SUNDAY, October 18, 2009
Merl Reagle

Theme: "Vowel Play" — Vowels are omitted from parts of familiar phrases to create new wacky phrases clued "?"-style

[Note: This is the puzzle that appears in the Sunday L.A. Times newspaper. If you don't get the paper, you can find the puzzle here. Scroll down to see the write-up of today's syndicated puzzle.]

Theme answers:
  • 21A: Additive advice? (WATCH YOUR STP). Watch your step.
  • 27A: Where to hear songs with subliminal messages? (ULTERIOR MTV). Ulterior motive.
  • 41A: Two things not to mess with in the Old West? (THE LONE RANGER AND TNT). The Lone Ranger and Tonto.
  • 57A: Way-ahead-of-its-time novel of 1766? (THE VCR OF WAKEFIELD). The Vicar of Wakefield.
  • 70A: Certain airline's in-flight movie? (THE CONTINENTAL DVD). The continental divide.
  • 87A: Old ABC series about a paramedic? (HANGIN' WITH MISTER CPR). "Hangin' With Mister Cooper."
  • 104A: Top two sellers at the Trail Mix Deli? (NUTS AND BLTS). Nuts and Bolts.
  • 111A: Banned Britney Spears song? (OOPS DDT AGAIN). "Oops!... I Did It Again."
I was jumping all over the place today. I couldn't figure out the theme and therefore couldn't come up with any of the theme answers and the crosses were taking too long so I got impatient and kept moving. Finally caught on and it was pretty smooth sailing from there. The Britney Spears theme answer threw me a little because the missing vowels are actually part or all of three words, where the vowels are all taken from one word in the rest of the theme answers. It was easy enough to come up with though, so not that big of a deal.

  • 10A: Torte topper (ICER). This is the person who tops the torte, not the topping that's, um, on top of the torte.
  • 23A: London vehicle (TRAM). I started with pram. Does a stroller count as a vehicle?
  • 25A: Rich tapestry (ARRAS). Learned it from crosswords.
  • 26A: Event for Trisha Y. (CMA). That would be the home-wrecker Trisha Yearwood. (Totally kidding. I don't know anything about that situation. I just think it's hilarious how people always call The Other Woman the homewrecker. Like the guy didn't have anything to do with wrecking his home.)
  • 30A: Pickett's music (SOUL).

  • 50A: Goshawk's grabber (TALON). Which reminds me: Go Hawks!
  • 53A: Chilly freight car (REEFER). Huh? Oh, I see ... it comes from the beginning of refrigerator. At first I thought, "That's madness!" See what I did there?
  • 79A: "Because ___ so" (I SAID). It's embarrassing how often I say this.
  • 116A: Underground network (ROOTS). I could only think of Watership Down. Was trying to think of a name for an underground tunnels and burros that rabbits use.
  • 118A: It's for the money (ONE). Anybody read the Janet Evanovich books? I read One for the Money and, to my surprise, found her protagonist, Stephanie Plum, pretty entertaining. To me, the next couple were just silly though. I mean, I know it's beach reading and not serious literature, but still.
  • 4D: Paper patriarch (OCHS). Who else was trying to think of a brand name of paper? Crane, anyone? Eaton?
  • 5D: Man of art (RAY). Didn't we just talk about him the other day? Yep, we sure did.
  • 43D: ___ de triomphe (L'ARC). I was just looking at a picture of L'Arc de Triomphe posted by a friend on Facebook. Can't believe he took that shot with his iPhone. (I was going to post the picture here, but it looks like Facebook may have just been hacked? Not sure what's going on there.)
  • 56D: Demond's co-star (REDD). Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest theme song in the history of television:

  • 85D: On something (STONED). Could have gone along with REEFER. Just sayin'.
Everything Else — 1A: Henry VIII's house (TUDOR); 6A: Tall order? (BEER); 14A: Bank offerings (CDS); 17A: "Phaedra" playwright (SENECA); 18A: Three-card hustle (MONTE); 19A: Ring site, nowadays (NOSE); 20A: Eng. subj. (LIT.); 24A: Deep ___ well (AS A); 31A: Recedes (EBBS); 33A: Jellystone resident (YOGI); 34A: Insect stages (PUPAE); 35A: Little house on the prairie (HUT); 36A: France's old dances (GALOPS); 38A: Sits up for snacks (BEGS); 40A: Some heirs (SONS); 46A: Goes down hard (SLAMS); 47A: Geometric product (AREA); 48A: Execute perfectly (NAIL); 49A: Before, long ago (ERE); 64A: Soccer stadium sound (OLÉ); 65A: Uncouth (RUDE); 66A: Wallaby's cuz (ROO); 67A: Expert (ACE); 68A: Like many dorms (CO-ED); 69A: It's S of Tenn. (ALA.); 77A: Chevy muscle car (CAMARO); 80A: Keats effort (ODE); 81A: TV host Kelly (RIPA); 83A: Village, to a Boer (STAD); 85A: Night sights (STARS); 93A: Wedding shower? (RICE); 94A: ESPN datum (STAT); 95A: Singer Sheena (EASTON); 96A: Dawn goddess (EOS); 98A: "This is only ___" (A TEST); 100A: Tax-deferred plans (IRAS); 102A: Big Apple cardinal (EGAN); 103A: Watt was one (SCOT); 107A: Antoine's "a" (UNE); 108A: Bit of terse verse (HAIKU); 109A: E-file preparer (CPA); 110A: Bettor bunch (POOL); 114A: Very sexy (HOT); 115A: Stake in the game (ANTE); 117A: Breakfast order (OMELET); 119A: Prophet (SEER); 120A: Make ___ meet (ENDS); 121A: Things to do (TASKS); 1D: Remove forcibly (TEAR OUT); 2D: Fictions (UNTRUTHS); 3D: Graphic transfer (DECAL); 6D: Leeward island (BORA BORA); 7D: Flag or rank: abbr. (ENS.); 8D: Caesar's comeback (ET TU); 9D: Comeback (REPLY); 10D: 2, for one (INTEGER); 11D: "Wrong Way" Atlantic crosser of 1938 (CORRIGAN); 12D: Actor Morales (ESAI); 13D: Swab again (REMOP); 14D: Attach, in a way (CLAMP ON); 15D: A ___ second (DISTANT); 16D: Holds (off) (STAVES); 17D: Buckling opening (SWASH); 18D: Say your lines a la Brando (MUMBLE); 22D: 70% of the earth's surface (OCEANS); 28D: Soliloquy start (TO BE); 29D: Soft sound (RUSTLE); 32D: Menelaus's realm (SPARTA); 36D: TV Marine (GOMER); 37D: Furtive fellow (SNEAK); 39D: Speak harshly (SNARL); 42D: Sceaux student (ÉLÈVE); 44D: Big wind (GALE); 45D: Went over like a lead balloon (DIED); 51D: The face ___ angel (OF AN); 52D: Friendly (NICE); 54D: Word on an interstate sign (FOOD); 55D: Mtn. road info (ELEV.); 57D: Gillette's ___ II (TRAC); 58D: Dance under the palms (HULA); 59D: Dutch export (EDAM); 60D: It's S of Wash. (ORE.); 61D: Meeting places? (FOCI); 62D: Serenades (WOOS); 63D: Dusk, to Donne (E'EN); 68D: 1980s tennis star Jose-Luis (CLERC); 70D: Math branch (TRIG); 71D: Kachina carvers (HOPIS); 72D: 19th century cartoonist (NAST); 73D: Church payment (TITHE); 74D: Recipient of the first Social Security check, ___ Fuller (1940) (IDA MAE); 75D: Count ___ (TO TEN); 76D: Hebrew month (ADAR); 78D: He played The Thing in 1951 (ARNESS); 82D: Toxic avenger? (ANTIDOTE); 84D: Grosses out (DISGUSTS); 86D: Rival of Total (SPECIAL K); 87D: Discover accidentally (HIT UPON); 88D: Movie stock (ACETATE); 89D: Songbird (WARBLER); 90D: The insistent type, perh. (ITAL.); 91D: Kiosks (STANDS); 92D: New arrivals (ROOKIES); 93D: Amigo's abode (RANCHO); 97D: Publicity ploy (STUNT); 99D: Finger foods (TAPAS); 101D: Emulate squirrels (STORE); 103D: Magi (SAGES); 105D: Zero (NONE); 106D: In a minute (SOON); 108D: Syrian city (HAMA); 112D: Group of whales (POD); 113D: Wobbly walker (TOT).


Orange said...

Ooh! Did you know that Quincy Jones composed the Sanford & Son theme, and that there's a long-playing version as well? It's like the TV theme, but MORE.

JIMMIE said...

Harder than recent puzzles, I thought. Not being familiar with Britney's song, I had SOT for wobbly walker, which left OOPSDDSAGAIN, and figured it was a dentist visit. Otherwise fun. Thanks again, PG, for this extra effort.

*David* said...

Great puzzle went relatively quickly and Orange has been telling me to go voweless so here it is a bit. I picked up on it immediately with WATCH YOUR STP.

My new theory with crosswords is stop thinking and just do them. After so many completed, intuition and accumulated crap just seems to fill these things in.

Djinn said...

@Jimmie: I, too, had SOT to start. It was a good puzzle today, but I miss the pro-write up. Thanks to those stalwart members who comment on Sunday.

shrub5 said...

Enjoyed this one more than the syndicated puzzle today. It was a clever theme and although I figured out the missing vowels gimmick, the theme answers were still a challenge to solve. LOL at NUTS AND BLTS and ULTERIOR MTV.

I just read wiki re: "Wrong Way" CORRIGAN. His wrong way flight across the Atlantic was most likely deliberate, though he never publicly admitted it. Interesting story.

Carol said...

Thanks @PG for the write-up.

This was a fun puzzle and took me awhile, just as a Sunday puzzle should! Challenging and interesting theme with some great fill.

BFKAHT said...

@PG - Late to the party, but beg to differ - the "Peter Gunn Theme" is way better than the theme from Sanford and Son.