THEME: No theme today—Just a themeless Saturday puzzle
Hello! I'm back! This is the first L.A. Times crossword I've done all week, and I got home too late last night to blog it. Sorry if you're an early bird and you've been waiting this morning.
Crosswordese 101: AGORA is a classic five-letter crosswordese entry. Three vowels alternating with consonants? That's crosswordese gold! It's an old Greek word for a "public open space used for assemblies and markets." Today it's clued as a View from the Acropolis (49A). I do wield some crosswordese words in my daily conversation, but this one's not one of them. I'm tempted, though, to call Chicago's Daley Plaza an AGORA.
Here are my favorite answers and clues:
- 1A: Village People classic (MACHO MAN). I think I've posted this video before but hey, it's worth another look:
- 15A: Latin-American pastry (EMPANADA). I've never had one.
- 16A: Simple life? (AMOEBA). What's simpler than a single-celled organism? Real Simple magazine should feature amoebae more often.
- 23A: Focus group? (CAMERA CREW). Great answer, but the clue didn't do it for me.
- 36A: Washington address (MISTER PRESIDENT). Hey! I was just in Washington, but I didn't bring a birthday present for Pres. Obama. I didn't even sing for him.
- 59A: "Freestyle" performer, perhaps (RAPPER). I wonder how many solvers thought this clue was about swimming.
- 12D: Figures out (GETS WISE TO). Good verb phrase. Are you getting wise to the crossword because you read this blog regularly?
- 33D: Half an incomparable mixture (APPLES). The other half is oranges, and we Oranges hate to be compared to apples. It mustn't be done.
- 58D: Bug-loving org. (NSA). As in the National Security Agency. Hey, don't miss the International Spy Museum next time you visit D.C. Fun for kids and adults alike.
Some of the other answers in this puzzle were on the dry side, the sort of words that are legitimate crossword fill but that people don't much use. For example: UNSET (22A: Up in the air), NOTER (41A: One with a pad, perhaps), RUER (37D: Hand wringer), DYE VAT (45D: Textile factory fixture), TRA LA (48D: Lilting refrain), and the awkward plural ERS (56D: Sounds from the stumped). For that last one, I'd have clued it with reference to emergency rooms, because we do talk about those in the plural, more so than things like "um" and "er."
PuzzleGirl will take care of you tomorrow, and I'll be back Monday when Rex is traveling.
Everything Else — 1A: Village People classic (MACHO MAN); 9A: Locale of a Stephen King residence (BANGOR); 15A: Latin-American pastry (EMPANADA); 16A: Simple life? (AMOEBA); 17A: Visited overnight (STAYED AT); 18A: One might excite a gambler (HOT TIP); 19A: Hinny's mother (ASS); 20A: Site of Europe's Parkpop festival, with "The" (HAGUE); 22A: Up in the air (UNSET); 23A: Focus group? (CAMERA CREW); 25A: Apollo's nymph (DAPHNE); 28A: Reminiscing word (AGO); 29A: Not localized (WIDE); 32A: Beginning of a response to "Eh?" (I SAID); 33A: Stand for (ALLOW); 35A: It's often blocked on beaches (SUN); 36A: Washington address (MISTER PRESIDENT); 39A: Seasonal hrs. (EDT); 40A: Takes in (DUPES); 41A: One with a pad, perhaps (NOTER); 42A: They may be rough (SEAS); 44A: 1994 U.S. Open champ (ELS); 45A: Kick out (DEPOSE); 46A: Movie nerd, e.g. (STEREOTYPE); 49A: View from the Acropolis (AGORA); 51A: Less ambiguous (SURER); 52A: "We don't know yet," on skeds (TBA); 55A: Carnival ride? (CRUISE); 57A: Starving (RAVENOUS); 59A: "Freestyle" performer, perhaps (RAPPER); 60A: Some required reading (CLASSICS); 61A: Pacers and Rangers (EDSELS); 62A: Reacts to being 57-Across (EATS A LOT); 1D: Formation with walls (MESA); 2D: Balances, e.g.: Abbr. (AMTS.); 3D: Bk. reviewers? (CPAS); 4D: It's cut and dried (HAY); 5D: Like a diving catch (ONE-HANDED); 6D: Title for Dickens's Defarge (MADAME); 7D: Byword (ADAGE); 8D: Timber, for one (NATURAL RESOURCE); 9D: Cross word (BAH); 10D: Illicit affair (AMOUR); 11D: Unsurprising (NOT NEW); 12D: Figures out (GETS WISE TO); 13D: Award for "Hot L Baltimore" (OBIE); 14D: Engaged, in a way (RAPT); 21D: Some U.S. Open scores (EAGLES); 23D: Receipt (CHIT); 24D: __ Bay, largest Oregon Coast city (COOS); 25D: Symbols of thinness (DIMES); 26D: Where all kidding occurs? (ASIDE); 27D: Some Campbell's creations (PASTA SOUPS); 30D: Kara Kum features (DUNES); 31D: Between, in Brest (ENTRE); 33D: Half an incomparable mixture (APPLES); 34D: Gallo gadget (WINE PRESS); 37D: Hand wringer (RUER); 38D: Knucklehead (DOPE); 43D: ATM card feature (STRIPE); 45D: Textile factory fixture (DYE VAT); 47D: Means of support (EASEL); 48D: Lilting refrain (TRA-LA); 49D: Parcel unit (ACRE); 50D: Scholarship drive donor (GRAD); 52D: One of Churchill's four offerings (TOIL); 53D: Osso __ (BUCO); 54D: Short staffer? (ASST.); 56D: Sounds from the stumped (ERS); 58D: Bug-loving org. (NSA).