10.13.2010

W E D N E S D A Y   October 13, 2010
Dan Naddor

Theme: Money Money Money — Theme answers are familiar phrases that begin with words that can describe financial states.


Theme answers:
  • 17A: Challenges for an interviewee (LOADED QUESTIONS).
  • 25A: Not even close (WELL OFF THE MARK).
  • 40A: Journalism bigwig (MANAGING EDITOR).
  • 51A: Defied tradition (BROKE WITH CUSTOM).


Every once in a while there's a puzzle where I just can't figure out the theme until I'm completely done with the puzzle and looking hard at the theme answers. This is one of those puzzles. First I tried connecting the ends of the theme answers — QUESTIONS / MARK / EDITOR / CUSTOM — and guess what. I couldn't come up with anything. For some reason. Then I tried the first words instead and still didn't get anywhere. Why? Because I was only reading WELL instead of WELL-OFF and the -OFF part is actually important here. So I can't decide if that's a flaw in the theme that's worth griping about or if it was just me not catching on and therefore feeling stupid. Who knows?

Bullets:
  • 5A: Furtive message (MEET ME). Ooh, I like this. Much more fun to receive than the scary "See Me" I used to get from my lunatic boss.
  • 15A: First pro team to play on artificial turf (ASTROS). How did I know this??
  • 30A: __ the finish (IN AT). That's an ugly partial. See also 49D: "Pay __ mind!" (IT NO).
  • 31A: Seventh of eight, now (URANUS). URANUS used to be the seventh planet out of nine. Poor Pluto.
  • 59A: Church councils (SYNODS). I learned this word from puzzles a couple years ago and two days later I was sitting at the PuzzleKids' swimming lesson chatting with another mom. I asked her where she worked and she said at the [something-or-other] Synod. Weird.
  • 6D: ABA honorifics (ESQS.). Attorneys — members of the American Bar Association — can put an ESQ. at the end of their names if they want.
  • 12D: Joan of "Knots Landing" (VAN ARK). Loved that show. I mean loved it. I'm sure I wouldn't be able to stand it today.
  • 22D: Womb-mate (TWIN). Not a big fan of this clue. I mean, sure ... not that there's anything wrong with this particular body part it's just that, well, it sounds like a euphemism and: (a) I don't think it needs a euphemism — it's a uterus, call it that; and (b) if you don't think it's appropriate to use the word uterus, then womb really isn't any better. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it. It's supposed to sound like "roommate," but I still don't have to like it.
  • 27D: Eight-time British Open host town (TROON). Never heard of it. For some reason, PHGOO* didn't help me at all here.
  • 28D: Greek leader? (HARD G). I thought the answer to this one might be alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet, but it was going for something even more literal than that. I've been catching up on a backlog of puzzles over the last few days and have seen a lot of these types of clues so I'm getting less and less prone to falling for the trick.
  • 34D: 1950s Niners Hall of Fame quarterback (Y.A. TITTLE). Only know him from crosswords. He had quite a career — he's a Hall-of-Famer and two-time NFL MVP — but he was just a little before my time.
  • 36D: Puppeteer Tony (SARG). Here's another guy I only know from puzzles. Have you heard of him? He is the "father of modern puppetry in North America" after all!
  • 48D: Communicate digitally? (SIGN). I knew what this clue was getting at, but I couldn't get my brain to think past ASL (American Sign Language).
  • 52D: Magnesium has two (EMS). Ouch.
Crosswordese 101:There are a couple of LENs you should be aware of for crossword purposes. In today's grid is 55A: Spy novelist Deighton. He's almost always clued just this way. Every once in a while, one of his titles will be in the clue, but even then his last name is included. Other LENs include the actor LEN Cariou, sportscaster LEN Berman, movie director LEN Wiseman, and former football player LEN Dawson.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 57A: Earthenware pot (OLLA).
  • 7D: Case in a purse, perhaps (ÉTUI).
  • 23D: Vintner's prefix (OENO-).
  • 24D: Outback critter (EMU).
  • 35D: Harrow rival (ETON).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

*PuzzleHusband's Golf Obsession Osmosis

Everything Else — 1A: Mr. or Mrs. (ABBR.); 11A: New Deal prog. (TVA); 14A: Toon predator __ E. Coyote (WILE); 16A: Used to be (WAS); 20A: Serious religious dissents (HERESIES); 21A: Elite Eight org. (NCAA); 22A: Trinidad's partner (TOBAGO); 24A: Digital greeting (E-CARD); 32A: Japanese drama (NOH); 33A: Bar shot (SNORT); 34A: "May I help you?" ("YES?"); 37A: Neptune, for one (SEA GOD); 39A: It may be raw (DATA); 44A: Goof (BONER); 45A: Kind of will or trust (LIVING); 46A: Greek vowel (IOTA); 47A: "If you ask me ..." ("AS I SEE IT ..."); 56A: It's attractive (MAGNET); 58A: Big name in ice cream (EDY); 60A: Fix up (REDO); 1D: Hole-making tool (AWL); 2D: Many a Britannica article (BIO); 3D: Mindless chatter (BLAH BLAH); 4D: Reacted to giving out too many cards (REDEALT); 5D: Constituted from (MADE OF); 8D: Elder or alder (TREE); 9D: Trunk growth (MOSS); 10D: D.C. setting (EST); 11D: Like some accidents (TWO-CAR); 13D: Longtime Syrian ruling family name (ASSAD); 18D: Consequently (ERGO); 19D: Pizarro victims (INCAS); 26D: Yeasts, e.g. (FUNGI); 29D: M.D.'s specialty (ENT); 33D: Show signs of age, as a roof (SAG); 37D: Weasel (SNEAK); 38D: Listening device (EAR); 39D: ÷ follower (DIVISOR); 40D: Tied in the harbor (MOORED); 41D: 1963 Burton role (ANTONY); 42D: Picks (ELECTS); 43D: "Mon __!": Poirot exclamation (DIEU); 44D: Book read by millions (BIBLE); 47D: Traveling (AWAY); 50D: Get rid of (SHED); 53D: Passè (OLD); 54D: Cultural Revolution leader (MAO).

27 comments:

badrog said...

Thanks, PG, for a very nice write-up---especially re the theme, 'cuz I sure didn't get it even after filling in all four. Perhaps if there'd been a "barely hanging on" in there, I would've recognized it.

Last fill-ins: The unknown TROON and the nostalgic SNORT, when I finally grasped the tricky HARDG, after deciding that SEAGOD and MANAGING... just had to be right.

Having spent the '50s in the EST zone, my memories of Y A Tittle were of it's-still-light-on-the-west-coast and seagulls; that the 'Y' was for Yelberton and that his favorite receiver was R (for Raleigh) C Owens with the famous "Alley Oop"
pass.

Also, depending on whose MVP list you read (AP, UPI, TSN) at least one of Tittle's MVP seasons was with the NY Giants.

Seems to be begging for a CW clue on the order of "Tittle digraphs" (=YA RC TD SF NY).

BLAHBLAH.

Tinbeni said...

WOW! A Dan Naddor with a financial theme.

This was a bit of a slog.
Needed all the crosses to get TROON and that Mon DIEU! (I guess I'm not a Poirot fan).

BONER and URANUS brought out that behind-the-barn 13yo chuckle (Tee hee hee).
BLAH, BLAH,(blah) also got a grin.

Fave today was that yeast FUNGI.

FUN Wednesday.

WAS hoping for a TB Ray win last night.
Gal-Pal and I were looking forward to seeing the NY Yankees (aka, Evil Empire) here this weekend.
ERGO, we'll watch them on the tube.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

MON DIEU!!!!

Bottom-of-the-barrel for Dan's puzzles. Slogged through it, but didn't enjoy it at all, and I usually love naddor puzzles.

@PG says "May I help you?" (with the abstruse theme) and John says "YES". I would never come up with the theme had it not be for this blog... I WAS WELL OFF THE MARK! Thinking pretty much the same as @PG... QUESTIONS/MARK/EDITOR... Doh!!!

Whenever I see the phrase "MEET ME", all can think of is that cutie, Judy Garland.

Best clues:
"Communicate digitally" (SIGN)
"Greek leader" (HARD-G)
"Magnesium has two" (EMS)
"D.C. setting" (EST)

Worst clues:
"Pay IT NO mind!"
"IN AT the finish"
"Passe" (OLD)... I'm old, and I SAG, but I sure hope I'm not considered to be "passe"

Time to SNORT some caffeine!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, y'all.

Scully2066 said...

Thanks a million PG - I could not figure out the theme - you are right without adding the OFF - nothing makes sense.

I can't decide if I liked the puzzle today but believe I am leaning towards - not. It just seemed more of a chore then fun today. However there were a few exceptions: FUNGI, URANUS, TOBAGO and SNORT. Everything else was just BLAH BLAH.

Oh well have a great Hump Day all!

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Today JNH needs Puzzlegirl for...

SethG said...

Wow was I not on the same cluing wavelength as this puzzle. Except for EMS, I got that right away.

The BIBLE is probably read by more than millions. I've never used BLAH-BLAH as a noun. "IN AT the finish"...does not Google well. PASSÉ things might not be old, and old things might not be passé. And MANAGING doesn't seem to fit that well--LOADED, WELL OFF, and BROKE all have immediate financial associations for me, for MANAGING finances is like the eighth thing I think of.

I'm sure it's how I slept.

backbiter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
*David* said...

Backbiter, you're out of line, I'm not coming here for your personal rant about the Bible, get a grip!

backbiter said...

Sorry, David. Post removed.

Tuttle said...

My favorite kind of Japanese theater is Noh theater.

C said...

OK puzzle, the theme is still not completely accepted by my brain. My brain really wants the theme to be the answer to the following question hidden in the puzzle:

A MANAGING EDITOR who asked LOADED QUESTIONS that were WELL OFF THE MARK and BROKE WITH CUSTOM.

No such thing, of course, my brain is WELLOFFTHMARK.

I am glad of two things now: 1) I don't use my brain very often 2) I had @PG'S much, much better theme explanation.

Van55 said...

I saw the theme only after I completed the puzzle, so it was no help with the solve. The solve was smooth enough for me.

Worst clues:

Head of Greece = HARDG
Magnesium has two = EMS

I am so tired of this ilk of "clever clue" that I could spit.

INAT and ITNO are ugly partials.

Joan VANARK is pretty obscure by now, isn't she?

So is YATITTLE. I remember Yelberton Abraham Tittle as a NY Giant, though the bulk of his career was certainly with the 49ers.

hazel said...

I think MANAGING works in the sense that John Q. Worker starts off LOADED, makes some poor investments, becomes just WELL-OFF, loses his good job, but his wife is still working, so they're MANAGING. Then the other shoe falls, she gets laid off, and they wind up BROKE.

A tale of woe, really. I found this puzzle to be kind of a downer, on several different levels.

ddbmc said...

Like @C, the brain wasn't fully engaged, so started with the bottom of the puzzle first and worked upwards. For some reason, the theme clicked, maybe because I watched Jim Cramer this morning???

I SNORTed, too, @Tin! Of course my sons would never define GOOF in such a way. BONE HEADED, perhaps....

TROON tooks it's sweet time to show it's face, but once I got a couple of the crosses, I remembered a number of streets in FL, near the golf courses, with that name and it clicked.

ETUI, was new to me--I just haven't been doing puzzles long enough!

@JNH-loved your Wile Coyote link!
And shockingly, knew Y.A. Tittle-from all those Giant's games dad watched, when I was little. Unfortunately, LEN Berman was not the WNBC sportscaster during TITTLE's era. (too bad!) Still have the family's Giant's season tickets, tho.

@Tuttle, (not to be confused with Tittle) loved the MST link, too. NOH kidding!
Thanks, @PG and all.

John Wolfenden said...

Wow, I haven't had this much trouble with a Wednesday for awhile.

Whenever I see a clue like "tree growth" I want it to be BURL, one of my favorite words. But no, it's always moss.

mac said...

What @hazel said. For the tree growth I wanted knar, so proud I remembered that.....

YATITTLE? I had no clue.

There is a form of snort in the NYT puzzle.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@mac
I love your avatar... looks like it could even be a scene from my beloved Morton Arboretum.
Oh yeah, and thanks for the Onion Soup recipe... I'm a connoisseur of Onion Soups but never made it myself (maybe soon).

@Tuttle
Thanks for the link to NOH. Never heard of it, and you've opened a whole new world to me. Besides, that clip and your comment was cute.

Anonymous said...

Favorite clue was "communicate digitally" which I did frequently during my military service. Half a peace sign to an officer got me busted in rank. It was the '60s!

Sfingi said...

Too much sports, but I do like expressions.

@Vans - agree with all you said.

Did not see the theme until here. Googled for VANARK, TROON, ASTROS, NCAA (last 3 sports); Never heard of any of them nor of YATITTLE.

Had "ring" before MOSS.

SARG doesn't seem to sink in.

Exhaustive write up, Puzzle Girl, for the late Dan Naddor.

Sfingi said...

@Tuttle/Tittle - anyone who cares:
My ever so distant cousin,
Royall Tyler, is a "Japanologist" and translator of Noh theater. We're both descended from - Royall Tyler! - writer of the first American play produced in America, called The Contrast.

I've seen both performed. Noh, which reached it's height in the 14th century, is reminiscent of Greek theater, with chorus, masks, male-only actors. It's very stylized and slow. Much ado about ghosts.
The Contrast is a comedy - even a musical comedy, since it includes the first presentation of Yankee Doodle in a dramatic production.

Rube said...

Didn't anyone have lldS before ESQS, like me? Only other writeover was WELL OFF THE pace. Didn't know VANARK, of course. And misspelled OneO/OENO. Again.

'Twas an OK puzzle, but no pizzazz.

Tom said...

Finished without the help of Google or "one across". Found it kinda ironic that the puzzle started out with abbr. after all our belly-aching about all the recent abbrs. I wholeheartedly agree that itno/inat......sucked. As for Y.A Tittle, it should have been clued "50's niners HoF quarterback or 50's niners hall of fame QB, or 50's S.F. .......? Otherwise, AS I SEE IT, it WAS an okay puzzle. Only a couple of REDO(s). Have a nice evening all, Ciao.

Anonymous said...

No fun. Waste of time. Terrible

CrazyCatLady said...

It took me a few minutes, but I was able to figure out the theme before I came to the blog. I am totally football challenged, but as soon as I had Y in place, I got Y.A. Tittle. Probably as someone else mentioned, because my dad used to talk about him a lot. ASTROS I guessed at because of ASTRO turf. Joan VAN ARK was a total gimme. "Knots Landing" was one of my favorites back in the day. I personally vote to SHED BONER from CW puzzles. Does anyone use that word to describe a goof anymore? Though somewhat difficult for a Wednesday, I enjoyed this Naddor puzzle.

Tinbeni said...

@CCl
re: Boner ...
If you only knew my love life, a whole lot of goofs.

Thought this WAS more like a Thursday level.
It is always FUN to have a Dan Naddor.
How many are left?

When I finished I looked at the clues and answers (forgave the 'IN AT' and 'IT NO') and enjoyed the clever cluing.

RIP Dan, your beautiful mind is missed but not forgotten.

The Ghost of Dan Naddor said...

@JNH; STFU! Tired of hearing your drivle, and sycophantic suck-ups! If you want to start a blog start one! Don't try to hang off of the coat tails of an actual (and well done) blog. Don't add links to stupid cartoons that can't be backlinked to the original blog.

We all know you were a rocket scientist (working alongside Werner Von Braun) a botanist (working alongside our Lord God in the design of the Garden of Eden) and an Electrical Engineer (working as the right hand man to Tesla).

But really! Enough, is enough! Get a life, tour Route 66 again and let us miss you for a while!

Anonymous said...

And by the way JNH: Come see me when you have had 78 puzzles published by Rich Norris in the Los Angeles Times. And 16 after I had passed on. You critique and criticize mine, but you have NONE to your credit!? I am waiting to solve and critique yours, but none seem to be avialable! That is beyond your lame avatar puzzle.