12.08.2010

W E D N E S D A Y   December 8, 2010
Dan Naddor

Theme: It's a Small World — Each theme answer begins with a word that can be a synonym for small.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Members of a small army (TOY SOLDIERS).
  • 20A: Lumbering critter of Borneo (PYGMY ELEPHANT).
  • 36A: Some Steinways (BABY GRAND PIANOS).
  • 52A: Game often involving a windmill (MINIATURE GOLF).
  • 57A: Pluto, now (DWARF PLANET).
I've gotta believe Rich is getting close to the bottom of his Naddor pile, which is sad. But for today, we get to enjoy one of them so let's have fun with it. When I see five theme entries in a 15x15 grid, I think there's no way the fill is going to be 100% smooth. But I've gotta admit, Dan was able to pull it off most of the time. The only answer that caused me to physically react was DIPLO. DIPLO?! The L was the last letter I entered into the grid and I thought I must have misspelled MINIATURE in 52A because surely the prefix meaning double is DUPLO, right? Well, no. DIPLO it is. And so I learn something today.

Bullets:
  • 4A: Spinnaker, e.g. (SAIL). Because I'm not really up on my nautical terms, I had no idea on this one. The only place my brain would go was "spinet," which I assume is because of the other PIANO in the grid.
  • 8A: Tending to hang down (DROOPY).
  • 32A: Poker ploy (RAISE). Raise your hand if you tried "bluff" first.
  • 34A: Grumpy co-worker? (SNEEZY). Very cute clue and it kinda goes with the theme.
  • 49A: Japanese veggie (UDO). I've seen this word a few times and just now decided to look it up. The stem of the UDO (arialia cordata) is boiled for miso soup and the roots can be used for herbal medicines. So much learning going on today!
  • 51A: Take potshots (SNIPE). One of the jobs I interviewed for last week was with a guy whose last name was not "Snape," but it sounded very much like "Snape." And his first name had three syllables. So I had this stupid Harry Potter puppet song going through my head all week. (I'm not going to tell you what his name is because it just feels like that would be wrong. What if he's ego-surfing and finds himself mentioned in this blog? Okay, okay, his last name is just like this answer but with an S on the end, and his first name is the long form of Ben. That shouldn't come up in a Google search now, should it?)
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  • 62A: Soul, to Sartre (AME). I just saw this word in a puzzle recently and for some reason took note of it, so this one came easy.
  • 63A: Start liking (TAKE TO). I tried "warm to" first.
  • 65A: OPEC unit (BBL.). Whenever BBL is in the grid, inevitably someone pipes up in the comments about how that's not the abbreviation for "barrel." So I'm just going to say right here and right now: yes, it is.
  • 10D: "Are you out __?" (OR IN). Ooh, I forgot about this one. Do not like. It's just, like, totally backwards.
  • 58D: "Are __ pair?": "Send in the Clowns" lyric (WE A). Okay, this answer got a physical reaction out of me too but not because of anything inherently wrong with it being in the puzzle. It's just that I hate that song. I mean really hate it. Have I ever told you my three Least Favorite Songs of All Time? What? Only 12 times? Well here they are again: "Just the Way You Are," "The Lady in Red," and "Send in the Clowns." Hideous, hideous songs.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 14A: Treasure de la Sierra Madre (ORO).
  • 22A: Conger catcher (EELER).
  • 64A: WWII Normandy battle site (ST.-LÔ).
  • 19D: Birthstone after sapphire (OPAL).
  • 37D: "__ Ben Adhem": James Leigh Hunt poem (ABOU).
  • 53D: Wrath, in a hymn title (IRAE).
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Everything Else — 1A: Rd. traveler's stat (MPG); 14A: Treasure de la Sierra Madre (ORO); 15A: "M*A*S*H" star (ALDA); 16A: Merited (EARNED); 17A: Kung __ chicken (PAO); 23A: Publicize (AIR); 24A: Delivery experts, for short (OB'S); 27A: Remnant (DREG); 28A: Stuffed (FULL); 31A: "Knock it off!" ("STOP!"); 40A: WWII depth charge targets (U-BOATS); 41A: Bungling (INEPT); 42A: Any day now (SOON); 43A: Bite like a beaver (GNAW); 44A: Construction beam (I-BAR); 48A: Loud laugh (YUK); 59A: Former CNN anchor Dobbs (LOU); 60A: Wreck, as plans (DERAIL); 61A: Losing proposition? (DIET); 1D: Swabbed (MOPPED); 2D: Bedtime ritual for many (PRAYER); 3D: Provider of millions of hits (GOOGLE); 4D: Woodlands deity (SATYR); 5D: Lip balm ingredient (ALOE); 6D: Pastoral verse (IDYL); 7D: Cut with a surgical beam (LASE); 8D: Indian metropolis (DELHI); 9D: Tool for scouting pitchers (RADAR); 11D: Count that may diffuse anger (ONE TO TEN); 12D: Part of 1-Across (PER); 13D: QB's gains (YDS.); 21D: "When Harry Met Sally..." co-star (MEG RYAN); 25D: Doofus (BOZO); 26D: 1974 CIA spoof (SPYS); 28D: Fragrant evergreens (FIRS); 29D: __ Today (USA); 30D: Red Square honoree (LENIN); 31D: Restaurant host's purview (SEATING); 33D: FBI employee (AGT.); 34D: Gush (SPEW); 35D: Barely beat (NIP); 36D: Not taking calls, perhaps (BUSY); 38D: Web surfer's shortcut (BOOKMARK); 39D: Paternity suit letters (DNA); 43D: Intent (GOAL); 45D: Class with dissections, for short (BIO LAB); 46D: Poise (APLOMB); 47D: Gas up (REFUEL); 49D: Not qualified (UNFIT); 50D: Double: Pref. (DIPLO-); 51D: Brief brawl (SET-TO); 53D: Wrath, in a hymn title (IRAE); 54D: Smidgens (TADS); 55D: Military group (UNIT); 56D: Casting need (REEL); 57D: Banned bug killer (DDT).

35 comments:

Van55 said...

Really good Naddor puzzle, though perhaps a bit less droll than his usual fare.

Disliked ORIN and DIPLO for same reasons as PG. MPG and PER seem a little weak.

Loved APLOMB for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Why does ibar keep showing up as an answer? There is no such thing as ibar. Ibeam and rebar are construction materials, but not ibar. Very annoying!

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Well here it is… the bottom-of-the-barrel for Dan Naddor puzzles. Monday level, full of crosswordese, simple theme, and I finished it online in less than 10 minutes. I was always a huge fan of Dan’s, but this puzzle just didn’t excite me at all. I guess I’m somewhat jaded by all his great puzzles.

There was some good stuff though: BOZO, DROOPY, SNEEZY, YUK, DIPLO, and GOOGLE.
And of course I liked seeing MEG RYAN, my favorite actress, with my all-time favorite movie bit.

New WOTD: ABOU Ben Adhem poem. I had forgotten that it was in CW101 until @PG mentioned it in her list.

I'm glad you talked about UDO because I've been eating Miso and Udon soup and never knew about that veggie. It prompted me to learn more about it.

Now when was the last time you used the word “APLOMB”?

Have a lovely Wednesday y’all.

SethG said...

A kid with two moms is a diploma, a small wrestling gym a diplomat.

But who leaves just one dreg?

Mokus said...

Having been a Judy Collins fan for fifty years I must say I am shocked, shocked, that you dislike Send in the Clowns!
What I don't like are words like IBAR and EELERS. Maybe the former could be clued as "virtual tavern."
Joe Lieberman...because?

Tinbeni said...

PuzzleGirl: I love that SNIPE clip!

What a fabulous Dan Naddor offering.
Reliable sources say there are 7 more to come.
Liked each and every theme answer.
And the mini-theme with pluto being a DWARF PLANET along with Grumpy and SNEEZY.

Learned ABOU and UDO via the crosses.

Had oil before that Opec BBL, easy fix.

Got a laugh at USA and LENIN being next to each other.

I've come to a fork in the road.
Yogi would tell me to take it.

Currently have two offers on the table.
One in Moscow, one in Muscat, Oman (where I would work with a Texas buddy I met when we worked together in Zagreb).
But I prefer to stay here in Tampa Bay ... something about my Sunset addiction, I think.
Now I wonder if 'greed' will over take personal joy ...

Oh well, a 'toast' to all at 5:34.

Cheers !!!

Doug P said...

IBAR's not my favorite entry either, but it is a word: IBAR.

I enjoyed today's Naddor. I love the way he could stack those theme entries.

howardlwatson said...

I'm still having trouble with dipole. I've never seen it used anywhere. Other than that, enjoyable after I plugged in Sneezy instead of Sleepy.
Cold here in Orlando.
Howard

John Wolfenden said...

Easy-peasy Naddor, I'd say Tuesday-level difficulty. Some fun cluing though, my favorites being "Grumpy coworker" and "Count that may defuse anger."

The only word that comes to mind using DIPLO is diplodocus, one of the marine dinosaurs I believe.

As former supervising editor on the World Poker Tour, I think describing a RAISE as a ploy is inaccurate. BLUFF maybe, but raise is a neutral term. You could have the best hand when raising, playing a straightforward game.

John Wolfenden said...

Whoops, not a marine dinosaur but a land-going one. So named due to its "double-beamed chevron bones in the underside of the tail."

Nighthawk said...

Hand up for DuPLO at 50D and bluff at 32A first.

Didn't see the teensy, tiny, itty bitty, wee theme until completed, but didn't really need it. Fun theme anyway.

Really liked BOOKMARK under GOOGLE.
Also liked MEG RYAN and APLOMB.

Thanks, @PG. CW101 came to the rescue once again for IRAE. Or maybe I've been going to the wrong church. Not in my hymnbook, anyway. But in my CW101 arsenal.

Quibble: Thought 56D was a fine word, but I don't get the connection between it and the clue. Well, not totally true, I understand it, but just don't think it makes very much sense. Wanted "call" or something else. Did casting agents really require a "highlight REEL" at some point in the past rather than headshots and an audition? The rest of the fill seemed so fresh and current, I would have thought if, today, a casting agent wanted footage, an actor would just send a CD, DVD, or maybe email a YouTube clip or something similar. Perhaps this was a reference to a "screen test" REEL? At best, the clue/answer connection just seemed klunky to me. I just would have clued it differently, perhaps to fishing equipment, or the Virginia dance or Highlight ____.

Joe the Fisherman said...

@Nighthawk - Think of a rod and reel when casting for fish. This way it actually makes sense.

*David* said...

Quite a smooth puzzle only spot that I felt was a bit awkward was the SE with IBAR, AME, and BBL. I put in ABOU for once without needing the crossings. No real resistance anywhere but fun nevertheless.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely ADORE "Send in the Clowns." Fantastic song, and I had the pleasure of watching Bernadette Peters perform it on Broadway earlier this year in "A Little Night Music," the show it is from. Have you ever had the opportunity to see the song sung as part of the play? Might change your mind.

Gareth Bain said...

Didn't think of diplodocus (doh!) but did come up with diplotene, a phase of Meiosis... the only other one I can remember is pachytene...

Interesting choice to go with synonyms being used literally, but it makes for phrases that are very colourful... Fun!

John Wolfenden said...

Joe, nice observation about the alternate meaning for REEL. It's pretty unusual to have two valid interpretations for a clue that lead to the same word...I'll bet Dan did it intentionally.

Margaret said...

@Mokus: Joe Lieberman has been compared to the cartoon Droopy Dog quite a bit, particularly on the Daily Show.

Love love love Harry Potter Puppet Pals.

PG, I'm embarrassed to admit I once used SEND IN THE CLOWNS to audition for a school musical. Why that song when I agree with you about its awfulness? Because it's in a low register (suitable for us altos) and has an extremely limited range (suitable for us extremely limited singers.) No, I didn't get the part. Duh.

Hand up for the stab in the dark on the D in DIPLO/UDO.

badrog said...

Re 49A "Japanese veggie"/UDO, I smiled in agreement at PG's "So much learning going on today!" because:
1. UDO as an actual word is perhaps more familiar to CW-ers (CW101?) than to buffs of Japanese cuisine.
2. The green stuff floating in your miso soup is much more likely to be scallions, shallots, leeks, green onions, or even some kind of seaweed than UDO.
2. Your typical Japanese citizen is more likely to know UDO as the plant seen on the hillsides of East Asia than as a "veggie" or even an herb. (BTW, the herbal use of the UDO root is for relief of stress.)
3. The only actual translation into English that I was able to find was "Japanese spikenard" and spikenard is NOT (I may be wrong!)your everyday veggie or herb.
4. The ONLY usage given in my Kenkyusha J-E dictionary is "a big gawky [useless] fellow" in the idiom "udo no taiboku" (= a large udo tree (it's 2-3 meters tall, but is not a woody plant)) as in: He's like a great UDO tree, good only for shade.
5. At this point I was thinking "Aha, "veggie" = "couch potato" until I remembered that a potato isn't really a vegetable at all.
6. Although udon (thick wheat noodles, usually in a clear stock) and miso soup are standard items in Japanese cuisine around the world, there is absolutely no etymological or usage connection between UDO and udon.
7. TMI, FWIW.

C said...

Good Nador puzzle today. ONETOTEN is a new answer for me, I liked it. DIPLO is new to me, as well, good to learn.

Janet said...

Diplo is a term used by scientists.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_diplo_mean
in bacteria, it means "double"

Eric said...

My last two letters were the initial GO in 3D. I had MPH instead of MPG for "Rd. traveler's stat" and ORA instead of ORO meaning gold. But HAOGLE didn't make much sense. (It's only a G away from HAOLE, though, which I saw recently in another puzzle.)

SE gave me trouble too, with I-BAR (for which I first guessed STUD) and AME. BBL was pretty much a gimme, though. Further on I-BAR: I'd never heard of it either, but one definition is a small I-beam. Also known as I-iron.

Carefully not watching the Potter Puppet Pals video. I don't know that song, and if it's gonna get stuck in my head, I don't want to!

Spinnakers are big, baloony, usually brightly coloured SAILs. They're only used when you're sailing directly downwind (which is known in sailing jargon as "running before the wind").

@JW: Agreed about "ploy" not suiting RAISE. A ploy is an action calculated to frustrate an opponent or gain an advantage indirectly or deviously; a maneuver. That arguably applies to BLUFF, but it doesn't apply to RAISE, which is simply part of the mechanics of poker. Unless one concedes that the clue itself was BLUFFING :-)
(I say that "ploy" only "arguably" applies to BLUFF because bluffing is a well accepted and totally legal part of poker strategy, whereas "ploy" connotes something not quite kosher.)
A one-letter change would have made this clue unexceptionable: "Poker plAy".

DIPLOdocus is my only DIPLO- word too. Does every little boy go through a dinosaur phase?

@PG: Aww, I don't find "Send in the Clowns" that bad. It's not my favourite song by any means, but it isn't nearly as awful as, say, Marty Balin's "Hearts" (*cringe*). I'm just sayin'... I agree about "Just the Way You Are", though; I can't abide Billy Joel, with the notable exception of "Piano Man".

Dies IRAE ("Day of Wrath") is a medieval hymn dealing with the Last Judgment. IIUC, it was part of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass until that was reformed in the sixties by Vatican II.
You might have heard the Gregorian melody, or music inspired by it, since it's often quoted in other works. I'ts been used in a few movies, too, like The Seventh Seal.
As is typical, there have been other musical settings of Dies Irae's words over the centuries. I wanted to give you Wendy (née Walter) Carlos's "Country Lane", which is a variation on the Gregorina Dies Irae melody, mashed up with "Singin' in the Rain", but YouTube doesn't have it, so here instead is a rather Orffesque setting I just found; it's by Karl Jenkins, from 2005.

Avg Joe said...

All this discussion of "Clowns" has me listening to it. I always liked Judy Collins, as well as that song. Sorry PG, but here it is (ignore at your leisure:-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbRnMqRHveU

Also, on the topic of Judy Blue Eyes, if you like her, you probably also enjoy her version of "Who Knows Where the Time Goes". The original of that song, by Sandy Denny with Fairport Convention, is far better IMO. Give a listen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2xODjbfYw8

You had to be a big shot, din't ya?, had to prove it to the crowd said...

Maybe Mr. "He Who Must Not Be Named" can't find this board but I can. Where did you come across that Harry Potter puppet thing? I ask because my kids watch/quote/perform it non-stop. I had no idea it was a thing. I just thought it was something they'd randomly run across when they were messing with their mother's Apple Phoneamajig.

But that's not the reason I'm here. I'm here in my ceaseless quest to track down all you Billy Joel smearers and bring you to justice. Plus, those other two songs are pretty good, too. In fact, those are my three favorite songs of all time.

Anonymous said...

@You... How's things it Texas?

Rex Parker said...

UDO / DIPLO is the price you pay for stacking those theme answers. I think it was a fair price today. I liked this better than most DNs.

Commenting tip:
Commenters should not write essays (or cut-and-paste material) longer than the write-up itself. If you have such an inclination, get your own blog and post there. It's tedious (yes, I could, and do, ignore them, but still...). Know when to say when. Makes it more likely people will take the time to read what you're saying.

Cross-posting your comments to several other blogs is another tedious tactic (how desperate are you to be heard/seen?). Doing so means you aren't really responding to the write-up, but just sounding off. ... But most here don't do that, and the ones that do, I've long since stopped reading.

Keep up good work, PG. ~RP

CrazyCatLady said...

Finally brought my germs to the party and did the puzzle. I'm feeling SNEEZY, DROOPY and kind of like the DREGs. I really enjoyed (as always) this DN puzzle and PG's write up. I especially liked the Potter puppets clip. Gave me a big YUK. Hand up for liking "Send In the Clowns" but then I'm into Broadway tunes. "Lady in Red" I agree, the other kind of YUCK. Not crazy about MEG RYAN either.

mac said...

This is one of my favorite Dan Naddor puzzles. It was smart and clean. Loved "aplomb", had a little trouble after I put in Boy Soldiers (thought it was another teen book I never read since I was an adult when I arrived). I still don't understand the BBL, but it was not to be denied by the crosses.

I was puzzled by the "send in the clowns" quote; I like the song and always thought she sang: Aren't we a pair, sort of sarcastically.

Never seen one dreg, and I have to really study @Seth's first sentence.

PG: you may just have lost your job.....

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

DIPLODIA Tip Blight is a pine tree disease that is caused by the fungus Sphaeropsis sapinea. I get involved quite a bit with plant pathology at the Morton Arboretum... I could go on and on with this topic but I won't. There's enough expert and REXpert babble going on here so you don't need my comments to bore you, but in view of what @Janet said above, I thought that was kind of interesting (at least to me it was). DIPLODIA has become a very serious problem in Christmas tree farms, so expect to see the prices of pine trees to accelerate in the near future. In the trade we refer to it merely as DIPLO.

Tom in the D said...

Easy tuesday fare. One of my best times yet. Finished in 6:552!!! Not a big fan of Ibar either. must be in the same category as a skyhook. Ciao

mac said...

Lieberman as sneezy? Should have been grumpy. Persona-non-grata to many of us in CT.

SethG said...

I don't understand the Lieberman dwarf comments. He's clearly Kermit.

Avg Joe said...

Here's an ear implant to haunt y'all for a few hours. "Seventeen", by Janis Ian.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CziYn0n6zkI

This song was in my mind all night long. Curiously, when I got up this morning here in NE, the first temp I saw was 17. Hmmm?

The theme of the song also fits the mood here today pretty well. We can't all be famous, or the best at solving whatever it is we solve in our everyday humdrum lives. Some of us are simply doomed to be ordinary. It's a burden, but it's one that must be borne. Shit!

CrazyCatLady said...

I thought Lieberman was DROOPY. Whoa SethG. Kermit's way cuter. Tsk.
@Mac I think you're right about "Aren't we a pair. I'll look it up after I get my chicken cacciatora going. @AJoe - I always liked that Janis Ian song. Talk about a flash from the past. Yikes.

Tootie said...

Lieberman is that dude on ALF.

CrazyCatLady said...

It is "Are WE A pair?" Dan was right.