04.03 Sun

April 3, 2011 (syndicated)
Doug Peterson

[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: "The Play's the Thing" - 8 familiar playthings immortalized together are brought together again in this puzzle.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: *They're educational and stakable (ALPHABET BLOCKS).
  • 38A: *Construction set invented by Frank Lloyd Wright's son (LINCOLN LOGS).
  • 47A: *Street hockey gear (ROLLER SKATES).
  • 91A: *Shipping container (CARDBOARD BOX).
  • 98A: *Dual-knobbed drawing device (ETCH A SKETCH).
  • 119A: *Kindergartner's boxful (CRAYOLA CRAYONS).
  • 15D: *Board game with color-coded cards (CANDY LAND).
  • 81D: *Cuddly bedmate (TEDDY BEAR).
  • 68A: Rochester, N.Y., institution whose inductees include the eight answers to the starred clues (NATIONAL TOY HALL OF FAME).

Hi, everybody! Neville here, sitting in for Doug. Why? Because he wrote this puzzle - you read the byline, didn't you? You might remember me for a few puzzles that I've had in the LA Times. Or not - I'm certainly not as prolific as Doug, who's had nearly 30 puzzles in the LA Times since this blog started up! Wow! Doug is one of my favorite constructors, and I'm pleased to make my debut here as a guest blogger on a Peterson puzzle.

Do you ever get lucky when solving a puzzle? I got lucky this time - I remembered a Sporcle quiz I played a little while back also based on this subject. Go give it a shot (after you finish reading this post, of course!) - you'll have an eight-answer head start. Big ups to Doug for picking out 8 of the stars from that list and cramming them all into this grid.

  • 77A: Picnic favorite (BEAN SALAD). I had LEAF SALAD. That didn't work! I find both pasta and potato salads to be better than both of those choices at picnics, but neither of them fit.
  • 78A: Tiny bit (TITTLE). When I think tittle, I think the dot over the miniscule i. I wrote in LITTLE instead.
  • 82A: Tool used in a bed (HOE). Take it away, Ken Jennings:

  • 25D: Scott of "Happy Days" (BAIO). More recently, Scott had a minor role as a lawyer on "Arrested Development". Enjoy some wordplay:

  • 52D: Period of sacrifice (LENT). For those keeping score at home, three weeks until Easter!
  • 58D: 1988 A.L. MVP (CANSECO). Jose Canseco is now known for having reached that pinnacle of fame that is being a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice.
  • 94D: Peninsula north of Martha's Vineyard (CAPE COD). Did you know that Martha's Vineyard is one of only five apostrophes in a US natural feature name. Crazy, huh? Learn more here!
  • 83D: NBA's __ Man of the Year Award (SIXTH). Of course, all eyes are on the NCAA tournament at the moment, but I think this is a great clue - I was stumped for a good while. Who's going to take it all - Butler or UConn?
  • 100D: Three Stooges family name (HOWARD). Nyuk nyuk nyuk! I don't remember the Stooges being this violent or poorly edited:

  • 101D: First non-European literature Nobelist (1913) (TAGORE). Let's learn something together, shall we? Rabindranath Tagore (aka Gurudev) was a Bengali poet/playwright/musician/artist. His best known work was Gitanjali, a collection of English poems. I fell for the double that this person might be American and that I might have heard of them - but I learned something, and that's pretty cool, too.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 5A: Gate approx. (ETD). You've gotta get this D from the crossing - that's always a pain.
  • 19A: Airline with a Ben Gurion hub (EL AL)
  • 32A: Santa __ winds (ANA).
  • 55A: Word between surnames (NÉE).
  • 57A: City SSW of Moscow (OREL).
  • 67A: Itty-bitty, in Inverness (SMA). I think this is a new one for the blog - maybe PG doesn't think this is Crosswordese, but I do. It's easy to remember this Scottish word for small - just take off the last two letters!
  • 97A: '80s missile shield prog. (SDI).
  • 4D: Pre-coll. catchall (EL-HI). Who says this? This is my pet peeve bit of crosswordese.
  • 78D: Gumshoes (TECS). We've seen the singular here before for sure.
  • 89D: Classified letters (EOE). Ah, the dreaded EOE/EEO dilemma. Did you guess correctly?
[I'm not on it yet, but if you are, you should totally follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything else - 1A: Cause for fishing hole excitement (BITE); 8A: Fleshy-snouted mammal (TAPIR); 13A: Fearless Fosdick's creator (AL CAPP); 20A: Book flap feature (BIO); 21A: Ridiculous (INANE); 22A: Comfortable shoe (LOAFER); 26A: Unlearned (INNATE); 27A: Long-tailed songbird (PIPIT); 28A: Shade of green (PEA); 29A: It's done in some circles (SEWING); 31A: Sturdy wagon (DRAY); 33A: Actor Estevez (EMILIO); 36A: "A Taste of Honey" dramatist (DELANEY); 41A: DMV document (LIC.); 42A: Vaquero's plain (LLANO); 46A: Arles affirmatives (OUIS); 50A: Port-du-__: French cheese (SALUT); 53A: Script section (SCENE); 56A: PBS series since 1974 (NOVA); 58A: Breezy good-byes (CIAOS); 60A: QB's try (ATT.); 62A: First name among disrespected comedians? (RODNEY); 64A: Pollution-free power sources (WIND FARMS); 66A: Links highlight (ACE); 75A: Jenny, e.g. (ASS); 76A: "Reliable Sources" airer (CNN); 83A: Swedish imports (SAABS); 84A: Winged goddess (NIKE); 85A: War of 1812 shipbuilding port (ERIE); 86A: Half a dance (CHA); 88A: "Gone With the Wind" Oscar winner (LEIGH); 90A: Dramatist Chekhov (ANTON); 94A: "How __ refuse?" (CAN I); 96A: Hardly posh (SEEDY); 104A: Home of Chichén Itzá (YUCATAN); 107A: Hullabaloo (HOOPLA); 108A: "Bingo!" ("AHA!"); 109A: Crime lab item (SWAB); 112A: Not spontaneous (STAGED); 114A: Come up short (OWE); 115A: "King Lear" daughter (REGAN); 117A: Ripped to pieces (TORE UP); 122A: Mystical secrets (ARCANA); 123A: "True Grit," for one (OATER); 124A: 20th-century composer Harris (ROY); 125A: Logical connector (ERGO); 126A: 1943 Allied conference site (TEHRAN); 127A: Campout treat (S'MORE); 128A: 34th pres. (DDE); 129A: Look to be (SEEM); 1D: "Little help here, bud?" ("BE A PAL"); 2D: "Fighting" team (ILLINI); 3D: __ Zee Bridge (TAPPAN); 5D: Flow's counterpart (EBB); 6D: Ascot fasteners (TIE PINS); 7D: "I'm listening!" ("DO TELL!"); 8D: Up to, in brief (TIL); 9D: "__ Amours": 1984 César Award-winning film (ANOS); 10D: Walked worriedly (PACED); 11D: Bygone writing aid (INKWELL); 12D: Able to overcome adversity (RESILIENT); 13D: Bring into harmony (ALIGN); 14D: Contemporary of Boris (LON); 16D: Where some worship from (AFAR); 17D: Anti-leather gp. (PETA); 18D: Zebras, to lions (PREY); 24D: Did lunch, say (ATE OUT); 30D: Iridescent jewelry material (NACRE); 34D: 1,051, to Hadrian (MLI); 35D: Fiends of fantasy (OGRES); 37D: Buckskin source (ELK); 39D: "What else __ do?" (COULD I); 40D: Elroy, to George Jetson (SON); 43D: Oodles (A TON); 44D: Snow in Milano (NEVE); 45D: Anthem beginning (O SAY); 48D: Percolate (LEACH); 49D: Sunday deliveries (SERMONS); 50D: Planted (SOWN); 51D: "Turandot" highlight (ARIA); 53D: O.T. prophet (SAML.); 54D: Bulk-purchase club (COSTCO); 58D: 1988 A.L. MVP (CANSECO); 59D: Funds for later yrs. (IRA'S); 61D: Leaves home? (TEABAG); 63D: Bozos (OAFS); 65D: Newborn Arabian (FOAL); 66D: Objectivism advocate Rand (AYN); 67D: Healthy portion (SLAB); 69D: Spaghetti pkg. unit (ONE LB.); 70D: Remini of "The King of Queens" (LEAH); 71D: Author Flagg (FANNIE); 72D: Hit the ground (ALIT); 73D: Speedy shark (MAKO); 74D: Idyllic setting (EDEN); 79D: "Dies __" (IRAE); 80D: Flag (TIRE); 82D: Crunchy Mexican munchies (HARD TACOS); 87D: Tackles (HAS AT); 90D: Capital south of the Black Sea (ANKARA); 92D: Mitt Romney's alma mater: Abbr. (BYU); 93D: Family tree, e.g. (DIAGRAM); 95D: Silent communication syst. (ASL); 99D: "Groovy!" ('COOL!"); 100D: Three Stooges family name (HOWARD); 101D: First non-European literature Nobelist (1913) (TAGORE); 102D: Meter feeder's need (CHANGE); 103D: Quaint carriage (HANSOM); 105D: It covers D.C. (C-SPAN); 106D: "Groovy!" ("NEATO!"); 109D: Fan's factoid (STAT); 110D: Modeled (WORE); 111D: Raise, as an eyebrow (ARCH); 113D: Tannery worker (DYER); 116D: Checks out (EYES); 118D: Uruguayan article (UNA); 120D: Stuff in a seam (ORE); 121D: Sourdough alternative (RYE)


lit.doc said...

@Neville, thanks for the excellent write-up and video clips.

Solid, fun puzzle, with Sundayish number of "Huh?" spots, (nearly) all of which were fairly (in both senses) inferrable from the crosses.

Exception. Last square for me was the PI?IT/TAP?AN cross. SWAG based on an alphabet run. Got lucky. Did I just run over two chuckholes at the same time, or is one of those two reasonably common knowledge?

Rex Parker said...

TAGORE = !? That must have been a hell of a challenging corner to fill in, because TAGORE is Sore Thumb material in this otherwise supersmooth grid.

Thank you for the Bob Loblaw. We say his name all the time just for fun, or whenever anyone says something incomprehensible.


StudioCitySteve said...

Nice puzzle and write-up - still cracking up over the Ken Jennings answer - I'd not seen that clip before!

@lit.doc - I've no idea where I know the Tappan Zee Bridge from, but that was almost my first fill. My last was the O in HARDTACOS/OATER - went up and down the alphabet twice before I realized what it was - for some reason the vertical was a blind spot for me, and I couldn't figure out what the movie reference was. Just me being slow, that's all.

Had ROLLERBLADES for a while before I realized something was out-of-whack there.

Liked the theme, good fun.

Doug P said...

Thanks for the fun write-up, Neville.

When I saw CARDBOARD BOX on the list of inductees, I knew that one had to be in puzzle. They've also inducted the "stick," which is awesome. I'd love to go there sometime and visit the stick display.

Yeah, TAGORE is pretty darn odd. It looks like TIN ORE would have worked too, but I never like seeing that one in a grid. IRON ORE = fine; TIN ORE = "huh?"

cw stewart said...

Nice smooth puzzle, Doug. Enjoyable solve and educational, too. I would love to see what else is in the Hall of Fame. Nice write up, too.

Avg Joe said...

Very fun puzzle Doug. Lot's I didn't know, but the crosses were enough in all cases to complete things. I'm pretty sure I'd heard that a stick and cardboard box had been enshrined in some toy Mecca, but didn't know where, and it was nice being reminded and informed.

Thanks for pinch hitting Neville. I really enjoyed the Jeopardy and Bob Loblaw clips.

Doug P said...

Thanks, CW!

Here's the full list of inductees: Toy Hall of Fame.

John Wolfenden said...

One of my fastest Sunday solves ever. A fun theme, I didn't know that the Puzzle Hall of Fame existed.

"Stuff in a seam" is an original way to clue ORE, and "Leaves home?" for TEABAG actually made me laugh out loud. Great clue.

Learning moments in PIPIT, LINCOLN LOGS, TITTLE and TAGORE, and a carriage mini-theme in HANSOM and DRAY.

My seven-year old made her own CRAYOLA CRAYON the other day by molding the wax wrapper from a BabyBel cheese into crayon shape, then fashioning a label and gluing it on.

Nice puzzle, spiffy writeup.

CrazyCatLady said...

Really enjoyable puzzle Doug. Loved the the quality and the quantity of the theme.

Had ROLLER Blades before SKATES too. Went through TEA cup and pot, before I finally got BAG.

Wonderful write up Neville. Loved the Bob Loblaw and Ken Jennings clips. The Stooges really were violent. I think my brother tried some of those moves on me. Don't think Moe, Larry and Curly would be rated PG these days.

@Litdoc The TAPPEN ZEE bridge crosses the Hudson River about 30 miles N of NYC in the Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow area.

imsdave said...

Very nice stuff (as is to be expected from Mr. P). CARDBOARDBOX is my absolute fav, as it reminds me of when I got my kids the Flintstonemobile (can't remember it's real name), and while they enjoyed the foot propelled vehicle, the box turned out to be way much more fun.

When I saw the title, I thought we might have ended up with Greene as our guest blogger. Speaking of guest blogger's - huge kudos to Neville for the great job - loved the embeds. I remember seeing the episode with Jennings when he threw out that great line.

Enough rambling - I don't wan't to make a huge mistake :)

mac said...

I usually take a puzzle break on Sunday's but seeing Doug's name up I had to do it. I'm not sorry I did! Fun puzzle. Expected a little more baseball in it (as the Yankees are playing the Detroit Tigers in the background). And Neville, great write-up and we are still laughing about Ken Jennings.

I don't get the 6th Man of the Year, sorry. Leaves home had me thinking of nests.

AV said...

Great Ken Jennings clip - thanks!

Interesting sidebar on Tagore. If I recall, he may be the only person who has written two national anthems (India and Bangla Desh).


mac said...


lit.doc said...

@Mac, it's an award for the best bench player in basketball. Five men on the floor, so the substitute is the 6th man.

mac said...

Thank you, lit.doc

Neville said...

Thanks for the kind words, everyone! Glad I wasn't the only one who had no idea at all on TAGORE!