Dec 18, 2009

Friday December 18, 2009 Dan Naddor

Theme: Give It a (T)RY - RY is added to the T-ending first word of a common phrase.

17A. Battlefield success strategy?: INFANT(RY) FORMULA. Infant Formula.

21A. Church pool table features?: VEST(RY) POCKETS. Vest Pockets.

35A. Downside of grits and chicken-fried steak?: COUNT(RY) CALORIES. Count Calories.

43A. Armed guard?: SENT(RY) PACKING. Sent Packing. I don't quite get this one. What's the connection between "guard" and PACKING?

50A. Customs of dessert chefs?: PAST(RY) PRACTICES. Past Practices. Not a familiar legal term to me.

Today's Dan Naddor Index (non-theme entries with 6 or more letters) is 18. Quite high. Nice pairs of 7-letter Across entries in each corner. Heavy 71 theme squares.

Wish EAT ON (22D. Use, as china) were clued as stationery brand EATON to avoid the duplication with EAT IT (26A. Absorb a loss, slangily).

I am used to seeing Dan's question-marked theme clues. His hallmark. Just like the vibrant yellow & blue colors in van Gogh's paintings. Last week's PHENOMENAL simply felt bland.


1. News: TIDINGS. Had the urge to fill in UPDATES.

8. Lumberyard tools: RIPSAWS

15. From 1988 to 1999, a record 856 consecutive games were played in Dodger Stadium without one: RAINOUT. Not aware of this Major League record.

16. Slightly: A WEE BIT

19. Big name in calculators: CASIO. "Big name in watch" too.

20. In an apt way: FITLY

27. Time co-founder: LUCE (Henry)

28. Minute Maid Park baseballer, locally: STRO. Houston Astros.

29. "What a looong day!": I'M BEAT

32. Store proprietor on "The Simpsons": APU

38. Mich. neighbor: ONT (Ontario)

40. Cross inscription: INRI. Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews).

41. Its county seat is Grand Junction, Colorado: MESA. Where the Grand Mesa is located I presume.

42. Composer Bruckner: ANTON. An Austrian.

56. At risk of being lost in a hard drive failure: UNSAVED

57. Yes-men: TOADIES

58. Medical probes: STYLETS. What's the difference between a lancet and a stylet?

59. That much or more: AT LEAST


1. Numerical prefix: TRI. Prefix for "three".

2. "At Seventeen" singer Janis: IAN. See this clip. I've heard of the song, not the singer.

3. "What's the __?": DIF

4. Dormancy: INACTION. This one intersects three theme answers.

5. Dada, to many of its critics: NON-ART. Did you want NOT ART?

6. Brave: GUTSY

7. Steakhouse order: STRIP. Oh, bacon.

8. Battle of Britain gp.: RAF (Royal Air Force)

9. Target of WWII's Operation Detachment, familiarly: IWO. Was ignorant of the fact that Battle of Iwo Jima is also called Operation Detachment.

10. Tapered cigar: PERFECTO. No idea. Looks rather thick. What's their length?

11. Arab, e.g.: SEMITE. "Israeli, e.g." too.

12. Borders: ABUTS

13. Source of heir cuts?: WILL. Nice play on "hair cuts".

14. Canine command: STAY

18. "__-hoo!": YOO

21. 1970s fugitive financier Robert: VESCO. Nope. Not in memory bank. This guy was involved in the Watergate scandal.

23. Swaggering gait: STRUT

24. Like a smooth getaway: CLEAN. Fleeing getaway.

25. __ Lumpur, Malaysia: KUALA. A big part of "Entrapment" happened in Kuala Lumpur.

29. "__ my case": I REST

30. Polyester film trademark: MYLAR. What's the name origin of this brand? I can never remember it.

31. Pre-A.D.: BCE (Before the Common Era)

32. "__ a stinker?": Bugs Bunny line: AIN'T I

33. "Evita" subject: PERON (Eva)

36. "How dare they!": THE NERVE

37. Like premium hockey seats: RINK SIDE. Easy guess. Have never attended a hockey game.

39. State capital near the Big Belt Mountains: HELENA. And PLATA (45D. Oro y __: Montana's motto).

41. Like unwritten notes: MENTAL. Mental notes. Great clue.

42. Alcohol-based compound used in cosmetics: ACETAL. Al is a suffix for "alcohol".

43. Coward: SISSY

44. Suffix with law: YER. Lawyer. Sawyer too. Here is a great suffix list Clear Ayes found for us. YER = IER, meaning "one who".

46. Fancy scarf: ASCOT

47. Catalogued work: OPUS

48. Sound after a sprint: PANT. By the way, what does your "Runner's High" feel like? And how long does it normally last?

52. Law and order gps.: PDS (Police Departments). Silly, but it stumped me.

53. Covert fed. group: CIA

54. Some Caltech grads: EES (Electrical Engineers)

55. Old Atl. crosser: SST. Crossword constructors just can not live without SST.

Thanks for the awesome airport code information yesterday, everyone.

Answer grid.


PS: Here is Orange's write-up on the warm story behind Merl Reagle's musical notes puzzle last Wednesday.


Dennis said...

Good morning, C.C. and gang - good, tough puzzle for me today; just what I'd expect from Dan and Rich.

Got tipped off to the theme with the first theme answer, which helped a fair amount with the remaining ones. However, I still had problems all over the place, needing the g-spot, perps, divine intervention, etc. Overall, thought this one was a lot of fun; very enjoyable experience. And I'm sure we'll have the usual bitching about 'SST', but to me, it's a small price to pay for an otherwise tight puzzle with so many clever clues.

Loved 'Source of heir cuts'.
C.C., I'm with you - I like seeing all Dan's question-mark clues; means thinking outside the box. Also, why the interest in the length and width of those cigars? Did you think the 'C' on them stood for Clinton?

Today is Bake Cookies Day and National Roast Suckling Pig Day.

Today's Words of Wisdom: "One would rather be bitten by wolves than by sheep." -- Danish proverb

More Fun Facts:

- There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: abstemious and facetious.

- There are only four words in the English language which end in 'dous': tremendous, horrendous, stupendous and hazardous.

Argyle said...

Good Morning, C.C. and Dennis.

I jump right in with TIDBITS but had to jump back.

7D Steakhouse order: STRIP. Oh, bacon.
NY Strip steak It's from the loin section. I first tried T-BONE which is close(on the cow).

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, CC and Friends. I struggled with the top half of this puzzle, but the bottom part came easily. I realized that the first word in theme clues ended in RY, but didn't get the nuance until I read CC's explanation.

I didn't realize that there WAS an upside to Grits and Chicken-Fried Steak. Not food I am fond of to begin with, so the calories are irrelevant to me there.

I agree with the EAT AT and EAT ON cross. At first I thought one of my answers must be wrong because I didn't expect to see the same word crossing.

Favorite clue was Source of Heir Cuts.

QOD: Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young. ~ JK Rowling

Lemonade714 said...

Who but Dan Naddor would begin a holiday weekend with TIDINGS of comfort and joy! Any puzzle with TOADIES, heir cuts?: WILL, and Robert: VESCO will make you work and laugh. Of course my legal training makes me question whether YER is a SUFFIX, or merely the end of LAW. I think it would need to be used as an ending for more than one word to qualify. As my favorite umpire would often say to Bobby Cox, YER outta here!

Then there is the great debate, STYLET versus LANCET . Simply the first probes, the second cuts; like the wit used on this blog which sometimes explores, but often deflates.

I won’t even touch the MYLAR issue, knowing how litigious DuPont has become.

We are in flood mode, so I am off to find a paddle

Dick said...

Good morning C.C. and all, today’s puzzle kicked my butt, but good! I had problems all over the place and never did get the theme. After spending a lot of time jumping all over the grid I finally got the top half filled, but it did not seem to help much with the lower half. Had to make several trips to see Mr. G before completing all of the puzzle.

C.C. your question, “What's the connection between "guard" and PACKING?” In slang, at least locally, when someone is carrying a pistol they are packing heat or just packing, thus the connection.

We will be making a trip to Cincinnati this weekend, hopefully, between snow events.

Hope you all have a great Friday.

Anonymous said...

@Lemonade714, Sawyer.

Dan Naddor said...

Good morning, all. Thanks for all the kind wishes about my health. I'm hanging in there, plenty able to keep creating puzzles for your enjoyment.

CC, you were right on the money as to the EAT/EAT dupe on the left side of the grid. I had EATON clued as the stationery brand, just as you suggested, and somehow it got changed (inadvertently, I'm sure). The review/publication process is hardly perfect. Hope you guys still enjoy the final product.

Spitzboov said...

Thanks Dan, another fun puzzle. Bravo Zulu!

Difficult, but got most after a while. NW fell last. Had to g'l Janis IAN and change sellout to RAINOUT. Made sense. Had boo for YOO until the perps came in.

Didn't like FITLY much but thought clue of 'heir cuts' was very clever.

-1º here this morning

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, Ouch! This one was a little bit painful. But like most crossword solvers, I enjoy it because it feels so good when it stops hurting. Dan Naddor knows just how to balance the pain and pleasure. Today's puzzle was just about perfect for a Friday.

I haven't thought of Janis IAN in decades, but it my first fill.

15A was pretty easy. After all, It Never Rains In Southern California, at least, long dry spells during baseball season wouldn't be unusual.

Robert VESCO was lurking somewhere in my brain, so VESTRY POCKETS was my first theme fill. I caught on and then filled in TRY wherever I could. Still, that area was tough because without the perps I couldn't have filled in EAT IT or STRO. Other unknowns were PLATA and ACETAL.

LawYER seems odd to me too. Apparently YER means "one who" (suffixes). So Sawyer is "One who saws" and Lawyer is "One who laws". Hmmmm???

Jeannie said...

Odd how you look at the constructor’s name and find yourself anticipating a good or bad puzzle ahead. Well Dan Naddor, was today to be the day I complete one of your puzzles without any outside help? Nope, not today. I found this one a toughie! I did enjoy the clever cluing. How dare they? The nerve! Source of heir cuts – will. I have never heard yes men being called toadies so that one is new to me. C.C. I believe the steak house order “strip” refers to a KC strip or a NY strip steak. However, bacon wrapped tenderloin is absolutely my favorite steak. I also do not follow hockey, but once you see at game at the Excel center it is a whole new experience and I urge you to go to one.

I just read through last night’s comments and both Lemonade’s and Orange’s stories touched my heart.

Windhover, what you said.

WM, you are sweet.

tfrank said...

Good morning, C.C. and all,

I did surprisingly well with Dan's excellent effort. I got onto the theme early on and added try at the appropriate places, which helped with the other fills. As usual, I drew a blank on the Simpsons clue and was not sure of Plata, as I don't know what it means and am too lazy to Gspot it. Strut made me think of one of Bush's annoying mannerisms. I agree that heir cuts is a great clue.

C.C, check your e-mail for a copy of a letter I wrote to our local rag.

Have a great weekend!

Hahtoolah said...

Montana's motto is Ora y plata. It means Gold and Silver.

A recent study shows that Louisiana is the happiest state to live in. It must be due to all the daiquiri drinks we imbibe in

Warren said...

Hi C.C. & gang, a difficult puzzle from Mr. Naddor. We only got ~10% done before my wife left for work and it took me an extra 30 minutes online with G spotting help to finish.

Here's a link to where the quote 'ain't I a stinker?" came from

Jerome said...

I'm not familiar with today's constructor so I have to assume he's a rookie, or this is his LAT debut. I'm thinking he's a rookie because he's made some unfortunate errors in judgement.

One- Not enough names in the grid. Most people like at least twenty proper nouns in a puzzle. Not four or five.

Two- Never be humorous with the theme. Ever. After having read the rest of the paper with all its horrible news, solvers look for the same in a puzzle. Don't be distracting.

Three- Don't use phrases or multi-word entries. They're usually not very creative. A WEE BIT, is a prime example of that. Most folks prefer exciting, snappy one word fill, like REFERERER.

Lastly- Most weekday puzzles have 36 or 38 black squares. You only have 34. You've got to figure out a way to get more color in the grid. Ditto for word count. 68 words is not enough and it forces you to use too many long ones. A vast majority of crossword lovers like the puzzle chopped up into little boxes that hold a huge amount of three letter entries.

That said, today's puzzle does show some talent. IWO, PDS, STRO, and EES are fabulous fill! If you can work more of that kind of excitement into your puzzles you'll find editors always knocking at the door.

On average my crosswords appear about once every two months. The advice I offer you is in the hope that someday you'll get published as often as I do.

Good Luck!

Dick said...

A little tongue in cheek there Jerome?

I think I will stop by the Nursing Home when I go through Columbus today and if Nurse Ratchet will let Buckeye out. If so we will take him to lunch/dinner.

JD said...

Good morning CC, and all,

oooo-eeeee, this was a big big challenge for me , and I almost gave up, but then decided to to do the DOWNS which worked for me.I felt that many of the answers did not make sense to me, but they were correct, like pant and opus. Actually, it is just my lack of knowledge.
Did not complete 5,6,7 D. It was those clever TR's, like vest__pockets and infant__formula. Should have known Casio!!D'oh.

Fav. clue: source of heir cuts.

I am ready for Bake Cookies Day, with 5 mo old Grady helping me. I'm kind of non tradional when it comes to C'mas cookies. My Mom's were the best and I don't think mine taste the same, so I bake what the kids like: Toffee Pecan Cookies,Russian Tea Balls, and some graham cracker yummies covered with toffee, choc chips and some with NUTS!
Gotta make a diaper run to Target.Hope it isn't a zoo!!

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Dan - glad you're doing OK, and wishing you a full and speedy recovery.

Great puzzle today. Most solving fun I've had in quite some time. OK, I'm not fond of SST and FITLY, but not to the point where I'd actually bitch.

What a fun theme, and very helpful in solving. Also got a lot of help from the perps. Tough solve, with lots of AHAs. I'm about to use the word FUN for the third time!

I'm guessing that -YER is a natural way for language to develop when the usual -ER suffix follows a final W. Try pronouncing LAW-ER or SAW-ER, and you'll see why.

I had lots of trouble with the south-west section. Must have had a MENTAL block. But finally everything fell into place. UNSAVED could have been clued differently, but Dan knows we don't discuss religion here.

C.C. - "-AL" is not a suffix meaning alcohol. That would be "-OL." An ACETAL is actually a different chemical compound that is derived from reacting an alcohol with an aldehyde.

Not sure this will be very helpful.

On another note, here is the beginning of the 2nd movement of Sibelius's 2nd Symphony. Listen close for the quiet, but jazzy sounding walking bass line at the beginning. Then it gets traded with the Chellos behind the melody in the bassoons. Magnificent composition, with a few wonderful brass moments - we're playing it tonight.

JzB the knows a bit about alcohol and acetal trombonist

Carol said...

So RY insertion is not arbitrary after all. I didn't see the ending T ties. Thank you, CC.

@Dan, loved Source of heir cuts?

Anonymous said...

@Jerome, add Utah formation.

IRISH JIM said...

Good afternoon CC and all.

A most enjoyable struggle today.
Some false starts BOO instead of YOO. HELENA and STRO were blind guesses. Did not come close to gettting the theme as I never do anyway.

Glad you are doing better Dan.

Jazz my favorite Sibelius piece is Finlandia. Tried unsuccessfully to link.

Lots of rain expected here today.Anybody expecting snow be careful.

Good and safe weekend to all.

Argyle said...

Jean Sibelius - Finlandia

PJB-Chicago said...

Good afternoon, all.
A tough but enjoyable mental workout today. Stumpers abound in every part of the grid (FITLY?), but I enjoyed the wordplay (e.g. heir cuts) and theme answers, particularly COUNTRY CALORIES. Other sweet fill: TOADIES, TIDINGS & RAINOUT. No rainouts for hockey games--my favorite live sporting event: fast, vigorous, rough. Hard to see the puck at times though.

NON-ART is one of those post-modernist cultural words that seem to mean everything, and thus mean whatever the sayer wants it to. You'd think it applied to bad or trite or meaningless art, but alas, it seems not to.

Dan N., thanks for the visit, update and info.
Jerome--great, funny post. I hope Dan gets/got to enjoy it, too. Please encourage him to use ETE and ALOE more often. I miss them.

Jerome said...

Anonymous- Yeah, it could be that Mr. Naddor lives in Utah. Hence the "Dreaded Utah formation" blocks. For two years I played piano in the Mormon Tabernacle Marching Band and met many a Naddor in the Salt Lake City area.

IRISH JIM said...


No sooner said than done.
You are a Gem. Thank you.

Spitzboov said...

@ Dennis re: vowels in order.

What about AERIOUS?
adj. airy in nature

Dennis said...

Spitzboov, I'll certainly take your word for it, although it's not in my dictionary. Good to know. I think.

With sincere apologies for forgetting this morning, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Maria, and certainly many, many more.

Dan, always great to hear from you; hope you continue to improve and pump out the great work. And Jerome, funny stuff.

Major 'snow event' starting overnight - possibly a foot or more - not very good timing, considering that this is a very important weekend for retailers. Should be interesting.

Warren said...


Of the nature of air, airy.

From Latin aereus or aerius, adjectival form of aer, air, + -ous.
"Aerious science aside, the accompanying signs are often tongue-in-cheek." — Seila Hotchkin; Delaware Arts Center Has Funny, Scary Fossils Exhibit; The Des Moines Register (Iowa); May 14, 2000"

Crockett1947 said...

@jerome@11:17 Nicely done, sir, nicely done.

@dick Buckeye is in Middletown, not C-bus.

@dan Nice to hear from you. Keep on the recovery road!

@jazzbumpa Quite a link to Wiki for acetal!

@irishjim I had YAH instead of YOO at first.

@dennis Got a cot?

Dennis said...

Crockett, sorry, I don't know you that well.

Robin said...

I do, I do :)

IRISH JIM said...


Good one, did not even think of YAH.

Dennis, heavy rain here so headed your way as the white stuff.

Dennis said...

Crockett, listen for a chopper.

WM said...

Cleaning out the oven for Sat and Sunday baking days with the girls...a family tradition. Started this puzzle last night and have been yanking out words one by one again, but I got it done. Actually got the RY and plugged that in as soon as...helped immensely.

Janis IAN was the first fill and I I got the whole east coast and southwest but struggled mightily with the northwest...did not see TIDINGS for the longest time and wanted EATON but couldon't believe it actually crossed with EATIT...Helena fell easily not because I was sure of the answer but because that just sounded like the name of a mountain range in Montana, where my dad was born and grew up.

I do seriously love Dan Naddor puzzles because I feel so smart when I actually complete them, then look back at the answers and wonder what stumped me so badly.Lots of DUH moments. I am so glad to hear that Mr. Naddor is improving and look forward always to the puzzles.

Jereome...just don't bite off your tongue from jamming it so tightly into your cheek...and Dennis, I wish I had had advance warning on getting that pig ordered.

The husband is making the first cuts on the miniature wood block city I that I designed for Lucy's
2nd birthday...all the little houses and barns will fit inside of a wheeled hassock with a removable cushioned lid...a small magical land for her to design. I got the idea while feeding my FarmVille addiction on FB...

Good day to you all and hope your Holiday plans are humming merrily along. :o)

Frenchie said...

@Jeannie,Great recipe, they're in the oven now.
Good thoughts on those clues, too.
@Dennis, Followed up on the cookies, left the suckling pig alone!

Dan Naddor said...

To be fair, folks, the "Source of heir cuts" clue was my illustrious editor Rich Norris's creation, not mine. He deserves the accolades.

DCannon said...

I thought I had the theme this time, but I was thinking it was "try, try again."

At least a '9' for difficulty but it was enjoyable. I started it this morning and walked away for most of the day. Came back in the late afternoon to finish.

I got quite intimate with 'Mr. G' today. I knew "stro" but erased it because I didn't think "eaton" was right considering the "eatit" cross. Didn't know "apu" or "acetal" so I let the perps take care of them. Had to look up "Anton" and "perfecto." Instead of "Helena," I had "Denver" for a long time and finally decided to check that.

Glad Dan is feeling better.

It is touching that Merl would go to that much trouble in order to brighten the day of someone who is ill. Great story.

Hahtool, my hubby's favorite food is chicken fried steak. I like it for the gravy! Grits, not so much. I like them with cream and sugar, but I'm told that is almost a sacrilege.

Jerome, you had me thinking we were going to have a cuss fight on here until I realized you were joking!

We've had a decent day today weatherwise - got to the 60s again with sunsine. Hope tomorrow is the same because I need to get out to run some errands.

Clear Ayes said...

We had pork fajitas for dinner tonight. Not exactly roast suckling pig, but a pretty good homage to the real thing.

WM, what a wonderful gift for Lucy. That is something she can treasure all her life.

About today's WOW, leave it to the dour Danes to come up with a lose-lose choice like that. BTW, I don't really think Danes are particularly stern or gloomy, but they have that reputation (at least,in Sweden). Swedes would slap both the wolf and the sheep on the back, invite them out for an evening of aquavit sampling and singing silly songs and by morning they would all be the best of friends.

HUTCH said...


kazie said...

I struggled with this one all day, away from my computer with no references. Finally ended up back home to look up PLATA, but it didn't help the opposite (NW) corner, where I'd had UPDATES all day for TIDINGS, so of course never got RAINOUTS or the other first two letters of those downs up there.

I too thought the theme was "try, try again".

Just wondering where is Dot? I hope all is well with her and Irv.

Lemonade714 said...

okay, sawyer wins, i did not saw that coming

Lemonade714 said...

yer definition
-yer (yər)

-ier: usually after w lawyer

damn, i hate losing

Martie said...

Hutch -

Perhaps no one has ever told you that typing in capitals is the same as yelling vocally. It is very grating to see posts that are all in capitals. It seems like you are shouting at everyone.

Anonymous said...

Martie, Hutch can't hear.

Dr.G said...

CC, Thanks for translating INRI. I wonder why the Romans didn't write J since Julius Caesar had come and gone?

Chickie said...

Hello All--I put answers in, then took answers out, then put in answers again. This was a killer puzzle for me. Once I Googled some of my unknowns, Plata, acetal, Vesco, and Luce, things started to fall into place. I started the puzzle this morning, did a little more in the afternoon, and FINALLY finished it this evening. I did enjoy getting it done, as it was a good feeling of accomplishment even if my ego suffered along the way.

LOL Jerome! I thought for a minute you were serious. Great satire.

WM--Lucy is one lucky little girl. What a wonderful BD present. She'll love it forever.
What creative grandparents she has!
But we all already know that!

I actually baked cookies today, so I was right on target even if I didn't know it. They were persimmon bars. We like persimmons here at our house--I actually planted a tree in our yard so we could have them in abundance and not have to pay an arm and a leg in the store.

C.C. Burnikel said...

From editor Rich Norris regarding the duplication in Dan's puzzle:

"I noticed the comments yesterday about EAT IT and EAT ON. That was a dilemma for me. Ordinarily, I'd have used Dan's stationery clue for EATON, but with VESCO and STRO in the mix, I felt it was a little unfair to throw in another tough name. Since EAT was clued in two entirely different contexts, I thought the duplication was the least of evils."