MONDAY, Jan. 11, 2009 — John Lampkin

THEME: Lots of Ps — theme answers are two-word phrases where first word (2 syllables) starts with "P" and second word (two syllables) is some variant of P-P(P)ER.

I don't mind these sound-alike themes — they can be quite entertaining — but this one was just OK for me. Liked PARTY POOPER and PICKLED PEPPER (though not thrilled about the singular PEPPER, as they are plural in the tongue twister). Not so fond of POPCORN POPPER (with its repeat "POP") or POSTER PAPER (which is just dull). Also, look out for identical strings of four letters, especially very close to one another in the grid. Somehow PESTO's being just three up from ESTO was distracting today. Biggest downer of the day was the abundance of plural abbreviations (plurals and abbreviations being two kinds of answers you want to keep to a minimum in general — put them together, and well ... no, just don't, if you can help it). Some of these are more annoying than others. Today, I already had to deal with a lot of plurals in general, so AT NOS. and ICBMS and PDAS stood out, collectively, as a bit over-the-top. I'm letting KILOS slide, as it's not an initialism, and unlike AT. NOS., you say it like a word. In fact, it's the standard unit of measurement for drugs (esp. coke ... or so I hear).

[Got this off of fakewoodpanelfetish.com]

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Piece of Peter Piper's peck (PICKLED PEPPER)
  • 37A: School project medium in large rolls (POSTER PAPER)
  • 44A: Killjoy (PARTY POOPER) — would love to see KILLJOY in the grid.
  • 59A: Cinema counter fixture (POPCORN POPPER)

Had serious slowdowns all up and down the CHERRY PIE section of the puzzle (11D: Fruity dessert). APEX to XES (10A: Highest point / 13D: George Strait's "All My ___ Live in Texas") worked so nicely that I had trouble giving it up (for the correct ACME and EXS). Also had MAC for HAM (33D: Cheese go-with), and got stumped for a bit at RHYME (32A: What sips and nips do). Ended up a good 45 seconds to a minute slower than my normal Monday time on the LAT. Still under 4, though.

Crosswordese 101: PDAS (63D: Palmtop computers: Abbr.) — Personal Digital Assistants. This initialism will go (if it has not already gone) the way of the dodo, replaced by the now ubiquitous SmartPhones, which do what original "palmtops" (horrible word) do, and much much more. First time I ever heard the term "PDA," it referred to "public displays of affection." This is my favorite line from the Wikipedia page on "Public display of affection":

In most of Europe, Canada, and the United States it is normal to see people holding hands or kissing in public. In nightclubs it is also common for men and women to "grind" (a form of dancing) or dance closely.[citation needed]

That's it.

See you Friday.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Everything Else — 1A: Feds concerned with bogus bills (T-MEN); 5A: Drug bust finds (KILOS); 10A: Highest point (ACME); 14A: Like collectible coins (RARE); 15A: Sky color (AZURE); 16A: Wheat, corn or rice cereal (CHEX); 17A: Several (A FEW); 18A: __ plume: pen name (NOM DE); 19A: Whacks with an ax (HEWS); 20A: Piece of Peter Piper's peck (PICKLED PEPPER); 23A: Backyard hangout (PATIO); 24A: Whiskey grain (RYE); 25A: Fled the scene (RAN); 28A: Andrea __: ill-fated ship (DORIA); 32A: What sips and nips do (RHYME); 34A: +, on a batt. (POS.); 37A: School project medium in large rolls (POSTER PAPER); 40A: Italian wine city (ASTI); 42A: Minister's residence (MANSE); 43A: Heed (MIND); 44A: Killjoy (PARTY POOPER); 47A: Dreyer's partner in ice cream (EDY); 48A: Colorful quartz (AGATE); 49A: Comedian Wanda (SYKES); 51A: Stitch (SEW); 52A: Illuminated (LIT); 55A: Basil-and-pine-nuts sauce (PESTO); 59A: Cinema counter fixture (POPCORN POPPER); 64A: __ job: trickery (SNOW); 66A: Transfusion fluid (BLOOD); 67A: The sound of music (TONE); 68A: Handbasket rider's destination? (HELL); 69A: Brainy group (MENSA); 70A: This, in Tijuana (ESTO); 71A: Slippery fish (EELS); 72A: Collar stiffeners (STAYS); 73A: Dick Tracy's love (TESS); 1D: "The Sound of Music" family name (TRAPP); 2D: Sicilian secret society (MAFIA); 3D: Standing tall (ERECT); 4D: Recent block arrival (NEW KID); 5D: "Citizen __" (KANE); 6D: Former reptilian logo brand (IZOD); 7D: Sugar cube (LUMP); 8D: "__ in the court!" (ORDER); 9D: Oozy (SEEPY); 10D: Aspirin target (ACHE); 11D: Fruity dessert (CHERRY PIE); 12D: Bit of cat chitchat (MEW); 13D: George Strait's "All My __ Live in Texas" (EXS); 21D: Feature of a tied shoelace (LOOP); 22D: Cop's collar (PERP); 26D: Change, as a law (AMEND); 27D: Totally unhip (NERDY); 29D: Frolic (ROMP); 30D: World Golf Hall of Famer Aoki (ISAO); 31D: Periodic table figs. (AT. NOS.); 33D: Cheese go-with (HAM); 34D: Dads (PAPAS); 35D: Missouri River tributary (OSAGE); 36D: Informal opinion sampling (STRAW POLL); 38D: Lay eyes on (ESPY); 39D: Really stink (REEK); 41D: Addams family cousin (ITT); 45D: Canine cry (YELP); 46D: Result of an auto loan default, briefly (REPO); 50D: Trio plus four (SEPTET); 53D: Missiles in silos, for short (ICBMS); 54D: "Vacancy" ("TO LET"); 56D: Reckon, in the boonies (S'POSE); 57D: Revival structures (TENTS); 58D: Creme-filled cookies (OREOS); 60D: Avian symbols of wisdom (OWLS); 61D: Author Jaffe (RONA); 62D: Overly inquisitive (NOSY); 63D: Palmtop computers: Abbr. (PDAS); 64D: "Steady as __ goes" (SHE); 65D: Born, in marriage announcements (NÉE).


Van55 said...

I solved this one by filling in the down answers in succession. Very easy with only a few spot checks of the across clues to verify the correctness of my down answers. I thought the theme was okay and the crap fill was minimal.

This comment has been removed by the author.

Today’s Lampkin puzzle was well done albeit simple to solve… got it done before my coffee refill. Of course, the crosswordese helped a lot, but there were some nice fresh word too, like SYKES, STRAW POLL and NEW KID. Although the clues were easy, they were accurate and clever too… like, “Cop’s collar” = PERP.
BTW, Rich Norris has a NOM DE Plume. It’s Nora Pearlstone. Forgot what the anagram was.
FWIW, mine is John Martin.

When I saw POSTER PAPER (37A), something popped into my head from back in my early 20th century school days: FOOL’S CAP PAPER. Anyone else remember that? I suppose nowadays that wouldn’t be PC.

Like Rex, I too got stalled at RHYME for "What sips and nips do".

I had the privilege of meeting the Von TRAPP family out in Stowe Vermont… what a charming family! TRAPP FAMILY

On Sundays (if I have the time) I solve 4 puzzles, the NYT, the LAT (in my Trib), and the other two Chicago Tribune puzzles (Puzzle Island). Yesterday I found Mel Rosen's NYT puzzle to be less interesting and less challenging for me than the Nora Pearlstone/aka Rich Norris (LAT). I enjoyed doing the Charles Preston (Trib) and especially the Bruce Venzke (Trib), which I found the most difficult of all four. I hope the LAT will continue to outshine all other puzzles, because I generally like their editing best and there’s far less snobbishness.

I am focusing mostly on the weekend puzzles, when things are more leisurely and the puzzles are more challenging. So, I'm now thinking that I will forego the Mon.-Wed. LAT puzzles. They are just too simple and not that fun for me, although today’s wasn’t too bad.

And now with a ban on chit-chat, the blog comments are becoming pretty dull and have become sort of "business-like" (lacking personality).

Sooo, I will see y'all only briefly on Fri-Sun.

Love you all!
Have a great week!

lit.doc said...

Puzzle reminded me that if I can just come up with a good rhyme for "All My Ex's Live in Colorado", I've got a killer Country Crossover hit.

Nice, easy puzz, good exercise. But was shocked that a paper of the LAT's character would run a puzz that expected me to get a "Piece of Peter Pipe's Pecker". Ugh.

GoG8rs said...

Fun and easy puzzle to complete while waiting to thaw out down here in the Sunshine State. Favorite clue: 68A Handbasket rider's destination. Love it!

robbie said...

@JNH: Nearly the entirety of your comment was posted on yesterday's puzzle. So why are you back today?

Burner10 said...

Ho hum for me - I kinda don't like back into it unclever clues like 'Handbasket riders destination' and 'Recent block arrival' - why use all that language just to avoid a fill in the blank - and since there wouldn't be any obvious other answers for these clues - that's what they seem to be.
I liked acme/ache - easily could have been peak/pain or a bunch of different words.

Tinbeni said...

In pen and paper this was probably my quickest time EVER. Nice straight-forward clues, Easy Monday LAT.

Sit & Nip, RHYME and handbasket rider's HELL were cleaver.

Looks like a HAM on RYE with PICKED PEPPERs is in order for lunch, maybe a few OREOS, I S'POSE.

When I was a member of MENSA, I did not think they were a brainy group. Highly pretentious, NERDY & NOSY, IMHO.

The letter 'P' 18 times, whew!

@Rex - the Pickled Pepper clip, probably useful info for everyone who isn't me.
Oh, I like pickling but with something else (it's a secret ...).

obertb said...

@lit.doc--"She Got my ElDorado and She's Off for Colorado."


Have been following you all for several weeks and am jumping in today. Easy puzzle to start the week. Enjoy your comments and had to make myself a grilled cheese sandwich after reading Rex's write up.

imsdave said...

@Burner10 - those are exactly the kind of clues that make puzzles fun.

@VTQUILTMOM - welcome aboard! FYI, my wife is from Burlington, and my mother-in-law currently lives in North Bennington - anywhere near?

C said...

I made the exact same hash of the upper right quadrant. APEX/XES was too nice to let go ... but I did. As they say, if you love something, set it free ...

Fun puzzle for a Monday.


@imsdave - Thanks! Yes, in the Burlington area.

Tinbeni said...

The other day you mentioned that this site gets over 5000 hits a day.

Yet the Commenters seem to be 'the 20 usual suspects.'

It would be a lot more fun if some NEW KIDs would join in the discussion here.

Maybe a "Please we welcome your comment, below" statement right before the "Everything else ..." would inspire the other 4980 to join in.

Also the 3 comment limit seems fair, but when @JNH embedded the WordPlay clip separately on Saturday, Amy jumped on him that he had used up his 3 limit (right off the bat), and then explained where we could see HER in the movie.

I don't believe @JNH clip should have counted since it actually was a tribute to our passion here. Maybe Amy could have said. "@JNH Thanks, that doesn't count, you have another." or some such.

Oh well, I replaced my cracked Scotch glass.


shrub5 said...

@obertb - good one!
@vtquiltmom - Hello!

I liked this puzzle because it provided some resistance - it was not a snap. Like @RP, I entered MAC for cheese go-with. And I thought of AT. WTS. before correcting to AT. NOS. For reckon in boonie-speak, I had 'SPECK first before S'POSE. LOL'd at handbasket rider's destination.

I'm reborn once a minute said...

Best part of today - you actually got me to go to fakewoodpanelfetish.com

chefbea said...

Fun easy puzzle that I did today while waiting at the Social Security Office.!!!

Lots of good clues especially Acme and Andrea!!!

@vtquiltmom welcome

@tinbeni - noticed your new scotch glass right away!!!

Url said...

@VtQuiltMom - My mother is UVM, '38. The theater is named after one of our ancestors, Royall Tyler. We love VT!

@Robbie - maybe John repeated himself since some of us don't even try the Sunday puzzles (yet) and wouldn't see it. I feel like adding - come on, attack the short fat old lady, now.

@John. Very easy, but still - drop by once or twice!

imsdave said...

@Url - my father-in-law, the late, great, Ed Feidner (head of the theatre department at UVM for many years), proposed and implemented the construction of the Royall Tyler theatre. The first production there was Tyler's 'The Contrast' and bits of it were performed at his memorial service.

He also created the Champlain Shakespeare Festival.

Thanks for the memories.

rosieF said...

Am I missing something here? Is anyone obligated to read this blog? If it gets too wordy for me, I skip down. Really don't think we need
"blog police" do we?
That being said, I enjoy the write ups and the comments and chit chat as well.

Charles Bogle said...

@GoG8rs: I'm w you; HELL as handbasket rider's destination was spectacular

also really liked SPOSE for hillbilly's "reckon"

A fun and entertaining Monday with virtually none of the usual hackneyed fill; nice going, constructor-

xyz said...

Would have been easier if my wife didn't keep interrupting me about dinner (I'm late to the party today). Ran the new MacBook to the Sprog in Philly today after it came at 0830, visited, shopped whilst she went to work before coming home. (not PDA but perhaps TMI!)

On the whole nothing too bad, nothing extraordinary today. Only C/O to this sod with a B.S. in Chemistry was ATNOS, kind of smelly-ish but still acceptable.

Love AZURE blue (any blue, really), much prefer RHEIMS, BOUZY, EPERNAY and AY (Home of the Musée Champenois) to ASTI. haha

see youse 2morrow at the fun puzzle site

Anonymous said...

Rex --

The pickled peppers video and the PDA link were worth it all. Thanks much.

lit.doc said...

@obertb, BRILLIANT!

@vtquiltmom, Hi! Always nice to hear a new face.

@chefbea, from the stories I've heard, you could probably read all of Dostoevsky's novels while waiting at the social security office. Glad your stay was as brief as the puzz.

@C, I cringe whenever I hear that, due to a parodic poster a roommate had up (early-mid '70s at CSU):

If you love something, set it free. / If it comes back, it's yours. / If it doesn't, hunt it down and kill it.

@Tinbeni, me too re MENSA, so far as I can assume that the Austin group was representative, er, make that symptomatic of MENSA as a hole.

Charlie don't tweet said...

@rosieF -
The blog police! I'm seeing chubby nerds with laser tag guns saying 'go ahead, make my virtual day - do you feel like you got the God code - do ya, lamer?'

I think the big 100-post day was dominated by a smaller group who had digressed and bifurcated (good naturedly of course) into a potpurri of non puzzle-related jocularity. Mayhem ensued. It was a day that the dark forces may well have won, had it not been for the work deep inside LACCC (L.A. CC Central) to save the pure cruciverbalist from certain ... death, by boola-boola!

Rumors that this was done to curtail a bunch of crap, that might discourage someone who wanted to know what was going on with the puzzle, are highly exaggerated.

BTW people who capitalize the END of their monikers are rogues. Stop it.

Tinbeni said...

When I see POS, I do not think of +, on a batt(ery).

@GLowe aka @Phil_m99
That is the most cognizant comment you ever made.
Could you "sign out" then sign back in as a new user and get your real moniker back?

My avatar sets the TONE. Snifter is back. Had to use the "rocks glass" until replacement was acquired.

I read your C.V., obviously you, like I, a product of the "Big-8" as it was called way back when.
Then you did something I applaud, figured you would rather persue a balanced life, with words.
Well the best thing I ever did was pick great parents. Got tested, joined the "brainy" after a while I figured it out. "Its a blessing and a curse" and I didn't do anything to think I was special. You is what you is (sic).
They unfortunately think they did.
Go figure, as an accountant would say.

Now it's time to have A FEW, what, MIND you, I have no idea. Maybe some RYE. HELL no!!! Some ...

Anonymous said...


i've been unemployed for months and attempting these crosswords has become my hobby. Today is the first puzzle I've solved without "cheating". Are my abilities improved or was this just a really easy puzzle? Looking forward to finishing Tuesday's too!

Thanks to all who work on and manage this blog.

mac said...

Welcome Anonymous 6.58, and good luck to you! You will notice that you learn new things every day, get better at the puzzles and enjoy them more. Never thought I would welcome an anonymouse, but the fact that you actually made puzzling your hobby while unemployed really touched me. Again, good luck in all your endeavors.

I thought this was a very cute Monday puzzle. Amazing to have both Acme and Andrea in the puzzle, John Lampkin must have met her.

I tried to put spoil sport into 44A, obviously I hadn't cought on to the theme yet.

@Charles Bogle: I learned last week that Hillbillies and their patois are now the more PC "Hills".

HUTCH said...

Anon-You"re doing great! I look forward for your comments. The others seem to have a private club.

Anonymous said...

Well working on the LAT Crossword is much more enjoyable than looking for jobs :) Now that I finished a whole puzzle I feel like I a bit more worthy to join in the chat a bit more.... LOL

Charlie don't tweet said...

@ Anon 6:58/unemployed - I guarantee you success tomorrow.

@ Tinb - don't make me go all 'looking up' congnizant - izzer really a z(ed)ee in that word?

Phil, so it seems, is stuck to me a bit like dogsh*t, and I have to override it in order to post the other way. I could fix it I suppose but I couldn't be arsed to do so.

Anonymous said...

@phil Success on the crossword or the unemployment thing?

Sfingi said...

@ImsDave - I thought I'd commented hours ago, and became paranoid when I didn't see my comment. I must have seen the word, URL and subconsciously keyed it in. I don't know what I did. Anyway, it's hours later.

I could say, yes who else but me again with more ancestors than relatives - have to borrow my husband's for holidays.

Well, thank you and your father-in-law. I went to a presentation of The Contrast, at the theater's opening, with Mother and a sister. The theater is quite nice. I found the way the floors were divided very interesting. Tyler has quite a number of descendants since he had many kids and none died. I could go on, but will rein it in.

Entropy said...

I'm new to Crosswords like @Anon 6:58.
But was this one really easy?
I completed with not one write over.
Can't remember when that happened before.
HELL I had MANSE from the downs without seeing the clue.

@Anon 6:58
The obvious, success to complete the LAT crossword. But I wish you luck on the other endeavor. (I learned early, get a name, anons are ignored mostly here, Sign in, it is easy, I did it my 3rd time I commented here).

You spell bifurcated correctly, then wonder about cogniZant?

As I am the 'nature of order to become disorder' in this case I think the @Tinb is unfortunately correct.

I commented on the other site today, also.
There was a clutch of "insiders" (Private Club) far more than here. A discussion or penpals between Paris & Nice, France. The puzzle was hardly mentioned.

Just trying to figure out where I can get CW info.

CrazyCat said...

@Phil-m99AKA Glowe
I believe that your assessment of last Thursday's LACC blog debacle was spot on. As far as today's puzzle - my favorite clue/answer was Killjoy - PARTY POOPER.

Entropy said...

No "props" (with 2 'P's) for Handbasket rider's destination? HELL.

When I got that earlier, I thought "Oh, I see, these writers like to use obfuscation." LOL

Maybe this can become a daily morning coffee thing for me ... I now have the time.

Charlie don't tweet said...

You can't spell what you don't know if you're a lazy cuss. I can 'bifurcate' cuz I larned it on the interweb; 'cognizant' wants a different middle with me, dunno why.

@anon-unempl: If your day starts with a successful puzzle, why not ride that for a successful job-seach day? Nuthin starts my day out better than writing in that elusive OOXTERPLOONIN (sp?), kickin' some serious aplhabet-soup butt.

Do the puzzle, guilt-free, and then three real things to advance your job search every day. At the end of the week that's [... counting fingers...] a lot, plus 7 puzzles.

I will guarantee you success at after 28 puzzles if not sooner. If not, I will change my name to Ochocinco.

... now I didn't spell that right, did I?

Orange said...

@Entropy, you hurt my feelings when you say "the other site," as if there are only two crossword blogs in the world. Dang! I started the first crossword blog, Diary of a Crossword Fiend, and have been eclipsed by Rex? Hmph! (My site covers 4+ crosswords a day and it gets fewer comments, but they tend to be on topic.)


Amy, you shine in all corners of the crossword world. I do appreciate the "other" blogSSSS too (I read them all), but your LACC contributions are the best of them... it's the most fun one.

Is that a question, or is that just meant to be a snotty remark?
If it's a question, then my answer is "because I felt like it!"
If it's a snotty remark, then I say "grow up!!!"
Try contributing something worthwhile to the blog.