SUNDAY, January 24, 2010 — Gail Grabowski (syndicated)

Theme: "Gross Words" — Theme answers are familiar phrases with a C replaced by a G to create 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.]

Good morning! First of all, I appreciate all the good wishes you sent me last week as I re-entered the work force. My first two days went really well and I think this job is going to be a good fit for me. It will take me a while to get used to the pace, though. I was exhausted by Friday evening. I could barely keep my eyes open — and the Hawkeyes were wrestling!

Do you ever look at the puzzle's title and try to guess what the theme is going to be? I thought today's theme was going to be phrases with ICK added to them. Or something like that. But no, in this case, the title is actually an example of the theme (Gross words = Cross words). Here are the rest of the ...

Theme answers:
  • 27A: Tammany Hall expo? (GRAFT FAIR). [craft fair]
  • 29A: Result of a run? (STOCKING GAP). [stocking cap]
  • 52A: Glutton for fuzzy fruit? (PEACH GOBBLER). [peach cobbler]
  • 79A: Low-priced drink holder? (ECONOMY GLASS). [economy class]
  • 105A: Mr. Clean? (GRIME SOLVER). [crime solver]
  • 109A: Telemarketing at dinnertime? (PHONE GALL). [phone call]
  • 37D: Award for the best flop? (GOLD TURKEY). [cold turkey]
  • 42D: Kid in a ditch? (TRENCH GOAT). [trench coat]
None of the resulting phrases are super exciting — PEACH GOBBLER is by far the most interesting — but the puzzle has some decent fill and tricky cluing, so I'm going to guess the consensus will be that this one is, overall, a winner. There were a few people in this puzzle that were unknown to me. Not a hockey fan, so I got 60D: Hall of Fame goalie Patrick ROY through crosses. Also never heard of RENA Sofer [106D: Sofer of soaps]. I only know LEN Cariou [83D: Actor Cariou] from crosswords. Have you all heard of 45A: Mystery writer Nevada BARR? I think my mom knows her or met her or something. She's back in the cobwebs there for some reason!

This puzzle has a tennis mini-theme going too, with:
  • 12D: Court tie (DEUCE).
  • 82D: 1980s-'90s women's tennis player who was #1 for a record total of 377 weeks (GRAF).
  • 89D: Shutout for 82-Down (LOVE GAME).
My first thought about tennis was actually up at 21A: Stadium replaced by Citi Field (SHEA). I think it's cool that SHEA (a Queens baseball stadium) is an anagram of ASHE (a Queens tennis stadium).

  • 1A: Junk, e.g. (BOAT). Very tricky. Especially for 1-Across.
  • 24A: Monthly reading for some (METER). This one had me stumped until I got a few crosses. Cute!
  • 43A: Single-minded sort (NERD). I don't know anything about this.
  • 44A: Excuse that's often exaggerated (SOB STORY). Fantastic entry.
  • 115A: Cybermemo (ENOTE). Ugh. Ugh UGH UGH. Who has ever used this word in real life? You wanna know who? Nobody. That's who.
  • 119A: Lost strength (WANED). Tried ebbed at first. See also 40D: Let up (ABATE).
  • 7D: Start to knock? (ANTI-). Some kind of car thing.
  • 9D: Orchestra sect. (STR.). This is an ugly abbreviation, but I'm kinda used to it now.
  • 14D: Half of a "Which do you want first?" pair (BAD NEWS). Another fantastic entry. This one has a great clue too.
  • 16D: Turf controller (GANG). PuzzleHusband likes to pretend he's the leader of a gang called "Los Nortaños." I believe the gang is comprised of business executives in North Arlington. Their colors are light blue and khaki.
  • 35D: Adam's third (SETH). I promise we'll do a CW101 on Bible names someday. But not today.
  • 48D: Heavily financed deals, briefly (LBOS). Leveraged Buy-Outs.
  • 52D: Pound product (POEM). Ezra Pound. The poet.
  • 53D: Incidentally, in chat rooms (BTW). Stands for By The Way.
I'll be back in a little while with today's calendar puzzle.

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Everything Else — 5A: Lawrence's men (ARABS); 10A: Adapter letters (AC/DC); 14A: Sired (BEGOT); 19A: High style (UPDO); 20A: Principle (TENET); 22A: Brand on a range (AMANA); 23A: Hard to fathom (DEEP); 25A: Markers (IOUS); 26A: Railroad car (DINER); 31A: Before now (EARLIER); 32A: Cultivate (RAISE); 33A: Talk about salvation, e.g.: Abbr. (SER.); 34A: Bakery fixture (OVEN); 35A: Feel (SENSE); 36A: Wealthy widow (DOWAGER); 40A: Childish retort (AM TOO); 46A: "Quit fidgeting!" ("BE STILL!"); 49A: Gp. that supports malpractice damage award limits (AMA); 51A: Thing to grind (AXE); 54A: __ Moines (DES); 55A: Inferior cookware (TIN POTS); 57A: Day-care charges (TOTS); 58A: Put in stacks, say (SORT); 61A: Dais VIP (EMCEE); 62A: 2009 A.L. MVP Joe Mauer, e.g. (TWIN); 66A: Pirate's loot (SWAG); 68A: Makeup item (ROUGE); 71A: Ones acting badly (HAMS); 73A: It's sometimes enough (ONCE); 75A: Like Dorothy's magical shoes (RUBY RED); 77A: Identify (PEG); 84A: Frat party supply (KEG); 85A: Wide-eyed (AGOG); 87A: "Told you so!" ("SEE?"); 88A: "Too much information!" ("SPARE ME!"); 89A: __ majesty: high treason (LÈSE); 90A: Open-bodied antique auto (ROADSTER); 92A: Verve (ELAN); 93A: Vestibule (FOYER); 94A: Posh properties (ESTATES); 95A: Font flourish (SERIF); 97A: Film noir blade (SHIV); 99A: To this day (YET); 100A: Carrier more likely to be tipped (CANOE); 101A: Accumulates (PILES UP); 111A: Summary (RECAP); 112A: Burn slightly (SEAR); 113A: Ad infinitum (NO END); 114A: Utah ski resort (ALTA); 116A: Nail to the wall (HANG); 117A: Oklahoma native (OSAGE); 118A: Jupiter neighbor (MARS); 120A: Affectedly flamboyant (ARTY); 121A: Try to prevent (DETER); 1D: Move slightly (BUDGE); 2D: Verdi work (OPERA); 3D: "Be __ ...": start of a polite request (A DEAR); 4D: Penthouse place (TOP FLOOR); 5D: Charge for cash (ATM FEE); 6D: Get back, as lost trust (RE-EARN); 8D: Brewski (BEER); 10D: The way things stand (AS IT IS); 11D: Go for (CHOOSE); 13D: Port container (CASK); 15D: Leave the country, perhaps (EMIGRATE); 18D: Infield protector (TARP); 28D: DVR brand (TIVO); 29D: Urban play area (SANDLOT); 30D: Indicators of equal pressure (ISOBARS); 32D: Get (a ship) ready to sail again (RERIG); 36D: Capitol cap (DOME); 39D: Deli selections (RYES); 41D: Saying (MAXIM); 43D: White House advisory gp. (NSC); 44D: Topping for chips (SALSA); 46D: Push in some chips (BET); 47D: Right direction? (EAST); 56D: Little legume (PEA); 59D: Heavenly bodies (ORBS); 63D: Beau (WOOER); 64D: B&B (INN); 65D: Two-stripers, e.g.: Abbr. (NCOS); 67D: Fat unit (GRAM); 69D: Ninnies (GEESE); 70D: Turf tool (EDGER); 72D: Sonnet sections (SESTETS); 74D: Augustus, for one (EMPEROR); 76D: Benefit (USE); 77D: Whittle (PARE); 78D: Bigheads (EGOS); 80D: Bocce pair? (CEES); 81D: Certain Ivy Leaguer (YALIE); 86D: Sydney salutation (G'DAY MATE); 91D: Drenched (STEEPED); 93D: Grind, in a way (FILE); 95D: Scholar (SAVANT); 96D: Get-up-and-go (ENERGY); 97D: Spot remover (SPONGE); 98D: Impede (HINDER); 100D: Spelled-out (CLEAR); 102D: Dressing recipient (SALAD); 103D: Part of UHF (ULTRA); 104D: Suffix with proto- (PLASM); 105D: Cultivated (GREW); 107D: Pic to click (ICON); 109D: Masquerade (as) (POSE); 110D: Pressure (HEAT); 113D: Silent assent (NOD).



Today there’s good news and BADNEWS for me. I Solved the puzzle in record time, but thought it was just a hohum puzzle for a Sunday. I suppose I’d give Ms. Grabowski the GOLD TURKEY Award.
It lacked punch, no new words for me to learn, and it didn’t get any chuckles or chortles from me. Am I just in a bad mood or what?
There seems to be NOEND to the “replace-a-letter” type of crosswords… Rich, can we get the LAT to BUDGE on this?

@PG... Glad to hear you enjoyed your new job.

Well, GDAYMATES, I’ve got better things to do. And maybe the Preston & Kwong/Choset puzzles are a lot better.
~ John (the NERD)

Orange said...

PG, your husband is a hoot. I like those gang colors.

I liked this theme. The theme entries worked for me—sometimes made-up theme entries grate because they or their clue are just such a stretch. Favorite theme entries: GOLD TURKEY and PEACH GOBBLER.

shrub5 said...

Yes, another replace-a-letter puzzle but still enjoyable. Found this one to be pretty easy but I made one (dumb) mistake. I put NUDGE for 1D which caused 1A to be NOAT (Junk, e.g.). I knew something was wrong but went on to solve the rest of the puzzle. By the time I finished, with several timeouts along the way, I forgot about the 1A problem. The answer seems obvious now...

LOL at "kid in a ditch" TRENCH GOAT - my favorite clue/answer. A couple of names I didn't know: writer Nevada BARR and goalie Patrick ROY, but no prob getting them from crosses. I had PICKS UP before PILES UP for "accumulates."

FYI - From Merriam-Webster online dictionary: Lèse-majesté (or lese majesty as it is seen in English publications) comes from the Latin "laesa majestas" which literally means "injured majesty." The term covers any offense against a sovereign power or its ruler, from treason to a simple breach of etiquette. It has also acquired a more lighthearted or ironic meaning, that of an insult or impudence to a particularly pompous or self-important person or organization. As such, it may be applied to a relatively inoffensive act that has been exaggerated as if it were a great affront.

Soooo, if Sen. Al Franken said "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot" is he guilty of LESE majesty?

lit.doc said...

1:00 CST (so no RP/O/PG post yet), and done in 36:21. Given the time, I’m hesitant to say wow, easy puzzle. But it really was, for a Sunday puzzle, unusually accessible. Meaning no disrespect to Ms. Grabowski, as I enjoyed doing it. Certainly, I need lots of practice to make up for decades of not being a puzzle geek. And, as always, I enjoy letter-replacement theme puzzles, especially a slick one like this. The only hmmmm moment was “Drenched” for STEEPED, and Mr. Dictionary now tells me that I have no grievance. G’night.

Back. Goodmorning. @Puzzle Girl, your write-up was waaaay more fun than the puzzle! Thanks.

CartBoy said...

Worst answer ever - 55A Tin Pots. The musicians of Tin Pot Alley are rolling over in their graves, not.

ddbmc said...

No, @Shrubb, Sen. Franken would just be correct. Can one be guilty of telling the truth? (lol)

Ms. G got me at JUNK? Love getting my butt kicked right out of the gate. Wanted CRAP, CRUD, or a BEQ word that we won't say here.

TOTALLY read 65D-Two-strip(p)ers wrong! TARTS was plural and naturally, wouldn't fit. Like @Sfingi and sports, I'm not that familiar with military ranks (NCOS) (or Roman numerals), but I'm coming along.

TRENCHGOAT made me chuckle. Especially enjoyed @PG's description of "Nortaños." Why, they're so bad, they wear their baseball cap brims forward!

Patrick "ROY" (pronounced "RWAH") and LEN Cariou, were gimmes, but Nevada BARR and RENA Sofer-NOT!

7D "Start to Knock"-I interpreted the ANTI as ' begin to be against," rather than the "anti-knock" additive claim of some gasoline company years ago. Shell? Exxon?

Puzzle wasn't all that difficult, but it took me awhile to piece it together. Slow and steady wins the race! Thanks, @PG, for the write up. Hope the new job doesn't kick your blogging to the curb! Darn jobs have a way of sucking the fun out of life. :)

Carol said...

Finished the puzzle in record time for a Sunday. Some really fun clues.

Nevada Barr writes mysteries that take place in one national park or another across the USA. Her character Anna Pigeon is a park ranger. Since Nevada Barr is (or was) a park ranger herself, her descriptions of the parks and her job are very authentic. I doubt many murders actually happen in national parks, but her books are usually a good read. I know a park ranger from Utah who reads every one and thinks they're great - especially some of the descriptions of park visitors!

Thanks for the great writeup. Enjoy your 2nd week at your new job.

Van55 said...

Nice comment, spammer BOT -- NOT.

I enjoyed the puzzle quite a bit today. Took me a while to get the Gross word/ Crossword thingie. Fun, easy romp.

Tinbeni said...

OK, I admit I do not mind the Roman Numerals.
Probably like them (they are soooo easy).
Saw the puzzle title, Gross Words, and was looking for CXLIV in the obvious theme clues/answers.
144 = a gross

But I had started in the SE and PHONEGALL got a laugh, the RNs were bye-bye, and I realized my illogical CW brain was back.

With the grey matter engaged properly, only one write-over.
Sandlof and lbes made no sense. Ergo,day care charges were TOTS not fees.

Junk = BOAT is probably a tough start, and why I went to the SE, but it was a very cleaver clue.

Nevada BARR (and C.J.Box) are fave authors of mine.
I like the wilderness descriptions and characters.
Good vacation fodder.
@Carol, as to crimes in National Parks, more than you would imagine.

I agree with @ddbmc, telling the truth is not a 'lese majesty'... RL is a big fat idiot.

@PG another LOL at the Tatum, BAD NEWS Bear photo.

split infinitive said...

Fun puzzle by "Ms G. G." and super write up by Ms PG, who we know know doubles as a spouse of a gangster! Loved the photo of the guy sleeping on his laptop, too.

Other than the names BARR and RENA, and the word ANTI-knock which I *should* have known, the rest of non-theme fill was straightforward, and the clues very "cleaver" as our compadre Tinbeni says. TRENCHGOAT and PHONEGALL were gut busters. I am grateful for the "do not call" list and what the constructor might call "galler ID."

No trips to Googleville today. I'm proud to be a puzzleNERD today, even if I'm not a SAVANT. Time to go tackle the Onion puzzle that's been glaring at me all weekend, waiting to be solved.

A week wouldn't be as fun without PG, Orange/Amy and Rex guiding us through the puzzles with wit, charm and patience. Thank you, terrific trio!


Only computer geeks and nerds say "send me an ENOTE"... hey, wait, I'm a NERD and so I guess I need to start saying that word.

The little photo of the guy slumped over his laptap is how I look most nights. Often I wake up to a screen full of FATAL ERROR messages and beeping sounds from my computer. God only knows what damage my head-on-the-keyboard is doing to my computer.

To those of you who whine constantly about bad abbreviations (like STR or BTW) or Roman Numerals, I say "get over it!"
Those sort of things are endemic to all crossword puzzles. We shouldn't complain about this stuff... it's a way of life in CWs. We should focus on bad constructs, made-up words, inaccurate clues, over-pluralization, triteness, etc. Let's critique the things that truly "separate the sheep from the goats" in the crossword world.

The last few weeks I've been bombarded by PHONEGALL. Even though I'm on the DO-NOT-CALL list, I've heard that politicians are exempt from that law. Why is that? Isn't it enough that we get inundated with political crap on TV? Tell them to spend all that money they waste on mailings, automated phonecalls, and idiotic TV advertisements ON THE POOR PEOPLE IN HAITI !
~ off my soapbox ~

@Carol... Thanks for the Nevada Barr info. I never heard of her before and since I'm a naturalist and huge National Park aficionado, I should probably be reading her books. I love mysteries too.

Tinbeni said...

When they set up the "DO NOT CALL" the politicans exempted themselves (and charities) in the name of the 1st Amendment.

As I mentioned C.J.Box (very contemporary) also does a good job on the National Parks. Never been to Yellowstone but through him my mind has.

The add a letter, change a letter shows up a lot on Sunday.

YOU and I are everyday solvers and we see through this quickly.

But the many more who only do the Sunday crossword ... well, I think they do not find it clever, and struggle with these a lot.

GoG8rs said...

Well, it took two football games (yea Colts & Saints!!!) of interrupted work to finish but required no outside help. Since we don't get a title to the puzzle in our paper, I rarely have a clue to the theme. It took awhile but I'm happy to say I sussed it out. Probably could have finished in shorter time if my attention hadn't been split---puzzle, tv, popcorn, tv, puzzle, tv, beer, tv, puzzle, pretzels, puzzle, more beer....

Tinbeni said...

My attention span was also split.
Scotch, TV, Scotch, TV, Scotch, TV, BEER, Scotch, TV, Hot Dog w/Scotch, TV, dorito (one), Scotch, TV ...
Thank god for 8D, BEER, to break up a well oiled system.

I think it is time for a Scotch.

split infinitive said...

My attention span is always "split"!
Except at sports where a puck is employed and when I smuggle in a sippy-cup with a little limoncello! Beats paying five bucks for bad beer, and keeps me away from the "nachos."

@PG: have a good week at your new job.

Anonymous said...

How come nobody has noticed the error concerning 82D - Steffi Graf and 88A - Spare me. You show the answer as being Gram not Graf. Wondering why?

Orange said...

Anonymous, you're looking at the wrong spot in the grid. It's 67D that is GRAM, or [Fat unit]. GRAF is down and to the left of it at 82D.