SUNDAY, December 27, 2009 — Merl Reagle (calendar)

Theme: "What It Is" — This is such a cool theme, I'm not sure I'll be able to explain it well. Clues for the theme answers are familiar phrases that contain a verb (or verb phrase) and the word it. Each answer is something the it might stand for in another familiar phrase that's completely unrelated to the typical meaning of the phrase in the clue. Clear as mud, right?

[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:
  • 23A: *Make it (A GOOD IMPRESSION). I would generally take "make it" to mean "get there on time." But you can also "make a good impression."(Of course, there's another meaning of "make it" ....)

  • 26A: *Run for it (COVER). "Run for it" means "get away as fast as you can." But you can also "run for cover."
  • 31A: *Hold it (A DISCUSSION). "Hold it" means "stop right there." But you can also "hold a discussion."
  • 35A: *Watch it (THE BIRDIE). Etc., etc. ....
  • 43A: *Take it off (A LOAD).
  • 48A: *Get off it (THE PHONE).
  • 54A: *Forget it (THE PAST).
  • 64A: *Sleep on it (YOUR OWN SIDE OF THE BED).
  • 73A: *Sit on it (THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS).
  • 93A: *Lose it (PATIENCE).
  • 89A: *Skip it (DESSERT).
  • 97A: *Get it on (A MOVE).
  • 103A: *Beat it (THE SYSTEM).
  • 108A: *Go at it (A SNAIL'S PACE).
  • 119A: *Go for it (A RIDE).
  • 121A: *Now you've done it! (THIS WEEK'S PUZZLE).
This is a fantastic puzzle and I'm sure I could spend hours talking about it, but I've got family here today and many, many things on the schedule, so I'm going to have to make this post completely inadequate especially considering what a fine puzzle this is. Sorry, Merl! One of these days I'll be faster at this and won't short-change your puzzles!

Everything Else — 1A: Subject of an assay test (ORE); 4A: He's a pig (BOAR); 8A: Child's car-seat features (STRAPS); 14A: Atoll part (ISLET); 19A: Donald's intro? (MAC); 20A: Like some chatter (IDLE); 21A: ___ Nevada (SIERRA); 22A: Pablo Neruda's land (CHILE); 27A: Tech support, e.g. (HELP); 28A: Line score in a football shutout (OOOO); 29A: Beginning, to a conductor (TOP); 30A: Number of W's in Wagner (EINS); 39A: Sunrise dirección (ESTE); 40A: Genesis place (NOD); 42A: Versailles verb (ETES); 47A: Uncut (PURE); 53A: Sorceress on Aeaea (CIRCE); 57A: Wave ___ (BYE BYE); 58A: Stunt guy (EVEL); 59A: Christmas-song verb (POUT); 60A: Cote sounds (COOS); 63A: Red and juicy (RIPE); 70A: Fashion guy who wed Gene Tierney (OLEG); 71A: Dog with Peter Lorre's voice (REN); 72A: Cold, as agua (FRIA); 81A: Zest rival (DIAL); 82A: Clancy hero (RYAN); 83A: Menswear selections (TIES); 84A: "Chewy caramels in milk chocolate" brand (ROLO); 86A: Smitten (IN LOVE); 92A: Detector activator (METAL); 96A: Space (ROOM); 98A: Crowd sound (ROAR); 99A: Contrail source, once (SST); 100A: "So ___ say" (THEY); 114A: Wander (ROVE); 115A: Reason for face painting (WAR); 117A: Boris's "bride" of 1935 (ELSA); 118A: Genesis place (EDEN); 125A: Processor giant (INTEL); 126A: Pack animals? (WOLVES); 127A: Dick Tracy's sweetheart (TESS); 128A: Shade tree (ELM); 129A: "The Politics of Ecstasy" author (LEARY); 130A: How some scripts are written (ON SPEC); 131A: Rhapsodic works (ODES); 132A: ___ sauce (SOY); 1D: Insurance city (OMAHA); 2D: Was furious (RAGED); 3D: Bane of uncooked meat (ECOLI); 4D: Sotheby's action (BID); 5D: Loathsome (ODIOUS); 6D: Nearly (ALMOST); 7D: Calm state (REPOSE); 8D: Hiking heading: abbr. (SSE); 9D: "Angela's Ashes" sequel ('TIS); 10D: Take five (REST); 11D: Alice, to Ralph, at times (A RIOT); 12D: Ezekiel, e.g. (PROPHET); 13D: Part of S.D. (SAN); 14D: America's first regulatory agcy. (ICC); 15D: Blacksmith, at times (SHOER); 16D: Flushed with anger (LIVID); 17D: Nicholas Gage book that became a Kate Nelligan film (ELENI); 18D: Succinct (TERSE); 24D: Photo ___ (OPS); 25D: Palais resident (ROI); 32D: Surrender (CEDE); 33D: "The Jeffersons" theme, "Movin' ___" (ON UP); 34D: Role for Myrna (NORA); 36D: Ordinal ending (-ETH); 37D: Brit. Broadcasting Corp., familiarly (with "the") (BEEB); 38D: TV oldie about two agents (I SPY); 41D: Come down (DESCEND); 43D: Hard-to-hit hurler (ACE); 44D: Roman historian (LIVY); 45D: Twist-open snack? (OREO); 46D: Rights grp. (ACLU); 47D: Motel restrictees (PETS); 49D: ___ tea (HERB); 50D: Theater honor (OBIE); 51D: Employer of Serpico or Sipowicz (NYPD); 52D: Wide shoe size (EEE); 54D: "I haven't a thing ___!" (TO WEAR); 55D: Needing a feeding (HUNGRY); 56D: Overly (TOO); 59D: Game of chukkers (POLO); 61D: La joie d'___ (the joy of giving) (OFFRIR); 62D: Bourbon, for one (STREET); 65D: Deprive (of) (ROB); 66D: They have pressing concerns (IRONERS); 67D: Excellent, in hip-hop slang (DEF); 68D: Some canned fruit drinks (HICS); 69D: Satisfy a craving (EAT); 73D: "30 Rock" first name (TINA); 74D: Soldier's shout (HALT); 75D: Wellsian race (ELOI); 76D: "Narrator" of Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle" (DAD); 77D: Commodity (ITEM); 78D: Utah city (OREM); 79D: Old newspaper section (ROTO); 80D: Czech or Serb (SLAV); 81D: Slight decrease (DIP); 85D: Ring refrain (OLÉ); 87D: Quite (VERY); 88D: Space chimp of 1961 (ENOS); 90D: Slugger Sammy (SOSA); 91D: Barflies (SOTS); 92D: A giant of a Giant (MAYS); 94D: String player? (CAT); 95D: Samuel Butler's utopia (EREWHON); 100D: Have a word with (TALK TO); 101D: Showed disapproval (HISSED); 102D: Go by (ELAPSE); 103D: Paper ___ (TRAIL); 104D: "Stormy Weather" singer (HORNE); 105D: Celebrated Argentine (EVITA); 106D: Passover meal (SEDER); 107D: Sends (MAILS); 109D: Kennedy, ___ Bouvier (NÉE); 110D: Dispenser candy (PEZ); 111D: Cutting tools (ADZES); 112D: Yo-Yo's thing (CELLO); 113D: Foe (ENEMY); 116D: Abbr. on a letter (RSVP); 120D: Tarzan portrayer Ron (ELY); 121D: ___-faced (TWO); 122D: Itsy-bitsy (WEE); 123D: Abbr. on a keypad (ESC); 124D: Abbr. on a ship (USS).


JN said...

I had a good time solving this puzzle and laughed when I finally got "This weeks puzzle" as an answer.

Djinn said...

As Rex Parker says, this is one excellent puzzle. My most difficult corner was the SW because I had (paper) TIGER for TRAIL for quite a while. Thanks for the morning marvel, Merle!

JIMMIE said...

Just plain fun. Not too much CW101 fill, like SSE, ORE,ELM, etc. A clever theme. Thanks again, PG.

mac said...

Merl did it again! Really enjoyed this one. I had a hard time thinking of an insurance city other than Hartford, since I live in CT. And I had "The" Donald for "Mac". Ew!

*David* said...

I got stuck in the middle with not enough crosses to parse the long theme answers YOUROWNSIDEOFTHEBED and THEBOARDOFDIRECTORS and had to work that section for a bit. Everything else went swimmingly, my only complaint was the continuous need to use THE at the beginning of the theme answers.

Really liked the theme, great concept.

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