WEDNESDAY, August 26, 2009—Dan Naddor

THEME: "Court Business"—The middle entry, 33A, is both a verb phrase and a noun phrase; it's the noun that gets riffed on for the ends of the theme answers

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Exterior attractiveness, to a Realtor (CURB APPEAL). Don't like this clue? Then file an APPEAL with the Cruciverbal Court.
  • 20A: Beethoven's affliction (LOSS OF HEARING). The Cruciverbal Court will schedule a HEARING for your APPEAL next month.
  • 50A: Drug safety test (CLINICAL TRIAL). Are you ready to go to TRIAL now?
  • 55A: Replay feature (SLOW MOTION). Judges grant MOTIONs, do they not?
  • 33A: What chambers of commerce do, and this puzzle's title (COURT BUSINESS). This ties everything together, but who the heck ever says that the local chamber of commerce "courts business"? I'd sooner say they woo businesses in the plural. Granted, a theme is more ambitious with five long answers than with four, but I think I'd rather this one had gone with four longs and a short unifying answer, such as COURT in the bottom corner.
Crosswordese 101: I was momentarily swayed by AMBO (4D: Early Christian pulpit), but that one shows up maybe twice a decade in the L.A. Times crossword. It's hardly worth making space for it in your brain. But IONA! That's got three vowels, yes indeedy, so you need to remember this one. Today it's clued as 59A: Isle where Macbeth is buried. Key facts to know: It's a Scottish island, part of the Inner Hebrides, and it's also the name of a college in New Rochelle, N.Y.

And now, my favorite clues and answers:
  • 1A: Paul of "American Graffiti" (LE MAT). I loved Paul Le Mat in American Graffiti. He's the cutie in the old yellow car, and yes, that's a very young Mackenzie Phillips hopping into his car midway through the clip.

  • 22A: Hunk (GOB). I can't help seeing that as Gob, short for George Oscar Bluth II, and pronouncing it as "jobe" thanks to Arrested Development. Coincidentally, Will Arnett, who played Gob, is pretty good-lookin'.
  • 13D: Popular analgesic cream (BEN-GAY). Not, despite what you may have heard, a gay-friendly reimagining of Ben-Hur.
  • 28D: "Parsley is gharsley" poet is the goofy Ogden NASH.
  • Burger corner! 44D: Old MacDonald's place (FARM) evokes McDonalds, while 45D: Whopper toppers (ONIONS) goes to Burger King.

Another puzzle I did on Tuesday featured the first and last name of a failed physicist I'd never heard of. What is this, Obscure Person First/Last Name Combo Week? I have no idea who PAUL CONRAD is, other than that he's a 27D: Three-time Editorial Cartooning Pulitzer winner. He's certainly kosher for the L.A. Times crossword, as he was the newspaper's chief editorial cartoonist from 1964 to 1993. He made it onto Nixon's famous "enemies list." Gotta respect that.

Everything Else — 6A: Big Apple sch. (CCNY); 10A: One often looking down? (SNOB); 14A: Part of Caesar's boast (I CAME); 15A: Former manager Felipe (ALOU); 16A: Bishop of Rome (POPE); 19A: Wilson of "Wedding Crashers" (OWEN); 24A: Drei minus zwei (EINS); 25A: Flummoxed (AT SEA); 26A: Embraces, as a philosophy (ADOPTS); 28A: Site for saplings (NURSERY); 30A: Old Italian bread (LIRA); 31A: Lined up (IN A ROW); 38A: Like a banquet (LAVISH); 39A: Slightly (A TAD); 41A: Thorny shrubs commonly with yellow flowers (ACACIAS); 44A: Livestock food (FORAGE); 46A: Billiards bounce (CAROM); 47A: James of "The Godfather" (CAAN); 49A: Bar code? (LAW); 54A: General Bradley (OMAR); 58A: Soap actress Sofer (RENA); 60A: Rope loop (NOOSE); 61A: Scott in a landmark civil rights case (DRED); 62A: Clairvoyant (SEER); 63A: Kind of pressure that can cause headaches (SINUS); 1D: Driver's document: Abbr. (LIC); 2D: Old French coin (ECU); 3D: Vermont music festival town (MARLBORO); 5D: Afternoon service (TEA SET); 6D: Menu fowl (CAPON); 7D: Staff symbols (CLEFS); 8D: Wordsmith Webster (NOAH); 9D: Christmastime (YULE); 10D: Golf pro shop array (SPORTSWEAR); 11D: Not in any way (NOWISE); 12D: Feature of some corkscrews (OPENER); 18D: Pitchfork-shaped letters (PSIS); 21D: Hitter of 755 homers (AARON); 22D: Hoedown dancer (GAL); 23D: Lyrical (ODIC); 29D: Ocean State sch. (URI); 31D: Bird venerated by ancient Egyptians (IBIS); 32D: Frat letters (NUS); 34D: "Spider-Man" director (RAIMI); 35D: New Deal prog. (TVA); 36D: Breeding horse (STALLION); 37D: Heroic tale (SAGA); 40D: Drops on the grass (DEW); 41D: Agreement (ACCORD); 42D: More tranquil (CALMER); 43D: French satellite-launching rocket (ARIANE); 47D: Duplicate (CLONE); 48D: Fighting big-time (AT WAR); 51D: Members of Gil Grissom's team, briefly (CSIS); 52D: Medicinal plant (ALOE); 53D: Yours, in Tours (A TOI); 56D: The Buckeyes, initially (OSU); 57D: Super __: game console (NES).


Anonymous said...

Great puzzle! Way to go, Dan!

PARSAN said...

I liked this one -- thought the theme was good. It was a little harder for me because I also didn't know PAUL CONRAD,nor LEMAT, or ARIANE but got them as other clues filled in. Knew Gus Grissom but not Gil Grissom of CSI. Don't think I ever hear the term NO WISE. Is that just me? The American Graffiti clip was fun! Thanks ORANGE.

shrub5 said...

I'm with @PARSAN, I have never used nor heard anyone else use NOWISE. My desktop dictionary says it's archaic. It sounds like bad grammar to me.

There were a few words in the puzzle that I did not know (AMBO, ARIANE, ECU, IONA, RAIMI) but had no problem getting them through crosses. 57D Super NES: game console -- I looked this up to find out what it meant: Nintendo Entertainment System. I guess I'd know that if I had video-game-playing-age children.

I liked seeing FORAGE, CLONE, CLINICALTRIAL and the word CAROM which I sometimes hear the play-by-play announcers use during NBA games.

Scott said...

This puzzle was tougher for me than the average wednesday. The theme was ok, though I agree that COURTBUSINESS is a bit odd. My real gripe though is with LOSSOFHEARING which I do not find to be particularly in the language. HEARINGLOSS sounds better to me and HARDOFHEARING certainly is in the language and would have been better for me.

Otherwise a really nice puzzle.

Rex Parker said...

Not good. NW corner hurt so bad that I almost lost the will to continue. LEMAT and AMBO and ODIC? Yuck. ARIANE is a loser too. COURT BUSINESS doesn't snap, as a phrase. Did it all in 3:36, so nothing too hard. Just blah-to-bad.




*David* said...

This was a tough one for a Wednesday, had to work it to finish it correctly. I put ACADIAS where ACACIAS should have been ruining PAUL CONRAD, whom I knew for a bit. MARLBORO came to me in a moment of inspiration allowing me to get GOB. I really wanted HARD OF HEARING and not LOSS which also kept things a bit confused. I saw NOWISE and refused to fill it in since it sounded so wrong which was my other hang up.

mac said...

OK puzzle, with a few thorns. Didn't know Conrad and Le Mat, and no wise is new too.

Was that Ron Howard at the beginning of the clip?

Not Anon said...

Didn't give me any problems, even though there were more than a few obscure references. 3 nice theme answers and 2 that others also didn't like. So in the end it was hit and miss for me.

Bohica said...

I thought this puzzle to be harder than Dan Naddor's Friday puzzle of last week. Maybe it was just the clunkier fill, or perhaps I was not fully functiional. Got the theme right away but had some trouble with Le Mat, Ambo and had never heard Odic (Lyrical). I was Flummoxed by 25A (AT SEA??), no way, no how, no wise!

I think Rex just has sour grapes for the Buckeye shout out, they come up in puzzles all the time, while his UM Wolverines never do!

Unknown said...

Found this hard for a Wed- particularly after cruising through the NYT today. Overall, a fairy unenjoyable solve.

JIMMIE said...

I had to go to NOAH's unabridged to find AMBO, and thought ARIANE to be too special. NOWISE was familiar. Otherwise fun.

chefbea said...

Hard puzzle for me. Never heard of a lot of the words. Hated no wise!!!

And I believe Gil Grissom is not a CSI-er. Didn't he and Sara go off some where together???

housemouse said...

I wish the editors would reserve Mr. Naddor's obscure references for the weekend puzzles. Those who have a lot more time than I do may enjoy plowing through Google to find obscure(and unimportant) trivia, but I don't have access to Google all the time. Naddor is far too much into his role as the obfuscator-in-chief. Part of this puzzle was OK, but at least a third of it was too dependent upon access to Google (or clairvoyance, in order to read Naddor's mangled implications.) Keep him for Saturday or Sunday, please.

Orange said...

@housemouse: I'm not sure what you mean. Can you provide a few examples of what you consider to be the obscure references or unimportant trivia in this puzzle?

Guin said...

Fun puzzle. Remembered Paul Lemat- when I saw the movie I thought he was really cute, and checked the credits to see who played that part. Wonder what ever happened to him?

Sfingi said...

Agreed with @housemouse @mac @JIMMIE @Rex Parker and others.

Also, made a mess over 44A forage vs fodder.
"Nowise" (one word) is oldster/oldstress jive, so I did get that.
No problem with the theme.
The latest on Beethoven is that he had a favorite lead tankard.

Boy, I'll never go to a tournament if all Wednesdays are like this!

chefwen said...

This was a little slower than the usual Wednesday but it all seemed to fall into place as I plodded along. Ended up with one error, had the RE in place for the soap opera lady and thought what else could it be but RENe, so my cartooning guy ended up being CONReD. Oh well!

Orange said...

@chefwen: Damn that Rene Russo for going around sporting a man's first name and pretending it's a woman's name. It so isn't! She's ruining things for all the men named René out here. (Like my husband.)

Charles Bogle said...

I'm w the majority--don't know NOWISE and some of the obscurities got in the way of the fun of the theme--which, as a trial lawyer, I liked a lot. I also liked: NURSERY, CLONE, CAPON. What are CLEFTS? I put CUNY instead of CCNY-my NY roots-and finished w ULEFTS. Darn. Also: "pitchfork shaped letters" Q and A has me feeling dumb. I wish for a perfect combo: this great theme w yesterday's constructor. Am afraid Mr. Naddor is not for me PS am going to be in Seattle next week. Anyone know a paper still in biz w the LA Times puzzle?

SethG said...

I tried silage instead of forage, guy instead of GOB, and something that made sense instead of NO WISE.


chefwen said...

@Charles Bogle - If you have access to a printer you can just go to Los Angeles Times games & puzzles and download it for free.

Bohica said...

@Charles Bogle: The News(Tacoma) Tribune runs the LA Times crossword, you'll find it in the classified section.

Charles Bogle said...

Thanks @bohica and @chefwen!