04.14 Thu

April 14, 2011
Daniel A. Finan

Theme: Embedded Answers — The clue to each theme answer is a word hidden within the first word of the answer itself. And the answer phrase can be said to describe the clue word. Capiche?

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Pan? (COMPANION PIECE). The word PAN can be found hidden in the word COMPANION. Therefore, you might say PAN is a PIECE of COMPANION: a COMPANION PIECE.
  • 33A/44A: Ten? (SENTENCE FRAGMENT). The word TEN is hidden in the word SENTENCE, so it's a FRAGMENT of the word SENTENCE: a SENTENCE FRAGMENT.
  • 54A: Kin? (SMOKING SECTION). You're getting it now, right? The word KIN is hidden in the word SMOKING. It's a SECTION of the word SMOKING: a SMOKING SECTION.
Super cool theme today. Tricky to catch onto and topped off with a very nice aha moment. Nicely done!

My favorite entries:
  • 4D: Emulate Cyrano (WAX POETIC). Because it looks cool in the grid.
  • 5D: It may be reckless (ABANDON). Because that's an awesome clue.
  • 11D: Afro-sporting "Mod Squad" character (LINC). Because I always loved LINC.
  • 9A: Hyphenated dessert name (JELL-O). I probably wouldn't have remembered to put the hyphen in this answer if it had been clued differently.
  • 15A: Liner danger (BERG). Ha! Again!
  • 23A: Relative of -like (-OID). I remember reading an article about how people have begun using the suffix -OID to mean "little" instead of "like." Especially with the word FACTOID. So what FACTOID really means is something that's not a fact but is, instead, fact-like. But usually when people say the word FACTOID, they mean, like, a piece of trivia that's true. I can tell you're fascinated.
  • 30A: Moo chew? (CUD). Ew.
  • 48A: Birling roller (LOG). Pretty sure I learned what "birling" is when it appeared in a grid a couple years ago. Couldn't exactly pull it from the cobwebs though. Had to get this one through crosses.
  • 63A: Veal piccata ingredient (LEMON). Me: "Um … veal?"
  • 65A: N.L. East squad (NATS). I think I mentioned that my new boss is a huge Washington Nationals fan. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to become something of a fan just so I can have intelligent conversations with him during baseball season. I'll let you know how that goes. And when the hell will Strassburg be back in the line-up?
  • 66A: Country sound (TWANG).

  • 1D: Very smart (CHIC). I love this definition of "smart." It's never the first one I think of. I tried WISE first.
  • 12D: Vacation location (LAKE). Did I ever tell you about the time we took a PuzzleFamily vacation at Platte River State Park? PuzzleHusband thought we should "rent a cabin" or something so I got us all lined up at the Platte River State Park which is just outside of Omaha. Turns out he meant, like, a cabin on one of the Great Lakes or something. He has never let me live it down that I planned a family vacation in Omaha. We had a great time though. He doesn't like to admit that part.
  • 30D: Actor's day job? (CAMEO). Okay, this one took me a minute. Does this mean that an actor with a CAMEO part probably only has to be on the set for one day? That's how I made sense of it. Let me know what you think.
  • 31D: SEC school that retired Peyton Manning's number (U. TENN.). Any Tennesseans here? I'm gonna need a ruling on whether U. TENN. is an acceptable abbreviation for the University of Tennessee.
  • 45D: Hall of fame (ARSENIO). Do the kids even remember ARSENIO Hall? His 15 minutes didn't seem to last very long.
  • 56D: Did some selling out (SANG). Here's another one that I didn't understand right away. I think this refers to, like, an informant. Right?
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 37A: Former lover of Riker on "Star Trek: T.N.G." (TROI).
  • 38A: Pontiff's wear (ALB).
  • 53A: Airline to Copenhagen (SAS).
  • 60A: Centipede maker (ATARI).
  • 61A: Spice (ELAN).
  • 67A: Golden Fleece vessel (ARGO).
  • 10D: Some native New Yorkers (ERIES).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Flying group (CREW); 5A: Comic Johnson (ARTE); 14A: Half dodeca- (HEXA-); 16A: Hater of David, in Dickens (URIAH); 17A: Theater giant? (IMAX); 18A: In __: confused (A FOG); 19A: High humor? (JINKS); 24A: Wine bar offerings (PORTS); 25A: Moshe Dayan's "oxygen of the soul" (FREEDOM); 29A: Guff (GAS); 35A: Change genetically (MUTATE); 40A: Foreshadowing (OMEN); 41A: Service station vessel (OIL CAN); 47A: Org. whose members are concerned with lies (PGA); 50A: Radius, e.g. (ARM BONE); 51A: San __: San Francisco Bay city (MATEO); 61A: Spice (ELAN); 62A: Yes-__ question (OR-NO); 64A: Part of Caesar's boast (VENI); 68A: Sin in the film "Se7en" (ENVY); 2D: San __ (REMO); 3D: Student's stressor (EXAM); 6D: Update mtge. terms (REFI); 7D: Band (TROOP); 8D: Quaff garnished with nutmeg (EGG NOG); 9D: Technique of ancient samurai (JUJITSU); 13D: Cries of understanding (OHS); 21D: Hill worker (AIDE); 22D: Buggy relative (PRAM); 25D: Depth-of-field setting (F-STOP); 26D: Outfit again (RERIG); 27D: __ Gay (ENOLA); 28D: George Strait label (MCA); 32D: Pasta al __ (DENTE); 34D: Santa's 21-Down (ELF); 36D: O.K. Corral town (TOMBSTONE); 39D: It's usually uplifting (BRA); 42D: Diced and served in a mushroom cream sauce (ALA KING); 43D: "Don't look at me!" "NOT I!"); 46D: Ally Financial Inc., formerly (GMAC); 49D: City on the Rhone (GENEVA); 51D: Jerk (MORON); 52D: Stare master? (OGLER); 54D: Ratatouille, for one (STEW); 55D: Doll's word (MAMA); 57D: Mashhad is its second-largest city (IRAN); 58D: Airing (ON TV); 59D: Intrusive (NOSY); 60D: PC key (ALT).


CoffeeLvr said...

Thank you so much for explaining the theme. I solved the puzzle easily enough, but could not see how the clues related to my entries.

Best part of the puzzle for me was the Dayan quotation at 25A.

gina713 said...

Thanks for the explanation on the theme. There were some good clues. I had heard of wax poetic but I didn't know of its association with Cyrano. I agree it is a cool theme.

Ruth said...

Great writeup! Could NOT figure out why there's a picture posted of Michael C. Hall (always nice to see him of course). Then I got it--Arsenio HALL led to this photo. Rather circuitous but again--fine w/me!

lit.doc said...

Really well-put-together grid, so a pleasure to solve. Would have enjoyed it even more, I think, if the theme clues had been less letteral and more “pun”ishing. Something like SENTENCE FRAGMENT = “Time served” or “To be or not”. Only, you know, clever and creative.

Doug P said...

Love this theme! And the long down stuff (TOMBSTONE, JUJITSU, WAX POETIC) was excellent too.

*David* said...

I enjoyed the theme, a different pitch from the ususal and excellent cluing, lots of fun.

Nighthawk said...

Another winner of a write-up, @PG.

Knew the clues were embedded parts of the answers, but didn't see how the PIECES fit until read your explanation.

Today's speed bumps: had bushido for JUSITSU and aHS for OHS, making the NE a tangle; didn't know birling so LOG was a mystery and was looking for a French town instead of Swiss, so GENEVA needed crosses to appear. Same for ALAKING.

I'm a Volunteer. So, I'd say U. TENN was fair enough, though I usually think of it simply as UT, which gets confusing if you don't know bright orange from burnt orange. To clear that confusion, it helps to remember that that other state is where all the Exs live.

I think if ARSENIO's era as Hammer time.

Double BERG! Woot!

Brian said...

I like totally missed the theme and at first thought the answer to "PAN" was "COMPANION TO POT" as is pots and pans. SMOKING SECTION and other clues like " High humor" had me thinking there was a very unusual theme today.

syndy said...

SAY what? sorry still makes very little sense to me!Not in my wheelhouse seemed like self gratification was going on and I'm going to step back out the door.

Anonymous said...

On free association, I googled Mandy Patinkin for spelling just in case it was a Pricess Bride puzzle.

Flying group = CREW? Seems arbitrary. There's nothing about CREW that is specific to flying. Sailing group, rowing group. A 'Motley' group, well that would have to be CREW.

Rube said...

Quickly filled in the entire LHS of the puzzle with the RHS mostly blank. WHen the South finally gave SMOKINGSECTION, the theme was obvious and immediately put in PIECE and FRAGMENT -- the rest was trivial.

Had a hard time accepting JELLO as hyphenated, but yes, I guess it is... never noticed. Had gROuP before TROOP, cApE before LAKE, aHS before OHS, GAb before GAS, and meTS before NATS.

All in all a very enjoyable puzzle with a theme I've never seen before.

I'm first going to copy this comment in case furshluginer Blogger eats my comment again!

Crosscan said...

The Washington NATS? Where did they come from?

Fowler said...

Puzzle Girl shows her true smarts in digging the theme out of this one. Brilliant sleuthing! I finished late (by starting with BUSHIDO instead of JUJITSU) and yet could not decipher the theme.

John Wolfenden said...

Pretty cerebral theme...I'd be surprised if anyone figured it out before getting all the theme answers. That's not a weakness, per se.

A lot of nifty cluing, my favorite being "Org. whose members are concerned with lies" for PGA. Also like "Country sound" for TWANG and "Stare master for OGLER.

My only caveat is that to me a MORON and a jerk are different. A moron is a very stupid person (and it used to be an actual category of intelligence), a jerk is someone who behaves...well, like a jerk.

I discovered that a college friend of mine has become addicted to a martial art related to JIUJITSU called grappling. She describes it as "what happens when the fight goes to the ground."

I heard a piece about TOMBSTONE on NPR the other day. It has among the most lenient gun laws in the country (want to carry a loaded gun into a bar? Sure!) and its residents pride themselves on how low their crime rate is compared to their larger neighbor Tuscon. Of course if you adjust for population, their violent crime rate is actually slightly higher.

Anonymous said...

The first theme answer I got was SMOKING SECTION. I saw KIN, and thought I needed to remove it, resulting in SMOG SECTION. Then I got the middle one, giving me SENSE FRAGMENT. Hmm...
Then the top dropped, and COMION PIECE did not make a whole lot of sense, so I knew I had to head over to PG's place - to have it all sorted out for me.
Thanks, PuzzleGirl!

PGW said...

first time I am posting comments:
got the theme, but had trouble with country sound (along with a few others).... kept thinking back to the days of spring/summer when as kids we would hear the frogs croaking outside. memories! :)

Anonymous said...

...OH, and yes, I knew it was SENCE FRAGMENT, but I think I was trying too hard to come up with a theme that wasn't there...

StudioCitySteve said...

@PG - thanks for the explanation, I couldn't see the theme at all and wondered if I'd missed a couple of days and it was Saturday already :)

Same as @JohnW, really liked PGA and OGLER, and some of the downs - WAX POETIC was nice.

This did take me a while - I had to resort to some "Saturday" techniques such as partially filling an answer to keep the momentum going (such as V--I and a couple of S's here and there).

My last fill was the H in CHIC - for some reason I thought a dodecahedron had 12 sides, and wanted to HEXA to be SEXA.

Good fun today, my only very minor grump was UTENN, but if @Nighthawk's OK with it I guess I'll file it away for future reference.

hebow44 said...

Yeah, thanks Puzzle Girl. Had the answers, saw the embedded words, and still wanted the clues to mean something else. Finally gave up and turned to your blog. What are we going to do if You don't get the theme someday?

NYTAnonimo said...

Very clever theme. Got TEN first. Are there CAMEO appearances in this blog?

Barry said...

Had no idea on the theme till PG gave it to me. Not at thrilled as PG was on the theme.

My take on CAMEO was that wherever an actor goes during his day, he is making cameo appearances (grocery store, library, restaurant, etc.). But that doesn't match the dictionary definition of cameo which is limited to a play, film, etc. So seeing this, I don't think the clue for CAMEO is all that good.

I would go with PGs interpretation of SANG as in "sang like a canary" but didn't think that one fit well either.

another hand up for liking OGLER and PGA clues.

I agree with @JW that MORON and jerk are not synonimous. Like the difference between a scholar and a gentleman except in opposites.

@SCS a dodecahedron does have 12 sides and a hexahedron has 6.

Anonymous said...

Waiting to see "Argo" clued as member of Toronto CFL team.


StudioCitySteve said...

@Barry - thanks, you're right, I'm having a slow day. I was thinking HEXA meaning "16" as in hexadecimal, conveniently forgetting that the "decimal" part means "+10" in that context.

I guess I've got SEXA on the brain :)

My captcha is "caraok", maybe I need to go out to the bar tonight and SING like a canary

John Wolfenden said...

Re CAMEO: I had no problem with that clue when taken as a pun..."day-playing" is an oft-used term in the biz.

C said...

Nice theme that revealed itself to me in "SMOKINGSECTION" Good cluing in the puzzle, and an 'out of sight, you dig' for the LINC answer.

David said...

Does anyone who knows about vestments worn by priests at Mass have a problem with the clue for 38-A? Any priest--including a pope--could wear a white alb, so it's not exclusively "pontiff wear." In public, the pope simply wears a white cassock (with shoulder cape). Albs are worn only during the celebration of Mass, even by non-ordained deacons.

Rube said...

@David, I agree with your statement... even acolytes wear albs. I think of an alb as "white", (ref albino). However, in crosswordland, distortions like this are common. I've seen this before and we will probably see it again.

Anonymous said...

I guess it is just as well that I didn't have access to the theme before I worked the puzzle. I print the puzzle from the LAT web site but I never see the theme... is there a way to see the theme?

In general, I'm not crazy about themes. Sometimes they can be helpful when I figure them out on my own. Other times, they are annoying.

the redanman said...

Thanks for the theme.

This puzzle is about my limit of skill. A fun challenge, not quite finished before coming here.

Barry said...

@anon 7:15 - the puzzle doesn't come with a written theme. PG makes up her own based on what the theme appears to be when she finishes.

Took me weeks to figure out why I could never see the theme. I like to work the Sunday Calendar puzzles which have a theme listed, but the dailies have no theme listed.

I was going to comment that she should add that Q to the FAQ since recently it's been often asked in the comments, but I see that it's already there.