Theme: "Surprise Endings" — Theme answers are movie titles with the last word anagrammed into another word, creating wacky new titles clued "?"-style.
[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.]
- 24A: Film about a soft-hearted creature? (TENDER IS THE THING). "Tender Is the Night."
- 32A: Film about a computer supervisor? (LORD OF THE FILES). "Lord of the Flies."
- 51A: Film about Los Angeles losing its NFL team? (A FAREWELL TO RAMS). "A Farewell to Arms."
- 69A: Film about Broadway beginners? (WEST SIDE TYROS). "West Side Story."
- 87A: Film about Santa enjoying his holiday cigar? (A CHRISTMAS CLARO). "A Christmas Carol."
- 105A: Film about a home run derby? (DAY OF THE CLOUTS). "Day of the Locust." If you understand the this answer, please explain it in the comments.
- 116A: Film about gardening options? (PLACES IN THE EARTH). "Places in the Heart."
Sundays are good days to review the Crosswordese we've already covered. If you had any trouble with these, check out our previous posts:
- 21A: Being, in old Rome (ESSE).
- 38A: Port in Yemen (ADEN).
- 61A: Jack-in-the-pulpit family (ARUM).
- 113A: Hairy Addams cousin (ITT).
- 10D: Pol. letters until 1991 (SSR).
- 53D: Formerly, formerly (ERST).
- 118D: Quarterback Manning (ELI).
- 120D: He followed FDR (HST).
- 104A: Artist friend of Max Ernst (MAN RAY). We've covered popular crossword artists Ernst, Arp and Miró, but I don't know this Man Ray person, who apparently was part of that crowd. Well, now I know.
- 122A: Filmmaker Riefenstahl (LENI). Riefenstahl has been haled as "the greatest female filmmaker of the 20th century." Unfortunately, she made her mark by creating a Nazi propaganda film and apparently hung out with Hitler. Probably not a great career move.
- 12D: Politico Kefauver (ESTES). He was a senator from Tennessee who was Adlai Stevenson's running mate in 1956.
- 48D: Dramatist Rice (ELMER). Earned a Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his 1929 play "Street Scene."
- 60D: Hall of Fame NFL coach Ewbank (WEEB). It's cool that even a person with a name like "Weeb" can get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
A few other things:
- 40A: All Saints' Day mo. (NOV.). I started to write in OCT, but stopped myself.
- 74A: Some NFL linemen (RTS). Because I know someone will ask: this stands for Right Tackles.
- 83A: Pretended to have written earlier, as a letter (BACK-DATED). Did you all see Gmail's April Fool's joke this past year? They pretended to roll out a new feature where you could back-date your email. It was pretty funny.
- 96A: Tallahassee sch. (FSU). They were actually playing football on the TV while I was solving this puzzle.
- 97A: Listless (MOPEY). The eighth dwarf.
- 1D: Star in Perseus (ALGOL). Whatever you say.
- 3D: Rose oil (ATTAR). We'll cover this in Crosswordese 301.
- 35D: Nice notion? (IDÉE). Did you get this one? It's all in the pronunciation. Here, Nice means the city in France (pronounced NEESE), and idée is French for idea (or notion).
- 50D: "__ lied" (SO I). Clues like this totally make me think of Merl Reagle.
- 55D: Pre-meal drink (APÉRITIF). Anyone else have spelling trouble here?
- 59D: Sydney's state: Abbr. (NSW). That's New South Wales in case you didn't know. (I didn't.)
- 90D: Explorer Ericson (LEIF).
- 105D: Eatery traditionally modeled after a rail car (DINER). I've been meaning to see this movie again for, like, I don't know ... 25 years or so?
- 110D: Like a movie seat with a coat on it (TAKEN). Cute clue!
Everything Else — 1A: Make __: match the scorecard, in golf (A PAR); 5A: Little hooters (OWLETS); 11A: Two pages (LEAF); 15A: Second Greek letter (BETA); 19A: Dieter's word (LITE); 20A: Very proper sorts (PRUDES); 22A: Indiana senator Bayh (EVAN); 23A: Gangsters' guns (GATS); 27A: Studio sign (ON AIR); 29A: Chem., for one (SCI.); 30A: Chicago-to-Louisville dir. (SSE); 31A: Name on an armored truck (BRINKS); 36A: Small surgical knife (LANCET); 37A: Landlocked Afr. land (ETH.); 39A: Done (ENDED); 43A: Heat measure (CALORIE); 47A: Come clean, with "up" (FESS); 49A: Certain Prot. (EPIS.); 58A: Continue after a setback, as one's life (GET ON WITH); 62A: Clean a spill (MOP UP); 63A: Poker action (RAISE); 64A: Scary film staple (MONSTER); 67A: Flat-topped rise (MESA); 77A: Chews out (BERATES); 78A: __ Major: Great Dog constellation (CANIS); 82A: Kennel home (CAGE); 91A: Fishing spot (PIER); 92A: Glaswegian gal (LASS); 93A: Drip from a bad pipe (LEAK OUT); 100A: Salt Lake City Olympics year (MMII); 102A: Command to Spot (SIT); 112A: Maintain (ALLEGE); 114A: Harry Potter's pal (RON); 115A: Wreck completely (TOTAL); 121A: Harley or Honda (BIKE); 123A: Forest feature (TREE); 124A: Setbacks (LAPSES); 126A: LAX listings (ETDS); 127A: Things in locks (OARS); 128A: Ad with a credit card bill, e.g. (INSERT); 129A: Ding, but not dong (DENT); 2D: Grand, perhaps (PIANO); 4D: Dwell (RESIDE); 5D: Pick, with "for" (OPT); 6D: Take away forcibly (WREST); 7D: Something to do with a business associate? (LUNCH); 8D: Comic Izzard (EDDIE); 9D: Elevator on the links? (TEE); 11D: Abate (LESSEN); 13D: Light gray (ASH); 15D: Losing (BEHIND); 16D: Demonstrate (EVINCE); 17D: Failed suddenly, in slang (TANKED); 18D: Emotional strife (ANGST); 25D: __ of Wight (ISLE); 26D: Window over a door (TRANSOM); 28D: Campus recruiters, briefly (ROTC); 33D: Govt. loan insurer (FHA); 34D: Pleasant forecast (FAIR); 40D: Not pos. (NEG.); 41D: Like music composed for a libretto (OPERATIC); 44D: Chou En-__ (LAI); 45D: Frequently, in verse (OFT); 46D: Cheering cry (RAH); 52D: Diminishes (WANES); 54D: CD-__ (ROM); 56D: Attractions not to be missed (MUST-SEES); 57D: Baden-Baden et al. (SPAS); 64D: Tiny parasites (MITES); 65D: Poem of praise (ODE); 66D: Music with many subgenres (ROCK); 70D: Religious factions (SECTS); 71D: Ore cars (TRAMS); 72D: Long tale (SAGA); 73D: Low (SAD); 76D: Round Table title (SIR); 81D: Used-car datum (MILEAGE); 83D: Call to Bo-Peep (BAA); 84D: First rescue boat (ARK); 85D: Speak lovingly (COO); 86D: Actress Joanne (DRU); 88D: Accept, as a marriage proposal (SAY YES TO); 89D: Ad writer's award (CLIO); 94D: Trojans' sch. (USC); 95D: Incline (TILT); 97D: Croquet striker (MALLET); 98D: Off the boat (ON LAND); 99D: Summary (PRÉCIS); 100D: Dull finishes (MATTES); 101D: Tale involving Greek gods, e.g. (MYTH); 103D: "That's a shame" ("TOO BAD"); 104D: Syrup source (MAPLE); 106D: Snares (TRAPS); 107D: Oater ride (HORSE); 108D: Type in (ENTER); 109D: Of service (UTILE); 111D: Winter fall (SLEET); 117D: S&L offering (IRA); 118D: Quarterback Manning (ELI); 119D: Suffix with Caesar (-EAN); 120D: He followed FDR (HST).