[Note: This is the syndicated L.A. Times puzzle. It does not appear in the actual newspaper, but is available for free at cruciverb.com.]
Theme: "On the DL" — Theme answers are two-word phrases, the first word beginning with D, the second with L. (85D: Temporarily not playing, in baseball lingo (and a hint to this puzzle's theme)). (DL stands for Disabled List.)
- 23A: Vietnam War program (DRAFT LOTTERY).
- 29A: Driver's warning, perhaps (DASH LIGHT).
- 54A: What spies often lead (DOUBLE LIFE).
- 70A: Desert phenomenon (DRY LAKE).
- 89A: Place to sign (DOTTED LINE).
- 110A: Leer or sneer (DIRTY LOOK).
- 121A: It's no longer spoken anywhere (DEAD LANGUAGE).
- 38D: Be slain by a stand-up comic? (DIE LAUGHING).
- 43D: Murray offering (DANCE LESSON).
In keeping with the DL theme, I noticed a few other baseball clues:
- 22A: Baseball family name (ALOU). When I was figuring out which answer to use for CW101 today Felipe, Moises, and Jesús were all waving their arms wildly trying to get my attention.
- 95A: Third-winningest active baseball manager (TORRE). Former Yankee manager Joe Torre. And I'm sorry, he just doesn't look right in a Dodgers uniform.
- 41D: One of Willie Mays's 20 in 1957 (TRIPLE). He had a total of 140 in his career.
- 115D: National League division (EAST). The National League, of course, includes several Major League Baseball teams. The American League includes the rest of them. I have no idea which teams belong to which league.
Crosswordese 101: We've already covered DSCS (8A: Mil. decorations), AGORA (49A: Public place, in a phobia), ENOS (57A: Hall of Famer Slaughter), OTOES (84A: Onetime members of the Winnebago Nation), and SSTS (92D: Grounded fliers). NSA (129A: DOD division) and OSHA (12D: Workplace protection org.) were covered in our government agency roundup. That leaves us with a few choices today. Let's go with SSRS (15A: Ukr. et al., once), which stands for Soviet Socialist Republics (which, as I'm sure you know, used to be United). If the clue refers to a specific country, the ones you're most likely to see are Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia, and Latvia. Otherwise, the clue will say something like "Old map letters," or "Former political division."
Okay, back to the French. In addition to LALO and POILU, which I talked about above, there's also:
- 35A: Toulouse evening (SOIR).
- 114A: __-France (ÎLE-DE).
- 34D: Spirit in le ciel (ANGE). I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess this means angel.
- 44D: Marseilles crowd? (TROIS). Trois = three, and three's a crowd.
- 90D: Romain de Tirtoff, famously (ERTÉ).
- 91D: Behind (DERRIÈRE).
- 102D: "C'est magnifique!" ("OO LA LA!").
- 19A: Like an albatross (OCEANIC). Would have liked a "Lost" clue on this one.
- 51A: Romanov leaders (CZARS). Okay, this is funny. I actually entered tsars here and thought to myself "Maybe I'll explain on the blog how the TS- spelling is so much more popular than the CZ- spelling."
- 73A: Henry James biographer Leon (EDEL). The sooner you get over the idea that Leon Uris is the only Leon author with a four-letter last name, the better.
- 92A: Online bulletin board runner (SYSOP). Short for system operator.
- 101A: So out it's in (RETRO). Great clue.
- 125A: Some operators: Abbr. (MDS). That is, Medical Doctors, who operate.
- 128A: Fen-__: banned diet aid (PHEN). Once on "Sports Night" Dana Whitaker was asked if she knew what fenfluramine was and she said, "Well sure, it's the fen in fen-phen." Say it out loud. It's funnier that way.
- 1D: Wyoming city (CODY). After Casper and Laramie, ya got me.
- 14D: Queen's neighbor? (BISHOP). Chess!
- 68D: Brown of song (LEROY). Not a big fan of this song, but I am a big fan of Jim Croce, so here's one of his better songs:
- 78D: She played Thelma (GEENA). "Thelma & Louise" was an extremely successful female appropriation of the "buddy movie" that really got people talking about feminist issues (not always politely). But, alas, when I think of "Thelma & Louise" I can only think of one thing. Brad Pitt. I stayed to watch the credits after that movie because I thought, "I wanna know who this guy is. We'll definitely be seeing him again." He was hot, is what I'm saying.
Everything Else — 1A: "In My Own Fashion" autobiographer (CASSINI); 12A: Handicapper's hangout, briefly (OTB); 20A: Conference USA's Miners (UTEP); 21A: __ Lanka (SRI); 25A: Show uncertainty (HESITATE); 27A: Olden days (YORE); 28A: Guitar inlay material (NACRE); 30A: Piston pusher (CAM); 33A: Words after pass and raise (THE BAR); 36A: Daily agenda (TO-DO LIST); 40A: "Ready __ ..." (OR NOT); 42A: Given as compensation (PAID TO); 46A: Singer DiFranco (ANI); 47A: Some pop groups (TRIOS); 59A: Italian scooter (VESPA); 60A: Exhausted (SPENT); 62A: Second century date (CII); 63A: Upper East Side NYC eatery (ELAINE'S); 65A: Recede (EBB); 67A: Contract terms, at times (LEGALESE); 69A: __ Bator (ULAN); 74A: Narrow loaf (BAGUETTE); 77A: Old United rival (TWA); 78A: Rebuke silently (GLARE AT); 81A: __Kosh B'Gosh (OSH); 82A: Belgrade natives (SERBS); 86A: SAS destination (OSLO); 87A: Digestion aid (ACID); 93A: Hole in the head (SINUS); 96A: Old burners in a lab (ETNAS); 98A: Three Dog Night hit written by Nilsson (ONE); 99A: Mesopotamia border river (TIGRIS); 103A: 1066 battle site (HASTINGS); 105A: Take __ (A BOW); 107A: Oxygen-consuming bacterium (AEROBE); 109A: Adm.'s milieu (USN); 116A: Make pictures (DRAW); 120A: Web sellers (E-TAILERS); 124A: Danish shoe brand (ECCO); 126A: Woody's son (ARLO); 127A: The ghost of Mrs. Muir? (SPECTRE); 130A: Like many signers (DEAF); 131A: Syrup, essentially (TREE SAP); 2D: Bat opening (ACRO-); 3D: Precook, in a way (SEAR); 4D: Mariners' park, familiarly (SAFECO); 5D: QB's misthrow (INT.); 6D: Zip (NIL); 7D: Desktop figure (ICON); 8D: Like "aardvark," e.g. (DUTCH); 9D: Entertainment system (STEREO); 10D: Brainy (CEREBRAL); 11D: Thriller hero, often (SPY); 13D: Hair piece (TRESS); 15D: Make fun of (SATIRIZE); 16D: Refinery residue (SLAG); 17D: __ IRA (ROTH); 18D: Haggis ingredient (SUET); 24D: Skin coloring? (TATTOOS); 26D: Connected to the hipbone (ILIAC); 29D: Anticipates in a big way (DROOLS); 31D: Hgts. (ALTS.); 32D: Russian for "peace" (MIR); 36D: It may be periodic (TABLE); 39D: Opposing teams (SIDES); 45D: Actor Davis (OSSIE); 48D: More than great (SUPER); 50D: "I'll do it for __" (A FEE); 55D: Term of endearment (BABY); 56D: Marx collaborator (ENGELS); 59D: Let off steam (VENTED); 61D: Cry of accomplishment (TA-DA); 64D: Dundee denials (NAES); 66D: Lunch initials (BLT); 70D: Visa user (DEBTOR); 71D: Getting unauthorized R&R? (AWOL); 72D: Anchor Couric (KATIE); 74D: "Veni, vidi, vici," e.g. (BOAST); 75D: Computer acronym (ASCII); 76D: Equine gait (TROT); 79D: Go __: agree (ALONG); 80D: Has a few too many (TOPES); 83D: Winning or losing run (STREAK); 88D: Length of time (DURATION); 94D: Soothsayer (SIBYL); 97D: Tempe sch. (ASU); 100D: Like most church services (SOLEMN); 104D: Bring about (INDUCE); 106D: "Eating __ has never given me indigestion": Churchill (WORDS); 108D: __ roses (BED OF); 110D: Profound (DEEP); 111D: Restless desire (ITCH); 112D: Dash, for one (RACE); 113D: Mount of Greek myth (OSSA); 117D: "Darn it!" ("RATS!"); 118D: Indian tourist city (AGRA); 119D: Cry (WEEP); 121D: Family nickname (DAD); 122D: "All Things Considered" airer (NPR); 123D: "Golly" ("GEE").