Theme: "Subliminal Messages" — Each theme answer is a phrase that might be used in a company's ad campaign with the company's name hidden in it.
[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: Airline message (SEE ISRAEL ALL OVER AGAIN).
- 74D: Apt company found in 23-Across (EL AL).
- 37A: Electronics message (THE REASON YOU LOVE TV).
- 18D: Apt company found in 37-Across (SONY).
- 66A: Shipping message (RELIABLE PICKUP SERVICE).
- 5D: Apt company found in 66-Across (UPS).
- 98A: Automotive message (BUILT FOR DURABILITY).
- 89D: Apt company found in 98-Across (FORD).
- 116A: Cosmetics message (EXPLORE A LASTING BEAUTY).
- 53D: Apt company found in 116-Across (L'ORÉAL).
- 104A: Brains behind this puzzle's theme messages (ADMAN).
- 1A: Works out (COMPUTES). Whoa. Tricky one right out of the gate!
- 19A: Bridge opening (ONE SPADE). Had the correct answer here, then changed it to one heart for some reason, then changed it back.
- 22A: Court plea, for short (NOLO). Nolo contendere is a plea of "no contest."
- 29A: Cunning sort (SLY FOX). Wanted sly dog here.
- 47A: Toledo-to-Valencia dirección (ESTE). Very tricky to use city names found in both Spain and the United States!
- 56A: Feminine ending (-ENNE). Could have been -ette.Had to check the crosses.
- 77A: Cambodia's Lon __ (NOL). The only reason I remember this guy's name is that it's a palindrome.
- 78A: Bush tour (SAFARI). I wondered if this might have something to do with W's new gig as a motivational speaker.
- 92A: "Right back __!" (AT YA). Fun colloquial phrase. See also 107D: "I'm __ here!" (OUTTA).
- 109A: "My Point...and I Do Have One" author (DEGENERES). I have this book. I read it a long time ago and remember enjoying it. I do love Ellen DeGeneres. Can't wait to see her on "Idol" next year.
- 128A: Contest in which you try to get your opponent on your side (TUG OF WAR). Great clue.
- 2D: "Paper Moon" Oscar winner (O'NEAL). Both Ryan and Tatum were in this movie, but it was Tatum who walked away with the statue. (She was 10!)
- 12D: Bok __ (CHOY). Spelled this choi at first.
- 21D: Soviet cooperative (ARTEL). No idea.
- 80D: Lesser of two evils, metaphorically (FRYING PAN). Again with the great clue!
- 81D: "Tadpole" actor Robert (ILER). Guessed this one off the "I." I only know him from crosswords and he's almost always clued in relation to "The Sopranos," but I figured it had to be the same guy.
- 88D: Comedy first baseman (WHO). I had No idea what this was going for. Love it.
- 109D: Fam. tree member (DESC.). Hate to end on a clunker but DESC? Really? I solved the puzzle last night and could not figure out what this was an abbreviation for. Came to me this morning as I was typing this up: descendant. Ugh.
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Everything Else — 9A: Like the shore, often (BEACHY); 15A: Chapters in history (ERAS); 20A: School for Torah study (YESHIVA); 26A: Go for the bronze? (TAN); 27A: Food container (TIN); 28A: What "I believe in," in a Beatles title (YESTERDAY); 33A: Perot of politics (H. ROSS); 36A: Latin 101 word (ERAT); 44A: Bag (VALISE); 46A: Kindle downloads (E-BOOKS); 48A: "Rebel Without a Cause" actor (MINEO); 49A: Intimidate (COW); 52A: Ear projection (AURICLE); 55A: Peek-a-boo player (TOT); 57A: Plot inventors (CABAL); 59A: It gets the ball off the ground (TEE); 60A: San Luis __ (OBISPO); 62A: It may be pediatric: Abbr. (ICU); 63A: Dieter's unit (CALORIE); 65A: Hyper toon pooch (REN); 75A: Razz (RIB); 76A: House-warming presence? (GAS HEAT); 81A: Mischief-maker (IMP); 84A: Perfect (IDEAL); 85A: Casa chamber (SALA); 86A: Env. enclosure (LTR.); 87A: Something to turn over (NEW LEAF); 90A: "Brokeback Mountain" director Lee (ANG); 91A: Last (FINAL); 94A: Kept going (HELD ON); 96A: Building blocks (ADOBES); 103A: Phil or Card (NLER); 105A: California prison city (FOLSOM); 114A: "Evil Woman" gp. (ELO); 115A: Sine __ non (QUA); 123A: Relaxing venues (SPAS); 124A: It's about 10% of the Earth's surface (EURASIA); 125A: Agitated (IN A STATE); 126A: Construction site marker (CONE); 127A: Practicing (PLYING); 1D: Goes for (COSTS); 3D: Kid's picking word (MEENY); 4D: Chi follower (PSI); 6D: It paves the way (TAR); 7D: Child expert LeShan (EDA); 8D: Stew (SEETHE); 9D: Close way to win (BY A NOSE); 10D: Sushi choice (EEL); 11D: Visual communication?: Abbr. (ASL); 13D: Queen's home (HIVE); 14D: Saint Laurent of fashion (YVES); 15D: Personalize, at the jeweler's (ENGRAVE); 16D: Car salesmen's offers (ROAD TESTS); 17D: Inter __ (ALIA); 24D: Old Banca d'Italia unit (LIRA); 25D: Prefix with -nautics (AERO); 30D: Town on the N.J. side of the George Washington Bridge (FT. LEE); 31D: Louisville's river (OHIO); 32D: Crosses (out) (XES); 34D: Thin Japanese noodle (SOBA); 35D: Muzzle (SNOUT); 38D: Bring to mind (RECALL); 39D: Old times (YORE); 40D: Arkie's neighbor (OKIE); 41D: Pac-10 powerhouse, for short (USC); 42D: Sporty car roof (T-TOP); 43D: Reject (VETO); 44D: Super Bowl's __ Lombardi Trophy (VINCE); 45D: Void (ANNUL); 48D: Rabin's predecessor (MEIR); 50D: English horn relative (OBOE); 51D: Timber defect (WARP); 54D: Film critic Roger (EBERT); 57D: One in line at an airport (CABBIE); 58D: DXX ÷ X (LII); 61D: Bill: Abbr. (INV.); 63D: Stone monument (CAIRN); 64D: ER test (ECG); 67D: Apt name for a financial planner? (IRA); 68D: Chiang __-shek (KAI); 69D: Prime letters? (USDA); 70D: Fen-__: banned diet aid (PHEN); 71D: "Under Siege" star (SEAGAL); 72D: Cockamamie (INANE); 73D: Fast food drinks (COLAS); 78D: Concrete section (SLAB); 79D: Westernmost Aleutian island (ATTU); 82D: Pinochle combination (MELD); 83D: "The Taming of the Shrew" setting (PADUA); 85D: Female oracle (SIBYL); 91D: Pic, commercially (FOTO); 93D: Everything before the last resort (ALL ELSE); 95D: It's read often at conventions (NAMETAG); 97D: "What's the __?" (DIF); 99D: __'clock scholar (TEN O); 100D: Bordeaux brother (FRÈRE); 101D: Island south of Borneo (BALI); 102D: Part of the conspiracy (IN ON IT); 106D: __ Valley: 1960 Winter Olympics site (SQUAW); 108D: Oscar __: deli brand (MAYER); 110D: Really big show (EXPO); 111D: Sign on for another tour (RE-UP); 112D: 1950s-'60s Chief Justice Warren (EARL); 113D: Make laugh in a big way (SLAY); 117D: "__ was saying ..." (AS I); 118D: Fall from grace (SIN); 119D: Serengeti grazer (GNU); 120D: Capture (BAG); 121D: That, in Toledo (ESO); 122D: Justice Dept. raiders (ATF).