THURSDAY, April 15, 2010 — Nancy Salomon

Theme: Tax Day — Theme answers are familiar phrases that end with a word associated with tax documents.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Doing what's just not done (IN BAD FORM).
  • 29A: You can't go back from it (POINT OF NO RETURN).
  • 49A: Early (AHEAD OF SCHEDULE).
  • 65A: Subbing, and taxpayer's responsibility vis-à-vis the ends of 17-, 29- and 49-Across (FILLING IN).
I thought this puzzle was a lot of fun. It's funny though. The other day when I was thinking about the fact that I was going to blog the April 15 puzzle, I thought to myself "I hope it's not a Tax Day theme. I mean, how depressing is that?" But then when I was actually solving the puzzle, I didn't even catch onto the theme until I got to the reveal. There were a few answers that felt a lot like clunkers to me (PLUG UGLY? That doesn't even seem like the right part of speech to me (41D: Thug).) I don't believe I've ever heard of USIA, although now that I look it up, United States Information Agency seems like it should be back there in the cobwebs somewhere (69A: Former VOA overseer). I do, however, know what the NTSB is (National Transportation Safety Board (72A: Crash site investigator: Abbr.)), but I'm just not thrilled about having those two government agencies smooshed together down there in southern Texas.

But now that we've gotten that out of the way, I will say that I love the clue for HI MOM (9A: Greeting often requiring lip-reading). FOR FUN and DID NOT are fresh and appealing grid entries (52D: On a lark / 54D: Terse childish denial). And anything that brings to mind Carlos Santana is AOK in my book. (4D: Medicine man (SHAMAN)). Overall, I felt like this puzzle really flowed. There was a bit of crosswordese here and there, but it felt more helpful than overwhelming to me today for some reason. Good stuff.

Crosswordese 101: John Hersey won a Pulitzer prize in 1945 for his novel "A Bell for ADANO." The setting for the novel is ADANO, a fictional Italian town (or village) that was visited by Major Joppolo. If you can remember all that, you'll have no trouble recognizing a clue for ADANO the next time you see it.

Other crosswordese in this puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 57A: Dickens pen name (BOZ).
  • 70A: Spicy Spanish stew (OLLA).
  • 71A: "Awake and Sing!" playwright (ODETS).
  • 53D: "The Time Machine" race (ELOI).
Everything Else — 1A: NYPD alerts (APBS); 5A: Disdainful upperclassman? (SNOB); 14A: Jacob's first wife (LEAH); 15A: Numerical prefix (OCTA)-; 16A: Hersey's bell town (ADANO); 19A: Sank in a cup (HOLED); 20A: Citi Field NLer (NY MET); 21A: Crunch targets (ABS); 23A: 26-Across supply (ICE); 24A: Cupid's master? (SANTA); 26A: Place where liquor flows freely? (OPEN BAR); 32A: Museum pieces (ART); 33A: Paid player (PRO); 34A: Elastic wood (YEW); 35A: Not for neatniks (MESSY); 38A: Sphere (ORB); 40A: March honoree, briefly (ST. PAT); 44A: Many a lap dog (TOY); 46A: Stereo jack letters (MIC); 48A: Fish story (LIE); 55A: Way back when (LONG AGO); 56A: Vincent's successor as baseball commissioner (SELIG); 58A: Tattoo site (ARM); 60A: Part of MO (MODUS); 62A: Tennyson work (IDYLL); 68A: Where Hercules slew a lion (NEMEA); 73A: Little shaver (TYKE); 1D: Three-time '60s-'70s heavyweight champ (ALI); 2D: Quakers of the Ivy League (PENN); 3D: Watches for money (BABYSITS); 5D: Convertible type (SOFT TOP); 6D: Cpl. or sgt. (NCO); 7D: __ vez: again, to Alonso (OTRA); 8D: Shoots in a forest? (BAMBOO); 9D: "Gotcha!" ("HAH!"); 10D: Marriage agreement (I DO); 11D: Pricey Southern California beachfront city (MALIBU); 12D: Like some garages (ONE-CAR); 13D: Contemporary (MODERN); 18D: Unwelcome impression (DENT); 22D: Agile (SPRY); 25D: High style (AFRO); 27D: Wide shoe markings (EEES); 28D: Cereal box abbr. (NT. WT.); 29D: Dawber who played Mindy (PAM); 30D: Miner's matter (ORE); 31D: Benchmarks (NORMS); 36D: Unaccompanied (STAG); 37D: "Ready are you? What know you of ready?" speaker (YODA); 39D: Popular pens (BICS); 42D: Affect adversely (AIL); 43D: Links launching point (TEE); 45D: Tranquil discipline (YOGA); 47D: Site of many a student experiment (CHEM LAB); 49D: Lacking pigment (ALBINO); 50D: Like some sweatshirts (HOODED); 51D: Digestion aid (ENZYME); 59D: Niagara Falls feature (MIST); 61D: Epitome of smoothness (SILK); 63D: Certain do-over (LET); 64D: Scale syllables (LAS); 66D: Fleur-de-__ (LIS); 67D: Scottish refusal (NAE).


gespenst said...

I was late to the game yesterday, so just wanted to mention that for this New Englander, Silas DEANE was a gimme ... I live about 10 miles from the Silas Deane Hwy.

I liked today, a pretty straightforward Thursday, and thought the tax day tie in was fun.

LOVED "In bad form," and thought "Plug Ugly" was good ... actually put that one in w/ only one cross.

Gotta run, but I'll check back in later ;)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I had to resubmit this comment because I couldn't remember what day of the week it is.....

I find this weeks puzzle progressively getting easier. Maybe its just my screwy brain! or its inability to think with clarity early in the week, but I missd Monday's puzzle, I hated Tuesday's puzzle, Wednesday'ss was good, todays was just a breezy joy! By the way I dont like gov. agencies or other trivial threesies....just my Opinion

imsdave said...

Perfectly fine puzzle, yet I failed. The crossing of USIA/LIS got me. The last three times I've seen the "fleur-de-___" clue, the answer has been LYS. And the acronym meant nothing to me.

A quick google count says the odds were 5.5 to 4.6 in my favor - but not today.


What started out to be a MESSY puzzle (lots of erasures), turned out to be one of my favorites this year. Especially liked PLUG UGLY and HI MOM. Nancy Salomon did a great job on this one... lots of very creative fill.

And as far as Tax Day themes being a downer--- Well I did my RETURN on Turbotax in 20 minutes, sent it in by EFILE, and voile 4 days later I found a direct deposit in my bank account of $400. So what’s not to like about a tax puzzle?

Super clues:
"Shoots in a forest" (BAMBOO)
"Watches for money" (BABYSITS)
"Cupid's master" (SANTA)

EEES (plural, yuck!), SHAMAN (with MAN in the clue), and USIA (too obscure).

I had BMOC for 5A (Disdainful upperclassman).

When I was young and crazy, I had a real crush on PAM Dawber. She’s still quite a charming woman to me. Mark Harmon is a lucky guy.
Nanu Nanu !!!!

Thought YODA abutting YOGA was sort of cute.

I usually always have pineapple with my breakfasts, because it has an ENZYME which aids protein digestion.

Have a great day!

Tinbeni said...

Happy Tax Day!
If your RETURN and SCHEDULEs are not complete, get FORM 4868 Extension until October 15th.

I do puzzles FOR FUN and this DID NOT disappoint me. My grid isn't MESSY, FILLING IN was a bit slower but there are so many fresh clues and answers today.
Good job Nancy Salomon.

PLUGUGLY got a smile, HI MOM a grin, but ...
Of course my favorite fill was OPENBAR.
You can hold the ICE, I like it neat.

@PG Thanks for the Santana, like my Scotch it was Smooooooth!

*David* said...

This puzzle was a step down in difficulty from prior Thursdays. It did gave me a tad more resistance then yesterday but not much. USIA is PLUG UGLY otherwise a so-so puzzle with a decent tax theme, 1040and out.

Burner10 said...

Xword 101 - what a good student am I because I knew OLLA, ODETS and ELOI (forgot BOZ but got it from the crosses).
Agree - maybe an easier Thursday, but theme supercedes.

lit.doc said...

Nice, fun puzzle, if a bit easy for Thursday. Fav clues were 9A “Football player smiling into camera while moving lips” and 24A “Cupid’s master” (nice misdirection!).

For the second time in the last couple of weeks, I found myself trying to fit 16A ADORNO into five squares. I blame Horkheimer.

A question for Real Baseball Fans. I hear the (to me) redundant “New York Yankees” frequently, but I’ve never heard the Mets referred to as anything but “the Mets”. 20A NY METS? Really?

C said...

Fun, easy puzzle. I really liked PLUGUGLY, for some reason reminds me of Raymond Chandler books, not even sure he ever wrote that phrase but the mind is an interesting beast sometimes.

@lit.doc, NY Mets is used, though, probably not as frequently as plain 'The Mets'. I *think* it depends upon geography, i.e. west coasters are more apt to use NY Mets as opposed to east coasters. Middle of the country is up for grabs ;^) Just my conjecture. As a SF Giants fan, our announcers will say things like 'The NY Mets are coming into town on ...' but then again, two innings later, will refer to them as 'The Mets'

Rex Parker said...

Thought this was really bad. Bland theme answers and really truly negligent short fill. USIA over NTSB = someone who doesn't care. That's bush league baloney. I could list the avalanche of tired crosswordese, from STPAT to NYMET (NYTMETS, OK, but NYMET, ugh) to ADANO, but won't. PLUGUGLY is the only good thing about the grid, as it is the only indicator that the constructor gave a damn about being interesting/entertaining. EEES!? Next to NTWT? This was about as fun as doing my taxes. (there's a reason I pay someone else to do them)


Anonymous said...

seems to me that stereo jack letters are RCA....Mic refers to a microphone, the jack on which can be an XLR or 1/4 inch

Nipper said...

@Anon 10:54 RCA jacks come in male & female, the female typically being on the stereo, which is labeled for its functionality. One of these is "MIC".

Zeke said...

I couldn't tell you if this puzzle were the best or worst of all time, or where inbetween it fit. What I can tell you is that doing it in the LATimes applet makes any puzzle unbearable.

mac said...

Soso puzzle, with a couple of oddities: "in" bad form? I know it as "bad form" or "in bad taste".
I also expected "filing" in some shape at 65A.

CrazyCat said...

OK Thursday puzzle. My first big mistep was entering LAGUNA instead of MALIBU. All SoCal beachfront cities are pricey. Got that fixed up and breezed through except I had no idea what VOA or USIA were. Also forgot ODETS and NEMEA so had some probs there in the lower southwest.

Does anyone actually call a TYKE a shaver? For that matter, does anyone call a kid a TYKE? One more question - the stew and the pot are both OLLA? Had no idea what PLUG UGLY was so I looked it up. The PLUG UGLIES were a street gang and "political club" in westside Baltimore in the 1850s.

hazel said...

Wow - another disappearing comment!!

To reiterate (what I can remember anyway) - hohum puzzle with a couple of cool words - BAMBOO (love my floors!), SHAMAN, HIMOM, and PLUGUGLY. I did mention that it was funner than doing my taxes and that I pay Turbotax - that would be kind of a cool crossword, come to think of.

Maybe my comment regarding not denigrating the constructors was considered inappropriate? If so, my bad.

Anonymous said...

not getting how santa is cupid's master?

Deputy Head Elf said...

@Anon - On Dasher, on Prancer, on Cupid ...

Anonymous said...


Thanks. Was racking my brain.

- - Robert

Rube said...

I remember reading an article a few years ago about the VOA and the demise of the USIA. Wikipedia tells me that it was 1999 when the USIA was abolished and replaced by the BBG, (Broadcasting Board of Directors -- a very innocuous title considering what they do). This article caught my attention because I had done a job near Dixon, CA where we had to drive by the VOA antenna array there. It was a huge array, but really looked ratty. No wonder that it has long since been deactivated.

Had to come here to unravel the mysteries of HIMOM and SANTA... both great misdirectional clues, tx y'all.

I find it interesting where one person's worn-out crosswordese is another's gateway to solving a puzzle with multiple unknown words and phrases. For the life of me, I couldn't remember where Hercules slew the lion. Best I could do was Nineveh. Nor did I think of ODETS for the playwright at 71A. Eventually worked them out with BOZ, LET, & LAS. (Actually had rep at first for 63D, but nothing else would work, and had to go through all 7 scale syllables.)

Interesting clue for YEW. Read somewhere that this was the wood of choice for long bows, LONGAGO.

Methinks I've seen 25D somewhere else today. PLUGUGLY is a great answer, to bad the clue doesn't work, IMO. Also didn't like the clue for 5A, SNOB. It works, but a stretch. Just learned that OLLA is the stew as well as the pot in which it's cooked.


Sfingi said...

@Elf - Thanx here too.

I Googled for 2 sports clues, SELIG and NYMET. I'll remember the first since it means holy in German.

Did not know USIA or NTSB, but got on crosses.

Had SOLO before STAG and DORM BED before CHEM LAB (student's experiment site). One sees what one brings.

A Bell for Adano was an award Hubster got at Chemical Biological in Army camp, which they called Bell for O'Donnell.
The book is really quite good. It tells about a Civil Defense unit that listened to what the people in the town really wanted - which was a church bell, and with which the US won their hearts - something to think about to this day.

RASTA said...

Shouldn't the clue for chemlab be abbreviated? Hated the usia & ntsb on top of each other