SUNDAY, July 11, 2010 — Pamela Amick Klawitter (syndicated)

Theme: "Geek Squad" — The word tech is hidden in each theme answer.

[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 answers:
  • 23A: Welsh pop singing sensation (CHARLOTTE CHURCH).
  • 37A: Cookie tidbit (CHOCOLATE CHIP).
  • 60A: "The Awakening" author (1899) (KATE CHOPIN).
  • 85A: Knifehand strike (KARATE CHOP).
  • 101A: Environmentalist's concern (CLIMATE CHANGE).
  • 123A: 1971 counter-culture film revue hosted by Richard Pryor (DYNAMITE CHICKEN).
  • 15D: Holiday song that begins "The sun is shining, the grass is green" (WHITE CHRISTMAS).
  • 53D: Legislative meeting area (SENATE CHAMBERS).
  • 120D: Support worker hiding in the eight longest puzzle answers (TECH).
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:

  • 49A: Pageant prop (TIARA).
  • 133A: Signs of success, for short (SRO'S).
  • 2D: Turkish chiefs (AGHAS).
  • 16D: Slippery swimmers (EELS).
  • 36D: Cathedral section (APSE).
  • 44D: Arced molding (OGEE).
  • 55D: HDTV brand (RCA).
  • 83D: Down Under gem (OPAL).
  • 90D: SASE, for one (ENCL.).
  • 114D: Madame's mine (À MOI).
Everything Else — 1A: Addition, e.g. (MATH); 5A: Five-sided home? (PLATE); 10A: Sandy color (ECRU); 14A: __ pants (SWEAT); 19A: Princess Fiona, e.g. (OGRE); 20A: Ben-Hur portrayer Novarro (1925) (RAMON); 21A: Place for a speaker (DAIS); 22A: Letter after eta (THETA); 26A: Like some carpets (PILED); 27A: Capital near the Gulf of Tonkin (HANOI); 28A: Davis who voiced Yar in "Dinosaur" (OSSIE); 29A: Datsun starter? (DEE); 30A: Cruising (AT SEA); 31A: Gives, as homework (ASSIGNS); 33A: 27-Across site, briefly (NAM); 35A: Matter of interest? (RATE); 42A: Place to pick up chicks (COOP); 46A: Price limit (CAP); 50A: If-__: conditional statements (THENS); 51A: Stock market stat (HIGH); 52A: Off the mark (AMISS); 54A: 1860s Jefferson contemporary (ABRAHAM); 57A: ERA component (EARNED); 59A: Function (ROLE); 63A: Gives a thumbs-up (LIKES); 64A: Curling tool (IRON); 65A: Liam Neeson's land (IRELAND); 66A: Downs a sub? (EATS); 68A: __ blocker (BETA); 69A: Leader leader? (LOSS); 70A: Times to remember (ERAS); 72A: Clay pigeon hurler (TRAP); 76A: Powder mineral (TALC); 78A: Choir production (CANTATA); 81A: 1974 Lucille Ball role (MAME); 82A: Yacht spots (COVES); 88A: Some 75-Down (ANTS); 89A: Cochise, for one (APACHE); 91A: Ice cream soda ingredient (SELTZER); 92A: Broad-ended cravat (ASCOT); 93A: Sensitive area (RASH); 94A: Pertaining to birth (NATAL); 96A: Strike lightly (TAP ON); 99A: Sounds from Santa (HO'S); 100A: Entreaty (PLEA); 105A: Teen hangout (MALL); 107A: Poivre companion (SEL); 108A: Picked on (NEEDLED); 112A: Parts of a butcher's inventory (SLABS); 115A: Stock market stats (UPS); 118A: "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" singer (EVITA); 121A: "South Park" mom (LIANE); 122A: "Charles in Charge" co-star Willie (AAMES); 126A: Link in a chain? (STORE); 127A: __ the Red (ERIC); 128A: Rolling in francs (RICHE); 129A: Actress Polo (TERI); 130A: Bank caper (HEIST); 131A: Michaelmas mo. (SEPT.); 132A: Workout consequences (ACHES); 1D: Starbucks choice (MOCHA); 3D: Former prefix? (TRANS-); 4D: Medal-worthy (HEROIC); 5D: Woods or Els (PRO); 6D: Play on which a Puccini opera was based (LA TOSCA); 7D: Small quantities? (AMTS.); 8D: Hose fillers (TOES); 9D: Spanish name for the holm oak (ENCINA); 10D: Univ. URL ending (EDU); 11D: It might be wild (CARD); 12D: Sushi staple (RICE); 13D: Herald, as a new era (USHER IN); 14D: Mar. parade honoree (ST. PAT); 17D: Precisely, with "to" (A TEE); 18D: "There!" ("TA-DA!"); 24D: Wrigley Field's lack until 1988 (LIGHTS); 25D: It can drive people to the mountains (HEAT); 32D: "There's __ in 'team'" (NO I); 34D: Madness may involve one (METHOD); 38D: Spouts off (ORATES); 39D: Stickers (LABELS); 40D: Mate (CHAP); 41D: Spherical opening? (HEMI-); 43D: Porker's plaint (OINK); 45D: Ones who get a third degree (PH.D.S); 46D: Antilles native (CARIB); 47D: Puccini's love (AMORE); 48D: Tube test? (PILOT); 56D: Philip __, Asian-American actor known for war movie roles (AHN); 58D: Flying level: Abbr. (ALT.); 60D: Veto (KILL); 61D: Hard as __ (A ROCK); 62D: "Awesome!" ("NEATO!"); 67D: Quickly, in memos (ASAP); 70D: "Blah, blah, blah," briefly ("ETC., ETC."); 71D: Enthusiastic (RAH-RAH); 73D: Dressing choice (RANCH); 74D: Sandbox retort (AM TOO); 75D: Exterminator's targets (PESTS); 77D: Eyjafjallajökull output (ASH); 78D: Coloratura legend (CALLAS); 79D: Bar passer: Abbr. (ATT.); 80D: Pince-__ (NEZ); 82D: Moan and groan (CARP); 84D: Flower holder (VASE); 86D: Piedmont wine area (ASTI); 87D: Paper purchase (REAM); 92D: Gabriel et al., in 86-Down (ANGELI); 95D: Refers casually (to) (ALLUDES); 97D: Dash (PANACHE); 98D: Washington is on it (ONE); 102D: Overflow (TEEM); 103D: "Movie Macabre" host (ELVIRA); 104D: Orders from on high (EDICTS); 106D: It's a plus (ASSET); 109D: California cager (LAKER); 110D: January, to Jorge (ENERO); 111D: Patron saint of France (DENIS); 112D: Obi, e.g. (SASH); 113D: Past curfew (LATE); 116D: Rite heap (PYRE); 117D: Salon sound (SNIP); 119D: Meteor ending (-ITIC); 124D: Make it happen (ACT); 125D: Bucks and rams (HES).


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Van55 said...

Answer grid shown is the one I completed this morning.

Pretty good puzzle. I loved ELVIRA in her day. http://www.tangibledreams.net/elvira/photos/ELV0070.jpg


Maybe it's cuz I'm such a geek (TECH) that I found this to be a super-simple-solver for a Sunday.
Got it solved 100% correct in less than 45 minutes even though Pamela used a lot of misdirecting clues...
TRANSformer, Five-sided home PLATE, METEORitic, and wild-CARD, to name a few.
Thought the clue for WHITE CHRISTMAS was NEATO!

Time for my Cheddar-Bacon Omelet...see y'all later.


Here's a nice bright-star for a Sunday morning...
CHARLOTTE CHURCH singing "Dream a Dream" back when she was just a kid.
Last time I was in Wales, I discovered this marvelous ingenue with the voice of an angel. Needless to say I bought all her CDs. I just wish she had kept her more operatic voice and pursued that genera.


I don't know what it is about Wales (maybe it's their water), that the best singers in the world are Welsh. I went to Wales to hear those fantastic Male-Choirs (in the little mining towns like Ebbw Vale and Beaufort), even went into some mines to hear the miners singing... But I came away with a greater appreciation for ALL Welsh singers (e.g. Katherine Jenkins, Bryn Terfel, Charlotte Church, Tom Jones, and who could forget Shirley Bassey?)
Has anyone else found this to be true?

Anonymous said...

Hi all, new here, love the blog esp the random youtube stuff. Thankful for today's easy puzzle after yesterday's disastrous DNF=NEC/not even close! That one really hurt.
have a good one,

Rube said...

Almost completed this on line last night, but when I went to check the spelling of ANGELI, (didn't know LIANE and wanted to make sure of the L), bang, it was all gone. Infuriating. Reproduced it this morning in about 30 mins.

Pretty impressive theme density with eight theme answers, and not a lame one in the bunch! A couple of obscure, (to me), theme names, but all gettable from the crosses.

Only write-overs this morning were Plush for PILED and CHeCKEr for CHICKEN. Again, never heard of DYNAMITECHICKEN, but that's normal for a guy who apparently was living under a rock in the 70's.

@PG, We miss your illuminating commentary. (Or did one of those Black Sambas get you.)

Go Dutch! (Or Spain!)

Anonymous said...

Where's the puzzle published in the LA Times today?

Eric said...

This one was a struggle, but a pleasant one -- unlike yesterday's $&@! pain in the Balaam's-mount!

"Tube test?" -> PILOT: I don't get it. Can somebody please explain?

"Rolling in francs" -> RICHE: Nice clue, if a bit dated -- France is on the Euro now. Switzerland still uses Swiss Francs, but they have four official languages, at least three of which have five-letter words for "rich".
(I had to Google Translate two of those in order to write this comment. Seeing as Google Translate doesn't do Romanche, I don't know whether the latter's word fits the pattern). Given all the overlaps, it would have taken a fair bit of work to get the right choice from crosses ... so it's a good thing Switzerland didn't occur to me till later, and so I went with the obsolete French Francs, and the only language they map to :-)

(As an aside, it's interesting that English, French, German, and Italian -- and Spanish, with "rico" -- all use variants on the same theme. Sure the languages are all related, albeit some more closely than others, but usually there are some exceptions. Near the other extreme is "Germany", for which, out of these five languages, only French and Spanish have similar words. "German", "Deutche" and "Allemand"/"Alemán" all, I believe, come from the names of various long-ago Germanic tribes. But then, the Franks (whence France, and franc, where we started) were also Germanic, so go figure. The Italian "Tedesco", Wiktionary says, ultimately derives from the proto-Germanic word for "people" -- i.e. as the proto-Germanic speakers presumably meant by it, basically "us". That's a fairly common pattern: a people's own way of saying "the people" becomes other folks word for "those people".)

"1860 Jefferson contemporary" -> ABRAHAM: Hmmm. Bog-standard clue construction, but still misdirecty; when I see "Jefferson", a first name doesn't spring immediately to mind. Nice.

I had to Google WHITE CHRISTMAS. I only know the chorus; never paid attention to the verses. (Frankly, I try to ignore the chorus too; waaay too overplayed! But I digress.) For the longest time I had "R**TECHRISTMAS" courtesy of crosses and TECH, so I was looking for some obscure White-Christmas parody.

Several typeovers as usual, but the only interesting one was "___ Pants". My first snap guess was "fancy". When the E cross ruled that out, I went for "dress". The "W" from WHITE CHRISTMAS finally forced me to the right (if not white) answer.



Nice RICHE explanation.

I think puzzle rules say: first name in the clue means first name in the answer. Assuming that Abraham is referring to Lincoln, then Jefferson would be referring to Davis, a Lincoln contemp.

Tube test = PILOT
TV = PILOT programming (a form of test)
Another puzzle stretch!

Anonymous said...

JNH. Gas appliances like WHs and stoves have a gas pilot tube that stays lit.

Eric said...

@JNH: Thx.

Re "Tube test" -> PILOT: d'oh! Both senses, "tube"=TV and "pilot episode", totally slipped my mind. Given either of them, I'm sure the other would have fallen into place :-/

Re Jefferson: Just so. What I was trying to say was, when I saw "Jefferson", I assumed it was a last name, as in Thomas or the sitcom family, and couldn't think of any 19th-century people so-named. Only after quite a while did someone whose first name was Jefferson come to mind, after which the answer was obvious. It was that "expecting a last name" that seemed a nice misdirection.

It occurs to me that in my previous post, I used an Englishism that might be unfamiliar, and so might have obscured my meaning. From Wiktionary:
    bog-standard (adj): (idiomatic) Especially plain, ordinary, or unremarkable; having no special, excess or unusual features; plain vanilla

I'm hampered on this sort of clue by not being nearly as up on American history as constructors for American newspapers assume their audiences to be -- and by a tendency, when I come across something like this, to give it up far too quickly as something you Yanks know but I don't. When such stuff appears in Canadian papers' puzzles, which are usually syndicated from American vendors, it gets my patriotic goat, even though I'm used to it by now. I sometimes have to remind myself not to transfer my annoyance to the LAT puzzle; after all, in a puzzle aimed at the readership of the Los Angeles Times, American content, word usage, and spellings are perfectly, 100% appropriate.