03.20 Sun

March 20, 2011
Ed Sessa

[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: "New B-ginnings" — The title says it all. Add a "B" sound to the beginnings of familiar phrases to get wacky theme entries.

Theme Entries:
  • 24A: Result of the cock's crow? (BROOD AWAKENING). [rude awakening]
  • 38A: "Bungling for Dummies," e.g.? (BONERS MANUAL). [owner's manual]
  • 59A: Shindig for Swahili VIPs? (BWANA DANCE). [wanna dance?]
  • 83A: Bedbugs on the Orient Express? (BERTH WORMS). [earthworms]
  • 97A: Bird with a tan? (BROWNED ROBIN). [round robin]
  • 119A: Hibernation luxuries? (BEAR MATTRESSES). [air mattresses]
  • 3D: "$#%^*& geckos!"? (BLEEPING LIZARDS). [leaping lizards!]
  • 47D: Prize for an inn's best guest? (BOARDER OF THE DAY). [order of the day]
Hey, everybody. This is Doug, reporting from the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Actually, I'm not reporting yet. I'm too busy solving puzzles and hanging with the puzzle people. I hate to be a name-dropper, but last night I had dinner with Garson Hampfield. Interesting guy.

OK, today's puzzle. I liked it. Nice grid with some fun theme answers. BLEEPING LIZARDS is awesome, and I like BROWNED ROBIN too. No comment on BONERS MANUAL.

Sorry, no bullets today, but I'll be back with a full Sunday write-up next weekend. Have fun in the comments & I'll see you later.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 33A: At one time, once (ERST).
  • 46A: "Voice of Israel" author (EBAN).
  • 62A: Sch. whose mascot is Rhody the Ram (U.R.I.).
  • 78A: Child expert LeShan (EDA).
  • 86A: Toon Chihuahua (REN).
  • 8D: Avis adjective (RARA).
  • 40D: Oklahoma's "Wheat Capital" (ENID).
  • 43D: "Young Frankenstein" role (IGOR).
  • 54D: "My Way" lyricist (ANKA).
  • 69D: Gator follower? (ADE).
  • 115D: Canadian gas (ESSO).
  • 121D: Past fast flier (SST).


Sidnee said...

40D: Oklahoma's "Wheat Capital" (ENID).

Is it still crosswordese when, according to XWord Info, it has never been clued as Oklahoma's "Wheat Capital"?

Alexscott said...

Today's puzzle was much easier than yesterday's, which I couldn't finish. That alone, along with the nicely executed theme, made me like this puzzle much more. For some reason, it took me a while to get 86A, "Toon Chihuahua." I forgot that REN was a Chihuahua (or, as Les Nessman would say, a Chi-hooah-hooah).

That Garson Hampfield video was hilarious. He's so right. These modern-day, computer-rendered grids just don't compare to the traditional hand-drawn ones.

lit.doc said...

Came in just under half an hour, and had a blast the entire time. This was one of the best add-a-letter themes I’ve ever seen. Loved every one of the theme answers. Well done, Ed Sessa, and thanks.

Finished in mid-Atlantic ‘cause it took me so long to even imagine the possibility of a curator without at least an MFA. My bad. But even the “damn, I’ve just gotta use this not-really-in-the-language letter string to get this block to work” moments like AM VET were graced with gettable crosses.

Wish STIMPY had been able to accompany REN. Imagine e.g. 95A “Object of 86A’s ‘You EEEEEEEdiot!!’ tagline”.

@Sidnee, I know just how you feel about the "Wheat Capital"/ENID pair. I just hold my nose and reach into my Chamber Pot of Hard-to-Clue-Cleverly-but-Unavoidable Short Fill. "Four-letter Oklahoma city starting with E?" Enter ENID and don't even finish reading the clue. Kinda like "Four-letter answer clued with Italian in quotes?" Enter ARIA and move on.

StudioCitySteve said...

Took about 45 minutes, I liked the theme and all the theme answers. A couple of the fills left me a little cold - BFA crossed with LAT and the first part of the ALATEEN answer had me flat-out guessing to finish the puzzle.

Liked TRIGONS a lot for no good reason.

JaxInL.A. said...

Pouring down rain here in L.A. all day, yet just four comments? I hope loads of folks saw that very funny animation featuring Mr. Hampstead.

A lot to like about the puzzle, esp. a nice combo of young and old. Thanks for keeping us going, Doug, and congratulations On ranking 16th! Very impressive!

Tuttle said...


Seriously? I mean, besides the utter atrociousness of the abbrev, there were over 400,000 WWII GIs that never lived to be vets.

Other than that, mostly enjoyable.

Bud Williams said...

Alex scott ...who's old enough to remember Les Nessman

I also had a hard time with the curator not having an MFA