THURSDAY, March 4, 2010—Dan Naddor

THEME: "Word Chain"—Six theme entries hook up in an endless word chain—the second part of an answer hooks up with the first part of the following answer, and so on, and so on

Theme entries:
  • 18A: [*Place to keep supplies] (STOREROOM). Room service takes us to...
  • 20A: [*Target at the start of a point, in tennis] (SERVICE COURT). Court case segues to...
  • 30A: [*Patient record] (CASE HISTORY). The History Channel makes the transition to...
  • 43A: [*Jump around on the sofa?] CHANNEL SURF). Surfboard takes us to the next entry, which starts with BOARDING rather than BOARD.
  • 52A: [*Flying need] (BOARDING PASS). Say the password and move along to...
  • 25A: [*The answers to the starred clues (including this one) form a continuous one—its connections are created by the end of one answer and the start of the next] (WORD CHAIN). Chain store delivers us back to the beginning of the unbroken chain.

Amy here again, swapping days with PuzzleGirl. You can look forward to her post on Saturday, kicking it themeless for a change.

I'll give this theme an A, but it's not an A+ because of the BOARD/BOARDING thing. The inclusion of the History Channel as one step in the word chain is cute, isn't it?

The late, great Dan Naddor gets bonus points for having four of the six theme answers stacked in pairs; it's not easy to pull that off with smooth crossing fill. We'll have to dock him a few points for the remarkably unsmooth 52D: [Roof singles unit: Abbr.] (BDLE.). Short for "bundle," I presume. I'm not so fond of 24D: [Result of an unsuccessful football play, perhaps] (NO GAIN). NO GAIN goes great with "no pain, ___," but you can't reuse the word "no" in clue and answer, and that clue would make NO GAIN a 6-letter partial (as discussed in the comments Wednesday, crossword constructors generally try not to include partials of more than 5 letters). Merl Reagle, who's in the L.A. Times Calendar section every other week, often includes colorful 6-letter partials, so they're not horrible as a class, just far from optimal. Maybe a clue like [End of a saying about exercise-induced pain] would work...though NO GAIN would still be a 6-letter partial entry.

I don't know why I hit the skids in the Wednesday puzzle, but this one found me back in the groove (3:32, comparable to a Wednesday NYT puzzle, as expected).

Moving on! Let's revisit some clues and answers:
  • 23A: [Start of a basic piano lesson scale (CDE). This is the sort of answer I have to get by way of the crossings. Music and I, we do not go way back.
  • 33A: [Ore-ida morsel] (TATER TOT). My kid loves tater tots. Meh. I prefer sweet potato fries with sea salt.
  • 39A: [Old way to get a number] (DIAL "O"). That should really be a zero and not the letter O, but crosswords do that sometimes, use an O in place of 0.
  • 60A: [Order-restoring tool] (GAVEL). Glad it wasn't TASER. "Order in the court!"
  • 5D: [So-so] (MEDIOCRE). Imagine if this were a woefully mediocre puzzle. Then it would just be sad to see this word here. Luckily, the theme is cool.
  • 6D: [Available and fresh] (IN SEASON). Not much is in season in the Midwest right now.
  • 9D: ["___ the beef?"] (WHERE'S). Help me remember: Did anyone say "Where's the beef?" in a non-literal sense before the Wendy's commercials with Clara Peller in the '80s? I think that ad introduced the phrase into our lexicon.

  • 11D: ["Is that ___?"] (A NO). This is Spanglish for "Is that anus?" As you may know, año is Spanish for "year," but without the tilde over the n, common crossword answer ANO means..."anus." To avoid the wrath of those who know Spanish, it's good to go with the two-word partial A NO or AN O ("I'd like to buy ___, Pat") sometimes.
  • 29D: [Jazz fan?] (UTAHAN). The Utah Jazz are an NBA team in Salt Lake City. Note that the name for a person from Utah can be either UTAHAN or the weird-looking UTAHN.

Crosswordese 101: ASHE—The late, great Arthur ASHE appears at 40A: ["I don't want to be remembered for my tennis accomplishments" speaker]. He's remembered for both his tennis career—he won the U.S. Open ('68), Wimbledon ('75), and the Australian Open ('70)—and for his activism. He raised awareness about heart disease, apartheid, and HIV, the latter through his memoir, State of Grace. At Flushing Meadows, where the U.S. Open is played, the big stadium is called ASHE Stadium (I flew right over it en route to LaGuardia and the ACPT). Arthur ASHE isn't obscure crosswordese, no, but his name is certainly in crosswords a lot. So if you didn't know his name, you should.

Everything Else — 1A: Ricochet (CAROM); 6A: 1040EZ issuer (IRS); 9A: Bump off (WHACK); 14A: Single-handed (ALONE); 15A: __ de plume (NOM); 16A: Controversially, Jane Fonda visited it in 1972 (HANOI); 17A: Check, as a bill (RE-ADD); 22A: Nickelodeon explorer (DORA); 24A: Head, slangily (NOB); 27A: Asia's __ Darya river (AMU); 35A: Golden __ (AGER); 36A: Exchange (TRADE); 37A: Hide-hair connector (NOR); 41A: At 41, Kipling was the youngest one ever in his field (NOBELIST); 47A: Society-page word (NÉE); 48A: Kal __: pet food (KAN); 49A: Actress Longoria (EVA); 50A: New Mexico art colony (TAOS); 61A: São __, Brazil (PAULO); 62A: Homer's bartender (MOE); 63A: Twin Cities suburb (EDINA); 64A: When some nightly news shows begin (AT TEN); 65A: Next yr.'s alums (SRS.); 66A: Prepared (READY); 1D: Traffic causes? (CARS); 2D: Sheltered, at sea (ALEE); 3D: Pride warning (ROAR); 4D: Like Netflix flicks (ON DVD); 7D: Coll. drillers (ROTC); 8D: Kiss (SMOOCH); 10D: Stag (HART); 12D: Loving murmur (COO); 13D: Kipling's young spy (KIM); 19D: Designer Gernreich (RUDI); 21D: Demo ending? (-CRAT); 25D: End of a threat (OR ELSE); 26D: One way to learn (BY ROTE); 27D: Go after (ATTACK); 28D: Actress Mason (MARSHA); 31D: Stiff collars (ETONS); 32D: Shadow (TAIL); 34D: Paradise (EDEN); 38D: Stand-up acts (ROUTINES); 39D: Windshield-clearing aid (DEFOGGER); 42D: __ muffin (BRAN); 44D: Many an ex-lib (NEOCON); 45D: Cole Porter's "Well, Did You __?" (EVAH); 46D: St. Louis NFLers, previously (LA RAMS); 51D: Black card (SPADE); 53D: Christian name? (DIOR); 54D: Sports shoe brand (AVIA); 55D: iPhone command (SEND); 56D: More than amuse (SLAY); 57D: FDR program (WPA); 58D: Cereal grain (OAT); 59D: Dirt road feature (RUT).



Sorry to disagree with you Amy, but I felt like this was not one of Dan’s better puzzles. However the chain of paired words is rather unusual. It was a fast solver for me and that’s disappointing for an expected Thursday challenge. This was a less than MEDIOCRE puzzle… certainly for a Naddor.

Some write-overs: NOVELIST for NOBELIST, RUDY for RUDI, BALE for BDLE, CAN for KAN, AVIS for AVIA, APU for MOE, and CCC for WPA. I guessed at AMU (Asia’s ___ Darya river). Despite all this mess, I got it done correctly (with no Googling) in a little over 14 minutes, which is pretty good for me.


Good stuff: NOBELIST (Kipling), EDINA (Twin cities burb), MARSHA (Mason), and WHERE’S the beef.

I'm glad that @Orange in her writeup today further explains the undesireable 6-letter partial (as we discussed yesterday). NO GAIN was a good example to use.

In this very interesting video clip, the much admired actress, MARSHA Mason, talks about Rio Abajo Rio, her certified organic farm and estate in northern New Mexico (not far from TAOS and Georgia Okeeffe’s home in Abiquiu).

And here we have the plain old vanilla ROTC.

After this yucky puzzle, I think I’ll just go fix myself some yucky OATmeal.

~ John


"Well, Did You EVAH?"

Orange said...

@JNH: Why on earth do you consider ASHE, EDEN, SLAY, and OR ELSE "crappy fill"? OR ELSE escapes the 6-letter partial label; it's often clued as a stand-alone remark. All are familiar; all lend themselves to interesting clueing options.

Anonymous said...

I got surf boarding.....the act of using a surf board. There was nothing wrong with this.

Orange said...

The more common verb is surfing, though. Surfboarding and surfboarder appear in the dictionary entry for surfboard, but I don't think they're commonly seen.

Gareth Bain said...

Hah! At the right time of day to post here for once!

Interesting theme... Guessing there's a pretty much limitless number of them around, but that they take time and patience to construct! And because it's Dan Naddor, there're 6 theme-words crammed into the puzzle! And they're at least moderately interesting

"Crappy fill: ALEE, ANO, NOM, READD, CDE, ASHE, NEE, OR ELSE, AVIA, SLAY, EVAH, WPA, EDEN, TAOS, SRS, AT TEN, AGER, and BDLE." I'd personally only consider READD, ATTEN, SRS, AGER, and BDLE on that list. The rest is just standard short fill to me. ORELSE would be looking a lot better if it weren't running next to NOGAIN and BYROTE which both feel semi-contrived imo; not get-out-of-my-puzzle bad, just not ideal.

Very briefly had NOVELIST, then realized how impossible that'd be considering the clue and changed the V! Never heard of that MARSHA, but it's a common, gettable enough name. Still a Brady kid to me though... or the leader of The Muffins.

I think this the right video (don't have sound @ varsity)


I dunno, I guess cuz I'm just getting tired of seeing ASHE etc in puzzles. Some crosswordese is fine with me (and expected with a complex theme), but geez, not in every puzzle.
I didn't mean to ATTACK your CW101 on ASHE, it's very interesting... I'm just surprised that ASHE didn't make the CW101 list a lot sooner.

Checked out your link to Martha and the Muffins... very catchy band and I loved it!
But I can't quite figure out why it's germane MARSHA Mason.
Or, was that Maureen McCormick of the Brady Bunch MARSHA?

Orange said...

The eldest Brady girl is spelled Marcia.

@JNH, you don't know how good you have it. I just edited a batch of puzzles in which the most flagrant repeaters were ESA and MOA.

ASHE didn't make the list sooner because the core of crosswordese is words that you seldom see outside of crosswords. Arthur Ashe is a legend in the real world as well as having letters in his name that are conducive to crosswording. He's much more current than Mel OTT and Bobby ORR, too.

Anonymous said...

What does 10 Down clue,(STAG), have to do with answer- HART?

Bambi's Dad said...

@Anon 6A:55 A HART is a male deer, most specifically a mature, red deer, as is a stag.


Since we're on the topic of crosswordese (crappy or not), I'm going to take the liberty of posting Amy Renaldo's (Orange) Solving Tips here, because it's so useful---

1) Make a point of learning today's crosswordese—short words with common letters and lots of vowels are used often. Our "Crosswordese 101" lessons are in every post for a reason: those words appear again and again, so you'll do better if you pick them up.

2) Look for fill-in-the-blank clues and anything else in your sweet spot. Start with the easy gimmes to get a toehold.

3) Work off the answers you have. Read clues for crossing answers. Start with less common letters (X, Z, Q, Y, J, K, V, P, etc.), not the super-common ones like R, S, T, L, N, D, and the vowels.

4) When stuck, look for clues specifying a plural, past tense, verb ending, or superlative. Pencil in those S, ED, ING, ER, EST word endings (but beware of sneaky non-S plurals and phrasal verbs like WALKS IN that end in a preposition, not an S).

5) The part of speech for the clue and the answer must match. Pay attention to verb tense and number, plural vs. singular nouns, and so on. (Saturday puzzles tend to be rife with intentional muddling of parts of speech. For example, 60A: Yields could mean a verb or a noun; turns out it's the verb ASSENTS here.)

6) Do you find yourself concocting an elaborate rationale for why an oddball answer fits the clue? That's the #1 sign you should erase it.

BTW, there's a "click-on-this" in that upper black band in the writeups, that gets you to the Crosswordese101 list. Try it!

@Orange... Thanks for providing this.

lit.doc said...

Done in 16:59, which makes me think lots of people must have found this one very easy. The theme was amusing and even somewhat helpful in solving. Nice puzzle, but what's it doing in the Thursday LAT?


Clara Peller, a Chicago manicurist, earned $500,000 for hoarsely shouting out those three little words "Where's the Beef?".
Not bad pay for an 81 year old!
Maybe there's still hope for this 72 yo codger.

kenlehr said...

EVAH and BDLE were particular irritating, given their position in the puzzle The clue for WORDCHAIN longer than needed. Sharp puzzlers don't need long desriptions.

xyz said...

I'm sorry, I thought this was an awesome puzzle. I rather like Dan Naddor's puzzles in general. what 19 to go now? Again, what do I know? Seemingly little by history ...

My niece is a champion surfer, I don't think she'd get too weirded out at SURFBOARDING, but almost all of us would with waterboarding.

I didn't think there was that much cr*p fill and the word chain worked well.

Puzzle snobs ;-)

GolfCourse Snob

Tinbeni said...

Probably my fastest solve ever of a Dan Naddor puzzle. Maybe more of a Tuesday level but a fun time nonetheless.

I'm in a RUT. My morning ROUTINES involve getting my paper, extracting the CW, fold it just right for my clipboard, pour the Mug of Coffee, turn on CNBC, ATTACK the blanks.

After I filled in 17a, Check, as a bill, I looked at the answer READD and thought "Read D" hmmmm, read DOWN? Then the RE-ADD got the NOB slap. Duh ...

Liked the SMOOCH & COO, ROTC w/o the 'N'.
AMU Darya river was a bit obscure, EDINA I know only from CW's.

Parsed and re-mixed, the secret answer was also a snap.

*David* said...

I liked this puzzle's theme too and it moved cleanly it was a shame that the punch line had EVAH, BDLE, and WPA crossing it. The rest moved nicely I've become much better at putting in 1A to start my puzzles and it shows in my incremental increases in speed nothing worse then spending time looking for toeholds.

Errors were putting in SWIPE for TRADE and BOB for NOB.

Sfingi said...

I quit this one before finishing. I Googled for EDINA, SERVICECOURT (sports, but had COURT), NOBELIST (did not know he was), MOE, last letter of AMU, AVIA (sports),

KenLehr - Did not even get EVAH and BDLE (knew bundle, but this abbrev. didn't compute), and agree on the big clue.

Also, did not get RUT (had PAoLO), ATTEN (had ATsix). Couldn't even figure out what to Google to get LARAMS (sports), though I guessed RAMS and tried many Googles.

At first I had "stud" muffin for BRAN muffin, and "fall" for ROAR.

The South was a total mishmash, and it wasn't just from sports and Simpson. Yesterday's was so easy! No Googling, zip, zip, zip. What a difference a day makes.

Tuttle said...


At around 4:40 there's an interesting discussion that turns out to be about Clara Peller.

What's scary is that's how I knew the answer to the clue.

imsdave said...

Put me in the liked it camp.

Did anyone other than me try PAOLO at first? Always get confused with that language.

@JNH - I'm with Orange on the ASHE debate. He is a legend.

CrazyCat said...

Me too - I liked it. I really liked it. I'm always a Dan Naddor fan. Thought the theme was very clever. Agree though about SURF BOARDING. Sounds a little weird, but then you say SNOW BOARDING and SKATE BOARDING so I guess it's ok. CAROM was a new word for me, but got it with the crosses. The only reason I knew HART was that there was a discussion, either on this blog or the NYT blog the other day about HARTford and elks. Loved MARSHA Mason in The Goodbye Girl. Like @Sfingi I tried STUD before BRAN muffin and also saw READ D instead of RE ADD. Thanks @Tinbeni for clearing that up. Loved revisiting Where's the BEEF. Hated BDLE. I always know EDINA because my husband's ex boss lives there. I got sick after eating TATER TOTS in the 4th grade. Never ate them again.

shrub5 said...

@imsdave and @Sfingi: Me too for PAOLO, but it got fixed by RUT. LOL at Sfingi's STUD muffin!

I had PAMELA Mason before correcting it to MARSHA. Pamela was a British actress, married to James Mason.

Disliked BDLE. Like others, I put ATSIX before ATTEN. I knew the song "Well, Did You EVAH?" but first entered it as EVER. Deborah Harry and Iggy Pop recorded this song for an HIV/AIDS benefit album "Red Hot and Blue" several years ago.

Briefly read 50A as "New Mexico ant colony" -- need to clean my glasses!

JIMMIE said...

I dunno, Orange. Here in SoCal (Laguna) we think SURFBOARDING is the supreme sport, and the word is certainly a viable noun.

I like the puzzle, but not BDLE - roofing is measured, I thought, in squares. Did not know DORA or MOE, but didn't need to.

Rube said...

This was another enjoyable Nador puzzle. Done with no Googles, but with one strong objection to BDLE. Anyone who's installed a roof knows that the unit for shingles is a "square" as in 100 square feet - usually 3 to 5 bundles depending on the type of shingles.

Had to chuckle at ROTC, without the N.

New word/fact worth noting is... hmm... I guess it's AMU and how to spell PAULO. That's not much!

Anonymous said...

I really liked this puzzle too. Didn't see SURFBOARDING as a flaw at all. It's a valid word.

Someone said there are hundreds of word chains. True, but this one has six answers arranged symmetrically, it's a 12-part chain (most chains in puzzles start the next answer by repeating the end of the previous one), and it incorporates WORD CHAIN as the final answer! I think it's a one of a kind puzzle. Hope Dan Naddor can hear me: Great job!


Orange said...

@Jimmie, I yield the floor to your SoCal surfboarding knowledge. There are a few people who insist on surfing in Lake Michigan, but for very good reasons this is not a popular Chicago activity.

JIMMIE said...

@Orange. Thanks for the honor. SoCalians have to differentiate SURFBOARDING from body surfing and boogieboarding, among other variants of which I am no expert. Kids learn this early in school, or rather, when they skip school to go to the beach. But the east shore of Lake Michigan seems be be better surfing, n'est pas?

Anonymous said...

Nice to see a discussion about SURFBOARDING over one about WaterBoarding.

surfjan stevens said...

Dude when we grew up we didn't skip skool we would get up at 5 AM step on a couple of sea urchins in the semi-darkness and hit the waves for a couple of hours beforehand. That was dedication and Cali has the best surfing in the lower 48. You got Maverick in Santa Cruz and Trestles down near San Clemente. Surfing is a passion and we'll do anything to hit a sweet wave, no matter what time or what location, time to go to Costa Rica, late.

Charles Bogle said...

what @crazycatlady and @rube said about really liking this puzzle and being Dan Naddor fans...so sad he's passed..an "A" from me too

Have to respectfully disagree w @jnh: maybe you just had an off day, like I did w today's NYT. I'll take ASHE over OTT any day

Some delightful Naddorisms, misdirections...SLAY, UTAHAN for Jazz fan...he always makes me second and third-guess; lots of fun

Like @sfingi, I almost gave up; I was taking way too much time..am glad I completed and even more glad to see a wonderful write-up by @orange@amy...and her solving hints, thanks!

Van55 said...

I didn't realize this was a Naddor puzzle until I came here. I agree with JNH that it's not one of his best. The theme worked OK for me, but there's some straining with the fill, IMO.

By my count the LAT has 15 Naddor puzzles left in the queue now. I'll miss him more when that legacy is gone.

chefwen said...

I absolutely loved this puzzle and its clever chain of words. Only write over was 9A WHACK over waste.

So sad that Mr. Naddor has left us.

mac said...

Nice puzzle, where I had a lot of trouble with the SW.
I can figure out where now, but at some point I wanted ether to fit, and of course taser as well.

Just spent the evening with our Ore-Ida friends yesterday in Naples, Florida. Good times in Boise many years ago.

Tinbeni said...

@Sfingi and
Ladies you are making laugh way too much today.
For 42d ____muffin, instead of BRAN you both first entered Stud!!!
Now there is probably a subtle "women-v-man" way of thinking in those answers ... but I like the way you think.

Time for some of the puzzles "secret answer."
(I only consume it BY NIGHT!)

CrazyCat said...

@Orange and Jimmie - If my memory is correct, Dan Naddor lived in Newport Beach, home of "The Wedge" so I'm sure he knew his surfer lingo. I will miss his puzzles when they are done.

My kids have done every possible BOARD sport. I used to say "Can't you just play basketball?" I guess not in SoCal. Only one major injury, when my son hit the pavement face first crossing Rte. 66 on his skate board and almost got run over by a truck - no permanent damage thank goodness.

HUTCH said...

If you ever took English Lit in college, you must have seen"hart".My people came from Hartlepool,England,which means "hart[stag] in the pool.Simple enough, what?

baddspeller said...

I was killing this puzzle until I reached the bottom and then everything went south.

Didn't care for the theme. That was the longest clue ever and I could not make heads or tails of it. I guess I have never seen it before. One disadvantage about doing these on line is that you have to kind of scroll around to get to where the "theme" clue is and half the time there isn't even
a clue which tell you what the theme might be.

I thought Wednesday's was much more