SUNDAY, November 22, 2009
Ken Bessette (syndicated)

Theme: "Literal Translations" — Some familiar phrases are rendered literally with anagrams.

[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:
  • 23A: TOG? (GOT TURNED AROUND). Tog is the word got literally turned around (read backward).
  • 38A: GLIBNESS? (MIXED BLESSING). If you "mix" the letters in the word blessing, you might end up with the word glibness.
  • 51A: FELT? (LEFT IN DISARRAY). Left is the result of the letters in the word felt "in disarray."
  • 66A: GOES? (ALTER EGOS). "Alter" the letters in the word egos and you end up with goes.
  • 69A: RAGE? (GEAR SHIFT). Rage is the word gear with its letters "shifted."
  • 89A: SING? (OUT OF ORDER SIGN). Take the word sign, put the letters "out of order" and you'll end up with sing.
  • 97A: EARTH? (CHANGE OF HEART). "Change" the letters of the word heart to get earth.
  • 118A: STOP? (POST REFORMATION). A new formation of the letters in post might result in the word stop. (Also tops, pots, and opts!)
Lovely theme today. I'm guessing a lot of you enjoyed it. Just tough enough to make you think, but gettable enough to help fill in the theme answers that you might struggle with. The only real problem I had was down in the SE corner where I entered melted for MOLTEN (102D: Liquefied by heat). That mistake, added to the oddly pluralized CROCI (108D: Spring bloomers) and the word that just would not come to the front of my brain, HONOR (109D: Accept, as a coupon), made OPEN AIR (128A: Like some markets) invisible, even though I was pretty sure that had to be the answer. I kept thinking "It must be OPEN AIR. But the D and the S ...." Ah well, it worked itself out eventually.

Couple other things:
  • 15A: Get ready to eat? (RIPEN). One of several tricky clues in this puzzle. Love it.
  • 22A: Overcome glossophobia (ORATE). I never knew the fear of public speaking was called glossophobia. Probably because I'm pretty much the opposite of a glossophobe. Put me in front of a bunch of people, preferably with a microphone, and I'm in heaven.
  • 30A: Country's Acuff et al. (ROYS). That would be "country" as in "country music." And Roy Acuff, wow. Old Skool.

  • 35A: Like the vb. "be," e.g. (IRR.). The verb "be" (isn't it "to be"?) is IRRegular.
  • 47A: Multicolored (PIED). I smiled when I saw this because we were just talking about it the other day!
  • 58A: Mecca for N.Y.C. art lovers (MOMA). At first I entered Soho, thinking it's kind of an arty neighborhood, right?
  • 59A: Penguin on skates, for short (NHLER). That would be the National Hockey League's Pittsburgh Penguins.
  • 6D: Text-interpreting technology, briefly (OCR). Optical Character ... something. Hold on. Optical Character Recognition.
  • 9D: Poet John who translated Dante's "Divine Comedy" (CIARDI). Never heard of him. I bet Rex has.
  • 39D: Indiana senator (BAYH). I've been called a "political geek" in the recent past. Hey, sometimes it comes in handy.
  • 48D: Yankees' #5, familiarly (DIMAG). Joltin' Joe DiMaggio!
  • 54D: Iowa State home (AMES). Not to be confused with Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa and their NCAA Division I National Champion wrestling team. Go, Hawks!
  • 67D: Ticker tapes, briefly? (EKGS). Awesome, awesome clue. (Ticker = heart.)
  • 70D: Pollster Roper (ELMO). I laughed at this one. If you pay attention to CW101, you definitely should have gotten it no problem!
  • 114D: Disney duck princess (OONA). Okay, this is funny. We've covered OONA in Crosswordese 101, but didn't mention a Disney duck princess. Why? Because (hyperbole alert!) nobody's actually heard of Princess Oona. She's a cave woman, er ... cave duck. Whatever.
Crosswordese 101: Today's puzzle provides a great opportunity to review some past CW101 lessons. If you had trouble with any of these answers take a look back to help you cement them in your mind for next time they pop up. And they will pop up again!
  • 44A: H, as in "Hera" (ETA).
  • 62A: 1968 self-titled folk album (ARLO).
  • 74A: Squeezes (out) (EKES).
  • 76A: Island accessories (LEIS).
  • 92A: Old Roman road (ITER).
  • 1D: Olive Oyl's creator (SEGAR).
  • 12D: Letter before upsilon (TAU).
  • 18D: Rebuke before the senate (ET TU).
  • 44D: Film feline (ELSA).
  • 45D: Aquarium swimmer (TETRA).
  • 70D: Pollster Roper (ELMO).
  • 88D: Seaside raptor (ERN).
  • 105D: Rock music genre (EMO).
  • 121D: Stephen of "Interview With the Vampire" (REA).
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Everything Else — 1A: Soft drink option (SODA POP); 8A: Regal rod (SCEPTER); 20A: Blue books? (EROTICA); 21A: Way over the ocean (AIRLANE); 25A: Law school subject (TORTS); 26A: Pot creators (ANTES); 27A: NASA rank (CMDR.); 28A: One of Jason's men (ARGONAUT); 31A: Annual parade city since 1890 (PASADENA); 36A: Shipbuilding wood (TEAK); 44A: H, as in "Hera" (ETA); 49A: Cantina fare (TAMALE); 50A: Symphonic wind (OBOE); 55A: Song on the Beatles' "Revolver" album (TAXMAN); 57A: Political position (STANCE); 61A: Nautical pronoun (SHE); 62A: 1968 self-titled folk album (ARLO); 63A: Cock and bull (MALES); 64A: Pieces of 8? (ARCS); 74A: Squeezes (out) (EKES); 75A: Cancels (NULLS); 76A: Island accessories (LEIS); 78A: Monk's address (FRA); 81A: Shocked intakes (GASPS); 84A: "All __": 1984 film featuring an old song of the same name (OF ME); 85A: Overly affected (TOO TOO); 87A: Confessions may be given under it (DURESS); 92A: Old Roman road (ITER); 93A: Picked (CHOSEN); 95A: Silverware point (TINE); 96A: Light period (DAY); 101A: Micro ending (-COSM); 103A: Mortgage pmt. component (INT.); 104A: Canal locale (INNER EAR); 106A: B'way ticket abbr. (ORCH.); 110A: "Says who?" ("IS THAT SO?"); 115A: Nitwit (SIMP); 116A: Mild cigar (CLARO); 117A: It's traditionally placed to the right of the knife (SPOON); 123A: "Not possible" ("I CAN'T"); 124A: 12:30, on a ship (ONE BELL); 125A: Beckett contemporary (IONESCO); 126A: Stuffs (SATES); 127A: Bargain hunter's stop (TAG SALE); 2D: Maine town named for a Penobscot chief (ORONO); 3D: Eccentric (DOTTY); 4D: Bear witness (ATTEST); 5D: __ XII, WWII pope (PIUS); 7D: Flattened (PANCAKED); 8D: Gulf War foe (SADDAM); 10D: Stumble (ERR); 11D: Mideast political gp. (PLO); 12D: Letter before upsilon (TAU); 13D: Sicilian resort (ENNA); 14D: Put through one's paces again (REDRILL); 15D: Copter blades (ROTORS); 16D: Curling gadget (IRON); 17D: Legal opening? (PARA-); 18D: Rebuke before the senate (ET TU); 19D: Cheep place to stay? (NEST); 24D: Ambulance letters (EMS); 29D: Welcoming ones (GREETERS); 31D: Revolutionary pamphleteer (PAINE); 32D: Crowd seen at a film festival? (EXTRAS); 33D: Around the corner (NEAR); 34D: Marketing pro (ADMAN); 37D: "Beowulf," for one (EPIC); 40D: Beantown team, casually (SOX); 41D: Certain PCs (IBMS); 42D: Early matchmaker (NOAH); 43D: Type of therapy (GENE); 44D: Film feline (ELSA); 45D: Aquarium swimmer (TETRA); 46D: Riding for __: acting overconfidently (A FALL); 52D: Govt. security (T-NOTE); 53D: Flight training milestone (SOLO); 56D: Classy entranceway (ARCH); 60D: Metallica drummer Ulrich (LARS); 63D: Slob's creation (MESS); 65D: Farm storage spots (SILOS); 68D: Second time to the top (REASCENT); 69D: Sass (GUFF); 71D: Warning (ALERT); 72D: Far from fragrant (FETID); 73D: New York town on the Susquehanna (TIOGA); 75D: Reagan biographer Peggy (NOONAN); 77D: Discman maker (SONY); 78D: S&L protector (FDIC); 79D: Dr. who wrote "Sex for Dummies" (RUTH); 80D: Word after Bay, gray or play (AREA); 82D: Magic word (POOF); 83D: Bite-sized food (SUSHI); 85D: Pavarotti, e.g. (TENOR); 86D: Metal containers (ORES); 88D: Seaside raptor (ERN); 90D: Member of many an idol's fan base (TEEN); 91D: "Catch Me If You Can" star (DICAPRIO); 94D: Trendy club (HOT SPOT); 98D: Super Bowl XLII champs (GIANTS); 99D: Act as middleman, perhaps (RESELL); 100D: It's not important (TRIFLE); 105D: Rock music genre (EMO); 107D: Mrs. Gorbachev (RAISA); (HONOR); 110D: Egyptian fertility goddess (ISIS); 111D: Shelter org. (SPCA); 112D: Exactly (TO A T); 113D: Give an edge to (HONE); 116D: Support staff? (CANE); 119D: Geom. class line part (SEG.); 120D: Airer of baseball's Division Series (TBS); 121D: Stephen of "Interview With the Vampire" (REA); 122D: Swab (MOP).


docmoreau said...

This was a challenge and a half, owing to the fact that I had only crossings to rely upon before I realized that the main theme clues were anagrams and the balance of the answers were words and phrases meaning "rearrange." And that took quite a while. This was a googly morning. Had to come up with NOONAN, RAISA, TIOGA and ELMO (Roper) through it. Good to see John CIARDI clued. I used to listen to his etymological ramblings on NPR's All Things Considered until he died in 1986.

GLowe said...

I guess that Jordin TOOTOO, raucous Nashville Pred and the pride of Rankin Inlet (and Inuit in general) hasn't attained household recognition.

How is it that one can be a xword fan and scrabble fan but hopeless at anagrams? Part of it, for sure, is that I just don't really care that letters certain words can create other certain words. We only have 26 of them to work with, it doesn't surprise me that some words can be re-arranged to create others.

Nonetheless, the puzzle was doable and well constructed.


Yikes !!!!!
This one was haaaard!
Didn't get TOAT (112d) "exactly" until PG spaced it out TO A T.
That kept me from finishing the SW corner without crying "uncle!".
Otherwise, I got it all correct and that feels good on a sunny Sunday morn. I'm going to say this and I just know I'll get lots of people disagreeing with me: This was the best puzzle of 2009 (so far). Why? Because anagrams make for good puzzles and working it into a theme was totally genius. Lots of good healthy crosswordese fill... few were "ughs!" Most of the 4 letter words were very thoughtful. And my best measure of an outstanding puzzle is "how many new words I learn". Omigosh, there were too many to mention today.
Enough of my raving... let me just say "Congatulations, Ken Bessette".
Some of the winning words:
John CIARDI, Divine Comedy translator.
ORATE to overcome your "glossophobia"
IONESCO, Beckett's contemporary.
These were wonderful entries!
And I liked seeing that PIED word again, this time the clue was pretty straight-forward (multicolored).
This puzzle so entranced me, that I forgot to eat my breakfast, so I've got to get going.


I guess the Brits have even more disdain for this guy:
The Beatles’ TAXMAN

Anonymous said...

This puzzle beats any NYT sunday puzzle by a mile. Why doesn't Will read some of the other papers and get some ideas. Haven't done them yet but I'll bet the Merl Reagle and Cox,Rathvon puzzles are more fun than the NYT. Golfballman.

shrub5 said...

This puzzle was a lot of fun. The first theme clue I completed was MIXED BLESSING, realized the anagram aspect and this made the rest of the theme clues fall easily. So many funny and clever clues today! Just a couple of my faves: Ticker tapes, briefly?: EKGS and Pieces of 8? (ARCS). The only minor nit to pick IMHO was the use of two rather awkward 'RE- words' : REASCENT and REDRILL, but these are trivial in light of the large quantity of terrific answers.

I had some trouble in the NW corner that unfortunately had to result in a google. First, I misspelled SEGAR as SEGER -- then I didn't know the Maine town ORONO and lastly, I was too dense to get the clue "Pot creators" and the fact that I had E-TES didn't help. A big forehead slap when I finally realized it was ANTES and understood "pot."

Thanks PG for a great write-up as usual. I didn't know glossophobia either, but I've got it. Always made my job difficult and never really got better over time. I see you managed to sneak in a mention of your favorite wrestling team -- what a devoted fan!

BTW, does an all capitalized clue always indicate an anagram will be in the answer?

Carol said...

Fun, fun, fun Sunday puzzle! Tough & challenging - had to Google a few names, but enjoyable. Loved the anagram aspect.

Thinking is good for the old gray matter! Keeps it working.

A big thank you to the constructor, editor, & @PG for the writeup.

Ruth said...

John Ciardi used to do commentaries on NPR, mostly about things like word usage and etymologies (in the same mode that William Safire did). His voice was deep and great to listen to, and he had a sense of humor. I also remember a book he wrote called "How Does a Poem Mean" which I found illuminating in high school. He was a famous poet in his day, and fame and poetry don't go together very often in this world! (not anymore, anyway)
And yup, much more fun puzzle than today's NYT.


John Ciardi is also known for his silly poems... check this out:

Rex Parker said...

NYT does this kind of stuff (and on Sundays) all the time. Anagrams are old hat. These are fine, but I've seen most if not all of them. At 8:57, I found this incredibly easy.

OUT OF ORDER SIGN gave me the most trouble. It and POST-REFORMATION aren't exactly scintillating or even common as phrases. OUT OF ORDER, yes. Add the SIGN and ... well, STOP, EXIT, NO LEFT TURN ... all are SIGNS. You can put SIGN there, and it's a thing, but it loses zing.


DICAPRIO looks amazing in the grid. Can't remember ever seeing it.


hazel said...

@Rex - you can be sort of a BUZZKILL sometimes. (no offense). That'd be a pretty good grid word, come to think of.

Thought this puzzle was peppy myself, and very much enjoyed the gimmick.

Go Falcons!

PuzzleGirl said...

DICAPRIO looks amazing pretty much anywhere.

split infinitive said...

We had a "BBQ brisket" of a puzzle today: kind of tough, lots of fun, and slow to finish.

For those of us who do the LAT but not the NYT, this -- I believe -- was the first Sunday puzzle featuring anagrams in quite some time. People seem to love'em or hate'em; if I can't solve one in a couple minutes, it's a given that I won't ever get it, so I rely on friendly crosses.

Knew most of the people (Ionesco, Ciardi, etc.but got mired in the geography as usual. Slowly getting better, thanks to reading this blog.

PG: DiCaprio? Really?? Ewwwww. He was so spectacularly awful in Titanic that I can't see him without cringeing. To each her/his own, for sure.

Thanks for the CW 101 review. Repetition is about the best way for many of us to learn and remember anything. The visuals you (all) often provide are a big help, too.
split & co.


Bad acting from DiCaprio and the whole horrible Titanic movie was so boring to me that I fell asleep half way through. Anyone care to tell me how it ended?

I agree with Hazel on BUZZKILL.
I need to start using that word on my morose friends instead of KILLJOY, but doesn't it have some illicit drug implications or something nasty?

I've never heard of REASCENT being used, but then most crosswords are seldom used in everyday speech.
I think I've heard Ms. Palin use the word REDRILL numerous times...uhhh, or was that my dentist?

Anonymous said...

John: bad news. The boat sank.

Pete P'Tui said...

@Anon 5:30 pm, ROTFLMAO! Enjoyed the puzzle, despite the highhat from REX. La Tee Da!

hazel said...

John: good news. Leo went down with the boat.

P.S. BUZZKILL is not a bad word.

PuzzleGirl said...

I will not accept any negative comments regarding Leonardo DiCaprio from anyone who hasn't seen "The Departed." That is all.

split infinitive said...

PG: accept my apologies, please.
Haven't seen Departed yet, but will put it in the Netflx queue.

Let's hope we keep getting good LAT puzzles this week. I'm sending a note to the Chicago Tribune to express how much better/interesting the XWs have become, to counteract the "haters" and naysayers out there. I hope others will do so, too. Perhaps a reminder from you or one of your co-bloggers will inspire your puzzlefans to email/slug mail as well. Just a thought.
split solo

hazel said...

@PG -I like Leo and also Departed. Titanic is one of my least favorite movies of all time. So, I'm not dissing him, just the movie.

Pete P'tui said...

"The Departed" was an outstanding movie,as was Leo in his role. ALL the actors were fantastic. Leo also excellent in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape." Not a fan of "Titanic." Perfunctory viewing, never again. Glug. Glug.

Wylie said...

@Shrub%: "A big forehead slap when I finally realized it was ANTES and understood 'pot.'"

I still don't get it.

Anonymous said...

@Wylie - The ANTES/pot references poker, where the players ANTE to create the pot.

Wylie said...

@ Anonymous: Thank you! I thought it was perhaps marijuana and the antes were "ante-establishmentarians" -- hippies. But they didn't create pot, they just smoked it!