August 14, 2011
[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: "Keeping Quiet" — SH is added to familiar phrases.
- 23A: Where Persian rulers rough it? (SHAH WILDERNESS).
- 34A: Agnostics' reactions to grace? (PRAYER SHRUGS).
- 52A: Vaudeville hook? (SHTICK COLLAR).
- 74A: Pet predator that survived the flood? (NOAH'S SHARK).
- 76A: Organization of river herrings? (SHAD AGENCY).
- 91A: Analyst for Kings and Senators? (HOCKEY SHRINK).
- 110A: "Help, I'm stuck in this tree!", e.g.? (SHOUT ON A LIMB).
- 126A: Where to find many cookie jars? (KEEBLER SHELVES).
My favorite theme entry is the first one, SHAH WILDERNESS, because it was so unexpected. I had the SHAH part and couldn't figure out what the rest was going to be. I've heard of "Ah, Wilderness!" and a quick Google search tells me that's it's a play by Eugene O'Neill. For some reason I thought it was a novel. I think I'm mixing it up with "O Pioneers!"
- 1A: "Don't make me come over there!" (I'M SO MAD) / 20A: "Let's talk privately" (NOT HERE). That's a fabulous way to start the puzzle, with a couple of fun phrases stacked on top of each other. 1-Across brings back memories of my mom's favorite threat: "Don't make me stop this car!"
- 30A: Semana seventh (DÍA). "Semana" is Spanish for week, and "día" is day.
- 34A: Agnostics' reactions to grace? (PRAYER SHRUGS). Great clue for this theme entry.
- 40A: Like Aleve and Advil, briefly (OTC). Over the counter.
- 52A: Vaudeville hook? (SHTICK COLLAR). OK, I'm guessing this refers to the giant hook they used to drag people offstage. Would you call that a "collar"? I must be missing something.
- 100A: Suffix with decor (ATOR). Yikes.
- 101A: Moscow news acronym (ITAR). Information Telegraphy Agency of Russia.
- 5D: They come out of a kitty (MEWS). My first thought was, of course, more kitties.
- 10D: CBer's number (NINER). I'm notoriously bad at noticing duplications between clues and answers, but this one stuck out. The answer to 104-Down (Driver with a handle) is CBER. You know what. I doesn't bother me that much.
- 29D: Batch of Brownies (TROOP). Lovely clue.
- 32D: "All day soft, All day smooth" lotion (KERI). Don't know the lotion, but it's a good excuse to include a picture of Keri Russell.
- 39D: Old Ecuadoran coins (SUCRES) Named after Antonio José de Sucre, a general who helped Ecuador gain independence from Spain. Since 2000, Ecuador's used the U.S. dollar as their official currency.
- 55D: Easy and profitable, as a job (CUSHY). Where do I apply?
- 65D: Inverse trig function (ARCSIN). So you think high school trigonometry was a big waste of time? Not true. Occasionally you need it to solve a crossword.
- 76D: Mike Hammer portrayer Keach (STACY).I like the Mike Hammer books, but they aren't for the faint of heart.
- 96D: Like art house films, for some (TOO SLOW). "Too French" would be another good answer.
- 107D: "The Matrix" star (REEVES). I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating. Keanu Reeves should have retired after his most triumphant performance in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure." It's been all downhill ever since.
- 129D: SEC founding member (LSU). Nope, not the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Southeastern Conference.
Crosswordese 101 Roundup: