Theme: "Right On Cue" — Add QU to familiar phrases to create new wacky phrases, 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.]
- 23A: Charmin' way of actin' up? (QUAINT MISBEHAVIN').
- 32A: Annul the middle of the week? (QUASH WEDNESDAY).
- 49A: Calculation for an express delivery? (QUICK FACTOR).
- 66A: Ends it, to one's subsequent regret? (QUITS A GOOD THING).
- 85A: Sick feeling on campus? (QUAD NAUSEAM).
- 99A: Wasn't quite ready to accuse? (QUASI-SUSPECTED).
- 112A: Muslim household's holy book? (QURAN IN THE FAMILY).
If you've been reading my Sunday write-ups for any amount of time, you know that I'm pretty tolerant of bad fill on Sundays. I realize that with a grid this big, it just can't be helped. The random tic tac toe clue, OOO (54A: Winning game line), and an unknown JENSEN (4D: Long-time CBS news anchor Jim) are forgivable. I'll even cut some slack for DOSAGES (43D: Amounts to take). But TEPIDNESS? No. That's just ugly. Okay, that's not exactly fair. It's about the same amount of ugly as DOSAGES, so why is it unacceptable? Because of the disgusting clue (96A: Old bath water quality). I do not want to be thinking about old bath water or any of its "qualities." Seriously. And please don't get me started on UNLAX (105A: Chill out, slangily).
In some cases, the answer is perfectly fine but the clue fouls it up. For example:
- 4A: Copy room malfunction (JAM UP). No. No no no. The clue is a noun, the answer is a verb. They cannot be used interchangeably. This is, like, the one rule of cluing that Must be followed. A copy room malfunction is a JAM. Period.
- 38D: Sworn __: given the oath of office for (IN AS). That's some pretty extensive prepositional gymnastics there just to make this partial work.
- 44D: Actress Meyers (ARI). Um ... who? Of all the possible ways to clue ARI, I personally would not go with a former child actor who appeared (not starred!) in a second-tier television sitcom.
- 45D: One may be backhand (CATCH). Too cute for its own good. In a puzzle that already has some cluing problems, I would not go for the cute here.
- 1D: Helpful URL link (FAQ). I don't even understand the clue. What is a "URL link"?
- 57D: Eclipse, as the sun (BLOT OUT). Blotting is something you do to a stain. Not the sun.
- 80D: Sassy one (SNIP). Ne-Ever heard SNIP used as a noun in this way. And believe me, I know a little bit about being snippy. Yet, I don't believe I've ever been called a snip.
Is an AGENDA BOOK (16D: Planning aid) really a thing? If, for example, a person is 72A: Within arm's length of me, doesn't that mean it's possible for a different person to be NEXT TO me? If I put my arm around one person and am touching another person, that second person is within arm's length but is not NEXT TO me. Just sayin'.
Was there anything to like about this puzzle? Well, I already mentioned the theme, right? The theme is cool. But there are, indeed, a few other things that jumped out at me in a more positive (or at least less negative) way.
- 15A: Island band The __ Men (BAHA). Still haven't found a clip of The Baha Men singing the theme song to the kid's show "Stanley." It's a very cool song.
- 77A: Works up a sweater (KNITS). Now that's clever.
- 93A: Military band wind (FIFE). Do they still play fifes?
- 120A: 2008 Harlan Coben thriller (HOLD TIGHT). I read a Harlan Coben book once. Let's just say I probably won't be doing that again.
- 123A: Premium movie channel that dropped its "!" in 2005 (STARZ). Now that's entertaining.
- 8D: Play __: feign sleep (POSSUM). I thought playing possum was feigning ... dead.
- 36D: Kids (YOUTH). With the O in place, I tried jokes. That's the kind of misdirection that works for me.
- 69D: Fast and furious, e.g.: Abbr. (ADJS.). Were you tricked by this one? The word fast and the word furious are both ADJectives.
- 78D: Rhoda's mom (IDA). Love. Her. The town I grew up in was not all that diverse (understatement), so I was not familiar with stereotypes like "The Jewish Mother." And yet I still thought IDA was a hoot.
- 99D: Peculiarity (QUIRK). With all those Qs in the grid, there's bound to be a few awesome Q words, right? Well, here's one of them.
- 109D: Mavs' city (BIG D). That would be the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.
Acceptable Comments: "I really enjoyed this week's Jonesin' puzzle"; "I think I've seen this theme in a puzzle sometime in the past year"; "This puzzle was harder for me than today's NYT."
Unacceptable Comments: "Can you believe 33A in this puzzle and 28D in today's New York Times puzzle are the same answer?"; "It's funny that an uncommon word like [whatever] would show up three times this week in three different puzzles"; "If you like this puzzle, you should definitely try today's Outer Space-themed NYT puzzle."
That said, if you haven't solved today's New York Times puzzle and you intend to, you might want to do so before reading the comments here because I would bet a lot of money that someone's going to spoil it.
Crosswordese 101: There are many ways to clue IGOR, but only one for YGOR. Ygor-with-a-Y is always going to refer to "Son of Frankenstein." I don't know why the spelling is YGOR in "Son of Frankenstein" and Igor in "Young Frankenstein," but that's just how it is.
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]
Everything Else — 1A: Scale notes (FAS); 9A: Parchment? (THIRST); 19A: Like single-digit temps (ABOVE ZERO); 21A: California's motto (EUREKA); 22A: "Son of Frankenstein" role (YGOR); 25A: Daring exploit (GEST); 26A: Stats for Tyson (TKOS); 27A: Juan or Gabriel lead-in (SAN); 28A: Juan's "what" (QUE); 29A: Bridget with a diary (JONES); 30A: Arles article (LES); 35A: Sailor's destination in a Yeats poem (BYZANTIUM); 39A: "That __ fact!" (IS A); 40A: Workplace stds. enforcer (OSHA); 41A: Fluffy accessory (BOA); 42A: Prefix with directional (UNI-); 43A: Takes away (DETRACTS); 46A: Z4 automaker (BMW); 53A: Exuberant review (RAVE); 55A: Narrow furrow (STRIA); 56A: "__ All That": 1999 comedy (SHE'S); 57A: Big name in water filters (BRITA); 59A: Sport with mallets (POLO); 60A: Mint and marjoram (HERBS); 62A: Provide power to (ENABLE); 64A: Hidden (CLOAKED); 69A: To an extreme degree (AWFULLY); 73A: Twosomes (DYADS); 76A: Gustave who illustrated classics (DORÉ); 79A: Multi-vol. references (OEDS); 81A: Early aft. hour (ONE PM); 83A: Java (JOE); 84A: Slightly (A TAD); 87A: Charleston, WV-to-Charlotte dir. (SSE); 88A: Edited version seen in theaters (FINAL CUT); 91A: Year in Nero's reign (LIX); 92A: Corned beef holder (RYE); 95A: "That's it!" ("AHA!"); 104A: Mazatlán Mrs. (SRA.); 106A: Roman sun god (SOL); 107A: Ones bound by blood (KIN); 108A: Chant at a Lakers game (KOBE); 111A: Without a specific goal (IDLY); 118A: Mess up (RUIN); 119A: Celtic language spoken in France (BRETON); 121A: Lotto-like game (KENO); 122A: Leapt (SPRANG); 124A: Took care of (DID); 2D: Be adjacent to (ABUT); 3D: Overcharge, in slang (SOAK); 5D: HIV-treating drug (AZT); 6D: Part of RAM: Abbr. (MEM.); 7D: Sch. whose mascot is Rhody the Ram (URI); 9D: Even more itsy-bitsy (TEENSIER); 10D: "How's that again?" ("HUH?"); 11D: Controversial conflict since 2003 (IRAQ WAR); 12D: Variety show (REVUE); 13D: Hit the slopes (SKIED); 14D: Summer shade (TAN); 15D: Words of emphasis (BY GOSH); 17D: Old Testament prophet (HOSEA); 18D: Highfalutin (ARTSY); 20D: Instrument featured in Berlioz's "Harold in Italy" (VIOLA); 24D: Lamb's cry (BAA); 29D: Civil rights activist Jackson (JESSE); 31D: Double __ Oreo (STUF); 32D: Baked brunch dishes (QUICHES); 33D: 116-Down's last VP (HST); 34D: Like an expired license (NOT VALID); 35D: Backyard parties, briefly (BBQS); 37D: Old name of Congo (ZAIRE); 47D: Whacked arcade critter (MOLE); 48D: Fuel for the fire (WOOD); 50D: __ du Soleil (CIRQUE); 51D: Afghan capital (KABUL); 52D: One with an option to buy, perhaps (TENANT); 58D: Herbal quaff (RED TEA); 59D: Some polytheists (PAGANS); 61D: Formal neckwear, perhaps (SILK TIES); 63D: Fight in a ring (BOX); 65D: "Shame __!" (ON YOU); 67D: "The Seduction of Joe __": Alda film (TYNAN); 68D: Barely walked (TODDLED); 70D: Makes a play for (WOOS); 71D: 1989 Tom Petty hit (FREE FALLIN'); 74D: Big name in snowblowers (DEERE); 75D: Neuters (SPAYS); 82D: Fr. titles (MMES.); 84D: Attach (AFFIX); 85D: Duck chorus (QUACKING); 86D: What the Earth turns on (AXIS); 89D: City near Buenos Aires (LA PLATA); 90D: Backer of Fidel (CHE); 94D: Answer to one's own rhetorical question, perhaps (I SAY NO); 96D: Dimes, to dollars (TENTHS); 97D: '90s TV toon therapist (DR. KATZ); 98D: Vocalist Judd (NAOMI); 100D: Excessive (UNDUE); 101D: Take by force (USURP); 102D: More ticked (SORER); 103D: Its symbol is Sn (TIN); 110D: Like the pre-coll. supplies market (EL-HI); 112D: The NFL's Mannings, e.g. (QBS); 113D: Parisian turndown (NON); 114D: Spicy (HOT); 115D: Portuguese "she" (ELA); 116D: See 33-Down (FDR); 117D: P. & L. column heading (YTD).