TUESDAY, January 26, 2010 — Dan Naddor

Theme: California Cities — The first word of each theme answer follows the word San in the name of a California city.

Theme answers:
  • 16A: *Big name in tequila (JOSÉ CUERVO).
  • 20A: *Mexican muralist (DIEGO RIVERA).
  • 33A: *Spanish painter (1746-1828) (FRANCISCO GOYA).
  • 50A: *Roger Federer rival (RAFAEL NADAL).
  • 56A: Home to this puzzle's theme (CALIFORNIA).
  • 61A: Word that forms a city when combined with the first names in answers to starred clues (SAN).
Okay theme. Not super impressed with the fill. Too many abbreviations and ... EEEE? Seriously? And CDEF?? Ugh. I noticed a few strange words (names) that I learned from puzzles but I don't think they show up often enough to categorize them as crosswordese:
  • 13A: Holly genus (ILEX).
  • 15A: Pitcher Hideo (NOMO).
  • 7D: Puppeteer Tony (SARG).
Did you have trouble with these?


  • 10A: Jack's inferior (TEN). Tricky. I'm all "Jack who? Jack Bauer? Jack Bauer's inferior? Um ... that would be pretty much everybody."
  • 29A: Short film role (CAMEO). I love it when I see a cameo in a movie and know who it is and why it's cool. But it makes me wonder how many times I see cameos that I totally don't recognize or understand.
  • 58A: Fight-ending calls, briefly (TKOS). I've had this song in my head since earlier this month when Teddy Pendergrass died.

  • 12D: "Skip the sandwich dressing" (NO MAYO). For some reason I find this hilarious.
  • 23D: Corn Belt state (IOWA). Go, Hawks!
  • 40D: Topeka natives (KANSANS). Just got an email from a friend ranting about how much she hates Kansas. I'm pretty sure she just means the basketball team though.
Crosswordese 101: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates (states) in the Middle East. The two emirates that commonly show up in clues for UAE are Abu Dhabi (its capital) and Dubai. In later-week puzzles, you might also see reference to Sharjah or Ajman. Other words that should point you in the direction of UAE: oil-rich and OPEC member.

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Everything Else — 1A: "I did it!" ("TA-DA!"); 5A: Outplays (BESTS); 14A: Draw a better bead on (RE-AIM); 18A: Gossip tidbit (ITEM); 19A: Abu Dhabi's federation: Abbr. (UAE); 22A: Actor Brody of "The Pianist" (ADRIEN); 24A: Pep (ENERGY); 25A: __ one mind: disagreeing (NOT OF); 26A: Fri. preceder (THU.); 30A: Some (A FEW); 31A: On the double (PRONTO); 38A: For all to see (OPENLY); 39A: Submissive (MEEK); 41A: Gas brand with a landmark sign outside Fenway Park (CITGO); 45A: Vegas cube (DIE); 46A: Iraqi seaport (BASRA); 47A: Opposed (to) (AVERSE); 49A: "The Picture of __ Gray" (DORIAN); 54A: Gold units: Abbr. (KTS.); 55A: Big pictures: Abbr. (ENLS.); 59A: Insect stage (IMAGO); 60A: Animal whose fur was used for Crockett's cap (COON); 62A: Slow to catch on (DENSE); 63A: Barley beards (AWNS); 1D: Baja border city (TIJUANA); 2D: What you "take" when you sit down (A LOAD OFF); 3D: Military no-show (DESERTER); 4D: Lumberjack's tool (AXE); 5D: UCLA player (BRUIN); 6D: Extra wide, on a shoebox (EEEE); 8D: VCR successor (TIVO); 9D: Campfire treat (S'MORE); 10D: For the full length of a pregnancy (TO TERM); 11D: Come to light (EMERGE); 15D: Skin care brand (NIVEA); 17D: B-G link (CDEF); 21D: Working undercover, for short (INCOG); 26D: Gave it a shot (TRIED); 27D: Mubarak of Egypt (HOSNI); 28D: "I give up!" ("UNCLE!"); 31D: Angel dust, briefly (PCP); 32D: Happy Meal extra (TOY); 34D: Lariat loop (NOOSE); 35D: Poet Khayyám (OMAR); 36D: "That's not news to me" ("YES I KNOW"); 37D: Soda-making process (AERATION); 41D: Insertion marks (CARETS); 42D: The Donald's daughter (IVANKA); 43D: Nonstick coating (TEFLON); 44D: Lawn makeup (GRASS); 46D: Western tie (BOLO); 48D: Spanish hero played by Heston (EL CID); 49D: Willem of "Spider-Man" (DAFOE); 51D: Appoint (NAME); 52D: Actor Alda (ALAN); 53D: Uses a spade (DIGS); 57D: Color TV pioneer (RCA).


Sandy said...

If you're not up on your puppeteers, and enter "beats" instead of "bests," then how the heck are you supposed to realize that Tony Aarg isn't a person. Aaaarg. Indeed.

Can you add THU to the list that contains EEEE and CDEF.

And AWNS is one of those not-common-enough-to-be-crosswordese-but-never-seen-it-used-in-real-life words, for me.

How's work coming? Have you run out of outfits yet? Mix and match!

slypett said...

Sandy: Aarg seemed perfectly reasonable to me. I mean, it's a big world out there.

Anonymous said...

Agree with you about EEEE and CDEF - desperate measures! Did like the SAN plus Jose, Diego, etc. theme.

Tinbeni said...

Tuesday, Dan Naddor, this should be great.

My fastest DN solve ever.
Where did his puns go?

AWNS, barley beards, this came up a while back, another example of this site helping my CW game.

NOMO - Baseball, knew him.
ILEX popped up via crosses.
Only write over, had beats at 5a before changing it to BESTS, which led me to Tony SARG. Never heard of this puppeteer, but that's OK, he's never heard of me.

@Sandy & @ Darkman
Tony AARG, I like it. He could be a Gasparilla Pirate this weekend in Tampa Bay. Our annual, semi-Mardi Gras like celebration. Lots of drunks, OPENLY consuming AFEW JOSE CUERVOs, smoking a little GRASS, winches tossing beads, big parade, etc.
Totally hokey but a good time nonetheless.

@PG - Pendergrass clip was fabulous!

Parsan said...

Agree about the fill but liked this easy theme. Hand up for Aarf for SARG (who?), had forgotten IMAGO from long ago biology, and didn't know ILEX.

TEN was an obvious answer for me and knew NOMO. I guess TO TERM is used but have more often heard full TERM.


I'll bet our whiz solvers did this one in record time.

@PG--thank you. Have a good day!

John said...

The previous post indicates we have to get a word identify gate! YEEESH!

Orange said...

I loved the theme so much, I didn't mind the EEEE/CDEF stuff much at all.

Van55 said...

Naddor wasn't up to his usual standards with this one, in my opinion. Easy with too much inferior fill.


I'm usually a big Dan Naddor fan, but this puzzle was surely not in his A-list. The California theme was okay, at least it's not another wordplay thing, but there's just far too much cheap fill. I want to barf when I see those X-X links (CDEF), and overused crap like EEEE and ENLS. But then we get THU, KTS, INCOG, and UAE also... can I take any more? Not a lot of creative clues either... oh yeah, 10A "Jack's inferior" (TEN) was sort of cute.

Never heard of puppeteer SARG.

Ironically, last week I was assigned to complete the photographing of the entire ILEX collection at The Morton Arboretum. HOLLIES

Entropy said...

If I could do a puzzle in your time frame, I doubt that I would even notice the EEEE or CDEF.

This was a nice theme puzzle for me. I noticed it was Dan Naddor and started at the bottom where he ususally hid the theme 'reveal' clue. Found it quickly, "got'er done!"

Fell into the beats / BESTS thing.
Actually liked my first answer for the puppet guy. AARG!!! (pirate speak) for the same reason as Tinbene.
Jose Caspar, a real pirate, is why our team is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Big to-do this week, for the tourists, lame for the locals.

docmoreau said...

Okay. Is SAN a word? And, is KTS an accepted abreviation for "carat?"

chefbea said...

Liked the puzzle. Very easy except I couldn't remember how to spell Tijuana.

@docmoreau KTS= Karats as in 14 karat gold
CT =carat as in a 14 carat diamond - boy that would be rather large

Then there are carrots that you put in the stew but i have never seen that abbreviated.

Burner10 said...

Echo on BEATS and BESTS. Agree as well not the best from DN - but still I love to see California themes in the LAT. So down home.

*David* said...

I loved the theme but the fill was Icky with a capital I. I also filled in BEAT and had Mr. AARG the puppeteer. I don't need to go through the yuck but there were some doozies, back to sloppy DN.

shrub5 said...

Very easy but still fun puzzle and theme -- maybe because I live within 100 miles of 3 of the 4 theme cities. Only problem I had was the bottom two lines of the puzzle didn't print so I had to draw them in. I printed from the LAT site -- I prefer to print from cruciverb.com but I have had more than occasional problems getting the site to come up. (?)

I have several relatives that are Topeka natives (KANSANS); none still live there.

@PG: I've run across ILEX in a number of puzzles (and never remember it) so it might be worthy of a CW101.

Looked up Tony Sarg on wiki: (1880-1942) Sarg was noted for designing large animal-shaped tethered balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade as well as elaborate animated holiday window displays for the NYC store. He is credited with reviving marionette theater in America and was well known as a children's book illustrator.

CrazyCat said...

Me too for BEATS/AARG.
YES I KNOW there was some lame fill such as EEEE and CDEF, but there was a lot of good other stuff such as SMORE (yum), TO TERM, NO MAYO, TEFLON, IMAGO, EMERGE, etc.
I liked the CALIFORNIA theme because, you guessed it, I live in CALIFORNIA and this is the LAT and Dan Naddor lived here too. I like that he also threw in TIJUANA, or as it's known here, TJ. It used to be fun to drive down to Baja for the weekend through TIJUANA. Not any more - you're taking your life in your hands. Speaking of driving, SAN RAFAEL always reminds me of the Richmond SAN RAFAEL Bridge. To someone with a mild case of GEPHYROPHOBIA (me), it is a very, very scary bridge. I was tricked by 10A Jacks Inferior. Thought it was fun to see KTS and CARETS. That's all. TADA

Tuttle said...

Okay. Is SAN a word?

Abbreviation for Storage Area Network, the South African Navy and the Ecuadoran air-force (Servicio Aereo Nacional). Also a Japanese honorific, a modern Greek letter, a river in Poland, an African people (Bushmen) and the IATA airport code for San Diego International.

Plus 'saint' in Spanish.

Parsan said...

A personal irritation--ALAN is always clued Actor Alda. Why not be original and use another NAME such as Greenspan, King, Page, Crannell, Dershowitz or even the ALAN wrench?

Orange said...

@Parsan: Because hardly anyone knows who Crannell or Page is, and because it's spelled Allen wrench? (Dershowitz, Greenspan, and King are solid, though.) I think we feel like ALAN is clued as Alda twice as often as it really is just because we also get ALDA clued as Alan, who's far more familiar now than Robert Alda.

CrazyCat said...

There was one more thing I forgot. I liked the cross of TIJUANA with JOSE' CUERVO. You'd be drinking shots of of JC if you were at a bar in TJ.

Charles Bogle said...

am I the only one who didn't know PCP

enjoyed having GOYA and RIVERA in a puzzle. Rivera was commissioned by the Rockefellers in the 30's to do the giant murals in the lobby of my building (30 Rockefeller Center)...story is that when JD Rockefeller saw all the depictions of the proletarian working classes uprising against the shackles of the ruling capitalists..well, you can imagine the fur was flying. Even with major alterations today you can see what was going on..btw Pete Hamill has excellent book on Rivera

Otherwise, what @PG said: for me, not close to the late Naddor's customary cleverness

Parsan said...

@Orange--I see your point, but I think Crammell and Page, both sports figures who had great careers, are no more obscure than some we get. I thought of the ALAN wrench because my son rwecently bought one from Outlet Trail and it is so marked. Interesting that when I looked it up, both spellings are used in the ad.

I was curious about Tony SARG, and had personally been ??? about someone of whom I had never heard. My mistake. He was the designer and originator of the helium floats in the Macy's Parade (Bil Baird was an apprentice) and designed their mechanical window displays at Christmas. As a commerical illustrator, he drew covers for The Saturday Evening Post and Vanity Fair. He illustrated many wonderful children's books that are now collector items, some selling by the page. He was a hit at the Chicago 1933 World Fair with 3 million people attending his puppet show.

What is great about the LAT puzzle and this blog is that it introduces people, places, and information that you would never think of otherwise. Learning lives!

Zeke said...

@Parsan - Your list of potential ALANs is faulty. First you had Crannell, then switched it to Crammell. I'm guessing you really ment Trammell. So, I would have to agree with Orange - if you couldn't remember his name correctly, even as you were proposing him, she's probably correct.

Parsan said...

@Zeke--Of course it as Trammell of the Tigers as shortstop and manager. I even saw him play. Even with nn and mm it still seemed wrong. Age and memory! Sigh!!!

lit.doc said...

[The following was drafted soon after the LAT posted in the wee hours. I’d had a wee bit. Perhaps a wee-wee bit, but only if that makes any sense.]

Did it in 11:28, which = “shredding” at my skill level. But this puppy was soooo name heavy, I’d have expected to see it on a Wednesday. Same sentiment re inclusion of two “learned from CWs” words, IMAGO and AWNS.

A couple of oddities. CARETS and KTS in the same puzzle? Hmmm. I do so hope that, before I’m fertilizing daisies, my brain finally gets totally straight on proofing marks (caret), gold purity (carat or karat, abbrev’d ct. or kt.), and gem weight (again, carat or karat, but abbrev’d c. or car.).

Also odd IMO (euphemism there) was CDEF and EEEE in the same puzz. Ack and ack again. And yes, I did notice the puzzle kinda had a theme. But these are all cavils, not complaints. It always feel so gooood to actually finish a puzzle without check or google.

To which, now that the sun is up, I would only add:

@Puzzle Girl, since I was moving at the speed of San Jaimeson I didn’t even *notice* ILEX, NOMO, or SARG. So the crosses must have sufficed. But, still, what you said.

@chefbea, Spanish 101—ya just gotta remember that 1D starts with “mar”. The “t” thing is a confusing Americanization. Best I can recall.

@Charles Bogle, yes. Let me qualify that. I’m 58, so high school and college in late ‘60s-early “70s. If you’re much older than me, you’re excused from knowing the following useless info. PCP = phencyclidine, an animal tranquilizer. Also manufactured by people who are now probably either in prison or making meth, for use as an “enhancer” for crappy tijuana (see, chefbea, I can’t spell either). Or so I hear.


How much I enjoy learning from the blogsters and the commenters... today we had a weak DN puzzle, but a very pithy blog.

From Wikipedia
"The Allen wrench trademark of the Allen Manufacturing Company of Hartford CT was taken out in 1943, and Allen became such a successful brand of hex key that many consumers in subsequent decades have assumed that the internal-wrenching hexagon drive was invented by someone named Allen. This idea abounds in print and on the web; it sounds very plausible but is in fact inaccurate.
Stories circulate on the internet of an Australian surnamed Alan or Allan who may have independently reinvented the drive in the 1960s. This story may be completely apocryphal, and is not the explanation for the name Allen wrench."
So who was this Allen dude?

Remember this---
Matthew 5:5 says:
Blessed are the MEEK,
For they shall inherit the "dirt."
(Slight paraphrasing here)

mac said...

Nice theme, pretty names, but I did notice the CDEF and EEEE.

I think Rafael Nadal is out of the Australian Open, hurt his knee.
I didn't know Goya's first name, it is rarely mentioned. Pretty how "California" is spelled out at the bottom of the puzzle, nice bonus.

Joon said...

i even know who tony SARG is but i was going too fast and didn't check the crosses. AARG indeed.

chefbea said...

@Lit.doc LOL and thanks for the spanish 101 lesson

Tinbeni said...

Rafael Nadal is OUT.
When I was doing the puzzle, about one minute after I remembered his name, he was on ESPN2 being interviewed post-match. He endured the onslaught of totally stupid questions from the sports reporters.

Constructors beware: We could get them (the sports reporters) to critique your puzzles! LOL

I don't know how you do these (LAT & NYT) with your 'buddy' James along. Now if you said Mary Jane was helping, I would understand. Five letter answers would then fit into four spaces.

If I was in a bar in TJ, I would be drinking ... wait for it ...

Van55 said...

I didn't have a problem with SARG because I learned his name from crossword puzzles years ago.

Anonymous said...

the ten is lower than a Jack in cards. I got it right away, no problem. Dotty H. Reading, PA Love your comments!

Charles Bogle said...

@lit.doc: thanks for the PCP education...I certainly knew about the meth problems, but read the "angel dust" clue as calling for some three-letter version of, eg, PIXIE dust. Admittedly, did not know meth is constituted from PCP--and you've got me by two years. You rock, kiddo!

Linda Hobbs said...

I do struggle with names and sports. "Supporting character in some obscure book," "Guy who invented toe nail clippers," "Golfer who nearly a 1920 tap dance marathon." Always tough for me. I like words more than names.

SethG said...

@Linda Hobbs, Mary Lou Simes, Chapel Carter, and Arnold Ehling.

INCOG was the worst of the bunch.


I too said AARG!!!
Talk about an obscure character... (7D) A German puppeteer, Anthony Frederick SARG lived from 1880 - 1942 (ancient history for most of us). Then the ambiguous cross of BESTS versus BEATS makes this into a natick for most of us. I'm curious, hands-up for anyone who knew about SARG. Did anyone say "TADA"?
Anyway, it's nice to have Rex's wife making comments here too.

Good to see you have enough ENERGY to write the blog. And glad you do.
The classic CAMEO is Afred Hitchcock appearing for just a few seconds in every one of his movies.
I liked your CW101, but I wish you had explained the difference between UAE and UAR (United Arab Republic). I also screw up on this. How can I get this straight?

@Orange, @Parsan
Surely we can't forget ALAN Colmes of Liberaland and the radio talk show host. And then there's ALAN Jackson. These would be much better than ALAN Alda.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sfingi said...

Hubster did part of this one. He needs to study CW101.

Did not know UAE, RAFAELNADAL,NOMO (Last 2 sports; isn't there another Hideo, or am I thinking I know too much about sports?)Got all from crosses.
We've had IMAGO and ILEX before.

CUERVO means crow; corvo (It.) corby (Danish - English). One of my favorite ballads is Twa Corbies, a song about crows who ask, "Where shall we now our breakfast take?" They wait for the slain knight's lady, hawk and hound to leave. A lovely and spooky song.

@Sandy - Agree, totally. Another fan of the great puppeteer AARG.

Mr. Pendergrass died a week ago of colon cancer. He'd been wheelchair-bound for 25+ yrs. Love his work.

Robert Alda - Alan's dad. Alfonso Abbruzzo. Much handsomer than his son.

DIEGORIERA - Frida Kahlo's lover.
He made a mural at Rockefeller center which was painted over because it had communists in it.


@Crazycat - I know someone who fears bridge crossings. She finally crossed one recently, lying down in the bottom of the car. She's around 60.

ddbmc said...

Been to SAN RAFAEL, SAN FRANCISCO, SAN DIEGO & SAN JOSE-I even knew the way! Took the trip to TJ (can you say "potholes?") and had Kahlua & JOSE CUERVO, but like @Lit.Doc, prefer Jameson's and not--wait for it-- scotch. Single Malt? I know, I know, NO water. Straight up.

Didn't know TONY SARG, either, but so glad to learn about him here. Shame on me--girl raised on "Howdy Doody" and didn't know Mr. Sarg's name (Arrrgh!). @CB, my mom worked at 30 Rock (late '40's early '50's) Beautiful building. Got to go to go to the Rainbow Room before it closed.

Tinbeni, ditto on the puns! Might have been one of Dan's later puzzles?

NOMO-played for the Red Sox-knew 'em
Ilex-nope, but love hollies and THE HOLLIES The Hollies-Bus Stop
@JNH, is it true that you need to plant male and female hollies near one another in order for the female plant to produce berries? Outstanding pix, by the way!

Tinbeni said...

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You !!!

I've been listening to The Hollies for the last hour since your embed of Bus Stop.
I almost forgot how many hits they had; Stop Stop Stop, Carrie Ann; Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress; He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother; Just One Look; On a Carousel, yaddie, yaddie, yadda!

Now as to your earlier comment re: Jaimeson over my beloved Aqua Vitae, I guess another Thank You is in order.
Leaves just that much more ... wait for it ... served neat ...Scotch for me.

CrazyCat said...

@Sfingi - I'm not quite that bad re: bridges. It would be quite a challenge to drive over the bridge while on the floor, at least for me. I just (throw down a Scotch) grit my teeth and have a panic attack on the other side. If my husband is driving I close my eyes or put my head in my lap. I'm not so bad with the Bay Bridge or the Golden Gate, but that SAN RAFAEL bridge is 5 miles long and I don't think it's very stable in the event of an earthquake. I'm glad to hear that there are others who share my fear of bridge crossings. On the Tappan Zee bridge in NY, they will drive your car across for you if needed. Just kidding about the Scotch, by the way.

ddbmc said...

@Tin, glad you liked The Hollies link. I'll go back and listen to more of their songs! You and I are the same age range. Tried to match an old hs buddy Dewar's for Dewars, many years ago. He won. I tossed. They tell me I heckled a comedian that night! I would be ashamed, cept I have no memory of the event! I'm a Cosmo girl these days, the drink, not the magazine!
@CCL, sorry to hear about your fear of bridges. I have the same fear of roller coasters! Simply cannot handle the visual with the motion! My kids dragged me on one at Universal-FL. I was AVERSE to riding it, but TADA, I did it! (but my knuckles were white and my eyes stayed tightly shut the entire ride!) At least I TRIED. But wanted to get off PRONTO. Like a VEGAS CUBE, I wanted to DIE.
Night, all.