July 3, 2011
Samuel A. Donaldson
[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: "Say Again?" — Familiar phrases in which one word is pronounced differently to yield a wacky phrase.
- 23A: Understudy's crime? (LEAD POISONING).
- 33A: Short ovation? (MINUTE HAND).
- 49A: Instrument with colored bands? (STRIPED BASS).
- 68A: Compliment on a skillful asphalt job? (GOOD EVENING).
- 84A: Anesthetist's error? (WRONG NUMBER).
- 101A: Fight among forest females? (DOES BATTLE).
- 117A: Clean kielbasa? (POLISH SAUSAGE).
- 16D: Telescope? (METEOR SHOWER).
- 64D: Jeans feature after a barbed wire encounter? (TRAIL OF TEARS).
Crossword Fiend site. Today's a big day for Sam because this is his first Sunday puzzle. Congratulations! It's a winner. He used nine heteronyms (words spelled the same and pronounced differently) to create a super set of theme entries. I appreciate a little dark humor, so my favorite was the clue & answer at 23-Across: "Understudy's crime?" for (LEAD POISONING). Change the short e vowel sound in "lead" to a long e, and you've got one dead leading man. I also found WRONG NUMBER and TRAIL OF TEARS to be particularly fun.
One note about the grid. In a Sunday puzzle, you often see four Across entries in the top and bottom rows & four Down entries in the leftmost and rightmost columns. Sam chose to use three entries along the top & bottom and three entries along the left & right. So we solvers got fresh long entries like BENELUX, YO ADRIAN, STRAY CAT, and the fabulous OH COME ON. I think this Donaldson guy knows what he's doing.
- 20A: European triumvirate (BENELUX). It sounds like a brand of laundry detergent, but it's actually a combination of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
- 40A: ___ Shore (JERSEY). Have you noticed that Snooki is sneaking into crossword puzzles? I've seen her name in two or three different grids. Frightening.
- 42A: The Joker portrayer (ROMERO). I had a brief solving hiccup here after entering Ledger.
- 45A: Spot for "Spot" (TAG). Clever clue.
- 59A: Some tablets (PCS). I played around with my friend's tablet computer when I was on vacation. It was an Asus Eee computer. The name Eee comes from their slogan: "Easy to learn, Easy to work, Easy to play." Are these computers well-known in the U.S.? Because it would be great to have a clue for EEE that doesn't involve wide shoes. That said, Eee is a horrible name for a product.
- 78A: Shinto temple gateway (TORII). PuzzleGirl covered TORII in Crosswordese 101. Sometimes it's a Japanese temple gateway, and sometimes it's a reference to outfielder Torii Hunter.
- 86A: A.L. West team, on scoreboards (LAA). The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. And their starting rightfielder is... Torii Hunter.
- 115A: Got one's money's worth at the buffet (ATE A LOT). I did a couple of buffets in Vegas, and yes, I got my money's worth. The buffet at Harrah's had an ice cream/frozen yogurt bar where you could add sprinkles, nuts, crushed oreos, etc., to your bowl of ice cream. I watched one little kid fill an entire ice cream bowl with M&M's. No ice cream, just M&M's. Why didn't I think of that?
- 3D: "... bombs bursting ___" (IN AIR). Happy 4th of July!
- 45D: First O, say (TIC). Tic-tac-toe.
- 43D: "You can't be serious" (OH, COME ON). Awesome entry. I'm going to steal this one and put it in one of my grids.
- 81D: Marxism extremes? (EMS). Yep, there's an M (em) on each end of "Marxism."
- 88D: Three times daily, on an Rx (TID). These pharmacy abbreviations always baffle me. I'm going to give Sam one demerit for this entry.
- 97D: "The First Billion is the Hardest" author Pickens (T. BOONE). Ha, just saw that T. Boone is one letter off from t-bone. Am I the last person on Earth to notice that?
- 50D: Diamond wearer in "Copacabana" (RICO). Yesterday PuzzleGirl wrote "...for God's sake, do not — I repeat NOT — listen to 'Copacabana.' " But you know you can't resist...
Everything Else — 1A: Woodcutter who knew the magic words (ALI BABA); 8A: Wide divide (CHASM); 13A: Tribal magicians (SHAMANS); 21A: Variety show (REVUE); 22A: Catches the show (TUNES IN); 25A: Steamy stuff (EROTICA); 26A: Israeli weapons (UZIS); 27A: With 116-Down, "Bed-In for Peace" co-organizer (YOKO); 28A: Make amends (ATONE); 30A: Be a disincentive to (DETER); 31A: Eager, in dialect (RARIN'); 36A: Sound on Old MacDonald's farm (OINK); 37A: Responses to the obvious (DUHS); 39A: Office orders (REAMS); 47A: Concordes: Abbr. (SST'S); 48A: Triumphant shout (AHA); 55A: Seafaring salutations (AHOYS); 60A: Official declaration (EDICT); 61A: "The Gates of Hell" sculptor (RODIN); 62A: Goes __: deteriorates (TO POT); 63A: Like some advanced research, briefly (POST-DOC); 65A: Cues from a stage coach (LINES); 66A: "Trust me!" ("I SWEAR!"); 67A: Epps of "House" (OMAR); 72A: Mother of the Valkyries (ERDA); 73A: Short summaries (RECAPS); 75A: Garfield's creator (DAVIS); 76A: Clue room (LIBRARY); 79A: Enter, as data (KEY IN); 80A: Start a rally (SERVE); 82A: Ballpoint brand (BIC); 83A: Fishhook-to-line connection (SNELL); 87A: Vow (OATH); 89A: "Owner of a Lonely Heart" band (YES); 90A: Still in the outbox (UNSENT); 92A: Andre's love (STEFFI); 95A: 10% donation (TITHE); 99A: One might go around on the patio (SPIT); 100A: __ Neuf: Paris bridge (PONT); 105A: Mitigates (EASES); 109A: Rubber tree yield (LATEX); 111A: Astound (FLOOR); 112A: Tug (YANK); 114A: Kennel sound (YELP); 120A: Pottery casserole dish (TERRINE); 121A: "You're __ talk!" (ONE TO); 122A: Unpredictable (ERRATIC); 123A: Therapy time (SESSION); 124A: Exorcist's foe (DEMON); 125A: Old West gang (DALTONS); 1D: "It was over so fast" words (A BLUR); 2D: TV host Gibbons (LEEZA); 4D: Like some comforting manners (BEDSIDE); 5D: Mont Blanc, e.g. (ALP); 6D: Lift (BUOY); 7D: Geometry class list (AXIOMS); 8D: Serenade, perhaps (CROON); 9D: Fox's prey (HEN); 10D: Pilot (AVIATE); 11D: Naturally brewed beverage (SUN TEA); 12D: A lot of resistance (MEGOHM); 13D: "The Feast of Saint Nicholas" painter (STEEN); 14D: Judah Ben-__ (HUR); 15D: Give __ to: okay (A NOD); 17D: Currently (ASITIS); 18D: Like a noted creed (NICENE); 19D: Crotchety (SNARKY); 24D: Go downhill fast? (SKI); 29D: "If I Ruled the World" rapper (NAS); 32D: Helped get healthy (NURSED); 34D: Impulse (URGE); 35D: Short spinners? (DJ'S); 38D: Ballpark staples (HOTDOGS); 41D: Virginie-Occidentale et al. (ÉTATS); 42D: Close connections (RAPPORTS); 44D: Blowout on the court (MASSACRE); 46D: Fitting (APT); 47D: No. under the year on many tax forms (SSN); 51D: With accuracy or distance, a golf stat (DRIVING); 52D: Fox forensic drama (BONES); 53D: City SSE of Sana'a (ADEN); 54D: Spanish ayes (SÍ SÍ); 56D: In working order (OPERABLE); 57D: "Rocky" catchphrase (YO ADRIAN); 58D: Future adoptee, perhaps (STRAY CAT); 65D: "Deathtrap" playwright (LEVIN); 66D: "You win" ("I GIVE UP"); 69D: Baltic Sea feeder (ODER); 70D: "The Banana Boat Song" opening (DAYO); 71D: Workers' rights agcy. (NLRB); 74D: Rice preparation (PILAF); 77D: Longtime collaborator with Elton (BERNIE); 79D: Util. unit (KWH); 80D: You might do it after hiring a lawyer (SUE); 85D: "Wrong, comrade" ("NYET"); 91D: Spends the night in (STAYS AT); 92D: Evidence of egg toss errors (SPLATS); 93D: Just right (TO A TEE); 94D: Goes on stage (ENTERS); 95D: Business card no. (TEL.); 96D: 14-legged crustacean (ISOPOD); 98D: Cotton Club site (HARLEM); 99D: Had a hunch (SENSED); 102D: Regularly (OFTEN); 103D: "Sounder" Oscar nominee (TYSON); 104D: __-di-dah (LAH); 106D: Defense gp. formed in Manila (SEATO); 107D: Classic watch (ELGIN); 108D: See-thru wear? (SPECS); 110D: Super Bowl at which Tom Petty performed (XLII); 113D: Two-season "American Idol" judge DioGuardi (KARA); 116D: See 27-Across (ONO); 118D: 1989 World Champion figure skater (ITO); 119D: Web ID (URL).