SUNDAY, January 17, 2010 — Don Gagliardo

Theme: "Hybrids" — Theme answers are two-word phrases created by combining the names of two car models and clued wackily.

[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: Chutzpah? (Chevy/Saturn) (CAVALIER OUTLOOK).
  • 29A: Duffer's trip through Scotland? (Volkswagen/Honda) (GOLF ODYSSEY).
  • 36A: Memorable forest caretaker? (Ford/Acura) (RANGER LEGEND).
  • 50A: Speeding, e.g.? (Chevy/Ford) (CITATION FOCUS).
  • 69A: The feel of Manhattan? (Honda/Saturn) (CIVIC AURA).
  • 87A: Columbus gone wild? (Nissan/Ford) (ROGUE EXPLORER).
  • 100A: Beethoven's 32 for piano, say? (Hyundai/Subaru) (SONATA LEGACY).
  • 108A: Feature of the queen's English? (Buick/Hyundai) (REGAL ACCENT).
  • 117A: Nice plot? (Buick/Oldsmobile) (RIVIERA INTRIGUE).
Great theme! I really enjoyed this one. For most of the theme answers, I could get one of the car names quickly but kind of had a work for the other one. I imagine that some of you would have been happier without the car makes in the clue, but I also think there are an awful lot of people out there who don't really pay much attention to car names, so even with the hints it was difficult enough to be fun. Obviously, this is all pure speculation on my part. What was your experience?

As I always say on Sunday, of course there have to be a few clunkers in a puzzle this big. In this case, I put AB TONER (62A: Bit of exercise room equipment) and MINTAGE (72D: Coin-making) in that category. I also didn't like CAPON (97A: Tender cockerel) but I'm sure it's just because I have no idea what it is or what the clue even means.

I ran into all kinds of trouble when I plopped in ENID and STAT at 1D and 2D where WACO and ASAP were supposed to go (1D: Chisholm Trail city / 2D: "I need it fast!"). For some reason I didn't fight with it too long though. I just decided to abandon it and come back to it later, which worked out great for me.

  • 10A: Concentration amt. (PPM). I'm sure this stands for [something] PER [something], but that's about as close as i can get.
  • 21A: Altar constellation (ARA). Remember back to the second day of this blog? You don't? Well, go check it out. We talked about ARA in that day's CW101 lesson.
  • 28A: Year's record (ANNAL). I don't like this word. It looks too much like another word.
  • 33A: Capa waver (TORERO). We just talked about this word capa the other day, didn't we? I said something stupid about it and then someone much smarter than me explained the real thing in the comments. I love when that happens. You guys rock.
  • 59A: Ancient Egyptian deity (AMEN-RA). If this is something you haven't seen in a puzzle before, take another look at it. Stare at it for a little while. You'll need to know it again. I guarantee it.
  • 76A: First step toward nirvana (SATORI). Never heard of this before. Seems like I should have a Nirvana clip here, but the word reminds me of this instead ....

  • 83A: Local movie venue, in Variety slang (NABE). Way back, like, a year and a half ago, Rex used to do a weekly wrap-up over at his blog. It was a pretty fun little bonus post but, sadly, it didn't last long. Anyway. The very first one he ever did prominently featured NABE.
  • 120A: Hall of Fame Vikings lineman Carl (ELLER). I entered Ellis at first. Close but ....
  • 123A: Peasant's meal (GRUEL). At one of my jobs many years ago, I used to eat instant oatmeal at my desk every morning and my boss would always accuse me of eating GRUEL.
  • 124A: Silt deposit (LOESS). Learned it from crosswords.
  • 30D: "Inka Dinka Doo" composer (DURANTE). Oh alright.

  • 37D: Shrub yielding a blue dye (ANIL). Another early CW101 lesson.
  • 96D: Germ-free (STERILE). See also 100D: __-Flush (SANI).
  • 102D: Fontanne's theater partner (LUNT). Learned it from crosswords.
Crosswordese 101: EDA LeShan was an author of books about child-rearing including "The Conspiracy Against Childhood," "When Your Child Drives You Crazy," and "Grandparenting in a Changing World." Of course my children are perfect angels so I have never had occasion to consult such books.

Everything Else — 1A: Bet (WAGER); 6A: Ancient sorcerer (MAGE); 13A: 130-minute H.S. tests (PSATS); 18A: Notwithstanding (ASIDE); 19A: Model (IDEAL); 22A: Find a new home for, as a plant (REPOT); 26A: Singer Bryant (ANITA); 27A: Cockney aspiration? ('OPE); 31A: Pilot lead-in (AUTO-); 35A: Donny and Marie, by birth (UTAHNS); 39A: Deck used for readings (TAROT); 41A: Continue until (END AT); 42A: Vast spice trade region of yore (ASIA); 43A: Miniseries, often (SAGA); 44A: Hebrides isle (IONA); 48A: Formally exit (SIGN OUT); 54A: Proceed tediously (PLOD); 55A: Kickoff aid (TEE); 57A: 2000s sitcom single mom (REBA); 58A: Hues (TINCTS); 65A: Consumed (ATE); 66A: Microwave brand (AMANA); 71A: Awards since 1949 (EMMYS); 73A: Confine, with "in" (HEM); 74A: Choose paper over plastic? (PAY CASH); 78A: Off the beaten path (AFIELD); 80A: Residents: Suff. (-ITES); 82A: Singing syllables (LAS); 91A: "No prob!" ("SUITS ME!"); 93A: Let slide (DROP); 94A: Minus (LESS); 95A: Enjoy Doritos, say (NOSH); 98A: Like Itt (HAIRY); 103A: Styx ferryman (CHARON); 106A: Movie set structure (FACADE); 107A: Mensch lead-in (UBER-); 111A: Dill pickler (BRINE); 113A: Like any theme ans. in this puzzle (ACR.); 116A: Typewriter type size (ELITE); 121A: With 125-Across, words before customer (ONE); 122A: Radio pioneer (TESLA); 125A: See 121-Across (PER); 126A: Metrical units (FEET); 127A: Fresh (SASSY); 3D: Basketball maneuver (GIVE AND GO); 4D: "Grandparenting in a Changing World" author LeShan (EDA); 5D: Empathize with (RELATE TO); 6D: Look (MIEN); 7D: Fees charged to sponsors (AD RATES); 8D: Like some historical time scales (GEOLOGIC); 9D: Mer contents (EAU); 10D: Italian soccer great Rossi (PAOLO); 11D: TA's boss (PROF.); 12D: Speedy shark (MAKO); 13D: Seek divine intervention from (PRAY TO); 14D: Hit (SENSATION); 15D: Imitative (APISH); 16D: Count from one __ (TO TEN); 17D: Visits (STAYS); 20D: Three-star rank: Abbr. (LT. GEN.); 24D: "Are you __ out?" (IN OR); 25D: Grace starter (LORD); 32D: Amin subject (UGANDAN); 34D: Show again (REAIR); 36D: Survey taker: Abbr. (RESP.); 38D: Dormant state (LATENCY); 39D: __ chi (TAI); 40D: "A long time __ in a galaxy far, far away ..." (AGO); 43D: Single or separated, e.g. (STATUS); 45D: William of __, for whom a logical "razor" was named (OCCAM); 46D: Screwy (NUTTY); 47D: Carrying team (ASSES); 49D: Salt Lake City college athlete (UTE); 51D: Sub, perhaps (TEACHER); 52D: Palindromic pop group (ABBA); 53D: Pottery worker (FIRER); 56D: Red explorer? (ERIC); 60D: Syrup source (MAPLE); 61D: Is of use (AVAILS); 63D: __-B: dental care brand (ORAL); 64D: Pop singer Bedingfield (NATASHA); 66D: "__ Day's Night" (A HARD); 67D: "What do you take __?!" (ME FOR); 68D: Barcelona buddy (AMIGO); 70D: Comparison words (IS TO); 75D: 19th century soprano __ Patti (ADELINA); 77D: Columbus sch. (OSU); 79D: River to the Tigris (EUPHRATES); 81D: Medicinal plant (SENNA); 84D: Shoots for dinner (ASPARAGUS); 85D: Ivied halls swaggerer, briefly (BMOC); 86D: "__ ... moe" (EENY); 88D: Gen-__ (XER); 89D: Study of Freud, etc., in a coll. catalog (PSY.); 90D: Asphalt layer, perhaps (ROAD BASE); 92D: Mostly submerged hazards (ICEBERGS); 99D: Many CBS Radio listeners (AOLERS); 101D: Original Crayola pack, e.g. (OCTET); 103D: Fishing trap (CREEL); 104D: Greeting (HELLO); 105D: Physically flexible (AGILE); 106D: Abnormal temperature (FEVER); 109D: Field yield (CROP); 110D: Theater (CINE); 112D: __ the finish (IN AT); 114D: Sticks with leather tips (CUES); 115D: Count (on) (RELY); 118D: Two-minute warning giver (REF); 119D: George's songwriting partner (IRA).


imsdave said...

Great write-up PG! I truly enjoyed this theme. PPM = parts per million, btw. NABE is absolutely ingrained in my head now, but I've never heard it used in real conversation.

I agree with your groaners, but almost every large puzzle needs one or two to succeed with the theme. No excuse for the clue to CAPON though - it just wasn't a necessity.

Fun stuff! Thanks to Dan, Rich, and PG.

sixpinetrees said...

Being a woman I found this one testy...car names are not a forte!
But, capon was great if one cooks!
A tad bit sexist if you will.....

Tinbeni said...

@Puzzlegirl - Perfect write-up & Clips.
Thank you!

Being a car guy, I like this puzzle. I think I had the first one in each clue. But without the Makes listed, I would be in the weeds.

113-a 'Like any theme ans.' I had CAR, but 114d got me CUES so I guess ACR is across?


Time to NOSH some morning GRUEL.

Unknown said...

PG - Had the same experience of getting the first car fairly easily and then struggling a bit with the second. Waco/Wager came immediately so I was off to the races,and got bogged down in the New Mexico area. For some reason I quickly put in "agate" for typewriter-type size and thought "creel" was where you put fish after you caught them, not necessarily a trap.

Loved "cockney aspirations"and "shoots for dinner"!

Entropy said...

Hmmm, Capon w/Asparagus for dinner, sounds good.

Count TO TEN, I'll WAGER the guys probably enjoy this one more than the ladies. Cars are in our dna.

OCCAM razor, great clue.
GIVE AND GO, a nice move.

Never heard of either NATASHA or ADELINA.
Italian soccer great PAOLO Rossi, who cares.

A puzzle with WACO NUTTY ASSES is pretty SASSY.

Van55 said...

Car model names aren't a forte of mine, but I found the theme clever and fresh. Very little trash fill in the puzzle. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

lit.doc said...

I am such a sucker for themed puzzles. Just wish it hadn’t been quite so obvious, though I’m not at all sure why that bothered me. Biggest challenge here, for me, was having the patience (wee hours of the morning, with Jameson’s in hand) to work the acrosses, then the downs, and then rinse and repeat. Enough easy fill to piece it together methodically, even with “that’s a word?” moments like LOESS and NABE (yeah, I googled ‘em postmortem and they actually are, dammit). Just couldn’t seem to get anything going working section by section.

@Puzzle Girl, unless your karma is in like totally perfect balance I have to imagine that, because of your “eeeeew!” response to 28A, there’s a puzzle in your future with a clue like “Record keeper’s personality type?” for ANNAL RETENTIVE. ;)

Best clue was “Choose paper over plastic?” Cute. Very cute. Perhaps…too cute. Candidates for today’s Lamitude Award are OCTET (hell, OCTAD would have been better, albeit dreadful, given the clue) and ACR for Across? Puhleeeeeze!

Must confess that at 51D I whiled away a good deal of time trying to come up with a viable seven-letter synonym for “person too incompetent to get a job as a teacher”. Speaking from experience here.

Best laugh was trying to come up with something for “Shoots for dinner” having to do with pandas walking into bars.

xyz said...

@PG Thanks for the write-up

NATASHA Bedingfield from watching Ferguson's show, PAOLO by P-O-O from crosses and Ital. names, different gimmes for different folks.

Thought 'OPE, NABE, ACR all none too cool, oh well.

Not too crazy about some themes, I loved this one.

CAPON clue was less than no help, a blank for me might have been better ... overall really fun today.


What A fun puzzle... I'm really into cars, so the theme was pretty easy with those cute clues. Sexist theme??? I do believe that women buy as many cars as men do, so IMO that's a pretty lame excuse. That's like saying food clues are sexist... tosh!!
There were some real toughies in this puzzle: PAOLO, UTAHNS, ELLER, MAGE, TINCTS, SATORI, CHARON, UBER Mensch, ABTONER, and NABE gave me trouble, but I actually got 100% right thanks to knowing the crosses. This puzzle took me well over an hour to solve (which I like). Didn't like EENY...Moe and ACR "Like theme ans." Bad bad bad!
But I'd still give Don Gagliardo kudos for such a fine construct and fun theme. I always look forward to Puzzlegirl's comments, nice clips, and CW101.

I thought a better theme clue would have been 31A (AUTO) rather than 113A (ACR).

Never knew that people from Utah are called UTAHNS.

It's absolutely amazing that (thanks to YouTube), we can still hear ADELINA PATTI

I've been on the Chisholm Trail in Yukon Oklahoma, but I forgot that it went through WACO Texas.

Read Rex's comments on NABE, but I still don't understand why "Local movie venue" is slangly called that. Is that a cutesy word for "neighborhood theatre"?

Y'all, enjoy your day of rest!!!

Entropy said...

Now I know why you're "lit" but I must confess, sometimes these puzzles would be more enjoyable with something stronger than coffee.
LOL at your "Pandas walking into Bars" comment.

I didn't say I had a problem getting PAOLO.
I did indicated that knowing an Italian soccer star name is something I don't care about.

As to NATASHA, I watch Letterman, after The Daily Show, until Leno comes back at 11:35 pm.

Women actually buy MORE cars then men.
I just don't think they care about the different models, or read various auto mags., as men do.
If that is sexist, so be it.
Just an observation over my lifetime.

jeff in chicago said...

@sixpinetrees: Some women know cars. Did you ever see "My Cousin Vinny"? HA!

I - a man - know nothing about cars. I don't even own one. Mostly for that reason, I found this tedious and unsatisfying. Also...INAT, ISTO, TOTEN, AOLERS, APISH, ROADBASE, ABTONER - ugh. A Natasha I've never heard of. Some guy named Eller. Adelina who? Too many fill-in-the-blanks. Sorry...just not my cup of tea. And now I think I'll go make myself a cup of tea!

mac said...

I just love this constructor's name!

I needed crosses and clues to get most of the names of the cars. There is only one car for me, and only one color: black. Otherwise I don't pay much attention.

Capon with asparagus sounds like an Easter lunch. Little new potatoes....

The name Paolo Rossi came to me probably because I grew up in soccer-crazy Holland. A current player would not be familiar at all.

Fun write-up and music!

Joe said...

I've been bummed the last two weeks' puzzles...so was pleased when I pulled this one out and had 3/4 of it done in 45 minutes.

I liked the theme... accessable and doesn't require me to know lots of films and entertainers. Very clever clues.

With many, NABE was a fully new one...I tried to fit in NINE for a while, thinking that was slang for that many screens at the local Bijou.

PPM was fun...but I'm an engineer, so went for that part per million.

MEIN is a crossword word... have yet to ever see or hear it used .

ASPARAGUS was the best clue. I hate the stuff...my wife was helping me finish and she nailed it.

How do we help conversation by labeling things sexist??

CrazyCat said...

WACO, MAKO! This puzzle was a slow PLOD for me and made me UBER cranky. The theme was cute and ambitious with 9 theme answers. I'm not very into cars except for my own, so the answers didn't come readily. Is there really a car called an OUTLOOK? Did not like PPM, ARA, XER, AOLER, PSY, LTGEN and RESP. I know that they are the necessary evils of lots of theme answers, but AOLER - if you say so. New to me were TINCTS, MAGE, NABE, MEIN, AMENRA and I forgot ANIL. ANIL, ANNAL, ANITA. Somehow I knew NATASHA, even though I have no idea who she is. Maybe I saw her on the Today show or something. Finally a sports clue I could get. In the early 70's there were 3 Carl/Karls on the Vikings, ELLER, Kassulke and my big brother Carl.

Shoots for dinner was my favorite clue - very cute and I like ASPARAGUS.
Thanks P.G. Loved the Jimmy DURANTE clip.

Joon said...

just a warning about AMEN-RA: AMEN is sometimes spelled AMON or AMUN, and RA is sometimes spelled RE (it's pronounced "ray"—or at least that's our best guess).

shrub5 said...

Got about 2/3 of the puzzle done and came to a screeching halt. I had to resort to a few googles in order to break up the log jam. I was mainly done in by several first names I didn't know.

Also had no idea for MAGE, ARA (oops, this is in CW 101), SATORI, SENNA or CHARON. I know what a CAPON is but didn't know "cockerel" in the clue.

I thought the theme was clever but I think I have seen it before. Many of the car names were tough to come up with (OUTLOOK?, AURA?, INTRIGUE?). Guess I'm not au courant with the car name scene.

Jan said...

Liked the puzzle, but for some reason, the 81D and 84D clues didn't show up when I printed it from the LA Times website. Wonder why?

Glad to see Occam's Razor! I talk about this concept in one of my articles: http://www.naturalchild.org/jan_hunt/subjective.html .

Anonymous said...

millimeter, centimeter, meter
Since when is feet a metrical unit?