08.07 Sun

August 7, 2011
Donna S. Levin

[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: "Swordplay" — An "S" sound is added to beginnings of familiar phrases.

Theme Entries:
  • 23A: Bathtub ring with no discernible cause? (SCUM FROM NOWHERE).
  • 37A: Schusser's name traced in the snow? (SKI SIGNATURE).
  • 60A: "Alas" and "Ah, me"? (SIGH OPENERS).
  • 70A: Surveillance satellite? (SPY IN THE SKY).
  • 92A: Make Oreos? (STUFF COOKIES).
  • 110A: What grumpy old men might experience? (SURLY RETIREMENT).
  • 17D: Geckos that don't set their alarm clocks? (SLEEPIN' LIZARDS).
  • 46D: Pilots' milieu? (SPHERE OF FLYING).
Doug left this: "Hey, crossword fans. Doug here, checking in from New York City! The Lollapuzzoola crossword tournament was held yesterday, and I'm sure PuzzleGirl will tell you all about it next week. I don't have much time today, so I'm just giving you the basics. I really enjoyed Donna's puzzle today, especially SCUM FROM NOWHERE & SURLY RETIREMENT. Good stuff."

It looks like I (Gareth) will be here and discussing this puzzles with you guys, if you'll endulge me. I too really enjoyed this puzzle. Donna is one of my favourite constructors; her puzzles are usually extremely simple, yet elegant and deftly executed, and this puzzle certainly fits into that mold! Doug's two picks were my two favourites too, along with SLEEPIN' LIZARDS. The only one that didn't pop for me was SPHERE OF FLYING. Some may argue that a theme like this has near limitless possibilities, and hold that against it. Where this puzzle wins, is the imaginative, witty entries Donna has chosen! The only small beef I did have was the title. In the puzzle an "s" sound is added to familiar entries whose spellings change, but pronunciations don't, creating whacky mayhem. In the title an "S" is added, and the pronunciation, but not the spelling changes.


  • 1A: Pastry preserver of the past (PIE SAFE). Have never heard of this. What google turned up looks pretty much like a regular cabinet to my untrained eye. It does score points for crossing 4D: Simple guy (SIMON) though!
  • 8A: "Johnny ___": 1948 film (BELINDA). A bit before my time, but the Wikipedia summary make it sounds worth watching and quite edgy for the time! My kneejerk Belinda is also before my time. This 1969 song, by Chris Andrews was a hit in South Africa, but apparently not in the US or his native UK. It's pretty schmaltzy, but what the heck (one warning for this and the other youtube video: I can't play youtube from here, so I don't know if these are as advertised, I hope so!):
  • 15A: Dreads sporter (RASTA). He (or she) worships JAH, possibly smokes GANJA to feel IRIE, and may in fact refer to him/herself as IANDI. These other capitalised answers don't appear in crosswords as much as their letters patterns would have you believe
  • 20A: What 100 is to 2, in the base 10 (ANTILOG). Log10100 = 2, which means 102 = 100. Antilog is the opposite and answers the question 102 = ___. I don't think I've explained this so well, and I've probably only succeeded in confusing myself. Basically, this is one of those things everybody learns in Maths class in high school, and then never forgets because it's so useful for working out grocery bills!
  • 30A: Augur's concern (OMEN). I always get "augur" and "auger" confused in my head. An auger's concern is boring!
  • 35A: EMILY's list, e.g. (PAC) No idea again. A googling we go... Wikipedia explains all, I guess. US politics is not a strong point for me!
  • 79A: Arrowsmith's first wife (LEORA). Yet another one: Let's see "Arrowsmith" is apparently a novel by Sinclair Lewis, and the titular man is a brilliant doctor. That I haven't read this or any other Lewis novel probably qualifies me as a boor. Shrug.
  • 108A: "Typee" sequel (OMOO). While I'm on the subject of books I haven't read, has anyone here read this one? (and yes I have used it in a puzzle myself, I ask out of pure curiosity)
  • 10D: Tin Star wearers. (LAWMEN). "It's a great life. You risk your skin catchin' killers and the juries turn 'em loose so they can come back and shoot at ya again. If you're honest, you're poor your whole life, and in the end you wind up dyin' all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothin'. For a tin star." A classic line from the film High Noon. I had to google it to get it, of course...
  • 11D: Home of Odysseus (ITHACA) is nearly symmetrically aligned with 106D: "Iliad" setting (TROY).
  • 13D: One may be used to bring down an elephant (DART GUN). Loaded with etorphine or succinyl choline, not sure what they use truth tell, a colourful entry nonetheless.
  • 37D: Public spectacle (SCENE).
  • 43D: NYC Theater District discount booth (TKTS). I wonder if any of our crossword tourists have been on a side-trip to Broadway?
  • 62D: Singer born Eithne Patricia Ni Bhraonain (ENYA). Boy does that Patricia look out place!
  • 71D: "___ you were the last one on earth!" (NOTIF). The clue goes all gender neutral, but still, what a way to colour up a partial!
  • 86D: Rec room scrape (RUG BURN). Great answer!
  • 93D: ___ pain (FEEL NO). Six-letter partial, what are you doing here? Oh, wait, it actually doesn't bother me. Does it bother you? Also, it does sort of go with rug burn: I feel no rug burn!
  • 110D: Thalassotherapy site (SPA). The "Thalasso-" part was completely superfluous for me, it appears to involve salt water.

Everything else 21A: Rampaging (ON A TEAR); 22A: Dole out (ALLOT); 25A: Martial arts-based regimen (TAE BO); 26A: Hoo-ha (TO-DO); 27A: Balkan portico (STOA); 28A: Actor Dillon (MATT); 29A: Like a porterhouse (BONE-IN); 31A: He gave Jackie her O (ARI); 32A: Nuclear age govt. org. (AEC); 33A: Gangster film extras (G-MEN); 36A: Lawyer's thing (RES); 40A: Escalate (RISE); 41A: Orb's partner, in British iconography (SCEPTRE); 42A: "Friends" Emmy winner (ANISTON); 44A: Defames (BASHES); 47A: Brings up (REARS); 50A: Birth name of Smallville's most famous resident (KAL-EL); 53A: Let loose, in a way (UNPEN); 54A: Garden party? (EVE); 56A: Wacky (NUTS); 58A: Chevron feature (STRIPE); 59A: Giggle (TE-HEE); 63A: Former Pakistani president (ZIA); 64A: Prayer conclusion (AMEN); 65A: The __ Store (UPS); 66A: Suffix with Israel (-ITE); 67A: Doce meses (AÑO); 68A: Edinburgh girl (LASS); 69A: "Neither snow, __ rain ..." (NOR); 73A: Beginning (BIRTH); 74A: Truck capacity (ONE TON); 76A: Many a saga (TOME); 77A: Word with garden or party (TEA); 78A: Soup scoop (LADLE); 80A: Pied-à-__: part-time residence (TERRE); 82A: Blasphemes (CURSES); 83A: Lamborghini rival (FERRARI); 87A: Dr. Scholl's products (INSOLES); 90A: It isn't right (LEFT); 95A: "Survivor" network (CBS); 98A: Home of the Braves: Abbr. (ATL); 99A: Rating for many "Simpsons" episodes (TV-P.G.); 100A: Consume (EAT); 101A: Ltr. container (ENV.); 102A: Astronomer Sagan (CARL); 103A: Satisfies a debt (PAYS UP); 105A: Vitamin also known as PABA (B-TEN); 107A: Deceptive hockey maneuver (DEKE); 109A: Senior Saarinen (ELIEL); 113A: Disneyland usually has long ones (LINES); 114A: You or me (PRONOUN); 115A: Failed school curriculum that was the subject of the 1973 book "Why Johnny Can't Add" (NEW MATH); 116A: Tau preceder (SIGMA); 117A: "It's __ guess" (ANYONE'S); 118A: Lubricates (GREASES); 1D: Leader of the flock (PASTOR); 2D: It might be unearned (INCOME); 3D: Musical technique builders (ETUDES); 5D: Franklin's 1936 foe (ALF); 6D: Deserts (FORSAKES); 7D: Bit of self-aggrandizement (EGO TRIP); 8D: __ fide (BONA); 9D: Ambient music pioneer (ENO); 12D: Erstwhile depilatory (NEET); 14D: Is for two? (ARE); 15D: Expose (RAT ON); 16D: Astronaut Shepard (ALAN); 18D: "This Boy's Life" author Wolff (TOBIAS); 19D: Medical stat? (AT ONCE); 24D: Damp (MOIST); 29D: Apiphobe's fear (BEES); 32D: "A Death in the Family" author (AGEE); 34D: Diagnostic pic (MRI); 37D: Public spectacle (SCENE); 38D: Like some "as is" mdse. (IRREG.); 39D: Sampling (TASTE); 40D: Certain king's proclamation? (ROAR); 41D: Luster (SHEEN); 44D: Experimental biofuel (BUTANOL); 45D: Windflower (ANEMONE); 48D: "__ Day in Paradise": Phil Collins #1 hit (ANOTHER); 49D: Mumbai money (RUPEE); 51D: Formal letter (EPISTLE); 52D: Walking aids (LEASHES); 54D: Catch a glimpse of (ESPY); 55D: Drop in (VISIT); 57D: Part of a mongoose's diet (SNAKE); 58D: Happy letters for an angel (SRO); 61D: Blackjack demand (HIT ME); 65D: "Moesha" network (UPN); 68D: They're not true (LIARS); 70D: Go through the roof, as prices (SOAR); 71D: 72D: Shorthand pro (STENO); 73D: Muddy Waters genre (BLUES); 75D: Deduction for waste (TRET); 81D: Real card (RIOT); 82D: More shrewd (CLEVERER); 84D: Invitation letters (RSVP); 85D: Netmen's gp. (ATP); 88D: Summer Olympics sport (SKEET); 89D: Pen pals' exchange? (OINKING); 90D: Often-satin tuxedo features (LAPELS); 91D: And others, to Pliny (ETALII); 94D: Gorge (CANYON); 95D: Was costumed to look like (CAME AS); 96D: Literary family name (BRONTE); 97D: Arboreal rainforest denizens (SLOTHS); 99D: Oklahoma city (TULSA); 102D: Signal to pause (COMMA); 104D: Look (SEEM); 106D: "Iliad" setting (TROY); 107D: Cozy rooms (DENS); 111D: Regret (RUE); 112D: Woolly mama (EWE).


imsdave said...

Thank you for the great write-up Gareth - you have a future in the crosSWORD blogoSPHERE! I didn't even miss Doug's presence (of course, I was lucky enough to see him, briefly, at yesterday's Lollapuzzoola). I truly urge all of you within driving distance of NYC to make it a point to attend this amazing event next year. Great puzzles, a chance to meet great constructors, and just being with really fun people - what's not to like?

Very nice twist on the add a letter theme. SLEEPINLIZARDS is far and away my favorite.

Doug P said...

Thanks for filling in, Gareth! Lollapuzzoola was as much fun as advertised. Congratulations to Jeffrey Harris, who won the whole shebang for the 2nd year in a row. I'm sure PuzzleGirl will do a wonderful recap for everyone in a few days.

Rojo said...

Sadly, another DNF for me today, due to one square only, the "R" in LEORA/TRET, had LEOnA and TnET. Since I've never heard of either LEORA or TRET, that seemed as ok as it was ever going to be to me.

The rest was fun and the theme was great. I plugged in RASTA as my first fill and then for some reason SLEEPIN LIZARDS just came immediately to mind as I looked at the downs off it, so I had the theme immediately. I quite liked SPHERE OF FLYING as well.

PuzzleLiker said...

I interpreted the title as meaning S_word play, which seems appropriate to a degree.

Matthew said...

@Rojo: had the exact same mistake -- otherwise would have been a complete finish. Oh well

Liked the puzzle. For some reason I got the theme very quickly, and it was pretty smooth sailing from there. Had a slight hiccup on the darn Phil Collins song -- I was sure it was "one more". Guess I should spend more time listening to classic lite radio. Or not.

Anoa Bob said...

A lot of times I work on a Sunday puzzle for two or three theme entries and then hang it up because the theme starts to go stale for me. This one kept me in the puzzle to the very last with interesting, entertaining theme entries. Well done, Ms Levin!

In response to Gareth's question about OMOO, yes, I've read it. Although "Moby Dick" is considered Melville's masterpiece, for pure enjoyment and enchantment, I would recommend "Typee" and its sequel "Omoo". "Typee" not only vividly depicts the pre-western-contact life of a South Pacific Island people but is one of the most beautiful, erotic tales of a white-guy-island-princess romance in all of literature.

Steve said...

Same as @Rojo and @Matthew - DNF with the same letter. I feel better now I'm in good company!

Had a little wait before I got the theme, then it really helped. I liked SPHERE OF FLYING and SURLY RETIREMENT particularly.

CoffeeLvr said...

I did not see the link between the title of the puzzle and the theme answers until I got here. Then I had a nice AHA as I parsed it correctly.

This went down extremely smoothly for me, 26 minutes, which is not bad for a Sunday time (for me). I love Sunday grids, usually.

I had an edge, I actually knew TRET from work, although the cross with LEORA was my last entry. It just took a while to dredge TRET out of the pile of things I have almost forgotten.

I thought that having ANTILOG and NEWMATH symmetrically placed was great, as the New Math era is when kids began to be taught about Base 2 and other variants. And the only reason New Math failed as a teaching strategy is that the teachers didn't understand it! Those who did, like Mrs. Adcock and Mrs. Finch, made a real difference in my understanding to this day.

My aunt had a PIESAFE, so I got off to a good start, although it took a little while and a couple of crosses to dredge that up too. (I had scalES before ETUDES.) The key feature is a pierced metal insert in the door, which allows limited air flow, but still keeps out flies. Some of these are very decorative.

Some great clues here, such as "He gave Jackie her O" and "Certain king's proclamation." Thanks Ms. Levin, I have learned to expect a treat when I see your byline.

Anonymous said...

DNF either because of tret.

Gareth Bain said...

Rojo et al: you might want to commit TRET to memory. It isn't as common as it used to be, but it's letters are extremely handy: old-school crosswordese. You always have to differentiate it from tare, which is the one I come across in daily life.

Puzzleliker: i like the title a whole lot better with your interpretation!

Anoa Bob: thanks. Will add it to mybooks i intend to read list. It already has Moby Dick! as common as it used to be, but it's letters are extremely handy: old-school crosswordese. You always have to differentiate it from tare, which is the one I come across in daily life.

Puzzleliker: i like the title a whole lot better with your interpretation!

Anoa Bob: thanks. Will add it to mybooks i intend to read list. It already has Moby Dick!

Not Bob said...

My paper omitted the ? after the 46 down clue, so I didn't think it was part of the theme.