SUNDAY, December 6, 2009
Dan Naddor (syndicated)

Theme: "Subliminal Messages" — Each theme answer is a phrase that might be used in a company's ad campaign with the company's name hidden in it.

[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: Airline message (SEE ISRAEL ALL OVER AGAIN).
  • 74D: Apt company found in 23-Across (EL AL).
  • 37A: Electronics message (THE REASON YOU LOVE TV).
  • 18D: Apt company found in 37-Across (SONY).
  • 66A: Shipping message (RELIABLE PICKUP SERVICE).
  • 5D: Apt company found in 66-Across (UPS).
  • 98A: Automotive message (BUILT FOR DURABILITY).
  • 89D: Apt company found in 98-Across (FORD).
  • 116A: Cosmetics message (EXPLORE A LASTING BEAUTY).
  • 53D: Apt company found in 116-Across (L'ORÉAL).
  • 104A: Brains behind this puzzle's theme messages (ADMAN).
This clever theme is a little tough to get into because, like quotation themes, the phrases are not common in and of themselves. At first I was annoyed that the company names are hinted at in the down clues, but about halfway through I decided I liked it since it was helpful! Without the hints, I think a lot of solvers would not have understood the theme. I guess they could have gone with circles but since the company names are short and the puzzle is big, this idea works just fine.

  • 1A: Works out (COMPUTES). Whoa. Tricky one right out of the gate!
  • 19A: Bridge opening (ONE SPADE). Had the correct answer here, then changed it to one heart for some reason, then changed it back.
  • 22A: Court plea, for short (NOLO). Nolo contendere is a plea of "no contest."
  • 29A: Cunning sort (SLY FOX). Wanted sly dog here.
  • 47A: Toledo-to-Valencia dirección (ESTE). Very tricky to use city names found in both Spain and the United States!
  • 56A: Feminine ending (-ENNE). Could have been -ette.Had to check the crosses.
  • 77A: Cambodia's Lon __ (NOL). The only reason I remember this guy's name is that it's a palindrome.
  • 78A: Bush tour (SAFARI). I wondered if this might have something to do with W's new gig as a motivational speaker.
  • 92A: "Right back __!" (AT YA). Fun colloquial phrase. See also 107D: "I'm __ here!" (OUTTA).
  • 109A: "My Point...and I Do Have One" author (DEGENERES). I have this book. I read it a long time ago and remember enjoying it. I do love Ellen DeGeneres. Can't wait to see her on "Idol" next year.
  • 128A: Contest in which you try to get your opponent on your side (TUG OF WAR). Great clue.
  • 2D: "Paper Moon" Oscar winner (O'NEAL). Both Ryan and Tatum were in this movie, but it was Tatum who walked away with the statue. (She was 10!)
  • 12D: Bok __ (CHOY). Spelled this choi at first.
  • 21D: Soviet cooperative (ARTEL). No idea.
  • 80D: Lesser of two evils, metaphorically (FRYING PAN). Again with the great clue!
  • 81D: "Tadpole" actor Robert (ILER). Guessed this one off the "I." I only know him from crosswords and he's almost always clued in relation to "The Sopranos," but I figured it had to be the same guy.
  • 88D: Comedy first baseman (WHO). I had No idea what this was going for. Love it.

  • 109D: Fam. tree member (DESC.). Hate to end on a clunker but DESC? Really? I solved the puzzle last night and could not figure out what this was an abbreviation for. Came to me this morning as I was typing this up: descendant. Ugh.
Crosswordese 101: I have never watched Nickelodeon's "The REN and Stimpy Show," and would never have known that REN is a dog if it weren't for crossword puzzles (65A: Hyper toon pooch). Fortunately, there are only a couple things you need to know about REN to recognize his clues: he's an animated dog (specifically, a chihuahua), he can be described as hyper or neurotic, and he's known for exclaiming "You Eediot!"

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Everything Else — 9A: Like the shore, often (BEACHY); 15A: Chapters in history (ERAS); 20A: School for Torah study (YESHIVA); 26A: Go for the bronze? (TAN); 27A: Food container (TIN); 28A: What "I believe in," in a Beatles title (YESTERDAY); 33A: Perot of politics (H. ROSS); 36A: Latin 101 word (ERAT); 44A: Bag (VALISE); 46A: Kindle downloads (E-BOOKS); 48A: "Rebel Without a Cause" actor (MINEO); 49A: Intimidate (COW); 52A: Ear projection (AURICLE); 55A: Peek-a-boo player (TOT); 57A: Plot inventors (CABAL); 59A: It gets the ball off the ground (TEE); 60A: San Luis __ (OBISPO); 62A: It may be pediatric: Abbr. (ICU); 63A: Dieter's unit (CALORIE); 65A: Hyper toon pooch (REN); 75A: Razz (RIB); 76A: House-warming presence? (GAS HEAT); 81A: Mischief-maker (IMP); 84A: Perfect (IDEAL); 85A: Casa chamber (SALA); 86A: Env. enclosure (LTR.); 87A: Something to turn over (NEW LEAF); 90A: "Brokeback Mountain" director Lee (ANG); 91A: Last (FINAL); 94A: Kept going (HELD ON); 96A: Building blocks (ADOBES); 103A: Phil or Card (NLER); 105A: California prison city (FOLSOM); 114A: "Evil Woman" gp. (ELO); 115A: Sine __ non (QUA); 123A: Relaxing venues (SPAS); 124A: It's about 10% of the Earth's surface (EURASIA); 125A: Agitated (IN A STATE); 126A: Construction site marker (CONE); 127A: Practicing (PLYING); 1D: Goes for (COSTS); 3D: Kid's picking word (MEENY); 4D: Chi follower (PSI); 6D: It paves the way (TAR); 7D: Child expert LeShan (EDA); 8D: Stew (SEETHE); 9D: Close way to win (BY A NOSE); 10D: Sushi choice (EEL); 11D: Visual communication?: Abbr. (ASL); 13D: Queen's home (HIVE); 14D: Saint Laurent of fashion (YVES); 15D: Personalize, at the jeweler's (ENGRAVE); 16D: Car salesmen's offers (ROAD TESTS); 17D: Inter __ (ALIA); 24D: Old Banca d'Italia unit (LIRA); 25D: Prefix with -nautics (AERO); 30D: Town on the N.J. side of the George Washington Bridge (FT. LEE); 31D: Louisville's river (OHIO); 32D: Crosses (out) (XES); 34D: Thin Japanese noodle (SOBA); 35D: Muzzle (SNOUT); 38D: Bring to mind (RECALL); 39D: Old times (YORE); 40D: Arkie's neighbor (OKIE); 41D: Pac-10 powerhouse, for short (USC); 42D: Sporty car roof (T-TOP); 43D: Reject (VETO); 44D: Super Bowl's __ Lombardi Trophy (VINCE); 45D: Void (ANNUL); 48D: Rabin's predecessor (MEIR); 50D: English horn relative (OBOE); 51D: Timber defect (WARP); 54D: Film critic Roger (EBERT); 57D: One in line at an airport (CABBIE); 58D: DXX ÷ X (LII); 61D: Bill: Abbr. (INV.); 63D: Stone monument (CAIRN); 64D: ER test (ECG); 67D: Apt name for a financial planner? (IRA); 68D: Chiang __-shek (KAI); 69D: Prime letters? (USDA); 70D: Fen-__: banned diet aid (PHEN); 71D: "Under Siege" star (SEAGAL); 72D: Cockamamie (INANE); 73D: Fast food drinks (COLAS); 78D: Concrete section (SLAB); 79D: Westernmost Aleutian island (ATTU); 82D: Pinochle combination (MELD); 83D: "The Taming of the Shrew" setting (PADUA); 85D: Female oracle (SIBYL); 91D: Pic, commercially (FOTO); 93D: Everything before the last resort (ALL ELSE); 95D: It's read often at conventions (NAMETAG); 97D: "What's the __?" (DIF); 99D: __'clock scholar (TEN O); 100D: Bordeaux brother (FRÈRE); 101D: Island south of Borneo (BALI); 102D: Part of the conspiracy (IN ON IT); 106D: __ Valley: 1960 Winter Olympics site (SQUAW); 108D: Oscar __: deli brand (MAYER); 110D: Really big show (EXPO); 111D: Sign on for another tour (RE-UP); 112D: 1950s-'60s Chief Justice Warren (EARL); 113D: Make laugh in a big way (SLAY); 117D: "__ was saying ..." (AS I); 118D: Fall from grace (SIN); 119D: Serengeti grazer (GNU); 120D: Capture (BAG); 121D: That, in Toledo (ESO); 122D: Justice Dept. raiders (ATF).


jazz said...

I liked the cluing...lotsof clever ones. The themewas original (at least for me).

Not too hard, but had to Google DEGENERES's book.

Nice job, Mr. Naddor and writeup, PG!

shrub5 said...

After I finished this puzzle, I wondered if the 'messages' were actual advertising catchphrases for the companies or did Mr. Naddor invent them? I suspect the latter; perhaps he should get a copyright on them?

I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it was to create this puzzle. Quite a feat. Non-theme fill was good, too. Only answer that I didn't like so much was BEACHY. Initially misread clue 52a as Ear protection (instead of projection; got to wipe off these glasses) so recalled the earflap vs. earlap flap of a few days back; earflap would fit but I already some letters that showed that to be wrong.

I had knot, then burl before WARP for the timber defect. TAN for 'go for the bronze?' was cute. New word learned today: ARTEL.

Thanks to Dan Naddor for a fun Sunday puzzle and also to PG for the splendid write-up as always.

Van55 said...

Failure of construction in my humble opinion:

Phil or Card = NLER

Toledo to Valencia direccion = ESTE

DXX [divided by X = LII

Otherwise quite a nice, enjoyable puzzle.


Looks like Dan Naddor has turned over a NEW LEAF... a totally different type of construction for him. He's a SLYFOX with this very cunning theme. I LOVED IT! Dan gets a standing ovation from me! With such a complex 21 letter theme, times five, plus 5 theme reentries; you'd expect a lot of crappy fill, but I see very little of that. Nice crossing words like BYANOSE, ROADTESTS, FRYINGPAN, NAMETAG, ALLELSE, and CABBIE... not what I'd call your usual crappy fill. Oh there were a few (like TENO, ASI, DIF, LII, LTR), but nothing to get bent out of shape over.

I didn't find much that required Googling, and that's a shame, because I love learning new stuff.
I think REN was new to me and PG did a nice job with putting that in CW101. ENNE vs. ETTE sort of baffled me also.

@PG shows a FOTO of Ellen DEGENERES that is so hilarious. I think I remember seeing her in that goosey outfit, but I can't remember when and where. Academy Awards maybe??

I remember Johnny Cash singing about FOLSOM Prison, but did he ever serve time there himself?

Today I'm having a very special Italian brunch, so ADDIO FOR NOW.
--- Cheesy polenta with pork cutlets, fegatelli, and limed tomato juice... yummy yum !!!!

This comment has been removed by the author.

@PG, Loved your writeup.. espec. the WHO'S ON FIRST? clip. And I thought that clue was probably one of the best.

Isn't "Right back AT YA!" one of Ellen D's trademark phrases? I love her afternoon show. A nice prelude to my usual nap.

backbiter said...

Oh no PG and JNH. You've never seen "Ren & Stimpy"? Classic! Do yourselves a favor and look it up. I'd love to see "Kricfalusi" in a crossword some day.
At first, I thought the subliminal message was "Love".

"See Israel alL OVEr again"
"The reason you LOVE tv"

But I was getting over a hangover. It took the downs to get me to see the light. Nice puzzle. Nice write up as usual PG.

ddbmc said...

Ren and Stimpy was one of those antic silly cartoons my kids got into, especially with the "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" song Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

Took me a while, this puzzle did. Little answers kept escaping me, 64D-ECG-I wanted EEG or EKG. Thought burl, knot, too, instead of warp. Muzzle-kept wanting a word that meant "quiet or shut up" rather than a facial protuberance!

"I'm Outta Here" used to be Dennis Miller's sign off on SNL for Weekend Update, if I remember correctly.

NLER, totally tricked me, as Robert "ILER" was there. And I was thinking Who is Phil Nler? And does someone really name their kid, "Card?" If the clues had been Phils or Cards, the aha moment would have been quicker.

Female Oracle-Sibyls-so wanted that to be Delphi, but had gotten FOLSOM, so knew that was not to be!

@JNH-Ellen's outfit was a "rib" at Icelandic actress/singer,Bjork, who had worn the same dress to the 2001 Oscars. It caused quite a stir.

By the way, has anyone seen Steven Seagal in the news lately? He's a real sherrif, when not working in the movies--with a real gun!

Good puzzle and nice write up! I'll (fairy)tackle Sylvia Burztyn's puzzle later!

gespenst said...

This is the kind of puzzle I like ... that seems impossible when I first start, but eventually I wear it down! I didn't even have to google at all.

I did the knot-burl-warp tango, too. Had ekg before ecg. still wondering about ten o'clock scholar though.

Great puzzle!

Joe said...

Just finished this puzzle from our paper in Lafayette, Indiana. Enjoyed it a lot...it sucked me in and filled my afternoon nicely...once the Colts' game was over.

I liked the theme and the cross-clues...El Al, Ford, L'Oreal, etc. Clever, very clever.

"Ft. Lee" tricked me, as there is also a Foley, New Jersey, which coupled with having "enne" as "enny" tricked me.

Also thought the clue and answer "Gas Heat" was very clever.

Now, what do I do the rest of the evening???

Bohica said...

Had to wait a couple of extra days, but it was well worth it. Wonderful puzzle Dan Naddor. The cluing was clever, the theme solid (and seemed fresh to me).

Loved the clues/answers at 1 across, 128 across and 80 down.

Not so much; 9 across.

Hope you're feeling better Dan.

CrazyCat said...

Very nice puzzle and what a creative theme. Took me a while to get through, but had fun in the process. I do agree with P.G. about DESC. Ugly abbreviation. My kids used to watch REN and Stimpy. I found those dogs to be as annoying as Rug Rats. For some reason I always get GNU and EMU confused. Clever and challlenging Sunday Puzzle. Thank you Mr. Naddor. And thanks P.G. for your write up.

CrazyCat said...

Oh and I always like seeing San Luis OBISPO (aka SLO) since that's where I plan to live in retirement.

split infinitive said...

Chilly Sunday, warm coffee and four star puzzle!
Lots to like in this big grid: theme (plus handy downs for cross-references!) was fun to puzzle through. FRYING PAN and ALL ELSE were delicious. I need to meet more Aleutians or buy an atlas before I 'get' ATTU. Thanks PG for the WHO's on First clip -- my dad used to know all the words, and would recite them on car trips. Still much better than listening to him butchering Cash's 'FOLSOM Prison Blues'! We didn't have iPODs to drown him out then.

CAIRNs are constructed all over the cultural map to mark sites of burials, milestones, trails, astronomical vantage points, etc. Some are just signs that bored people wanted to leave a trace they were there. Now we have Twitter, instead.

Hey, did I spot two TOLEDOs in the puzzle?
The US one is where many Jeeps are built. DESC. is used in geneaology but maybe not elsewhere.

Best Sunday LAT in many moons. Thank you to PG for the careful parsing of clues and answers. I'm getting to be a better solver due to you, Orange, and RexP. Plus, this forum never fails to entertain, elucidate, and inspire!! (I added the second '!' in honor of ever-enthusiastic JNH --I hope that I can be half as cool when I am retired, if not before.)

jOHN said...

CrazyCatLady! You of all people! Stimpy was a CAT!

Tuttle said...

Ren & Stimpy. A classic indeed. Not only that, but the progenitor of one of the three major modern schools of animation, the 'spumco' style which is characterized by wacky drawings, lots of animation and, generally, a gross-out sort of theme. The other styles are the 'Calarts' style (Disney and Pixar) and the 'flat' style (like Powerpuff Girls or Samurai Jack).