SUNDAY, November 15, 2009
Merl Reagle

Theme: "Homophone Syllables" — Let's see ... how do I explain this? Theme answers are words that have part of their spelling changed to create a new wacky word that sounds like the original word. The new spelling in each word isn't random, though. The new spelling is an word in itself which, of course, is what creates the wackiness. Whew. Orange should be along any minute with a concise description of this theme.

[Note: This is the puzzle that appears in the Sunday L.A. Times newspaper. If you don't get the paper, you can find the puzzle here. Scroll down to see the write-up of today's syndicated puzzle.]

Theme answers:
  • 21A: Category the Pentagon uses instead of "other"? (MISSILEANEOUS) [miscellaneous]
  • 32A: Process of growing grass for cows? (PASTUREIZATION) [pasteurization]
  • 41A: Habit of giving your word to everybody but never keeping it? (PROMISECUITY) [promiscuity]
  • 50A: Social system under which nothing ever gets better? (FUTILEISM) [feudalism]
  • 63A: The fan mail that backup singers get? (CHORUSPONDENCE) [correspondence]
  • 72A: Organically grown herbal medicines? (FARMACEUTICALS) [pharmaceuticals]
  • 83A: Of an age when pork and mutton were pretty much all you ate? (MEATYEVAL) [medieval]
  • 91A: Having a sweet taste that kind of sneaks up on you? (SYRUPTITIOUS) [surreptitious]
  • 104A: Contemptuous of rubdowns done by women? (MASSAGEYNISTIC) [misogynistic]
  • 118A: Pertaining to puzzle events that benefit charities? (FILLINTHROPIC) [philanthropic]
Wow, pointing out the original words was kind of a spelling test for me. The only I had any real trouble with was medieval. I know the I-before-E rule, but for some reason I always think this word is an exception. And I'm always wrong. Anyway, this was a fun theme with fun clues. In other words, good stuff — pretty much what we expect from Merl. I had trouble in the ULU / LUCA / FUSEL area (58A: Knife for Nanook / 59D: Vito's ill-fated thug / 50D: Fermentation product, ___ oil). Was it just me, or did that seem kind of harsh? I feel like I should know ULU — it shows up in the cruciverb.com data base 14 times — but the L and the U were total guesses for me today.

Quick hits:
  • 12A: Cousin of a clog (SABOT). Learned it from crosswords.
  • 17A: More like fresh cake (MOISTER). I do not like the word moist. Unsurprisingly, I also do not like the word moister.
  • 18A: Elroy's dog (ASTRO). From the Jetsons cartoon.
  • 25A: Old electrical unit that's 31 Down backward (MHO). Sometimes Merl puts an iffy answer in the grid, but then gives you a hint about it in the clue so that it's still gettable. (31D is OHM [Resistance unit].)
  • 48A: Subj. with projects (SCI.). PuzzleSon created a model of an oxygen atom just yesterday for a fifth-grade science project.
  • 70A: Some with obscene controversial salaries (CEOS).
  • 115A: Radical '70s grp. (SLA). Hey, another radical political group from the past!
  • 123A: Skunk's defence (ODOUR). The british spelling of defence in the clue hints at the British spelling in the answer.
  • 125A: Type of rehab (DETOX). I don't know. To me detox and rehab are two different things.
  • 7D: Intro to "is it hot!" (MAN). Love this kind of clue/answer, which you see a lot in Merl's puzzles.
  • 13D: Ball's guy (ARNAZ). Note to the reader who wants to comment that it's supposed to be spelled Arnez: No, it's not.
  • 17D: Hanson's smash single of 1997 (MMMBOP). I have never knowingly heard this song. I thought about posting the video here but I decided not to. You're welcome.
  • 69D: Rocket from Roddick (SERVE). Tennis great Andy Roddick.
  • 75D: Ali, before (CLAY). In 1964, Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
Everything Else — 1A: Imagined (DREAMT); 7A: Iraq's second largest city (MOSUL); 19A: See 12 Down (ARABIA); 23A: Separates (UNLINKS); 26A: Tributes in verse (ODES); 27A: Self-serving aims, often (AGENDAS); 29A: Test, as patience (TRY); 30A: Back, as a horse (BET ON); 36A: Inauguration recital (OATH); 37A: Padre's compadre, e.g. (AMIGO); 39A: Grate stuff (ASH); 40A: Actress Hathaway (ANNE); 44A: Performs deep-tissue manipulation on (ROLFS); 49A: "Livin' Thing" band (ELO); 54A: NASCAR city, ___ Beach (DAYTONA); (ULU); 60A: Shoe part (TOE); 61A: Intro to "you're swell" (GEE); 62A: Best (FINEST); 68A: Erstwhile GM brand (OLDS); 69A: Sow chow (SLOP); 71A: Tawdry gossip (DIRT); 76A: Subsides (ABATES); 78A: Beehive State athlete (UTE); 79A: Clinger to a hiker's sock (BUR); 80A: This may shock you (EEL); 81A: Pepcid rival (TAGAMET); 86A: The Braves, on scoreboards (ATL); 89A: Cigarette hazard (TAR); 90A: Odometer button (RESET); 97A: Away from the wind (ALEE); 100A: Carrere of "True Lies" (TIA); 102A: It has a wet floor (OCEAN); 103A: Word after glom (ONTO); 109A: Slow critter (SNAIL); 110A: Band buy (AMP); 111A: Thrusting move, in fencing (PASSADO); 112A: Ludacris song, "___ Fool" (ACT A); 116A: Some perfect throws (SPIRALS); 122A: NutraSweet's developer (SEARLE); 124A: Fully grasp (REALIZE); 126A: Percussion instruments (GONGS); 127A: Group with a whip (SENATE); 1D: Auctioneer's query (DO I HEAR); 2D: Pasta alternative (RISOTTO); 3D: Priest's ending (-ESS); 4D: Plant's ending (-ATION); 5D: Rummy laydown (MELD); 6D: "Eater" of Charlie Brown's kite (TREE); 8D: Sugar suffix (-OSE); 9D: Summer ermine (STOAT); 10D: "Well, you go ___ and I'll go mine" (Groucho) (URUGUAY); 11D: Perennial failures (LOSERS); 12D: With 19 Across, an oil-rich nation (SAUDI); 14D: Model airplane wood (BALSA); 15D: Samurai's sash (OBI); 16D: Internationally popular comic book character created by Belgian artist Hergé (TINTIN); 20D: Rubber hub (AKRON); 22D: Molded jelly (ASPIC); 24D: Lang follower (SYNE); 28D: P.M. whose jacket caught on (NEHRU); 33D: Malaria symptom (AGUE); 34D: Potting need (SOIL); 35D: Hit with a stun gun (TASE); 37D: Tie type (ASCOT); 38D: Words after count or let (MEIN); 42D: Cult followers? (-ISTS); 43D: Military stint (TOUR); 45D: Von Bismarck et al. (OTTOS); 46D: Safari sighting (LION); 47D: Skipped town (FLED); 51D: Put a match to (IGNITE); 52D: Undercover (SECRET); 53D: Has a powwow (with) (MEETS); 54D: Make wider (DILATE); 55D: TV journalist Mitchell (ANDREA); 56D: Tom Sawyer affirmative (YES'M); 57D: Rights defender (ACLU); 62D: "Fe fi" followers (FO FUM); 64D: Place to stay (HOTEL); 65D: Small-town boy (OPIE); 66D: Sentry's place (POST); 67D: Dutch cheese (EDAM); 73D: "Rock-___ Baby" (A-BYE); 74D: Acting signals (CUES); 76D: One more time (AGAIN); 77D: Ms. Krabappel's nemesis (BART); 82D: "___ boy!" (ATTA); 84D: Very, to Veronique (TRÈS); 85D: Lawyers: abbr. (ATTYS.); 87D: Brisk pace (TROT); 88D: Presidential daughter, ___ Baines Johnson (LUCI); 91D: Tied the knot (SAID I DO); 92D: Pie nut (PECAN); 93D: It's not free of charge (ION); 94D: Ready for roasting, rotisserie-style (ON A SPIT); 95D: Use (UTILIZE); 96D: Comfort (SOLACE); 97D: Latin 101 word (AMAS); 98D: Table pieces (LAMPS); 99D: Spotted (ESPIED); 101D: Out of it (IN A FOG); 105D: To smithereens (APART); 106D: Mondavi rival (GALLO); 107D: Elizabeth I's love (ESSEX); 108D: Athenian lawgiver (SOLON); 109D: It's a wrap (SARAN); 113D: Community bldgs. (CTRS.); 114D: Pilgrim's pronoun (THEE); 117D: "Norma ___" (RAE); 119D: Haul (LUG); 120D: Treasury Dept. arm (IRS); 121D: Pay or Cray ending (-OLA).


Orange said...

Merl's puzzle and Mike Torch's syndicated puzzle tied for the position of Amy's Favorite Sunday Puzzle today.

PROMISECUITY should be a word! I don't know if Merl coined it for the first time or if others have come up with it in the past, but I say the English language needs this word, especially in campaign seasons.

Djinn said...

For some reason, this Sunday CW has been the knottiest solve to date. Things were going well in the first few minutes. I remembered SABOT from the story about protesters throwing wooden shoes (sabots) into machinery in order to bring down the system and thereby coining the word saboteurs. But after a strong start, I was pretty much in a fog for the rest of the puzzle.

Lots of erasing, but thanks to the coaching from PG and the clever clues from Merl, I learned some new words today. My favorite clue: 93A. It's not free of charge/ION.

Still wondering how CTRS can be an abbreviation for community buildings. Anyone?

GLowe said...

Gonna have to throw a shoe at MEATYEVAL.

CTRS = Centers, no?

Smithereens.... [thinking] how would one explain that in an ESL class?

Djinn said...

Thanks GLowe! I thought it would be a specific, not a generic reference.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great write up PG
I really enjoyed this puzzle

JIMMIE said...

I had recently finished The Godfather, and was quite familiar with LUCA at 59D, a really bad guy. Note also LUCI at 88D. Engineering background also knew MHO, the unit of electrical conductance.

It was a little harder than most. Clever theme.

Thanks for the write up, PG.

shrub5 said...

Got to this puzzle late this evening but glad I did. Figuring out each theme answer and its root word was very entertaining. I was stumped at the MMMBOP/BETON intersection as well as the ULU/FUSEL cross that @PG mentioned.

Chuckled at the clue: P.M. whose jacket caught on (NEHRU). Got to feel sorry for the guy if that's the only thing he's remembered for! SARAN for "it's a wrap" was another LOL. I was slow to get "Lang follower" (SYNE) as I was thinking first of the singer kd lang, then a suffix for lang....UISH ???

Cute clues for SLOP: sow chow and EEL: this may shock you. Another laugh for "word after glom" (ONTO). It's funny to see "glom" alone. Can you use glom without onto?

@Merl Reagle: Thanks for the fun!
@PG: Thanks for the double duty blogging on Sundays (actually quadruple when you consider the puzzles are bigger!). All of us commenters/solvers can't say often enough how much your efforts, and those of Orange and Rex, are helpful and sincerely appreciated.

Unknown said...

Basra is the second largest city in Iraq. Be careful using Wikipedia to construct a puzzle