SUNDAY, October 11, 2009
Dan Naddor

Theme: "Why, Yes!" — Theme answers are familiar phrases with a Y sound inserted into them creating new wacky phrases clued "?"-style.

[Note: This is the syndicated L.A. Times puzzle. It does not appear in the actual newspaper, but is available for free at cruciverb.com.]

Theme answers:
  • 24A: Designer Christian doing a pirouette? (REVOLVING DIOR). Revolving door.
  • 33A: Unadulterated moonshine? (PURE SPIRITS). Poor spirits. I pronounce the word pour the same as pore, so even when I got this answer through crosses, it took me a while to figure out the original phrase.
  • 52A: "Actor Laurie goes after you"? (HUGH'S NEXT). Who's next?
  • 69A: Pool tool in the army rec room? (MILITARY CUE). Military coup.
  • 87A: Sign at a broken gas pump? (NO FUELING). No fooling.
  • 104A: Ongoing dispute about chemical use in farming? (ORGANIC FEUD). Organic food.
  • 115A: Former Vietnamese president's dining reservation? (TABLE FOR THIEU). Table for two.
  • 3D: Gorgeous newborns? (BABY BEAUTIES). Baby booties.
  • 5D: Speechless moments? (MUTE POINTS). Moot points.
  • 65D: Coastal Norse horse? (FJORD MUSTANG). Ford Mustang.
  • 77D: Late '70s Wimbledon headline? (BJORN AGAIN). Born again.
Fun puzzle today! Not super hard, but ya know what? I don't want my Sunday puzzles super hard, because they're already so big. If it has an interesting theme and no completely hideous fill, I'm usually pretty happy. Well, I enjoyed this theme a lot and only ran across a couple fill words that would qualify for my clunker list. I especially loved seeing BJORN AGAIN. I loved me some Bjorn Borg when I was a kid. He was so ... Swedish.

More? Why, yes!:
  • 1A: 1987 film about Ritchie Valens (LA BAMBA). Ya know who else was in that movie? Esai Morales.
  • 8A: Birthplace of St. Francis (ASSISI). I can never remember how to spell this. I just decided today that I'm going to need to remember that it starts with the word ASS. Even though St. Francis was certainly not an ASS.
  • 26A: "Family Ties" mom (ELYSE). I can already hear the complaints. "What kind of spelling is that? Who knew that they used a funky spelling for her name?" Well, you will see her appear in puzzles now and again, so you might as well just do your best to remember it.
  • 30A: Hip-hoppers Salt-N-__ (PEPA).

  • 39A: Praying figure (ORANT). I don't believe I've ever seen this word before. Wikipedia describes ORANT as a gesture, not a figure. ("A type of gesture during prayer in which the hands are raised, set apart, and the palms face outward.")
  • 59A: Pioneering electronic calculators (CASIOS). I didn't catch the plural in the clue but thought CASSIO sure didn't look right.
  • 64A: Martin/Tomlin comedy (ALL OF ME). For some reason I remember that I really liked this movie. I don't remember anything specific about it, but know that it's been brought to my attention I might just watch it again.
  • 81A: Done to __: repeated too often (DEATH). This is an awesome colloquial phrase that took me a while to figure out.
  • 91A: Ate too much, as chips (ODED ON). I wonder why a colloquial phrase with the word death in it that doesn't literally mean death doesn't bother me, but a colloquial phrase with OD in it that doesn't literally mean overdose does. I'll need to explore that in therapy.
  • 108A: Talkative bird (MYNA). Always think there should be an H at the end of this word. Can it be spelled both ways? Why, yes. Yes, it can.
  • 6D: Troop gp. (BSA). Boy Scouts of America. PuzzleSon dropped out of scouts last year, but decided to try again this year, which makes me happy. Maybe because I like the scouts' concept of AKELA (105D: Cub Scout leader): basically, whoever is in charge at a given time is AKELA. So in school, the teacher is AKELA, at home I'm AKELA, etc.
  • 9D: Brother of Moe and Curly (SHEMP). Thought it was Shep.
  • 16D: Chocoholic desserts (MUD PIES). Have you had the Starbucks mud pie ice cream? It's to die for. I quit eating sugar about a month ago and now I dream about this stuff.
  • 18D: War on Poverty org. (OEO). The Office of Economic Opportunity. The OEO was discontinued in 1974, but some of its programs (e.g., Job Corps and Head Start) still exist under other government agencies.
  • 36D: Medicinal shrub (SENNA). Sorry. The only medicinal shrub I know is aloe.
  • 49D: Small-strip aircraft acronym (STOL). No idea what this means. Let's see ... Short Take-Off and Landing.
  • 53D: Yankee manager Joe (GIRARDI). I'm sorry, but anything but Torre after "Yankee manager Joe" just looks wrong to me.
  • 67D: Mass. senator's monogram, 1962-2009 (EMK). The Liberal Lion, Edward M. Kennedy.
  • 71D: Sound barrier breaker Chuck (YEAGER). Whenever I think of Chuck Yeager, I picture Sam Shepard. What's that all about? Aha! Shepard played Chuck Yeager in "The Right Stuff," which I also recall is an excellent movie. I'm gonna have to join Netflix one of these days.
  • 106D: Excellent (NIFTY). Your assignment for today is to use this word in conversation.
  • 121D: Braves' div. (NLE). Someday I'm going to memorize which teams are in which division. But not today.
Crosswordese 101: Hey what's CW101 doing all the way down here? Well, I noticed that's how Orange has been doing it lately and I like it. So there ya go. ELAN might be an everyday part of your vocabulary, but it certainly isn't for me. I'm not even 100% sure how to pronounce it, although I would guess something like "Ay-lon." Today ELAN is clued as 42A: Gusto. Other clue words to look out for are pizzazz, verve, zest, flair, spirit, zing, panache and enthusiasm.

Crosswordese in today's puzzle that we've already covered includes ULNAS (50A: Radii neighbors), (4D: Son of Zeus), (11D: UN workers' agcy), SSR (19D: Lith., e.g., once), ESAU (54D: Isaac's eldest), and AARE (56D: Bern's river).

Everything Else — 14A: Airheads (DUMBOS); 20A: Hurrying (IN A RUSH); 21A: Ahab or his craft (WHALER); 22A: Accustoms (ENURES); 23A: Lhasa native (TIBETAN); 27A: __ disease: tick-borne illness (LYME); 28A: Dance parts (STEPS); 29A: Tease (RIB); 38A: Hydrocarbon suffix (-ANE); 41A: John, Paul and John Paul (POPES); 44A: Grazing ground (LEA); 45A: "What an exhausting day!" ("I'M BEAT!"); 47A: Like musically challenged ears? (TIN); 48A: Ancient mystic (ESSENE); 50A: Radii neighbors (ULNAS); 55A: Clinch, with "up" (SEW); 56A: Quarreling (AT IT); 57A: Singer Lopez (TRINI); 61A: Leaves port (SAILS); 62A: End of __ (AN ERA); 68A: Long haul (TREK); 73A: In __: stuck (A JAM); 74A: Lives (RESIDES); 76A: Diner's decision (ORDER); 77A: N.L. career stolen base leader Lou (BROCK); 78A: Nobleman's address (MILORD); 83A: Creep (JERK); 84A: Central: Prefix (MID-); 89A: Equally bizarre (AS ODD); 93A: Sgt., e.g. (NCO); 94A: State of mind (TEMPER); 96A: Unruly locks (MOP); 99A: "Later!" ("CIAO!"); 100A: Jack's fairy tale victim (GIANT); 102A: Mature on the vine (RIPEN); 103A: Old Mideast assn. (UAR); 109A: Cousin of calypso (SKA); 110A: Invite for a nightcap (ASK IN); 111A: Garage job (LUBE); 113A: "The meek shall inherit the Earth, but not its mineral rights" speaker (GETTY); 120A: How some stunts are done (ON A DARE); 122A: Prepare to leave one's plane seat (UNBELT); 123A: 1-Across, e.g. (BIOPIC); 124A: Wheel adjuster (ALIGNER); 125A: Seaman's "Help!" ("MAY DAY!"); 126A: Declines (SAYS NO); 127A: Breaks a promise (RENEGES); 1D: Hardly figurative (LITERAL); 2D: Oily compound used in dyes (ANILINE); 4D: Son of Zeus (ARES); 7D: Philip of "Kung Fu" (AHN); 8D: Haywire (AWRY); 10D: Put aside (SAVE UP); 11D: UN workers' agcy. (ILO); 12D: French seasoning (SEL); 13D: "Mr. Chicago" journalist Kupcinet (IRV); 14D: Teeth: Prefix (DENTI-); 15D: Felix the neatnik (UNGER); 17D: Brush hairs (BRISTLES); 19D: Lith., e.g., once (SSR); 25D: AOL and MSN (ISPS); 27D: Swimmer's slot (LANE); 31D: Humorist Bombeck (ERMA); 32D: Blue Ribbon brewer (PABST); 34D: "Portnoy's Complaint" author (ROTH); 35D: Protestant denom. (EPISC.); 37D: On one's rocker? (SANE); 40D: Sesame paste (TAHINI); 43D: Fresh (NEW); 46D: Set the radio dial on (TUNE TO); 48D: Banishment (EXILE); 51D: Rapper with the debut album "Hard Core" (LIL' KIM); 54D: Isaac's eldest (ESAU); 56D: Bern's river (AARE); 58D: "Too Ra Loo Ra Loo __": Irish classic (RAL); 60D: Skyrocketed (SOARED); 61D: Narrow waterway: Abbr. (STR.); 63D: Impassioned (ARDENT); 66D: Keystone Cops creator Sennett (MACK); 69D: Honeydew, e.g. (MELON); 70D: __ use: avails (IS OF); 72D: PC component (CRT); 75D: Bedrock pet (DINO); 79D: Written in mystical letters (RUNIC); 80D: Cappuccino request (DECAF); 82D: Glad (HAPPY); 84D: Comfy footwear (MOC); 85D: Personal: Prefix (IDIO-); 86D: Support column? (DEAR ABBY); 88D: Solitary (LONE); 90D: Caught in the act (SEEN); 92D: Iditarod vehicle (DOGSLED); 95D: Act out in charades (MIME); 97D: Strength symbol (OAK TREE); 98D: Mass communications? (PRAYERS); 100D: NFL Hall of Famer Marchetti (GINO); 101D: Dutch export (TULIPS); 107D: Expected to arrive (DUE IN); 112D: Osso __ (BUCO); 114D: Brink (EDGE); 115D: "Cats" cat Rum __ Tugger (TUM); 116D: Santa __ winds (ANA); 117D: NFL ball carriers (RBS); 118D: __ Maria: liqueur (TIA); 119D: José's "today" (HOY); 120D: Row (OAR).


docmoreau said...

Nice write up, PuzzleGirl! A few thoughts: ORANT was also new to me. But, as a child I sat through many a latin litany and remember: "ora pro nobis" meaning "pray for us." ODED ON threw me. Since OD is an abbreviation perhaps it should have been clued "ate too much, eg. chips." Same for MOC : "comfy ft-wear?" Never heard of SEL "french seasoning." On the whole, thanks Mr. Naddor for an enjoyable puzzle.

Orange said...

@PG, I'm with you on the heartland pronunciation of "oor" words. They rhyme with "ore." Pronouncing "poor" and "door" with long U sounds? That gets you a pooer and a dooer, people who are violating the breakfast test.

Carol said...

@docmoreau - SEL is french for salt.

Good puzzle & write-up. My favorite was TABLEFORTHIEU. Also liked REVOLVINGDIOR.

mac said...

Good puzzle and write-up, a little tougher for me than the Sunday NYT. Orant and prayers in one puzzle!

Heard a funny anecdote about May Day recently: Some with a Dutch background called his boot "Vrede", the word for peace. When he radioed people on the other end thought he said May Day, because that is somewhat pronounced like Vrede! He changed the boat's name to "Hollandia"...

shrub5 said...

This puzzle was a good exercise this AM and I agree with PG that if it was any harder at this size, it would just take too darn long! I did the whole thing without fully grasping the theme. I was being too LITERAL in looking for added letters, puns or homonyms only and missing the common thread of the added "Y"-sound pronunciation change. D'oh. Now I get it and to Dan Naddor: job well done!! Especially liked BJORN AGAIN and TABLE FOR THIEU.( LOL)

@PG: Thanks again for another entertaining write-up and also for explaining STOL and AKELA. Dictionary.com defines ORANT as a representation of a female figure, with outstretched arms and palms up in a gesture of prayer, in ancient and early Christian art -- which better fits the clue.

The puzzle had several names I didn't know: Philip AHN, GINO Marchetti, Joe GIRARDI, IRV Kupcinet, MACK Sennett, however I was relieved to get them all through the crosses -- no googling needed!

embien said...

A pretty NIFTY puzzle from Dan N. (There ya go, PG)

I struggled with all the names, but, except for the cross of ANALINE and ANE, enjoyed it. About 23 minutes here, longer than a "normal" Sunday LA Times.

John said...

Didn't understand the theme. so it was one big puzzle all the way through. My lack of interest in sports made the southwest corner TABLEFORTHIEU a total Natick for me. Overall a soso solving experience.

obertb said...

ORANT was a gimme for me, so it must have been fairly common crosswordese at one time because I don't know how else I would have known it.

jazz said...

Nice Sunday puzzle and write-up! Here's hoping for a nice, challenging week!

Here because we care said...

Solid job on your writeup. Loved the parsing of clues, the pictures, the links and most of all, how good/funny/clever you are, even on days when the puzzle isn't probably worth more than five minutes of your time, but you, Orange, and Rex manage to get up, appear awake and post your commentary, line by line. We owe you thanks.

Despite cries on puzzlish blogdom, here and elsewhere, about supposed "elitism," "snobbery", etc., please let me say to the armchair critics
"Guess what? It's a freakin' puzzle. No one will live or die or recover from a coma if you solve the puzzle or not, whether you like the clues or commentary, or not, or whether you think the puzzle was too facile or unworthy of your time."

PG, Orange and Rex show up here to share what they know, spark up some enthusiasm; they teach us stuff.

They are also among the best bloggers I've read, regardless of topic. There is no biostatistics blog, for instance, that comes close.
Rant over.
I'm very mild mannered in the real world. And when not speaking English.

PG--Do get Netflix. Let me throw in a recommendation to check out a Canadian film called "Five Senses" or "Winter Guest" with Emma Thompson. Both movies are over 10 years old and didn't get big audiences and were introduced to me by my 'Bitter Half" :: wait, I mean BETTER:: and good for a snowy or cold day or even if a good cry is in order.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything that "here because we care said", right down to the Canadian flix! I thought this to be a clever puzzle.

Unknown said...

@shrub 5, I had the same literal fixation for the first half of the puzzle, to the point of finding collections of y, e, and s letters in close proximity... Didn't stop me from enjoying myself immensely with this puzzle.

@because we care, well said. Too much bad temper puts us all in poor spirits. A puzzle doesn't have to be perfect to still be a good solve, and the write-ups are always nifty. Thanks PG and Rex.

Anonymous said...

Here is a link I found that explains the definition of "Orant" as "praying figure":


Good puzzle. "Hugh's Next" elicited a groan from me.

Margaret said...

@obertb, ditto -- I also knew ORANT from the bad old days of too much crosswordese. I'm so glad we've mainly gotten away from "European river" (Eser, Yder, Oder, etc.) and that sort of thing!

Anonymous said...

IPSO ? - the other day there was a clue, I think it was 'assertion or accusation without evidence' but answer was NOT Facto. anybody remember ?