09.25 Sun

September 25, 2011
Jeffrey Lease

[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.

Theme Entries:
  • 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).
Hey, crossword fans. Doug here on Sunday. Straightforward theme concept today with a nice marquee entry smack-dab in the middle of the grid. Solid.

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.
Hope you're all enjoying autumn so far. See you next Sunday.


    Gareth Bain said...

    8D - fave clue of the day! Took rather long to spot the theme, but overall a quick Sunday. Would have thought Americans would spell ARCHÆOLOGY sans the A bit, but what would I know... Also, when did ADU achieve greatness??? Finally, look out for the answer LEASE in Monday's crossword, it's the new trend!

    jazz said...

    39D: Present time = DEC? Not sure I understand that one...

    jazz said...

    oops...just got it! Merry Christmas, everyone!

    CoffeeLvr said...

    Smooth solve, the theme helped finish up some tricky areas. Just right.

    Glad I got SLO from crosses. I had SPF before ADA, thinking sunscreen. I too thought it was Tony LaMA, maybe I will remember LEMA, maybe not. If so, it is only because I am focusing on him now.

    Love PHENOM!

    CoffeeLvr said...

    One more thing, I used the clue for LARA to help me spell ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIG(IT). It was odd to have it in the grid at all, much less crossing. Since it helped me, this is hardly a complaint, but it didn't seem fair.

    CrazyCat said...

    Usually I'm not a big fan of Sunday puzzles, but this was fun and went smoothly for me I thought the theme answers were quite entertaining. I also loved ITS MAGIC, ANTEATER and WESTIE.

    Pole dancing exercise studios have been popping up all over around here. I hear is very strenuous and challenging. Don't think I'll be trying it any time soon.

    I was just in SLO last Saturday. When I saw IRT it made me smile since the public transportation in SLO is called SLO Transit.

    Rube said...

    Sunday puzzles work well with watching football games. I can usually get a few answers between plays.

    Unfortunately, the SW got me on this one. Forgetting, (blush), the name of Springsteen's band gave me all sorts of trouble. Had Tony roMA at one point for the golfer yielding regUlArGAS. Eventually erased the whole area, including Macs for "...apple products, Googled for LEMA, tried NATURAL GAS and the puzzle was over. But, one Google means DNF. Still, good puzzle IMO.

    Getting the theme fairly on helped immensely in the solve. Never heard of a WESTIE, but then we are cat people here.

    Never can keep the 2 different coffee qualities separat: ARABICA is the good stuff; ROBUSTA is cheap & low quality.

    Nice work Doug. Thanks.

    Mary in Bend, OR said...

    I agree, Rube! I did the L.A. Times Puzzle AND the NYT Puzzle while my hubby watched NASCAR and two football games. Added attraction is that I can ask him all sports clues!

    Rube said...

    @Mary in Bend, Oregon: Having been in Bend, I find it quite remarkable that there are 2 NYT RP puzzle bloggers in that metropolis of 76,639, [as of the 2010 US Census, per Wikipedia]. Or is the other blogger your sports loving hubbie.

    Tuttle said...

    Did not like the SW.

    Is Sam MOTT a big name or is Mott's the big name in Apples? REMADE is weak sauce. RAGE/rave/snap/flip ... might as well have been a German river. REP and PECS are mis-clued abrevs. And Freddy ADU is not anything close to a soccer "great", he's a half-decent midfielder who couldn't hack it at a second tier European club.

    Oddly though, I found the rest of the puzzle to be great. Much fun was had.