WEDNESDAY, March 31, 2010—Jennifer Nutt

THEME: "Playing Footsie"—Four phrases begin with homophones of FOOT PARTS (and I don't mean inches).

This is a cute theme. I'm not one of those people who is grossed out by ordinary feet and all things foot-related, and hey, the theme entries only sound like they involve feet. Much fresher than a theme that actually uses HEEL, BALL, TOE, and SOLE phrases, no?

Theme entries:
  • 20A: [Proverbial advice to a physician] (HEAL THYSELF). This looks like HEALTHY SELF every time I look at the grid. HEAL sounds like "heel."
  • 40A: [Scold vigorously] (BAWL OUT). Sounds like "ball." Heh, I said "ball."
  • 59A: [Certain no-parking area] (TOWAWAY ZONE. "Toe." This theme answer gives me mild crossword PTSD symptoms. At my first ACPT, I didn't check the crossings on a theme entry in the easiest puzzle, and so had crosswordese-ish PLAT instead of PLAN, crossing a TOWAWAY ZOTE. True story.
  • 11D: [Motown genre] (SOUL MUSIC). "Sole." The Godfather of Sole has got some fancy footwork.
  • Wrapping it all up is 35D: [This puzzle's theme, if you listen to the beginnings of 20-, 40-, and 59-Across and 11-Down] (FOOT PARTS).

Amy's Top One (because I'm on vacation and Top Ten is too many):
  • 14A: [Dancer Falana] (LOLA). I believe Rex and PuzzleGirl know of my fondness for this video. I encourage you to watch it twice. (Dancing is optional.)

Crosswordese 101: It's not crosswordese, but it's also not a very common word, so let's look at SWALE. The clue is 52D: [Low, moist area]. My dictionary further elaborates that it's a "marshy depression between ridges." I gotta say, because of today's theme, I'm tempted to apply the word to the space between your toes. Doesn't that need a word?

Everything Else — 1A: Basic Latin lesson word (AMAT); 5A: Bedtime story preceder, perhaps (BATH); 9A: '70s dance club (DISCO); 15A: Canyon effect (ECHO); 16A: Not whispered (ALOUD); 17A: Response bias may affect one (POLL); 18A: Weak, as a novel plot (THIN); 19A: Piccolo, e.g. (FLUTE); 23A: "__ Miz" (LES); 24A: Stick (ADHERE); 25A: Reasoned belief in a supreme being (DEISM); 27A: Scaredy-cat (SISSY); 30A: Appoint as a posse member, say (DEPUTE); 33A: Huck's transport (RAFT); 36A: Consider (DEEM); 38A: Obama's younger daughter (SASHA); 39A: "The Name of the Rose" writer (ECO); 42A: Damaged, as mdse. (IRR.); 43A: BP merger partner (AMOCO); 45A: Stretch of time (SPAN); 46A: Bra size (B CUP); 47A: Falling star (METEOR); 49A: Lesley of "60 Minutes" (STAHL); 51A: Model's array (POSES); 53A: "Get lost!" (BEAT IT); 57A: Defense gp.? (ABA); 62A: Brink (VERGE); 64A: Hit the ground (ALIT); 65A: 1814-'15 exile site (ELBA); 66A: River romper (OTTER); 67A: Titicaca, for one (LAKE); 68A: Cause a stench (REEK); 69A: Natural homes (NESTS); 70A: Author Bagnold (ENID); 71A: Norms: Abbr. (STDS.); 1D: Top dog (ALPHA); 2D: Was heard from the herd (MOOED); 3D: Muslim god (ALLAH); 4D: Like a basketball team's center, usually (TALLEST); 5D: National Institutes of Health city (BETHESDA); 6D: In need of a massage (ACHY); 7D: "Now hear __!" (THIS); 8D: Sharpened (HONED); 9D: Most goofy (DAFFIEST); 10D: Laid up (ILL); 12D: Adorable (CUTE); 13D: Shelley works (ODES); 21D: Prefix with sect or cycle (TRI-); 22D: Captained (LED); 26D: Hot tub (SPA); 28D: Monopolizes, with "up" (SEWS); 29D: Kennel sounds (YELPS); 31D: No __ traffic (THRU); 32D: O.K. Corral fighter (EARP); 33D: 500 sheets (REAM); 34D: Zenith (ACME); 37D: Defensive trench (MOAT); 40D: Fans (BOOSTERS); 41D: With sustained force (UNABATED); 44D: Jobs, vis-à-vis Apple Inc. (CEO); 46D: Oregon NBA team, familiarly (BLAZERS); 48D: Old touring car (REO); 50D: "Yo!" ("HEY!"); 54D: Apartment sign (TO LET); 55D: Asleep, probably (IN BED); 56D: Tropical hardwoods (TEAKS); 57D: Stratford's river (AVON); 58D: __ noire (BETE); 60D: Actor Rickman (ALAN); 61D: Collaborative Web site (WIKI); 63D: Figure out (GET).


TUESDAY, March 30, 2010 — Robert A. Doll

Theme: "Make Like a Banana …." — Theme answers start with synonyms for "splitting."

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Critters with powerful jaws (SNAPPING TURTLES).
  • 27A: Program interruption (BREAKING NEWS).
  • 46A: Spurning learning (CUTTING CLASS).
  • 60A: Discontinuing relations of any kind (SEVERING ALL TIES).
Good morning, everybody! It's Spring Break here in Arlington, Virginia, and I hear it's even going to feel like spring in a couple days. The PuzzleKids are off to a basketball camp every day and I'm working longer hours than I typically do. Perhaps I need to look up the definition of "break." Speaking of "break," let's talk about the puzzle. (See what I did there?)

I kinda like this theme. It's a strange looking grid, with a ton of three-letter words and abbreviations, which I'm not crazy about. On the other hand, if you're kind of new to solving I can see where the short answers might help you get a foothold. Let us know in the comments if you thought the three-letter stuff was so easy it was annoying, or if it was more of a welcome relief.

  • 15A: California fruit (RAISINS).

  • 20A: Server on skates (CARHOP). I never really thought about this word before. Shouldn't it be CARGLIDE. I mean, for CARHOP they should be on … pogo sticks, right? (That would be cool.)
  • 49A: Caribbean isl. belonging to France (ST. BARTS).
  • 58A: Game in which love is expressed frequently? (TENNIS). Cute clue.
  • 5D: Ship's captain (SKIPPER).
  • 7D: Apollo's twin sister (ARTEMIS). I heard that when a hunter was caught watching her taking a bath, she turned him into a stag and his own dogs ripped him to shreds. Harsh!
  • 8D: Movie girl with "perils" (PAULINE). I do not know what this means.
  • 61D: __ de Janeiro (RIO). Olympics!
Everything Else — 1A: Casey and Kildare: Abbr. (DRS.); 4A: Clairvoyant's claim, for short (ESP); 7A: Courses for coll. credit (APS); 10A: Ball support (TEE); 13A: Actor McKellen (IAN); 14A: Classic Jag (XKE); 21A: Sniggler's prey (EEL); 22A: Eliel Saarinen's son (EERO); 23A: Normandy battleground (ST.-LÔ); 24A: Chinese government bigwig (PREMIER); 32A: Bedroom set piece (ARMOIRE); 35A: Sun. speech (SER.); 36A: Catch a few z's (NAP); 37A: "Green Eggs and Ham" author (SEUSS); 38A: Writer Jong (ERICA); 40A: USNA grad (ENS.); 41A: Sephia automaker (KIA); 44A: Took, as advice (ACTED ON); 50A: "¿Cómo __ usted?" (ESTA); 54A: The Phantom of the Opera (ERIK); 57A: River inlet (RIA); 63A: Apple-polishers (TOADIES); 64A: __ canto: singing style (BEL); 65A: Post- opposite (PRE-); 66A: Govt. ID (SSN); 67A: Frequently, in verse (OFT); 68A: Words in a simile (AS A); 69A: Old JFK arrival (SST); 1D: 45s, e.g. (DISCS); 2D: Charged (RAN AT); 3D: Watchdog's warning (SNARL); 4D: __ 67: Montreal World's Fair (EXPO); 6D: Proverbial sword beater (PEN); 9D: "To __, With Love" (SIR); 10D: Mah-jongg piece (TILE); 11D: Cabinet dept. formed after the 1977 oil crisis (ENER.); 12D: "Tiger in your tank" company (ESSO); 16D: Bow's opposite (STERN); 18D: Greek god of fear (PHOBOS); 19D: Nerd (GEEK); 25D: Actress __ Dawn Chong (RAE); 26D: "Snowy" wading birds (EGRETS); 28D: Take a chance (RISK IT); 29D: Arthurian lady (ENID); 30D: Texas city on the Brazos (WACO); 31D: Wing tip-to-wing tip distance (SPAN); 32D: "Just __!" (A SEC); 33D: Contact lens solution brand (RENU); 34D: Is required to (MUST); 39D: Take offense at (RESENT); 42D: "To sum up ..." (IN BRIEF); 43D: Not with (AGAINST); 44D: Cockpit abbr. (ALT.); 45D: Sand structures (CASTLES); 47D: Tut-tutted (TSKED); 48D: Rugged rock (CRAG); 51D: Haircut sounds (SNIPS); 52D: Stadium levels (TIERS); 53D: Balance sheet item (ASSET); 54D: Approximations: Abbr. (ESTS.); 55D: Classic autos (REOS); 56D: 58-Across star Lendl (IVAN); 59D: Cinders of old comics (ELLA); 62D: Lawyers' gp. (ABA).


MONDAY, Mar. 29, 2010 — Barry C. Silk

THEME: HAT (73A: The last word of this puzzle's five longest answers is a type of one)
— clue pretty much says it all — theme answers end in words that can describe types of hats.

A zingy little number. Simple theme concept, entertainingly executed. Loved most all of it, except KNURL (3D: Small knob) — there's a word only KNURL's mother could love. Ugh. Got hung up in only a couple of places, both involving names: I have no idea who portrayed Watson in the '30s and '40s (!?), so NIGEL was just a good, British-sounding guess (45A: ___ Bruce, '30s--40s Dr. Watson portrayer). I *did* know that Roy Rogers's birth name was SLYE, but somehow my brain didn't process the information correctly, or didn't recall it quickly, so I had to piece it all together from crosses (32D: Leonard ___: Roy Rogers's birth name). Still managed to come in a hair's breadth under 3 minutes. Started easily in the NW and then decided I would race across the grid to the SE, via crosses, as fast as I could. Didn't hesitate once — until I got to the clue for HAT, which was too long for me to read clearly in my software window, and which wouldn't have made much sense anyway since I had no theme answers at that point. From SE, I shot across to SW, then up the west coast. Rode the DRUGSTORE COWBOY across to the E and then went up and finished the puzzle off in the NE, with crosswordesey EMO being the last thing to go down. I see the makings of another theme built into this one — I just accidentally typed out MIDNIGHT COWBOY instead of DRUGSTORE COWBOY (perhaps bec. MIDNIGHT SUN is an answer in the grid). So ... you just need a RHINESTONE or a DALLAS and you're on your way to a COWBOY theme. Have at it!

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Gyroscopic toy (SPINNING TOP) — in America, we call them, simply, "TOPS." The "SPINNING" part is kind of implied.
  • 24A: Central American fishing mecca (GULF OF PANAMA) — theme actually helped me get this quickly — rare that theme ever helps out on a Monday, as I'm usually moving too quickly to notice.
  • 40A: Pretender in a ten-gallon hat and boots (DRUGSTORE COWBOY) — also a Matt Dillon film.
  • 52A: Proverbial backbreaker for a camel (THE LAST STRAW) — these feel like two entirely different idioms to me: there's "THE LAST STRAW," and then there's "THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL'S BACK." Never heard "THE LAST STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL'S BACK."
  • 63A: Arctic solar phenomenon (MIDNIGHT SUN)

Crosswordese 101: QANTAS (29A: "Flying kangaroo" airline) — certainly the puzzle's most common 6-letter "Q" word, and possibly the most common non-abbrev. "Q" answers wherein the "Q" is followed by a letter that is not a "U." See also the "Q" cross, IRAQ, which is probably the most common non-abbrev. "Q"-ending word. QANTAS thus becomes the first "Q" word in our Crosswordese 101 Pantheon. Now, only "V" and "W" are unrepresented.

What else?

  • 7D: Tucker of country music (TANYA) — don't have much to say about the non-theme fill today, so ... when in doubt, cut to music.

[Just a *great* country voice]

  • 6D: The Diamondbacks, on scoreboards (ARI) — Opening Day is just 8 days away. ARI has an excellent player in Justin UPTON, whom they signed to a huge contract during the off-season. He's got real MVP potential. His brother B.J. also plays in the Majors. Maybe some day you will see UPTON clued via one of them instead of via the more predictable [Author Sinclair].
  • 43D: Numbers on 45s (OLD SONGS) — saw "45s" and thought "guns." Then thought "Bible verses."

See you Friday,


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. Just a reminder — the Crosswords L.A. Tournament is coming up May 1, 2010 at Loyola-Marymount University. See link at the top of the sidebar for more info. I'll be there. If you're a west-coaster, you should be there too. Lots of low-key crossword fun.

Everything Else — 1A: Calligrapher's need (INK); 4A: Hilton alternative (HYATT); 9A: Fragrant wood (CEDAR); 14A: Lair (DEN); 15A: Surrounding glows (AURAE); 16A: Fuming (IRATE); 17A: Day "Grey's Anatomy" airs: Abbr. (THU.); 18A: Gyroscopic toy (SPINNING TOP); 20A: Archery projectile (ARROW); 22A: Time past (YORE); 23A: Comic Philips (EMO); 24A: Central American fishing mecca (GULF OF PANAMA); 28A: At liberty (FREE); 29A: "Flying kangaroo" airline (QANTAS); 33A: The Beatles' "__ the Walrus" (I AM); 36A: Skin layer (DERMA); 39A: British nobleman (EARL); 40A: Pretender in a ten-gallon hat and boots (DRUGSTORE COWBOY); 44A: Division word (INTO); 45A: __ Bruce, '30s-'40s Dr. Watson portrayer (NIGEL); 46A: Scand. nation (SWE.); 47A: Be lenient (GO EASY); 50A: Chinese leader? (INDO-); 52A: Proverbial backbreaker for a camel (THE LAST STRAW); 58A: IV squared (XVI); 61A: The same, on the Seine (EGAL); 62A: Bush successor (OBAMA); 63A: Arctic solar phenomenon (MIDNIGHT SUN); 67A: __ alai (JAI); 68A: Kindle download (EBOOK); 69A: Gizmo (THING); 70A: Ques. response (ANS.); 71A: Homes in trees (NESTS); 72A: Letters after thetas (IOTAS); 73A: The last word of this puzzle's five longest answers is a type of one (HAT); 1D: Dog collar attachment (ID TAG); 2D: India's first prime minister (NEHRU); 3D: Small knob (KNURL); 4D: Argues (HAS WORDS); 5D: "Fer sure!" ("YUP!"); 6D: The Diamondbacks, on scoreboards (ARI); 7D: Tucker of country music (TANYA); 8D: Part of a carpenter's joint (TENON); 9D: Movie theater (CINEMA); 10D: Fraction of a joule (ERG); 11D: Dinner and a movie, say (DATE); 12D: Tiny particle (ATOM); 13D: Seized auto, for short (REPO); 19D: Big oil exporter (IRAQ); 21D: Not quite right (OFF); 25D: There are three in every yard (FEET); 26D: Eva of Argentina (PERON); 27D: From square one (ANEW); 30D: Folder features (TABS); 31D: Get one's ducks in __ (A ROW); 32D: Leonard __: Roy Rogers's birth name (SLYE); 33D: "Got it, man!" ("I DIG!"); 34D: Pisa's river (ARNO); 35D: "Turn off the sound" button (MUTE); 37D: X-ray cousin, briefly (MRI); 38D: Auspices (AEGIS); 41D: Nanny __ (GOAT); 42D: Penny (CENT); 43D: Numbers on 45s (OLD SONGS); 48D: Arab chieftains (SHEIKS); 49D: Safecracker (YEGG); 51D: Gambling parlor letters (OTB); 53D: "Chicago Hope" actress Christine (LAHTI); 54D: Even if, informally (ALTHO); 55D: Indian prince (RAJAH); 56D: Kenmore competitor (AMANA); 57D: Spot for a belt (WAIST); 58D: Mutant superhero group (X-MEN); 59D: Hard-to-describe feeling (VIBE); 60D: Nuptial vows (I DOS); 64D: "Wayne's World" catchword (NOT); 65D: Get off one's 25-Down (SIT); 66D: Italian article (UNA).


SUNDAY, March 28, 2010 — Merl Reagle (calendar)

Theme: "The Nickname Game" — Puns on famous people's names

[Note: This is the puzzle that appears in the Sunday L.A. Times newspaper. If you don't get the paper, you can find the puzzle here. Scroll down to see the write-up of today's syndicated puzzle.]

Theme answers:
  • 23A: ___ "___" ___ (great actor but not-so-great golfer?) (CHRIS DUFFER WALKEN).
  • 33A: ___ "___" ___ (writer of a popular food column?) (WILL YUM SAFIRE).
  • 46A: ___ "___" ___ (author with a really smooth writing style?) (ALEX SANDER DUMAS).
  • 63A: ___ "___" ___ (actor who doesn't work cheap?) (MAX A MILLION SCHELL).
  • 80A: ___ "___" ___ (film star-turned-hairstylist?) (MAL COMB MCDOWELL).
  • 93A: ___ "___" ___ (first guy to say, "I don't like your type face"?) (AL FONTS CAPONE).
  • 105A: ___ "___" ___ (author of the first hip-hop almanac?) (BEN JAMMIN' FRANKLIN).
Everything Else — 1A: Rattler's need (SABER); 6A: Duster's target (CROP); 10A: Fair one in fairy tales (DAMSEL); 16A: Dandy (FOP); 19A: Finding ___ (research goal) (A CURE); 20A: King with three daughters (LEAR); 21A: Mrs. of cow renown (O'LEARY); 22A: Profit add-on (-EER); 26A: Herb you may regret buying? (RUE); 27A: Some pipes (CORNCOBS); 28A: Took action against (SUED); 29A: Split (up), as proceeds (DIVVY); 31A: Card hugs (OOO); 32A: Increases (UPS); 37A: Bank add-on (FEE); 38A: Presidential ___ (AIDE); 39A: Like some victories (LOP-SIDED); 40A: Style of a room (DECOR); 43A: Concerning (IN RE); 44A: She played Shirley on TV (CINDY); 49A: Spoil (GO BAD); 54A: VIP's introduction (VERY); 55A: Law symbol (BAR); 56A: Fathers (SIRES); 57A: Fleece source (ALPACA); 58A: Space walk, to NASA (EVA); 59A: Chick on the piano (COREA); 61A: Ms. Zadora (PIA); 62A: Bomber technology (STEALTH); 67A: Potions (ELIXIRS); 69A: Where Lawrence is: abbr. (KAN.); 70A: Wee hour (TWO AM); 71A: Kramden's sound effect (POW); 74A: Geometry giant (EUCLID); 75A: Devilfish (MANTA); 77A: Abby's twin (ANN); 78A: "Wizard of Oz" farmhand (ZEKE); 79A: Some Japanese-Americans (NISEI); 83A: Country singer Fricke (JANIE); 84A: Young Taylor (OPIE); 85A: Of prisons (PENAL); 86A: Actress who wed David Duchovny (TEA LEONI); 91A: Minimal teams (DUOS); 92A: Island adornment (LEI); 96A: Slammer (PEN); 97A: Lit. monogram (GBS); 100A: Tony winner Moore (MELBA); 101A: Tony and Gina's "Trapeze" co-star (BURT); 102A: Only okay (MEDIOCRE); 104A: An ex of Mickey (AVA); 110A: "Solaris" author (LEM); 111A: 1950s crooner famously fired on live TV (LAROSA); 112A: Buster? (NARC); 113A: Artist El ___ (GRECO); 114A: Compass pt. (ENE); 115A: Rights slogan on bumper stickers, ca. 1980 (ERA YES); 116A: Spew like oil (GUSH); 117A: Less risky (SAFER); 1D: 1921 defendant (SACCO); 2D: "Bless you" preceder (ACHOO); 3D: Pack animal (BURRO); 4D: Julia's Oscar role (ERIN); 5D: Firefighters, often (RESCUERS); 6D: A suit (CLUBS); 7D: Field marshals? (REFS); 8D: Clumsy one (OAF); 9D: Panel hosts, e.g. (PRESIDERS); 10D: Wooden pin (DOWEL); 11D: Tom Jones hit, "She's ___" (A LADY); 12D: Tweety's voice (MEL); 13D: Bag, in brand names (SAK); 14D: Long introduction? (ERE); 15D: Actress Carter and an LBJ daughter (LYNDAS); 16D: Passionate (FERVID); 17D: Body of work (OEUVRE); 18D: ___ on (victimized) (PREYED); 24D: Numskull (DOPE); 25D: Decide officially (RULE); 30D: "Danged ___ know" (IF I); 33D: Undercover device (WIRE); 34D: Arm bones (ULNAS); 35D: Hip '60s types (MODS); 36D: Use binoculars, perhaps (SPY); 37D: Very alluring (FOXY); 38D: Physicist Sakharov (ANDREI); 40D: HAL's deactivator (DAVE); 41D: Ht. (ELEV.); 42D: Baked artwork (CERAMICS); 43D: Up ___ (indignant) (IN ARMS); 44D: Quaint souvenir (CURIO); 45D: "And ___ every word!" (I MEANT); 47D: On the bus (ABOARD); 48D: Take a little bit from (DIP INTO); 49D: Crest rival (GLEEM); 50D: Aussie gem (OPAL); 51D: Hammer type (BALL PEEN); 52D: Do studio work (ACT); 53D: Morse bit (DAH); 57D: Just around the corner (AT HAND); 59D: 20 per cent of DLXV (CXIII); 60D: Acid neutralizer (ALKALI); 62D: Candle holder (SCONCE); 64D: Hot-rod rod (AXLE); 65D: Knight's weapon (LANCE); 66D: Cousins of gurus (SWAMIS); 67D: Bard's nightfall (E'EN); 68D: Parisian pronoun (LUI); 72D: 69 Across neighbor (OKLA.); 73D: Feeling fine (WELL); 75D: Frenzied (MANIC); 76D: Adding up (to) (AMOUNTING); 78D: Teuton's two (ZWEI); 80D: Malraux's "___ Fate" (MANS); 81D: Elks' org. (BPOE); 82D: Premieres (OPENINGS); 83D: Write quickly (JOT); 86D: Husky treat? (TAMALE); 87D: Ace's value, sometimes (ELEVEN); 88D: Burning (AFLAME); 89D: Slow throw (LOB); 90D: Allow (ENABLE); 91D: Where to live and learn? (DORM); 92D: Castor and Pollux's mom (LEDA); 94D: Humiliate (ABASE); 95D: Mountain cats (PUMAS); 96D: Fowl pole? (PERCH); 97D: Staff symbol (G CLEF); 98D: Funny Fanny (BRICE); 99D: Man of La Mancha (SEÑOR); 102D: The 3M Co. et al. (MFRS.); 103D: Soup veggie (OKRA); 106D: Musical sensitivity (EAR); 107D: Rod squad?: abbr. (NRA); 108D: Delight (JOY); 109D: Flagstaff sch. (NAU).

SUNDAY, March 28, 2010 — Pamela Amick Klawitter (syndicated)

Theme: "From the Product Department" — Theme answers are familiar phrases with names of fruit hidden in them.

[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: Chancellor Angela Merkel leads it (GERMAN GOVERNMENT).
  • 32A: Bologna location (DELI MEAT COUNTER).
  • 54A: 1989 Fred Savage comedy (LITTLE MONSTERS).
  • 70A: Houdini et al. (ESCAPE ARTISTS).
  • 91A: Proving ground NW of Vegas (NEVADA TEST SITE).
  • 105A: 50:1 bet, e.g. (EXTREME LONG-SHOT).
  • 122A: Striped reef dweller (EMPEROR ANGELFISH).
  • 112A: A different one is hidden in each of this puzzle's seven longest answers (FRUIT).
Everything Else — 1A: Pamplona parlor (SALA); 5A: 1912 Nobelist Root (ELIHU); 10A: New Balance rival (ASICS); 15A: Ancient symbols of Egyptian royalty (ASPS); 19A: 2005 A.L. MVP, familiarly (A-ROD); 20A: They get carried away (REPOS); 21A: Vietnam's capital (HANOI); 22A: First name in "Popeye"? (SWEE'); 26A: Clue (LEAD); 27A: Historical records (ANNALS); 28A: Oft-named period (ERA); 29A: __-a-brac (BRIC); 30A: Cathedral feature (APSE); 31A: Rise (STAND); 36A: Top cards (ACES); 38A: Radio CD players (DJS); 39A: "Mad Men" airer (AMC); 40A: Tubs with jets (SPAS); 44A: "Shall we?" response ("LET'S"); 46A: Internet commerce (ETAIL); 49A: Truman's Missouri birthplace (LAMAR); 57A: Tussaud, for one (MADAME); 58A: Firenze's land (ITALIA); 59A: Luau fare (POI); 60A: Friend of Rover (FIDO); 62A: Neural impulse conductor (AXON); 63A: 1983 self-titled debut album (MADONNA); 65A: Pigged out (on) (OD'ED); 68A: Ristorante dessert (TIRAMISU); 73A: Do covers (HAIRNETS); 77A: Con __: spiritedly (BRIO); 78A: Furniture movers (CASTERS); 83A: Salinger character who said "I prefer stories about squalor" (ESME); 84A: Ply a scythe (REAP); 86A: School name follower in many addresses (EDU); 88A: Eye maliciously (LEER AT); 89A: Car shoppers' options (LEASES); 95A: Olive Garden specialty (PASTA); 96A: Had an effect on (FAZED); 97A: Bigfoot cousin (YETI); 98A: Come across as (SEEM); 99A: Genealogically based men's gp. (SAR); 101A: "Norma __" (RAE); 103A: Rave partner (RANT); 117A: Ditzy waitress on "Alice" (VERA); 118A: Trompe l'__ (OEIL); 119A: Winter coat (ICE); 120A: Sault-Marie filler (SAINTE); 121A: Dhow sailor (ARAB); 126A: Diana's escort (DODI); 127A: Lingerie shade (BEIGE); 128A: "__ a Grecian Urn" (ODE ON); 129A: Heavy reading? (TOME); 130A: Crossed (out) (EXED); 131A: "Consequently ..." ("AND SO …"); 132A: Jane of "Father Knows Best" (WYATT); 133A: NY Giants lineman Chris (SNEE); 1D: Epics (SAGAS); 2D: Ain't like it oughta be? (AREN'T); 3D: Doone of Devon (LORNA); 4D: Hyper? (ADMAN); 5D: Coastal raptors (ERNS); 6D: Something to shake or break, so to speak (LEG); 7D: NYSE launch (IPO); 8D: Ramshackle home (HOVEL); 9D: PIN relative (USER ID); 10D: Philip of "Kung Fu" (AHN); 11D: Carnival dance (SAMBA); 12D: Like helium (INERT); 13D: Like dunce caps (CONICAL); 14D: "The Big Bang Theory," e.g. (SITCOM); 15D: Lewis lion (ASLAN); 16D: Used a broom (SWEPT); 17D: Veggies in a porridge (PEASE); 18D: Passover feast (SEDER); 24D: "Flash of Genius" actor (ALDA); 25D: Certain aircraft engine (RAM JET); 32D: Regard (DEEM); 33D: Prohibit, legally (ESTOP); 34D: Right on a mapa (ESTE); 35D: Golden State sch. (UCLA); 37D: Spot removers (CLEANSERS); 40D: Unlikely (SLIM); 41D: Gyro bread (PITA); 42D: The slightest bit (A TAD); 43D: Manche department capital (ST.-LÔ); 45D: Poke around (SNOOP); 47D: Corgi comment (ARF); 48D: Last Supper query (IS IT I); 50D: Sistine Chapel ceiling figure (ADAM); 51D: Modest skirt (MAXI); 52D: Cookie guy Wally (AMOS); 53D: Eye care brand (RENU); 55D: Sheets and such (LINEN); 56D: Hit back? (SIDE B); 57D: Sermon subject (MORTAL SIN); 61D: Record (DISC); 64D: French play part (ACTE); 66D: Kernel holder (EAR); 67D: Did a dishwashing chore (DRIED); 69D: Plus (ASSET); 71D: Yoga position (ASANA); 72D: USA __ (TODAY); 73D: Troubleshooting menu (HELP); 74D: Cruising, maybe (ASEA); 75D: "__ shocked as you are!" (I'M AS); 76D: Musical symbol (REST); 79D: Alec D'Urberville's slayer (TESS); 80D: Northern terminus of I-79 (ERIE); 81D: Matter of interest? (RATE); 82D: Apple projection (STEM); 85D: Candy originally from Austria (PEZ); 87D: Unborn, after "in" (UTERO); 90D: Effortlessness (EASE); 92D: Offscreen friend in "Ernest" films (VERN); 93D: Slowly, to Liszt (ADAGIO); 94D: Coup d'__ (ETAT); 96D: Citizens (FREEMEN); 100D: Lab slide critter (AMOEBA); 102D: Third-party account (ESCROW); 104D: Nonstick cookware brand (TFAL); 105D: Dodge (EVADE); 106D: Copy (XEROX); 107D: Diamond deal (TRADE); 108D: Beyond gung-ho (RABID); 109D: Oily compound (LIPID); 110D: Designer Cassini et al. (OLEGS); 111D: Intoxicating, as wine (HEADY); 113D: Breaks in relations (RIFTS); 114D: Strike caller (UNION); 115D: Shout upon arrival (IT'S ME); 116D: Little laugh (TEHEE); 120D: E-mailed (SENT); 123D: Vintage auto (REO); 124D: Museum funder: Abbr. (NEA); 125D: Figured out (GOT).


SATURDAY, March 27, 2010—Brad Wilber

THEME: No theme today—It's a themeless puzzle

Eh, I don't love puzzles whose corners are filled with 7-letter answers. There are some good ones in there, 'tis true, but there are also such answers as FOLIATE, TEARIER, ARRANGE, and EROSION that are just kinda there.

On the plus side, the puzzle was tougher than most L.A. Times crosswords, and hit around a Friday NYT level. Not this Friday's NYT, but the standard Friday NYT difficulty (4:22 for me).

The high spots:
  • 1A: To [Google oneself] is to EGO SURF.
  • 16A: [Scale used in summer weather forecasts] is the UV INDEX. I'm heading to Florida for spring break, and I believe the UV index may figure into things despite it not yet being summer.
  • 24A: The late JFK, JR. is the [Only non-actor ever chosen as People's Sexiest Man Alive, familiarly]. Plenty of non-actors (e.g., a meteorologist for the Weather Channel) make it into the Sexiest Man issue, just not onto the cover for the official title.
  • 32A: [Dagwood's boss] is MR. DITHERS. Anyone else try to put BUMSTEAD in there, forgetting that it's Dagwood's surname? I remembered that the boss was married to Cora long before I could extract his last name.
  • 43A: [Extemporized] means ad-libbed or WINGED IT.
  • 61A: [Pack rat] clues HOARDER. I haven't seen that Hoarders show on TV yet, but my mother's been watching it. She takes comfort in the fact that the people on the show are a half a notch worse than her. "She kept broken shards of a plastic hanger because she thought someone else might use them in a craft project! I would never do that!" So says the woman with socks from the '80s and a collection of used Dunkin Donuts styrofoam cups and plastic lids.
  • 1D: Good clue! A [Tip for an exam taker?] is the ERASER on the tip of a pencil. Oh, wait, I never even saw 51A with the same clue, only this time the answer is the NIB of a pen. Man, do I love cherry Nibs. They're awful, really, all sticky sugar and starch and dye, but I like Nibs better than any other sort of licorice.
  • 2D: The GAG REEL is a [Common DVD bonus feature]. I have yet to see one that's actually hilarious.
  • 6D: [Wrap again, with questionable etiquette] clues REGIFT. There's a fine line between sensible repurposing in a green fashion and unloading your crap on someone who won't want it any more than you do.
  • 8D: [Enviable scholarships] are FULL RIDES. If you were the recipient of a full-ride college scholarship, tell me in the comments so I can ooh and aah.
  • 38D: On Sesame Street, [Bert has one, but not Ernie]—a UNIBROW.
  • 45D: Who doesn't love the ["Doonesbury" hippie] ZONKER? How did he manage to afford to be a sophomore for 13 years? Was he getting an endless full-ride scholarship or what?
I did not know the song in 52A at all. I was hoping it was a blues song, but it turns out to be a 1957 happy-pop song. Here you go, ["Kisses Sweeter __ Wine": Jimmie Rodgers hit] (THAN):

Crosswordese 101: EEOis clued as [Want-ads fairness pledge: Abbr]. It stands for "equal employment opportunity." Guess what other answer gets similar clues? EOE, or "equal opportunity employer." So when you see a clue for a 3-letter abbreviation having to do with hiring or help-wanted ads, you know the first letter is E but have to lean on the crossings to know if it'll be EEO or EOE.

Everything Else — 1A: Google oneself (EGO SURF); 8A: Produce greenery (FOLIATE); 15A: Exceeded, as a time limit (RAN OVER); 16A: Scale used in summer weather forecasts (UV INDEX); 17A: Way back when (AGES AGO); 18A: Researcher's garb (LAB COAT); 19A: Mlle. counterpart (SRTA.); 20A: Card game declaration (I CALL); 22A: Start to dominate? (PRE-); 23A: Want-ads fairness pledge: Abbr. (EEO); 24A: Only non-actor ever chosen as People's Sexiest Man Alive, familiarly (JFK, JR.); 25A: Like some kitchens (EAT-IN); 27A: Apology element (REGRET); 29A: Cockpit reading (AIR SPEED); 31A: MGM co-founder (LOEW); 32A: Dagwood's boss (MR. DITHERS); 33A: "Star Trek" (2009) villain (NERO); 35A: Case for notions (ÉTUI); 36A: Life partners (TRUE LOVES); 40A: Chimes in (ADDS); 43A: Extemporized (WINGED IT); 44A: Faux (ERSATZ); 46A: Crawling with creepers (IVIED); 47A: In advance (EARLY); 49A: Dude (BRO); 50A: Tip for an exam taker? (NIB); 51A: Key of Mahler's "Symphony of a Thousand" (E FLAT); 52A: "Kisses Sweeter __ Wine": Jimmie Rodgers hit (THAN); 53A: Italian pistol (BERETTA); 56A: Database with openings (JOB BANK); 58A: Deforestation concern (EROSION); 59A: Orchestrate (ARRANGE); 60A: "__ Creek," TV series that launched Katie Holmes's career (DAWSON'S); 61A: Pack rat (HOARDER); 1D: Tip for an exam taker? (ERASER); 2D: Common DVD bonus feature (GAG REEL); 3D: Pizzeria shout (ONE TO GO); 4D: Cubs' all-time home run leader (SOSA); 5D: The Cavaliers of the ACC (UVA); 6D: Wrap again, with questionable etiquette (REGIFT); 7D: Monastic attire (FROCK); 8D: Enviable scholarships (FULL RIDES); 9D: Many a racetrack (OVAL); 10D: Empowerment word (LIB); 11D: Entrepreneurial monthly (INC.); 12D: Anne of Green Gables, for one (ADOPTEE); 13D: Less stoic (TEARIER); 14D: Stretches (EXTENDS); 21D: Slightly cracked (AJAR); 24D: Like FabergÈ eggs (JEWELED); 25D: Puget Sound, e.g. (ESTUARY); 26D: Rose garden bane (APHIDS); 28D: Back out (RENEGE); 30D: Slowing, in mus. (RIT.); 32D: Oscar night devotees (MOVIE FANS); 34D: Poet McKuen (ROD); 36D: Half a sleeping pair (TWIN BED); 37D: Mediterranean hot spot (RIVIERA); 38D: Bert has one, but not Ernie (UNIBROW); 39D: "Too many more to mention" abbr. (ET AL.); 41D: Expert (DAB HAND); 42D: Idiosyncratic (STRANGE); 44D: Banderillero's foe (EL TORO); 45D: "Doonesbury" hippie (ZONKER); 48D: Indian royal (RAJAH); 51D: Hugh Laurie's alma mater (ETON); 52D: Vanishing slope sight (T-BAR); 54D: Three dots, to Morse (ESS); 55D: Familia member (TIO); 57D: Top at the shore (BRA).


FRIDAY, Mar. 26, 2010 — Gary Steinmehl

THEME: THE POWER OF TEN (51A: Exponential measurement, and in way, what's demonstrated in how answers were formed in 20-, 34- and 41-Across?) — "IO" (which looks like Arabic number "10") is added to the ends of familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued wackily

Really liked this. If you're going to add a letter (or letters) to create wackiness, at least give the addition (or subtraction, or whatever) a sense of purpose, a reason for being. Puzzle needs a hook. Raison d'être! THE POWER OF TEN is a great and unexpected exclamation point for a puzzle that seemed to be merely an ADDIO puzzle. As I was solving I was imagining a line of dolls or action figures featuring IO — priestess-turned-cow of classical mythology — in various unlikely scenarios, e.g. playing cards, running a lab maze, etc.

Theme answers:

20A: Barbecue area without chairs? (STANDING PATIO)
34A: Relative value used in a scientific workplace? (LABORATORY RATIO)
41A: Small apartment for a comical septet? (SEVEN CARD STUDIO)

Best parts of the grid for me were ROMANNOSE (4D: Prominent facial feature) — because I don't think I've seen that in a grid before and it looks funny — and FINIS (32D: "Done!") — because I hear people say it but have never thought how to spell it (wanted "FINIT!" at first). FINIS looks like you wanted to put in FINISH but didn't have enough room left to, you know, FINISH. I had to deal with a couple of names I didn't know, namely (!) MOIRA (29D: Kelly of "One Tree Hill") — that show is still on the air!? How is that possible? — and EDEN (54D: 1950s British prime minister. It's 1950s day in puzzleworld today (see esp. the NYT). I did not get the memo.

Crosswordese 101: MT. IDA (31D: Highest peak on Crete: Abbr.) — can't believe we haven't even done IDA yet, let alone MTIDA. IDA and OSSA (in their MT-ed and unMT-ed versions) are crossword staples, ancient peaks that get a lot of grid play. IDA can also be a state abbrev., a Lupino, or a Morgenstern. Both peaks were sacred to gods. IDA is on Crete, whereas OSSA is well up the Peloponnesian peninusla in Thessaly.

What else?

  • 1A: Sugar substitute? (DEAR) — very nice. Knew exactly what the clue was going for, trick-wise, but uncovering the pet name was still a pleasure.

  • 15A: Rival rival (ALPO) — knew this was ALPO before I ever saw the clue, which is good, because ... I do not recognize "Rival" as a dog food at all.
  • 17A: Hobart resident (TASMANIAN) — Tasmania also has a MT. OSSA.
  • 46A: "O, gie me the ___ that has acres o' charms": Burns (LASS) — that doesn't rhyme. Saw it was Burns and wrote in LASS (had a cross or two in place). Really expected that when I looked at the clue carefully, I'd see an "ASS" rhyme.
  • 66A: Chuck ___, only coach to win four Super Bowls (NOLL) — coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who used to play (under NOLL) in Three Rivers Stadium. One of the rivers that gave the stadium its name: the OHIO (63A: One of Pittsburgh's Three Rivers).

See you Monday,

Everything Else — 1A: Sugar substitute? (DEAR); 5A: Flirtation (PASS); 9A: Travel needs, perhaps (VISAS); 14A: End of an estimate (OR SO); 15A: Rival rival (ALPO); 16A: __ coffee (IRISH); 17A: Hobart resident (TASMANIAN); 19A: Lip-smacking (TASTY); 20A: Barbecue area without chairs? (STANDING PATIO); 22A: Certain mil. member (NCO); 23A: Gray head? (LEE); 24A: Cereal ingredient (BRAN); 27A: Stallone role (RAMBO); 31A: Plant activity: Abbr. (MFG.); 34A: Relative value used in a scientific workplace? (LABORATORY RATIO); 38A: Lost a lap? (AROSE); 39A: Padre's hermana (TIA); 40A: Snacking (on) to excess (OD'ING); 41A: Small apartment for a comical septet? (SEVEN-CARD STUDIO); 44A: Before, in verse (ERE); 45A: Backspace, often (ERASE); 46A: "O, gie me the __ that has acres o' charms": Burns (LASS); 47A: Word-word link (FOR); 49A: Pres. between JAG and GC (CAA); 51A: Exponential measurement, and in a way, what's demonstrated in how answers were formed in 20-, 34- and 41-Across? (THE POWER OF TEN); 58A: Bread (MOOLA); 59A: Like clones (IDENTICAL); 61A: What an X may indicate (ERROR); 62A: Supply, as paper to a copier (FEED); 63A: One of Pittsburgh's Three Rivers (OHIO); 64A: California baseballer (GIANT); 65A: Signs (INKS); 66A: Chuck __, only coach to win four Super Bowls (NOLL); 1D: Pointillism unit (DOT); 2D: Periods of interest (ERAS); 3D: __ mgr. (ASST.); 4D: Prominent facial feature (ROMAN NOSE); 5D: Ill-fated opener of myth (PANDORA); 6D: Et __: and others (ALII); 7D: Bridge (SPAN); 8D: Berlin number (SONG); 9D: Curriculum __ (VITAE); 10D: Fit to be tied (IRATE); 11D: Spanish ayes (SÍ SÍ); 12D: Reference words (AS TO); 13D: Unassuming (SHY); 18D: Mandela's gp. (ANC); 21D: Gamer's maneuver (PLOY); 24D: Apathetic (BLASE); 25D: Harder to dig up (RARER); 26D: Upstairs (ABOVE); 28D: Fragrant oil (ATTAR); 29D: Kelly of "One Tree Hill" (MOIRA); 30D: Wire fasteners (BRADS); 31D: Highest peak on Crete: Abbr. (MT. IDA); 32D: "Done!" ("FINIS!"); 33D: "We Got the Beat" singers (GO-GOS); 35D: TV Chihuahua (REN); 36D: Baloney (ROT); 37D: Excessive flattery (ADULATION); 42D: Uno minus uno (CERO); 43D: They can ruin diets (SECONDS); 47D: Pen resident (FELON); 48D: Illusionary genre (OP ART); 50D: Back on the water (AFT); 51D: Famous Amos (TORI); 52D: Joyful group dance (HORA); 53D: Coffeehouse connection (WIFI); 54D: 1950s British prime minister (EDEN); 55D: Offend the olfactories (REEK); 56D: Empty hall effect (ECHO); 57D: Pointed fastener (NAIL); 58D: Unit of RAM (MEG); 60D: Texter's tehee (LOL).


THURSDAY, March 25, 2010 — Jeff Chen

Theme: "Fore!" — Say the theme clues out loud and pretend the homophone of what you say is the clue.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: CCCC? [foresees] (TELLS THE FUTURE).
  • 39A: AAAA? [forays] (MILITARY ATTACKS).
  • 56A: TTTT? [forties] (CHILLY FORECAST).
I really enjoyed this puzzle. I thought the cluing was tricky but not too tricky and I had several missteps and "but but but …" moments. We didn't see much in the way of theme density today, but I think the rest of the puzzle makes up for it. Oh, and I love a bunch of the epithets in both the clues and answers:
  • 5A: Dishonorable types (CADS).
  • 24A: Yokel (RUBE).
  • 63A: Big jerks (BOZOS).

  • 9A: Gets off the road, in a way (PLOWS). Me: "Why won't tows fit? Why the h**l won't tows FIT?"
  • 49A: Deli option (TUNA). Wanted the more common rye here.
  • 22D: Wolf pack member (U-BOAT). Was thinking Boy Scouts.
  • 28D: At an impasse, as the Senate (DEADLOCKED). Entered gridlocked without too much hesitation.
Couple more things:
  • 3D: Prepared to speak to a tot, maybe (KNELT). Seems like a fresh clue to me. I think we get the "marriage proposal" clue too often.
  • 8D: Messy situation (SNAFU). We've talked about this recently, haven't we? "Situation Normal All Fouled [or choose another f-word] UP."
  • 32D: Trans-Siberian Railroad city (OMSK). Any of those cities that end in SK remind me of Seinfeld's "Rochelle, Rochelle."
  • 41D: España feature (TILDE). You weren't tricked by this, right? Tell me you weren't tricked by this!
  • 25A: Bird was one, briefly (CELT). And finally, if you were a basketball fan in the 80s, do yourself a favor and find some way to watch the new HBO special "Magic and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals." We happened to catch it at the hotel last weekend and it's outstanding.

Crosswordese 101: The clue for today's CW101 word — 34D: Banned apple spray — is typical. If you see the words banned, bygone, or controversial having to do with an apple, orchard, of fruit spray, you can be certain you're looking at ALAR. The word is sometimes — but rarely — also clued as "winged" or "wing-shaped."

Everything Else — 1A: Torah holders (ARKS); 14A: Spear or pepper follower (-MINT); 15A: End of grace (AMEN); 16A: Sound portion (AUDIO); 17A: On the briny (ASEA); 18A: Pro __ (RATA); 19A: Spills carelessly (SLOPS); 23A: Amount consumed (INTAKE); 27A: Hemingway's Santiago, in the story's title (OLD MAN); 32A: Pontificate (ORATE); 35A: Jessica of "Good Luck Chuck" (ALBA); 38A: Relieve (EASE); 42A: "Get outta here!" ("SCAT!"); 43A: Coward of the stage (NOEL); 44A: Clarifying words (ID EST); 45A: Inchon native (KOREAN); 47A: "__ never work!" (IT'LL); 52A: Hunk (ADONIS); 60A: Santa __: Silicon Valley city (CLARA); 61A: Fuzz (LINT); 62A: DEA agent's discovery (KILO); 64A: Ocean predator (ORCA); 65A: Penultimate fairy tale word (EVER); 66A: Used up (SPENT); 67A: __-do-well (NE'ER); 68A: Information __ (DESK); 1D: Valuable violin (AMATI); 2D: Like baked dough (RISEN); 4D: Overhead projection? (STALACTITE); 5D: Monopoly (CARTEL); 6D: Eastern nurse (AMAH); 7D: Discourage (DETER); 9D: Many a Matisse (PASTEL); 10D: Doozy (LULU); 11D: It's added to natural gas (ODOR); 12D: Use a rag on (WIPE); 13D: Coast Guard pickup (SOS); 21D: Olympic event since 1968 (SKEET); 26D: Poi essential (TARO); 29D: Medieval club (MACE); 30D: More than wonders (ASKS); 31D: Egg site (NEST); 33D: Moneyed, in Madrid (RICO); 36D: Soap ingredient (LYE); 37D: Indonesian island (BALI); 40D: Invalidate (ANNUL); 46D: "Finally!" ("AT LAST!"); 48D: __ sauce: seafood serving (TARTAR); 50D: Polymer introduced by DuPont in 1938 (NYLON); 51D: Blazing (AFIRE); 53D: Like a babe in the woods (NAIVE); 54D: British __ (ISLES); 55D: Childbirth symbol (STORK); 56D: Equine sound (CLOP); 57D: Smog, e.g. (HAZE); 58D: Make smooth, in a way (IRON); 59D: Fairy tale opener (ONCE); 60D: Items used by good buddies (CBS).


WEDNESDAY, March 24, 2010—Peter Abide

THEME: "That Tune Is Named"—Three songs with "[possessive name] + [word referring to the song itself]" titles embody NAME THAT TUNE.

Theme entries:
  • 17A: [John Denver #1 hit] ("ANNIE'S SONG").
  • 39A: ["Guys and Dolls" showstopper] (ADELAIDE'S LAMENT). I don't know this song at all. So I headed to YouTube and watched the 10-minute excerpt featuring Frank Sinatra and Vivian Blaine. Whoa. Her lament is that being strung along for 14 years by Nathan Detroit has caused her to develop psychosomatic cold symptoms?
  • 61A: ["Dr. Zhivago" melody] (LARA'S THEME). This instrumental piece was popular in the '70s.
  • 67A, 68A, 69A: [WIth 68-Across and 69-Across, classic game show, and this puzzle's title] (NAME / THAT / TUNE).

Amy's Top Ten:
  • 1A: [Hippo's attire in "Fantasia"] (TUTU). First of all, it's a cute image. Second, TUTU is fun to say. Like the next two rhyming answers:
  • 21A: [Campaign funders] (FAT CATS).
  • 30A: [Rub elbows (with)] (HOBNOB).
  • 1D: [Repulsive sort] (TOAD). I rarely think of anyone as a toad, but I'm going to make a point of it from here on out.
  • 9D: [Shell collector, maybe] (BEACH BUM). I considered posting a picture of a man in a thong, but that's altogether the wrong kind of BEACH BUM.
  • 12D: [Meek] (MOUSY). I was a mousy kid. I outgrew it.
  • 25D: [Legendary siren] (LORELEI). From the Rhine River in Germany. LORELEI is the name of a famous rocky outcropping as well as a mythical creature who lured sailors to their demise with her song. Crikey, that Wikipedia article lists all sorts of "other" spellings of the name that, if you ask me, are nothing more than woeful misspellings. Have never seen any of those versions before.
  • 40D: [It includes terms of endearment] (LOVE NOTE). Aw, isn't that sweet?
  • 46D: [Diacritical pair of dots] (UMLAUT). That's the diacritical mark seen in this wörd, not the vertical pair of dots seen here:
  • 57D: [Llama land] (PERU). Alliterative clues are an old standby in crosswords, but I don't recall seeing this particular clue before.
Crosswordese 101:—The 19A: Largest of the Near Islands is called ATTU. It's sometimes clued as the Westernmost Aleutian island (of Alaska). Less frequently, an Aleutian island clue is looking for ATKA, so I usually plunk down AT** for any Alaskan island type of clue and let the crossings sort out which one it is. T is a more common letter than K, so ATTU is the one it usually is.

Everything Else1A: Hippo's attire in "Fantasia" (TUTU); 5A: Fashionably smart (CHIC); 9A: Sun ray (BEAM); 13A: Actress Lena (OLIN); 14A: "Lion's share" fabulist (AESOP); 16A: Hockey great Phil, familiarly (ESPO); 17A: John Denver #1 hit (ANNIE'S SONG); 19A: Largest of the Near Islands (ATTU); 20A: Place for a massage (DAY SPA); 21A: Campaign funders (FAT CATS); 23A: Locale in a 1987 Cheech Marin title (EAST LA); 26A: "Yay!" ("OH BOY!"); 27A: Charon's river (STYX); 30A: Rub elbows (with) (HOBNOB); 32A: Western __: history class, briefly (CIV); 33A: Industry kingpin (CZAR); 35A: Bullies (ABUSES); 39A: "Guys and Dolls" showstopper (ADELAIDE'S LAMENT); 42A: Mississippi River explorer (DESOTO); 43A: Take charge (LEAD); 44A: Baby talk word (GOO); 45A: Trial sites (VENUES); 47A: Rough file sound (RASP); 48A: Measuring tool (RULER); 51A: Billiards blunder (MISCUE); 54A: Fork or spoon (UTENSIL); 56A: Longtime buddy (OLD PAL); 60A: __-Honey: candy (BIT-O); 61A: "Dr. Zhivago" melody (LARA'S THEME); 64A: "Cool" rapper? (ICE-T); 65A: Polished (SUAVE); 66A: They're removed via shafts (ORES); 67A: With 68-Across and 69-Across, classic game show, and this puzzle's title (NAME); 68A: See 67-Across (THAT); 69A: See 67-Across (TUNE); 1D: Repulsive sort (TOAD); 2D: Bone near the funny bone (ULNA); 3D: Mite-sized (TINY); 4D: Like many salons (UNISEX); 5D: Andalusia abodes (CASAS); 6D: Bulls and boars (HES); 7D: Prefix with metric (ISO-); 8D: Informal discussion (CONFAB); 9D: Shell collector, maybe (BEACH BUM); 10D: Cornerstone abbr. (ESTAB.); 11D: Is __: likely will (APT TO); 12D: Meek (MOUSY); 15D: Org. for drivers? (PGA); 18D: Eco-friendly fed gp. (EPA); 22D: "Tough luck" ("TOO BAD"); 24D: Senator Cochran of Mississippi (THAD); 25D: Legendary siren (LORELEI); 27D: Big batch (SCAD); 28D: Mariner's concern (TIDE); 29D: Part of YSL (YVES); 31D: "The Lion King" lioness (NALA); 33D: Furnishes food for (CATERS); 34D: Temple area of Jerusalem (ZION); 36D: "Sonic the Hedgehog" developer (SEGA); 37D: Grandson of Eve (ENOS); 38D: Train station (STOP); 40D: It includes terms of endearment (LOVE NOTE); 41D: Meeting of Cong. (SESS.); 46D: Diacritical pair of dots (UMLAUT); 47D: On a winning streak (RED HOT); 48D: Apply before cooking, as spice to meat (RUB IN); 49D: New York city (UTICA); 50D: "Who cares if they do?!" ("LET 'EM!"); 52D: Math subgroup (COSET); 53D: Last: Abbr. (ULT.); 55D: They, in Calais (ILS); 57D: Llama land (PERU); 58D: Church approval (AMEN); 59D: Suffix with Congo (-LESE); 62D: Rooting sound (RAH); 63D: Gardner of "On the Beach" (AVA).


TUESDAY, March 23, 2010 — Merle Baker

Theme: "Big Finish" — First words of the theme answers can follow the word grand in familiar two-word phrases.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *Sam in "Casablanca," e.g. (PIANO PLAYER).
  • 36A: *Fast-paced (SLAM-BANG).
  • 42A: *Collapsible headgear (OPERA HAT).
  • 11D: *Hank Aaron's 6,856 is the career record (TOTAL BASES).
  • 29D: *1962 Gene Chandler hit (DUKE OF EARL).
  • 61A: Big finish, and what the first words of the answers to starred clues can be (GRAND FINALE).
Hi, everyone. Back from beautiful downtown Omaha (*cough*) and my brain's pretty well fried. It takes a good big of energy to watch three loooong days of college wrestling. But when the Hawkeyes come out on top, it's all worth it! I had an awesome time, but I'm pretty much ready for my life to get back to normal so I'll have more time to obsess about puzzles. Until next season, of course.

This puzzle was … fine. I'm tired. I solved it without any real problems. The theme didn't help me as I solved, but in retrospect, I like it. GRAND OPERA is not something I'm familiar with. Come to think of it, neither is OPERA HAT. So I would have been fine without that particular entry. But overall, nicely done.

Quick hits:
  • 1A: "The __ Kid": early TV Western (CISCO). Here. This will get "Duke of Earl" out of your head.

  • 16A: Cal. neighbor (ORE.). Tried Nev. first.
  • 19A: Spinner (TOP).
  • 45A: Sun, to Esteban (SOL). Spanish!
  • 5D: Disney toon panda, "Special Agent __" (OSO). I've seen quite a lot of Disney over the last few years, but I don't recognize this one.
  • 13D: Back-to-school mo. (SEPT.). In a lot of places anyway.
  • 28D: Fails to grasp (DROPS). Cute. I would not have been disappointed to see a question mark at the end of this clue. It's tricky enough to have one, I think.
  • 38D: Elation (GLEE). Do you watch that show? I haven't seen it, but hear it's pretty awesome.
  • 40D: Base melody (TAPS). Gives me the goosebumps every time I hear it.
Crosswordese 101 Round-Up:
  • 55A: UN anti-child-labor agcy. (ILO).
  • 7D: Airline to Tel Aviv (EL AL).
  • 58D: Away from the wind (ALEE).
Everything Else — 6A: Suit parts (VESTS); 11A: "__ the season ..." ('TIS); 14A: Choir members (ALTOS); 15A: Even if, for short (ALTHO); 20A: Squealed, so to speak (SANG); 21A: Be under the weather (AIL); 22A: Formally unsay (RECANT); 24A: Cutlass or 88 (OLDS); 26A: She plays Julia in "Julie & Julia" (MERYL); 27A: Tack on (ADD); 30A: Standards of excellence (IDEALS); 32A: CEO's degree (MBA); 34A: Dirty (GRUBBY); 39A: "Wake Up With Al" weatherman (ROKER); 40A: China's Mao __-tung (TSE); 41A: Studio stand (EASEL); 44A: "Honor Thy Father" author Gay (TALESE); 46A: Outcome (UPSHOT); 48A: Canonized 26-Down (STE.); 49A: Festival showings, perhaps (FILMS); 51A: Quartz variety (ONYX); 53A: Began the betting (OPENED); 55A: UN anti-child-labor agcy. (ILO); 56A: Old oath (EGAD); 60A: Menu phrase (ALA); 64A: Roofing material (TAR); 65A: Part of a pound (OUNCE); 66A: Best-seller list entry (NOVEL); 67A: NBC fixture for nearly 35 yrs. (SNL); 68A: Dirty campaign tactic (SMEAR); 69A: Show reverence, in a way (KNEEL); 1D: Limits (CAPS); 2D: Hip bones (ILIA); 3D: Ollie's partner (STAN); 4D: Zaire, today (CONGO); 6D: Travel bag (VALISE); 7D: Airline to Tel Aviv (EL AL); 8D: Farm home (STY); 9D: "Spider-Man 3" actress Russell (THERESA); 10D: More ticked off (SORER); 12D: Heavy metal (IRON); 18D: Rice source (PADDY); 23D: One of a drum set pair (CYMBAL); 25D: Scales of the zodiac (LIBRA); 26D: Swiss miss, maybe: Abbr. (MLLE.); 27D: Soil-related prefix (AGRO-); 31D: Helpers: Abbr. (ASSTS.); 33D: "__ of robins ...": Kilmer (A NEST); 35D: Capital east of the Elbe River (BERLIN); 37D: Substantial (MEATY); 43D: Boring (HUMDRUM); 44D: Like a __ bricks (TON OF); 47D: Obama attorney general Eric (HOLDER); 50D: Tyke's blocks (LEGOS); 52D: Arc lamp gas (XENON); 53D: Granola ingredient (OATS); 54D: Word after flight or floor (PLAN); 55D: Ancient Peruvian (INCA); 57D: Contributed (GAVE); 58D: Away from the wind (ALEE); 59D: Farmer's place, in song (DELL); 62D: "Wheel of Fortune" buy (AN E); 63D: Printer need (INK).


Monday, Mar. 22, 2010 — Robert Fisher

THEME: body part + random word + body part — theme answers follow that pattern

Slower than normal today because the theme wasn't entirely clear as I was solving, so didn't help at all, and one theme answer (FINGER-TO-NOSE) was a phrase I'd never seen before. I can picture the sobriety test in question, but didn't know that it had such a literal name. Had FINGER and needed crosses to take down the rest. Theme was ho-hum, but the grid is pretty cleanly filled, and the cluing was decent, so the overall experience was enjoyable.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Hopelessly, as in love (HEAD OVER HEELS)
  • 29A: Field sobriety test (FINGER-TO-NOSE)
  • 46A: Fierce way to fight (TOOTH AND NAIL)
  • 56A: Facetious (TONGUE IN CHEEK)

Tougher-than-normal cluing added some zest to the puzzle today. Any time I can't pick up a clue's answer on first glance, that counts as "tougher-than-normal" cluing on a Monday. Today, I got stumped at 60A: Forte of a certain "doctor" (SPIN). I think the word "Forte" was making me think "Foot" and thus think "Doctor" SCHOLL'S. Clearly my aviation vocabulary needs work, as both the clue and answer at 26A: Piper in the air (CUB) are only barely recognizable to me. Here's a piper CUB in action:

More mess-ups by me — couldn't pick up 29D: Hertz inventory (FLEET) without most of the crosses. Don't know what I was looking for, but I'm guessing it was something like, uh, CARS. AUTOS? Wrote in MANLY for MACHO very early on in the solve (1D: Virile). And then there was my favorite mistake: misreading the clue on 31D: Umbilicus (NAVEL) as "Umbilicious!" Not surprisingly, I had *no* idea what to do with that. I think "Umbilicious" is an exclamation associated with a fetish you don't want to know *anything* about.

Crosswordese 101: AD HOC (14A: Like a specially formed committee) — "To this," as in "for this occasion only," as in "not standing or planned in advance." Used most often of committees, as you undoubtedly know. Grids love this fivesome of letters for some reason. Terminal "C" almost always needs to be preceded by an "I," and thus the words where it's preceded by something else show up an awful lot in the grid. This is because once you opt out of "I," your options narrow right down: -OC gives you, what? MEDOC? ADHOC? HAVOC? And then a bunch of stuff you don't really want in your grid, like "ASSOC." "THE O.C."

What else?

  • 2D: Work shirker (IDLER) — knew it was IDLER before I ever looked at the clue, but then, when I read the clue, I read [Work shriker]. This is almost certainly due to the appearance of SHRIKE in a recent puzzle in another publication.
  • 28D: Stupefy with booze (BESOT) — a great word. The language of drunkenness is very well represented in Crossworld. I nearly made BESOT my Crosswordese 101 lesson, but it's nowhere near as common as "SOT" (or "TOPE," or "DTS," etc.), so went for the drab but far more crosswordesey ADHOC. Also on the short list: EMCEE.
  • 22D: They're big in Hollywood (EGOS) — this is a tired, recycled, and stereotypical clue that needs to die a hard death. EGOS are big in many, many businesses. Slurring "Hollywood" en masse is like saying everyone who works on Wall St. is a greedy fat cat. Come on. Bring some more imagination to the cluing.
  • 6D: Broken chord, in music (ARPEGGIO) — how did I never see the clue for this? That's a really long word for me to have missed the clue completely. It's probably a good thing I missed it, as I wouldn't have picked it up easily anyway.

See you Friday,


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Everything Else — 1A: Prefix with brewery (MICRO-); 6A: Quite a ways away (AFAR); 10A: Field furrow maker (PLOW); 14A: Like a specially formed committee (AD HOC); 15A: Infrequent (RARE); 16A: Learn about aurally (HEAR); 17A: Track shoe part (CLEAT); 18A: Canon shots, briefly (PICS); 19A: Dark and murky (INKY); 20A: Hopelessly, as in love (HEAD OVER HEELS); 23A: Meal remnant (ORT); 24A: Cribbage piece (PEG); 25A: Writer's coll. major, often (ENG.); 26A: Piper in the air (CUB); 29A: Field sobriety test (FINGER TO NOSE); 32A: Fossil fuel (COAL); 35A: Draw a bead (AIM); 36A: Keeps for later (SAVES); 37A: A single time (ONCE); 38A: Theater chain founded in 1904 (LOEW'S); 41A: __ Beach, Florida (VERO); 42A: Firestone products (TIRES); 44A: Bit of a chill (NIP); 45A: Formerly, previously (ERST); 46A: Fierce way to fight (TOOTH AND NAIL); 50A: Reply: Abbr. (ANS.); 51A: __, dos, tres ... (UNO); 52A: '50s car embellishment (FIN); 53A: "Antiques Roadshow" airer (PBS); 56A: Facetious (TONGUE IN CHEEK); 60A: Forte of a certain "doctor" (SPIN); 62A: Eye blatantly (OGLE); 63A: Throw with effort (HEAVE); 64A: Political alliance (PACT); 65A: Mass transit option (RAIL); 66A: Game show host (EMCEE); 67A: "The Sun __ Rises" (ALSO); 68A: Somewhat (A TAD); 69A: Competed in a bee (SPELT); 1D: Virile (MACHO); 2D: Work shirker (IDLER); 3D: Copy from your classmate's paper, say (CHEAT); 4D: Willie Nelson's "On the __ Again" (ROAD); 5D: Squid cousins (OCTOPI); 6D: Broken chord, in music (ARPEGGIO); 7D: Expo (FAIR); 8D: Shooter with a quiver (ARCHER); 9D: Bristle at (RESENT); 10D: Golfer Mickelson (PHIL); 11D: Camera's protective cap (LENS COVER); 12D: Cask material (OAK); 13D: Droll (WRY); 21D: Bribable (VENAL); 22D: They're big in Hollywood (EGOS); 27D: Online surfers, e.g. (USERS); 28D: Stupefy with booze (BESOT); 29D: Hertz inventory (FLEET); 30D: Edit (EMEND); 31D: Umbilicus (NAVEL); 32D: Terra __: pottery clay (COTTA); 33D: Burger topper (ONION); 34D: Puzzles involving quotes, usually (ACROSTICS); 39D: Hall of Fame outfielder Dave or actor Paul (WINFIELD); 40D: Madrid's country (SPAIN); 43D: Steer clear of (SHUN); 47D: Long-haired cat (ANGORA); 48D: Chewy candy (NOUGAT); 49D: Yard's 36 (INCHES); 53D: What a V-sign may mean (PEACE); 54D: Slanted edge (BEVEL); 55D: Trapshooting (SKEET); 57D: Not hoodwinked by (ONTO); 58D: Director Kazan (ELIA); 59D: Natural rope fiber (HEMP); 60D: Place to be pampered (SPA); 61D: Buddy (PAL).


SUNDAY, March 21, 2010 — Sylvia Bursztyn

THEME: "And Sign Here" — A rebus puzzles in which an ampersand stands for the letters AND.

[Note: This is the puzzle that appears in the Sunday L.A. Times newspaper. If you don't get the paper, you can find the puzzle here. Scroll down to see the write-up of today's syndicated puzzle.]

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Dick Clark's flagship (AMERICAN B[AND]ST[AND]).
  • 48A: Company that merged with Nabisco (ST[AND]ARD BR[AND]S).
  • 62A: Peet or Plummer (AM[AND]A).
  • 67A: Irving Berlin's first big hit (ALEX[AND]ER'S RAGTIME B[AND]).
  • 85A: Desert (AB[AND]ON).
  • 91A: Unimpeded perspective (GR[AND]ST[AND] VIEW).
  • 94A: Hero's heartthrob (LE[AND]ER).
  • 118A: Like lovers on a park path (WALKING H[AND] IN H[AND]).
  • 9D: Insipid (BL[AND]).
  • 12D: Tristram of literature (SH[AND]Y).
  • 36D: Screen's Kowalski (BR[AND]O).
  • 39D: Sacker of Rome (V[AND]AL).
  • 42D: Dressing variety (THOUS[AND] ISL[AND]).
  • 47D: Leader dubbed Mahatma (MOH[AND]AS G[AND]HI).
  • 59D: Provisions (VI[AND]S).
  • 82D: Marlowe's creator (CH[AND]LER).
  • 92D: Shaw title character ([AND]ROCLES).
  • 107D: Ramble (ME[AND]ER).
  • 114D: Huarache (S[AND]AL).
Everything Else — 1A: Old Egyptian charm (SCARAB); 7A: Native Israelis (SABRAS); 13A: Hogs the sofa (SPRAWLS); 20A: Yokohama drama (KABUKI); 21A: Red in the face (ABLUSH); 22A: Put right (IRON OUT); 25A: Canyon near Malibu (TOPANGA); 26A: Hanoi holiday (TET); 27A: Valletta's nation (MALTA); 28A: Tot stuff (TOYS); 30A: Addams Family uncle (FESTER); 31A: "What --- could I do?" (ELSE); 33A: Inlet (RIA); 34A: Recycling receptacle (BIN); 35A: Critic Roger (EBERT); 37A: Big horn (TUBA); 39A: Nice life (VIE); 40A: Scull session sticks (OARS); 41A: 20 dispensers (ATMS); 45A: Pinnacles (ACMES); 51A: Come in third (SHOW); 52A: Chest (THORAX); 54A: "Rumor --- it ..." (HAS); 55A: London greeting ('ELLO); 56A: "Twelfth Night" twin (VIOLA); 57A: Baseball honcho Bowie (KUHN); 58A: First name in stunts (EVEL); 60A: Plum kin (SLOE); 61A: Beast's beloved (BEAUTY); 63A: Edge (RIM); 64A: Memo abbr. (ATTN); 65A: Stole from an animal? (FUR); 66A: Plea asea (SOS); 72A: Small sts. (PLS.); 74A: Plaines preceder (DES); 75A: Yard sale stipulation (AS IS); 76A: Blunder (ERR); 77A: Imperil (RISK); 80A: "Lyin' Eyes" group (EAGLES); 82A: Cut short (CROP); 83A: Novelist Janowitz (TAMA); 84A: Tennis great Arthur (ASHE); 86A: "Moonstruck" Oscar winner (CHER); 87A: E-file agcy. (IRS); 88A: Wanness (PALLOR); 90A: Silver salmon (COHO); 95A: Satie or Estrada (ERIK); 96A: Romance novelist Victoria (HOLT); 97A: Hit head-on (RAM); 98A: Some MP3 players (RCAS); 100A: Legree's creator (STOWE); 102A: Hector, to Hecuba (SON); 103A: Campy wrap (BOA); 104A: Meager (SLIM); 108A: Sprints (DASHES); 111A: Campus mil. org. (ROTC); 113A: Some sisters (AUNTS); 115A: Put away groceries (ATE); 116A: Hurriedly (IN HASTE); 121A: In a tangle (SNARLED); 122A: Timeworn (AGE-OLD); 123A: An American, in Paris? (YANKEE); 124A: Features of some locks (KEYPADS); 125A: Fight back (RESIST); 126A: One of thrash metal's Big Four (SLAYER); 1D: Emulate Apolo Ohno (SKATE); 2D: Spin for Sasha Cohen (CAMEL); 3D: Helps in crime (ABETS); 4D: Capek classic (RUR); 5D: Tamiroff of "Topkapi" (AKIM); 6D: Baking soda, in brief (BICARB); 7D: Sleigh driver of note (SANTA); 8D: "Waterloo" quartet (ABBA); 10D: More out of practice (RUSTIER); 11D: First name in sports cars (ASTON); 13D: Perch (SIT); 14D: Claim (PROFESS); 15D: Roundup participant (ROPER); 16D: Oscar role for Ingrid (ANASTASIA); 17D: Tom Petty's "I --- Back Down" (WON'T); 18D: Olympic racer (LUGE); 19D: Asterisk (STAR); 24D: False name (ALIAS); 29D: St. Trinian's creator Ronald (SEARLE); 32D: Everlasting (ETERNAL); 34D: Slant (BIAS); 38D: Dos Passos trilogy (USA); 40D: Football-shaped (OBLONG); 43D: Very, to Verdi (MOLTO); 44D: Moves with the music (SWAYS); 45D: It's an Aleutian (ATKA); 46D: Buddy (CHUM); 49D: Ampersand for and, e.g. (as herein) (THEME); 50D: River mouths (DELTAS); 53D: Thermopylae victor (XERXES); 56D: "Billy Budd" captain (VERE); 60D: Word with mall or mine (STRIP); 61D: Trumped-up charge (BUM RAP); 64D: Classify (ASSORT); 65D: Solid (FIRM); 68D: Adam's site (EDEN); 69D: Least done (RAREST); 70D: Rib (TEASE); 71D: Without a Wacoal, say (BRALESS); 72D: Dove's cry? (PEACE); 73D: Toil (LABOR); 78D: Sneaker or loafer (SHOE); 79D: "Beloved Infidel"'s Deborah (KERR); 81D: "Get a move on!" (LOOK SHARP); 83D: Crop (TRIM); 86D: Boast (CROW); 87D: Nobelist Pavlov (IVAN); 89D: Chicken-king link (ALA); 91D: Wrote under wraps (GHOSTED); 93D: Mistreat (WRONG); 99D: Everly Brothers' "--- Clown" (CATHY'S); 101D: Edison contemporary (TESLA); 102D: Phase (STAGE); 103D: Cake type (BUNDT); 105D: Gangling (LANKY); 106D: "... --- wed" (I THEE); 108D: Frisbee, e.g. (DISK); 109D: Bancroft or Boleyn (ANNE); 110D: One-horse carriage (SHAY); 112D: Man --- (OWAR); 113D: Feels fluish (AILS); 117D: Mag. wheels (EDS.); 119D: Garden-pond fish (KOI); 120D: Concert finale? (-INA).