FRIDAY, Dec. 25, 2009 — Dan Naddor

THEME: -ANCE ... it's added to the end of familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, etc.

I hate to be Scrooge, but this one was mostly terrible. Some of the theme answers are cute, but ERB (!?! 26A: Tarzan creator's monogram) over SETA crossing ACTSO crossing CAPTIOUS (!? 36A: Faultfinding) near the absurdly plural INERTIAS (31A: Torpors)? I'm supposed to believe SONANCE is a real word one might use, ever? UDO (44A: Edible ginseng plant)? This whole "theme is the only thing that matters, screw the rest of the fill" attitude is really soul-crushing.

I gotta get back to the holiday festivities, so I'll make this quick.

Theme answers:

  • 16A: Communist revenue management? (RED FINANCE) — from RED FIN, which is ... some kind of fish, I guess.
  • 21A: Atonement from a soda jerk? (FOUNTAIN PENANCE) — cute. Thumbs up.
  • 32A: Love that blossomed in a music store? (CD ROMANCE) — cute. Thumbs up.
  • 48A: Voice of choice? (FAVORITE SONANCE) — an abomination.
  • 55A: Square up with actor Jack? (PAY PALANCE) — great. Big thumbs up.

Crosswordese 101: AÑO (13A: Mayo is in it) — Spanish for "year." I try like hell to keep this out of any puzzle I might be constructing — if I had to include it, I'd clue it as "AN O"; while it's totally acceptable to cross a letter w/ diacritical mark (e.g. N with tilde) with letter lacking it (e.g. no tilde), I still think you avoid it if possible. Sadly, today, it happens twice (again at PEÑA — 22D: Clinton cabinet member Federico). AÑO w/o tilde means ... well, not "year."

Merry Christmas to all. See you Monday.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

PS Please enjoy this free Christmas puzzle. Not much to do with Christmas — and some of the content is a little racy — but I hope you find it doable and amusing nonetheless. It's a puzzle inspired by one of my readers, one who misunderstood a recent Sunday puzzle entitled "Inside Dope." In honor of his misunderstanding, I made this: "Inside Dope, Part 2." xoxorp.

[as always, click on "Print" below, or go here (to the forum at crosswordfiend.com) to get a .puz / AcrossLite version of the puzzle]

Inside Dope

Everything Else — 1A: Hoodwink (CON); 4A: Exhausted, with "out" (WIPED); 9A: Exaggerated fanfare (HYPE); 13A: Mayo is in it (AÑO); 14A: Italian deli offering (PANINI); 15A: Skyrocket (SOAR); 16A: Communist revenue management? (RED FINANCE); 18A: Toro, in sushi bars (TUNA); 19A: Become (AMOUNT TO); 20A: Small batteries (AAS); 21A: Atonement from a soda jerk? (FOUNTAIN PENANCE); 26A: Tarzan creator's monogram (ERB); 27A: Tribute of sorts (ODE); 28A: Mike famously bit him in a 1997 fight (EVANDER); 29A: __ date (SET A); 31A: Torpors (INERTIAS); 32A: Love that blossomed in a music store? (CD ROMANCE); 36A: Faultfinding (CAPTIOUS); 39A: Old Dodge (DART); 43A: Prayers (ORISONS); 44A: Edible ginseng plant (UDO); 47A: Comic strip cry (WAH); 48A: Voice of choice? (FAVORITE SONANCE); 51A: Waitress at Mel's (FLO); 52A: More isolated (LONELIER); 53A: Town-line sign abbr. (ESTD.); 55A: Square up with actor Jack? (PAY PALANCE); 57A: Bum (REAR); 58A: Starts (ONSETS); 59A: __ station (GAS); 60A: Dash for a recipe, maybe (SALT); 61A: Restaurant row? (SCENE); 62A: Mexican Mrs. (SRA.); 1D: Some wine containers (CARAFES); 2D: Another (ONE MORE); 3D: Surely (NO DOUBT); 4D: Classified (WANT AD); 5D: Rare way for football games to end (IN A TIE); 6D: Attribute to, as blame (PIN ON); 7D: Ref. work (ENC.); 8D: Go kaput (DIE); 9D: FDR's successor (HST); 10D: 1982 Eddie Rabbitt/Crystal Gale duet (YOU AND I); 11D: Elixir (PANACEA); 12D: They can fix slips (ERASERS); 14D: Old Ford (PINTO); 17D: Frolic (FUN); 22D: Clinton cabinet member Federico (PEÑA); 23D: Neck and neck (EVEN); 24D: Buster? (NARC); 25D: Fed the kitty (ANTED); 30D: "Don't __ innocent" (ACT SO); 31D: AOL exchanges (IMS); 33D: New Look designer (DIOR); 34D: Food-box word with a cable car in its "o" (RONI); 35D: Depose (OUST); 36D: Strongboxes (COFFERS); 37D: Asian border lake (ARAL SEA); 38D: Like a deciding moment (PIVOTAL); 40D: Shade providers (AWNINGS); 41D: Wheels on a track (RACECAR); 42D: Russell of "Black Widow" (THERESA); 44D: Ben Hogan won it four times (US OPEN); 45D: Contribute (DONATE); 46D: First-year law students (ONE-LS); 49D: "Family Ties" mom (ELYSE); 50D: King preceder (ALA); 54D: 2000 Gere title role (DR. T); 55D: Bldgs. with boxes (POS); 56D: Mandela's org. (ANC).


Tinbeni said...

Merry Christmas to one-and-all.

Was hoping for maybe a Holiday themed puzzle, but I guess our host today, Dan Naddor & his editor Rich Norris thought that would be too trite.
For those us by ourselves today, thanks for making me feel even more isolated. (52a-LONELIER).

That disapointment out of the way, DN is one of my faves, and todays offering was a great Friday, tough but fair LAT challenge.
Cleaver cluing and a few puns.

A few mis-steps at first entered with confidence, that made me smile when corrected:
AAA - 20a small batteries = AAS
EDSEL - 14a old ford = PINTO
ITS A - 29a ____ date = SET A

Now for the good part:
The theme emerged (my PANACEA) when I got "squared up with actor Jack" 54a PAY PALANCE, kept thinking Nicholson, then ... add ANCE to a common phrase? Duh!

Five themes answers, alwasys like more than 3, then I ask for ONE MORE!

PANINI 14a (yummm!)
CARAFES 1d (I wonder if SCOTCH is allowed to be decanted?)
INERTIAS 31a Torpors, wanted Lethargy, but found NO crosses.
CAPTIOUS 36a Faultfinding

Now it is time to let the J.W.Blue Scotch FLO.

Tinbeni said...

@Rex - Major oops,
I thought you said earlier this week you were getting a sub for the Christmas Puzzle. Thought the post was by DN.
I guess this is my captious moment ... with myself.
I hope Santa brought your kids some great toys and you have a very brief write-up. Today is about Family.
I took Teddy Bears (20+) to my local Childrens Hospital last night, a tradition I have kept since 1985. Midnight Service followed, I may be alone this year but I am not a Grinch.
I really do love Christmas, for all the right reasons.


*David* said...

I felt the opposite way about the puzzle. I am tired of the random add-ons to the themes that DN does -ANCE, what's next -FULNESS?

This week the fill bothered me much less then last week where it was truly sloppy. Here we have wide open spaces with great fill like CAPTIOUS, ORISONS, PANACEA, and YOUANDI (tough parse).

The Spanish lack of tilde, bothersome, Mayo killed me in a bad way. ERB ugh, but beyond that a much cleaner grid then recent DN forays. DN is on his way back with this type of puzzle, IMOO.


To all my Christian friends… Merry Christmas.
Hope y’all have a very pleasant day!
To those of you who are traveling , please be careful, the roads are awfully treacherous. Send up your ORISONS and drive slowly!

I don’t like being a CAPTIOUS puzzler, especially on this day of “Good will to mankind”, but this puzzle sure didn’t ring my bells.
1) No Christmas theme???… BAH HUMBUG from the LAT!
2) Theme was somewhat stressed.
3) Lengthy cheater squares.
4) Not many humorous clues.
5) Nothing new for me to learn (no Googling today).

I DID like the 12 symmetrical seven-letter down words in the corners. That made the anchor corners rather difficult to solve. Overall, the grid was well constructed in that there wasn’t much cheap crosswordese fill. I couldn’t find any clues that I’d quibble with either. I can tell that Dan has put a lot of thought into getting this puzzle to work.

Oh boy! My PAYPAL account is really busting in the seams. WAH !

Back to the Christmas "Frolic" and FUN.

Norm said...

Not that horrible, but then, as a [V]ANCE, I'm partial to the letters. Hate the kerning (on-line & in the paper), however, since I could not see 57A as 'bum" rather than "burn" and finally filled in REAR out of desperation since nothing else would fit 54D. Loved your alternative INSIDE DOPE puzzle, Rex. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to all.

Sfingi said...

What a mess. Didn't detect the theme so got only the Southern two.

@Dannaddor - Crystal Gayle is spelled wrong; however, I didn't know their song.

Is the Ural Sea the only lake along Asia? (Ans. NO.)

Don't know: THERESA Russell, toro or UDO, IMS, EMC. Explain the last two, someone.

Had "salami" for PANINI.

Is INERTIA really pluralized? I don't think so.

Ended up Googling all over and couldn't even find half the stuff I Googled for.

Though I knew Edgar Rice Burroughs, I found out his initials are apparently immportant to many of his followers who have Erbzines.

Also, couldn't see bum for burn.

I hope I have the right outlook tomorrow to do Saturday's puzzle.

Argyle said...

Sfingi, I'll do what I can.

37D: Asian border lake (ARAL SEA)

It is on the border of two of the new Russian countries.

7D: Ref. work (ENC.)
Not EMC: ENCyclopedia.

31D: AOL exchanges (IMS)

Instant Messages.

Merry Christmas.


Did the alternate puzzle... pretty easy solve, but you're right, Rex, it was inappropriate for Christmas and rather naughty indeed (starting with 1 down... ugh!).
I think I got it all correct, but didn't see the answer page anywhere.
I think your EMC should be ENC (for encyclopedia) and the IMS is AOL's acronym for Instant Messages.

mac said...

I printed this one out for a change and enjoyed it. The SW was the hardest area for me, but also the most interesting. Love coffers, pivotal and orisons.

Got stuck for a moment in the SE when I had "pacecar" at 41D and stared at the Dodge Dapt.

Fishy subtheme with the two different kinds of sushi. I'm smelling the smoked salmon my son is slicing for his bagle...

Sfingi said...

@Argyle and John - Thanx - I don't know what an instant message is, but I think I just can't read my own penmanship (on ENC). Or Newsprint (bum). My glasses are fairly new, but I might the eyes might be changing faster.

I'm sick of Aral/Ural. But that's just me.

Uncooked fish is not on my menu. Merry Christmas, or as my son says Merry MalcomXmas. He's home from his new job at BMC in Lexington.

lit.doc said...

Best thing I can say about the theme (I use the word advisedly) is that I got it from RED FIN(ANCE), which made the other four lots easier.

Theme dictated SONANCE, and its etymological kinship to e.g. 'sonority' helped, but WAH! I accept it only because Xword Reality forces me to accept so many other words that aren't "real word[s] that one might use, ever".

Thanks for "Inside Dope, Part 2"! Hope I can get it done before the Family Hord descends, or someone actually makes me help in the kitchen (sorry, Tinbeni).

Quentinc said...

I have to agree with the write-up. I usually like Dan Naddor's puzzles, but not this one. I am glad, however, that I wasn't the only one who couldn't read [bum] correctly! I'm still holding out on getting reading glasses, and this had me worried for a second.

Rex, thank you for the gift puzzle! It sounds like it will be a fun solve.

gespenst said...

I had to log in *just* to figure out what was up w/ "Sonance." FIL and I did the puzzle today, and that had both of us confused.

This is the kind of puzzle I just had to chip away at. First run through I had maybe 2 solid words and several "pencilled" (read: lightly penned) in. Just kept on plugging and eventually got the rest of the puzzle.

I'm away for next week (from home, not from online, thanks to wifi) so I'll have to do the LAT at cruciverb ... not my preference, but I'll make do ;)

Merry merry, happy happy, and if you're traveling (as we are) safe journeys!

Anonymous said...

Rex, thanks for the 'gift' dope puzzle!
The DN was a slog and a half: to make a PANINI (~O for the singular) reference, the bread was soggy and the meat filling tasty but undercooked. Good on the PINTO, CAPTIOUS, ORISONS & COFFERS, but the fishy stuff and abbrvs were rather a messy bother. ANO without the tilde is, well, embarASSing.

Good wishes to all fellow puzzlers, safe travels to the 'away' crowd, and thanks to our mighty constructors -- who bring us this blog as a gift every day.

Time for some homemade limoncello!
split & co.

Anonymous said...

Rex, thanks for the 'gift' dope puzzle!
The DN was a slog and a half: to make a PANINI (~O for the singular) reference, the bread was soggy and the meat filling tasty but undercooked. Good on the PINTO, CAPTIOUS, ORISONS & COFFERS, but the fishy stuff and abbrvs were rather a messy bother. ANO without the tilde is, well, embarASSing.

Good wishes to all fellow puzzlers, safe travels to the 'away' crowd, and thanks to our mighty constructors -- who bring us this blog as a gift every day.

Time for some homemade limoncello!
split & co.

Tinbeni said...

I was LOL when there was a cluing "Communist Revenue Management" leading to Red FinANCE.
Then the "Go kaput" = DIE.
Hummmm? Commies & death; how apropos on Christmas Day.

It did AMOUNT TO rubbing SALT into our rabid crossword solvers desire for some timeliness during this Season.

Dan Naddor wrote a puzzle, published today, the CAPTIOUS INERTIA (lack of skill) of a non-holiday puzzle I place squarely on the Editor Rich Norris.

Mr.Norris you are a Bum (57-a) [not the answer, REAR] in brevity, think; three letter word, starts with an 'A'
... or seven letter word that ends in hole.

"Inside Dope. part 2" was a much more fun puzzle.
My 1-down, initially had an 'F' in the answer, alas, I had to change it.

GLowe said...

Didn't do the puzzle, sitting with my frozen @ss trying to get my knees to stop complaining aboout skating for 20 mins.
Checking in to thank the the blog hosts, and the constructors, for the most interesting and educational year in both solving and constructing - I ain't much good at either, but I'm a damn sight smarter about what I don't know!

Rex, PG and Orange put a bunch of effort into an enterprise that makes a few of us have a better day, every day, and that's something that most can't say.

I can't say that it is - but it feels like - 'piling on' with Dan. The puzzle has an unusual grid, not a bad theme, and few clunkers. I didn't solve it as I said, but I don't see all that much to object to.

To each his/her own. All the best.

Tinbeni said...


No "piling on Dan Naddor" he constructed a good Friday puzzle, when it is selected for publication is not his concern.

Big "piling on Rich Norris" he has a stable full of constructors. Maybe even knows that Christmas is the 25th of each December.

I have seen July 4th puzzles, Halloween (Oct.31) puzzles, even Easter & Thanksgiving Puzzles (and these dates changes each year).

Would it be too much of a stretch to have a Christmas puzzle?

But having Commies & death was a plus.

Jan said...

I was really looking forward to a Christmas theme, so that was a disappointment, especially since Christmas is my birthday! :)

Ano drove me crazy - thank goodness for this website!

Jan said...

Oh, and the reason "ano" drove me crazy is that I was so sure of my BLT it took forever to realize it was wrong, and to get the NW corner. Finally had it all in place but couldn't understand "ano".