THURSDAY, June 4, 2009—Dan Naddor

Theme: A Bunch of Losers — Each theme answer is a phrase that ends in a synonym for failures.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: 1963 international treaty subjects (ATOMIC BOMBS).
  • 23A: Politicians' dilemmas (FLIP-FLOPS). I think I would rather have seen a footwear clue here.
  • 37A: Heavy gamebirds (WILD TURKEYS).
  • 51A: They usually involve undercover work (DRUG BUSTS).
  • 57A: Cowboy boots and Stetson hats (WESTERN DUDS). My favorite.
Crosswordese 101: EOS is the Titanic goddess of the dawn in Greek mythology. She is most often clued as in this puzzle, 66A: Dawn deity. Other words that might show up in clues for EOS are daybreak and goddess. You should also keep in mind that she is Helios's sister, Hyperion's daughter, Orion's lover, and Memnon's mother. Her Roman counterpart is Aurora. Oh, and she has wings, but you probably knew that.

It was mostly smooth sailing today, but I did have a couple trouble spots.

  • 34A: Lightweight bayou vessel (PIROGUE). Never heard of this, but I do love a good pierogi.
  • 1D: Italy's __ Coast (AMALFI). Once I got this from crosses it looked familiar but ... let's just say geography isn't my strong suit.
  • 21D: Metallic money (SPECIE). If you've ever used this word in real life, I will give you a hundred dollars. But it will have to be in coins. And you realize, of course, that I'm kidding.
  • 35D: Antipoverty agcy. (OEO). Office of Economic Opportunity. Just when I thought I knew all the government agencies I was going to need to know for crosswords.
  • 4A: Minnesota twin? (ST. PAUL). Minneapolis and St. Paul are known as The Twin Cities.
  • 10A: Chick follower (-ADEE). Just looking for a suffix (i.e., follower) here. Similarly, we need a prefix (i.e., beginning) in 8D: Lateral beginning (UNI-).
  • 15A: Piemonte city (TORINO). The Italian Piemonte (Piedmont) is a hint that the answer will also be Italian. In this case, Torino for what we would call Turin.
  • 17A: Six-pack makeup (ABS). Me: "Makeup? On a six-pack? Why would anyone put makeup on a six-pack? Oh, I get it." It's what a six-pack is made up of. Abdominal muscles.
  • 41A: Soft & __: Henkel brand (DRI). Did the "Henkel brand" part help anybody? Were you all "Oh the Henkel brand, now I know what they mean."
  • 62A: Pricey timepieces (SEIKOS). When Rolexes just won't fit.
  • 5D: Out-and-out (TOTAL). Love this.
  • 9D: It might be picked (LOCK). I had the L and the C in place and thought it would be ... lice. Yes, I did. Breakfast test be damned!
  • 10D: Dig deeply (ADORE). I can't decide if I love this or if it's just too cute. I'm leaning toward loving it though.
  • 19D: Spot for a screwdriver (BAR). The drink, not the tool. Although there are also plenty of tools at the bar.
  • 47D: Agave fibers (ISTLES). Did this one give you trouble? Sorry about that. This is one of those that you just need to know. So now you do.
  • 59D: Impersonated (DID). Anybody see Letterman the night Frank Caliendo did George Bush? Awesome.

Everything Else — 1A: Gordon Shumway's title alias, in a sitcom (ALF); 14A: Chinese chairman (MAO); 16A: Applies lightly (DABS); 20A: Dietary claim (LESS FAT); 22A: Kind of chop (KARATE); 26A: Varnish ingredient (RESIN); 27A: Vacation site (ISLE); 28A: "You've got the wrong person" ("NOT I"); 30A: Alphabet trio (CDE); 31A: Mil. troop unit (CMD.); 39A: Triumph (PREVAIL); 40A: Drench (SOP); 42A: Supportive calls (YEAS); 44A: Señor's "Absolutely!" ("SÍ! SÍ!"); 48A: Basic teaching styles (ROTES); 54A: Not necessarily against (OPEN TO); 56A: Expand the viewed area, in a way (ZOOM OUT); 60A: Cholesterol initials (LDL); 61A: Offensive comment (SLUR); 63A: Conk out (DIE); 64A: Notice (ESPY); 65A: Quirk (ODDITY); 2D: Tags (LABELS); 3D: Paleontologist's find (FOSSIL); 4D: Employees (STAFF); 6D: Positive particle (PROTON); 7D: Deadeye's forte (AIM); 11D: Capital ESE of Beirut (DAMASCUS); 12D: Drop in the ocean (EBB TIDE); 13D: One of the reputed Dead Sea Scrolls writers (ESSENE); 24D: Having caught on (POPULAR); 25D: Brouhaha (STIR); 29D: Rubs the wrong way (IRKS); 32D: MMCX halved (MLV); 33D: Time to attack (D-DAY); 36D: Drywall mineral (GYPSUM); 37D: Records in detail (WRITES UP); 38D: Even (TIED); 39D: Pushes forward (PROPELS); 41D: Nap (DROWSE); 43D: Maker of Boulevard motorcycles (SUZUKI); 45D: Tristan's love (ISOLDE); 46D: Loft, perhaps (STUDIO); 49D: Blog piece (ENTRY); 50D: __ Jeanne d'Arc (STE.); 52D: Title character not in the cast (GODOT); 53D: Overbearing (BOSSY); 55D: Not exactly (OR SO); 58D: "Waking __ Devine": 1998 film (NED).


Rex Parker said...

Liked the puzzle, but ISTLES is *not* a "winner."

PIROGUE!? That was rough for me.


gjelizabeth said...

I'm doing the puzzle online for a few days (still waiting for the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS to switch back from the commuter puzzle). I almost always manage to finish the puzzle, although I am very slow (45 minutes this morning). Quite often I still haven't figured out the theme when I put in the last letter and then the puzzle disappears! Either I need to stop and study the puzzle before I pop in the last letter or buy some printer paper. Unless someone here knows how to retrieve the completed puzzle after the little guy swings by on the congratulations rope?
The L in ISTLE was the last letter I put in. I like that it rhymes with thistle and will probably remember it that way as agave and thistle are both pretty prickly.

Scortch said...

To look over the online puzzle after you've solved it, wait for the little guy to finish and you should see a button in the lower right hand corner that says "Continue Playing". Click on that and then click on the "Look Over This Puzzle" button and you'll be able to look over the completed puzzle.


This one took me nearly an hour, but I eventually got it all right. That SW got me again... too many words could be used for "pushes forward", so I didn't push forward very fast. Thought Henkel had to do with cutlery and so Soft & DRI just didn't pop out for me.
Got 52D (GODOT) from crosses, but still have no idea what that means. Anyone, anyone?
Didn't catch on to the theme until I was all done. Ohhhh yeahhhh!

Al said...

So, John, you're Waiting for (a) Godot answer?

gjelizabeth said...

@Scortch: Thanks!
@Johnsneverhome: WAITING FOR GODOT is a French play by, I think, Sarte. All the characters are waiting for, naturally, Godot, the lead character who, as the clue says, never shows up on stage.

sanhador said...

Had no luck with the SW corner. Even after reading all the clues here still couldn't solve it. Other than that not too bad once I had filled in all the blanks provided. I wanted LICE for LOCK as well. BTW what is the "Breaksfast rule"? Had the right idea with UNI lateral - but was trying to fit ELE or LAT in somehow. Same with chick. Oh well. Not too bad for Thursday!

Gary Lowe said...

Very cool clip, thanks. That guy is an amazing talent.

Orange said...

Waiting for Godot was written by the Irish playwright Samuel Beckett. He moved to France and took to writing his absurdist/minimalist plays in French: "Despite being a native English speaker, Beckett chose to write in French because—as he himself claimed—in French it was easier for him to write 'without style.'"

ISTLES is old-school crosswordese. I used to mix it up with the similar INGLE, which is a fireplace-related word. I'll go with gjelizabeth's thISTLE cue to cement it in my head.

chefbea said...

Had an easy time with the puzzle but never got the theme til I came here.

I too thought knives for Henkle.

I'll be on Italy"s coast in a few days - well not the coast but Rome and I think we will go to Ostia Antiqua which is on the coast.

@Wayne from yesterday. You mentioned that you are in chronic pain...e-mail me..I have a great book for you to read

*David* said...

The puzzle went pretty quickly for the majority of the fill. My issues were with two crosses and the abbreviations used, PIROGUE/OEO and SPECIE/CMD. PIROGUE I remembered and was pretty certain of, SPECIE I put down and then looked it up. I think it's a Naddor "pet" word that I've seen before.

Anonymous said...

For me the best part of today's puzzle was the clip of Frank Caliendo!! Now that's entertainment!! I knew a lot of the little answers, dri of course!! Found the puzzle hard for the most part. Had to come to this site right away for answers.

toothdoc said...

For me to have a six-pack it would need to be make-up. Nice Thursday puzzle.

eileen said...

Does anyone have any tips of relating pirogue to a cajun vessel rather than a potatoe-filled pasta?

Great write-up puzzle girl!

Orange said...

@eileen, how about this: Pirogue looks French, and the Cajuns have French roots. A pierogi tastes much better than any boat—it has a Polish spelling that begins with a tasty "pie."

If only mathematically minded scamps were associated with pirogues.

Karen said...

sanhador, one of the puzzle editors has said that since many people do the crosswords at the breakfast table to not have any clues/answers that would put them off their feed. Which is why you don't see answers like enema, hitler, or clues related to farts or lice in the puzzle. Unless you're doing the Onion puzzle.

Mike said...

I enjoyed this one. Not a stunner or anything, but quite good. Liked the clue for TOTAL a lot.

For some reason, I blazed through the top half, got to the middle, and suddenly my brain froze. For example, WILD TURKEYS was just not coming, and it took me forever to get DDAY and PREVAIL. But then, as soon as I figured those three out, the rest of the puzzle fell super quickly. So strange, especially considering the familiarity of those three.

SethG said...


bouncer said...

Got a handicap being from the S.E. so pirogue was a no brainer. Metallic money had me, never heard of that one.

Otherwise good puzzle.

eileen said...

Orange, you rock! That's a great way to think about the pirogue/pierogi confusion.

Denise said...

Thanks, Scortch. I had asked about that same little guy cartoon issue.

Wayne said...

Oddly, I got Wild Turkeys right off the bat but I messed myself up by assuming that "Minnesota twin?" was "cities" instead of "StPaul" (jumped the gun on that one). "Istles" I couldn't even find under an article I read on Wiki about agave; had to get it with the crosses.

Charles Bogle said...

What a wonderful puzzle and thanks @puzzlegirl for another terrific write-up

I confess you've won my heart w the picture of the Great One, W.C. Fields. Now here's a confession I'm not proud of: I missed ADEE for "Chick follower."

Instead, I put ADAD, as in a father who trails after his cute teenage daughter to safeguard against the likes of, well, Fields

This produced a few bizarre entries in the NE quad but otherwise 98 percent completed!

Loved GODOT: loved BAR as spot for a screwdriver. Fields would have loved that one too. And ADORE for Dig deeply--sweet

And perhaps best of all, I didn't think there wasn't a single hackneyed clue like ERL or REES or ORE
Thanks constructor!

mac said...

I enjoyed this puzzle, not too easy, not too tough, all gettable.
Never heard of Specie before, or OEO. Henkel means detergents after having lived in Germany.

Thank you, PG, for explaining the theme..... Didn't even look for it, to be honest.

I was in Minnesota once, changing planes from Boise to NY, and I have never felt such cold ever before in my life.

Sweet said...

Waiting for Godot (pronounced /ˈɡɒdoʊ/) is a play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait for someone named Godot. .
hi I am following the puzzle two months after you guys as it is published in the papers after two months in India...
I find the names a little difficult but am getting better and learning lots thanks to your blog...

Sweet said...

Waiting for Godot (pronounced /ˈɡɒdoʊ/) is a play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait for someone named Godot. .
hi I am following the puzzle two months after you guys as it is published in the papers after two months in India...
I find the names a little difficult but am getting better and learning lots thanks to your blog...

Sweet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.