SUNDAY, February 14, 2010 — Natalie Dyvens

Theme: You'll Never Guess — You're right! Valentine's Day! Theme answers are all anagrams of today's holiday.

Theme answers:

  • 24A: Run-down old Roman truck? (SEEDY LATIN VAN).
  • 32A: Tax expiration headline? (LEVY IS AT AN END).
  • 59A: Out-of-work Baltic natives? (NEEDY LATVIANS).
  • 80A: Attack the Falkland Islands' capital? (INVADE STANLEY).
  • 106A: Cowgirl in a crib? (TINY DALE EVANS).
  • 118A: Some gondola passengers? (LADY VENETIANS).
  • 16D: Shrink everyone wants to be like? (ENVIED ANALYST).
  • 58D: This puzzle's theme — each of seven answers is a 77-Down of it (VALENTINE'S DAY).
  • 77D: Roped, to Pedro (ANAGRAM).
And a Happy Valentine's Day to everyone. I hope that if you're not able to spend the day with a loved one that you're at least eating a lot of chocolate.

A couple tricky/misleading clues in today's puzzle.
  • 40A: Chelsea zoo opening? (ZED). Chelsea is an area of London, so the people there would say the word zoo starts with the letter zed.
  • 115A: John, to Paul (LOO). This one's pretty cute. Your first thought was the Beatles, right? Well, that puts you in the right part of the world. Again, loo is a British word for bathroom (or john).
  • 86D: Price of many operas (LEONTYNE). See how the word price is right at the beginning of the clue? That's to trick you into thinking it's not a proper name, but that it's capitalized only because it's the first word.
  • 93D: SUV part (UTILITY). Not part of an SUV like steering wheel or axle or brakes, but part of the abbreviation SUV: Sports Utility Vehicle.
  • 112D: Sandwich guy? (EARL). Did you know that an earl's wife is called a countess? There's no feminine form of earl.
  • 114D: Owed money (DEBT). Owed, in this case, is an adjective, not a verb.
I know there's a ton of other stuff to talk about in this puzzle. (For example, did you notice anything odd about the constructor's name??) So please have at it in the comments. See you there.

Crosswordese 101: A surprisingly small amount of crosswordese in today's puzzle. Usually, the Sundays are just full of the stuff. But the only crosswords I found in the puzzle that we've already covered is OLAV I (50A: 10th century Norwegian king), AAR (102A: Berne's river), and APERY (47D: Mimic's talent). So let's just talk for a minute about Anaïs NIN. She's frequently clued just like today, 105D: Diarist Anaïs. Other than that, it's good to know a few of her titles: "Henry & June," "Seduction of the Minotaur," "Collages," and "Delta of Venus" are the most common.

Everything Else — 1A: Register (SIGN IN); 7A: '70s-'80s FBI sting aimed at corrupt politicians (ABSCAM); 13A: Be there (ATTEND); 19A: Frito-Lay corn snacks (CHEETOS); 21A: Secret (ARCANE); 22A: Biden predecessor (CHENEY); 23A: Crisis phone service (HOTLINE); 26A: Ajar, in poems (OPE); 27A: Drudge (SERF); 29A: Salem-to-Portland dir. (NNE); 30A: CNN launcher (TBS); 31A: Desperate (DIRE); 36A: Start of a French oath (SACRE); 38A: Sailing or whaling (ASEA); 39A: CFO's degree, maybe (MBA); 42A: Mug with a hinged lid (SEIDEL); 45A: "G.T.O." singers __ & the Daytonas (RONNY); 47A: Million-millennia period (AEON); 48A: Schooners' contents (ALES); 51A: Numerical entry aid (KEYPAD); 53A: A big fan of (INTO); 55A: Quick cut (SNIP); 56A: Service abbr. (NAV.); 64A: Jolson and Jarreau (ALS); 65A: List ender: Abbr. (ET AL.); 67A: "__ you sure?" (ARE); 68A: Stephanie's dad (EFREM); 69A: Easy to use (WIELDY); 71A: Ginger ale type (PALE DRY); 73A: Not seen as much (RARER); 74A: Near the beginning (EARLY ON); 75A: Bullfight cheer (OLÉ OLÉ); 76A: English cattle breed (DEVON); 77A: Flying stat. (ALT.); 78A: Electronics time meas. (MSEC); 79A: Salon acquisition (TAN); 84A: __-80: old computer model (TRS); 85A: Like SFO and LAX (INTL.); 87A: Senior housing? (DORM); 88A: Scottish property owners (LAIRDS); 90A: All-time Blue Jays' winningest pitcher Dave (STIEB); 92A: In __ of (LIEU); 94A: Cranberry sources (BOGS); 95A: Golfer's problem (SLICE); 99A: Medieval estates (MANORS); 101A: D.C. player (NAT); 103A: Auth. of many quotes? (ANON); 104A: Scandal-plagued giant (ENRON); 111A: Egg holder (NEST); 113A: Clear (RID); 116A: "__-Dick" (MOBY); 117A: Morgantown sch. (WVU); 122A: Graceful antlered critter (ROE DEER); 124A: Head cases? (CRANIA); 125A: Renoir subject (BATHER); 126A: "Let's Make a Deal" option (DOOR ONE); 127A: Most insidious (SLYEST); 128A: Risky dates (TRYSTS); 129A: Barely made a ripple in, as during a dive (KNIFED); 1D: Bookman (SCHOLAR); 2D: "God willing!" ("I HOPE SO!"); 3D: Settle a score (GET EVEN); 4D: Donizetti aria "Regnava __ silenzio" (NEL); 5D: Response at the door (IT IS I); 6D: Canonical hour (NONES); 7D: Battery types (AAS); 8D: Three-time Oscar-winning character actor Walter (BRENNAN); 9D: Hollywood shooting (SCENE); 10D: Concerto's extended solo passage (CADENZA); 11D: To some degree (ANY); 12D: Soften (MELT); 13D: Takes the role of (ACTS AS); 14D: How-hot-it-feels meas. (THI); 15D: They can climb the walls (TENDRILS); 17D: Close (NEAR); 18D: Force unit (DYNE); 20D: Fluids in shots (SERA); 25D: Six-pack makeup (ABS); 28D: NSA headquarters site (FT. MEADE); 33D: Pull hard (YANK); 34D: "Gin __ meet ...": Burns (A BODY); 35D: Drop off (DELIVER); 37D: Co. leader (CEO); 41D: Leisure fabric (DENIM); 43D: Villain (EVIL-DOER); 44D: Fakes it, in a way (LIP SYNCS); 46D: Longing (YEN); 47D: Mimic's talent (APERY); 49D: Concourse locale: Abbr. (STA.); 52D: Time for an audit (YEAR END); 54D: Miraculous way to walk? (ON WATER); 56D: It's a family affair (NEPOTISM); 57D: Mythological woman raised by hunters (ATALANTA); 60D: Time off (LEAVE); 61D: Fuzzy dos (AFROS); 62D: 16th century council site (TRENT); 63D: Round Table title (SIR); 66D: Heavenly lion (LEO); 70D: Shade provider (ELM); 72D: Caesar's 551 (DLI); 73D: Lamb, e.g. (RED MEAT); 74D: Onetime immigration center __ Island (ELLIS); 76D: "Mack the Knife" singer (DARIN); 81D: OED unit (VOL.); 82D: Plenty (A LOAD); 83D: NFL rushing nos. (YDS.); 89D: Czech, for one (SLAV); 91D: "It's sooo cold!" ("BRR!"); 94D: Weapon attached to a rifle (BAYONET); 96D: Amazed by (IN AWE OF); 97D: Meet (CONVENE); 98D: Made certain (ENSURED); 100D: Not happy with (SORE AT); 107D: __ Ark (NOAH'S); 108D: Titled nobleman (LORD); 109D: Online read (EBOOK); 110D: "I've got my __ you!" (EYE ON); 111D: World Series qualifying matchup, briefly (NLCS); 119D: Haze reduces it: Abbr. (VIS.); 120D: Sailor (TAR); 121D: Many Soc. Sec. recipients (SRS.); 123D: Soft & __: deodorant (DRI).


imsdave said...

Very clever stuff. I can only assume that it's from Mr. Norris, with the bonus anagram above the puzzle.


Wow! An ANAGRAM puzzle with eight 13 letter words (including the constructor's name) spelling out, what else, VALENTINES DAY.
I love it!

Come on, Puzzlegirl, tell us who this ingenius constructor is.

Took me close to an hour to solve (while eating chocolates). Better yet, they're Fanny May Chocolates!!!!! Now I need a chaser, like maybe some Mocha flavored coffee and raspberry Belgian waffles.

I'll comment more after I eat.


A marvelous puzzle…21x21 grid loaded with lots of good words (few crosswordese), great diversionary clues, fun theme (expected today), many new words, and rather difficult to solve. The LAT is quickly becoming the crossword capital of the world, by becoming more fresh and fun, unlike other rusky and stodgy newspaper puzzles.

Awful words: NLCS, VIS, AAS, DLI and RID
Also, didn’t like LEVY IS AT AN END.
Words I struggled with: STIEB, NLCS, and LEONTYNE (because the LAT had that clue missing earlier today). Also it took me a while to conjure up the capital of the Falklands.

Cute clues: “Chelsea zoo opening” = ZED
“Some gondola passengers” = LADY VENETIANS.
“Sandwich guy” = EARL
“They climb the walls” = TENDRILS

SACREbleu is a French curse word, actually two words, sacré bleu, which refers to the color blue associated with Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. Not sure it belongs in any decent crossword puzzle.

Loved the James Drummond Burns quote “Gin A BODY meets a body Comin' through the rye. Gin a body kiss a body Need a body cry?”
I just know there’ll other commenters who like this also.

As a former engineer, I love unit words like tesla, erg and DYNE.
Ah yes, and how well I remember the old Tandy Radio Shack computer, the TRS-80.

I used to work with a guy named Milton SEIDEL who loved his ALES… now I know why he had that name.

Here’s a Valentine treat for y’all----
I so love hearing “Summertime” from Porgy & Bess, and no one can sing it quite like LEONTYNE PRICE

Bohica said...

Natalie Dyvens = Valentines Day, very clever Mr. Norris, and a nice puzzle to boot!

shrub5 said...

The constructor's name is, I suspect, another AKA for editor Rich Norris.

This puzzle was a hoot and quite an accomplishment! I had one silly mistake -- instead of a BATHER/DEBT intersection, I had FATHER/DEFT. When I had -ATHER, I assumed that Renoir had painted a portrait of his father at some point. DEFT didn't seem right for "owed money". I guess I should have run through the alphabet on that one. D'oh.

Took me WAY too long to get ANAGRAM for "roped, to Pedro." Thought I might have to google to find the Spanish word for "roped" as I didn't have many of the crossings at the time.

Happy Valentine's Day to all my fellow LAT cruciverbalists.

Anonymous said...

Man! I've got to up my crossword game. I found this puzzle really tough. I'm thinking it's because I haven't been *puzzling* lately and the brain is rusty.


lit.doc said...

Expected a themed puzzle for Valentine's Day, so I started by looking over the clues. Immediately filled in 58D. Counted squares for a couple of the theme answers to check, and then keyed in ANAGRAM, feeling very clever. And then I read the clue for 77D.

@shrub5, seriously, I was still baffled by "Roped, to Pedro" when I read your comments. I just could not get past my "yeah, but 'to rope' in Spanish is 'a la cuerda' or some such" brain freeze.

Nonetheless, for me, this was an unusually fast Sunday LAT. The fill was so solid, for the most part, that I only had to manually tick off letters for two of the theme answers.

Hugs & kisses to all.

Lynn said...

I dont think cheetos are corn snacks I thought fritos and got screwed up

Tinbeni said...

A mighty pain to love it is,
And,'tis a pain that pain to miss;
But of all pains, the greatest pain.
It is to love, but love in vain ...

Noticed that ANON made the grid as an answer.

Alas, my beloved Scotch is still unrequited.

badspelller said...

I can't complain about the anagrams, can you think of any more?

I thought Riatta for "roped for Pedro" but eventually figured it out. I liked the puzzle.


My new technique of first looking for the theme "key" 58D & 77D really paid off. With the awkward theme words and 77D (ANAGRAM), I figured they all were anagrams.

Well I finished the other two Trib puzzles (Cromer's & Preston's) and the NYT (Ginsberg & Muller's)... blahhhh!
They all reeked with stinky crosswordese and just weren't well constructed IMO.
Today the LAT really shined!
Congrats to Natalie, Rich, and Joyce!

Anonymous said...

What happened to Monday's puzzle?

Orange said...

Sit tight waiting for the Monday puzzle, anon—I'm going to hit the sack and hope the puzzle's posted in the morning.

xyz said...

This puzzle was awesome. My goodness, and wow.

No cruddy fill that I noticed, it was relatively easy for me as Thursday-ish puzzles at NYT are my limit and the 23x23 grid + Thursday difficulty (which seems constant re; both puzzles) gives me a whopping challenge, but this theme helped a lot.

Figuring it was an anagram came easily to m, but i was a total dunce re: 58D I am woefully sad to say. I used the letters of the 106A fill to root out the themed answers, got like 90% of the puzzle easily before doing Monday's NYT & LAT gimme puzzles and muddled around proverbial California as I did not know ATALANTA and NAV & TAN came very slowly. D-OH! Still probably as fast as I have ever done a Sunday puzzle.

I cannot say a single thing about this puzzle in any kind of negative way.