[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: "Find Out" — F in, D out. The letter F replaces the letter D in familiar phrases, yielding wacky theme answers.
- 23A: Flight attendant's reminder when serving alcohol? (THIS IS NOT A FRILL).
- 32A: Equine exhibition with poor visibility? (FOG AND PONY SHOW).
- 45A: Stick around for sautéing? (HANG OUT TO FRY).
- 64A: Energizing bluegrass instruments? (FUELING BANJOS).
- 75A: Craze for some moms? (STAY-AT-HOME FAD).
- 95A: Pixie dust? (FAIRY PRODUCT).
- 104A: Written warning about gangster Gotti? (FEAR JOHN LETTER).
- 119A: Imposing monetary penalties with a nice Chianti? (WINING AND FINING).
You should take a few minutes to read Brendan Emmett Quigley's interview with Peter Wentz here. (You'll also be able to download of his of his gnarly themeless puzzles.) Among other things, you'll learn that he's not the rock star Pete Wentz who used to be married to Ashlee Simpson & named his son Bronx Mowgli Wentz. That's a relief.
- 20A: Anthem with line "The True North strong and free!" (O CANADA). Great clue, eh?
- 26A: Fixed, as a pump (SOLED). When you see "pump" in a crossword clue, nine times out of ten it's referring to a shoe.
- 28A: Hip-hopper's adjective (LIL). Li'l Abner was a hip-hopper? That's phat.
- 58A: '70s-'80s NHLer known as "Lucky Pierre" (LAROUCHE). I'm not a hockey fan, but this one was easy enough to get from the crossing entries. I can understand why Peter & Rich wanted to avoid a reference to Lyndon Larouche and his political insanity.
- 92A: Baseball's Matsui (HIDEKI). Great player. He was the 2009 World Series MVP for the Yankees. Not to be confused with their $12.8 million dollar pitcher, Hideki "Fat Toad" Irabu. (His picture keeps making me yawn.)
- 102A: BART stop (STN). Bay Area Rapid Transit.
- 10D: Excellent, in slang (DEF). As in Def Leppard.
- 34D: Like some bks. for kids (ABR). An abridged version of "abridged."
- 71D: Oldest active NBAer (SHAQ). Interesting that we have an "NHLer" clue and an "NBAer" clue today. I don't mind those two words, and I'm fine with NFLer too. But I can't stand ALer and NLer.
- 84D: Speedy superhero (THE FLASH). I love this entry! He's literally "The Fastest Man Alive." One of the mainstays of the DC Comics universe, just a notch below Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. There are Green Lantern, Thor, and Captain America movies coming out this summer, so you've got to think a Flash movie is in the works. Sorry to geek out on you. Let's move along...
- 86D: Thought process (IDEATION). This was the ugliest entry in the grid, but its appearance allowed THE FLASH and HIDEKI to fit into that same corner, so I'm good with it. Go ahead and ideate all you want!
- 89D: Clip joints? (ARSENALS). Nice clue. Clips of ammunition can be found in arsenals.
- 113D: "Grand" brand of ice cream (EDY'S). We don't have this brand in the western U.S., so it always bugs me to see it in a puzzle, especially a Los Angeles-based puzzle
- 115D: Epitome of smoothness (SILK). Shout-out to Barry C. Silk.
- 123D: Good times (FUN). Apt entry to finish up on. Very enjoyable puzzle today.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up: