so hard?

    This puzzle wasn't that hard but it did take some time to figure out the theme. Once I got the MAYO fill, the bottom half fell very quickly. I enjoyed the theme more then the typical add a letter Friday. Those little 3X3 boxes in the middle of the puzzle(E/W) seem odd to me, I haven't seen many if any puzzles with that look.

    CrazyCatLady said...

    Lots of tricky clues today. Took me a while to get on the wave length. Liked the MAYO theme, even though it took me until YEAST OF EDEN to get it. I think I'll go ZAP some oatmeal for my breakfast topped with berries and pecans.

    @PG have fun with the "Parkers" at the rally.

    Happy weekend everyone.

    Rube said...

    This morning the paper delivery person left me a SF Chronicle in a NYT bag. Discovered that the LAT xwrd is in the Chronicle. I've only lived here for 40 years. Some people are a little slow.

    Got the theme fairly early and even used it to get the M in MAGE_ and O in OZONE_. Sure wanted hAZZING for RAZZING, but knew the spelling was off.

    Also fell into the add/ltr trap, but after deciding it had to be Idi AMIN, erased and restarted that section.

    Enjoyable puzz, if a little easy for a Friday LAT.

    Go Giants!

    Anonymous said...

    I liked the twist on the add a letter, but was put off by the grid, too many cul-de-sacs. Also, is RAZZING really rookie initiation? Razzing just means teasing, which comes nowhere near the hazing that actually takes place.
    So PG, which end of the rally are you going to be frequeting, the Sanity or the Fear portion. Fear sounds more like fun.

    Tuttle said...

    MSN tells me that my mental processes are nowhere near 100% on-line.

    It was an odd clue IMO. Microsoft markets a lot of things as 'Explorer' and Internet Explorer (the web browser) and Windows Explorer (the desktop interface) come way, way before their old dial-up online portal, called MSN Explorer (which has been retired in favor of Windows Live btw), in the minds of most people.

    I mean, I work in online marketing. I have to keep multiple copies of Explorer running (on Macs, its a neat trick) so we can test our stuff. And I had to look up MSN Explorer to find out wtf it was.

    Dialup? It's 2010!

    Anonymous said...

    A bit of a challenge today, as I had to come to this site for 19A "magespecific" ~~ I never would have figured that out. Didn't care for the rest of the themed answers either. Oh well, some of the brain cells had a workout!

    Fowler said...

    I couldn't figure the theme out for the longest time. Even after I finished I had to struggle before it made sense. I think I was too bothered by the lack of connection among the answers, from jokey sound-alikes to bland normal phrases. I had ATOMFOOLERY first, so whenever I saw an M or a T, I was trying to insert TOM.
    For other answers, I had SHAH for the longest time before getting AMIN, and for turning one into many I wanted a "Y" somehow, because when you add a Y to MAN you get your MANY.
    Ah, well, it all fell into place eventually, and the sun is warm outside. A nice day...

    KJGooster said...

    A nice Friday puzzle, I thought. Other than exiling the SHAH instead of Idi AMIN (wasn't the Shah exiled in '79 as well?), a pretty smooth solve for me.

    @PG: The more Sports Night clips, the better! That's one of only a couple series I actually own on DVD.

    Tom in the D said...

    Another typical Friday DNF. But after seeing the answers, I should have come a lot closer. SOMEHOW I couldn't get anyhow to fit at 43d. RAZZING is not initiation, hazing is. Liked NFLER, cute clueing. SAGESPECIFIC was an error. Never heard of mage. Have a great Halloween all, think I'll dress as the DALAI LAMA.

    shrub5 said...

    DNF the same little area that @Van 55 had trouble with. Also had difficulty spelling DALAI LAMA. Thought there was an H in there somewhere. I really enjoyed the aha moment when I figured out that one letter from MAYO was the extra letter in each theme answer. Verrry clever.

    Took me way too long to get EL NINO. I just could not see it. Had enough to guess ALBINO? but that was ridiculous, having nothing whatsoever to do with the clue! My problem was not interpreting sea change literally....

    Thanks for the excellent puzzle, Jonathan.

    @CrazyCL: Love the new avatar - sweet face!! Same cat that was in the tree?