SUNDAY, November 15, 2009
Mike Torch (syndicated)

Theme: "Ling-uistics" — Familiar phrases have the letter string LING added to them, creating new wacky phrases clued "?"-style.

[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:
  • 24A: Migration of gregarious birds? (STARLING TREK). From Stark Trek.
  • 50A: Bovine argument at the lanes? (OX-BOWLING INCIDENT). I've heard of The Ox-Bow Incident but I'm not really sure what it is. Let me look it up real quick. Okay, it's a 1940 novel by Walter Van Tilburg Clark that was made into a movie starring Henry Fonda in 1943.
  • 71A: Game for lazy kids? (IDLING TAG). ID tag.
  • 95A: Drinking too much? (PICKLING YOUR BRAIN). Pick your brain.
  • 122A: Courtroom intuition? (LEGAL FEELING). Legal fee.
  • 3D: Result of way too much praise? (EGO TRIPLING). Not 100% crazy about this one because the original phase — ego trip — could also be an answer to the clue's question.
  • 31D: McCarthy suspicion? (RED INKLING). Red ink.
  • 58D: Affleck on the mound? (BEN HURLING). Ben Hur. I know that Ben Affleck is a baseball fan — I bet he likes this one.
  • 74D: Quartet of storytellers? (FABLING FOUR). The Fab Four, of course, refers to the Beatles.
I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It's a standard theme idea, but the resulting phrases are funny and the clues are clever. Only two real clunkers jumped out at me. NOISED (39D: Made a racket) is, of course, not a word. Ugh. And I'm sure some of our professional musician readers will say that SYMS. (91D: Mozart's No. 1 through No. 41) is a completely valid abbreviation for symphonies, but I don't buy it. I believe some members of the L.A. Symphony Orchestra check in here on occasion. Maybe they would care to weigh in on this issue?
Good stuff:
  • 15A: PC programs (APPS). I downloaded a grocery list app the other night and I'm super excited about it. It's pathetic really.
  • 37A: Gary's home (INDIANA). Nice misdirection here. I'm all, "Gary who?"

  • 48A: Very softly, in music (PPP). I believe there was some debate about this over at Rex's blog not too long ago. Some people were arguing vehemently that P in music indicates tempo instead of volume. Which is, um ... wrong.
  • 55A: Beethoven dedicatee (ELISE). Wow, lots of music in today's puzzle. "Für Elise" is probably Beethoven's most well-known composition. If you don't know what it sounds like, find a 10-year-old kid who plays piano and they should be able to play it for you.
  • 68A: Disney lioness (NALA). From "The Lion King."
  • 89A: Amusement park rides (MONORAILS). Again with the trickery! Not the rides that you think of when you think of an amusement park, but the ride that transports you around to the various rides and attractions and obscenely priced food.
  • 108A: "__ at the Opera" (A NIGHT). I liked "A Night at the Museum."
  • 130A: Smirnoff alternative (SKYY). I've heard of Smirnoff but not SKYY. Oh, I see. SKYY vodka was introduced in 1992. I had already stopped drinking by then.
  • 131A: State in northeast India (ASSAM). This is Crosswordese 301.
  • 12D: Ahab's father in the Bible (OMRI). Wait, what? I thought I could at least recognize the Bible names even if I didn't really know who they were. I guess not.
  • 35D: "If the fans don't come out to the ballpark, you can't stop them" speaker (YOGI). Who doesn't love Yogi Berra and his humorous observations on life?
  • 48D: Pitcher Martinez (PEDRO). He had a kinda rough start in Game Six of the World Series this year.
  • 61D: Conestoga driver (WAGONER). Big thanks to Doug Peterson for teaching me the word conestoga. I had never heard the word until I came across it (as an answer) in Doug's puzzle at Lollapuzzoola a couple months ago. Not knowing the word at that time pretty much cost me a berth in the local division finals. Not that I'm bitter.
  • 90D: Ready for action after an injury, in sports (OK TO PLAY). Love this colloquial phrase. Is it "in the language"? I vote yes.
  • 93D: Scale divs. (LBS.). I think the puzzle had lulled me into thinking about music without my really knowing it. I was thinking "Notes? Measures? What?"
  • 109D: Co-creator of Yogi and Boo Boo (HANNA). Different Yogi.
  • 110D: Town on the Firth of Clyde (TROON). Never heard of it.
Crosswordese 101: Students for a Democratic Society or SDS (63A: Radical campus gp.) was a student activist movement in the United States in the 1960s. You can learn a lot about it at this website if you're interested. Clues for SDS will almost always refer to the 1960s or opposition to the Vietnam War and will contain words like radical, campus, activist, protest, and sit-in. The person most likely to be associated with the SDS in puzzle clues is Tom Hayden, the group's president in 1962–63.

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Everything Else — 1A: Full of: Suff. (-OSE); 4A: Played (around) (HORSED); 10A: Helmsman's challenge (SHOAL); 19A: Truck stop sight (RIG); 20A: Ring of color (AREOLE); 21A: Common sonnet line quintet (IAMBI); 22A: Model T contemporaries (REOS); 23A: Commotion (ADO); 26A: Eden-to-Nod direction (EAST); 27A: Release to attack (LET AT); 29A: President who attended Eureka College (REAGAN); 30A: Responds to "Come again?" (ITERATES); 32A: Go from pub to pub (BARHOP); 34A: Too inquisitive (NOSY); 36A: Yr.-end period (DEC.); 41A: Squirrel's partner, to Boris and Natasha (MOOSE); 44A: Mosque toppers (DOMES); 53A: Will Varner's daughter-in-law in "The Long, Hot Summer" (EULA); 56A: Krakatoa's country (INDONESIA); 57A: Bounces on a court (DRIBBLES); 59A: Handful (FEW); 62A: Home in bed, maybe (SICK); 64A: Actress Zellweger et al. (RENEES); 65A: Most passengers in "Titanic," e.g. (EXTRAS); 70A: Liver or kidney (ORGAN); 73A: As a joke (IN FUN); 77A: Subsequently (THEN); 79A: Escort to the door (SEE OUT); 80A: Like many home movies (ON TAPE); 81A: Prefix with cycle (UNI-); 84A: West Point letters (USMA); 86A: ID theft datum (SSN); 87A: Like material goods (TANGIBLE); 92A: Best of the best (ELITE); 94A: Declined (SLID); 99A: Part of TGIF (IT'S); 100A: 1972 U.S./Soviet pact (SALT I); 101A: Denounces (DAMNS); 102A: Write (SET DOWN); 104A: Southernmost Canadian prov. (ONT.); 106A: Trickle (SEEP); 111A: Temporary fixes (STOPGAPS); 116A: Conqueror of Mexico (CORTES); 120A: Equally distant (AS FAR); 121A: Rank below marquis (EARL); 125A: Lennon's love (ONO); 126A: __ breve (ALLA); 127A: Mural opening? (INTRA-); 128A: Prefix with -nomic (GASTRO); 129A: Half of dos (UNO); 132A: Certain Nebraskan (OMAHAN); 133A: Operated (RAN); 1D: Dental floss brand (ORAL-B); 2D: It's usually a hit (SIDE A); 4D: Concerns, with "with" (HAS TO DO); 5D: Scrap (ORT); 6D: Backside (REAR); 7D: Angry (SORE); 8D: First name in scat (ELLA); 9D: Condescend (DEIGN); 10D: Enlists (SIGNS ON); 11D: Monopoly token (HAT); 13D: Help the wrong way? (ABET); 14D: Enjoyed (LIKED); 15D: Three-digit ID (AREA CODE); 16D: Gardening moss (PEAT); 17D: Photographer's suggestion (POSE); 18D: Old Atl. crossers (SSTS); 25D: Actress Watts (NAOMI); 28D: "Kung Fu" actor (AHN); 33D: Digital dots (PIXELS); 38D: Up to the task (ABLE); 40D: Nursery reactions (AWS); 42D: Deadly septet (SINS); 43D: Credits follow it (ENDING); 45D: Clutter (MESS); 46D: City WNW of Stillwater, Oklahoma (ENID); 47D: RR stops (STAS); 49D: Less polluted (PURER); 51D: Southpaws (LEFTIES); 52D: Cola lead-in (COCA-); 54D: Didn't miss __ (A BEAT); 60D: Beach birds (ERNES); 66D: Good-sized sizes (XLS); 67D: Apt name for a cook? (STU); 69D: Opposing forces (ANTIS); 71D: Under consideration (IN MIND); 72D: Outfit (ATTIRE); 75D: Illuminated indirectly (UPLIT); 76D: Calls for (NEEDS); 78D: Actor Morales (ESAI); 80D: Flatware company, or the New York community where it began (ONEIDA); 81D: Calls the game (UMPS); 82D: Psychological suffix with para- (NOIA); 83D: Part of the pkg. (INCL.); 85D: Bit of plankton (ALGA); 88D: Rat-__ (A-TAT); 96D: A buck (ONE CLAM); 97D: "What's the __ Wond'rin'": "Carousel" song (USE OF); 98D: Nine-sided shape (NONAGON); 103D: Mich. neighbor (WIS.); 105D: Shire of "Rocky" (TALIA); 107D: Ragú rival (PREGO); 111D: Salty septet (SEAS); 112D: Converse (TALK); 113D: Paris hub (ORLY); 114D: Writes (PENS); 115D: Some NCOs (SGTS.); 117D: Squad (TEAM); 118D: Supermodel Benitez (ELSA); 119D: Group that opposed the Jedi (SITH); 123D: Neighbor of Scorpius (ARA); 124D: Org. with a lot of heaters? (NRA).


Grandpappy Steve said...

A fun Sunday puzzle. Couldn't parse 2D Sidea to save my life. Threw in the S at the very end only because it was the only letter that seemed to fit. Also took awhile to figure out 84A "USMA" stands for U.S. Military Acadamy. Didn't like egotripling at all.

Unknown said...

I think egotripling and noised will be consistent "fehs" in the comment section for this one, but I also enjoyed the puzzle. Anyone notice the two "septets"? Deadly and Salty? Never heard of Troon either. Scotland? Golf?

shrub5 said...

This puzzle was a lot of fun for me. I tried to remain patient and not google when I encountered difficulty...and I was successful at that. However, I ended up with two errors. I spelled CORTES with a Z and since I am Star Wars-illiterate, I didn't know the Jedi-opposers SITH (I had ZITH.) The other error was the psychological suffix with para- for which I put NOID instead of NOIA. This made SALTI into SDLTI which seemed OK to me as I thought the pact was Strategic Defense ... something.

I was initially stumped with Salty septet. Had already completed Deadly septet (SINS). Then I thought, oh this must refer to George Carlin's seven words you couldn't say on TV. I had S--- and nothing would come to mind. A big d'oh moment when I ended up with SEAS.

I noticed Yogi in the clue for 109d and YOGI as the answer for 35d. I love Yogi Berra quotes: "If you come to a fork in the road, take it." and "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded."

Thanks to Mike Torch for a very polished CWP. I enjoyed it and PG's humorous write-up very much.

Bohica said...

Boy oh boy, my neighbors really noised it up last night!

Other than that a very good and fun puzzle.

Orange said...

I loved this theme—lots of rewarding little "aha" moments when I figured out the theme entries. Particularly fond of the movie trio and the RED INKLING.

This and Merl Reagle's Calendar puzzle are my two favorite Sunday puzzles this weekend (I've done four in all so far).

Anonymous said...

Major solecisms: 1) The English pank of the peerage is Marquess. See Debrett's Correct Form. Marquis is a French title. The rank below it is "comte". 2)The colored ring is an "areola" pl. "areolae." "Areole" is not a word. There does exist "aureole" meaning a halo.

Other quibbles as noted: "noised" and "ppp."

Anonymous said...

Sorry, read "English rank."

Orange said...

Anonymous, please type in a name for yourself! Also, if it's not too much trouble, you might check a dictionary before declaring that a word does not exist. I think AREOLE may be clued poorly (the two dictionaries I checked define it as the small area that bears a spine on a cactus, not a colored areola), but it is absolutely a word.

Anonymous said...

Troon Scotland is in the rotation of courses played for the Bitish Open,now referred to as just The Open. Golfballman.

mathcapt said...

I called my daughter-in-law's mom (from England) to ask about to ask about "Firth of Clyde" She didn't know either. But when I looked it up she said "of course".


GLowe said...

Troon 'nuff, the ancient game of gowf is traced to here. It's not the firth courth, tho, it might be the the thecond. ThT. Andrews pretheded it.

split infinitive said...

Today we learned why it's not so fun to 'solve' the same puzzle at the same time. People work through the grid in very different ways: some are noisy and chatty and others swear quietly but are otherwise patient!

i didn't grow up with much Disney so NALA triipped me up. OMRI was someone I'd forgot, as was OXBOW INCIDENT. I am learning, thanks to this wunder-blog, so thanks.

~OSE has other meanings in chemistry and pharmacology, but fair enough for a suffix. 'Gary's home' is a clever clue, which stumped everyone swigging the strong Swedish coffee I brewed quietly. It was our one communal cheating episode. The drinkers of course knew SKYY. [I stick to Absolut, unflavored...] BEN HURLING could have been clued in relation to the SKYY vodka reference, but would not have passed the b'fast test!

Where are SFINI & JNH & DDBMC, et al. (oops onthe spelling there.)

All said, this was a fun Sunday puzzle, minus NOISED, and for me, the 'Eden to Nod' clue.. One of my favorite puzzles in awhile. Thanks PG for an amusing and informative write-up.
split & (lots of) company

p.s. I love learning new Yogi BERRA quotes. Guy was his own kind of genius!


A fun Sunday puzzle... good for the gray-matter too. This for me was a tough puzzle to solve and I'm sure it also was a tough puzzle to construct...kudos to Mike Torch. However, I did find many of the theme clues rather strained.

Of course REAGAN, my hero. An actor who became a great president. Nowadays we get presidents who become great actors.
And actress RENEE Zelleger is "da bomb" in Hollywood.
I love both the YOGI's... the one who was created by HANNA always makes me "chortle" and the one who has the YOGI-isms makes me "guffaw". "If you come to a fork in the road. take it!"
For some guffaws, click here:
Other cute clues were: "deadly septet" and "credits follow it".

NOISED and SLID (declined)

The whole SW corner.
Didn't know SKKY vodka, ALLA breve, "Paris hub".
Also, I struggled with PPP (musical term), OMRI (Ahab's dad), AHN (Kung Fu dude), and ZITH (Jedi ANTIS).


Omigosh, it is CORTES and SITH... my bad!


Puzzlegirl, a mighty fine writeup today (as always).
Do you suppose we could get a CW101 list of the top ten (or so) four-letter Biblical names?

Sam said...

PG, have you ever considered keeping a dictionary by your side as you write things like "NOISED ... is, of course, not a word."
It might astound you.

Doug P said...

D'oh! I cringed when I saw "conestoga" in the WAGONER clue. I don't need PG to be reminded of that word! PG, I don't know what they were teaching you kids in those North Dakota grade schools.

I loved this puzzle! Lots of fun & wacky theme entries. A better clue for BEN HURLING might be "Affleck, after watching one of his own movies." I guess he's been in some decent films, but it's easier to remember all the awful ones. :)

PuzzleGirl said...

@Sam: Whenever I make an arrogant pronouncement on this blog, you can just go ahead and insert your own little smiley face. How about you? When you say something pompous is it because you're pompous or is it just a rhetorical device that I don't get?


CrazyCat said...

Very fun puzzle today and great write up. I had my share of slip ups. Also thought CORTES should have a Z. And wanted SHEET for SHOAL after our nautical lesson last week. I thought the theme answers were very clever. I was fine with EGOTRIPLING. Loved BEN HURLING. Now that's a non breakfast test visual. NOISED? Well okay - I'll just not NOISE any further about that. Thank you Mr. Torch and Puzzle Girl.

Tinbeni said...

For me, this was my favorite CW puzzle in the last 2 or 3 months. When I got stuck going ACROSS, it allowed me to get it with the DOWN, and vice-versa.

Great cleaver cluing and some new answer's I had never seen, or heard of, which caused me to google 4 or 5 things after completion. Aaah, a 'learning moment' is always a big PLUS.

Had a difficult time getting my head around 48A 'Very softly, in music' PPP. Triple letters with the exception of Shoe size (EEE), Auto Club (AAA), Sleep (ZZZ) or Manu.Co.(MMM) seem out of place to me. OK, there's something about XXX, but you don't see that in CW very often (ever).

Disney lioness, NALA, from the Lion King, I have encountered before in CW, probably will see again, and when that happens in the future, I will probably be clueless (again).

Great puzzle, informative write-up, other than our cold weather (69 degrees) a Perfect Sunday.


PG, I loved those little MONORAIL kitties... your photo clips & videos are always so much fun.

When I was a kid, we always called the covered wagons "Conestoga Wagons"... and no, I didn't ride them to go to school!

Why did I keep trying to put ELSA in for the "Lion King" lioness? Was ELSA another one of the lionesses in that movie?

You all know how I feel about all this PC nonsense... but isn't lioness a sexist term just like stewardess and waitress?

Tinbeni said...

ELSA was the lion (Non-PC, I am old enough to think some PC has gone too far, just my opinion) in the movie "Born Free" ... I think I was thinking of her and just could not accept NALA at first. Thank you cross's.

HHH, the Senator, VP under LBJ, another 3 letter CW answer. The PPP was almost my Waterloo today.

CartBoy said...

The Arizona Republic published a puzzle entitled "Literal Translations" by Ken Bessette. I'll be interested when it's really supposed to be published. At least I've already finsihed it. Maybe I should do the write-up....

Tuttle said...

Didn't like 'iambi'. It's an archaic form and the pluralizing clue was obscure at best.