THURSDAY, September 24
Jack Sargeant

Theme: Runaway — Each theme answer is a different definition of the word runner.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: See 48-Down (ICE SKATE BLADE).
  • 40A: See 48-Down (TRACK COMPETITOR).
  • 59A: See 48-Down (LONG NARROW RUG).
  • 48D: Ball carrier, and clue for 20-, 40- and 59-Across (RUNNER).

I had a hard time figuring out the theme on this one as I was solving. If I had slowed down, I probably would have gotten it sooner, but I was flying through this puzzle. I could see that the theme answers were held together by 48-Down, so I glanced at it and thought all the theme answers would be some type of "ball carrier." Um, no. Ball carrier was just the clue for 48-Down and all the theme answers are something you might refer to as a RUNNER. To me, he best theme answer is LONG NARROW RUG because that's something I might actually say. For example, if someone doesn't know what a runner is, or if I can't come up with the word when I need it (which happens more and more frequently these days, sad to say). "Ya know, it's like a long narrow rug that runs down a hallway....?" The other theme answers? Not so much. Although they make perfect sense grammatically and definition-wise, I can't imagine a situation where I would ever use the phrase TRACK COMPETITOR or ICE SKATE BLADE.

Crosswordese 101: ANON is sometimes clued as an abbreviation of anonymous, but it's more likely to be clued the way it is today (61D: Any minute now, to a bard). It means soon and early in the week, you'll get a hint about its poetic-ness (I just made that word up). Later in the week, you may not get the hint. And if the word soon isn't in the clue, well it very well could be the answer. Your best bet is to enter the last two letters and check the crosses to find out which one is correct.

Bullets! Run!:
  • 25A: Airport waiter (CAB). Get it? Not, like, a person who serves you in a restaurant, but something that literally waits at the airport.
  • 32A: Stereotypical eye patch wearer (PIRATE). Did you all have a nice Talk Like a Pirate Day last weekend?
  • 53A: Fashionable boot brand (UGG). All I could think of was Frye. I guess that tells you how long it's been since I've bought boots. Or been fashionable.
  • 1D: Vegas attraction, with "the" (STRIP). Seems like there should be a CLUB at the end of this answer. (Just kidding. I know what the Strip is.)
  • 11D: Weather Channel offerings (FORECASTS). Because wild-ass guesses" wouldn't fit.
  • 21D: Golf legend Snead (SAM). Weren't we just talking about him the other day?
  • 26D: Pal of Aramis (ATHOS). The Three Musketeers. The third one is Porthos.
  • 33D: Louis XIV, to his subjects (ROI). French!
  • 65D: Nashville awards gp. (CMA). Oh good, an excuse to play a video of one my favorite country artists. He's up for a bunch of awards this year. Also, he often Twitters pictures from the stage while he's performing. How cool is that? [It's kind of a long video, but if you can stick with it, I don't think you'll be sorry. To see him perform this song in this place ... well, it gave me goose-bumps.]

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Everything Else — 1A: One with a code name, perhaps (SPY); 4A: Strokes on a green (PUTTS); 9A: Terrible (AWFUL); 14A: What the Mad Hatter served (TEA); 15A: Apple's instant messaging software (ICHAT); 16A: No longer tied up (LOOSE); 17A: Uncooked (RAW); 18A: Barton of the Red Cross (CLARA); 19A: Divided country (KOREA); 23A: Piano part (PEDAL); 24A: Bando of baseball (SAL); 28A: Sheds feathers (MOLTS); 34A: Start of an order to an attack dog (SIC); 37A: Partner of woes (CARES); 39A: Fed. org. concerned with workplace woes (OSHA); 44A: Ill-advised (RASH); 45A: Pageant topper (TIARA); 46A: Old draft org. (SSS); 47A: Clothes (ATTIRE); 50A: Slow mover (SNAIL); 52A: Canada's smallest prov. (PEI); 55A: Starbucks offering (LATTE); 64A: Descendant (SCION); 66A: Walking __: euphoric (ON AIR); 67A: Whatever (ANY); 68A: Fill with wonder (AMAZE); 69A: Three-card scam (MONTE); 70A: Cocktail party bowlful (DIP); 71A: Chair craftsperson (CANER); 72A: Wrapped up (ENDED); 73A: Va. clock setting (EST); 2D: Treaty subject (PEACE); 3D: Went off course, at sea (YAWED); 4D: Burglar (PICKLOCK); 5D: Golden State sch. (UCLA); 6D: "All __ Jazz": Fosse film (THAT); 7D: Empty truck's weight (TARE); 8D: Wild guesses (STABS); 9D: Acid neutralizer (ALKALI); 10D: Fireside stack (WOOD); 12D: Take advantage of (USE); 13D: Grazing site (LEA); 22D: Once around the track (LAP); 27D: Nursery rhyme trio (BEARS); 29D: Fond du __, Wisconsin (LAC); 30D: Horse's gait (TROT); 31D: Big rigs (SEMIS); 34D: Subway rider's aid (STRAP); 35D: Hot under the collar (IRATE); 36D: Spanish dialect that's now standard (CASTILIAN); 38D: Period of time (SPAN); 41D: Greek X (CHI); 42D: Paleozoic __ (ERA); 43D: Fitted, as a suit (TAILORED); 49D: "Which came first?" item (EGG); 51D: Judge's concern (LAW); 54D: Travelocity mascot (GNOME); 56D: Stock market transaction (TRADE); 57D: North African capital (TUNIS); 58D: Exodus locale (EGYPT); 60D: Seep (OOZE); 62D: "The Fountainhead" author (RAND); 63D: Baptism or bar mitzvah, e.g. (RITE); 64D: Anatomical pouch (SAC).


Carol said...

Flew through this one. Am I getting better or was this a really easy puzzle for a Thursday?

I've missed this blog as we took a family vacation in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains and had no internet access.

Still managed to find a paper with this puzzle in it on a daily basis & solved the old-fashioned way with pencil.

@PG - Nice write-up, as usual.

Orange said...

Carol, I just looked up the publisher spec sheet for the L.A. Times crossword at Cruciverb.com. It says daily LAT puzzles should be no harder than a Wednesday NYT, and the Saturday puzzle should land at a Wednesday/Thursday NYT level. I'm pretty sure the LAT used to hew closer to NYT levels, ramping up from easy Monday to tougher Friday, with the Saturday themeless often being nearly as difficult as the Saturday NYT.

Kinda feels like we're getting a slew of Tuesday puzzles all week followed by a Wednesday themeless. Boo! So much for improving one's skills by tackling harder puzzles later in the week.

Sfingi said...

Didn't get the theme at first. Thought it was a sports thing (my eyes glaze over). 59A was longnarrowrun until 58D EGYPT had to be.

Never heard of 15A ICHAT, 65D CMA or 53A UGG (Australian generic meaning?) until now.

Interesting way to get 52A Prince Edward Island instead of the Architect.

Something about all the 1-syllables in xwords reminded me of a lesson once given at UC of SU. Prof. hands out a collection of writings that use only 1-syllable words and asks the class to tell him what's going on. When someone finally gets it, after he writes all wrong answers on the board, he gives the assignment: write your own 1-syllable essay, poem, etc. I've used that one many times since.

Parsan said...

@Carol and @Orange--Agree! Too bad, it used to be more fun, more challenging. No look-ups or write-overs but I did check the definition of PICKLOCK after finishing because I was not familiar with the word. An O.K. puzzle but the clues were ho-hum.

*David* said...

Just heard an interview with Reggie Jackson talking about his days with the Oakland A's and SAL Bando, first time I had heard of him.

ddbmc said...

Any puzzle I can finish with out a trip to Google, must be relatively easy. Yet, I still enjoy the ride.
Yawed came from watching the space program (and Walter Cronkite) long ago-remembering roll, pitch and yaw; Scion is a car now! Who'da thunk?; I didn't know Canada's smallest province-have only been to St. Andrews.. (sorry@CC!); I know we covered Tare and tret in previous blogs. Tare is also "seed of a vetch." If that hint is used, I probably won't remember it!
My sons had to register for the SSS at 18, so even tho' the draft isn't used, young men must register. I guess that is almost sexist now. Note to self: Must learn to count in Greek. Got most Roman numerals down....

shrub5 said...

@PG: Thanks for including the Brad Paisley video. I had to go get a kleenex (sniff).

Enjoyed the puzzle and appreciated some creative cluing, e.g., EGG (which came first? item) and CAB (airport waiter). The three-card scam MONTE was new to me. Had a chuckle at the Travelocity GNOME showing up. Then I hummed a little of "Pack up all your CARES and woe, here I go, singing low, bye bye blackbird" when I got to 37A.

Parsan said...

@PG--I second @shrub5's kudo's on your selection of Brad Paisley's appearance at the White House. His comments and his song "Welcome to the future" can bring a tear to the eye. I hope others take the time to play it. Good old WV boy!

obertb said...

@Orange: Yeah, what you say. Is this just a result of the LAT puzzle going into national syndication? I guess that must be it, because the puzzle used to be, as you point out, much more in sync with the NYT, difficulty-wise. I would think that this would give Rich Norris a headache (or a mild depression). I don't much care for this puzzle anymore, but I guess there are others out there who want (need?) a little easier solving experience--every day, apparently.

GLowe said...

Thanks for the Payton pic- he's my all-time sports hero.

One day I want to get some combination of SWEETNESS/PAYTON as a clue/answer.

chefbea said...

Easy Thursday. Never heard of picklock.

Use I-chat and the I-cam all the time.

Going to a cocktail party tonight - imagine someone will bring a bowlful of dip

Joon said...

gary, SWEETNESS is exactly the kind of fill you sometimes see on the bottom row of a themeless. not much of a word in its own right, but cluing it as {Fridge's teammate} or something could make it more fun.

Margaret said...

Does anyone else think that BEARS (27D Nursery rhyme trio) should be clued as Fairy tale trio? I'm thinking of Goldilocks and the Three Bears here -- are there other bears? To me, nursery rhymes are ones like Jack and Jill, the Old Lady who lived in the Shoe -- you know, short bits that rhyme. I can't think of a nursery rhyme with bears.

I just discovered this blog last month and I love love love it.

CrazyCat said...

Margaret, I had the exact same thought about the BEARS. I would consider Goldilocks a story, not a rhyme. In spite of that, it was a fun puzzle.

jazz said...

Was the Payton picture 'cause he was one of the BEARS or one of the RUNNERs?


Too many 3-letter fills, but the theme was well disguised, to me, until the very end. I liked the EGG/UGG cross, as well as the TUNIS/EGYPT siblings in the SE. Maybe coulda seen a better clue for SIC (maybe, like, "Intentional misspelling, to an ed."

Pretty tame for what I'm expecting on a Thursday, but maybe, like so many of us, my expectations are too high...

Charles Bogle said...

Welcome back Carol. Agree w chefbea-never heard a burglar referred to as a PICKLOCK. Also, my wife tells me I must be the only one clueless about UGGS. Thank you ddbmc for the Cronkite space reminiscence; personally, thw upper left NW quad was where I YAWED, not knowing it. Liked: ATTIRE, RITE, MONTE, SCION and STRAP. And, we've had lots better-and worse-themes

Agree w chefbea-n

Quentinc said...

The LAT puzzle indeed used to ramp up in difficulty, with Thursdays requiring at least some thought, Friday ranging from moderate to challenging and Saturday always challenging (at least for me). Now it seems the weekday puzzles are geared more to a *Monday* NYT difficulty level. Ugg. (One of the few answers I'd never heard of.)

embien said...

PG, thanks so much for linking that amazing Brad Paisley song at the White House. Inspirational doesn't come close to covering it--that is one fine country song, delivered by one of the top artists in the genre.

Those who want to delve further into "Welcome to the Future" may want to look up the actual music video at Brad Paisley.com

The entire 90-minute program is aired occasionally on GAC. You can see a preview and schedule here: Country at the White House

Sfingi said...

3-card Monte is an ancient street con, also played with cups over coins, etc. There's a Brueghel painting of such a thing, but I can't find it on the internet.


UGG... didn't like this puzzle.
It was easy to solve, but the theme was weak, the clues were humorless and too direct.
The best part of today's puzzle was Puzzlegirl's writeup.
Thank God, we haven't seen POETICNESS in a crossword yet.
YET !!!! Oh, it'll be there someday PG, don't you worry.
For "Airport waiter" (25a) I had CAP instead of CAB... you know, Red Caps are waiters of sorts.
Oh well, I guess I never did read a nursery ryhme about the three PEARS.
Oh yeah, and anyone who goes to Starbucks for a LATTE (55a) has to be brain dead.
Lock picker is a burglar (a noun).
LOCKPICK is what a burglar does (a verb). Not a good clue !
Sorry, Jack, but you didn't make my short list of good constructors... at least today you didn't.


Sorry, I meant PICKLOCK is what a burglar does (a verb).


I think TARES are also biblical weeds (see the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares in Matthew 13).

mac said...

Easy but ok puzzle. I also thought the Three Bears were a fairy tale, but the Three Blind Mice and the Men in the Tub didn't fit.

Runner for ice skate blade is new to me, only know it for a sled. Actually a cute word, pick lock, like pick pocket?

@Orange: forgot to thank you yesterday for allerting us to the date change for the Brooklyn tournament! Gotta keep that weekend free.

Name/URL said...


mathcapt said...

Thank all of you for agreeing with me about nursery rhyme vs fairy tale. I had a hard time there because I didn't believe it could be bears with that clue.


"The Story of the Three Bears" (often known today as "Goldilocks and the Three Bears") is a children's story first recorded in narrative form by English author and poet Robert Southey and first published in a volume of his writings in 1837. The same year, writer George Nicol published a version in rhyme based upon Southey's prose tale, with Southey approving the attempt to bring the story more exposure. Both versions tell of three bears and an old woman who trespasses upon their property.
See Wikipedia---

gespenst said...

@john: "For "Airport waiter" (25a) I had CAP instead of CAB... you know, Red Caps are waiters of sorts.
Oh well, I guess I never did read a nursery ryhme about the three PEARS." ... YEP,me too! I did figure it out before finishing, though.

My other error was "Castillan" instead of "Castilian" (I could hear a "y" sound for my imagined "ll") ... but couldn't for the life of me figure out what a "sclan" was! LOL.

All this time I was thinking I was getting better at the puzzles, and now it seems they're just getting easier :(

Whitney said...

I think I have to disagree with the cluing for 53-A. Uggs are SO not fashionable. They are UGG-ly! Also, 45-A TIARAS reminded me of that TLC show Toddlers and Tiaras. It's really disturbing - and addictive. But mostly disturbing. Overall the puzzle was fun, I agree with everyone about the BEARS answer - it was my last entry and still didn't look right :)

Joon said...

whitney, "fashionable" and "ugly" are not mutually exclusive descriptors. (i dunno about "uggly," though.)

Sfingi said...

@Gespenst- No love of 3 pears - but, there is Love of 3 Oranges. Really.

Whitney said...

@Joon you must watch Project Runway. I must admit you are correct :)

choirwriter said...

Turns out if you misspell Competition as Competiton (instead of competitor), AND you use CAP instead of CAB, you get the three PEANS, which really makes no sense. That's what you get when you let your brother help you solve the puzzle. I know I never would have made that error. (Stop laughing now.)