April 3, 2011 (syndicated)
[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.
- 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).
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.
- 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?
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)