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!
- 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).
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.