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.
- 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).
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.
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).