WEDNESDAY, February 10, 2010—Don Gagliardo

THEME: "The French Have a Word for That"—Eight loan words from French are clued with the [Nice ___?] trick

Theme entries:

Each theme clue follows the [Nice ___] format, wherein it's "Nice," the French city, signaling you that the answer is a French word. and not small-n "nice," the adjective. All of the theme answers are English words borrowed from French, though, so you don't have to know French to get the answers.
  • 17A: [Nice retinue?] (ENTOURAGE).
  • 21A: [Nice nonpro?] (AMATEUR).
  • 26A: [Nice keepsake?] (SOUVENIR).
  • 39A: [Nice stand?] (ETAGERE). This is also a loan word from crosswordese.
  • 48A: [Nice behind?] (DERRIERE).
  • 55A: [Nice rubdown?] (MASSAGE).
  • 62A: [Nice walk?] (PROMENADE).
  • 24D: [Nice squad?] (BRIGADE). I didn't know this word was French. If we pronounced it "brigahd," I would have known.
  • And for the hell of it, PEPE / LE PEW ties everything together— 34D: [With 53-Down, French toon who would be right at home in this puzzle?].
Highlights and lowlights:
  • 1A: [Struggle (through), as a tedious book] (WADE). I don't like this clue. To me, wading seems more leisurely, less of a slog.
  • 30A: [Dying-out sound] (PFFT). I use "pfft" more emotively, more like a "pshaw" crossed with an unvoiced F-bomb.
  • 44A: [Old beaker heaters] (ETNAS). We call 'em Bunsen burners now, and save ETNA for the volcano by that name. But the volcano can't well take a plural, so the antiquated lab term pops up in crosswords and probably nowhere else.
  • 52A: [Phillies' div.] (NLE). Baseball fans, tell me: Who uses this 3-letter abbreviation? Anyone? is "NL East" so hard to spell out? Can I blame televised sports for trying to make everything into a 3-letter abbreviation that fits in a scoreboard?
  • 64A: [Ship-finding acronym] (LORAN). You wanted SONAR, I know. Loran is short for lo(ng)-ra(nge) n(avigation), while sonar is so(und) na(vigation and] r(anging).
  • 4D: [Eliciting feeling] (EMOTIVE). Did you see how I used that word up there? I never really use it.
  • 5D: [Vikings running back Peterson who holds the NFL record for yards rushed in a single game] (ADRIAN). My son has decided that the Vikings are his most favorite NFL team, with the hometown Bears in second place and the Niners, Jets, and Saints rounding out the top five. No, I have no idea what these ranking are based on.
  • 28D: [Govt. note issuer] (U.S. TREASURY). V. nice answer.
  • 31D: [Full scholarship, e.g.] (FREE RIDE). V. nice answer, too.
  • 40D: [It doesn't cover much of a 48-Across] (THONG). Yes, it lets the bulk of your derriere flap in the breeze.
Crosswordese 101: Wow, have we really not addressed IRAE before? If you don't have a kneejerk reaction to this clue—29D: ["Dies __"]—and automatically fill in IRAE with a bored sigh, then you need to commit this one to memory. The Latin title of the hymn "Dies Irae" means "Day of Wrath" (IRAE is related to our crossword regulars ire and irate). Usually it's clued with a gimme fill-in-the-blank ["Dies __"], but on occasion you may see [Requiem word] or [Literally, "wrath"]. (The latter will upset Latin scholars, who will point out that it's "of wrath," not just "wrath.")

And now it's time for a 19-Across interlude. Take it away, Mel:

Everything Else — 1A: Struggle (through), as a tedious book (WADE); 5A: Leatherworking tools (AWLS); 9A: Sheriff's star (BADGE); 14A: Incur additional cell phone charges, perhaps (ROAM); 15A: Profound (DEEP); 16A: Gonzalez in 2000 headlines (ELIAN); 17A: Nice retinue? (ENTOURAGE); 19A: Mel, "The Velvet Fog" (TORME); 20A: Slob's opposite (NEATNIK); 21A: Nice nonpro? (AMATEUR); 23A: Filmdom's Lupino (IDA); 24A: 'Hood bud (BRO); 25A: Prefix with mom, coined after historic 2009 births (OCTO-); 26A: Nice keepsake? (SOUVENIR); 30A: Dying-out sound (PFFT); 32A: Riddle (POSER); 33A: More apt to be picked (RIPER); 35A: "Dropped" drug (LSD); 38A: Space bar neighbor on a PC (ALT); 39A: Nice stand? (ETAGERE); 41A: Wall St. news (IPO); 42A: Spoil (MAR); 43A: "Thanks __!" (A HEAP); 44A: Old beaker heaters (ETNAS); 46A: Within: Pref. (ENTO); 48A: Nice behind? (DERRIERE); 50A: Actor Morales (ESAI); 52A: Phillies' div. (NLE); 54A: Tiny amount (BIT); 55A: Nice rubdown? (MASSAGE); 57A: Played some jazz numbers, say (DID A SET); 61A: "__ be seeing things" (I MUST); 62A: Nice walk? (PROMENADE); 64A: Ship-finding acronym (LORAN); 65A: Overhang (EAVE); 66A: Folk singer Burl (IVES); 67A: Refuse (SAY NO); 68A: "__ in Rome ..." (WHEN); 69A: Site of a Lincoln profile (CENT); 1D: Small songbird (WREN); 2D: Primo (A-ONE); 3D: Entered material (DATA); 4D: Eliciting feeling (EMOTIVE); 5D: Vikings running back Peterson who holds the NFL record for yards rushed in a single game (ADRIAN); 6D: Unsound, as an argument (WEAK); 7D: Relay race part (LEG); 8D: Asparagus unit (SPEAR); 9D: __ blocker (BETA); 10D: Umpteen (A LOT OF); 11D: Privileged connection (DIRECT LINE); 12D: Whole range (GAMUT); 13D: It began on viernes in 2010 (ENERO); 18D: Take in too little (UNDEREAT); 22D: One with a long face (MOPER); 24D: Nice squad? (BRIGADE); 26D: Cybertrash (SPAM); 27D: "Return of the Jedi" green-skinned dancer (OOLA); 28D: Govt. note issuer (U.S. TREASURY); 29D: "Dies __" (IRAE); 31D: Full scholarship, e.g. (FREE RIDE); 34D: With 53-Down, French toon who would be right at home in this puzzle? (PEPE); 36D: Have heated words (SPAR); 37D: Two tablets, say (DOSE); 40D: It doesn't cover much of a 48-Across (THONG); 45D: Ill-fated vessel (TITANIC); 47D: Maxima maker (NISSAN); 49D: Cleanup hitters, briefly (RBI MEN); 50D: Actor Jannings and pianist Gilels (EMILS); 51D: South Pacific island nation (SAMOA); 53D: See 34-Down (LEPEW); 56D: Periodic table fig. (AT. NO.); 57D: Peace symbol (DOVE); 58D: Put away (SAVE); 59D: "East of __" (EDEN); 60D: Means of determining proficiency (TEST); 63D: Cheer syllable (RAH).



Well the only reason I'm doing the puzzle so early today is that in Northern Illinois we had a 4.3 earthquake that felt like a sonic-boom and I woke up shaking. Small quakes here are felt much more than on the coasts because of our geology.

A very NICE puzzle... expected from Don Gagliardo though. The LAT is giving us some puzzle variety lately and I like that. French words that we use all the time and never think about their source. I used to work in France and my coworkers there told me to please speak English because the could understand that better than my French.

The fill words were pretty darn good, except for PFFT, which gave me trouble because I had MOUER fror 22D.

Thought the DERRIERE & THONG connection was sort of cute, although men don't usually refer to that part of the body with that word.

OOLA in Star Wars was another stupid character (like Jarjar) that was carelessly thrown into the movie just to sell more action-figures.

@Orange I was so sure that Dies IRAE was already covered in CW101 before, because it just popped into my mind.

Here's something to get you all ready for Valentines Day---


Hands up for other solvers who tried to put YODA into 27D instead of OOLA.

Rex Parker said...

Agree re: WADE.

Re: NLE — never used it, seen it only in xwords.

I too loved USTREAURY (though not those first few seconds where I was thinking "-STR.." "ASTROLOGY?")


Parsan said...

This was fun! Had spat for SPAR and direct link before DERRIERE made it DIRECT LINE. For me, to WADE through a book does mean to struggle.

Yes, tried to make sonar work but eventually got LORAN, which I had never heard of. Did not know OOLA but it filled in.

IDA Lupino, like most actresses who reach middle age and find it hard to get cast in movies, became one of the first women directors and paved the way for others.

@Orange--Thanks for the TORME video. He also wrote an excellent book about his on-again off-again friend Buddy Rich.

Joon said...

tell ben it's not okay to have his two favorite teams be division rivals. trust me, he'll thank you later. also, tell him that it's bad for his long-term mental health to be a vikings fan. trust me, he'll DEFINITELY thank you later.

luckily you don't have to be a vikings fan to appreciate ADRIAN peterson. when he's not fumbling, he's probably the most exciting player in the NFL. and i guess even when he is fumbling, although that's a different kind of excitement.

(IRAE is related to our crossword regulars ire and irate)

what about IRED? :P

i only use the abbreviation NLE when i am google-chatting with a baseball friend and i really don't feel like writing it all out.

elegantly constructed puzzle, with eight theme answers including one (BRIGADE) that crosses three others. bien fait, monsieur.

GBS said...

If it's so important to save space by going to NLE instead of NL East, why use the "L"? The "N" differentiates leagues, the "E"/"W"/"C"/"N"(?) differentates conferences, but the "L" is totall superfulous - they're both leagues. There, down to two letters! Damn, I'm good.

Burner10 said...

Feeling very point as today's comments were on point - only missed etnas and irea (bad spelling on the crosses). Hands up for sonar - but figured it out.
I always liked Pepe LePew - didn't get the Nice thing til the blog - c'est bon!

*David* said...

Almost felt themeless in how loose was the thread that held it all together. First theme fill?, I put in was PEPE LE PEW.

The only spot I has trouble with was UNDEREAT/ETAGERE/ENTO. I oroginally had ENDO which caused me to stop for a bit. I also don't think of a POSER as a riddle. I'll take NLE any day over NLER, I use that abbreviation on occasion myself.

Shout-out for ADRIAN; and the Vikings without Favre could be a Super Bowl team they have the defense that the Saints don't have.

ddbmc said...

Son neiger et souffler dans le New Jersey. The weather outside is frightful, not at all NICE! Could listen to the VELVET FOG all day! He'd surely melt the white stuff outside.

Hand up for SLOG instead of WADE, SPAT instead of SPAR-I think of spar in the "boxing sense," or as a boat mast or airplane strut. SPAT elicits a war of words, in my mind. My dictionary doesn't define SPAR as "heated words." Perhaps a new dictionary is in order?

Chuckled at prefix with mom, etc OCTO. Haven't heard much on that front lately, thankfully!

I actually got the theme before I went to the blog today! (buffs nails on shirt sleeve). Dies Irae we've seen several times this year, but having @Orange relate it to "irate" will help me remember the spelling. I always want to put in "Irea".

Boo to RIPER and MOPER. Grrr to those "er" endings.

At my age, I just SAYNO to a THONG. You'll thank me for that! DERRIERE I say more?

@JNH, thanks for the PEPE LE PEW. Just in time for Valentine's Day!<3

Overall, nice puzzle. Liked the French accent today! OOLA, LA!

mac said...

Don seems to be getting better and better, this was fun! After the first two theme answers, I thought: SethG is going to hate this.

Wade didn't come easily, and "undereat" is not a word I use, for several reasons ;-)!

shrub5 said...

Me, too for ENDO vs. ENTO so had a hard time with UNDER EAT. The clue "take in too little" had me thinking of insufficient earning rather than eating.

@ddbmc: I guess you didn't see the recent pic of octomom in a bikini looking quite trim in the abdomen "without surgery." Frankly, I don't believe it.

@Orange: "Nice" to see the Dwyane Wade pic in your write-up after @RP's use of Lebron James on Monday. Love those NBA-ers!

Au revoir.

C said...

Good puzzle today.

As someone that reads multiple sports pages a day, visits many sports web sites every day, watches not enough sporting events (though, the wife would rewrite this part as "too many sporting events") then finishes it off with Sportscenter, I can testify that the only time I have ever seen NLE used to denote the NL East is in crossword puzzles. I hope it is not contagious and remains contained to crosswords.

Van55 said...

I enjoyed the puzzle.

Back in the 1970's I served as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. One of the Guard's missions was to establish and maintain LORAN radio stations to aid in navigating the seaways. LORAN beat the hell out of other means of navigation (e.g. the sextant). It's my understanding that LORAN stations no longer exist, having been rendered obsolete by GPS systems.

I've been to Nice. Nice is nice.

CrazyCat said...

RAH for a fun puzzle today. Enjoyed the NICE theme and theme answers including PEPE LE PEW. I also liked seeing NEATNIK, TITANIC and FREE RIDE. Saw OCTO mom in a bikini on TV the other day. She's been spending long hours in the gym working on her abs and DERRIERE. Wonder who's minding the 14 kids? Count me in for SPAT and SONAR, never heard of LORAN. Also had DIRECT LINK first.
@ddbmc - LOL Just SAY NO to THONGS - I was thinking the exact same thing.
@JNH - Being jolted out of sleep by an earthquake is never a good way to start the day.
@Orange - Thanks for another great write up.

chefbea said...

Fun puzzle to do on a snowy day. I just measured 6 inches on the railing at the fron door. Now the wind is picking up. Hopefully it will blow the snow off my car.
Puzzle husband is at work...neither rain nor sleet nor snow.........

I'm making a big pot of soup

xyz said...

Love everything French especially derrieres in thongs in NICE.

Seriously thought this a very nice puzzle with clean, clever cluing lots of fun with my coffee,no struggles but did not know POSER was a riddle.

Mozart's Dies IRAE from his Requiem Mass in D Minor is overshadowed by the Introitus for sheer piloerection qualities as any good Amadeus fan should know, and no I am not a potty minded old man, that is what the piece is called

Liked the quality of clue for AT NO

OOLA also needed crosses. Haha my old partner's family makes all the Star Wars action figures - the Four Brothers (sons) bought the Vancouver Performing Arts Centre - seriously (You can look it up).

Finally, "NICE" is having that kind of spare cash. (and "salable" is rather coincidentally my 'word verification' for this post today ...) ohmmmmmmmm

Tinbeni said...

Not in my lifetime.

Wall Street News = IPO. Actually it's more like an event. Did this (took a company public) a couple times.
My first in 1992 was #3 for the year.

Loved the "Dropped" drug ... LSD.
What can I say, my almost adult youth was the 60's & 70's. Hmmmm, did he love the clue? or the drug?

Have heard POSER for riddle.
Hood bud = Bro ... is probably racist.
NLE is just lazy.

Overall, I think this was the best Wed.puzzle this year.

@Orange - A NICE write-up.
Thanks for the 'Velvet Fog' clip.

Parsan said...

@the redanman--If your friends make the Star Wars General Grievous Starfighter transformer I certainly have a bone to pick with them! By request, I bought it for myy 6 year old grandson for Christmas. On first try to change it from a space craft into GG it came apart. A LOT OF people, two engineers, a dentist, and a Lego whiz could not get it to work, plus one needed to make 137 (exaggeration) turns to make the transformation. The packaging said it was for ages 5+. No way!! A big disappointment.

wilsch said...

Excellent puzzle. Typical Wednesday difficulty. I did this one at home; it's a snow day and then some!!! At least a foot on top of the two feet we got on Saturday. It's still coming down.
I also entered YODA for 27 down, but figured out OOLA from the crosses. Don't know that Star Wars character. Origin of words through language is indeed a unique theme concept.

JIMMIE said...

Thanks Orange and Don G. for the puzzle and write up.

@JNH, here in SoCal, 5.5 is the threshold for knocking the beer bottles off the table, so it is a critical number. No earthquake is funny. Isn't the record still thought to be the 1812 New Madrid quake, out near you in MO, that rang church bells in Boston?

This comment has been removed by the author.
Rex Parker said...

I'm gonna suggest that all this "dirty old men" talk is off-putting. Excessive. Borderline creepy. I love naked and near-naked ladies as much, possibly more, than the next guy, but ... maybe give it a rest. It's not endearing.


Tinbeni said...

I just re-read the GAMUT of comments, and other than the guys including two certain words from the puzzle I see nothing salacious.
Personally, I'm a NEATNIK old man, never leave clothes in A HEAP. Everything has a place, just put it there. Found it easier to be this way.

xyz said...


I said former partner, not "friend", not a particularly satisfying business relationship. Of note the business model is a single corporation per toy as to protect they family fortune. So if a three-year old chokes on JarJar Binx action figure, only one corporation can be sued. I'm told "Typical Chinese business practice". As I said former partner (in Medicine) NOT friend. Holding Corp. is I believe, Smile Toys.

Four Brothers, I said ...

Côte d'Azur is a beach town, after all and in France of all places.

Addressing from earlier, a post I never made:
"NLE" is a commonly used term in architecture and especially golf course architecture, of which I am an avid evaluator and critic - not that that would ever get cross-worded.

NLE = "NL East" came right to my mind from the clue, isn't that the entire idea of CW clues???? I guess living an hour from Citizen's Field made it too easy?

PuzzleGirl said...

@Tinbeni: The offensive post has been removed by the author. It was over the line of what is acceptable here and apparently the author, to his credit, realized it.

chefwen said...

Loved the puzzle. Didn't fall into the slog trap as I just couldn't think of a small song bird that started with S. Hand up for spat over SPAR, and had stow in before SAVE.

@Tinbeni - I don't think BRO is considered racist. Here, the guys call each other BRAH and this is a major melting pot of all walks of life.

Thanks for the great puzzle Don G.

Tinbeni said...

Thank you for clearing that up.
I suspected that was the case.

I live near Clearwater Beach, a popular Spring-Break destination. The antics have gotten over the top with the young ladies strutting around in their (clue from the puzzle) bathing suits.
As a result, for 6 weeks each year, approx. 99% of the locals avoid that beach. The DOM abound, acting like fools.
Luckily, I live near Honeymoon & Caladesi (rated #1 by Dr.Beach in 2008) Islands. Both known more for the friendly 'white' stuff than the snow falling all over the East.
For y'all in that area, just remember, this too will pass.

ETAGERE, like eddy & yegg last week, I learned probably 30+ years ago from CW. I thought we had a discussion about BRIGADE meaning squad not to long ago. And PROMENADE was stolen by my Southern Square Dancers long ago.

@Redanman - what does NLE in golf architecture courses mean?

@JNH - Is a 4.3 really only like a sonic boom? Those happen when the Space Shuttle passes over on landing. Otherwise I have no knowledge what an earthquake is like to experience.

@Chefwen - I didn't think there was anything racist with the answer, BRO, just the cluing.

Well Jeopardy is about to come on, time that I DID-A-SET with Scotch.

Sfingi said...

Did not know: LARON, OOLA, NLE (sports). Did Dr. Seuss know about LARON when he invented the Loran?

@Redanman - sports clues rarely come right to my mind, but what else could it be. I never question a sports clue that comes up in crosses.

@Tinbeni - Several yrs ago we had about a 4 2 hrs away at Blue Mt. Lake in the Adirondacks. I thought it was my washing machine until it went on after the wash was over.
NYC could have one along the Morningside fault - near Columbia U.

Had "moose" before MOPER, for long face. I prefer moose.

Didn't like POSER.

Someday I'll know ESAI. Love that little ELIAN. Hope he's happy.

@Orange - Thanx for playing 2 Tormes for the younguns.

Biggest problem today - the dead tree puzzle was so schmutzig from print smudge, I could scarcely read it, and I have trouble in any case. I suppose this has happened to everyone once.

I had no problem with the French words! They're all part of the language.

Proper etagere with battle axe decoration

CrazyCat said...

@PG - thanks for the clarification. I read Rex's comment and was thinking WTH?

@Tinbeni - When I lived in Ft. Lauderdale back in the mid-eighties, the city banned (answer from today's puzzle) on the beaches. They also raised hotel room rates and prohibited alcohol in public and within a year or so Spring Break had died and moved on to other locales.Have no idea what it's like now. Regarding earthquakes, they can be strong jolts which sound quite loud or they can be long and rolling. Since I've been in SoCal (17 yrs) I have been awakened by a 6.8 and a 7.0. It's very unnerving to say the least.
@Sfingi - Love "schmutzig" my new favorite sch word.

Anonymous said...

Had to switch to regular level about 85% of the way through. That bottom right corner messed me up since I knew none of those names, the periodic table abbreviation or the ship acronym.

Lovers of Mel Torme track down the Reunion album he did in the 80's on the Concord label. One of my favorite albums ever, especially the Donald Fagen song "The Goodbye Look"

Tinbeni said...

Ft.Lauderdale was the place for Spring Break esp. after the movie "Where the Boys Are" came out in 1960.
I always thought it was a misnomer, it should have been "Where the Girls Are!"
Ladies, you know wherever there is a girl(s), we men will be there.
I remember when Ft.Laud. enacted the restrictions you mentioned. As a result, those that Spring Break in Florida go primarily to Panama Beach or (ugh) Clearwater Beach.
As to the (answer for the puzzle) suit. Men wear them too (double ugh!).

Today was my ESAI remembered day. Maybe that will happen for you next time. It (he) does pop-up fairly often.

One of the funniest things about the puzzle today was 40-D was clued in my paper "It doesn't cover much of a"
The "48-Across" was not there.
So I thought the 'a' was a** and that got an out loud laugh.

Don G. you constructed a very NICE puzzle. That was published the same day as the S.I. Swim Suit Issue.

Anonymous said...

We're new to x words - having a blast. Really nice one tonight - get it?? It's a joint effort for husband and me. He's the smarter one and knows LORAN and Elian but I picked up the Hood Bud...Bros. Oh well. Love your blogs - what a riot you all are - thx.

Big Bird Cincy

CrazyCat said...

Hi Big Bird.
@TB - Men in THONGS - my worst nightmare!
@Sfingi - I remembered ESAI also today. TADA.
Thanks Don G for a very enjoyable puzzle.

ddbmc said...

@TB, I know all too well the relationship between Men and (answer in puzzle)!(Two sons in the "Spring Break" age group) I was just saying that at MY age, I'll keep to the higher fabric option. Should I join Valerie Bertinelli and Jenny Craig,(and apparently OCTO mom) the other (answer in the puzzle) might be an option. But damn!-my Casper the Ghost Irish skin and the white hot beaches of Sarasota=Lobster tan for me....my skin would then resemble bubble wrap. @CCL, I'm with you on the Mankini! Sorry to post so late. Why heck, it's almost time for the next puzzle!

James Hudson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
xyz said...


SORRY! postus incompletus (ignoramus-ish, too)

NLE = No Longer Exists!

marion said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.