SUNDAY, January 3, 2010 — Dan Naddor (syndicated)

Theme: "51 Pickup" — Theme answers are familiar phrases with the letter string LI (51 in Roman numerals) inserted into them 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:
  • 22A: Space cadet's selection? (OBLIVIOUS CHOICE).
  • 30A: "Let's go, Mr. North" ("COME ON, OLIVER").
  • 52A: Fish-eating bird's dessert? (PELICAN PIE).
  • 61A: Powell's portrait painter? (COLIN ARTIST).
  • 76A: Badly neglected vehicle? (SQUALID CAR).
  • 95A: Scores kept by Cinderella's godmother? (FAIRY TALLIES).
  • 109A: Ultimate caterer? (THE LAST SUPPLIER).
  • 3D: Seasoning for kielbasa? (POLISH SPICE).
  • 14D: Sarah's campaign strategist? (PALIN HANDLER).
  • 57D: Lassie's luggage carrier? (COLLIE PORTER).
  • 66D: Analgesic for a post-snorkeling headache? (CORAL RELIEF).
It's kind of sad doing a Dan Naddor puzzle now, isn't it? When I heard about Dan's untimely death, I went back and looked at some of the email exchanges we've had. They were all pretty much hilarious. I think my favorite is the one where he called me an "old goat." I miss Dan.

Stuff to talk about:
  • 1A: Flavorful (SAPID). This is one of those words that sounds to me like it should mean the opposite of what it means. I know there are one or two others that pop up occasionally, but I can't think of what they are right now.
  • 20A: Is guaranteed to work (CAN'T FAIL). Entered can't miss at first.
  • 21A: Ike's mate (MAMIE). Please tell me I wasn't the only one trying to make Nixon work here.
  • 35A: "So that's it!" ("OHO!"). I'm not entirely clear on the difference between oho and aha.
  • 60A: Promise, for one (OLEO). Promise is a brand of margarine.
  • 71A: Like tortoiseshell (HORNY). Not a word you see in the puzzle very often.
  • 73A: Large envelope (MAILER).
  • 89A: Isinglass (MICA). That C was the last letter I entered into the grid. The cross — 76D: Keanan of "Step by Step" (STACI) — didn't help me at all.
  • 94A: Casa pet, perhaps (GATO). Spanish for cat.
  • 114A: Abscissa's counterpart (ORDINATE). I have no idea what this means.
  • 115A: Jungle queen (SHEENA).
  • 2D: Wrestler Lou (ALBANO). I know, I know. Those of you who know me saw "wrestler" in the puzzle and thought "Oho! PG will certainly have something to say about this!" But, here's the thing. I'm only interested in real wrestling, not the fake stuff where they hit each other over the head with chairs. I mean, why the hell are there chairs in the ring anyway? Professional wrestling : sports :: soap operas : television.
  • 21D: Dugout ldr. (MGR.). That's an ugly abbreviation there, especially because a capital "i" and a small "L" look the same in type.
  • 46D: Spa treatment (PEEL). Love me a spa day. Can't say I've ever had a peel though.
  • 68D: Cities, informally (URBS). Is this a words that's actually used? I'm not trying to be a smart aleck. It sounds fake to me, but I can imagine it's common in some circles. Urban planning maybe? Commuter transportation?
  • 91D: Nebraska river (PLATTE). PuzzleFamily and I had a lovely vacation in a cabin at the Platte River State Park one summer. No wait, we spent two days strolling around the Omaha Zoo in record-high temperatures (100+) and there was no bathroom in our cabin. Come to think of it, it wasn't really lovely at all.
  • 98D: Ames sch. (ISU). This is, of course, Iowa State University. The school that, coincidentally, placed second in last week's wrestling tournament. What? You'd like to know who finished first? I'm so glad you asked! The Iowa Hawkeyes crushed! I mean crushed! Three champs, two second-place finishers, one third, and three sixths. We also had a couple wrestlers competing "unattached" who ended up second and fifth in their weights. It was awesome.
Crosswordese 101: AER Lingus (79D: __ Lingus) is the national airline of Ireland. And now you know.

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Everything Else — 6A: Tennyson poem that begins "He clasps the crag with crooked hands" (THE EAGLE); 14A: Scorecard numbers (PARS); 18A: Leachman who is the oldest "Dancing With the Stars" contestant to date (CLORIS); 24A: Fly on the wind (GLIDE); 25A: Buddy (PAISANO); 26A: Madre's boy (NIÑO); 27A: Coleridge storyteller (MARINER); 29A: USNA grad (ENS.); 34A: Bridge site (NOSE); 37A: Sporty Pontiac (GTO); 38A: Start of Caesar's boast (VENI); 39A: Crack reaction (HAHA); 40A: Novelist Susan (SONTAG); 44A: Inclined (LEANT); 46A: Burrowing rodents of Central and South America (PACAS); 47A: Vatican Palace painter (RAPHAEL); 49A: Had in mind (MEANT); 50A: "Meet the Fockers" actor (DENIRO); 51A: Judo sash (OBI); 55A: Blush (REDDEN); 56A: Muhammad's birthplace (MECCA); 58A: Swoon (FAINT); 59A: Gloom (PALL); 65A: Creamy shade (ECRU); 69A: Angle iron (L-BAR); 72A: Like Niagara Falls (AROAR); 80A: Needle (RIB); 81A: Sign up (ENLIST); 82A: Lion-colored (TAWNY); 83A: Water polo teams, e.g. (HEPTADS); 85A: Chicago suburb (NILES); 86A: Merited (RATED); 87A: Back fin (DORSAL); 88A: "Do I need to draw you __?" (A MAP); 90A: Org. concerned with PCBs (EPA); 92A: Piece of work (ERG); 101A: Pitching stat (ERA); 103A: Going on and on (ETERNAL); 105A: "Charity thou __ lie": Stephen Crane (ART A); 106A: Ralph Nader in the 2000 election, according to Gore supporters (SPOILER); 108A: Bit of gaucho gear (RIATA); 113A: Atlas feature (INSET); 116A: Hungarian castle city (EGER); 117A: Grading period (SEMESTER); 118A: Hotel amenities (SAFES); 1D: Range (SCOPE); 4D: The cornea covers it (IRIS); 5D: Former NBA center Vlade (DIVAC); 6D: Horned Frogs' sch. (TCU); 7D: Lacks (HAS NOT); 8D: Valley Girl's home, perhaps (ENCINO); 9D: Culture: Pref. (ETHNO-); 10D: "__ Such As I": Elvis hit (A FOOL); 11D: Merry, in Metz (GAI); 12D: Contractor's ID (LIC.); 13D: Natural environment (ELEMENT); 15D: Body builder? (AMINO ACID); 16D: Carpooling (RIDE SHARE); 17D: Allow oneself to be persuaded (SEE REASON); 19D: Chinese: Pref. (SINO-); 23D: Pah lead-in (OOM); 28D: Bush spokesman Fleischer (ARI); 31D: Easter roller (EGG); 32D: Russian prince known as "Moneybag" (IVAN I); 33D: Sale, to Seurat (VENTE); 36D: "I'm amazed!" ("OOH!"); 41D: Western wine region (NAPA); 42D: Simple top (TEE); 43D: Totally behind (ALL FOR); 44D: Helped out (LENT A HAND); 45D: "The Raven" monogram (EAP); 47D: Dallas quarterback Tony (ROMO); 48D: Brother of Cain (ABEL); 49D: Jazz flutist Herbie (MANN); 50D: "Shoot!" ("DRAT!"); 53D: Adverb ending (-IAL); 54D: MXX ÷ X (CII); 59D: Movie with a memorable shower scene (PSYCHO); 61D: Golf rental (CART); 62D: __-poly (ROLY); 63D: Penta- minus two (TRI-); 64D: Corn Belt st. (IND.); 67D: Bust (RAID); 70D: 21-Across predecessor (BESS); 72D: Dadaist collection (ARPS); 73D: Where the wild things are (MENAGERIE); 74D: Bringing to life (ANIMATING); 75D: Uptight (ILL AT EASE); 77D: Persian Gulf nation (QATAR); 78D: German director Boll known for film adaptations of video games (UWE); 84D: __ kwon do (TAE); 86D: Theater districts (RIALTOS); 87D: Indian lentil dish (DAL); 89D: Juilliard deg. (MFA); 90D: Really bugs (EATS AT); 93D: "The Quiet American" author (GREENE); 96D: Either Bush, once (YALIE); 97D: __ fat (TRANS); 99D: "House" actor Omar (EPPS); 100D: Next year's juniors (SOPHS); 102D: Tapestry behind which Polonius hid (ARRAS); 104D: Rebellious Turner (NAT); 107D: Intestinal parts (ILEA); 110D: Realm until 1806: Abbr. (HRE); 111D: Teacher's deg. (ED.M.); 112D: Inspiring talk: Abbr. (SER.).


Anonymous said...

Loved it! It seemed tougher than his other recent puzzles, but it made me laugh a few times. So sad that he's gone. RIP Very clever man.

I look forward to doing his puzzles that are still being processed.

Van55 said...

I hate to speak ill of the dearly departed, so I won't mention the ridiculous Roman numeral arithmetic problem. ;-)

Aside from that this was a pretty good puzzle and the theme answers were clever for the most part. Enjoyed it.

jazz said...

Farewell, Dan, and thanks for all the puzzles!

I like today's...not too hard, not too soft, just right.

Be well, all, and happy 2010.

docmoreau said...

A devilishly clever puzzle from a great constructor. I looked up to heaven every so often for a hint.

Crockett1947 said...

@pg The abscissa is math speak for x in the Cartesian coordinate system (graphing on an x and y axis). The ORDINATE is the y component. {x,y}.

@van55 Consider that CII is the theme LI doubled, and the "ridiculous Roman numeral arithmetic problem" suddenly sparkles like a diamond.

Have a great first Sunday of MMX!

lit.doc said...

This puzz amply demonstrates the reasons for Mr. Naddor's reputation. Here, e.g., the apotheosis of the RRN. Not the usual hit-and-run "Year in the reign of The Mighty Arugula" fill, or, worse, one of those math monstrosities like "If Omega is a function of Psi, what is the abscissa for ordinate = VII in the equation: Omega = IIIPsi^^II + IXPsi + XIV?"

Instead, DN integrated it into the theme answers. Nine of them, each as clever as the last. Wow. Am I too easily impressed? And the fill was uniformly smoothe and largely neophyte-friendly. A salad day in the cabbage patch for me.

Still don't like SIPID. What is this, the third time this week? Don't know if it's its resonance with SAPIENT or INSIPID, or if I really just prefer Words That Real People Might Actually Use In Conversation. Call me a dreamer.

Other mots d'escalier. Best Clue of the Day goes to 22A's "Space cadet's selection?" Felt so familiar, somehow. And gotta apologize for reflexively filling 67D with RACK. I blame 71A's HORNY tortoise.

By the by, does anyone know what time the LAT normally posts?

backbiter said...

I took my sweet time solving this puzzle this morning. I don't know how many more of Dan's puzzles are in the works, and this might have been the last one to solve. I was drinking coffee and eating a piece of pecan pie. When I came across Pelican Pie, I snorted coffee outta my nose. I hope you're having a good laugh up there Dan. I'll miss you. My prayers go out to your family.


lit.doc said...

@Crockett1947 re @Van55, thanks for mentioning that. Was thinking of it when I was grimacing re those "Year in the reign of___" clues, but forgot to contrast this them-integrated gem with them.

lit.doc said...

er..."theme-integrated". Can't type, can't proof.

lit.doc said...

Geez, can't count neither. Make that ten theme answers. All circled on my dead tree, too. Geez.

shrub5 said...

Any puzzle with PELICAN PIE in it is a winner in my eyes.

SAPID, again??!! Think I've seen this three times recently.

@PG: No, I haven't seen anyone use URBS. Was trying to think of Ike's VP but went blank (how could I forget Nixon?). When I got the M from MGR, I realized MAMIE was the intended answer.

I hope Dan Naddor is receiving all the good thoughts being sent his way today.

@lit.doc: The LAT puzzle is available on-line at 11pm the night before (at least here in the PST zone.)


I want to say this was a fun puzzle, but it is indeed sad to work through a puzzle by Dan Naddor, in memorium. Puzzlegirl, do you remember the big flap over "John's a Rex sycophant"? How could I ever be that? It was so ridiculous that Dan personally wrote me a letter of apology... now that's a genuine guy! I have nothing but respect for him as a master wordsmith, but also as a special friend. He has shared many of his feelings with me... I will always remember him!

It's interesting that Norris & Lewis chose this puzzle... it's a brilliant tribute to the Naddor legacy. I don't know when last I've spent nearly 3 hours to solve a themed puzzle. IMO, there are five components that make this puzzle outstanding in the CW world.
1) A perfect theme (ie. complex words that reduce to more complex words). Example: OBLIVIOUS to OBVIOUS. Also four verticals as well as seven horizontal theme words. This is a theme-packed grid.
2) Lots of puns and humorous clues.
3) Minimal crosswordese.
4) Meaty fill words, like: ORDINATE, RAPHAEL, PACAS, MENAGERIE, ENCINO, and tons more.
5) A nice balance of pop-culture clues with the classics.

Now many of you are getting tired of word-play puzzles (I am not), but you have to admit that this is a great crossword masterpiece.

Now on to the other two Trib puzzles and my cold coffee.


Puzzlegirl, I'm sure you put that Emma PEEL photo up just for me! MEOW! SHE HAS A CATSUIT ON!


Oh, I wish I had aPEEL.

Carol said...

@JNH - once again you said it all! This was a great puzzle. Dan Nador will be missed.

Tinbeni said...

Classic Dan Naddor, remove the 51 and Sarah Palin became a Pan Handler(13d), that was subtle & cleaver. I enjoyed this theme.

LOL at ALBANO(2d), don't know how it happened but a whole lot of the wrestlers live(d) here in Tampa Bay, Lou was a character, Hulk Hogan a joke.

@Van55 Are the Roman Numerals in CW's to tuff for you? Simply do the conversion and move on. For "not mentioning it" ... you mentioned it! You carp about these EVERY time. Did those three squares, clue & answer, really ruin a good puzzle experience?

I figure that since we had SAPID (3 times this week) the constructors are waiting to re-unleash "Tasty" back on us.

UWE = WTH? is this a natick?
OHO/OOH cross "so that's it. I'm amazed!" ... NOT!!!

VENI, vidi, veggie ... I Came, I Saw, I had a salad ...

Crockett1947 said...

@lit.doc The LAT is available on cruciverb.com in the Archives daily at 7:00 p.m. PST, much earlier than on the LAT site.

@backbiter Thanks for sharing about the coffee snort!

CrazyCat said...

I really loved this puzzle. As JNH said this is Dan Naddor at his best. It does make me sad - but I laughed at nearly every theme answer and there were so many of them. I also loved PELICAN PIE as well as SQUALID CAR. Liked seeing that little GATO and of course MENAGERIE. CA has banned TRANS fats in restaurant meals. I think we're the first state to do that. Definitely ILL AT EASE with ORDINATE. Is URBS of variant of BURBS? And can someone please explain 83 A HEPTADS Water Polo, Teams, e.g. I have no idea what a HEPTAD is. Thanks for a classic Dan Naddor puzzle and for those who were able to share their memories of him. And, of course, thanks to P.G. for the write up. Oh and I also thought about NIXON. So glad it was MAMIE instead.

Tinbeni said...

Heptad equals seven, there are seven members of a Water Polo team in the pool at a time (before the obvious fouls ate called).

@PG - Thanks for the wrestling update ... I take it you did NOT attend ISU.

Tinbeni said...

oops ... I MEANT the "fouls ARE called."
Ever since I smashed my middle finger last year, I sort of cheat a bit typing, which leads to MIS-typing ...

CrazyCat said...

@Tinbeni - Thanks I just looked it up. Math is not my forte.

backbiter said...

@Tibeni: When you said you lived in the Tampa Bay area I clicked on your username. Dunedin. I love that place. I go there every quarter and enjoy Main Street. It's wonderful and low key. I always go to Diadre to get a chocolate tree every Christmas. Break that sucker open with Champagne and you are in heaven. Fantastic Place!


Enjoyed your wrestling rants. Sounds like you enjoyed your trip to Chicago, but was there anything else good besides wrestling?

I had to laugh when I read your comment about 21D (ldr. prob). Imagine what I go through when I tell people I live in Ill (sans serif)... Roman numeral 3 ??

What other 5 letter words could you use for SAPID, besides TASTY?

Tinbeni said...

Would YUMMY qualify?

Its just I remember your semi-rant about clues showing up (that we haven't seen in a while) and all of a sudden they appear (it seems like) day-after-day.

SAPID was this weeks "new-word." ugh!

As to your other comment re:Word-Play.
Well I like the puns or add a few letters creating another/different word. Dan was one of the best at this.
Without the "word-play" and obscure answers, etc. these would be boring.

For instance, NILES (I assume) is close to you. I have never heard of this bURB. But the crosses do their job and the next thing you know, you've learned something.
Always a MAJOR plus !!!

I also liked that todays puzzle did not have to much 3-letter trite fill. Oh, they will come back but it has been a while since we had EEE (shoe size).

chefbea said...

I still don't understand why the puzzle I get in our paper is one week ahead of what you all are discussing. Hopefully I will remember to save today's puzzle so I can comment on it next week. I really liked it!!!

mac said...

A really professional Sunday puzzle, I had fun sussing out the LI additions.

The odd thing is that the word urbs (urbis) is the Latin word for city, singular.

I think I remember the Platte River from the Little House books I read as a little girl).

@PuzzleGirl: LOL the wrestling. I immediately thought of you. Congratulations! I feel exactly the same about "sapid" and its meaning. What do you think of "sartorial"?

Joe said...

Had a tough time with this puzzle... never did get the "LI" link to the theme until the end.

Wondered for a while if there were a number of Republican barbs tossed in with Palin, Powell and the Bushes mentioned.

Having grown up in Nebraska and being an engineer, I was fine on PLATTE and ORDINATE. But the Dadaist collection is tougher.



FWIW... My beloved city, Chicago, adopted (in 1854) the seal and motto: "URBS in Hortis" (Latin for: City in a Garden). It has lived up to that ever since. Mayor Daley (an avid gardener) has beautified the city with flower beds everywhere. So we here in Chicago do refer to our city and its suburbs as the URB & BURBS.
So forget all that "Windy City" stuff.

chefwen said...

Got the theme early on with COME ON OLIVER and was off and running looking for all the other LI's. In my humble opinion, there was nothing NOT to love about this puzzle.

Every long answer evoked a smile and even a chuckle or two.

Mr. Naddor will be missed.

mac said...

@JNH: I think that should be Urbs et Burbes. ;-)

Tinbeni said...

I rarely think about "sartorial" though it does have a certain panache, sort of rolls off the tongue, with style (from my tailor).

Thanks for the info on "URBS" (urbis), another learning moment. Makes sense suburb is "less than the city, a garden."

Rube said...

My problem was with Powell. All I could think of was Adam Clayton... the problems with growing old. Got it eventually.

Also couldn't remember what eisenglass was. Most embarrasing as I got my BS in geological engineering.

As a late poster, (HST), don't expect any feedback, but Hau'oli Makahiki Hou.

Tinbeni said...

Adam Clayton was sort of a "Con Artist" ... he liked Bimini.

Here in Florida it is 40 degrees, I think your sign off indicates Hawaii and much warmer weather.

Rube said...

It sounds like you too were a New Yorker in the 60s & 70s.

Yes, it is 70F @ 10:30PM here, but the trades are quite strong this evening. Chefwen is also on Kauai, but sha is staying incognito.

Rube said...


I just realized you are the guy with the wee dram of scotch avatar. I'm a Laphroaig fancier and have been since the early 60s when I could get a bottle in NYC for ~$2.50... before single malt became popular.


Anonymous said...

bhcc o / qs 71