09.11 Sun

September 11, 2011
Robert H. Wolfe

[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: "Let Me Interject" — Interjections replace soundalike words in familiar phrases. Wow!

Theme Entries:
  • 24A: Frat for complainers? ("FIE!" BETA KAPPA).
  • 26A: "Look! Ghosts!"? ("LO!" SPIRITS).
  • 112A: Complaint about a weak morning cup? (COFFEE "BAH!").
  • 119A: Unfriendly store owner? ("SHOO!" MERCHANT).
  • 13D: At exhilarating times? (IN THE "WHEE!" HOURS).
  • 36D: "Pauses are normal" adage? (TO "ER!" IS HUMAN).
  • 42D: Like kittens and puppies? ("AW!" INSPIRING).
  • 52D: One skilled at expressing relief? (MAN OF "PHEW!" WORDS).
Hey, crossword fans. Doug here on Sunday. I like today's theme. Clever and original. We can't have a discussion about interjections without listening to this first...

OK, now you know that interjections are generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point. That's a catchy lyric.

Four across theme entries and four down theme entries made for an unusual, disjointed grid. Did any of you have trouble breaking into the corners? Probably not. You're all awesome.

  • 45A: Islands to which canaries are native (AZORES). The Azores and the Canary Islands are in the same general area of the Atlantic Ocean. But the Canary Islands are actually named after dogs (canines), not canaries. It's a little confusing, and I can't get the "Interjections" song out of my head, so I'm moving on.
  • 49A: 17-Down's org. (NHL) / 17D: Old Bruin nickname (ESPO). "Espo" is Phil Esposito, a famous hockey player. Wikipedia tells me that Espo is an "Honoured Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame." You know he's a legend because he gets the special Canadian spelling. Regular players are just "Honored Members."
  • 37D: 49-Across's Bobby et al.(ORRS). Yikes, another cross-referenced hockey clue. If I see one more mention of hockey, I'm going to have to use a naughty interjection.
  • 58A: Like most mules (STERILE). I psyched myself out on this one. When I see "mule" or "pump" in a clue, I assume the constructor is being tricky by referring to shoes. So I was trying to squeeze BACKLESS or STRAPLESS or something shoe-related into this spot.
  • 79A: Creator of Auric and Julius (IAN). Auric Goldfinger and Dr. Julius No, both created by Fleming, Ian Fleming.
  • 97A: One with net gains? (SEINER). A seiner is a fisherman who catches fish with a net (seine). SEINER isn't a good entry, and the cute clue only draws attention to it. You're better off to use something obvious like "Fisherman with a net" so the solver won't spend much time pondering the entry.
  • 35D: Worshiper of the rain god Tlaloc (AZTEC). Hey, you don't have to be an Aztec to make a sacrifice to Tlaloc every now and then. Am I right?
  • 42D: Like kittens and puppies? ("AW!" INSPIRING). Kittens! Inspired by kittens! (I showed this video to PuzzleGirl last night, and she loved it. Seriously. Watch it.)
  • 86D: FRONTLINE target (FLEA). A product for killing fleas on your kitten or puppy. I'm not sure what's up with the name being in capital letters. I went to their website, and they do use all-caps FRONTLINE exclusively. Maybe it scares the fleas more than lowercase letters would.
  • 108D: Shoulder troublemaker? (CHIP). A chip on your shoulder. Cute clue. 
See you all next Sunday.


      Anonymous said...

      I get the syndicated puzzle, but this is not the one that was in my paper.
      My theme was "Secret Stash".

      CoffeeLvr said...

      I was underwhelmed by this theme, but maybe because it was the fifth Sunday size grid I did this weekend. (Reagle, WSJ, NYT, BG, LAT - I really like the big themed puzzles.) What can I say? Since it is West Coast it comes up last. I was bothered that some of the interjections are pronounced and spelled differently (PHEW, WHEE, ER, BAH); some are only spelled differently (FIE, AW, LO, SHOO).

      @Doug, I did get stuck with no help in the NW, despite the LO! entry up there. I got SESTINAS, but could not see MUDFLATS. I was too attached to sEAt (for Elijah) at 1D and seastArS for 1A. ADMIRALS went in and came out. seastArs came out. FLIP went in. SPIRITS (no LO!) appeared. Finally gave up and cheated. Once again, I wish I had just walked away, and tried again after some sleep. Although MUDFLATS is very obscure for this Midwesterner, as is LORI with that clue, and TULIPS as clued.

      Seems like there are a lot of P's in this grid!

      As some of the Sunday comics reflected, today is a good today to give your family an extra hug. I Skyped with my son in Baltimore last night and told him not to go in to DC today. He normally gets really annoyed at my hovering, but appreciated the reminder.

      CoffeeLvr said...

      Twelve P's.

      @Doug, now I get it: a BEARCAT in the grid, a BIRDDOG in the blog!

      Doug P said...

      @CoffeeLvr -

      BEARCAT/BIRDDOG: Nice find! I was actually trying to find a canary with a dog's head to illustrate the fact that the Canary Islands were named after dogs. That picture was the closest I could get. Plus I thought it looked cool.

      Rojo said...

      I, too, was a bit underwhelmed by the theme, and I didn't do any other Sundays but this one.

      SEINER also got on my nerves a bit. Neeeeeeeeeeveeeeeeeer heard that word before.

      Also, GES was weird, never heard that before either and it made me have to play letter hunt--had GaS--after I got the grid filled in but didn't get my expected "ta-da!" sound. Found it eventually, but it was a chore.