SUNDAY, October 25, 2009
John Lampkin (syndicated puzzle)

Theme: "Waiting for 12-Across" — Theme answers (and grid design!) are all related to that great mythical figure, The Great Pumpkin.

[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 answers:
  • 12A: This puzzle's honoree (THE GREAT PUMPKIN).
  • 27A: Strip where 12-Across first didn't appear in 1959 (PEANUTS).
  • 43A: When 25-Down expects 12-Across to appear (HALLOWEEN).
  • 56A: Characteristic 18-Down cry regarding 12-Across (OH GOOD GRIEF).
  • 79A: 12-Across creator (SCHULZ).
  • 82A: Dog once mistaken for 12-Across (SNOOPY).
  • 102A: 25-Down maintained them annually (VIGILS).
  • 104A: 12-Across tested 25-Down's faith by being one, inevitably, every year (NO SHOW).
  • 18D: Friend of 25-Down (CHARLIE BROWN).
  • 25D: Faithful crusader for the existence of 12-Across (LINUS VAN PELT).
  • 70D: Instrument seen in 27-Across (TOY PIANO).

Wow. Great theme with an ambitious number of theme answers and a hefty dose of grid restriction. In fact, I saw the grid and thought this must be one of Liz Gorski's masterpieces. (Also, I saw the theme name and thought "Godot? You can make a whole puzzle around Godot?") But John Lampkin did a great job with this one. There's a little bit of clunker fill, of course, and it's super unfortunate that symmetry required the inclusion of TOY PIANO, which certainly adds to the Peanuts vibe, but isn't directly related to The Great Pumpkin. With an A+ theme and solid B fill, though, this puzzle definitely makes the grade.

Just a couple other things:
  • 17A: Last Supper question (IS IT I?). Crosswordese 301.
  • 29A: Loaf (DOG IT). Love this colloquial phrase.
  • 41A: Puppy love (CRUSH). Ah, memories.

  • 75A: Former name of Lake Malawi (NYASA). If you say so.
  • 78A: Vampire's home, perhaps (CRYPT). Bonus Halloween answer.
  • 93A: Closer (NEARER). Because Mariano Rivera wouldn't fit.
  • 97A: Cupid teammate (DASHER). I tried Dancer first.
  • 99A: Larynx locale (THROAT). Love that it's crossing 68D: Of the windpipe (TRACHEAL).
  • 14D: "Sock __ me!" (IT TO). Kind of a retro feel to the puzzle today for me. References to "Laugh In" are always welcome.
  • 30D: Form into a mosaic pattern (TESSELLATE). Never heard this words before, but it's pretty cool.
  • 66D: Whiny (GRIPY). Remember when I said there was some clunky fill? Yeah.
Crosswordese 101: There are a few different ways to clue the extremely common ARI. Today's clue — 45A: "Exodus" hero — refers to ARI Ben Canaan from the 1958 Leon Uris book. In 1960, the book was made into a movie starring Paul Newman as ARI. Other first string ARIs include Jeremy Piven's character ARI Gold on HBO's "Entourage"; shipping magnate and second husband of Jacqueline Kennedy, ARI Onassis; and former press secretary for George W. Bush, ARI Fleischer. The B Team consists of NPR's ARI Shapiro, Kate & Allie's ARI Meyers (yikes!), and the ARIzona sports teams (on scoreboards).

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Everything Else — 1A: Blockbusters (SMASH HITS); 10A: Si and Am in "Lady and the Tramp" (SIAMESE CATS); 16A: Draw again, as comic book lines (REINK); 18A: Genesis firstborn (CAIN); 19A: Masked one at home (UMP); 22A: Amt. due (BAL.); 24A: And the list goes on, briefly (ET AL.); 26A: Hobbits' region (SHIRE); 31A: Chestnut horse (ROAN); 32A: LPGA golfer Johnson (TRISH); 33A: Hydrocarbon suffixes (-ANES); 35A: The king: Span. (EL REY); 37A: Tropical roofers (THATCHERS); 42A: Elusive guy in a striped shirt (WALDO); 44A: Italian Renaissance poet (TASSO); 46A: Eensy-__ (WEENSY); 48A: Summer Triangle star (ALTAIR); 50A: Sign made with two digits (VEE); 51A: Droll-sounding grain? (RYE); 52A: Verb from Mark Antony (LEND); 53A: Octopus costume features (ARMS); 54A: Every bit (ALL); 55A: Party girl? (DEB); 62A: Mets' div. (NLE); 63A: Noun from Mark Antony (EARS); 65A: Some Protestants (LUTHERANS); 66A: Scholastic nos. (GPAS); 67A: Let fall, poetically (DROPT); 69A: Opposes (NAYSAYS); 70A: Waste allowances (TRETS); 71A: Darkly complexioned, to Shakespeare (SWART); 73A: Himalayan sightings (YETIS); 74A: Picturesque fabric (TOILE); 77A: D.C. bigwig (SEN.); 84A: Put-__: pranks (ONS); 87A: Show contempt for, as a villain (HISS AT); 89A: 11-time Olympic swimming medalist Matt (BIONDI); 90A: Scannable mdse. bars (UPC); 95A: Reagan or Kennedy (AIRPORT); 100A: Board member (TRUSTEE); 101A: Ultimate purpose (END USE); 103A: Does a slow burn (SEETHES); 1D: Coach's gesturing (SIGN); 2D: Add a profit margin to (MARK UP); 3D: __ Zion Church (AME); 4D: Aegean, for one (SEA); 5D: DDE's predecessor (HST); 6D: Cool, like a cat (HEP); 7D: Post-ER area (ICU); 8D: Ethnic group of southern India (TAMILS); 9D: Some auto maintenance store products (STPS); 10D: Paris divider (SEINE); 11D: Enjoyed a cross-country jaunt? (SKIED); 12D: Showed the ropes (TRAINED); 13D: Legatee (HEIR); 15D: River between two Great Lakes (NIAGARA); 20D: Alloy components (METALS); 21D: To some extent (PARTLY); 22D: Nonsense, euphemistically (BUSHWA); 23D: Close behind (AT HEEL); 26D: Periods between vernal equinoxes (SOLAR YEARS); 28D: Wilhelmina's daughter in "Ugly Betty" (NICO); 31D: Gave a treat for a trick, say (REWARDED); 34D: Barefoot (SHOELESS); 36D: Pained cry (YOWL); 37D: Stanley Cup org. (THE NHL); 38D: Colt .45, e.g. (HANDGUN); 39D: Engages, as an attorney (RETAINS); 40D: Some drum parts (SNARES); 41D: NFL snappers (CTRS); 47D: Fair-hiring initials (EEO); 49D: Worldwide fiscal agcy. (IMF); 57D: Our Gang affirmative (OTAY); 58D: "You bet!" ("OH YES!"); 59D: Villa __: Italian landmark (DESTE); 60D: Speck of truth (GRAIN); 61D: Ocean-bottom fish (RAYS); 64D: Prevents littering? (SPAYS); 72D: Summer tops (T-SHIRTS); 74D: Walked-on (TRODDEN); 76D: Smallest cont. in area (AUS.); 78D: Not supporting (CON); 80D: Hurdles for future attys. (LSATS); 81D: Congo, once (ZAIRE); 82D: Yes or no emphasizer (SIREE); 83D: F and G, but not H (NOTES); 84D: Being shown, in a way (ON TV); 85D: Classic grape soda (NEHI); 86D: Puppeteer Tony who mentored Bil Baird (SARG); 88D: 50-50 test answer (TRUE); 89D: The pair (BOTH); 90D: "Nope" ("UH-UH"); 91D: Colombian coin (PESO); 92D: Yacht staff (CREW); 94D: Palais resident (ROI); 96D: Idaho Panhandle hrs. (PST); 98D: Radical '60s gp. (SDS).


The Corgi of Mystery said...

Really fun puzzle today, and nice write-up. Was cool to open up Across Lite and see a smiley-face looking at me first thing in the morning. Cottoned on to THE GREAT PUMPKIN, LINUS VAN PELT and CHARLIE BROWN right away, but the middle of the grid offered a bit more resistance. For some reason, I had FULL MOONS where HALLOWEEN was supposed to be for a while, and felt really stupid when I eventually took it out.

Anonymous said...

Great Puzzle!


Super creative, lots of fun, sort of difficult, and clever and thoughtful clues that fit a terrific seasonal theme.
And, the grid forms a pumpkin. WOW !!!! A treat with plenty of tricks!
John Lampkin, you win the prize!


...and, and... Puzzlegirl your writeups are so so much fun. Loved the peanuts and DonnyO clip. And an extra treat with the cute "Sock IT TO me" girl. I never knew exactly what that term meant, but with Goldie Hawn, who cares, I'd just love to sock it to her.
Thanks to Puzzlegirl and John L. for a very fun Funday morning.


I even learned some new words, like TESSELATE, NYASA and TOILE.
Adding to the fun of solving a puzzle, is the time you spend looking up information (or Wikipediaing) on new words.

Unknown said...

You can't even blame symmetry for TOY PIANO, though, unless TRACHEAL has a Peanuts connection I don't know about.

Carol said...

Fun, fun, funday Sunday puzzle.

Rich said...

From the editor,

Glad to hear everyone enjoyed today's puzzle so much. It was one of my favorites, too.

Blame me for TOY PIANO not having a symmetrical partner. There have been other occasions when I had to decide whether to tie an isolated shorter answer in to the theme. The longer the answer is, the more likely it is that solvers will expect it to have a partner. This answer seemed almost too long to leave hanging that way--but how can you have TOY PIANO in a Peanuts-themed puzzle and not tie it in? So I did.

Btw, John's original clue for TOY PIANO referenced Cage's "Suite for Toy Piano," which struck me as a bit on the esoteric side. If you're so inclined, you can Google it and watch/listen.

Unknown said...

Quick, easy, and fun. For we young children of the 60's, the Peanuts cartoons were a large part of each holiday. The clues here then were all easy for me, and I knew tessellate from geometry. Thanks, PG, for the Peanuts clip, brought back great memories!

chefbea said...

Loved the puzzle which I did last sunday because it was in my paper. Went well with the nyt puzzle which was the Guggenheim

Still don't understand why my paper gets the puzzle a week earlier than anyone else??? Rich

Greene said...

Fun, fun, fun.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for Peanuts puzzle. Good fun!

CrazyCat said...

Well OTAY! I loved this puzzle, even though it was on the difficult side for me. Bring it on! I loved the grid and the Peanuts/Great Pumkin theme. I was a big Peanuts fan back in the day. I have a TOILE shower curtain in my hall bath. Guests tell me they enjoy looking at the shepherds and shepherdesses frolicing while they (the guests) use the facilities. Liked the mini themes of TRACHEAL and THROAT and EARS and LEND. These were fun clues and interesting answers. I didn't know TESSELLATE so that is my new word for the day. My only nit to pick is that I don't think a ROAN horse and a chestnut horse are the same. I think of a chestnut as being a golden brown, while a ROAN is more reddish brown with a little bit of a white undercoat. However, I could be mistaken. Wouldn't be the first time. @Puzzle Girl Another great write up. I love the Demoninational Differences clip. Thanks!

shrub5 said...

Was delighted to see the happy face grid -- soon realized it was a jack-o'-lantern. A real treat with several trick-y clues.

Some great clue highlights: Prevents littering? (SPAYS), Masked one at home (UMP), F and G, but not H (NOTES) and Being shown, in a way (ONTV).

Some entries for my "how many times must I see this before I remember it?" file: AME, IMF.

Finished with an error affecting 3 words -- I had TAB (as in bar tab) rather than BAL. for 22A) Amt. due. I should have known that tab was not correct because it is not an abbreviation as indicated by the clue. This left me with TAMIBS instead of TAMILS for ethnic group of southern India. I had no idea - so my answer seemed reasonable enough. And then instead of BUSHWA, I had TUSHWA for 22D) Nonsense. Again, no idea. Never heard/seen the word bushwa and it's hard to believe a synonym for BS has escaped my lexicon. Has anyone out there used this word? Does it have anything to do with Geo. Bush?

This was quite enjoyable: fun theme, terrific blog write-up and many new words learned, as well as words remembered from previous CW101s.

Maestro said...

What?? No Beethoven, no Lucy?? Even so, a great puzzle. How many times have we all spent a 'vigil' waiting for a 'no show'? I guess we all have Great Pumpkins in our lives......

mac said...

What a charming puzzle! Also nice to have PG mention Mariano Rivera.
Hope Mo closes tonight!

Tessellate was confusing to me because I learned tessera from crosswords. I looked it up and found out that tessella is the diminiutive form. Nice.

imsdave said...

We had weekend guests, so I had no chance to comment earlier.

Lovely concept and feat of construction.

Great writeup, fun puzzle, life is good. Kudos to all involved.

JaJaJoe said...

While also wondering what BUSHWA be's, a(n) euphemism I newly heard and like for BS is "bullshine".

Rich said...


Evidently someone at your paper skipped a week once, years ago. If they told me what week it was, I'd give them that puzzle to run so they can get back on track. Otherwise, the only solution is for them to go one week without any puzzle, and I don't think they're going to do that.

Hope that helps.

chefbea said...

thanks Rich. Don't know if we can make this right. I know a lot of the people at the Greenwich Time and Stamford Advocate. I'll see what I can do.

ddbmc said...

Just loved this puzzle! Worked it in the car on the way to a non-NHL hockey game (the husband was driving!) HUGE fan of Peanuts, so that helped. Like JohnsNH, love exploring all the words I don't know, after solving.

@Shrubb5, my thorn today was BAL, too! Such a D'Oh moment, when it finally appeared!

Today's puzzle was just delightful! Thanks, John, Rich and PG! More, please!

Anonymous said...

FYI The Laugh-in reference to Goldie Hawn...She wasn't the "sock it to me girl." Judy Carne was...incidently, Judy was also the first wife of Burt Reynolds.

Unknown said...

I guess I'm one of the few who's old enough to remember Lake Nyasa -- although it did take me a few minutes to get it right.

I had to laugh at THATCHERS being clued as "Tropical roofers". You've heard of Margaret Thatcher, right? Well, there are still many, many thatchers at work repairing roofs in Britain.

I liked the pair of Mark Antony clues. I had never heard of either Tony SARG or TRISH Johnson before, but Matt BIONDI rang a bell.

The top 3 lines of this puzzle, with 9, 11, and 15 square each culminating in the theme answer, are quite an accomplishment. Well done!