08.28 Sun

August 28, 2011
Robert A. Doll

[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: "Fish Heads" Take the first word of each theme entry and add FISH to get a type of fish.

Theme Entries:
  • 23A: Constant threat, metaphorically (SWORD OF DAMOCLES).
  • 33A: Confederate Memorial Carving site (STONE MOUNTAIN).
  • 42A: Pianist who claimed to have invented jazz (JELLY ROLL MORTON).
  • 71A: Doomed duo (STAR-CROSSED LOVERS).
  • 97A: Esso ad phrase (TIGER IN YOUR TANK).
  • 105A: Light dessert (ANGEL FOOD CAKE).
  • 123A: Source of spy movie suspense (CAT AND MOUSE GAME).
Fish heads, fish heads, roly-poly fish heads. Do you remember that song? There will be no video provided. Anyway, this is Doug on Sunday. Pretty cool theme today. I'm not familiar with STONEfish or TIGERfish. Well, tigerfish sounds vaguely familiar. The rest of them all are solid. I don't normally eat seafood, but I had a swordfish steak once. It was OK. And they gave you the swordy part to use as a knife, so that was cool.

OK, I did a Google search for tigerfish, and look at the picture I found. That's a goliath tigerfish from Africa. Pure nightmare fuel! I was thinking tigerfish had black and orange stripes and looked kind of like Nemo from "Finding Nemo." I guess not. Now I'm too scared to look up stonefish.

I had a couple more things to say about the theme, but it's hard to concentrate with that demon fish staring at me. I do remember that SWORD OF DAMOCLES and STAR-CROSSED LOVERS were my favorites.

  • 7A: Dirty dog (SCALAWAG). Great entry! Would you rather be called a "scalawag" or a "varmint"?
  • 23A: Constant threat, metaphorically (SWORD OF DAMOCLES). I'm betting that most of you know the source of this phrase. If not, check it out here: Sword of Damocles.
  • 25A: Inscribed pillar (STELA). I'm going to link to the Crosswordese 101 entry for STELE because as far as I can tell, STELA & STELE are interchangeable.
  • 30A: Russian communications acronym since 1992 (ITAR). Information Telegraphy Agency of Russia. Sounds like something from the '50s, not the '90s.
  • 50A: Yellow-fever mosquito (AEDES). I haven't seen this one in ages. Old-school crosswordese

  • 76A: Tiberius' villa at Sperlonga included one (GROTTO). I love the specificity of this clue, even though I know nothing about Tiberius' villa or its bitchin' grotto.
  • 111A: Aardwolf's diet (INSECTS). Everyone knows that aardvarks eat insects, but I thought an aardwolf would eat something more challenging. I mean, it's a wolf, right? OK, let's see what Wikipedia has to say: "It is related to hyenas, but unlike its relatives, it does not hunt large prey. It feeds mainly on termites and can eat more than 200,000 in a single night, using its long, sticky tongue to collect them." I take it all back. Aardwolves are awesome!
  • 2D: Alamo hero (BOWIE). I was going to make a joke about David Bowie being at the Alamo, but I didn't want anyone to have to correct me in the comments. It was former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn who fought and died there.
  • 72D: Almond __: candy (ROCA). One of my favorites. And great for destroying your dental work.
OK, I'm going to cut it a little short today. PuzzleGirl Central is closing up early because of Hurricane Irene, and I want to get this blog posted as soon as possible. I hope all of our East Coast readers stay safe and dry!

If you're looking for an extra puzzle this weekend, I urge you print out Brad Wilber's latest Free Themeless puzzle. Brad's put together a fabulous grid, and there are two ways to play. You can solve with the extra-challenging "Crunchy" clues or the easier "Smooth" clues. My advice is to print out both sets. See how far you can get with the Crunchy clues, and then sneak a peek at the Smooth clues when you get stuck.

Everything 1A: Building supports (I-BEAMS); 7A: Dirty dog (SCALAWAG); 15A: Calyx part (SEPAL); 20A: Sarge, e.g. (NON-COM); 21A: Drive off (ALIENATE); 22A: Said in an ugly way (SNIDE); 23A: Constant threat, metaphorically (SWORD OF DAMOCLES); 25A: Inscribed pillar (STELA); 26A: Floor square (TILE); 27A: Is deceptive, in a way (LIES); 28A: Nile reptile (ASP); 30A: Russian communications acronym since 1992 (ITAR); 31A: Vacation area (SEASIDE); 33A: Confederate Memorial Carving site (STONE MOUNTAIN); 39A: German article (DER); 40A: Healthy as __ (AN OX); 41A: Do goo (GEL); 42A: Pianist who claimed to have invented jazz (JELLYROLL MORTON); 50A: Yellow-fever mosquito (AEDES); 54A: Bullfight cry (OLÉ OLÉ); 55A: __-de-France (ILE); 56A: Get the better of (ONE-UP); 58A: Watch (EYE); 59A: Controversial orchard spray (ALAR); 60A: Comic Carvey (DANA); 62A: "On His Blindness" poet (MILTON); 64A: River to the Rhein (AARE); 65A: Places to pick up cats (NAPES); 67A: "La Loge" artist (RENOIR); 69A: Deep-seated (INBRED); 71A: Doomed duo (STAR-CROSSED LOVERS); 76A: Tiberius' villa at Sperlonga included one (GROTTO); 78A: Current events? (EDDIES); 79A: Dabbling ducks (TEALS); 82A: Hot stuff (LAVA); 83A: 1951 Lanza role (CARUSO); 87A: Early '60s Polo Grounds team, nowadays (JETS); 89A: "Dragonwyck" author Seton (ANYA); 90A: Island strings (UKE); 91A: Country estate (MANOR); 92A: In place of (FOR); 93A: Trojan War counselor (NESTOR); 95A: Land in old Rome (TERRA); 97A: Esso ad phrase (TIGER IN YOUR TANK); 101A: Amsterdam street adornment (ELM); 103A: Results (ENDS); 104A: "Oz" airer (HBO); 105A: Light dessert (ANGELFOOD CAKE); 111A: Aardwolf's diet (INSECTS); 116A: Apply in a slapdash way (DAUB); 117A: Wood on a diamond? (ASH); 118A: Peek-__ (A-BOO); 120A: Seed pod (ARIL); 121A: Literally, "to God" (ADIOS); 123A: Source of spy movie suspense (CAT-AND-MOUSE GAME); 129A: Irritating (PESKY); 130A: Places for duds (ARMOIRES); 131A: Made square (EVENED); 132A: Head lock (TRESS); 133A: Foolhardy (RECKLESS); 134A: Ones who excite devils? (DARERS); 1D: MIT and others (INSTS.); 2D: Alamo hero (BOWIE); 3D: __ Gay: WWII plane (ENOLA); 4D: Plots that may be developed (ACRES); 5D: In style (MOD); 6D: Existed in a suppressed state (SMOLDERED); 7D: "Smooth Operator" singer (SADE); 8D: Word with act or action (CLASS); 9D: Draw a bead (AIM); 10D: Denebola's constellation (LEO); 11D: Mandela's org. (ANC); 12D: __-Mart Stores, Inc. (WAL); 13D: TV group with B.A. Baracus and Hannibal Smith (A-TEAM); 14D: Bas-relief medium (GESSO); 15D: Barbecue sound (SSS); 16D: Authorize (ENTITLE); 17D: St. Peter's Basilica masterpiece (PIETA); 18D: Dwight's two-time opponent (ADLAI); 19D: Get wind (of) (LEARN); 24D: '80s Pontiac (FIERO); 29D: Curly-tailed dog (PUG); 32D: Poem of everyday life (IDYL); 34D: Hardly racy (TAME); 35D: Notable 1969 bride (ONO); 36D: "The world will little note, __ long remember, what we say here": Lincoln (NOR); 37D: Heap praises on (EXTOL); 38D: Ebb's relative (NEAP); 42D: Shaw title saint (JOAN); 43D: Cinders of old comics (ELLA); 44D: Vaults (LEAPS OVER); 45D: Lynn from Kentucky (LORETTA); 46D: Titanic, e.g. (LINER); 47D: Grassy plain (LLANO); 48D: Can. province (ONT.); 49D: Con opener (NEO); 51D: Hopeful letter opener (DEAR SANTA); 52D: Rochester's love (EYRE); 53D: __ money (SEED); 57D: TCU part: Abbr. (UNIV.); 61D: S part (ARC); 62D: Botch (MISDO); 63D: Plenty mad (IRED); 64D: Up with, with "of" (ABREAST); 66D: Remained (SAT); 68D: Psych ending (-OSES); 70D: Surfing site (NET); 72D: Almond __: candy (ROCA); 73D: Tangy mustard (DIJON); 74D: On one's guard (LEERY); 75D: Düsseldorf direction (OST); 76D: Oversupply (GLUT); 77D: Croupier's tool (RAKE); 80D: City about 200 miles from Marseille (LYON); 81D: Cutty __: Scotch (SARK); 84D: Aardvark's tidbit (ANT); 85D: "Vive le __!" (ROI); 86D: More than suggested (URGED); 88D: Like a 29-Down (SNUB-NOSED); 91D: Shopping venue (MALL); 92D: Hall of Fame catcher Carlton (FISK); 94D: Libido symbol (EROS); 96D: Nikes alternative (REEBOKS); 98D: Something besides the ltr. (ENC.); 99D: Nutritional stat (RDA); 100D: Sch. in Athens (OHIO U.); 102D: Writer's deg. (MFA); 105D: Show flexibility (ADAPT); 106D: Perennial '90s-'00s presidential candidate (NADER); 107D: False front (GUISE); 108D: One may be present when an envelope is opened (OSCAR); 109D: Midwest hub (O'HARE); 110D: Chair designer Charles (EAMES); 112D: Anxious (EAGER); 113D: Film set contraption (CRANE); 114D: Track official (TIMER); 115D: They may follow teams (SLEDS); 119D: Honcho (BOSS); 122D: Procedure: Abbr. (SYS.); 124D: Cinephile's TV choice (TMC); 125D: Hunky-dory (A-OK); 126D: Nothing at all (NIL); 127D: Doctor of music? (DRE); 128D: Stowe girl (EVA).


Palamedes said...

40 A: Healthy as an ox? I don't think so. It's "strong as an ox." Right?

Anonymous said...

I concur. "Healthy as a horse" (alliteration) and "strong as an ox." Note: Both words start with "str" except for "ox."

VirginiaC said...

You see tigerfish in saltwater fish tanks, they are quite pretty but can also be deadl to the other fish in the tank.

Watch your step said...

The stonefish is the most venomous fish in the world.

Gene said...

Because I had "psychOSIS", it made current events "i-dies" which stumped for two cups of coffee untill the dawn of psychOSES, which made current events= "eddies" Great clue, fun puzzle.
@doug: nice blog as usual.

Margaret said...

Laughed out loud at Bowie Kuhn, thanks Doug! And I was happy to fill in the correct answer of ROCA to Almond ____; I had _O__ and was prepared to be unhappy with JOYS. I don't know why. Just borrowing trouble, I guess.

CoffeeLvr said...

Thanks for the bonus puzzle link, @Doug. Now I want peanut butter.

Pretty good puzzle. I got my rivers all mixed up, so ended with an error where 53D "SEnD money" crossed the 64A AARn. There are both Arn and Tarn rivers in France, but I am not all that familiar with their spelling. And with my son pursuing a second degree, "Send Money!" sounds reasonable.

I guess I will just have to laugh at my malapop; I had SeEDS following teams at 115D, until I looked hard at ARIe. (Malapop means you put the right word into the grid, but in the wrong place. I think it was coined by Andrea Carla Michaels over on Rex Parker's blog of the NYT puzzle.)