03.04 Fri

March 4, 2011
Matt Matera

Theme: Breakfast Puns — That's right, breakfast puns.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Halloween breakfast pastry? (CREEPY CRULLER).
  • 33A: Lone breakfast pastry? (CRUMPET SOLO).
  • 42A: Cherished breakfast pastry? (THE BUN I LOVE).
  • 56A: Ones hooked on breakfast pastry? (THE SCONEHEADS).
Now this puzzle right here? This is what I'm talking about. I enjoyed this puzzle from start to finish. Part of that felt very personal to me — several entries brought to mind private jokes and nice or humorous memories — so I'll be interested to hear what you all think.

The puns are … puns. Nothing really notable there. They're not horrible and they're not fantastic (although, now that I think about it, "fantastic pun" might be an oxymoron). But the cluing is really, really good and the grid is full of sparkly entries like:
  • 8A: Like some Disneyland passes (TWO-DAY).
  • 11D: Gallantry (DERRING-DO).
  • 35D: In one piece (UNSCATHED).
  • 44D: Endangered great apes (BONOBOS).
Derring-do! How awesome is that?!

Oh, I also wanted to mention that I met Matt Matera at last year's awesome Lollapuzzoola tournament. The only problem is that I also met Matt Besse and I'm not sure which of them is which. So I asked our good friend Doug P. about it and it turns out he has the same problem. Our conversation went kinda like this.
Doug: He's a Ryan and Brian guy. I might have met him last year.
Me: Yeah, me too. I think I follow him on Twitter.
Doug: Red Sox cap, right?
Me: Yeah.
Doug: Wait, I think that's Matt Besse. Matt Matera is joon's friend, I'm almost positive.
Me: So Red Sox cap guy isn't Matera?
Doug: Well, he might be.
The problem was only compounded when I did a Google image search for Matt Matera and one of the images that popped up was … Matt Gaffney, a puzzle constructor extraordinaire who also works with Matt Jones. At that same moment, a message arrived in my inbox from the Cruciverb.com mailing list from … Matt Ginsberg. All these Matts around, of course, can only mean one thing: Big Ten Wrestling Championships this weekend! (HAha. Like you care.)

In conclusion, DERRING-DO!

  • 1A: The word? (MUM). My first thought? GREASE.
  • 15A: __ bene (NOTA). I had a little trouble here. It's the same trouble I always have, confusing "NOTA bene" with "nolo contendre." Two entirely different things, by the way.
  • 16A: It may involve an exaggerated age (FAKE I.D.). This one was really hard for me because I've never really heard of FAKE I.D.s. Oh my gosh, I see they're used by underage kids to gain access to bars. Why, that's illegal and those kids must be awful. Glad I never did that. (Hi, Mom.)
  • 39A: Igloos and yurts (ABODES). "Yurts" is fun to say.
  • 60A: Type of sauce served with falafel (TAHINI). As if "falafel."
  • 63A: Homework amount? (TON). Love this clue. Who hasn't said, "Oh my God, I have a TON of homework tonight"?
  • 64A: Puck's king (OBERON). From Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • 65A: "Dulce et Decorum est" poet Wilfred __ (OWEN). That O was the last letter I entered into the grid. The poem's title? The author's name? No brain cells firing at all on this one.
  • 5D: Michael's nemesis on "The Office" (TOBY). Ha! I haven't watched "The Office" in a while due to DVR issues. I'm still mad that we got rid of TiVo and the new DVR makes me so irritated that I can't get it to work right. Anyway. I had to think through a few characters — JIM? ANDY? — before I got to TOBY.
  • 9D: Half a city (WALLA). WALLA WALLA was a theme entry in the first puzzle I ever created and submitted to Will Shortz. With that rejection, as PuzzleMom reminded me, I joined a very big club.
  • 26D: Prelate's title: Abbr. (RT. REV.). See, if you're gonna have an abbreviation in the grid, it should be an awesome abbreviation like this one.
  • 30D: Actors Rogen and Green (SETHS). Hi, Seth!
  • 34D: Clinton Treasury secretary (RUBIN). I confidently entered REICH here. Was he a Treasury secretary too? Nope, he was Clinton's Secretary of Labor. But he is an economist, so I think I'm forgiven for the mistsake.
  • 47D: Baseball star who reportedly said, "I think there's a sexiness in infield hits" (ICHIRO). Personally, I think the 6-4-3 double play is the sexiest play in baseball.
  • 55D: Rachel Maddow's station (MSNBC). Speaking of sexy. Love her! Here's a great clip from a recent show of hers. It's not political at all, so it shouldn't be offensive to anyone.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 12D: River island (AIT).
  • 36D: Award with a Sustained Achievement category (OBIE).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 4A: You might need to watch yours (STEP); 14A: Downed (ATE); 17A: With 19-Across, serious warnings (RED); 18A: Not much (A BIT); 19A: See 17-Across (ALERTS); 23A: 1938 "The War of the Worlds" broadcast, for one (HOAX); 24A: Keystone enforcer (KOP); 25A: Blazing (AFIRE); 28A: Go-aheads (ASSENTS); 32A: __'acte (ENTR); 37A: Garden product word (GRO); 38A: Attacks (RUNS AT); 41A: Sch. attendance notation (ABS.); 46A: End of a boast (VICI); 48A: Got for nothing (SPONGED); 49A: Make official (ENACT); 51A: Newspaper supply (INK); 52A: Islamic leader (IMAM); 62A: Gaucho's weapon (BOLA); 66A: Flow out (EBB); 67A: Henry VIII et al. (TUDORS); 68A: Hitch (SNAG); 69A: Wall St. monitor (SEC); 1D: Orderly movement (MARCH); 2D: Nirvana #1 album "In __" (UTERO); 3D: Scorned lover of Jason (MEDEA); 4D: Lose it (SNAP); 6D: Boarding pass generator (E-TICKET); 7D: Sponsors (PATRONS); 8D: Brand of nonstick cookware (T-FAL); 10D: Michael of "Caddyshack" (O'KEEFE); 13D: NFL stat (YDS.); 21D: Show-what-you-know chances (EXAMS); 22D: Machinating (UP TO); 27D: Unevenly worn (EROSE); 29D: Cross words (SPAT); 31D: Big gun or big cheese (SLANG); 33D: Desire and then some (CRAVE); 40D: "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini," for one (OLDIE); 43D: Broad (EPIC); 45D: x, at times (UNKNOWN); 50D: Caruso, for one (TENOR); 53D: A couple (MATES); 54D: Acrobat developer (ADOBE); 57D: Serious lapses (SINS); 58D: Zeno's home (ELEA); 59D: Dangle (HANG); 60D: Tater __ (TOT); 61D: __ Simbel, site of Ramses II temples (ABU).


Anonymous said...

Sexiest play in baseball, the bunt single. Very few can do it.

Sfingi said...

Asked Hubster for NOTA bene. Molto and sta didn't work.

Did like the theme. Where's the Danish, donut or

Always have to wait when the answer could be ABODES or housES.

Wilfred OWEN - one of those poor fellows who died in WWI, a waste of a war fought by the poor for the rich. The poem was about being gassed. I suppose it's better than dying of the flu in 1918, like the poet Apollinaire.

SethG said...

I was gonna say "Hi PuzzleMom", but she totally dropped me as a friend on Facebook. Having never met her, I can't really complain. I've never met you or joon, either, but I do know that Matt's joon's friend. Joon's an A's fan, I don't know about Matt.

And I don't eat pastry.

Avg Joe said...

Challenging puzzle for me, but pretty enjoyable. Had some good guesses in the SW, but still HTG for ABU, TAHINI and ICHIRO. (Yes, they cross, but I wanted to be sure.) WOTD was BONOBOS. Did not know that one.

The puns were decent, but not guffaw worthy. Agree that DERRINGDO is a fantastic entry. But also agree with Sfingi, it seems incomplete without a Danish....a cheese Danish, por favor.

lit.doc said...

Really fun puzzle, though, as is so often the case, the write-up was funner. BTW, is there a wrestling matt?

Solve would have been smoother if I'd ever heard of a cruller or a bonobos.

Anyone else check the Urban Dictionary for "tahini"? Just sounded, well, uh, never mind.

*David* said...

I love me a little sweet bonobo like a toy chimp except you don't want to monkey around with 'em. This puzzle had just enough gimmes to let me move through it without feeling like I was in for a slog. Perfect for an early morning repast. I do have to remember ELEA one of these days.

MM said...

From one Matt M. to another: Your puzzle rocks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the answers. The puzzles are starting to show a change in generational knowledge. Couldn't come close to finishing. Don't get the theme, Won't call it "Slang". FakeID and RTREV ???? sorry, It looks like it won't be long before I won't be doing Crosswords anymore.

Vega said...

PG, that was one funny write-up. I was hoping you'd like this one, *plus* I thought it was on the hard side for an LAT Friday, so I was also gratified that you didn't go on your "too-easy" rant.

Really -- Toby is Michael's "nemesis"? Hm.

Sexiest baseball play...I might have to go with anon@6:20's bunt single.

In conclusion, DERRING-DO!

Meatloaf said...

Gotta go with the straight steal of home, because
a) It's so unusual, and
b) The clear sexual innuendo.

No contest.

Anonymous said...

Kenny Klimchuk, the best beer-league/sandlot shortstop ever, had a snap side-arm throw to first base that was like teleportation - you didn't see the ball, it just appeared one foot away from the first basmean's glove before making that 'crack' sound.

Once he mishandled a hot grounder (he never did that btw) with a runner on second. It was clear the even Kenny wasn'g going to make this out, but nonetheless he picked up the bobbled ball and made that move. Second base runner was tagging up but now takes off and ... oops, you're tagged buddy. Someimes when you can't see the throw its cuz, well, he didn't let go it.


Anonymous said...

Chicks dig the longball

Joon said...

hey, this puzzle was great! congrats to my friend matt. like ryan (hecht, of ryan & brian), matt matera is a dodgers fan. here's a picture of matt posing with his authentic frank stallone rocky action figure. he won it by finishing 2nd in the "local" division at lollapuzzoola 2 back in 2009 (on a saturday in august, if i remember correctly). it should at least remind you what he looks like.

StudioCitySteve said...

Going to be a dissenter on the theme clues here - breakfast?

No self-respecting person would eat a crumpet or a scone for breakfast, they're eaten at afternoon tea, so the theme clues are flat-out misleading.

I wouldn't call TAHINI a sauce, it's a paste. War Of The Worlds wasn't a hoax, it was what might now be called a mockumentary, it was never intentionally meant to deceive.

Some great answers here though, but I'm grumpy about the breakfast thing.

Doug P said...

Yes, congrats to Matt for a great puzzle! Cute theme entries (esp. CREEPY CRULLER) and plenty of fun in the fill with DERRING-DO, FAKE ID, etc. I didn't love RT. REV., but that's probably because I saw RTR__ in the grid and started erasing because it looked so wrong.

And thanks to joon for helping to clear up our Matt confusion.

Joon said...

steve, i often eat scones for breakfast, but thanks to your informative post, i've lost all traces of self-respect. luckily i've never had a crumpet at any time of day.

CrazyCat said...

Thought this was a little thorny, but then it's Friday so I'm not whining. Complete UNKNOWNs were ELEA, RTREV, BONOBO, OWEN, ICHIRA, NOTA and the new (for me) ABU. I was proud, though, that I knew the Nirvana album. I thought the puns were cute although I agree with @StudioCity that SCONES and CRUMPETS are afternoon tea components. TAHINI sauce is TAHINI paste thinned with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. At my favorite falafel place, they call it Sesame Sauce. DERRING DO and UNSCATHED were pretty cool as was PG's write up. Didn't like the clue Broad for EPIC, but that's because I wrote in "wide."

Rube said...

Like Joon, I guess I too have lost all self respect. Frequently have scones for breakfast. However, I don't believe I've ever had falafel. Just looked at a recipe and may have to make some sometime. I do use tahini sauce on shrimp. Wonderful!

Elea is in my crosswordese file as "Birthplace of Parmenides".

I think of an E-TICKET as the boarding pass itself, not the generator.

Got tired so Googled for RUBIN just to get the puzzle over with. Had yeArn for CRAVE and nothing was working in the midwest. I hope you're happy @pg, this was my first LAT Google in months.

Still, a good puzzle with lots of interesting fill, as noted by others.

Alexscott said...

Any Friday Puzzle I can finish with only one write over is a good puzzle. I would have liked to have seen a Danish, though. How about "Daring young man with a breakfast pastry" for 56A? Or "Breakfast pastry from Beijing?"

Also, as the coauthor of a book on the War of the Worlds broadcast, I can say that Orson Welles definitely expected to fool people, so HOAX is appropriate, trust me.

C said...

I forgot my crosswordese and misspelled ELEA as ELIA so a DNF for myself today.

OK puns, good clues, I WOULD give this an excellent rating until I learned a Dodger fan penned it. I now feel like I need to take a shower for working on this puzzle.

J/k, of course, it's spring training after all and I need to get in shape for the Giants/Dodgers rivalry. Excellent puzzle today, learned some new words (BONOBOS) and that is always a plus.

C said...

ps, put me down for the triple as the sexiest play in baseball.

Anonymous said...

Thanks @studiocitysteve - exactly what I was going to say - never for breakfast and since I pronounce it skon not as in cone - it doesn't work for me. And crumpets are delicious, butter running down one's fingers!

Actually used to recite a Wilfred Owen poem - can't recall the name it started out "perched on my city office stool I watched with envy..." I could go on and on but won't

JIMMIE said...

Speaking of sexy, bonobos are a sterling example of bisexual behavior. As Richard Dawkins states: "Bonobos use sex as a currency of social interaction, somewhat as we use money. They use copulation to appease, to assert dominance, to cement bonds with other troop members of any age or sex. Paedophilia is not a hang-up ..."

Wanda Woman said...

As a Disney geek, I especially enjoyed seeing TWODAY Disneyland passes and ETICKET in the grid.

"The Jungle Cruise is an E ticket ride. That's 'E' as in 'Euripides'. And that's exactly what you do, folks. You rip-a dees tickets outta the book and hand them to the ride operator." Classic!

Avg Joe said...

Totally off topic, but it's late enough in the day I doubt anyone will bitch about it. I'm going to see a really good band on Sunday night when they make a swing through Lincoln. The Bridge, a band from Baltimore. They're promoting their 5th album on this tour.

Here's a sample, and one of my favorites from their first album. Easy Jane

If you like live music with a funky twist to it and they come to a venue near you, this is an act worth catching.

Mokus said...

Thought BROAD was slang for Babe.

Suicide squeeze, please.

Anonymous said...

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori". From a great anti-war poem around WW I.

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

mac said...

I'm having a bad puzzle day. Bonobo?

This was a good one, I just wasn't on my best game.

Scones and crumpets are for tea, but I've sinned an had crumpets for breakfast, toasted, with butter melting into the little round crannies. I have tea with breakfast.

Sfingi said...

TAHINI is a sesame paste or puree and really yummy. It's used in cookies and hummus. I could eat it right out of the can. One brand is Jova, which is Kosher.

Then there's popovers, which my mother knew how to make. Talk about slapping the butter on! And good ol' English muffins.

I don't know why the sfogliatelle picture didn't take.

Sfingi said...


John Wolfenden said...

RTREV= right reverend. That crossed with THEBUNILOVE gave me the most trouble. Good pun, though. Surprised no one kvetched about the inconsistency of the theme execution: some answers have "the" in front and some don't, some add a letter while some change a letter, etc. I'm usually not bothered by that kind of thing but found it a little weird in this puzzle.

A good, hard solve.

Anonymous said...

Didn't need to know that Bonobos are bisexual. Not a good visual on that one.