September 25, 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: "It's a Surprise" — IT is added to familiar phrases, yielding punny results.
- 23A: Stakeout? (SITTING OPERATION).
- 28A: "May I cut in?" speaker? (POLITE DANCER).
- 47A: Part of an excavated skeleton? (ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIGIT).
- 62A: Voracious vampire's mantra? (BITE ALL THAT YOU CAN BITE).
- 77A: Pot with limited seafood portions? (A FINITE KETTLE OF FISH).
- 100A: Unaffected horse movements? (NATURAL GAITS).
- 106A: One pirating Springsteen CDs? (THE E STREET BANDIT).
I'm a little surprised that POLE DANCER was (sort of) in the puzzle as the base phrase for POLITE DANCER. Are pole dancers usually polite? I don't know. The polite ones might get bigger tips. If you're one of our many pole-dancing LACC readers, feel free to chime in with a comment. (Or better yet, send me a private email.) I also got a chuckle out of A FINITE KETTLE OF FISH. An infinite kettle of fish would be frightening & very smelly.
- 21A: Morlock prey (ELOI). From H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine." I think the Morlocks ate the Eloi, and I think it's time to for crossword constructors to retire ELOI.
- 35A: NY subway line past Yankee Stadium (IRT). Interborough Rapid Transit.
- 38A: Letters on some tubes (A.D.A.). Toothpaste tubes.
- 47A: Part of an excavated skeleton? (ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIGIT). If you have a tough time spelling "archaeological," you can cheat by looking at the clue for 49-Down: Fictional archaeologist Croft (LARA). Who says answer words repeated in clues are a bad thing?
- 53A: Brand promoted by Michael Jordan (HANES).Charlie Sheen used to be a Hanes pitchman too. I have no idea why they dropped him.
- 54A: "Mission: Impossible" actress (BAIN). I loved this show when I was a little kid, even though I could never exactly figure out what they were doing. But I knew it was cool and dangerous. Good preparation for my life as a part-time crossword constructor and blogger.
- 7D: Cal Poly's city, initially (SLO). San Luis Obispo. Tough for non-Californians, but fair for the L.A. Times puzzle.
- 11D: Singer with the Blackhearts (JETT).
- 15D: Doll or vase material (PORCELAIN). I can't remember seeing this word in a crossword puzzle before. I like it! As an added bonus, we didn't get a "toilet" clue.
- 79D: Unhelpful response to "How did you do that?" (IT'S MAGIC). Unless you're a witch.
- 90D: Previously missing letter, e.g. (INSERT). I enjoyed this clue. I had no idea where it was going until I got the answer through crossings.
- 102D: Champagne Tony of '60s golf (LEMA). I always want this to be LAMA instead of LEMA. "Lema" doesn't look like a sensible name. And then there's the Tony Lama brand of cowboy boots. My new mnemonic for this golfer: LEMA is an anagram of LAME.