FRIDAY, Feb. 19, 2010 — Dan Naddor

THEME: "AGELESS" (39D: Eternal, and a hint to this puzzle's phonetic theme) — theme answers are all familiar two-word phrases that have had the "AGE" dropped from them, and then had their spellings reconstituted to create wacky terms, which are clued "?"-style.

This one felt forced, but maybe that's what helped bring it up to a Friday level of difficulty. Simply removing the letter string "AGE" from words might have proven less interesting. I'm not sure I like the base phrases FIRST MORTGAGE or RAW SEWAGE (for very different reasons), but everything else seems solid. You don't normally see two "letteral" clues in the same puzzle, so even though I picked up on one easily enough (20A: Daffy duo? -> EFS), I must have gotten complacent, because I did *not* see SILENT U coming (12D: Guest letter?). That NE corner has some unfortunate fill, including the oft-(rightly)-derided NLE (19A: Wash. Nats' division) and the Odd Job ALERTER (13D: Siren, for one). I was thinking of the "sirens" that threatened Odysseus and crew, so I went with TEMPTER at first. Most of the rest of the grid (except the far SW, yeesh) seems just fine.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Newly certified coroner's assignment? (first morgue) — from "first mortgAGE"
  • 24A: Lord's ointment? (noble salve) — from "noble savAGE" (I think I've pronounced that "L" in SALVE my whole life (mostly in my head, as I don't use the word), so this was a surprise!)
  • 34A: Mutt with a conscience? (moral cur) — from "moral courAGE"
  • 38A: Sitting Bull telling raunchy jokes? (raw Sioux) — from "raw sewAGE"
  • 50A: Taxi with no empty seats? (stuffed cab) — from "stuffed cabbAGE"
  • 58A: Topping for schnitzel? (Vienna sauce) — from "Vienna sausage"
Crosswordese 101: AFTA (47D: Aqua Velva competitor) — both these brands feel like something out of a '70s/'80s time warp, as the only reason they are super familiar to me is bec. ads for them must have come on frequently during sporting events when I was a kid. I remember thinking "Why do you need to splash green crap on your face when you're done shaving?" It is almost cute that AFTA is an after (AFTA!) shave. Byyyy Mennen!

  • 47A: Gulf War reporter Peter (Arnett) — confused him with the "Gunsmoke" actor, Peter ARNESS. Only that guy is actually named James.
  • 64A: Bugs once sought by cops (Moran) — not, as you suspected, BUNNY.
  • 9D: Migratory African critter (gnu) — once again violating my deeply-held belief that anything that that's bigger than knee-high to me cannot rightly be called a "critter."
  • 3D: Candy "whose success is out of this world" (Mars Bar) — this "quoted material" can be found on various Mars websites, but not in any ad campaign I can find. One for Australia/UK (cited at Wikipedia) reads "Out of this world!" ... but in the U.S., no.

[there is nothing about this ad that is not awesome]

  • 26D: Breaks up (ends it) — double dose of depressing today; see also 1A: Unceremoniously breaks up with (dumps)
See you Monday (when we'll all be fresh off the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, which runs from today through Sunday at the Marriott in Brooklyn)


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Everything Else — 1A: Unceremoniously breaks up with (DUMPS); 6A: 1996 film that won Best Original Screenplay (FARGO); 11A: Pro bono TV ad (PSA); 14A: As a friend, to François (EN AMI); 15A: Greg Evans comic strip (LUANN); 16A: Pumpjack output (OIL); 17A: Newly certified coroner's assignment? (FIRST MORGUE); 19A: Wash. Nats' division (NLE); 20A: Daffy duo? (EFS); 21A: Generation (ERA); 22A: In pursuit of (AFTER); 24A: Lord's ointment? (NOBLE SALVE); 29A: Isn't wrong? (AIN'T); 30A: Flood deterrents (DRAINS); 31A: Words spoken with a yawn, perhaps (IT'S LATE); 33A: TV palomino (MR. ED); 34A: Mutt with a conscience? (MORAL CUR); 35A: Annoying negotiator (STALLER); 38A: Sitting Bull telling raunchy jokes? (RAW SIOUX); 42A: Cops may keep them on suspects (TABS); 46A: Rabbitlike rodents (AGOUTIS); 47A: Gulf War reporter Peter (ARNETT); 49A: Peddle (VEND); 50A: Taxi with no empty seats? (STUFFED CAB); 53A: Disappointed postgame comment (I LOST); 55A: Back muscle, for short (LAT); 56A: Nest builder (ANT); 57A: Seventh-largest st. (NEV.); 58A: Topping for schnitzel? (VIENNA SAUCE); 63A: Legal ending (-ESE); 64A: Bugs once sought by cops (MORAN); 65A: Havens (OASES); 66A: Old map inits. (SSR); 67A: Steamed (ANGRY); 68A: Take forcibly (WREST); 1D: Stand up for (DEFEND); 2D: Combat outfit (UNIFORM); 3D: Candy "whose success is out of this world" (MARS BAR); 4D: Downing St. bigwigs (PMS); 5D: Pose (SIT); 6D: Botanist's study (FLORA); 7D: Hearing-related (AURAL); 8D: Wiper (RAG); 9D: Migratory African critter (GNU); 10D: Fit to serve (ONE-A); 11D: Firebird maker (PONTIAC); 12D: Guest letter? (SILENT U); 13D: Siren, for one (ALERTER); 18D: Predicament (MESS); 23D: Pride follower, so they say (FALL); 25D: It's not true (LIE); 26D: Breaks up (ENDS IT); 27D: Baroque stringed instrument (VIOL); 28D: Raison d'__ (ETRE); 32D: "No Exit" dramatist (SARTRE); 34D: Half of MMCXX (MLX); 36D: "What I look forward __ continued immaturity followed by death": Dave Barry (TO IS); 37D: Hung. neighbor (AUST.); 38D: Coulees (RAVINES); 39D: Eternal, and a hint to this puzzle's phonetic theme (AGELESS); 40D: Convinced (WON OVER); 41D: Brewski (SUDS); 43D: Furthermore (AND); 44D: Unsatisfying response to "Why?" (BECAUSE); 45D: Positions (STANCES); 47D: Aqua Velva competitor (AFTA); 48D: Exam given intradermally, for short (TB TEST); 51D: Like the nerve near an arm bone (ULNAR); 52D: Rear (FANNY); 54D: "South Park" rating (TV-MA); 59D: H+, for one (ION); 60D: Work unit (ERG); 61D: Plant (SOW); 62D: Rhine feeder (AAR).


lit.doc said...

@Rex, go to bed. Seriously.

Anyhow, this was fun, and pretty relaxing after the NYT thrashing. Came in under 20 minutes with no bleeding from the ears.

Caught on to the theme about halfway through the theme answers, which helped some with the rest.

My only real gripe with this one was 64A "Bugs once sought by cops". Unfair misdirection. He was called Bugsy Moran, not Bugs.

Argyle said...

lit.doc, I believe you are thinking of "Bugsy" Siegel, not "Bugs" Moran.

lit.doc said...

@Argyle, in the harsh light of day I see that you are, of course, correct. Thanks.

"Friends don't let friends post drunk".

mac said...

The M in Moran was the last letter to fall. I also had a little trouble with en ami, but that was a little easier to solve.
Cute theme.


When I saw Dan Naddor on the byline, I knew we were in for a real pun treat. I think Dan's puzzles will truly be AGELESS.
Surprisingly, once I got the key (39D) AGELESS, I was able to sail through all the theme words, just from the clues alone. The fill words then just plopped in and I was able to solve the puzzle in less than 11 minutes.

It helped that I already knew things like RAVINES (Coulees), AGOUTIS (Rabbitlike rodents), Peter ARNETT, and Pontiac FIREBIRD (although I first thought of Stravinsky, of course). And, I knew GNU.

The only word that I had forgot about was SUDS for Brewski. Duh!

Of course, as a Chicagoan, how could I forget one of our favorite sons, George Clarence "Bugs" MORAN, the Prohibition-era gangster?

Thought the best clue was "Guest letter" for SILENT U.
Also, H+ for ION was pretty good too.

BTW, in the U.S. we use FANNY to mean rear end, but in England, the word FANNY is a totally different part of the female anatomy. I found that out embarrassingly when I worked over there.

I liked 23D. FALL is a "pride follower, so they say." This actually comes from Proverbs 16:17-18... "The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life. Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." A great lesson!

Another favorite botanical term (FLORA). Yay!

This LUANN comic is for my friend, Sandy... no offense intended!

Hey, I really like that new display of the filled-in puzzle grid in the blog. Much easier to read for us old guys! Thanks.

Gotta get going... it's Friday and I need to turn out the ERGs.

Crockett1947 said...

Ah, so lit.doc was lit last night?

*David* said...

I flew through the top of the puzzle and got the theme but was slowed a bit in the SE where the theme helped me finish with the unknown ARNETT and forgotten MORAN.

I liked this puzzle, the ugly fill was spread out enough that it didn't overwhem you. The theme was solid with the phonetic twist making it more then just an add-on.

Tinbeni said...

You covered most of what I liked about this enjoyable Friday.

Had the top half so quickly I had to slow down BECAUSE I'm a STALLER.
Enjoyed the theme / groan at D.N. FIRST MORGUE(age) pun. He does come up with some good ones.

Had the TV on and was surfing during the commerials, ended up on the Travel Channel and they were in a zoo setting and there on the screen were AGOUTIS, otherwise I was stumped in the SW.

SUDS for brewski was a gimmie. I'm still waiting for my Pinch = Scotch clue.

Isn't wrong? AINT. Hate to admit this but it is my fave Southernism.

Hmmmm, Stuffed Cabbage with Vienna Sausage sounds like a dinner menu.


Some profound comments on JEAN-PAUL SARTRE

...and I just know you cat-lovers will like this one too.

Sfingi said...

@Rex - I agree, a gnu is not critter. I's also known as a wildebeest (pr. vildabayst) and "migrates" across Africa at breakneck speed in herds, and can mow you down, for sure. Likewise, an AGOUTI is more like a rat, since it lacks the signature long ears of rabbits.

Got the theme and all. Never heard of LUANN, and she didn't seem too funny.

Hubster got the MARSBAR. He never forgets an ad and says this was used in the old days. He also got the French for me.

I had sell for VEND.

Apparently SSR means Soviet Socialist Republic.

@LitDoc - funny - but from the night before? I tried to drinkk a glass of wine last night and sweat like a ...oh well, Winter Olympist?

@John - you're getting speedy! Gives me hope. I liked the new puzzle size, too.
Now, you'd think these Brits would get used to us saying FANNY for rearend.

lit.doc said...

@Tinbeni, "ain't" is better than "y'all"? Hmmmm. I like 'em both, and FWIW can vouch that they're also quite common in Colorado and Arizona, so not jus' a southern thang.

@Crockett1947, very astute. And yes I was. Very. But not astute.

@Sfingi, I hope you'll excuse my being a bit befuddled this a.m. (see Crockett1947's comment), but I'm feeling Billy Pilgrim'ish re "but from the night before?" Best I can do is remember last night. This *is* Friday I hope, yes? Oh, wait, now I see. Never mind.

Tuttle said...

I'm an incurable geek. Wanted ARGO instead of MRED.

xyz said...

Of course it was Rex with those gripes! I liked seeing SUDS, a cute little wordand ETRE and SARTRE side by side. 12D and 29A were nicely clued, but I thought the theme might turn out to be ITCH FREE not AGELESS using the phoenetic sound elimination.

ALERTER was only weak word. A typical Dan Naddor - a very good puzzle, although too easy for Friday for all the puzzle snobs.

Poor old NLE again, if used as No Longer Exists it is perfectly good. (One clue: Once, in archit. or "Like NYC Twins") Again, as in architectural landmarks. JohnsNeverHome from Chicago ought to know the nice tome LOST CHICAGO about such buildings.

Medical stuff:
TBTEST is aka PPD, I've never seen in x-word
ULNAR might be clued "Funny Bone Nerve"

Talking about a woman's FANNY in the U.K. will likely get you slapped. They were here first, you know. ;-)

Unknown said...

mars bar "out of this world" was an ad campaign of the 1950's

Tinbeni said...

Well I'm watchin' the Ladies USA-v-Russia Curling. It's a nail biter. Probably only get two naps in during the contest.
Then I'm going to go outside and watch the grass grow and paint dry.
Thinking about moving to Scotland. I would be the perfect employee to watch the Scotch age.

Until a 6 week job in Birmingham, Ala, I never used y'all, at all. Aint was an early thang. It made Mom ANGRY and my FANNY red.

First Nation said...

@Redanman - If by here you mean North America, no they weren't.

xyz said...

@First Nation

D-OH! Thaks for the tipoff. Hadn't thought that one through.

But then again, the U.K isn't in North America, is it?

shrub5 said...

Today's favorite: MORAL CUR along with cute picture of "Good Dog Carl" book cover!

Made a mess of the bottom third of this puzzle. I guess I totally made up a word for rabbitlike rodents: cotatis. I don't know where that came from (Cotati IS a city in No. California) but eventually it morphed into AGOUTIS. Had SELL before VEND, BEATS ME before BECAUSE, HOMES before OASES. I had a hard time coming up with RAVINES because I did not know what coulees were. Now I do.

Another clever theme and many fun words from Dan Naddor. The legacy continues.

Anonymous said...

If youve ever seen the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington, the word RAVINE would be apparent.

Anonymous said...

If you've never seen the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington, the word RAVINE would be transparent.

CrazyCat said...

I always enjoy Dan Naddor's puzzles. I wonder how many are left? Caught on to the theme by the time I got to RAW SIOUX. Not a pleasant thought, but kind of funny. That's why I keep my DRAINS clean. STUFFED CAB was my favorite. I got flummoxed in the SW with RAVINES and AGOUTIS. I know we've had AGOUTIS before but I couldn't rember those darn rabbit-like rodents. Also didn't know Coulees. I was thinking Coolies as in Chinese laborors of old or Coulis as in raspberry coulis. Never knew it was RAVINE, but now that@ Anon 10:55 mentioned the Grand Coulee Dam, I get it. I wanted MALONE for BUGS. BUGS and BUGSY were sure popular name for gangsters back in the day.

@JNH Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion going to visit Jean Paul had me totally cracking up!

ddbmc said...

Ah, another Dan Naddor! How many does that leave us now? 16?

Not a fast solve for me today! Wanted MALONE for MORAN, ARR for AAR, GRABS for WREST, BRUT for AFTA. Mennen? I spend a great deal of time at Mennen Sports Arena. I can always tell by the smell (I know, smell is a verb yadda, yadda), when the Mennen manufacturing plant next door is making soaps and other aromatics! It smells MUCH better than some of those hockey UNIFORMS!

Had DA'S for DAFFY DUO, which I read as: DAFFY DOS...( I quack myself up) Didn't like ALERTER.

@lit.doc, I enjoyed 2 Cosmos last night, so didn't attempt the puzzle! I have a difficult enough time trying to solve in the light of day, without adult beverage intervention.

@TB, there is a "pregnant curler" on the Canadian Curling Team! First Pregnant Curler in 90 years!Go figure!(or NO figure)

My Bad-it is the Norwegian curling team with the "Loud Mouth Golf Pants." Wonder if you could wear pants like these to the ACPT? :)

Sfingi said...

@Redanman - Revolutionary soldier sez, "We kicked their collective fanny."

@Tinbeni - Ain't used to be a correct conjunction for "am not" only, but not "are not."

MORAL CUR - one of my favorite books, Men and Not Men (Uomini e no) by Elio Vittorini, contains a scene in which the Nazi's dog will not kill the hero, because the dog is more human than the Nazi.

Around Utica, as I've said previously, curling is a serious family sport and has been played here since the 1830s. The pants are too silly.

Anonymous said...

Friggin' Cruciverb is down again! I have a mind to stop donating if this is going to continiue...

Tinbeni said...

Where did I imply that ain't was "are not" ????

My comment just meant as a kid I used it until Mom corrected me not to.
I probably sounded like Opie.