We have a lot to talk about with this puzzle, so let's get to it. You may recall that last week I promised to come back and blog Merl's Sunday puzzle and then I never did it. So sorry about that. My bad! That one's on me! Then when I went to look for Sylvia's puzzle today, I found another Merl puzzle. Turns out he constructed a two-part puzzle for us and the LA Times agreed to run his puzzles two weeks in a row so we could get the full effect.
So what I'm going to do today is post the grids and theme answers to both puzzles here. Then I'm going to encourage you to hop over to Merl's own blog where he both explains the genesis of this awesome puzzle idea and shares some details of the ordeal he went through to get it in publishable shape. It's a pretty interesting read. I hope you'll check it out.
If you haven't solved the puzzles yet, you should do that first. This week's puzzle can be found here. Last week's is here. I don't think these are permanent links though. If you're coming to this blog late, I think you'll be able to find PDF versions of the puzzles here and here.
Just in case I haven't rambled on long enough yet, I'm going to add a little spoiler space before I post the grids and theme answers. If you haven't solved the puzzles, go do it now!
Kindergarten Crime Spree Part 1 (January 24, 2010)
- 22A: I arrived at the crime scene at 9 a.m. The kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Ladey, SPELLED IT OUT FOR ME.
- 35A: "First," she said, "someone STOLE A KISS."
- 39A: "Wait," I said, "I thought there was a KIDNAPPING."
- 46A: "Yes, but we woke him up. Then a pinky ring went missing." "Real jewels?" I asked. "No," she said, "JUST PASTE."
- 52A/69A: She said, "Then I saw the HANDWRITING ON THE WALL."
- 78A: "Graffiti?" I asked. "No, just letters." "Ah," I said, "a CAPITAL CASE."
- 85A/97A: I thought, All right, fine, I can PLAY THEIR LITTLE GAME.
- 99A: "Then I found these," she said, and even I was shocked. There were CHALK MARKS on the floor.
- 114A: Someone had WHACKED THE ERASERS! (CONTINUED NEXT WEEK)
Kindergarten Crime Spree Part 2 (January 31, 2010)
- 21A: I narrowed it down to two suspects. Naturally, they both LOOKED INNOCENT.
- 26A: Let's call them DICK AND JANE.
- 35A: I could tell right away that she was HOOKED ON PHONICS.
- 49A:And he—well, let's just say that he was IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF.
- 64A: I laid out the evidence; they could see that I'd done MY HOMEWORK.
- 66A: But neither would talk. So I said, "I'm going to COUNT TO TEN."
- 82A: And that did it—they immediately started crying. I said, "Well, I hope you've LEARNED YOUR LESSON."
- 93A: "Maybe you'll both be let out early FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR."
- 106A: "But only if you SHOW AND TELL me exactly what happened."
- 113A: They agreed. And that's when the FINGERPOINTING / FINGERPRINTING / FINGERPAINTING began. THE END (Hint: Because of a single variable letter, this clue has three different appropriate answers. Write in whichever one(s) you like. See 116 Down.)
- 116D: Start of a crime novel by Sue Grafton, whose titles are particularly apt for this puzzle. (This clue has three possible answers. See 113 Across.) (O / R / A IS).
January 31 Puzzle / Everything Else — 1A: Pioneering cartoonist (NAST); 5A: Prep for a trip (PACK); 9A: Cry of recognition (AHA); 12A: Stumblebums (CLODS); 17A: Job safety org. (OSHA); 18A: Present opening? (OMNI-); 19A: Job opening (SLOT); 20A: Jewelers' lenses (LOUPES); 24A: Manifesto co-author (ENGELS); 25A: Takes in or lets out (ALTERS); 28A: Untrue (NOT SO); 29A: Earthquake origins (FOCI); 32A: Promising letters (IOU); 33A: Org. of cadets (ROTC); 41A: Old college cry (RAH); 42A: Capital on the Aare (BERN); 44A: Pianist Gilels (EMIL); 45A: Sculler's prop (OAR); 46A: Words before "merry" (AND BE); 48A: Chinese principle (TAO); 54A: Goes ballistic (ERUPTS); 56A: Hydrox finish (-IDE); 57A: Before you know it (SOON); 58A: Be in a different form? (ARE); 59A: Pool problem (ALGAE); 60A: Golf great (SNEAD); 62A: "Convoy" star's first name (KRIS); 72A: At a snail's pace (SLOW); 73A: Takes shape (FORMS); 74A: Chocolate shop lure (AROMA); 75A: Reagan's "Star Wars" prog. (SDI); 78A: Lingerie items (BRAS); 80A: Cloud chamber bit (ION); 81A: Toyota rival (NISSAN); 87A: "Twitch," minus every other letter (TIC); 88A: Arm bones (ULNAS); 89A: Seattle-to-Vegas dir. (SSE); 90A: GM's electric car (VOLT); 91A: Island near Java (BALI); 92A: Saints' org. (NFC); 99A: Sugar-free, perhaps (DIET); 101A: Extinct 12-footer (MOA); 102A: In ___ (lined up) (A ROW); 103A: Terra follower (COTTA); 111A: Last two words in the title of an epic 1962 western (WAS WON); 112A: Actress Stone (SHARON); 117A: "Fighting" NCAA team Colorful eye part (ILLINI); 118A: Swan lover of myth (LEDA); 119A: Colorful eye part (IRIS); 120A: Words to a traitor (ET TU); 121A: One way to choose (BY LOT); 122A: 2001 and 2010, for ex. (YRS.); 123A: "Darn it" preceder (GOSH); 124A: Greek letters (RHOS); 1D: Ace of diamonds Ryan (NOLAN); 2D: Embark on ___ career (A SOLO); 3D: Noticeably filled (with) (SHOT THROUGH); 4D: Goes up against (TAKES ON); 5D: Okra features (PODS); 6D: Pal, to Pascal (AMI); 7D: Wolf's home? (CNN); 8D: Relations (KIN); 9D: Actor with actor brothers (ALEC); 10D: Flying wedge sound (HONK); 11D: Reach (ATTAIN); 12D: Nor, for one: abbr. (CONJ.); 13D: Long-time Indiana senator (LUGAR); 14D: Market action that remains in effect until filled or canceled (OPEN ORDER); 15D: Easily trashed, e.g. (DELETABLE); 16D: Air-leak sound (SSS); 19D: "Nova" subj. (SCI.); 20D: Nobel decliner ___ Tho (LE DUC); 22D: Switch ending (-EROO); 23D: Frigg's husband (ODIN); 27D: "___ insist!" (NO I); 29D: Katrina aftermath org. (FEMA); 30D: Like poems of praise (ODIC); 31D: Coal miner (COLLIER); 34D: Food Network figure (CHEF); 36D: Berry and Burns (KENS); 37D: Struck a stance (POSED); 38D: Partakes of (HAS); 39D: Space balls (ORBS); 40D: See 60 Across (SAM); 42D: Second-string squad (B TEAM); 43D: Premature (EARLY); 47D: Ultrasecret org. (NSA); 49D: List details (ITEMS); 50D: It's an Aleutian (ADAK); 51D: Dogpatch name (YOKUM); 52D: Brassy group (HORNS); 53D: ___ to win it (IN IT); 55D: Kung ___ chicken (PAO); 60D: "Kill Bill" weapon (SWORD); 61D: "Dream on!" ("NO WAY!"); 63D: Coffee-spill result (STAIN); 65D: Hamburg's river (ELBE); 66D: "Sounds great" ("COOL"); 67D: "It's Now ___" (OR NEVER); 68D: Surgery sites, briefly (ORS); 69D: "For openers ..." (TO START WITH); 70D: BlackBerry delivery (EMAIL); 71D: Folk singer Griffith (NANCI); 73D: Pulled the trigger (FIRED); 75D: How misers act (SELFISHLY); 76D: Glenn Miller milieu (DANCE HALL); 77D: Roth follower (IRA); 79D: Lackluster (SO-SO); 81D: Punishment for some kids (NO TV); 82D: "Casablanca" role, Ilsa ___ (LUND); 83D: Research-funding org. (NSF); 84D: "Camp show" org. (USO); 85D: London district (SOHO); 86D: KFC side dish (SLAW); 91D: Rocket stage (BOOSTER); 94D: Saudi neighbor (OMANI); 95D: Democrat Dellums (RON); 96D: One who may bug you (GADFLY); 97D: Barn bundle (BALE); 98D: Able one's assertion (I CAN); 100D: Hope-Crosby flick, "Road ___" (TO RIO); 104D: Famed sidekick (TONTO); 105D: Burger beef (ANGUS); 107D: "I ___ tell" (WON'T); 108D: Arena level (TIER); 109D: Some linemen (ENDS); 110D: NYC airport, on tickets (LGA); 111D: Genie's gift (WISH); 112D: Sis or bro (SIB); 114D: Fix dishonestly (RIG); 115D: Con's opposite (PRO).