Sep 2, 2010

Thursday September 2, 2010 Dan Naddor

Theme: Palindrome Pairs (36A. Three pairs of them end the answers to starred clues: PALINDROMES) - The ends of three symmetrical pairs of theme answers are palindromes.

17A. *Dense fabrics: DOUBLE KNITS. And 60A. *More than just grumble: RAISE A STINK. The first and last theme answers are paired. Knits is stink spelled backwards.

20A. *Ready to blow?: OVER STRESSED. paired with 54A. *"Top Chef" spin-off involving competitive baking: JUST DESSERTS. Then the second answer is paired with the penultimate answer. This one impressed me the most. Not just an acronym, stressed is desserts spelled backwards.

27A. *It'll keep your hat on: CHIN STRAP. paired with 44A. *Carquest stock: AUTO PARTS. Finally the third answer is paired with the ante-penultimate answer. Strap is parts spelled backwards.

Al here.

Along with the pairing, there was also some impressive symmetry work involved. The tip-off answer was positioned in the very center. Every pair has one answer that starts on the left edge of the grid and its mating answer answer ends on the right edge, and constructed so that both answers within a given pair are the same length as each other. Amazing 8-letter overlaps on the first and last pair of theme answers.

I can't help wondering how many puzzles from Dan are left before they are gone. Seven theme answers, using 75 squares, that's over 40% of the puzzle letters. Another quick solve for me today though, the short answers were mostly easy. I think abjure was the only word where I had to look up the meaning afterward.


1. Yankees' div.: AL EAST. Baseball. The Yankees are in the American League.

7. Deal: COPE. From Old French: couper, to hit, originally meant "come to blows with", and later evolved into "handle successfully". This would make coping so much more satisfactory, sometimes...

11. Jenny or jack: ASS. Names which became generic for male and female, applied to other animals (wren) and objects (spinning jenny, car jack). Note that "jack" was not capitalized here, so a name was not being clued. Ridden by 69A. Quixote's squire __ Panza: SANCHO.

14. Alter, as boundaries: REDRAW. Elbridge Gerry, governor of Massachusetts, was lampooned when his party redistricted the state in a blatant bid to preserve an Antifederalist majority. One Essex County district resembled a salamander, and a newspaper editor dubbed it a Gerrymander.

15. Slain shepherd: ABEL. Killed by his brother Cain. With 49A. 15-Across's dad: ADAM.

16. "Fer sher": YEP.

19. Prior to, to Prior: ERE. Interesting echo here. The second Prior (capitalized) refers to English poet Matthew Prior.

22. Fettuccine follower: ALFREDO. Noodles with Parmesan cheese and butter. And in the US mostly with cream as well.

25. Aborigines of Hokkaido: AINU. Japan.

26. Compress, in a way: BALE. Hay, straw, cotton, etc.

32. Cat tail motion: SWITCH. Twitch + swish making a portmanteau word that already exists?

35. Specialty: AREA.

40. Lots: A TON. Originally "space occupied by a tun or cask of wine," thus identical to tun.

41. Area 51 location: NEVADA.

50. Bingo call: B-TEN. Each letter has a possible 15 sequential numbers starting with one. There are 552,446,474,061,128,648,601,600,000 different Bingo cards possible.

51. Kettle pair: MA AND PA.

59. www address: URL. Uniform Resource Locator. With 3D. 59-Across ending: EDU.

64. Messenger letters?: RNA. RiboNucleic Acid. Travels out of the cell nucleus to deliver coded instructions to assemble proteins.

65. Ain't right?: ISN'T.

66. Have suspicions about: BE ON TO.

67. One hairpin turn after another: ESS.

68. Cribbage markers: PEGS.


1. Not easy, to a Cockney?: 'ARD. Hard. Letter H is dropped in Cockney accent.

2. MGM mascot: LEO.

4. Botanical gardens: ARBORETA. An arboretum is a collection of trees or woody plants. Specific arboreta names include: fruticetum, viticetum, and pinetum.

5. Soother: SALVE.

6. Rough wool cloth: TWEED. A trade name said to have developed from a misreading (supposedly by London hatter James Locke) of tweel, Scottish variant of twill, possibly influenced by the river Tweed in Scotland.

7. Six-pack units: CANS. And 22A. Six-pack units: ABS. Mostly an either/or choice, unless you really work at it.

8. Notice with a bio, often: OBIT.

9. Czech hockey player Nedved: PETR. Why would we care? Well, he married her.

10. Threat ender: ELSE.

11. Music to a captain's ears: AYE, SIR.

12. Star sometimes seen opposite Venus?: SERENA. The Williams sisters, tennis stars.

13. Stepped on it: SPED UP.

18. McDonald's founder: KROC. Ray.

21. Gathered dust: SAT.

23. Postgraduate study: LAW.

24. Emma Peel's hair style: FLIP.

28. "I wish I __ seen that": HADN'T. That which has been seen can never be un-seen. I'll be kind and not link anything here.

29. Factory outlet tag abbr.: IRR. Irregular.

30. Vegas gas: NEON. Jumping Jack Flash, it's a gas gas gas.

31. Identical: SAME. Literally from Latin: idem "the same" (from id "it, that one") + demonstrative suffix -dem.

33. Show enjoyment at a show: CLAP.

34. __ high note: HIT A. Payoff at 3:34.

37. Where the Lofoten Isl. are: NOR. Abbr. for Islands, and for Norway.

38. Northwestern University city: EVANSTON. The only private school in the Big-10. The Wildcats.

39. Teen safety org.: SADD. Originally: Students Against Driving Drunk, now they are against Destructive Decisions. Founders of the "Contract for Life" between parents and their children.

42. Skip over water, as stones: DAP. There is actually a North American Stone Skipping Association. The record is 40 skips.

43. Doc bloc: AMA. American Medical Association.

44. Officially retract: ABJURE. From Latin abjurare "deny on oath," from ab- "away" + jurare "to swear,"

45. One-way street no-nos: U-TURNS.

46. Magnetic measures: TESLAS. If only he was this popular in his day...

47. Hudson Bay prov.: ONT. Ontario. Did you ever notice that Canananananada is like banananana? It's hard to know when to stop.

48. Hook's right hand: SMEE. I wanted this to be hook, just for the irony, but "gone" would have worked, too.

52. Saudis, usually: ARABS.

53. On the Aegean: AT SEA.

55. Water waster: DRIP.

56. Slack off: EASE.

57. Participate in karaoke: SING.

58. Grounded jets: Abbr.: SSTS.

61. Ltd. relative: INC. Limited is the British "incorporated".

62. Nonspecific extreme: NTH.

63. "Koochie-__!": KOO. Possibly not safe for work, or while you're drinking something...

Answer Grid.



Dennis said...

Good morning, Al, C.C. and gang - jeez, what a great, clever theme; this is Dan at his best. I really enjoyed the solve this morning, and as Al said, even the symmetry of this puzzle is impressive.

I liked the echo of 'six pack units'. Needed perps for 'Sancho' Panza and for 'Serena', and had 'aye aye' for 'Music to a Captain's ear', which slowed things down in the NE. And our old friend Tesla returns yet again. Like Al, I wanted 'hook' for 'Hook's right hand'. Al, great job with the blog; I particularly liked the Koochie-Koo link.

Today is the anniversary of VJ Day celebrating the 65th anniversary of the formal surrender signing, and it's also Beheading Day. Celebrate carefully.

Did You Know?:

- The most common street name in America is Second Street.

- The condition of having your jeans too tight is called genitofemoral neuropathy.

- If you had $1 billion and spent $1,000 a day, it would take 2,740 years to spend it. I'm confident I could do it in a month.

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, all. This was a wonderful Dan Naddor puzzle. I must confess, though, that although I was able to fill in all the clues and I got the word PALINDROME, I didn't see them in the puzzle.

I liked seeing Petr Nedved.

The Lofoten Islands look so beautiful.

My favorite clues were: Messenger Letters = RNA. We see this often, but this is the best way to clue it.

Star Seen Opposite Venus = SERENA.

QOD: Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself ~ Jane Wagner.

Lemonade714 said...

This is a brilliant puzzle from Dan Naddor, with puns and anagrams which are also palindromes; 75 theme squares. Some real Thursday fill like ARBORETA, ABJURE and AINU; Two six pack clues, the near miss of AL EAST and TESLAS, new clues for OBIT, COPE, NEON, the misdirection of SMEE and my old friend SANCHO, who rode an ASS, but I do not know if it was a JENNY or a JACK. I loved it, but it was over too quickly. I especially enjoyed Star sometimes seen opposite Venus?: SERENA. The Williams sisters, tennis stars, who play against or opposite each other..

And Al your information is always compelling, and the PETR NEDVED connections to VERONICA I am sure is appreciated by many, and for all you guys, they are now divorced!

Dick said...

Good morning Al and all, a truly great puzzle from one of my favorite constructors. I find it hard to imagine how much effort must have gone into construction of this crossword. To find the palindromes, install them in a puzzle and then fit the symmetry must have been a very daunting task. We puzzlers should all be thankful for having had Dan among us for as long as we did.

I was having a fine walk in the park this morning when I suddenly arrived at the SW corner, then BAM. I started with auto facts for auto parts, did not know abjure and was not sure of just desserts so this caused some long delays in filling that section. I finally took a guess at just desserts and the rest fell quickly.

Hope you all have a great Thursday.

Bob said...

About the same level of difficulty as yesterday. 17 minutes to complete. No problems to speak of.

Mainiac said...

Good Morning Al, CC and you group of Puzzleheads!

What fun!

Al I always enjoy your write-ups.

Crafty clues and some miscues on my part made completing the challenge in pencil wicked satisfying. Ayeaye screwed me up in the NE. Twitch Switch was an easy fix but Abjure was had totally by perps. New one.

Favorite that really had me head scratching was Serena.

We're struggling through a heat wave that doesn't come close to matching what some others have endured or are dealing with.

Stay cool!

HeartRx said...

Good Morning Al et al.

This was an amazing puzzle by Dan Naddor. His genius just floors me, with the symmetry, the palindromes, and being able to put it all together into a beautifully coherent puzzle.

Since it's Thurs, I really didn't mind the obscure references to "PETR" or "AINU". Loved the same clues as already mentioned. One other worth noting: "Ain't right?" Great clue for "ISNT", because the answer IS the RIGHT way to say "ain't"!!

Great write-up, Al. I don't know if anyone else has listened to the entire link to "Title of the Song", but I hung on for the payoff at 3:42, and it was worth it. I had never heard of DaVinci's Notebook, but I am definitely going to check them out on iTunes.

Have a great day, everyone!

elsie said...

I did it! With all of your help, I can finally say I completed a Thursday puzzle! I have followed this site for months gaining the understanding of what it takes to solve the puzzles. This puzzle might have been a little easier to solve, but I thought it was very clever. And I did it! Just by following every day I got 'Tesla', 'Koo', 'ard', 'at sea', and others. THANK YOU EVERYONE!!

Spitzboov said...

Goodmorning all. Nice write-up, Al

Yet another Dan Naddor puzzle. How special! Fun theme and some great fill like ABJURE and PALLINDROMES. A couple across and down passes, and it was mostly solved. The perps helped a lot, and the pallindrome theme fills helped get DOUBLEKNITS and OVERSTRESSED. No look-ups were needed. AINU and NOR were gimmes. WAGS included ABEL and ERE. SERENA was very clever.

'Lofoten' Isl. are known for a large 'eddy' or maelstrom in the vicinity.

This SALVE is a very useful soother, particularly in cases of "udder" disaster.

Here are some CHINSTRAP penguins.

Enjoy the day.

Lemonade714 said...

Al, I do not know many who listen to Da Vinci's Notebook who I first heard listenng to BOB AND TOM on the radio taking my youngest to school; no doubt warped the poor boy. Their big hit MY ENORMOUS... well, do not click if you are easily offended

Anonymous said...

Now I know why some people go on binge eating when they're STRESSED
out. They're thinking of the word as DESSERTS spelled backwards. Nicely constructed puzzle. Not difficult but very engaging.
Jerome must have been the inspiration for this puzzle.

Dennis said...

elsie, congratulations! Feels great, doesn't it?

kazie said...

G'morning all,

Al, fabulous write-up!

I enjoyed the Da Vinci link. Passed it on to my sons, and I will definitely have to explore them more myself too!

Well, I was having so much fun wending my way through the CW today, I failed to notice that it was one of Dan's until it was mentioned in the blog. I didn't really pause to see the palindromes either.

As is normal with Dan, I started fearing I'd have to google a lot, but things fell in after I got rid of SYRIUS for SERENA, even though I never did get that corner right (AES/EUREKA/YUP/AIKU). I don't know my celestial stars at all, and the tennis variety never even occurred to me.

I also didn't get ABJURE, not having ever played bingo and heard a letter before the number, and not understanding the RNA clue at all. The dog was pestering me to go out, and when I came back I forgot I still had that corner to finish before coming here.

Have a great Thursday everyone!

Hahtoolah said...

Welcome, Elsie. I hope you return often.

You will lose your 6-pack ABS by drinking too much from your 6-pack cans!

Anonymous said...

Where is Jeannie? Did I miss something?

Al said...

@Lemonade714, I also first found DVN on Bob & Tom, but "Title" was the first song I heard. I had to pull over until it was done. I couldn't imagine trying to drive if EP was the first time you heard them sing. A few years back I was fortunate enough to see them perform live here at Bayfest, which used to be hosted on the UWGB campus. Their live shows had more audience interaction, with improv suggestions from the audience, and they were hilarious (including symbolically jumping rope during the EP performance using something that was not a rope...) Unfortunately, they are no longer all together, but Paul and Storm still compose new material and tour.

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All...what everybody else said about this wonderful Dan Naddor puzzle!

As usual with his work, the misleading clues just made it more fun. I was fooled on SERENA, SMEE (YEP, I entered GONE at first) and TWITCH instead of SWITCH.

PETR, DAP and ABJURE were unknowns, but all came together with perp help.

The theme answers were amazing. It is a shame that we can't ask Dan which word gave him the idea and how long it took to construct the complete puzzle.

Great blogging, Al. "The Bob and Tom Show" is tuned to our car radio for all early morning trips. We first heard DVN there too.

I'm looking forward to seeing "The American" today. A couple of friends of ours saw it yesterday and hated it so much they took the time to email everyone in their address book to say "don't bother". We love our friends for many reasons, but not for their tastes in movies. Usually a pan from them means we will like it. See you all later.

creature said...

Good Morning C.C.,Al and All,

Of course,I,too,loved the puzzle. Not knowing who the constructor was,I learned quickly to keep my mind turned 'on'.
There were 'uturns', that rattled my brain; 'bale', in which
I have been,from time to time,
painfully engaged, became a foreign language that had no meaning- only with perps and with a shaky ability to spell
'arboreta did that fall. To make
matters worse, it took Al to explain the 'hay' part of it to
me. Thanks, Al for that and much more.
My favorite clue was 'ain't right?'
Which explains my mindset today.
Once I saw the constructor, I
knew there would be some double talk-lots of fun .The theme was brilliant and I found myself
poring over the finished puzzle for a few minutes. It was a beautiful thing to behold.
25a and 37d were not in me,
but perps did it.
I'll finish the links later.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

No time for the puzzle oday. But I see it's one of Dan's. Will catch up as I can. Busy week.

No rest for the old retired guys.

Playing glo-golf with some granddaughters this afternoon, (granddaughters trump EVERYTHING!) rehearsal tonight.


Vidwan827 said...

Al: When I saw 'Dan Naddor' (R.I.P.)... I thought of 'giving up already'... but as I slowly plodded towards my destination, things became clearer and I finally solved it. I thought Dan had given us a break...

But thanks to your insightful blog, I am now able to appreciate the fine nuances ... you are like the translator, whose work often goes unnoticed and 'taken for granted'.

Since over 99 percent of readers cannot read, write or understand Persian or 'Farsi' ... how many of us give credit to Edward Fitzgerald, the original translator of the 'Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam' ? ... even though the verses we remember, are entirely in ENGLISH... and from 1859 !!

You displayed for all to see, the skill and the 'cleverness' of Mr. Naddor, and I was able to properly 'appreciate' it. Thank you.

I readily got the word 'Palindrome' ... but it required an Al ... to make an 'ooh-la-la' out of it.

MJ said...

Good morning Al, C.C., and all.

What an absolutely fabulous puzzle and theme. Dan Naddor certainly let his genius shine through in this one.

Favorite clue/fill was "Kettle pair/MA AND PA".

Great job of blogging, Al. Thank you.

Enjoy the day!

Nice Cuppa said...


Those of us who yesterday mused over ABBA in place of ABBR had their gray matter well aligned for today’s theme. Not that the theme helped me that much, as the starred clues were straightforward enough without extra help. Fairly original, but lacking in PEP.

I could suggest a few alternative ***thematic clues. More Times of London style:

“WHERE’S THAT *** COCKNEY?” for 19A ? (‘ERE) Tie-in with 1D

“*** MANEUVERS?” for 44D – (U-TURNS)

“BUNCH OF *** DOCTORS?” for 43D – (AMA)

If I had the time I feel sure I could work with “CAIN, A MANIAC” and “MAD ADAM” for 15A/49A,.

Of the others, I don’t know much about Hockey, but PETR Cech (who is indeed Czech) plays in goal for Chelsea, so no problem for 9D. Gareth BALE (26A) is the new Welsh Wunderkind playing for Tottenham Hotspur (my team), so the word was buzzing through by brain, albeit in a different context.

I’ve been a fan of the AVENGERS since the 1970s, but had forgotten the FLIP. Once the cross clues went in, THAT image of Miss Peel popped up, and the world made perfect sense again.

The only words/phrases I did not know were AINU - I am not up on Japanese First Nations; BTEN (50A) please could someone explain ??; and IRR (29D) – happy to say I have never been to a factory oulet: irreplaceable, irridescent, irresistible? Oh, I’m told it means irregular; how dull.

I put in MADD straight away for 39D, until PALINDROME told me otherwise. Never heard of SADD – but it is perhaps an appropriate acronym for the group that lobbied the Feds to raise the (quasi-) legal (public) drinking age to 21. Some stats: In 2008, 90% of fatal crashes were caused by people OVER the age of 21, of which a clear majority (65%) were caused by SOBER drivers.

The Venus clue (12D - SERENA) was cute but horribly obvious. Should have dressed that one up much better.

HARDY PERENNIALS: Glad to see SSTs still flying (58D). It still pains me every time I fly from LHR to LAX to know that using 1960s technology we could have arrived before we started, been treated like rock stars rather than cattle, eaten a hot meal (remember those?); and been addressed as Sir or Madam, rather than “You” or “Today”, as in “Would you like something to drink, TODAY?” I was expecting this commercial ( to be an allusion to the Mile High Club, but it is still amusing. And, admittedly, the original Concorde was a little cramped, and might have been a little STRESSED by such tasty DESSERTS.

Hoping that KROC’s major legacy is that his name fits into awkward crossword spots (not the ELITE TILE). And TESLA of continues his magnetic allure (groan). “Messenger” for RNA (64A) is becoming a little hackneyed.

Vidwan827 said...

Hahtool: Your Quote of the Day - Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself.

This was a repeat from Monday 8/30th, where it was ascribed to George Ade.... Today, the same quote is allocated to Jane Wagner.

1. Are George Ade and Jane Wagner - one and the same person ? Like George Sand and Amantine Lucile Dupin ( Baroness Dudevant) ?

2. That this thought is so universal that two people can independently come to the same identical conclusion ?

3. You make up a QOD as you go along ... and merely had the same mindset this morning ?

4. You repeat QOD's with different 'authors' ... just to see if anybody out there is listening or paying attention ?

I'm sure you are thinking ... don't people have better things to do than to concentrate on such inane matters ... or the other hand, you can take some pleasure in knowing that there are some people who actually read and ruminate about your QODs. (lol) ;-D

daffy dill said...

Good morning, Al and all.

This was not as difficult as most Thursdays, I think. Happily, my first two theme fills were RAISEASTINK and DOUBLEKNITS, so I caught on to the PALINDROME theme early enough to do some good. My only lookups were PETR and the islands. Had no idea in either case. No red letters today. Last to fall was the SERENA/AINU cross. After I finally got it, I realized I had heard of the Ainu. Of course I've heard of Serena, too, but my head was in the sky, not on the court.

Anyone here in Earl's path? If so, stay safe.

carol said...

Hi everyone,
Loved this puzzle, and I'm with elsie, feels good to solve a Thursday puzzle....especially one of our favorite constructor's. I was just on his wave length and did better than I did on earlier days this week.

Took some WAG's on some of the answers but they turned out to be correct. Loved 51A (MA AND PA)and 65A (ISNT).

68A (CRIBBAGE MARKERS) had me thinking of CA and Ken (he hasn't been with us for over a year, but he is a cribbage champ). I have played the game since I was about 9.

53D made me smile, nice to finally see 'AT SEA' instead of 'ASEA', which never made too much sense to me. Maybe it was olde English :0

Dennis: If one's pants are too tight do the genito fall off? Would that do for 'Beheading Day'???? ;)

kazie said...

Nice Cuppa,
Welcome, I think. Your pissed off state shows through your post. Maybe a nice hot cuppa would calm you down a bit. I think your clues seem a bit oblique for the style we're used to here. Anyway, we're not sure Dan Naddor would have had time or energy to seek a more cryptic way of presenting his clues while he was dying of cancer.

SADD was a club in the school where I taught. I think it was intended to be a way to engage the teenagers of new driving age and make them aware of their responsibilities towards each other and the world at large.

Anonymous said...

Dennis: True story! Friends were having trouble conceiving. The Dr. told him to wear boxers instead of BVDs. It seems those little guys were getting too warm from too close proximity. Must be true...they are proud parents now!

Anonymous said...

Dennis: Also, from parsing that medical term, it would seem that tight jeans cut off the circulation thereby causing pain...Favre and his baggy Wranglers probably never heard of it!

Bill G. said...

I very much enjoyed the puzzle and the write-up. Thanks. I wish I could find some reruns of The Avengers. Mrs. Peel was one of the sexiest bad-asses I've ever seen. Thanks for the barbershop link. Great stuff.

BTW, did you know that if someone gets what's coming to him, then he has gotten his "just deserts" rather than "just desserts"? You could have fooled me.

Tinbeni said...

Al, wonderful write-up, as always.

Thursday and it's a Dan Naddor.
What more could I ask for?
Nice impressive puzzle.

TESLA'S, our best buddy. How did these things get built before without him?

A few write-overs. Had YUP, "Fer sher" and was running a star-chart through my brain before I finally hit the noggin with that V-8 can.
Its YEP and SERENA, duh!

Elsie, congrats! It will be even more FUN when you complete the grid tomorrow!

Chickie said...

Hello All--I enjoyed this latest of Dan's puzzles. It was clever and so well done.

Great blog today, Al. I didn't see the symmetry until you pointed it out. These things usually escape my notice, but I enjoy learning about them.

I especially enjoyed the Ain't right/Isn't, and Prior to, to Prior/Ere clues.

I did have to look up one item and that was the Just Desserts answer. We don't watch any of the reality shows so that was a complete blank. But, I did conjure up Nevada for Area 51 clue. It came from somewhere in the back of beyond.

I need to remember the DNA and RNA differences. I know that we have discussed this before, but I still mix them up until the perps straighten things out.

I fell into the Yup for Yep, and Sirius for Serena traps, but those were fixed with the perps. I felt good about finishing a Dan Naddor puzzle, despite the lookups.

Chickie said...

I watched a great documentary on PBS last evening, called "Wordplay".

It was a wonderful piece about crossword puzzling. Will Shortz and Merle Reagle were two of the main narrators. All the comments about doing and constucting puzzles led up to the Crossword Puzzle Tournament.

I'm sure that this piece has been on previously, but I had missed it before. I enjoyed the program so much, especially seeing and listening to the people who have been so much a part of our experiences here on the blog.

Tune in if it comes to your area of the country.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Great puzzle today! Loved it! I would classify it in the category of masterpiece.

I knew AINU right away, having been a student of the far east. But I also was thinking of a bright star in the sky and wanted SIRIUS a ton, but AINU precluded that. What a nice "aha" moment when SERENA came to mind. Damn clever.

I would never in my life have noticed that STRESSED is DESSERTS spelled backwards (or vice versa). Way cool! When I told my wife to write KNITS on a piece of paper and then write it spelled backwards, she laughed out loud with delight. (She is an avid knitter, aka "Knit Wit").

I wanted SWISH for the cat tail motion, but was happy to change it to SWITCH when SLAP seemed the wrong way to express appreciation for a show.

ARBORETA, ALFREDO, and ABJURE are awesome fills.

My sister got her degree at Northwestern, so I knew EVANSTON right away. Another awesome fill.

Man oh man, I just can't praise this puzzle enough.

We watched a television program on PBS last night about crossword puzzle solvers and constructors. They were all NYT puzzle people, including Will Shortz. It was fascinating. There was a champion solver named Al, but I think it is not our Al. that guy's full name was Al Sanders. He came in 3rd place in the tournament. I could never enjoy solving puzzles under the conditions they had to face, which included points for speed. I like to solve slowly, savoring the flavor; I never look at the clock.

So, Dennis, just how WOULD you spend a billion dollars in a month? :)

Best wishes to you all.

Jayce said...

Hi Chickie, we watched Wordplay last night, too. Very interesting. I posted my comments before I saw yours, hence the duplication of remarks.

Lucina said...

Good Thursday, Al, C.C. and cyber friends.

And what a fantastic Thursday it is with this Dan Naddor puzzle!

I loved it. And although I have my grandbaby, Sloane (look at my AVATAR) who is a handful and as JZB mentioned, trumps everything, I managed to complete it but no time for the analysis.

Thank you, Al, for that. What a briliant construction! Palindromes, anagrams!

Oh, oh, she just awoke from her nap. Later.

Dennis said...

Jayce, past the requisite homes, cars, planes and boats? I'd also ensure that for every friend I have as well as several others, neither they nor their offspring would ever have a financial worry. I'd also give a bunch away to causes I believe in, like upgrading the many deplorable VA hospitals.

Then I'd buy an OB/GYN practice.

Jayce said...

Dennis, thanks for the reply. Admirable goals indeed, all of them.

Anonymous said...

1,000,000,000 in a month? No problem. The Federal Govt. spends that every fifteen minutes!

Al said...

I should probably mention, as was pointed out elsewhere, that the individual theme answers today are each a semordnilap. The word itself is made up by spelling "palindromes" backwards, and is the actual model for the pairs in the puzzle today. Palindromes are complete phrases that stand on their own to read the same backwards and forwards, i.e. Madam I'm Adam. The paired answer fragments are different words when spelled backwards. If you assemble the paired words together though, then they would have the form of a palindrome. I still don't think I would wear stink knits though.

Chickie said...

Jayce, No problem. Your comments just added to mine with different information. Those individuals competeing were awesome. I'm afraid I would have come in number 400 of 400!!

GarlicGal said...

Oh my, what a wonderful puzzle! Great way to start a Thursday. It's funny what seems so obvious to some (Venus/Serena) and not so obvious to others (meaning ME. Sky? Sirius? Syries?). Ugh. Loved everyone's comments.

I watched "Wordplay" last night as well. My sister and I actually saw it in the theater when it opened in 2006. The 2 of us and about 5 other puzzlers! We all guffawed in the same places. It's fun being part of a cult!

Remember only 4 more days to wear those white pants and shoes...

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers - Man, what a clever puzzle. I'm glad I got sucked into the LAT Crossword Vortex in time to catch the last chapter of Naddor puzzles!

Jayce and Chickie - My late mom was a devoted puzzler, so we took her to see Wordplay in a local theater as soon as it was released. What an eye-opener! Until then I had no idea just how (a)capable, and (b)intense, world-class solvers can be.

The theater itself fun too. At street level it's a great art-film house with perhaps 80 seats. Downstairs is the little place - locally known as "the bus" for its shape - with seating for about 30. That's where we saw Wordplay.

To all who linked and mentioned DVN: thanks! Those guys, new to me, are a hoot!

dodo said...

Hello everybody,
A lovely one today! For a Thursday it seemed easy and went together almost as fast as I could write except in a few places: abjure because I had put DNA and ORG but when just desserts fell it cleared things up. When I got the palindromes tip I kept looking for them: ere, eke, otto, etc. I did get ere but I think that was all except for AMA which of course is an acronym. But thanks to you, Al, it finally made sense when I came here. We don't get the title or the constructor's name so there wasn't a clue there, either.

Keep cool, all central Californians and whoever else is "enjoying" inferno-like temps.. . . .again!

Lucina said...

I fear that rule doesn't count around here. It's in the 100s well into September and white, along with pastels, is the coolest color to wear.

Actually, we are going to San Diego for the weekend to cool off.

I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this puzzle. Such clever clues and answers.

jenny or jack, ASS
kettle pair, MAANDPA
magnetic measures, TESLA, our new best friend
Hook's right hand, SMEE (got it!)

Star sometimes seen opposite Venus? Serena, although, hand up for Sirius first.

What a loss for us that Dan Naddor is gone but he left a wonderful legacy.

Later, maybe.

Hahtoolah said...

Well, Vidwan, just seeing if you are on your toes. Actually, the error was on monday. Today reflects the correct author of the quote.

Marge said...

Hi all!
It boggles my mind that someone can up with a puzzle like this one, it is truly one of the greatest puzzles I've ever seen. And Al, for you to see all the nuances in it is also genius.

I never caught on to the Serena/Venus answer until I came to the blog. I did know Sancho Panza clue as my son played him twice in Man of La Mancha, once when he was in college(it was community theater) and then a few years later when he was in it in Baraboo.

My oldest brother is named Jack (not John) but when my grandmother heard his name (having lived on a farm all her life)said "Oh no, Jack's a mules name.

Also knew Evanston as North Western is in the Big Ten Conference, which now has 12 member colleges.

I enjoyed the entire puzzle!

Bob said...

DNA is the molecule that contains the genetic blueprint for an organism. RNA comes in two major types: Transfer RNA and Messenger RNA, both involved in building proteins. Occasionally, as in retroviruses, RNA can hijack DNA and change the blueprint.

Annette said...

Today’s puzzle was such a breath of fresh air! I don’t know if it’s just the fact that it’s one of Dan’s, and nearly up to his usual extremely high quality, but it just seemed more enjoyable to me than others have been lately. Maybe my concentration’s off or something, but I haven’t been getting as much pleasure out of the puzzles recently…

Since I’ve been getting to the blog later at night, I’ve tried saving time by doing the puzzles the night before on Cruciverb. After just a couple times, I really am getting used to the interface. When I tried to do a USA Today puzzle online, I was fumbling around on it because my mindset had gotten used to the Cruciverb application!

Al, I almost forgot to thank you too, for the warning that one of your links may not be appropriate for viewing from the office. I’ve learned to save most of the links for home, and have never gotten in trouble for the ones I have clicked on, but it’s still unnerving to get the “Warning – this site is blocked” message in the office.

Annette said...

Chickie (and Jayce), thanks for the reminder about “Wordplay”. I’ve had it on my ToDo list to borrow it from our library, but it’s only available at certain locations, which are only open on certain days. So I haven’t made it there yet. Now that I know it’s worth it, I’ll make more of an effort to get there this weekend.

GarlicGal, although I don’t agree with the white pants/shoes thing, especially here in South Florida, but for the heck of it, I did take the opportunity to wear white pants to work today as my last business day before the holiday. I noticed a few others had too.

GarlicGal said...

@ Annette - I hope the Fashion Cops made note of the timeliness of your white apparel. Isn't it a silly "rule"? Whether we follow it or not, we all know it and laugh about it. (Some folks wear pajama bottoms to the grocery store, why not a fabulous pair of white poly-pull-ons?) hehehe

Jayce said...

The switch from white dinner jacket to all black tux will be done next week, as per Philadelphia Main Line protocol :)

chapstick52 said...

Je t'adore Dan Naddor.

Dilbert said...

Bill G., You may buy new or used copies of The Avengers
or rent them from Netflix.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain the sudden abscence of the pretty, witty Jeannie? By me being the anon admirerer, did I scare her away? I enjoy her posts. I can tell she has a soft spot for Lemon, and she didn't even post when he blogged. Did I miss something?

Anonymous said...

Who cares?

jeannie fan apropos said...

Anon, another Jeannie fan. If you read back, she lost a friend to cancer that she basically took under her wing. She is probably mourning that and also respecting CA's condition and not posting because of that. Just guessing

Jerome said...

You're not alone, chapstick52. I'll always adore him.

Great puzzle Duck!

Chickie said...

Bob, thank you for the explanation of the difference between DNA and RNA. It was very understandable.

GarlicGal, I wear white pants in December with Christmas attire. I usually don't put them away until after that! Please don't send the fashion police my way, as I don't think I'll change any time soon.

My refrigerator has gone on the fritz, again. This is the fourth time since it was new in 2000. Seems like every two years or so we have a major repair. I'm not sure it is worth repairing this time. We'll see.

Lemonade714 said...

I learned to count playing cribbage, I guess I was about 3 or 4; my father would play with the local pharmacist, and I was very nosey and watched and learned.
great memories.

"Rod" Dan Naddor will always be part of my puzzle joy.

It is always odd when we have a regular who is not here, but we are always here for all of people from those who seldom show anymore, to those who are brand new. Sometimes life makes puzzles seem silly; and eventually we realize silly is good.

Anonymous said...

Whatever all that means.

Frenchie said...


- The condition of having your jeans too tight is called genitofemoral neuropathy
Beheading Day...I do the female version of this...I like to know my assets are all safe and snug! There are those who call it camel-toe!

So these are basically my unfinished notes so bear with me, I have a QUESTION.

A palindrome is any word, line or even complete poem which reads the same backwards as it does forwards. PALINDROMES In this situation, It's 'reversing' words rather than the play of word's spelling and meaning the same back and forth ...pop/pop rather than knits/stink which have each a unique definition.
Did you hear about the dyslexic Agnostic? He refused to acknowledge the existence of Dog. palidrome or not?

Symmetrical letters...:
Another form of palindrome consists of words which contain symmetrical letters that look the same when turned upside down or viewed in a mirror (see image above):


A palindrome is any word, line or even complete poem which reads the same backwards as it does forwards.

palindromes and semordnilaps (spelling words backward.)
DNA palindrome: "Avid singing does not a diva make."

From: Anu Garg (garg
Subject: semordnilap and dna palindromes

Great response to the call for semordnilap/palindromes. # An anagram which has reverse spelling of a word and itself spells a proper word is called a semordnilap. Here are a few selections. On another note, do you think Mets will stem Yankees or will the latter seek nay for the former?


Did you hear about the dyslexic Agnostic? He refused to acknowledge the existence of Dog. joke

7d. six pack-units/CANS-nice change! We usually get abs.
22d. six-pack unit/ABS-I spoke to soon. ABS is here also!
27a. It'll keep your hat on/CHINSTRAP
41a. ref to aliens?

I need some help here. A palindrome to me is the word spelling and meaning remaining the same def. wise as well..

I'm out.

Dennis said...

Frenchie, I believe you're right - the true definition of a palindrome includes the qualifier that it not only reads the same forward and backward, but also means the same.

Anonymous said...

The long answers in the September
2nd puzzle are NOT palindromes unless there is another type of palindrome I'm not aware of. 'Madam' is and 'knits' is not.