SUNDAY, January 10, 2010 — Nora Pearlstone (syndicated)

Theme: "Just Do It" — Theme answers are familiar phrases with the letter string DO inserted into them to, creating wacky phrases which are 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:
  • 23A: Unlikely bar snack? (BEER DONUTS).
  • 25A: Hair stylist's blunder? (GOOFED UPDO).
  • 95A: Paid athletes with upscale apartments? (PROS AND CONDOS).
  • 48A: Place marker in "The Compleat Angler"? (FISHING DOGEAR).
  • 120A: Tennis great's swimwear? (GRAF SPEEDO).
  • 124A: Typical dog's motto? (SEMPER FIDO).
  • 36D: "What a jerk!" ("HE'S ONE DOOFUS!").
  • 41D: Bringin' up a crime boss portrayer? (RAISIN' BRANDO).

Cute theme from our esteemed editor today. (Nora Pearlstone is one of Rich Norris's pseudonyms — it's an anagram of "not a real person.") I thought all of the theme answers were interesting, and a couple of them are awesome. For some reason, PROS AND CONDOS tickled me. The clue is kind of blah (not that I could come up with a better one), but the answer is fun to say. SEMPER FIDO totally cracked me up. And — seriously — who among us wasn't intrigued by the idea of BEER DONUTS?

My WTFs:
  • 20A: Arabian peninsula capital (SANA'A). I'm sure I've seen this in a puzzle before, but I was totally relying on crosses today. SANA'S is the capital of Yemen.
  • 57A: Soprano Lily (PONS). Never heard of her. Her last performance was in 1960.
  • 94A: British golfer Poulter (IAN). His name is vaguely familiar.... Oh, he placed second in the British Open in 2008.
  • 49D: Horizontal bar dismount (HECHT). Um ... what?
  • 79D: Orphan boy of old comics (DONDI). Ne-Ever heard of him.
  • 22A: Southern New Mexico county (OTERO). This is not hard for me to remember because I lived in the next county over for a few years in the 1990s. White Sands is in Otero County.
  • 66A: Snack brand sold in twists and puffs (CHEETOS). Mmmm, Cheetos.
  • 75A: Talky get-together (GABFEST). I have most of my gabfests these days by email.
  • 78A: Like eagles (TALONED). Anybody see Alvin & the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel? A scarily taloned eagle figures prominently in the story.
  • 82A: Alley wanderer (STRAY CAT).

  • 86A: Lower Manhattan neighborhood (NOHO). You can never be sure whether this will be NoHo or SoHo, so wait for the cross.
  • 88A: Jazz home (UTAH). The Utah Jazz of the NBA.
  • 89A: Legend creator (ACURA). Plopped Aesop in without even thinking.
  • 110A: Scale's fifth (SOL). Sometimes referred to as so, which drives me nuts.
  • 133A: Mothers' groups? (DENS). Moms who help out with Cub Scouts are referred to as "den mothers."
  • 11D: Vocational course (WOODSHOP). Back in 8th grade, we had the choice of taking home ec or shop. I chose shop just to be different and now that I'm a stay-at-home mom I wonder if home ec would have been more useful to me.
  • 37D: Medical stat? (AT ONCE). If you ever watched "ER," you knew this one.
  • 57D: Like a good waiter (PATIENT). This is just a strange clue. I can think of about ten characteristics I'd like to see in my waiter before I get to patient.
  • 73D: Mullally of "Will & Grace" (MEGAN). Love her. I'd go look for a clip to include, but I'd get sucked into watching YouTube videos for God knows how long and I just can't do that today!
  • 83D: Keister (TUSH). This one should be easy to find though ....

  • 117D: Apt company for this puzzle? (NIKE). It will be interesting to see how Nike recovers from the Tiger Woods scandal. Considering the nature of the scandal and the company's slogan — "Just Do It" — it seems like they may be in for some serious mocking.
  • 120D: Boxer's warning (GRR). This clue made me picture Barbara Boxer growling at her colleagues.
Crosswordese 101 Roundup:
  • 55A: Copycats (APES).
  • 116A: Arm bones (ULNAS).
  • 128A: They're usually made of African Blackwood (OBOES).
  • 129A: Barely managed, with "out" (EKED).
  • 5D: British mil. award (DSO).
  • 12D: Baseball's Matty (ALOU).
  • 26D: LAX info (ETA).
  • 118D: Port of Yemen (ADEN).
  • 121D: Classic wheels (REO).
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Everything Else — 1A: Apply crudely (DAUB); 5A: Practice exercise (DRILL); 10A: Man __: 1920 Horse of the Year (O' WAR); 14A: Interface developed for the Intel x86 family of microprocessors (MS-DOS); 19A: Juanita's "this" (ESTA); 21A: Part (ROLE); 27A: Try (TASTE); 28A: South side? (GRITS); 30A: Quarrel (DUSTUP); 31A: Don't just sit there (ACT); 33A: Provides with funds (ENDOWS); 35A: Hilo exchanges (ALOHAS); 39A: Santa __ (BARBARA); 43A: A single bounce, in baseball (ONE HOP); 46A: Glacial ridge (ARETE); 47A: Sch. founded by Jefferson (UVA); 52A: Beaver, to Ward (SON); 53A: Churn (ROIL); 55A: Copycats (APES); 56A: Paint spill sound (SPLAT); 58A: Ligurian Sea city (PISA); 59A: Kitchen tools (DICERS); 62A: Class (ELEGANCE); 64A: Beatles girl with a "little white book" (RITA); 69A: Pan-fried (SAUTEED); 70A: Singer with The Velvet Underground in the '60s (NICO); 72A: Nice piece of change (TIDY SUM); 74A: Household servant (MAID); 80A: 82-Across cry (MEOW); 84A: Equiangular geometric figure (ISOGON); 92A: Sugar source (CANE); 93A: Maker of nonstick cookware (T-FAL); 99A: Kin of -kin (-ULE); 100A: Like some waves (TIDAL); 102A: Eye shadow? (SHINER); 103A: Cuts into (INCISES); 105A: Kept a partner up, maybe (SNORED); 107A: Rather modern (NEWISH); 111A: Primarily (MAINLY); 114A: Jewish community orgs. (YMHAS); 116A: Arm bones (ULNAS); 126A: Vaudeville show (REVUE); 127A: Race (TEAR); 128A: They're usually made of African Blackwood (OBOES); 129A: Barely managed, with "out" (EKED); 130A: Explorer Amundsen (ROALD); 131A: Vodka in a blue bottle (SKYY); 132A: '30s veep John __ Garner (NANCE); 1D: Charging result (DEBT); 2D: On the Aegean (ASEA); 3D: Old Navajo enemies (UTES); 4D: It may be picked up at a pub (BAR TAB); 5D: British mil. award (DSO); 6D: Made a jingle (RANG); 7D: Accustom (INURE); 8D: "Aeneid" language (LATIN); 9D: Puzo novel, with "The" (LAST DON); 10D: Dot follower, perhaps (ORG); 12D: Baseball's Matty (ALOU); 13D: Calls the game (REFS); 14D: Sectional home (MODULAR); 15D: Daze of wine and rosés? (STUPOR); 16D: Security pmt. (DEP.); 17D: Diner req. (ORD.); 18D: Great Lakes' __ Canals (SOO); 24D: Java choice (DECAF); 26D: LAX info (ETA); 29D: Album track (SONG); 32D: Three-tone chord (TRIAD); 34D: Ties the knot (WEDS); 38D: Detected (SENSED); 39D: Newborn's achievement? (BURP); 40D: To have, to Henri (AVOIR); 42D: Gelatin garnish (ASPIC); 44D: Eye blatantly (OGLE); 45D: Bell sounds (PEALS); 50D: Op art viewer's cry, maybe (I SEE IT); 51D: Elite unit (A TEAM); 54D: Queen with a Grammy (LATIFAH); 60D: Prynne's stigma (RED A); 61D: Pens and needles (STYLI); 63D: Micronesia's largest island (GUAM); 65D: __-deucy (ACEY); 67D: Baja bears (OSOS); 68D: Shell alternative (SUNOCO); 71D: Actor's dream (OSCAR); 75D: Astronauts' wear (G SUITS); 76D: Accomplish (ATTAIN); 77D: Food in shells (TACOS); 81D: Jonah's problem (WHALE); 85D: Bright signs (NEONS); 87D: Pamplona chorus (OLÉS); 90D: Future time of need, metaphorically (RAINY DAY); 91D: Writer Tyler (ANNE); 95D: Smiling, probably (PLEASED); 96D: Damp at daybreak (DEWY); 97D: Ivy League color (CRIMSON); 98D: Search all over (SCOUR); 101D: As much as you can carry (ARMFUL); 104D: Undernourished (ILL-FED); 106D: Onion __ (DIP); 108D: Biblical queendom (SHEBA); 109D: Rye lead-in (HAM ON); 112D: Bottom lines (NETS); 113D: Vichyssoise veggie (LEEK); 115D: Design detail, briefly (SPEC); 118D: Port of Yemen (ADEN); 119D: Lays down the lawn (SODS); 121D: Classic wheels (REO); 122D: Actress Gardner (AVA); 123D: Transit end? (-ORY); 125D: L.A.-to-Tucson dir. (ESE).


chefbea said...

of course I'm the first cuz I did the puzzle last sunday. Still don't know why we get it a week ahead???

I remember Dondi being one of my favorite comic strips. Guess I am showing my age!!

Glad we have good old Aspic back again


A tough tough puzzle for me…. I was almost going to give up, but I kept saying “JUST DO IT”. After getting BEER DONUTS and seeing the theme title, things started to fall in place, but I encountered quite a few new words: HECHT, ULE-kin, OSOS, NICO, and ONEHOP. I grunted and groaned and struggled through this puzzle, but YAY!!!!, I got 100% right.
The best theme word of the year: GRAF SPEE DO.
The second best theme word of the year: SEMPER FI DO.
The toughest clue of the year: “Prynne’s stigma” (the RED A).
The funniest clue of the year: “What a jerk!” (HE’S ONE DOOFUS).
The most obscure clue: “Mothers’ groups?” (DENS)
A winning Nora Pearlstone (aka???) puzzle!

Remember this?

Didn’t understand why NIKE is “Apt company for this puzzle?”
Never heard of SKYY Vodka, but I vaguely remember seeing it in a CW before. It RANG a bell, ust like John NANCE Garner.
Thought GRITS for “South side” was pretty cute.

I liked the DONDI cartoon.

@PG Loved your ZZTOP clip “TUSH”, but I was hoping Dusty Hill wasn’t going to show us his TUSH.

Time for some coffee, but noooo DECAF!
Hmmm! Maybe I’ll have some GRITS with my breakfast. Someone told me to fry my GRITS. Is that good?

Orange said...

@PG, someone who's good at waiting is PATIENT. Not talking about restaurant waiters here. Cute, no?

I read "Dondi" when I was a kid. I guess PuzzleGirl's local paper didn't run that strip. He was the little boy with disconcerting black spots for eyes.


The Prynne clue had me really baffled... maybe others need their minds jogged also, so I'm adding this piece from the NPR website:

"Hester Prynne, protagonist of Nathaniel Hawthorne's masterwork The Scarlet Letter, is among the first and most important female protagonists in American literature. She's the embodiment of deep contradictions: bad and beautiful, holy and sinful, conventional and radical.

At first glance, Hester may seem more victim than heroine. The adultery she committed when her husband was thought lost at sea leads Boston's Puritan authorities to brand her with the bright red "A" of the title. She's forced to stand in shame before the mass of Puritan citizens, enduring their stares, their whispers and their contempt. In the self-righteous eyes of the townspeople, she is the ultimate example of sin."

Now I was thinking about the Scarlet Letter in Sherlock Holmes.

chefbea said...

@jnh the words that are said with the nike logo are
"just do it"

imsdave said...

I liked this a lot more than the NYT today.

@PG - SO should never be used as a synonym for SOL - ever (as you well know).

New Years resolution - be thankful for all I have.

That said, I rarely express my gratitude to our three hosts. Thank you all - you always give me a smile.

Charlie don't tweet said...

Golf has insane brand loyalty and snobbery, which is why I think Nike was always on the outside looking in, even with Tiger's endorsement. In his early years, some pros speculated how much better he might have been without his "inferior equipment".

That's why the Buick endorsement was a perfect match to Nike, because the guy with a private membership, a Mercedes or BMW and a set of Pings in the trunk wasn't going to listen anyway, but the guy driving a Ford to the public course with an old set of McGregor's on board - his business was up for grabs.

First I've heard of Graf Spee that I can recall. Caused me to question whether I got the theme right or not.

backbiter said...

I guess you guys liked this puzzle more than I did. There's nothing really wrong with the puzzle, but there's not much right about it either. 117 D. Um, No. Nike had nothing to do with this and isn't apt for it either. Worst answer: 36D He's one doofus. That's pure agony. Loved 15D Daze of wine and roses. Great Clue and Answer! But on the whole the puzzle was, well just there.

@Pg I could not stand "Will And Grace". Mrs backbiter used to watch that faithfully and it drove me nuts. I would throw darts in the gameroom and say, "Just let me know when that dreck is over". I'm making myself laugh remembering that.

lit.doc said...

@chefbea - actually, you're the first because PG hadn't posted by the time I finished around 3:30ish. Checked back in around 8 but no post. I'll bite - how DO you (and whomever else "we" is, er, are, er, whatever) get the puzz a week ahead of time? This staying up till all hours obsessing over the next day's crosswords is exhausting. And did I mention psychologically suspect?

@Puzzle Girl, thanks for the video clips (and the write-up, of course)! Have both songs on my iPod, but have never seen Brian Setzer so young! Me too re SANA'A, IAN, and DONDI, but got lucky on HECHT, as the gymnastics team I was on won state in '68.

Loved the theme answers, though seeing that creepy shot of Phil Spectre again didn't help me to digest breakfast. But the shot of SEMPER FIDO was priceless. Again, thanks, @PG.

Hadn't run into NOHO before, but am now duly warned. Favorite clues were 61A "Pens and needles" (despite the ordinarily unused plural), 28A "South side", 37D "Medical stat?", and 120D "Boxer's warning" (tried to visualize what a ref would say about e.g. biting off part of the opponent's ear).

And given my condition by the time I got to it (including a slooow beating by the NYT puzz), 15D "Daze of wine and rosés" = STUPOR was awarded Best of Show.

Van55 said...

Nike had the ad slogan "Just do it!" at one time. So NIKE is apt today.

I liked the theme as well.

And I was pleased that ESE was already in there from the crosses when I got to the LA to Tuscan dir. clue. Saved me a groan for a change.

Am ashamed that I had CANAA where SANAA should have been.

Good, solid puzzle from someone who isn't a real person. LOL Good nom de plume!

nitpiker said...

An arete is not a glacial ridge. An arete was carved by glaciers and is composed of rock. A glacial ridge would be composed of ice.

xyz said...

A PATIENT WAITER is one who waits, but not your table. I thought the clue cute.

Nifty Puzzle, great theme mostly good clues, no real ewwws.

Didn't quite finish it, but i'm OK with that for me.

Almost ou of bat t er


xyz said...


@JNH almost giving up, chiding himself with JUST DO IT, not getting the theme? and getting it?

Were you funnin' us?

Also, John you should cheese your GRITS, them be good that way.

Rex Parker said...

Quit solving mid-way, right when I hit the NE. ORD / DEP / OTERO. Just stopped caring. Instantly. Shut down. Game over.


Tuttle said...

One nit. 'Styli' is incorrect. There is no Latin word 'stylus' to be pluralized as such. The English word 'stylus' is derived from the Latin 'stilus'. Multiple pointy sticks in English are 'styluses' and in Latin are 'stili'.

Speaking of Latin, while The Aeneid was indeed written in Latin the word 'Aeneid' is actually the Greek genitive of 'Aeneas' and not the Latin which would be 'Aeneae'.

OK, that was two nits. Both minor and both easily made up for by the sheer awesomeness of GRAFFSPEEDO.

Anonymous said...

Shame on you, mr. parker.
you should be setting an example for us and not being a quitter or a sorehead because you don't like something in a puzzle.
i would hate to play a game with you with that piss-poor attitude

Van55 said...

Rex is the same guy who busted my chops the other day for repeatedly pointing out crap fill in a puzzle that he claimed was devoid of same.

Looks a bit like hypocrisy to me.

CrazyCat said...

I'm not sure that pic of Phil Spector with his GOOFED UP DO passes the breakfast test.

How many AKAS does Rich Norris have?

I enjoyed the theme answers thoroughly except for GRAFSPEEDO. Had no idea what GRAF SPEE was. I now know.


Lots of fun clues - Alley Wanderer STRAYCAT, Like a Good Waiter - PATIENT (You have to be very PATIENT if you are a PATIENT wating to see the doctor these days), South Side GRITS, Rye Lead In HAM ON, Santa BARBARA (#1 favorite place to go on vacation), Newborn's Achievement BURP, Daze of Wine and Rose's STUPOR, Vichyssoise Veggie LEEK (everything tastes better with LEEKS) and Prynne's Stigma RED A.

Tinbeni said...

BAR TAB, BEER DONUTS (they don't make Scotch Donuts, Damn) & STUPOR, then LEEK at the bottom. A drinker theme?

SANAA (also spelled SANA in CW's) & ADEN, well that covers all of Yemen.

Big LOL at GRAF SPEEDO, the Graf Spee was a German pocket battleship in WWII, movie was on last week.

Classic car REO, named for Ransom E. Olds. Oldsmar, Fl, his namesake winter home, is next door to my Dunedin.

Did the puzzle during 1st Palyoff game, drinking (something?), eating CHEETOS. The puzzle was more of a contest.

Exceptional write-up and clips. Liked the photo of Phil on a good hair day!

shrub5 said...

Finished all except for two intersections: OTERO/SOO and DSO/SANAA. I didn't know any of the four answers so left two squares blank. Another error was thinking that SKYY vodka was spelled SKYE so that made transit end ORE instead of ORY, which I should have caught. Now that I think about it, SKYE is a type of terrier, not a vodka brand.

Favorites were Newborn's achievement: BURP and dog's motto: SEMPER FIDO. LOL on both. Thanks PG for a nice write-up.

lit.doc said...

@Anon 1:26, so, how do you feel re the pissant attitude evidenced by drive-by posting?

@Van55, if you've got something to say to our host, try second person.

split infinitive said...

Nicely blogged, PG. Loved the spectre of Spector---if there were a bad hair version of the ACPT, he might win and appear in the movie HAIRPLAY!

Some very clever clues, but some of the theme answers were a bit of a stretch. SEMPER FIDO was a gem. I was glad that 'do rag' didn't come into play.

Archeologists are saying these days that the Queen of SHEBA was probably from land in modern YEMEN, so we may have a mini theme going here! (see Wikipedia for deets).

I too had 'Aesop' for ACURA [at least I'm in good company] and almost had 'poop' for the baby's achievement instead of more breakfast-friendly BURP! SKYY was a gimme, but DONDI and ONE HOP was a total gift from the crosses.

End of week thanks to PG, Amy, and Rex for continuing to educate, inform and amuse us. I read you every day, even when I don't have much of interest to say here in the 'wide world of comments.'

I think the 3 post guideline won't be too hard to live with, and will force me to think before I hit POST, or as it's called on some blogs, SUBMIT! I love the great variety of solvers we have here every day.

split infinitif said...

<--- please excuse my grammatical booboo above. 'Was a gift' should've been 'were gifts.' ¡Time to reread "Eats, Shoots and Leaves"!

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CrazyCat said...

@JNH - Agree. I'll look for you on the weekends.

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