12.31 Fri

December 31, 2010
Gareth Bain

Theme: Who Dat? — Theme answers are familiar phrases with ST (the abbreviation for "saint") removed from the beginning of the first word.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Conger's protection? (EEL HELMET).
  • 26A: Tracker of bauxite thieves? (ORE DETECTIVE).
  • 43A: Roadie, after a gig? (AMP COLLECTOR).
  • 58A: Diamond oration? (UMP SPEECH).
  • 41D: Hardly a model of perfection, and a hint to how this puzzle's theme puns are derived (NO SAINT).
Add-a-letter/drop-a-letter themes are never gonna be flashy, but if they're executed well, you can at least say they're solid. This one I think qualifies as solid. I mean EEL HELMET? The visual I get with that is pretty funny. I also liked AMP COLLECTOR because it reminded me of good ol' Dana, a roadie for Aerosmith back in the day. Wonder what he's up to? Also liked UMP SPEECH. I can totally picture an umpire standing on the pitcher's mound with a microphone doing, like, a Jimmy Swaggart kinda thing. HAha! So yeah, a few chuckles, and that's a good deal. (And, no, that's not Dana in the picture.)

Have I mentioned that I can't get used to seeing themes in the Friday puzzle? I have? A couple times? Okay. How about how the late-week puzzles still aren't really hard enough for my taste? Yes? I've talked about that already too? Huh.

I jumped around quite a bit on this one, instead of just smoothly making my way from one section to another. I ended up in the northeast corner, where ZAPS (11D: Sci-fi effects) was not showing itself and the crosses weren't helping. DOPED = 19A: Figured (out), slangily? That was a total mystery to me. I thought KAZUO (9A: "The Remains of the Day" author __ Ishiguro) might be Karuo or Kaluo, but I finally made it to Z. I vaguely remember seeing the movie "The Remains of the Day" but the only book of his I've read is "Never Let Me Go," which, if I recall correctly, is excellent.

  • 14A: Sweeping story (EPIC). My first thought? Cinderella.
  • 21A: '60s quartet member (MAMA). The Mamas and the Papas.
  • 35A: "X-ing" one (PED). Cute clue. This is a reference to those PED XING traffic signs that encourage you to avoid mowing down the PEDestrians who are just trying to X the street and really aren't causing any trouble, after all.
  • 37A: Seriously impairs (MAIMS). Here's the thing I don't like about starting a new job. When you sit down to talk about benefits, they always want to let you know about the Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance. I really don't want to be sitting there thinking about, much less talking about, the possibility of dismemberment. I just don't.
  • 39A: Loud, ringing sound (BONG). Or whatever.
  • 4D: Univ., e.g. (SCH.). I don't like this abbreviation for "school" but I think we're going to have to just get used to it.
  • 9D: "Devil Without a Cause" musician (KID ROCK). Now we're talkin'.

  • 27D: Beethoven dedicatee (ELISE). I can never remember if this particular ELISE is spelled with an I or a Y. It's the mom on "Family Ties" that's spelled with a Y. Just in case you were wondering. And I know you were.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 61A: Hook's mate (SMEE).
  • 63A: Hägar's dog (SNERT).
  • 12D: Fonda title role (ULEE).
  • 18D: Mideast bigwigs (EMIRS).
  • 49D: Blunted swords (ÉPÉES).
  • 54D: Name on some neutral WWII ships (EIRE).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Blows (BOPS); 5A: Open some (AJAR); 15A: Like some walls (BARE); 16A: Collectively (IN ALL); 20A: __-Magnon man (CRO); 22A: Times for cool heads (CRISES); 23A: 6 7/8, e.g. (HAT SIZE); 25A: __ Age (IRON); 31A: Latin Quarter site (PARIS); 34A: Soup vegetable (LEEK); 36A: Space-saving abbr. (ET AL.); 40A: Barnyard male (TOM); 41A: Lofgren of the E Street Band (NILS); 42A: Flooded field (PADDY); 47A: Sailing, say (ASEA); 48A: Alluring tops (HALTERS); 52A: Sign with an arrow (ONE WAY); 55A: Like falling off a log (EASY); 56A: Snap (PIC); 57A: Alp-öhi's granddaughter in an 1880 novel (HEIDI); 60A: Dum-dum (MORON); 62A: Appear (SEEM); 64A: Event with gowns (BALL); 65A: __ buco (OSSO); 1D: Tree with edible nuts (BEECH); 2D: "What's __, Doc?": Classic "Looney Tunes" short (OPERA); 3D: Joystick user (PILOT); 5D: Burning (ABLAZE); 6D: Improvised, in a way (JAMMED); 7D: Zone (AREA); 8D: Soak flax (RET); 10D: Baptize with oil (ANOINT); 13D: Cutlass maker (OLDS); 22D: First Nations members (CREES); 24D: Muddy (SOIL); 25D: News __ (ITEM); 28D: Product with earbuds (IPOD); 29D: Push, so to speak (VEND); 30D: Avant-garde (EDGY); 31D: Org. where fur doesn't fly? (PETA); 32D: Splitting it releases energy (ATOM); 33D: Modeling milieu (RAMP); 37D: Cyrus who plays Hannah Montana (MILEY); 38D: __ breve (ALLA); 39D: One of TV's Mavericks (BART); 42D: Sea anemone, e.g. (POLYP); 44D: Macbeth's thanedom before he became king (CAWDOR); 45D: Vegas drive-through (CHAPEL); 46D: Fez feature (TASSEL); 50D: Prepares potatoes, in a way (RICES); 51D: Jerk (SCHMO); 52D: Resistance units (OHMS); 53D: Its atomic number is 10 (NEON); 55D: Jane Austen opus (EMMA); 58D: PC port for a flash drive (USB); 59D: Spanish pronoun (ESO).


12.30 Thu

December 30, 2010
Kelsey Blakley

Theme: City Mash-Up — Theme answers are made up of two city names put together, where the end of the first city and the beginning of the second city make up a third city.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Iowa/Arizona/Maryland tri-city area? (AMESANNAPOLIS). [Ames Mesa Annapolis]
  • 32A: Washington/Georgia/ New Hampshire tri-city area? (TACOMACONCORD). [Tacoma Macon Concord]
  • 40A: South Dakota/Nevada/ Virginia tri-city area? (PIERRENORFOLK). [Pierre Reno Norfolk]
  • 55A: California/Alaska/ Tennessee tri-city area? (FRESNOMEMPHIS). [Fresno Nome Memphis]
We've really had a good week here at the LAT haven't we? This theme is super super cute and I found the puzzle really fun to solve. Once I figured out the theme, I tried to guess the rest of the theme answers without crosses, but I had trouble with the first one because I was resisting AMES until the very end. I'm so sick of seeing AMES in the puzzle! Enough with AMES already! Ya know what's in AMES? Iowa State University, that's what! In-state rival to my beloved Hawkeyes. (Not that they're really much of a rival, I mean when one side is so far superior to the other — is it even accurate to call it a rivalry?) Okay, okay, I'm a little hopped up on Hawkeye Love right now because there's a big wrestling tournament going on and I've been following it all day. Session Three starts tomorrow at noon. I'm exhausted already. But I'm not going to bore you all with my personal obsession because I'm sure that gets old.

The puzzle! Quite a bit of crosswordese in this one, but I didn't really mind it because I love the theme and I kinda dug the long downs as well: CLOSE LOOK, COLD SPELL, BUMPER CAR — those are some pretty colorful entries if you ask me. All in all … fun! Let's get to the bullets!

  • 5A: Flintstone word (DABBA). Raise your hand if you wrote in *ABBA and waited for the cross.
  • 15A: Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie __" (AMOUR). My very favorite version of this song was sung by Eddie Murphy on an old SNL where he was doing an impersonation of Stevie Wonder in order to show Stevie Wonder (who was playing a character who wasn't Stevie Wonder) how it should be done. I've never been able to find that clip online. SethG?
  • 27A: "__ Town Too": 1981 hit (HER). Ooh! Awesome!

  • 29A: The Concord Sage's monogram (RWE). That would be Ralph Waldo Emerson.
  • 43A: Like some outlet mall mdse. (IRR.). Irregular.
  • 46A: Alberta natives (CREES). Not a fan of the S-plural of Indian tribe names.
  • 58A: Soldier who has completed most of his tour of duty (SHORT-TIMER). I guess I knew somewhere back in the far reaches of my brain that this phrase had its start in the military.
  • 2D: 2007 Enterprise acquisition (ALAMO). The car rental company, not the starship.
  • 9D: Not pizzicato (ARCO). Speaking of the far reaches of my brain, wow. I came up with this one with no crosses. I was involved with music a lot from the time I was, like, four through college and then some. But I only played a string instrument (the cello) for one year. Can't believe I remembered ARCO.
  • 10D: Cheerleader's feat (SPLIT). I was thinking maybe we'd argue about whether it's okay for this to be singular instead of the plural "the splits." You start.
  • 25D: '70s "Concentration" host Jack (NARZ). All I can say to this one is … WTF?!?!? Wow! Ne-Ever heard of the guy. I totally remember Ed McMahon hosting "Concentration" and he was only on for nine months, while this NARZ character hosted for five years! Bizarre! Awesome name though ….
Crosswordese 101: This is gonna be more like CW301, but you guys are ready for it, right? There are two sports guys named ODOM that you should know for crosswords. First, and most common, is today's 42D: Blue Moon of '60s-'70s baseball. His full name was Johnny Lee ODOM, but you don't need to know that. He's always clued as "Blue Moon," and there will always be a reference to baseball, 1960s-70s, and/or the fact that he was a pitcher. The other one is Lamar ODOM, a professional basketball player currently with the L.A. Lakers.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 36A: K-12 (ELHI).
  • 45A: Announcer Hall (EDD).
  • 61A: Saarinen who designed the Gateway Arch (EERO).
  • 64A: Skating maneuver (AXEL).
  • 65A: Broadway matchmaker (YENTE).
  • 21D: Pianist Templeton (ALEC).
  • 57D: Contemporary of Rex and Agatha (ERLE).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Squish (MASH); 10A: Bairn, e.g. (SCOT); 14A: Pick of the litter? (ALPO); 16A: Horse around (PLAY); 17A: Zoo retreat (LAIR); 18A: Red and yellow but not green (WARM COLORS); 22A: Sing like Slim Clark (YODEL); 23A: Cut from the staff (AXE); 24A: Arterial implant (STENT); 31A: My __, Vietnam (LAI); 38A: It may be precious (METAL); 39A: Percolate (OOZE); 44A: Quite a long time (EON); 48A: Anesthesiologists' work sites, briefly (OR'S); 51A: Neapolitan song starter (O SOLE); 60A: Drops off (EBBS); 62A: Even a little (AT ALL); 63A: Passed-down tales (LORE); 66A: Oven cleaner chemicals (LYES); 1D: Asia's __ Peninsula (MALAY); 3D: Spotted (SPIED); 4D: Paintbrush material (HORSE HAIR); 5D: Become clear to, with "on" (DAWN); 6D: Radarange maker (AMANA); 7D: Cleansing agent (BORAX); 8D: Crash course vehicle? (BUMPER CAR); 11D: More than a glance (CLOSE LOOK); 12D: Crew tool (OAR); 13D: Cobb et al. (TYS); 19D: "The Daily Planet" reporter (OLSEN); 26D: Ocean phenomenon (TIDE); 28D: Lover boy (ROMEO); 30D: Stout hero Nero (WOLFE); 32D: Start of a conclusion (THEREFORE); 33D: Anabaptist denomination (MENNONITE); 34D: "From __ Zinc": vitamin slogan (A TO); 35D: Time to bundle up (COLD SPELL); 36D: Like some proportions (EPIC); 37D: NYC commuter line (LIRR); 41D: Odometer button (RESET); 47D: Swashbuckler Flynn (ERROL); 49D: __ candle (ROMAN); 50D: Silver fish (SMELT); 52D: "Whoopee!" ("OH BOY!"); 53D: Vers __: free verse (LIBRE); 54D: Switchback features (ESSES); 56D: Layover (STAY); 58D: Something fishy (SEA); 59D: Give the evil eye (HEX).


12.29 Wed

December 29, 2010
Gary Cee

Theme: It's a real eye-opener — The first word of each theme answer can precede the word "eye" in a familiar phrase. Plus some other stuff.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *Unquestioning devotion (BLIND FAITH).
  • 63A: *Knee-slapper (RIB TICKLER).
  • 10D: *Pitchers and tumblers (GLASSWARE).
  • 34D: *Like treatment for visiting dignitaries (RED CARPET).
  • 38A: 5- or 40-Down ... or what the start of each answer to a starred clue can be (EYE-OPENER).
  • 5D: Joe's stimulant (CAFFEINE).
  • 40D: Smoker's stimulant (NICOTINE).
Hi, everybody. I'm feeling a little better so decided to give Doug a break today. Isn't he awesome for stepping in all the time though? I keep telling him he needs to just go ahead and take over the blog already and he's all, "Um … no." Anyway. Today's puzzle is filled to the gills with theme. We've got the reveal right in the damn middle with four of the [x]-eye theme answers and another two examples of EYE-OPENERs. Did you notice that all the theme answers are symmetrical? That's a lot of constraint to put on a grid, but Gary does a great job of filling it nonetheless. I mean, sure, DOZY is a little iffy (to put it mildly), and I'd rather not see SEWAGE in my grid, but there's an awful lot of sparkly stuff too, like POP STAR, HEIGH-HO, YAHTZEE and STAX (which I would have clued as the record label, but whatever). All in all, an ambitious theme well-executed, and you can't ask for much more than that. (I mean, sure, a pangram would have been nice, but I guess Gary was just slacking on this one.)

  • 16A: Stubbs of the Four Tops (LEVI).

  • 21A: "When the smog clears in California, UCLA," e.g. (PUN). That's pretty good, as far as puns go.
  • 22A: Hitchcock title (SIR). I had no idea.
  • 29A: Repugnant reaction (UGH). This was my reaction to 32A: Treatment plant input (SEWAGE).
  • 45A: Latin 101 verb (ESSE). If I hadn't had one of the Ss in place already, I probably would have tried AMAT or AMAS.
  • 58A: Televise (AIR). Unfortunately, the answer word here also appears in a clue (36D: Aired again (RERAN)) and in both instances the word has the exact same meaning. You don't see that very often. I believe that's what's known as an editorial oversight.
  • 68A: Title owner of a sitcom bookstore (ELLEN). Whoa. How long has it been since ELLEN owned the bookstore? Let's see …. The last episode aired in 1998. That's an awfully long time ago. And I think she's done a few things since then that were, I don't know, clue-worthy.
  • 2D: Place to see Bugs? (CEL). You can see Bugs Bunny on an animation CEL.
  • 12D: Like Joe? (AVERAGE). Hi, Avg Joe!
  • 31D: Flavor (SAPOR). This word trips me up every time. I'm quite sure I've never heard it used or seen it written. I've seen it in puzzles before, but it doesn't stick in my brain because it's not connected to anything.
  • 43D: League of __ (NATIONS). Because "Women Voters" wouldn't fit.
  • 62D: Pet physician's deg. (DVM). PuzzleDad tells a story about how back in the day he and his buddies, one of whom was a veterinarian, used to play basketball at the Y. One day, one of the guys got hurt. He was writhing around on the ground holding his ankle so, of course, they called the "doctor" over. After assessing the situation, he delivered the bad news: "I'm afraid we'll have to shoot him." (I bet that joke never gets old for veterinarians.)
  • 66D: Popular New York Times crossword blogger Parker (REX).
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 45A: Latin 101 verb (ESSE).
  • 69A: Homeland of the folk-singing Clancy Brothers (EIRE).
  • 6D: Turkish authority (AGA).
  • 28D: Hi-__ graphics (RES).
  • 39D: Bigfoot cousin (YETI).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Sound return (ECHO); 5A: Suspension bridge support (CABLE); 10A: Obtain forcibly (GRAB); 14A: Miller, for one (BEER); 15A: Shoelace tip (AGLET); 19A: Scored 100 on (ACED); 20A: Bozo (GOOF); 23A: Dice-rolling game (YAHTZEE); 26A: The King or Prince (POP STAR); 30A: Pound sounds (YIPS); 33A: Tie up, in a way (MOOR); 35A: Home of Duke U. (N. CAR.); 37A: Looks bad, comparatively (PALES); 41A: Parisian daily, with "Le" (MONDE); 44A: Singer Amos (TORI); 49A: Signs into law (ENACTS); 51A: Pool room supply (RACK); 53A: Amigo (PAL); 54A: Reaches (ATTAINS); 56A: Chesapeake Bay city (NORFOLK); 59A: Physicians' org. (AMA); 61A: Precisely (TO A T); 62A: Fall (DROP); 67A: Green climber (VINE); 70A: Two out of three, say (MOST); 71A: Teacher's directive (SEE ME); 72A: Pringles-like Lay's product (STAX); 1D: Flow back (EBB); 3D: Dwarfs' song (HEIGH-HO); 4D: Self-contradictory afterthought (OR NOT); 7D: Plane, in a control tower (BLIP); 8D: Relax (LET UP); 9D: Cultural group (ETHNOS); 11D: Conservatory event (RECITAL); 13D: Bridge action (BID); 18D: Half asleep (DOZY); 23D: "De-lish!" ("YUM!"); 24D: Gone by (AGO); 25D: Theme park acronym (EPCOT); 27D: Toon Le Pew (PEPÉ); 28D: Hi-__ graphics (RES); 41D: "Give __ holler!" (ME A); 42D: Province bordering four Great Lakes (ONTARIO); 46D: What a "Me and My Shadow" singer might be (SPOTLIT); 47D: Mineo in movies (SAL); 48D: Mountain lion prey (ELK); 50D: Catches (SNARES); 52D: Ray who said, "It requires a certain kind of mind to see beauty in a hamburger bun" (KROC); 55D: The parenthesis in :-) (SMILE); 57D: Counterfeits (FAKES); 60D: Competent (ABLE); 64D: Pro __: for now (TEM); 66D: Oscar winner Harrison (REX).


12.28 Tue

December 28, 2010
Ed Sessa

Theme: Scat! — The last syllables of the theme answers can be put together to make a Frank Sinatra lyric.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *Amount of money to pay (BALANCE DUE).
  • 24A: *Beach Boys hit with the line "the first mate, he got drunk" (SLOOP JOHN B).
  • 30A: *Shaggy's dog (SCOOBY-DOO).
  • 44A: *Aggressive African swarmer (KILLER BEE).
  • 50A: *Drops on the grass (MORNING DEW).
  • 62A: Trademark Sinatra lyric heard at the ends of the answers to starred clues (DO BE DO BE DO).
Howdy, folks. PuzzleGirl is still feeling a bit under the weather, so this is Doug blogging again. Get well soon, PG, and "Say boo to the flu" (see 29A).

I'm not a big Frank Sinatra fan, but I really liked this puzzle. Lots of theme answers and a nice reveal that I didn't see coming. I could hear Sinatra singing "Do be do be do" in my head, but I wasn't sure which song it was from. Let's go to the video:

Quite a musical puzzle today. Besides Ol' Blue Eyes, Ed Sessa referenced the Beach Boys, Beethoven, Eminem, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, and Perry Como. And for good measure, he included the catch-all answer BAND (19A: Rock group). I'll give the puzzle 4 stars. It's got a good beat and you can dance to it.

  • 15A: Cap'n Crunch, e.g. (CEREAL). My favorite selection from the Cap'n Crunch family of cereals is Peanut Butter Crunch. Delicious sugary peanut buttery balls.
  • 20A: Popular tattoo spot (ANKLE). For women, right? I don't think many guys get ankle tattoos. Or maybe I'm just not looking at guys' ankles enough. The ankles on the right belong to Rex Parker's favorite crossword aficionado.
  • 29A: "___ to the flu": vaccination slogan (SAY BOO). I didn't know there were any vaccination slogans. This one has its own website, so it must be legit. I never get a flu shot. I figure getting sick is better than getting a shot, but I'm kind of a baby.
  • 38A: Supporter of Boris Godunov, say (TSARIST). Want to make a crossword with Russian movie puns? Here's your first theme entry: "The Accidental Tsarist."
  • 44A: Aggressive African swarmer (KILLER BEE). The idea of swarming killer bees scares me to death. Even worse than getting a shot.
  • 66A: Always, rarely or never: Abbr. (ADV). All three of those words are adverbs. Tricky, eh?
  • 3D: Velvety smooth (SILKY). A shout-out to veteran constructor Barry C. Silk.
  • 28D: NYC dance company (ABT). American Ballet Theatre. If it's American, why do they spell "theater" wrong?
  • 43D: Batter's grip aid (PINE TAR). Baseball players smear this sticky stuff on their bats to get a better grip. It's well-known to anyone who remembers the infamous Pine Tar Incident involving Billy Martin and George Brett.
  • 47A: Reds, on scoreboards (CIN). More baseball with the Cincinnati Reds. Trivia nugget of the day: During the McCarthy Era, the Reds changed their name to the Cincinnati Redlegs so people wouldn't think they were a bunch of Commies.
Everything Else —


M O N D A Y   December 27, 2010
Gail Grabowski

Theme: It's all in how you look at it — Theme answers with a word that can describe what you see.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: "Awesome!" ("OUTTA SIGHT!").
  • 23A: 2006-'07 Microsoft release (WINDOWS VISTA).
  • 37A: Financial projections (ECONOMIC OUTLOOK).
  • 45A: Act embarrassingly in public (CREATE A SCENE).
  • 58A: Cable TV offering (PAY-PER-VIEW).
I don't have a lot to say about this puzzle today. It's very smooth with some colorful fill and straightforward cluing, which is exactly what I expect from Gail Grabowski on a Monday. I've actually had a bad cold for a couple days so it's hard for me to really concentrate enough to give you the sparkling commentary you've become accustomed to around here. How about if you all have at it in the comments and I'll try to be back here tomorrow with something a little more interesting.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 15A: Son of Seth (ENOS).
  • 29A: Mideast honcho (EMIR).
  • 60A: Hairy Himalayan, reportedly (YETI).
  • 61A: Job site standards org. (OSHA).
  • 51D: Hot time in Toulon (ÉTÉ).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Workshop holder (CLAMP); 6A: Fairy godmother's magic tool (WAND); 10A: Chopped-up fare (HASH); 14A: From around here (LOCAL); 16A: Indy racer (AUTO); 19A: Singer's syllables (TRAS); 20A: Rehab woes, briefly (DT'S); 21A: Monte __: gambling resort (CARLO); 22A: In pieces (APART); 25A: "Oops, sorry" ("MY BAD"); 28A: Cooped clucker (HEN); 30A: Member of the crew (SAILOR); 34A: Sleuths, for short (PI'S); 40A: Coll. helpers (TA'S); 41A: 1910s-'20s Ford assembly-line classic (MODEL T); 42A: Prefix with septic (ANTI-); 43A: Cone dropper (FIR); 44A: Expanse with waves (OCEAN); 52A: Jaunty tunes (LILTS); 53A: Fritter away (WASTE); 54A: Monopoly quartet: Abbr. (RRS.); 57A: Roller rink shape (OVAL); 62A: Where D.C. is, familiarly (U.S. OF A.); 63A: Part of a process (STEP); 64A: Pizza crust order (THIN); 65A: Out sick, say (NOT IN); 1D: Wad of dirt (CLOD); 2D: Boorish sort (LOUT); 3D: Stops stalling (ACTS); 4D: Place to wipe your shoes (MAT); 5D: Lake __, 1980 Winter Olympics town (PLACID); 6D: Very odd (WEIRD); 7D: English-speaking (ANGLO); 8D: "Not gonna happen" ("NO HOW"); 9D: Annual cause of losing an hr.'s sleep, perhaps (DST); 10D: Millinery accessory (HAT PIN); 11D: Subtle qualities (AURAS); 12D: Get going (START); 13D: Shade-tolerant plant (HOSTA); 18D: Start of many California city names (SAN); 22D: Keep from happening (AVERT); 23D: Say "Be careful" to (WARN); 24D: "Fore!" or "Olé!" (SHOUT); 25D: Encounter (MEET); 26D: Org. known by its first letter (YMCA); 27D: Revealing books, briefly (BIOS); 30D: Campground treat (S'MORE); 31D: Partner of abet (AID); 32D: Cooler cubes (ICE); 33D: Online cackle (LOL); 34D: Fried corn bread (PONE); 35D: Greek "i" (IOTA); 36D: Potato part served as an appetizer (SKIN); 38D: Forgets to mention (OMITS); 39D: Shoe securer (LACE); 43D: Scuffle souvenir (FAT LIP); 44D: What a solo homer produces (ONE RUN); 45D: Overdoes the sweetness (CLOYS); 46D: Girder fastener (RIVET); 47D: Send to cloud nine (ELATE); 48D: Flooded (AWASH); 49D: Greet someone casually (SAY HI); 50D: "Washington Journal" channel (C-SPAN); 54D: Unruly outbreak (RIOT); 55D: New mtge., e.g. (REFI); 56D: Graceful bird (SWAN); 58D: Word with belly or boiler (POT); 59D: Brandy bottle letters (VSO).


S U N D A Y   December 26, 2010
Sylvia Bursztyn (calendar)

Theme: "It's a Z-in" The letter Z is added to familiar phrases.

[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 today's syndicated puzzle.]

Theme answers:
  • 24A: A nation's sluggards? (THE LAZY OF THE LAND).
  • 39A: Cheat Franz out of his change? (SHORT LISZT).
  • 50A: Toured westernmost Cornwall? (DID PENZANCE).
  • 71A: State of Israel? (ZIONOSPHERE).
  • 82A: Obfuscating? (MAKING HAZY).
  • 99A: Cold autocrat? (REFRIGERATOR CZAR).
  • 3D: Houseplant refreshers? (WATER SPRITZES).
  • 53D: Do a marathon in Egypt? (RUN AROUND SUEZ).
Everything Else — 1A: Rubberneck (GAWK); 5A: Adequate (PASSABLE); 13A: Seraglio section (ODA); 16A: ThinkPad co. (IBM); 19A: Olympic skater Lysacek (EVAN); 20A: Tallinn native (ESTONIAN); 21A: Pinch (NAB); 22A: Miss Piggy's pronoun (MOI); 23A: "I can't believe --- ..." (I ATE); 27A: Direct (STEER); 29A: Begrudges (ENVIES); 30A: Dally (LOLLYGAG); 31A: Apollo Theater locale (HARLEM); 33A: Sample (TEST); 34A: Meaningless amount (SOU); 35A: Sup (DINE); 36A: MGM motto opener (ARS); 37A: Mist (VAPOR); 42A: Mister (SPRAYER); 44A: Rose (STOOD); 46A: "Giant" ranch (REATA); 47A: Stallone screen persona (RAMBO); 48A: Stockpile (HOARD); 49A: James who was in "Misery" (CAAN); 52A: Louis XIV et al. (ROIS); 53A: Buff (RUB); 56A: "The First --- the Deepest" (CUT IS); 57A: Thus (ERGO); 58A: Piaf, for one (CHANTEUSE); 60A: Ricelike pasta (ORZO); 61A: Till bills (FIVES); 63A: Pony's paces (GAITS); 64A: No-see-um (GNAT); 65A: Media briefing spot (PRESS ROOM); 67A: Rhine city (BONN); 68A: Rugged rocks (CRAGS); 69A: Carrier to Copenhagen (SAS); 70A: Big name in Vegas (WYNN); 74A: Silk, in Alsace (SOIE); 75A: Manilow hit (MANDY); 76A: "You --- right!" (ARE SO); 77A: Lament (MOURN); 79A: Smooths wood (SANDS); 80A: B.C. ruler of great wealth (CROESUS); 84A: Apple drink (CIDER); 85A: Eggy drink (NOG); 87A: Rapper turned TV detective (ICE-T); 88A: Beehive State native (UTE); 89A: Smidgen (WHIT); 91A: Be a buttinsky (MEDDLE); 93A: Seminary study (THEOLOGY); 96A: Zhivago portrayer (SHARIF); 98A: Cellist's purchase (ROSIN); 102A: "Bro!" ("DUDE!"); 103A: DOJ division (ATF); 104A: Tide competitor (ALL); 105A: Most elementary (SIMPLEST); 106A: Will of "The Waltons" (GEER); 107A: Rocker Tommy (LEE); 108A: Marina del --- (REY); 109A: Birthday bounty (PRESENTS); 110A: Pound of poetry (EZRA); 1D: Osaka entertainer (GEISHA); 2D: Online chat icons (AVATARS); 4D: Prepare to be knighted (KNEEL); 5D: Favorite (PET); 6D: Tennis star Arthur (ASHE); 7D: Loud speaker (STENTOR); 8D: Puzzle enthusiast (SOLVER); 9D: Writer Nin (ANAÏS); 10D: "Carmen" composer (BIZET); 11D: Chip brand (LAYS); 12D: Roxy Music's Brian (ENO); 13D: Promoting a new release, say (ON TOUR); 14D: Writer Roald (DAHL); 15D: Genesis son (ABEL); 16D: Amy Lowell, for one (IMAGIST); 17D: Series about Ben and his boys (BONANZA); 18D: Auto-racing class (MIDGET); 25D: Inundate (FLOOD); 26D: From 80A's kingdom (LYDIAN); 28D: Overhauls (REVAMPS); 32D: "We'll see" (MAYBE); 34D: Sporting loafers (SHOD); 38D: Drudge (PEON); 39D: Ticked off (SORE); 40D: Gets in shape (TRAINS); 41D: Minimum (LEAST); 43D: Transmits (RADIOS); 44D: "Free Bird" and "Wild Horses" (SONGS); 45D: Tex-Mex menu item (TACO); 48D: Seraglio (HAREM); 49D: Layer of polish (COAT); 50D: Sorghum variety (DURRA); 51D: "Werewolves of London" singer (ZEVON); 52D: Warner Music label (RHINO); 54D: Custom (USAGE); 55D: Gets into the pool? (BETS); 56D: The heat (COPS); 58D: Astute (CANNY); 59D: Way out (EGRESS); 61D: Using a skillet (FRYING); 62D: Donovan's actress daughter (IONE); 63D: Merchandise (GOODS); 66D: Under oath (SWORN); 67D: Tight spot (BIND); 68D: Team fan, often (CHEERER); 71D: Madcap (ZANY); 72D: Chalcedony variety (SARD); 73D: Intro (PROEM); 74D: Pitcher of woo (SUITOR); 75D: Labyrinth (MAZE); 77D: Bush whacker (MACHETE); 78D: Painter Georgia (O'KEEFFE); 79D: Sylvan deity (SATYR); 80D: Potential juror (CITIZEN); 81D: More substantial (SOLIDER); 82D: Kind of heart valve (MITRAL); 83D: In a big way (HUGELY); 84D: Word with inner or winner's (CIRCLE); 86D: Biological groups (GENERA); 89D: Phrase provoking "Yeah, you!" ("WHO ME?"); 90D: Stringed instruments (HARPS); 92D: Get out of the way (DODGE); 94D: Tale spinner (LIAR); 95D: Give the glad eye (OGLE); 96D: Use a swizzle stick (STIR); 97D: Quick (FAST); 100D: Nile biter (ASP); 101D: ACLU concerns (RTS.).

S U N D A Y   December 26, 2010
Kathleen Fay O'Brien (syndicated)

Theme: "Many Happy Returns" — The last word in each theme answer is "returned," resulting in wacky phrases.

[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:
  • 23A: "Honest, Professor, I studied very hard for this test"? (ALLEGED PREP).
  • 25A: Visibly shaken king? (PALE REGAL).
  • 37A: Rejection at McDonalds? (HAMBURGER SNUB).
  • 64A: Error that just got bigger? (DILATED SLIPUP).
  • 91A: What Red Riding Hood wisely didn't do? (GO WITH THE WOLF).
  • 109A: Green poet? (OLIVE BARD).
  • 112A: Effect of Pepe Le Pew battling a romantic rival? (DOUBLE STINK).
  • 40D: Quick look across the moat? (CASTLE PEEK).
  • 45D: Fowl injustice? (TURKEY TORT).
Doug here, wishing you a Happy Boxing Day! I hope you're having fun with boxes or whatever you're supposed to do today.

I thought the title was clever, but I hope none of you are actually going to the mall to return gifts today. A complete nightmare. Stay home and do the puzzle. The first theme entry was the oddest, playing off the term ALLEGED PERP. That's not a phrase I hear much. HAMBURGER BUNS, GO WITH THE FLOW, OLIVE DRAB, etc., were more familiar.

  • 40A: Things used in semi circles? (CBS). I loved this clue. Do truckers still use CBs, or do they all talk on cell phones now?
  • 43A: Bucky, in "Get Fuzzy" (PET CAT). "Get Fuzzy" is a comic strip that people tell me I should like, but I rarely find it funny. I'm more of a "Pearls Before Swine" fan. Here's a picture of my pet cat. I can never get her to look at the camera.
  • 47A: Concludes (ENDS). Nope, I don't have anything to say about this entry, but I need to fill some space before I insert a picture for 48A. This blogging stuff is harder than it appears.
  • 48A: Photographing giraffes, perhaps (ON SAFARI). Hey, looks like my cat is about to pounce on that giraffe.
  • 79A: Harlem sch. (CCNY). Short for City College of New York. I tried SUNY and CSNY and some other combos before I got it.
  • 81A: Princess born on Polis Massa (LEIA). I don't think this was covered in PuzzleGirl's hilarious "Star Wars" video yesterday.
  • 95A: Betty Grable's were insured (LEGS). I remember watching MTV all day waiting for this video to come on. Kids have it easy today with their fancy YouTube!
  • 4D: Tough test metaphor (A BEAR). "That test was a bear!"
  • 34D: Novus ___ seclorum: Great Seal motto (ORDO). Check the back of a dollar bill. It's under that scary pyramid with the eye on top.
  • 38D: Lick (BEAT).
  • 51D: Chicago Sting org. (NASL). That'd be the North American Soccer League, which went under in 1984, so don't feel bad if you've never heard of it. The league had a team called the Washington Diplomats. That's even less intimidating than "Senators."
  • 88D: "Overnight" surprise for some (STARDOM). This was an interesting clue. I had all kinds of weird ideas running through my head before I got the answer. My pet cat's overnight surprises usually involve a dead animal left on my bed
OK, it's still Christmas night for me, so I'm outta here. Have a great rest of the weekend.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 107D: Tony's cousin (OBIE).
Everything Else — 1A: Hussein : Obama :: __ : Garfield (ABRAM); 6A: Comforter (DUVET); 11A: Taking badly? (ABDUCTION); 20A: Dunces (BOOBS); 21A: Informal bid (ONE NO); 22A: Zap (MICROWAVE); 26A: Circus leaper (FLEA); 27A: Ad gp. (AGCY.); 28A: U.S. tender (DOLS.); 30A: Oddly amusing (DROLL); 31A: It affects your take-home pay (TAX RATE); 33A: Civil War authority Shelby (FOOTE); 35A: Per (A POP); 50A: Reunion attendees (ALUMS); 51A: Technology prefix (NANO-); 52A: Pico de gallo holders (TACOS); 54A: Pronto, to execs (ASAP); 55A: Scarlett's refuge (TARA); 56A: Like granola (OATY); 57A: Deck out (ARRAY); 58A: Bar orders for the calorie-conscious (LITES); 59A: Laser alternatives (INK JETS); 61A: Expected to land (DUE IN); 62A: Gloomy atmosphere (PALL); 63A: Dedicated verse (ODE); 68A: PC panic button (ESC); 71A: The "Y" in YSL (YVES); 73A: Wise guys (SAGES); 74A: Detailed (INDEPTH); 76A: Unlock the door for (LET IN); 78A: House reporter? (C-SPAN); 82A: Love, to Caesar (AMOR); 83A: Acts skittish (SHIES); 84A: Vidal's Breckinridge (MYRA); 85A: Lurches (REELS); 86A: Fighting practice (WAR GAMES); 88A: Kemo __ (SABE); 89A: Like the Finger of Fate on "Laugh-In" (FICKLE); 90A: Friday, e.g.: Abbr. (SGT.); 96A: Show again (REAIR); 97A: Source of inside info? (CAT SCAN); 102A: Suite spot (HOTEL); 105A: "Mr. Mom" actress (GARR); 106A: Do some bartending (POUR); 108A: Wrist-to-elbow bone (ULNA); 115A: Pretends to be what one isn't (LIVES A LIE); 116A: All, to Caesar (OMNIA); 117A: Els on the links (ERNIE); 118A: Backyard buildings (TOOL SHEDS); 119A: One you might not want to meet? (MAKER); 120A: Carried on (WAGED); 1D: Sternward (ABAFT); 2D: Italian vintner (BOLLA); 3D: Subject of the book "The Best of Time" (ROLEX); 5D: Stir-fry additive (MSG); 6D: Former bumper car trademark (DODGE M); 7D: Like "waitress," e.g. (UN-P.C.); 8D: "Ha ha" ("VERY FUNNY"); 9D: L.A.-to-N.Y. dir. (ENE); 10D: Champs (TOP DOGS); 11D: More copious (AMPLER); 12D: Preconception (BIAS); 13D: MCCC halved (DCL); 14D: Cult following? (-URE); 15D: City on the Guadalquivir River (CORDOBA); 16D: Insignificant one (TWERP); 17D: Othello's betrayer (IAGO); 18D: Like many a palette (OVAL); 19D: "Little" Dickens girl (NELL); 24D: Bother (EAT AT); 29D: Suffix with Capri (-OTE); 32D: Cries of clarity (AHAS); 35D: Bother (ANNOY); 36D: Kisser (PUSS); 39D: "Me too!" ("SO CAN I!"); 41D: Bluff in Banff (BRAE); 42D: Small samplings (SIPS); 43D: House party setting (PATIO); 44D: Serengeti grazer (ELAND); 46D: Key of Bizet's most popular sym. (C MAJ.); 49D: Bomb (FAIL); 52D: Hair piece (TRESS); 53D: Seed covering (ARIL); 56D: Publisher Chandler (OTIS); 57D: "September 1, 1939" poet (AUDEN); 58D: Lt. Columbo's employer (LAPD); 60D: Starting place? (EDEN); 61D: Painter of ballerinas (DEGAS); 62D: Small and weak (PUNY); 65D: St. Clare's town (ASSISI); 66D: Word with deck or drive (TAPE); 67D: __ colada (PIÑA); 69D: Unmoving (STILL); 70D: Scene with stuntmen (CHASE); 72D: Shenandoah Natl. Park site (VIRG.); 75D: Wire service?: Abbr. (ELEC.); 76D: Code contents, maybe (LAWS); 77D: Webzine (E-MAG); 78D: Scolds, with "out" (CHEWS); 79D: High tech/lowlife sci-fi genre (CYBERPUNK); 80D: Hands across the water? (CREW); 83D: Skyline obscurer (SMOG); 84D: Half a fish (MAHI); 85D: Falling-out (RIFT); 87D: Eternal (AGELESS); 89D: Turnpike alert (FLARE); 92D: Sports page deals (TRADES); 93D: Ship designation (HER); 94D: Eye-related (OCULAR); 95D: Flatten (LEVEL); 98D: Kama __ (SUTRA); 99D: Stick (CLING); 100D: "Tomorrow" musical (ANNIE); 101D: Starkers, across the pond (NAKED); 102D: Romance novelist Victoria (HOLT); 103D: Eclectic assortment (OLIO); 104D: Show recorder (TIVO); 105D: Crisscross pattern (GRID); 110D: Dissatisfied cry (BAH); 111D: Bar quaff (ALE); 113D: Medical suffix (-OMA); 114D: Alter, perhaps (SEW).


S A T U R D A Y   December 25, 2010
Doug Peterson

Theme: None

I'm not gonna lie to you. This isn't my favorite Doug Peterson puzzle. (Sorry, Doug, but it's your own fault for setting the bar so damn high.) There's some good stuff in it, but nothing that made me go "Wow! Great puzzle!" Which is what I usually expect from Doug. I had to laugh at myself when I realized "Saint Peter" was totally wrong for 1A: Noted list keeper. Don't know why I didn't think of SANTA CLAUS! Some of the long entries are really awesome, like GENTLE BEN and DOUBLE CHIN, although I must say I'm skeptical about the clue for the latter. 12D: Chewing gum could help prevent one? Seriously? Speaking of cluing: The clue for NICK AT NITE really struck me as bizarre (60A: Ad exec's pithy description of 1-Across?). NICK AT NITE is actually a great entry, and it really doesn't need that cutesy clue. What's up with that? Some of the other longer entries have no sparkle whatsoever. Yeah, I'm looking at you, SAFETY RAIL and INVESTMENT. Overall, this was a decent workout. Not as difficult as I like my Saturdays to be, but I'm sure a lot of people don't have hours to spend on a puzzle today, what with it being Christmas and all.

  • 17A: Superhero who had an arch foe named Bull's-Eye (GREEN ARROW). Once you get past Superman, Batman and Spiderman, I'm pretty much out of superhoes.
  • 28A: __ Bass Fishing: video game (SEGA). Now that sounds like an exciting game.
  • 34A: Tenn. awards org. (CMA). Country Music Association.
  • 35A: Surprises for some swingers (OFF-SPEED PITCHES). I'm sure this was the seed entry for the puzzle and I had a really hard time with it. I'm a baseball fan, but I don't recall ever hearing this phrase. I mean, I can figure out what it means and it makes sense that there's a name for it, but it didn't come to mind the way some other baseball terms — say, "ground-rule double" or "sacrifice bunt" — would have.
  • 41A: Penn. is on it (EST). Eastern Standard Time.
  • 44A: "'Tis he, that villain Romeo" speaker (TYBALT). I wasn't 100% sure of this guy's name and for a while I thought it ended with a D, which made that center area pretty tricky to figure out.
  • 6D: Palminteri of "A Bronx Tale" (CHAZZ). I totally know who CHAZZ Palminteri is, but I wouldn't have guessed that his name ended with two Zs.
  • 10D: Place for pins and needles (SEWING KIT). This answer made me chuckle. The SEWING KIT we use here at the PuzzleHouse is one of those little plastic boxes with a couple little spools of thread and a plastic thimble that you can buy, say, in a hotel gift shop. It has belonged to PuzzleHusband since before we got married 12 years ago. And there's still plenty of thread in it. I guess you could say I don't do a lot of mending.
  • 28D: Meal during Nisan (SEDER). Nisan is a Hebrew month that shows up in the puzzle occasionally. Although not as frequently as ADAR.
  • 45D: "Twilight" protagonist (BELLA). I happen to know that Doug is a huge "Twilight" fan. And don't even talk to him about Edward. He's Team Jacob all the way.
  • 56D: Solo in sci-fi (HAN). Yes, yes, I know I've posted this video a couple times already. But it really never gets old to me.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 11A: Deuce follower, at times (AD IN).
  • 16A: Isle of Mull neighbor (IONA).
  • 20A: Biblical reformer (EZRA).
  • 53A: __ Mountains: Mt. Narodnaya's range (URAL).
  • 2D: Its Plus version has a lubricating strip (ATRA).
  • 14D: Cartoonist credited with the modern image of 1-Across (NAST).
  • 55D: Tech sch. overlooking the Hudson (RPI).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 15A: Depot (STOREHOUSE); 18A: Expeditions, e.g. (SUV'S); 19A: Latvian chess champ of 1960-'61 (TAL); 21A: "Ri-i-ight" ("I'LL BET"); 23A: Not well-defined (HAZY); 24A: Gets down, in a way (KNEELS); 25A: They might be stolen (BASES); 29A: And such: Abbr. (ETC.); 31A: "Haven't decided yet" ("I MAY"); 32A: Battle of Salamis victors (GREEKS); 38A: Gallic title: Abbr. (MME.); 39A: Take over (INFEST); 40A: Breakfast item (LINK); 42A: Change one's position (STIR); 43A: Philippics (RANTS); 46A: Time for action (D-DAY); 48A: Composed (SERENE); 49A: A-line designer (DIOR); 50A: "That's odd ..." ("HMM …"); 53A: __ Mountains: Mt. Narodnaya's range (URAL); 54A: Military foothold (BRIDGEHEAD); 57A: Diamond with records (NEIL); 58A: Bath additive (EPSOM SALTS); 59A: Nut for drinks (KOLA); 1D: Mil. squad leader, perhaps (SSGT); 3D: "The First __" (NOEL); 4D: Roman numeral (TRE); 5D: Trojan War survivor (AENEAS); 7D: Hampshire hauler (LORRY); 8D: Subtle quality (AURA); 9D: Private entertainers, for short? (USO); 11D: Target area (AISLE); 13D: Bond, for one (INVESTMENT); 22D: Numerical extreme (LEAST); 23D: Cries for attention (HEYS); 24D: Doesn't go bad (KEEPS); 25D: Tundra or coral reef, e.g. (BIOME); 26D: Auto feature (AM/FM STEREO); 27D: Toddler's bed attachment (SAFETY RAIL); 30D: Staved containers (CASKS); 32D: '60s TV role for Bruno the Bear (GENTLE BEN); 33D: Ready for another voyage (REFIT); 36D: Fibonacci, by birth (PISAN); 37D: Makeup of Martha's Vineyard's Gay Head Cliffs (CLAY); 43D: Hardest to get hold of (RAREST); 46D: Got by (DID O.K.); 47D: Bane of liberal religion (DOGMA); 48D: Doomed (SUNK); 49D: Piece in the game Reversi (DISC); 50D: Pad opener (HELI-); 51D: Simpsons creator Groening (MATT); 52D: Inventory abbr. (MDSE.).


F R I D A Y   December 24, 2010
Kenneth J. Berniker

Theme: Ours is not to reason Y — Add a Y to the beginning of familiar phrases.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Those who outwit safecrackers? (YEGG BEATERS).
  • 26A: 1945 view for Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin? (YALTA VISTA).
  • 39A: Chronologists? (YEAR SPECIALISTS).
  • 50A: Core of the dark side? (YIN ESSENCE).
  • 60A: Paradise brewing aid? (YEAST OF EDEN).
It's 31 degrees outside right now, but I don't think that's why this puzzle left me cold. I know people get tired of add-a-letter themes, but I guess I've always thought there are only so many things you can do, so if adding a letter is the one you want to use that's fine. But then you have to do something with it. YEGG is a word I learned from crossword puzzles. I assume it's a word you see a lot if you read books in which men wear fedoras, smoke cigarettes and call women "dames." But it's pretty weak as the key part of a theme answer. And the rest of the theme answers? They kinda just lie there, don't they? The base phrases are … boring. And the resulting phrases are … also boring.

I see three entries in the grid that look like their purpose is to toughen this puzzle up:
  • 70A: Newbery Medal winner for "Island of the Blue Dolphins" (O'DELL).
  • 13D: "Pal Joey" author (O'HARA).
  • 24D: First multiracial coed college in the South (BEREA).
But none of these are interesting either. There's just nothing here to get excited about. Oh, except for POPS. 40D: Opens, as a hood is an excellent, excellent clue for POPS. Sadly, that was the high point of the puzzle for me.

  • 14A: Princess Toadstool's rescuer (MARIO). I watch my kids playing the Mario Bros. games and I realize how truly old I am. Give me Space Invaders, Pac Man, … I would say Pong here, but that would probably be excessive. These newfangled games where people jump and fly around and grab stuff in the air? I can't keep track of what the hell is going on! Now you kids get off my lawn!
  • 19A: "__ Believer" (I'M A). Sure, why not?

  • 44A: TV world (ORK). Okay, okay, we get it. Enough with the "Mork & Mindy" already!
  • 48A: Botanical cavity (ALVEOLA). I've seen this word in puzzles twice in the last week. The first time, I got it totally through crosses but now I think it's something I actually know.
  • 69A: Neighbor of Homer (NED). Simpsons!
  • 1D: Etiquette guru Vanderbilt (AMY). Personally, I find Miss Manners much more entertaining.
  • 2D: Inventing initials (TAE). Thomas Alva Edison.
  • 31D: Paper cutters, briefly? (EDS.). EDitorS make papers shorter (i.e., they "cut" them).
  • 38D: Lamb piece (ESSAY). Charles Lamb, whose nom de plume, Elia, is a long-time CrossWorld resident.
  • 47D: Words after "Because" (I SAY SO). Personally, I always say "Because I said so." Not that I say that more than … oh once or twice a day.
  • 52D: Put the kibosh on (NIXED). "Kibosh" is an awesome word.
  • 58D: "The X-Files" gp. (SETI). Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 66A: Squeeze (out) (EKE).
  • 3D: Fraction of a joule (ERG).
  • 9D: Boston sports legend (ORR).
  • 18D: "A Day Without Rain" musician (ENYA).
  • 41D: Gaelic tongue (ERSE).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: '50s headline event (A-TEST); 6A: Architectural style (TUDOR); 11A: Status follower (QUO); 15A: Accustom (ENURE); 16A: Its law sch. is in Concord (UNH); 20A: Artist Matisse (HENRI); 23A: Law school standards-setting org. (ABA); 29A: Beef (RED MEAT); 32A: Really riles (IRES); 33A: Bucks (BREAD); 34A: See 51-Down (IKE); 35A: Zap with a weapon (TASE); 43A: Asian wrap (SARI); 45A: Chimú conquerors (INCAS); 46A: Light bites (NIPS); 54A: Miss Pym's creator (TEY); 55A: Woman in a "Paint Your Wagon" song (ELISA); 56A: Auspices (AEGIS); 59A: Do some bartending (MIX); 67A: Ranch wanderer (STRAY); 68A: Boosted (STOLE); 71A: Parts of pig tales (OINKS); 4D: [I give up] (SIGH); 5D: Start of a classic question (TO BE); 6D: Claw (TEAR AT); 7D: Up to (UNTIL); 8D: Anticipated (DUE); 10D: Back up anew (RESAVE); 11D: Marx forte (QUIPS); 12D: Like certain expectations (UNMET); 21A: Regarding (AS PER); 22D: __ Chapel (SISTINE); 23D: Fast food chain known for roast beef (ARBY'S); 25D: "Be __ ..." (A DEAR); 27D: Kind of torch (TIKI); 28D: Gazetteer figure (AREA); 30D: Quantico inhabitants (MARINES); 34D: Opposite of "Yum!" ("ICK!"); 36D: English racing town (ASCOT); 37D: Old hat (STALE); 42D: Tyler of "The Incredible Hulk" (LIV); 48D: Like a vinegar radical (ACETYL); 49D: One of more than 245,000 in a Christmas tree at a California theme park (LEGO); 50D: Oman neighbor (YEMEN); 51D: With 34-Across, '50s slogan (I LIKE); 53D: Like a cold sufferer's voice (NASAL); 57D: "Say that's true ..." ("IF SO …"); 61D: LAX listing (ETD); 62D: Exist (ARE); 63D: Tough boss (DON); 64D: Forest ranger? (ELK); 65D: Old console using Game Paks (NES).


T H U R S D A Y   December 23, 2010
John Lampkin

Theme: Seasonal Puns — Yes, that's right, seasonal puns.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Seasonal cheeses? (SUMMER BRIES).
  • 59A: Seasonal seasoning? (WINTER THYME).
  • 11D: Seasonal smoked salmon? (SPRING LOX).
  • 35D: Seasonal costume? (FALL GUISE).
It's not often that the clue at 1 Across really makes me sit up and take notice but wow! Ptolemaic constellation that is now divided into Carina (the keel), Puppis (the poop deck) and Vela (the sails)! That is one serious clue right there, people. We've covered ARGO in CW101, but I'm pretty sure we've never said anything that would have helped you today. I realized pretty quickly (somewhere between "Ptolemaic" and "constellation") that I had no idea what the answer would be, so I moved on. When I made it back up that way I had a couple crosses in place and — ::head-slap::! Good stuff right from the get-go. I like it.

Other noteworthy entries today include IN A HUFF (40A: Fuming), which is an awesome colloquial phrase. Also SMURF (22D: Blue toon). It's just fun to say, isn't it? Oh and the theme. If you like your puns on the groan-worthy end of the spectrum, you probably weren't thrilled with these. I really like them though. The base phrase for SPRING LOX is kinda drab, but the rest feel really solid and the theme clues are cute.

  • 15A: Grade leader? (CENTI-). Wanna know what I popped right in here without even thinking about it? "Hard G." It's official: I've been doing way more crossword puzzles than a person should.
  • 19A: Hammock support (TREE). I could not come up with this and when I finally did it made me laugh. Down at the PuzzleParents' place in Costa Rica they have something like seven hammocks and not one of them is supported by a tree!
  • 25A: Miller's salesman (LOMAN). Had to rack my brain for this one. Man getting old sucks sometimes! I remembered right off that the son's name is Biff because it was mentioned in one of my favorite "Seinfeld" episodes (yes, I realize how sad that is), but the last name took a while. (This is a reference to Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, by the way.)
  • 36A: "What's cooking?" elicitor (ODOR). And ODOR can, of course, elicit other, less appropriate, questions as well.
  • 42A: Sitcom planet (ORK). Ladies and gentlemen, your "Mork and Mindy" reference of the day.
  • 68A: New kids' block since 1958 (LEGO). First thing that came to my head was "Sesame Street." I don't think it's been around that long though.
  • 2D: Old air fare? (RERUN). I'm all, "They used to serve some other kind of food on airplanes?" No, the "air" in this clue refers to broadcasting.
  • 5D: Venomous arachnid (SCORPION).

  • 26D: Dating concern (AGE).
  • 34D: One-time pal of Baker and Charlie? (ABLE). I assume this is a reference to a phonetic alphabet.
  • 37D: Pianist Laredo (RUTH). Whoa. Anyone ever heard of her?
  • 41D: Ottoman (FOOT REST). In the PuzzleHouse, the word "ottoman" is always accompanied by air-quotes. The first time I ever used the word in front of the kids, they looked at me like I had three heads. They think it's a little hoity-toity for a, ya know, FOOT REST.
  • 44D: "At Seventeen" singer Janis (IAN).

  • 52D: Join (ENROL). If you know anything about me, you probably know that I'm not a fan of the one-L ENROL.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 10A: Exxon forerunner (ESSO).
  • 18A: Mountain nymph (OREAD).
  • 46A: Wheelbarrow feature (AXLE).
  • 33D: "Rubáiyát" poet Khayyám (OMAR).
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Everything Else — 5A: Utter (SHEER); 14A: Miller's product (MEAL); 16A: Peak (APEX); 17A: West Point team (ARMY); 23A: Place purveying potent pints (INN); 24A: Grab from the shelves (SNAP UP); 27A: Dickens's Heep (URIAH); 30A: Fried chicken piece (NUGGET); 33A: Klutzes (OAFS); 38A: Race with batons (RELAY); 39A: Finance major's deg. (MBA); 43A: Pooped (ALL IN); 45A: Con __: briskly, on scores (MOTO); 47A: Empathize (RELATE); 49A: Gallery events (SHOWS); 51A: Troll (GNOME); 53A: Peak (TIPTOP); 57A: Feathered runner (EMU); 62A: Put down (LAID); 64A: "__ under pressure": guts, to Hemingway (GRACE); 65A: Potent pints (ALES); 66A: Japanese soup (MISO); 67A: Retirement plans, informally (ROTHS); 69A: Foreshadowing (OMEN); 70A: "Cats" poet (ELIOT); 71A: Musical syllables (TRAS); 1D: Stockpile (AMASS); 3D: Kind of ray emitted by a supernova (GAMMA); 4D: Greek mount (OLYMPUS); 6D: It may be medicinal (HERB); 7D: Nuke-testing dept. (ENER.); 8D: Much modern business (ETAIL); 9D: Continue the journey, oater-style (RIDE ON); 10D: Corrode (EAT); 12D: Dated (SEEN); 13D: Paired pullers (OXEN); 21D: Ger. setting (EUR.); 28D: Sixth-day creation (ADAM); 29D: Seasonal rooftop noises? (HO HOS); 31D: British nobleman (EARL); 32D: Kid (TYKE); 40D: Like trailers on the road (IN TOW); 46D: Cloverleaf cover (ASPHALT); 48D: Political refugee (EMIGRE); 50D: Cleverness (WIT); 54D: Tippecanoe's partner, in an 1840 campaign (TYLER); 55D: Last in a series (OMEGA); 56D: Sonoran smackeroos (PESOS); 57D: Saint with a fire (ELMO); 58D: Hurt severely (MAIM); 60D: "Mon Oncle" director (TATI); 61D: Nymph who loved her own voice (ECHO); 63D: Put on (DON).


W E D N E S D A Y   December 22, 2010
Dan Naddor

Theme: Panel Discussion — End of the each theme answer can precede the word "panel" in a familiar phrase.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Escapes dramatically from prison (GOES OVER THE WALL).
  • 28A: Narrow defeat, e.g. (HEARTBREAKER).
  • 38A: Warning about wind chill, say (WEATHER ADVISORY).
  • 46A: Steinbeck novel set in Monterey (TORTILLA FLAT).
  • 61A: The lead pipe, the wrench or the candlestick, but not the rope (BLUNT INSTRUMENT).
  • 54D: Discussion group, and a word that can follow the ends of this puzzle's five longest answers (PANEL).
I found this puzzle a really smooth solve. I was slightly — slightly! — bothered by the sheer volume of crosswordese, but for the most part just sort of made my way through it steadily. I didn't use the theme at all, which I always feel is kind of a shame. On the other hand, this theme isn't really all that exciting anyway. Panels? Well okay.

  • 9A: Energize, as a crowd (AMP UP). This didn't come to me easily. I think of AMP UP more as being hyper on drugs. I would be more likely to "rev" up a crowd. Well not me personally, but you know what I mean.
  • 15A: Nomo with two no-hitters (HIDEO). I have a really hard time with the Asian baseball names. I miraculously only needed the H to remember this one though.
  • 37A: Boxer's wear (ROBE).
  • 5D: Actress Tyler (LIV). Steven Tyler's daughter. Has "American Idol" started yet with the new judges? I'm pretty sure I can't bring myself to watch it.
  • 8D: Back porch luxury (HOT TUB). With HOTT** in place I thought "Hottie? Do rich people just keep hotties around on the back porch?"
  • 32D: Husband-and-wife creators of Curious George (REYS). Here's the thing about Curious George. The stories are very cute and that darn monkey is very entertaining but damn they can be long! I also recall raising an eyebrow once when I was reading to the PuzzleKids and got to a part where George drinks something in the doctor's office that he's not supposed to drink and he gets all drunk. I thought that was a little strange.
  • 35D: Sporty 1960s-'70s Plymouth (BARRACUDA).

  • 48D: "Hi-__, Hi-Lo" (LILI). I assume this is from a song. I also assume someone will enlighten us in the comments.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 56A: Gumshoe (TEC).
  • 58A: "The Time Machine" race (ELOI).
  • 60A: "Dies __" (IRAE).
  • 2D: One point from a service break (AD OUT).
  • 12D: Wrinkly fruit (UGLI).
  • 29D: 1921 sci-fi play (RUR).
  • 31D: Longest river in Spain (EBRO).
  • 34D: Vintner's prefix (OENO-).
  • 39D: Hanoi holidays (TETS).
  • 57D: Airline to Ben Gurion (EL AL).
  • 62D: Palindromic diarist (NIN).
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Everything Else — 1A: Is down with (HAS); 4A: Walk through puddles (SLOSH); 14A: Mean Amin (IDI); 16A: Europe's longest river (VOLGA); 20A: Laurie of "House" (HUGH); 21A: Vitamin __: PABA (B-TEN); 22A: Peke squeak (YIP); 23A: Torrid (STEAMY); 26A: Impulses (URGES); 33A: Blubber (SOB); 36A: Potentially slanderous remark (SLUR); 43A: Concerning, in memos (IN RE); 44A: 13 popes (LEOS); 45A: Part of UCLA (LOS); 51A: Computer data acronym (ASCII); 52A: Sandal parts (STRAPS); 66A: Dogpatch's Hawkins (SADIE); 67A: "Silas Marner" author (ELIOT); 68A: Opposite of alt, in Augsburg (NEU); 69A: Preferred option (PLAN A); 70A: "__ at 'em!" (LEMME); 71A: European peak (ALP); 1D: Euphoric feelings (HIGHS); 3D: Prolonged attack (SIEGE); 4D: HBO alternative (SHO); 6D: Tribute that usually rhymes (ODE); 7D: Belgrade native (SERB); 9D: Right, as a wrong (AVENGE); 10D: Do some yard work (MOW); 11D: Mr. Potato Head maker (PLAYSKOOL); 13D: Insect feeler (PALP); 18D: Bygone Mideast despot (SHAH); 19D: Frau's partner (HERR); 24D: Dovetail (MESH); 25D: Where Bill met Hillary (YALE); 27D: Canal zones? (EARS); 30D: Refrain syllables (TRA-LA); 33D: Houlihan portrayer on "M*A*S*H" (SWIT); 40D: Rock's __ Leppard (DEF); 41D: Encyc. units (VOLS.); 42D: "Time __ a premium" (IS AT); 47D: Summer cooler (ICE TEA); 49D: Big name in small trains (LIONEL); 50D: Svelte (TRIM); 53D: Gladiator's milieu (ARENA); 55D: Frame (SET UP); 56D: Recipe abbr. (TBSP.); 59D: Man, for one (ISLE); 63D: Tiny guy (TIM); 64D: Bulg. neighbor (ROM.); 65D: Versatile vehicle, for short (UTE).