THURSDAY, April 30, 2009 — Dan Naddor

Theme: Eight Is Enough — Add the letters ate to the last word of each of eight (eight!) theme answers to create a new word, the beginning of which is spelled differently than the original word, if that makes any sense. It's complicated is what I'm saying.

Crosswordese 101: There are two three-letter sports figures you need to know and one of theme appears in today's puzzle at 30D: Slugger Mel OTT. If you don't know much (or anything) about sports, I'm sorry to tell you that the other one you need to know is hockey legend Bobby ORR. Amazingly similar, right? Well, the names are, but the guys aren't. Mel OTT was a right fielder for the New York Giants from 1926 to 1947. He batted left and threw right. He was the first National League player to hit more than 500 home runs. For crossword solving purposes, you also need to know a few more things about him: (1) he is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York; (2) he was born in Louisiana, (3) he was sometimes called "Master Melvin," and (4) during his career, the stadium the Giants played in was know as "The Polo Grounds." Bobby ORR, on the other hand, is a retired Canadian hockey player, who played virtually all of his career with the Boston Bruins. (He was on the Chicago Black Hawks' roster for the two seasons prior to his retirement, but during that time, he was injured and didn't actually play.) Here's what you need to know about him: (1) his career spanned the 1960s and 1970s; (2) the Bruins played at Boston Garden; (3) he was Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year in 1970; (4) he is a multiple-time winner of three of the NHL's highest awards: the Conn Smythe, Norris, and Art Ross Trophies; and (5) he was a teammate of Phil Esposito. Unfortunately, both of these athletes wore #4, so you can't use that as a rhyme for ORR to help you remember which one he is. Sorry.

Mr. Naddor, we meet again! This is one of those puzzles where the theme didn't help me at all while I was solving, but when I figured it out afterward, I was super impressed. And it wasn't until I started typing this up that I noticed the EIGHT theme answers, which makes it even better. Very ambitious and nicely executed!

Theme answers:
  • 18A: *"Unforgettable" singer (NAT "KING" COLE). Collate.
  • 24A: *Cold War European (WEST GERMAN). Germinate.
  • 31A: *1940s-'60s Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback (Y. A. TITTLE). Tittilate.
  • 40A: *Branch source (TREE TRUNK). Truncate.
  • 42A: *Florida city near Fort Myers (CAPE CORAL). Correlate.
  • 48A: *House speaker before Newt Gingrich (TOM FOLEY). Foliate.
  • 58A: *Covered with black dots (FLY-SPECKED). Spectate. (Is this a word?)
  • 67A: *1976 Olympic decathlon champ (BRUCE JENNER). Generate.
  • 73A: Word that homophonically forms a familiar word when attached to the end of the answer to each starred clue (ATE).
I'm pretty sure I spelled all of those words right. If not, no doubt someone will let me know in the comments.

Stuff that threw me off:
  • 14A: Rock band with a fishy name (EELS). Never heard of them, but I heard from a very reliable source that one of their songs is featured in "Wordplay":

  • 63A: Bridge call (I PASS). For 55D, [1970 Poitier title role], I originally had Tubbs instead of TIBBS — which is pretty hilarious now that I think about it —but it really messed me up on the bridge thing. Try parsing upass and let me know how that works for you.
  • 75A: "Shoot!" (ASK). Wanted drat or dang or something along those lines.
  • 4D: Deadpan Stein (BEN). I know this guy. Loved his game show. Don't agree with his politics, but think, in general, he's hilarious. Could. Not. Remember. His. Name. Man, it sucks getting old.
  • 5D: Assayer's substance (REAGENT). Is this something science-y? Because I don't know any science-y stuff.
  • 11D: Enter again (RELOG). Wanted re-key.
  • 69D: Seoul soldier (ROK). ROK stands for Republic of Korea. Does anyone know (or care) why it's also a word for a soldier?
Most colorful answers:
  • 1D: "Batman" blow (KAPOW).
  • 9D: Snake oil salesman (HUCKSTER).
  • 36D: Dash (RUN LIKE MAD).
  • 20A: Fit for drafting (ONE-A). For the Selective Service System, Class 1-A means "Available for unrestricted military service."
  • 39A: G.I. food in a plastic pouch (MRE). Covered in a previous Crosswordese 101 lesson.
  • 55A: Vegan's purchase (TOFU). As far as crossword puzzles are concerned, the only thing vegans eat is tofu.
  • 70A: Soft shoe, briefly (MOC). Short for moccasin.
  • 72A: Houston pro, to fans ('STRO). Can someone please confirm that this abomination is actually used by fans of the team. To me it sounds like when people say 'za for pizza. It's just ... not right.
  • 6D: Union station? (ALTAR). A place where a union (i.e., wedding) takes place.
  • 15D: 1% alternative (SKIM). Milk!
  • 19D: Like some highlighted text: Abbr. (ITAL). This is a great clue for italic and here's why. It's true. Once you've italicized some text, that's all you need to do! It's highlighted! You don't need to, say, underline it once it's italicized. In fact, if you do, it's just wrong. See how wrong that looks? jeff in chicago, are you here? You'll back me up on this, right?
  • 21D: Paris possessive (À TOI). French!
  • 31D: Song spelled with arm motions (YMCA).
  • 32D: Composer Khachaturian (ARAM). I always remember this because two years ago I was working on a family history and found that I have a distant relative named Aram. Shortly thereafter, I saw this clue/answer pair in a puzzle and it's stuck with me ever since. How you will remember this guy? I have no idea.
  • 34D: Q.E.D. part (ERAT). Latin!
  • 53D: M.'s counterpart (MLLE.). More French! M. is Monsieur; Mlle. is Mademoiselle.
See ya in the comments!

Everything Else — 1A: Supplies case (KIT); 4A: Grille cover (BRA); 7A: African hot spot (SAHARA); 13A: Santa __ winds (ANA); 16A: One that got away (ELUDER); 17A: LPGA star Se Ri __ (PAK); 22A: Pace (GAIT); 23A: Goodyear's home (AKRON); 27A: Nintendo rival (SEGA); 28A: Any day now (SOON); 29A: Spoils (LOOT); 35A: Den music setup (STEREO); 46A: Reno-to-Boise dir. (NNE); 47A: Heineken brand (AMSTEL); 52A: Wander (ROAM); 54A: Gaseous: Pref. (AERI); 65A: Spring (LEAP); 66A: Formal intro? (SEMI); 71A: Fruit in a split (BANANA); 74A: Crude cabin (SHANTY); 76A: "L.A. Law" actress (DEY); 2D: Cockamamie (INANE); 3D: Initiates action (TAKESSTEPS); 7D: McCain, e.g.: Abbr. (SEN); 8D: Pond organism (ALGA); 10D: Really dig (ADORE); 12D: Where the action is (ARENA); 25D: Received (GOT); 26D: Wine bouquet (NOSE); 33D: USPS delivery (LTR); 37D: Feminine suffix (ENNE); 38D: __-dokey (OKEY); 41D: "Xanadu" rock gp. (ELO); 43D: Ancient Italian (ETRUSCAN); 44D: Corporate VIP (CEO); 45D: Norway's patron (OLAF); 49D: Rand McNally staff (MAPPERS); 50D: Co-pay, for instance (FEE); 51D: Tolkien henchmen (ORCS); 56D: Talk show giant (OPRAH); 57D: Flora's partner (FAUNA); 59D: Hankerings (YENS); 60D: Red suit wearer (SANTA); 61D: Ham it up (EMOTE); 62D: Uncertain (DICEY); 64D: Transmitted (SENT); 68D: Crow family bird (JAY).


Jeffrey said...

I think 'STRO was like 'SPO for the Expos. The only people who said that were sportscasters trying to be too cute. Yuck.

Theme was a little odd here. Doesn't quite work for me.

Have you done ELO in your course yet?

Rex Parker said...

With no crosses, filled in KAPOW ... and it was right? Wow.

I was not as fond of this puzzle as you were, but it was alright.

Is something "FLY-SPECKED" when the "black dots" *aren't* flies?



Barnfox said...

Crosscan is right. It seems that if the sportsmedia can't shorten a teams' name it will make it longer.
Cubs ---> Cubbies.

ArtLvr said...

Okey-dokey by me and I did it super-fast. Thanks for the info on OTT and ORR! I mainly just wait for crosses to get the right one... except I now know that I can asscociate ORR with RRink for skating.

GERMINATE was my favorite of the theme answers, as the garden is finally getting some attention -- after I check out what clever ideas have sprouted in the crossword collectives!


gjelizabeth said...

I agree the theme was no use for solving but a pleasure when I figured it out after finishing.

Anonymous said...

The Houston Stars were a soccer team based out of Houston, Texas...so I chose STRS for 72A.
Now I've always known a Seoul soldier to be a South Korean, hence RSK at 69D (for Republic of South Korea). Makes more sense to me, but oh well, that's why I'm a crosswordee and not a crossworder.

I guess a score of 143 out of 145 (98.6%) isn't too bad for an old man. Does anyone else keep a cumulative score like me?

Anonymous said...

I do not get a title on my weekday puzzles, nor do I get the name of the puzzler. Any ideas?

toothdoc said...

PG - 63A could have been clued as "Bridge smack talk, with 'your'" but that's some serious bridge playing.

Puzzle was OK, couldn't figure out the theme even after completing the puzzle. I guess I'm homophonophobic.

PuzzleGirl said...

@JohnsNeverHome: I will admit to keeping two spreadsheets. One helps me keep track of which puzzles I've done and on the other I record my time for the NYT puzzle only. That's about the amount the dorkiness I'm willing to admit publicly.

@Peggy: The LAT puzzles only have published titles on Sunday. We just make up titles for the other days! As for the constructor's name: oftentimes a newspaper takes the constructor's name off the puzzle because they just can't imagine it's important. If you contact your newspaper, you might persuade them to include it. It's worked at other papers. (And, truly, crossword constructors are so poorly paid, the least the papers can do is make sure they get credit for their awesome work.)

Denise said...

JOHNSNEVERHOME, how do you calculate the score?

REX, the word you wanted to use is two words: ALL RIGHT. "Alright" is incorrect.

Puzzle was fun, and the theme was clever -- although, as usual the little cartoon didn't let me reflect back much.

PuzzleGirl said...

I think I can speak for both Rex and Orange when I say that we would really appreciate it if everyone would refrain from correcting others' grammar and spelling in the comments. Thanks.

Orange said...

Denise, neither Rex nor I is a strict prescriptivist. (Not sure about PuzzleGirl's stance.) "Alright" may be nonstandard, but so is "ain't" and that has its uses outside of formal writing too. He meant "alright" just as The Who meant it in The Kids Are Alright.

*David* said...

PLease don't corrrect my grammar as I spelled ARAPHOES with an E yesterday.

I worked the puzzle from the bottom NE corner so the theme actually did help me. The theme fill were quire easy so the puzzle fell easier then usual for a Thursday.

The only head-scrach section was in the cross ALTAR, BRA, and EELS, didn't know BEN.

Loved seeing EELS, the lead singer goes by the name E. If you're ever down listen to the Eels because they have it much worse off then you do based on their songs.

Puffin said...

Eels are good. I can share MP3s if anyone is curious.

That lead singer is the son of a very strange guy, the physicist Hugh Everett. The story goes that when he was told of his daughter's suicide attempt, he looked up from his newspaper and said something like "Hmmm. She must have been very unhappy"

Jerome said...

Wonderful puzzle. At some point you knew those eight theme answers were going to have to come together somehow. The discovery was all the fun.

Unusual theme and cleverly done. Take a bow, Dan, you earned it.

Crosscan said...

I track times for the NYT (and lately LAT) and number of errors for all puzzles I do

Jet City Gambler said...

Interesting that this one was a 15x16, with an extra row jammed in there to fit in all those theme answers.

I mixed up my Speakers of the House and put in TOM DELAY, which caused no end of trouble. D'oh! FOLEY is from Washington state, too ...

jeff in chicago said...

Nice puzzle. Although I had FLYSPOTTED and TOMDELAY for a long time. That really, really, really, really slowed me down in that region.

Now see, I wanted the third "really" to be underlined and the fourth "really" to be underlined and italic to show the only instance where underlining and italicizing might be OK. An increasing series of emphasis. But no. I agree with PG. No underlining AND italicizing. (Wow. Called out for expertise in the blog. I feel special!)

And why can't I underline? I can bold and ital and link to really funny clips but not underline. PG? You got both in your post. What am I missing?

Suddenly I want some 'za for lunch.

Argyle said...

Rex Parker said @ 6:12 AM. Is something "FLY-SPECKED" when the "black dots" *aren't* flies?But of course! The "black dots" only indicate that flies had been there and left a "calling card".

Rex Parker said...

@Denise, I use "alright" althe time and have no plans to stop. You aren't the first to go all "Eats Shoots Leaves" on me (ugh). I am familiar with the following usage note, which you might enjoy. Me, I figure Langston Hughes and James Joyce are good enough company.

USAGE NOTE Despite the appearance of the form alright in works of such well-known writers as Langston Hughes and James Joyce, the single word spelling has never been accepted as standard. This is peculiar, since similar fusions such as already and altogether have never raised any objections. The difference may lie in the fact that already and altogether became single words back in the Middle Ages, whereas alright has only been around for a little more than a century and was called out by language critics as a misspelling. Consequently, one who uses alright, especially in formal writing, runs the risk that readers may view it as an error or as the willful breaking of convention.

Anonymous said...

Oh Rex, you willful breaker of convention you!

puzzled_in_pdx said...

Just wanted to leave a note about reagents. It's a very general science term for any chemical used in a reaction/assay for whatever you're looking for. Probably a poor explaination, sorry.

This puzzle was tough for me, but then it's Thursday.

SethG said...

Well, since agent can be a verb, clearly one can reagent in CrossWorld.

chefbea said...

Didn't really get the theme til the end but a fun easy thursday puzzle.

How bout a tofu banana split?

devin said...

yes. 'stro is used pretty regularly.v

go 'stros!

chefwen said...

Every time I go to see my MIL in upper Wisconsin I buy a new set of Minnetonka mocs (thunderbird design) at a place called Seugin's. Their sign used to may Seugin's Cheese Moccasins.

I learned a looong time ago never to correct anyone's grammar, it just pisses them off.

Really liked the puzzle, it had the right amount of crunch to it.

A few mistakes like rep for SEN, fell into the flyspotted bunch and for the longest time I had hula instead of YMCA. The theme was fun when finished.

John said...

Where did you get that YMCA pic??? Its not from "Ferris Buelers Day Off", is it??


Denise, I just count all the wrong words and divide by the total number of words (both across and down). Then I subtract the result from one and then move the decimal point right two places and voila, you get the percentage of CW goodness. That checks my senility.
I also keep track of the time to complete a CW... that tells me how keen and quick my brain still is.
So far, I've been improving, so that makes me feel good about aging.

Orange said...

John, I think you're adding the last Across number plus the last Down number to get 145—but you'll note that 1-Across through 16-Across includes 6 Across answers and not 16. Here's the shortcut for counting the number of answers in a standard crossword:

Taking this Thursday LA Times puzzle as an example, begin with the last Across clue number. Here, it's 76. Then count the number of squares that begin both an Across and Down answer--the numbered white squares with a black square (or puzzle border) above and to the left. Here, those are the squares numbered 1, 4, 7, 31, and 55. So that's 5 squares. 76 + 5 = 81. Ergo, this is a 81-"word" crossword.

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