WEDNESDAY, June 30, 2010 — Mike Peluso

Theme: Hudson and Winslet?* — Theme answers end with anagrams of STEAK.

Theme answers:
  • 16A: Prospector's funding (GRUBSTAKE).
  • 23A: Compete in a derby, maybe (ROLLER SKATE).
  • 36A: "To Autumn" poet (JOHN KEATS).
  • 54A: Disbelieving looks (DOUBLE TAKES).
  • 62A: Tenderized cut of beef (CUBE STEAK).
This is one of those puzzles where I think it's kinda fun while I'm solving it because the theme has me confused enough to keep it interesting (have I mentioned I'm easily confused?), but then when I look back at it and see all the three-letter words, I think, "Wow. I liked this??" I count 23 three-letter words. That's a lot. And one of them is a random letter string, so you know that's not good. (61D: B-F connectors (C-D-E).)

I did like the clue for BASSIST (15D: Paul McCartney or Sting). I thought for sure the answer was going to British, so much so that I questioned the other letters I already had in place. I liked the pairing of DODO and AIRHEAD (9A: Ding-a-ling / 45D: Featherbrain) and wish SLURRED and SLOSHED had both been clued with relation to that sot (another great crossword word) (3D: Like a sot's speech / 41D: Waded (through)).

Other than that, not much stood out for me.

  • 22A: "Bad Moon Rising" band, familiarly (CCR). I don't really like this song, so I think we'll listen to one I like instead.

  • 30A: Rolodex no. (TEL.). I know it doesn't make any sense, but I swear there are people who still insist on using a rolodex.
  • 44A: Lawyer's aide (PARA). I believe I've previously made it clear how I feel about this word.
  • 58A: Showing no emotion (STOICAL). Is the AL necessary at the end of this word? Doesn't STOIC mean the same thing?
  • 61A: Flay and Ray, e.g. (CHEFS). HAha! No idea what this was about. The only TV chef I'm familiar with is the guy on "Dinner: Impossible" because one of his "missions" was to serve lunch at the ACPT last year. Andrea Carla Michaels was recruited to help him with the puzzle aspect of the mission, and she really stole the show as far as I'm concerned. If you haven't seen it, I believe you can find it on YouTube.
  • 66A: Dutch city known for its blue-and-white pottery (DELFT). The end of this word is such a great consonant collision. It's like DEL… phfft!
  • 5D: Protective pad (MAT).
  • 46D: Lasted longer than expected, as a meeting (RAN LATE). I really wanted ran over here. To me, running late is more like showing up late. But I concede that this is perfectly fine. Just giving you a little glimpse of how my mind works. You're welcome.
Crosswordese 101: There are a couple ERIK-with-a-Ks you need to know for solving crosswords. We've already covered ERIK Satie, who also has a gridworthy last name. Another is Gaston Leroux's 38D: The Phantom of the Opera, sometimes clued as Christine's lover (which, I think we must read literally as "one who loves Christine" and not the typical use of the word where the two parties love each other). The tenor in Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman" is also named ERIK-with-a-K. And, last but certainly not least, there's ERIK Estrada, who played Ponch on CHiPs back in the day.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 71A: Mideast city on its own gulf (ADEN).
  • 21D: Poetic preposition (ERE).
  • 26D: Tarzan portrayer Ron (ELY).
  • 28D: Rani's spouse (RAJA).
  • 39D: Bern's river (AARE).
  • 64D: Short head lines? (EEG).
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* KATES (see what I did there?)

Everything Else — 1A: State of disarray (MESS); 5A: BLT condiment (MAYO); 13A: __ Alto (PALO); 14A: Baby step? (A TO B); 15A: Human, e.g. (BIPED); 18A: Simpson of fashion (ADELE); 19A: Zone (AREA); 20A: It's not pretty (EYESORE); 27A: Remedial treatment (THERAPY); 29A: Opus __: "The Da Vinci Code" sect (DEI); 31A: "The Scarlet Letter" letter (RED A); 32A: __-en-Provence, France (AIX); 34A: Run-down (SEEDY); 40A: Son of Abraham (ISAAC); 43A: Memorable time (ERA); 48A: Spa benefit, for short (TLC); 49A: FedEx rival (UPS); 52A: Tehran inhabitant (IRANIAN); 57A: Some OR staff (RN'S); 59A: German chancellor, 1982-'98 (KOHL); 67A: Swiss abstractionist (KLEE); 68A: Fee (RATE); 69A: Breyers competitor (EDY'S); 70A: Succumbed to being grilled (SANG); 1D: EPA sticker datum (MPG); 2D: Otitis (EARACHE); 4D: Fruit juice brand (SOBE); 6D: Words with clip or time (AT A); 7D: Backwoods type (YOKEL); 8D: Heeded (OBEYED); 9D: Passed, say (DID OK); 10D: Run (OPERATE); 11D: Erased (DELETED); 12D: 36-Across work (ODE); 17D: Lee with frozen desserts (SARA); 22D: NFL snapper (CTR.); 24D: Shimmering aquarium fish (OPAH); 25D: "__ Eyes": Eagles hit (LYIN'); 33D: 1960s-'70s Jaguar (XKE); 35D: "Baseball Tonight" airer (ESPN); 37D: Eye doctor (OCULIST); 40D: "__ be an honor" (IT'D); 42D: Keen way to be aware (ACUTELY); 47D: Q&A part: Abbr. (ANS.); 50D: Push-up target (PEC); 51D: IHOP servings (STACKS); 53D: Wants to know (ASKS); 55D: Smash hits, in slang (BOFFS); 56D: "Be-Bop-__": 1956 hit (A-LULA); 60D: Other, in Oaxaca (OTRA); 63D: Kingsley who played Gandhi (BEN); 65D: Baseball's Griffey (KEN).


TUESDAY, June 29, 2010 — Bruce Venzke

Theme: Vowel Progression — The first three letters of the theme answers are P*T, where * = a vowel and the vowels are in alphabetical order.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Dad's legal protection (PATERNITY RIGHTS).
  • 23A: Arizona tourist mecca (PETRIFIED FOREST).
  • 39A: Batting practice aid (PITCHING MACHINE).
  • 49A: One-room schoolhouse heater (POTBELLIED STOVE).
  • 61A: Using a euphemism (PUTTING IT MILDLY).
I like this type of theme. It's been done many times by Andrea Carla Michaels and others and I'm sure this isn't the last time we'll see it. I like it that the theme answers are all 15s and none of them are forced phrases. Even the plural on PATERNITY RIGHTS is okay because that's actually what people say. (You know how I get with the plurals!) A few other things I want to mention.

Like, for example:
  • 1A: Pirate's booty (LOOT). Hate it when I'm totally confident about 1 Across and throw it in without checking the crosses and then it ends up being wrong. Wanted SWAG.
  • 9A: One of the deadly sins (SLOTH). I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is by far my favorite deadly sin.
  • 32A: Iwo __ (JIMA). Watched an awesome documentary the other day about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Wow, that was quite tangential.
  • 64A: __-Chalmers: onetime big name in farm machinery (ALLIS). I seem to recall some griping about this company's name being used in a grid, but having grown up in North Dakota, it was a total gimme for me.
  • 7D: Unit of petrol (LITRE). The use of the word "petrol" in the clue is a hint that the answer will use the British spelling.
  • 10D: Slide rule number (LOGARITHM). Wow. That's not at all how I would spell LOGARITHM.
  • 13D: Laces into (HAS AT). Never heard of "lacing into." Is it a regional thing? Have you guys heard of it?
  • 52D: Dick __, Hoosier senator since 1977 (LUGAR). Every once in a while by political geekiness helps me out.
  • 54D: Señor's feature? (TILDE). You got this one easy, right? It's a literal clue. The word "señor" includes a TILDE (over the n).
Crosswordese 101: Here's what you need to remember about ELON (46D: North Carolina college town). It's a Christian North Carolina university in the NCAA's Southern Conference. Its athletes are called The Phoenix. And that's pretty much it.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 15A: Aglio e __: pasta dish (OLIO).
  • 47A: Stephen of "Michael Collins" (REA).
  • 58A: Keds competitor (AVIA).
  • 69A: 1920s Folies-Bergère designer (ÉRTE).
  • 37D: "Double Fantasy" artist Yoko (ONO).
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Everything Else — 5A: Lash marking (WELT); 14A: Sacramento's __ Arena (ARCO); 16A: __ Puffs (COCOA); 20A: Unborn, after "in" (UTERO); 21A: Manitoba native (CREE); 22A: Gazetteer statistic (AREA); 26A: On fire (LIT); 27A: Reagan's "Star Wars" prog. (SDI); 28A: Whale of a tale (SAGA); 35A: "Fine by me" (IT'S OK); 42A: Love (ADORE); 43A: Auto financing org. (GMAC); 44A: Cat call (MEOW); 45A: Lode material (ORE); 58A: Keds competitor (AVIA); 59A: Boot out (OUST); 60A: Like some basins (TIDAL); 65A: Physics subject (ATOM); 66A: GPA spoilers (DEES); 67A: Bloodsucker (LEECH); 68A: Upsurge (RISE); 1D: Drink like a cat (LAP UP); 2D: Go on the stump (ORATE); 3D: Large chamber group (OCTET); 4D: "__ is human ..." (TO ERR); 5D: Took the cup (WON); 6D: Drawing out (ELICITING); 8D: Trifled (with) (TOYED); 9D: Biol., e.g. (SCI.); 11D: Yellow shade (OCHRE); 12D: Handy bags (TOTES); 18D: Stir up (ROIL); 19D: Flag throwers, at times (REFS); 24D: South Pacific archipelago and nation (FIJI); 25D: Like Pindar's works (ODIC); 28D: Mud bath locale (SPA); 29D: Assist (AID); 30D: Potent '60s-'70s Pontiac (GTO); 31D: Like trapeze artists (ACROBATIC); 33D: Leo's studio (MGM); 34D: Almond liqueurs (AMARETTOS); 36D: Potsdam pronoun (SIE); 38D: London's __ Gardens (KEW); 40D: "What have we __?" (HERE); 41D: Passed and then some (ACED); 48D: Sparkling-wine center (ASTI); 49D: Like decrees from Benedict XVI, e.g. (PAPAL); 50D: Seed-to-be (OVULE); 51D: Champ's prize (TITLE); 53D: Question about Biblical betrayal (IS IT I); 55D: More off-the-wall (ODDER); 56D: Parking helper (VALET); 57D: "Family Ties" mom (ELYSE); 62D: "Sorta" suffix (-ISH); 63D: Bovary's title: Abbr. (MME.).


MONDAY, June 28, 2010 — Scott Atkinson

Theme: Garanimals — Theme answers are two-word animal names that are made up of two different animals' names.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Hammerhead relative with stripes (TIGER SHARK).
  • 27A: Huge walrus relative (ELEPHANT SEAL).
  • 48A: Primate with spindly limbs (SPIDER MONKEY).
  • 63A: One of two in "The Twelve Days of Christmas" (TURTLE DOVE).

[WARNING: So totally NSFW!]

I have a feeling people might have hit some rough spots today, mostly because of all the names. If it makes you feel any better, I see at least a couple grid entries that could have been clued as people but weren't.

Today is the first day of a new schedule for us here at the PuzzleHouse, so I can't spend a lot of time with you this morning.

  • 15A: '80s Pontiac roadster (FIERO). For some reason, this answer paired with FIORELLO (21A: 1930s-'40s New York mayor La Guardia) tickled me.
  • 37A: Supreme Court intern (CLERK). PuzzleSister once applied for a clerkship at the Supreme Court. She didn't get the job, but she figures that not a lot of people can brag that Justice Souter made coffee for them.
  • 40A: Antlered critter (ELK). I don't remember exactly what Rex says about "critter" but whatever it is (a) I agree with him and (b) an ELK is too big to be referred to as a "critter."
  • 47A: Curry of "Today" (ANN). Is she the one who gave a commencement address at Wheaton College in Massachusetts and mistakenly listed well-known alumni from Wheaton College in Illinois? I heard that her take-away from that incident was: "Don't Google drunk."
Crosswordese 101: The part that makes AEON crosswordese to me is the spelling. It's not an unusual word, but you have to remember that sometimes it's spelled with that A at the beginning. Most clues for AEON are about what you'd expect: "Many millenia," "Almost an eternity," and today's 30D: Long, long time. But once in a while it's clued in relation to the 2005 Charlize Theron film "Aeon Flux," which I don't believe I've had the pleasure of seeing.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 52A: One-named Irish singer (ENYA).
  • 9D: John Lennon's love (YOKO ONO).
  • 25D: Mayberry boy (OPIE).
  • 29D: "Born Free" lioness (ELSA).
  • 58D: "The Motorcycle Song" singer Guthrie (ARLO).
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Everything Else — 1A: Apple computers (MACS); 5A: Subsurface woodwork decoration (INLAY); 10A: Coffeehouse convenience for Web surfers (WIFI); 14A: Give off, as light (EMIT); 16A: Ruckuses (ADOS); 19A: Pulls, as a camper (TOWS); 20A: Visibly stunned (AGAPE); 23A: Submarine weapon (TORPEDO); 26A: Orange Free State settler (BOER); 32A: Covert __: spy activities (OPS); 35A: Be untruthful (LIE); 36A: Sharpshooter Annie (OAKLEY); 42A: Plains grazer (BISON); 43A: Cooking class, for short (HOME EC); 45A: "__ Miz" (LES); 53A: Pago Pago natives (SAMOANS); 57A: Talky gatherings (GABFESTS); 61A: Large wall picture (MURAL); 62A: Eins, zwei, __ (DREI); 66A: Alda of "M*A*S*H" (ALAN); 67A: Clarinetist Shaw (ARTIE); 68A: Words of understanding (I SEE); 69A: Oxen's harness (YOKE); 70A: Have a new __ on life (LEASE); 71A: Hanukkah moolah (GELT); 1D: Convened in (MET AT); 2D: Compadre (AMIGO); 3D: "Close, but no __" (CIGAR); 4D: Treeless Siberian tract (STEPPE); 5D: "No __, ands or buts" (IFS); 6D: Fed. research org. (NIH); 7D: Fall faller (LEAF); 8D: Speedy Gonzales exclamation (ARRIBA); 9D: John Lennon's love (YOKO ONO); 10D: Ride behind a speedboat (WATERSKI); 11D: TV's "American __" (IDOL); 12D: Chicks, ducks, etc. (FOWL); 13D: "That __ yesterday!" (IS SO); 18D: Fishing line holder (REEL); 22D: Adjust a paragraph setting (RETAB); 24D: Biden's state: Abbr. (DEL.); 28D: Phone call response (HELLO); 31D: Nashville's Loretta (LYNN); 32D: Folk legend Phil (OCHS); 33D: Sit (down) undaintily (PLOP); 34D: 18-wheeler (SEMI); 38D: Give new meaning to (REDEFINE); 39D: New Hampshire city (KEENE); 41D: Barbies' counterparts (KENS); 44D: Waterford product (CRYSTAL); 46D: Caribbean music (SKA); 49D: Grown-up (MATURE); 50D: Plus-size supermodel (EMME); 51D: Cool cat's "Get it?" ("YOU DIG?"); 54D: Cropped up (AROSE); 55D: Bellybutton (NAVEL); 56D: Winter hazard (SLEET); 57D: Melbourne greeting (G'DAY); 59D: Toucan's pride (BEAK); 60D: Mex. miss (SRTA.); 64D: "__ the season ..." ('TIS); 65D: Jeans brand (LEE).


SUNDAY, June 27, 2010 — Sylvia Bursztyn (calendar)

Theme: "Rock of '80s" — Familiar phrases clued as if one of the words is the rock group of that name.

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

Theme answers:
  • 27A: Romantic rock group? (SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY).
  • 44A: "Big Deal" rock star's address? (MADONNA STREET).
  • 59A: "Histrionics? These rockers!"? (DRAMA QUEEN).
  • 71A: Rock group's featured billing? (AND TOTO TOO).
  • 87A: Rock group's volume? (BOOK OF GENESIS).
  • 102A: Become a rock group's fan? (JOIN THE POLICE FORCE).
  • 33D: Rock group around the fire? (HEART WARMING).
  • 38D: Wine à la a rock star? (PORT AU PRINCE).
Everything Else — 1A: Primary (BASAL); 6A: Capacitance unit (FARAD); 11A: Long follower (AGO); 14A: Addis --- (ABABA); 19A: Bonus (EXTRA); 20A: Salah ad Din denizen (IRAQI); 21A: Explorer, e.g. (SUV); 22A: First name in rap (TUPAC); 23A: Stuck together (GLUED); 24A: Drink like a dog (LAP UP); 25A: Spruced-up abode? (TREEHOUSE); 30A: Mind (HEED); 31A: Hammer and sickle (TOOLS); 32A: Hindu divinity (VISHNU); 36A: Meal (REPAST); 39A: Black Sea peninsula (CRIMEA); 41A: "It's in --- Kiss" (HIS); 42A: Ages and ages (EON); 43A: "Do Ya" rock gp. (ELO); 47A: Folk rocker DiFranco (ANI); 48A: Italy's largest lake (GARDA); 50A: QED center (ERAT); 51A: "It's the Same --- Song" (OLD); 52A: Canter kin (TROT); 53A: Concertgoer (ATTENDEE); 55A: --- Oyster Cult (BLUE); 57A: Pretentious (ARTSY); 58A: Meadowlands (LEAS); 63A: Swerve off course (YAW); 64A: Draws forth (EDUCES); 66A: Have --- for life (A LUST); 67A: State with Sparks (NEVADA); 70A: --- Shop Boys (PET); 75A: War god (ARES); 76A: French department (MARNE); 78A: Numskull (DODO); 79A: Frequently (OFTTIMES); 81A: Like fans (AVID); 82A: Rocker Ronnie James (DIO); 83A: Gang land (TURF); 85A: Say "c'est," say (ELIDE); 86A: Rockers --- at Work (MEN); 92A: Old video game inits. (NES); 93A: Winwood's "--- of a Diver" (ARC); 94A: DDE opponent (AES); 95A: "Spirit in the Sky" rocker Greenbaum (NORMAN); 96A: Puts on shows (STAGES); 98A: Braces (oneself) (STEELS); 100A: Bacon bit (STRIP); 101A: Gaffe (SLIP); 109A: Escapade (ADVENTURE); 112A: Skater Slutskaya (IRINA); 113A: "What do --- like to you?" (I LOOK); 114A: Steve Perry asset (VOICE); 115A: Grooved on (DUG); 116A: Finger pointer (NAMER); 117A: Sorbonne student (ELEVE); 118A: Jackson Browne's "Running on ---" (EMPTY); 119A: Freudian factor (EGO); 120A: Sugarcoat (GLAZE); 121A: Venetian rulers of yore (DOGES); 1D: Importunes (BEGS); 2D: Wheel support (AXLE); 3D: Dazzle (STUN); 4D: First name in soul (ARETHA); 5D: Don Juan (LADIES' MAN); 6D: Groomed nails (FILED); 7D: Islands off Ireland (ARAN); 8D: Engrossed (RAPT); 9D: Etching method (AQUATINT); 10D: Sheepskin (DIPLOMA); 11D: Whence lily maid Elaine (ASTOLAT); 12D: Mentors (GURUS); 13D: "Don't Make Me ---" (OVER); 14D: Nonbeliever (ATHEIST); 15D: Lifts, as spirits (BUOYS); 16D: "The Simpsons" storekeeper (APU); 17D: Some degs. (BA'S); 18D: Kiss rocker Frehley (ACE); 26D: Coveted (ENVIED); 28D: Physical intro (META-); 29D: Rockers Strummer and Cocker (JOES); 34D: Taboos (NO-NOS); 35D: Harmony (UNITY); 36D: Entertain lavishly (REGALE); 37D: Jubilant (ELATED); 39D: Chick of jazz (COREA); 40D: Bio class ltrs. (RNA); 41D: Wings' "--- Wheels" (HELEN); 45D: A few bucks? (DEER); 46D: Rakehell (ROUE); 49D: Get down (DESCEND); 52D: Drudgery (TRAVAIL); 54D: ADA member (DDS); 55D: Failure (BUST); 56D: Actor Jared (LETO); 57D: "Yes, captain!" ("AYE!"); 60D: Road safety org. (MADD); 61D: Robert Plant, vocally (ALTO); 62D: Status follower (QUO); 65D: Tours season (ÉTÉ); 67D: Zombies' "She's --- There" (NOT); 68D: One of rock's Ramones (DEEDEE); 69D: Rate (ASSESS); 71D: Parting "palabra" (ADIOS); 72D: Corner (NOOK); 73D: Bogart's "Sirocco" costar Marta (TOREN); 74D: Rubs out (OFFS); 76D: Michelle and Cass (MAMAS); 77D: Turn aside (AVERT); 80D: Took the stand (TESTIFIED); 82D: "Nobody --- Better" (DOES IT); 83D: Fleeting (TEMPORAL); 84D: Merkel of the movies (UNA); 87D: "Horsefeathers!" ("BALONEY!"); 88D: Very active (ON THE GO); 89D: Fairway warning (FORE); 90D: Kvetching (GRIPING); 91D: Wight, for one (ISLE); 97D: Harlem music hall (APOLLO); 99D: Bounce (EJECT); 100D: Gymnast Kerri (STRUG); 101D: Startle (SCARE); 103D: In the altogether (NUDE); 104D: Toledo neighbor (LIMA); 105D: Don Juan's mother (INEZ); 106D: "Performance" director Nicolas (ROEG); 107D: Safe harbor (COVE); 108D: Squeezes (out) (EKES); 109D: St. crosser (AVE.); 110D: Monk's title (DOM); 111D: Biggie (VIP).

SUNDAY, June 27, 2010 — Ed Sessa (syndicated)

Theme: "The Ends Justify the Meanings" — Not sure how to describe this succinctly. Theme answers begin with an adjective patterned X-and-X, then the next word is commonly used as the second half of a compound word with the second X. Clear as mud?

[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: Angler's go-to lure? (BREAD-AND-BUTTER FLY).
  • 37A: Intermittent photo session? (ON-AND-OFF SHOOT).
  • 67A: "Father Knows Best," to some (MOM-AND-POP CORN).
  • 97A: Zigzags? (IN-AND-OUT LINES).
  • 114A: Wavering conservative faction? (BACK-AND-FORTH RIGHT).
  • 16D: Thrill from using a mouse? (DRAG-AND-DROP KICK).
  • 43D: Fancy dance marathon? (HUFF-AND-PUFF BALL).
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:

  • 32A: Sign that makes an angel happy (SRO).
  • 66A: Palindromic Altar (ARA).
  • 87A: Formerly, formerly (ERST).
  • 13D: Franklin's 1936 foe (ALF).
  • 54D: Retd. boomers (SST'S).
  • 62D: "Time's Arrow" author (AMIS).
  • 84D: DDE adversary (AES).
Everything Else — 1A: Long cold spell (ICE AGE); 7A: "The Whiffenpoof Song" words (BAAS); 11A: Big bang (BLAST); 16A: Mil. decoration (DSM); 19A: Grand Canyon nester (CONDOR); 20A: Quartet named for its singers (ABBA); 21A: Alice's husband in '50s TV (RALPH); 22A: Reine's spouse (ROI); 26A: Hole puncher (AWL); 27A: Dustin's "Kramer vs. Kramer" co-star (MERYL); 28A: "Jingle Bells" contraction (O'ER); 29A: Some nest eggs, briefly (IRAS); 30A: Mirrored (IMAGED); 33A: Religious symbol (ICON); 35A: "Hold on __!" (A SEC); 36A: Say over (ITERATE); 40A: __ White (SNOW); 41A: '90s Olds (ACHIEVA); 44A: Work at assiduously (PLY); 45A: Took potshots (SNIPED); 47A: Lugs (HAULS); 48A: "A Doll's House" heroine (NORA); 50A: Passé platters (LP'S); 52A: Candy named for its creators (M AND M'S); 55A: Overrun en masse, as ants (INFEST); 57A: Pedal pusher (CYCLER); 59A: Minsk's home (BELARUS); 60A: Where wildebeest roam: Abbr. (AFR.); 61A: Possess, to Burns (HAE); 63A: Two bells, at sea (ONE A.M.); 65A: Admission of defeat (I LOST); 71A: Ale servings: Abbr. (PTS.); 72A: Yorba __, Calif. (LINDA); 74A: Cockamamie (INANE); 75A: Here, to Pierre (ICI); 76A: Letters before a 76-Down (AKA); 77A: Blues Brothers toppers (FEDORAS); 79A: Like some outfield walls (PADDED); 82A: Quartz compound (SILICA); 85A: Quakers in the woods (ASPENS); 86A: These, to Thérèse (CES); 89A: Suitable spot for a statue (NICHE); 90A: Has the last of (USES UP); 92A: TV Guide abbr. (TBA); 93A: Director's do-overs (RETAKES); 95A: Sword handle (HAFT); 101A: 1980s-'90s N.Y. senator D'Amato (ALFONSE); 103A: "Denial __ just a river in Egypt": Twain (AIN'T); 104A: State with conviction (AVER); 105A: Sleep lab acronym (REM); 108A: Bump off (RUB OUT); 109A: Anthem starter (O SAY); 110A: Expected (DUE); 111A: Typical start? (PROTO-); 113A: GP's gp. (AMA); 118A: Where the Blues Brothers began, briefly (SNL); 119A: Taken as a whole (IN ALL); 120A: __ worlde: quaintly fashionable (OLDE); 121A: Echo (REPEAT); 122A: "Rebel Without a Cause" actor Mineo (SAL); 123A: World carrier (ATLAS); 124A: Lanolin source (WOOL); 125A: Fuel in a can (STERNO); 1D: Some WMDs (ICBM'S); 2D: Semicircular utensil (CORER); 3D: Hot time in Chile (ENERO); 4D: Beatles' "__ in the Life" (A DAY); 5D: Sanctity (GODLINESS); 6D: '70s NOW cause (ERA); 7D: Villains often come to one (BAD END); 8D: Mass. or Miss. (ABBR.); 9D: "Aladdin" monkey (ABU); 10D: Make happy (SATISFY); 11D: Dam damage (BREACH); 12D: "__ and the Real Girl": 2007 film (LARS); 14D: Mid-race statistic (SPLIT TIME); 15D: Part of a Simon & Garfunkel quartet (THYME); 17D: Johannesburg area (SOWETO); 18D: Shower problem (MILDEW); 24D: Reagan speechwriter (NOONAN); 25D: Spanish crowd? (TRES); 31D: Military depot (ARSENAL); 34D: Cleveland hoopster, for short (CAV); 35D: Company with a spokesduck (AFLAC); 36D: Charge carrier (ION); 37D: Crude carrier (OILER); 38D: Venue for Minnie Pearl (OPRY); 39D: CIA predecessor (OSS); 41D: Sashimi fish (AHI); 42D: Birds named for an island group (CANARIES); 46D: Monty Python member (PALIN); 49D: Neptune's domain (OCEAN); 50D: O'Brien's successor (LENO); 51D: Type of school (PREP); 53D: Pencil or toothbrush, e.g. (MUSTACHE); 56D: Howe'er (THO'); 58D: Ran easily (LOPED); 59D: College QB, often (BMOC); 64D: Bases' antitheses (ACIDS); 66D: Bravo preceder (ALFA); 67D: Seine tributary (MARNE); 68D: Kitty pickup spot (NAPE); 69D: Spiral molecules (DNA'S); 70D: Grafton's "__ for Ricochet" (R IS); 73D: Argumentative cry (DOES TOO); 76D: See 76-Across (ALIAS); 78D: Second (ASSISTANT); 80D: Coming-out (DEBUT); 81D: Part of Q.E.D. (ERAT); 83D: Make sense of (INTERPRET); 86D: Audit rep (CPA); 88D: Hot-pot support (TRIVET); 91D: Somme one (UNE); 92D: Wally Cleaver portrayer (TONY DOW); 94D: Reno-to-Elko dir. (ENE); 95D: Bust chops (HARASS); 96D: Wellesley grad (ALUMNA); 98D: Some sonorant sounds (NASALS); 99D: "Gorillas in the Mist" subject Fossey (DIAN); 100D: Victory emblem (LAUREL); 102D: Ancient Nile Valley kingdom (NUBIA); 105D: Ham's "Gotcha" (ROGER); 106D: Frome of fiction (ETHAN); 107D: Words often etched in stone (MOTTO); 109D: Sooner St. (OKLA.); 110D: Birdbrain (DODO); 112D: Ready to pluck (RIPE); 115D: Baseball "Iron Man" Ripken (CAL); 116D: Waitress at Mel's (FLO); 117D: 86-Down billing units (HRS.).


SATURDAY, June 26, 2010 — Joel Fagliano

Theme: None — A themeless Saturday

Wow! Good challenge today! I had to chip away at sections of this grid and, in the end, I even had a mistake. And you know the only reason I admit that is to make y'all feel better if you had trouble too! For some reason I thought PINKETT sounded just fine for 33A (Gettysburg general (PICKETT)). And even though I couldn't make sense of NTS (34D: Tender abbr. (CTS.)) I let it stand. I thought NTS might be an abbreviation for notes or National Treasury … something. I rationalized it is what I'm saying. In my own defense, I will say that if I wasn't under pressure to blog the puzzle in a timely fashion, I probably would have set it down and picked it up again later. You know how that works, right? You can't make heads or tails of a certain section of the puzzle, but when you come back to it ten minutes later it's glaringly clear. What is it that happens in those ten minutes??? I don't know, but I'm very grateful for whatever it is on late-week NYT puzzles, I know that much.

The last letter I entered into the grid was the V at the cross of VAUNT and VIGILS (43A: Crow / 43D: Watches). I originally had a T there, thinking "taunting" was close enough to "crowing." Obviously, VAUNT is better. I mean, even aside from the fact that it's, ya know … right. With the T there, I thought I was looking for a brand of wristwatches. GAP was a gimme (51A: Old Navy is one of its brands), so I knew it wasn't Timex. Figured it must be some high-end watch that's not in my universe. But I felt uneasy enough about that T to go back and suss it out. (Unlike that stupid N I had up in "Pinkett.")

Non-sports-minded people probably a little trouble with this one, as there seemed to be a mini sports theme running through the grid:
  • 44A: Five-time Fiesta Bowl champs, for short (ASU).
  • 48A: Six-time U.S. Open winner (EVERT).
  • 8D: Two __: hockey advantage (ON ONE).
  • 24D: Major college football's winningest coach (PATERNO).
  • 32D: Amer. Airlines Center player (MAV).
  • 56D: Football Hall of Famer Dawson (LEN).
The only one of those I balked at was the hockey one. Everything I know about hockey (which isn't much) I learned from crosswords. So I guessed Two "to one" here, thinking that was kinda lame. And it was! Because it was wrong.

I also enjoyed the two humorous quotes:
  • 37A: "I intend to live __. So far, so good": Steven Wright (FOREVER).
  • 7D: "Knowing all the facts," according to Woody Allen (PARANOIA).
I remember so clearly the first time I saw Steven Wright on TV. I remember him saying he was going to make a life-size map of the United States and it would say "one mile = one mile." Ha!

Couple more things:
  • 1A: Comfort food snack for some, briefly (P B AND J). Chunky Skippy, seedless strawberry jelly, and a side of Ruffles potato chips. Comfort? More like heaven.
  • 7A: You might be unprepared for it (POP QUIZ). Nice Scrabbly entry.
  • 25A: One of the Allmans (DUANE). I went looking for a vide of Travis Tritt singing "Put Some Drive in Your Country" because at the end of it he sings: "Now I still love old country / I ain't tryin' to put it down / But damn I miss Duane Allman / I wish he was still around." That's how it is on the original recording anyway. Unfortunately, more people who fit the context of the lyric have died since then and he substitutes their names in for Allman's. Actually, the name he uses most often these days is Waylon (as in Jennings) and I don't think he really fits the context of the lyric. I mean, I know he was an "outlaw" and everything, but he was still country. Unless I have no idea what I'm talking about. Which is always a distinct possibility. After all that, I suppose I should at least let you hear the song. Oh man! Looks like all the Travis videos are non-embeddable. Curses! Foiled again! If you're actually still paying attention to this tangent, well first I should thank you — you're awesome! And second, here's a link to one of the videos if you're interested.
  • 29A: LP filler? (MNO). This just means that the letters MNO are between L and P in the alphabet.
  • 55A: Salad bar option (ITALIAN). Following up on my Obama lunch story yesterday. I've heard that he's gone to Ray's Hell Burger on two separate occastions. Ray's is awesome and all, but ya know what? He needs to go The Italian Store. (I know there are some northern Virginians reading this who agree with me.)
  • 3D: Axillae (ARMPITS). Did we just have this in a puzzle this week? Or was that the NYT?
  • 5D: Bishop's rte. (DIAG.). Chess!
  • 11D: Not intended (UNMEANT). This is a clunker. A big, fat clunker.
  • 13D: Remote (ZAPPER). Do people call a remote a ZAPPER? We call it a "clicker" here at the PuzzleHouse. I think of a ZAPPER as that think that bugs get zapped on.
  • 21D: Handbag counterparts (MAN PURSES). I was watching a Ron White comedy special on TV this evening and he used the term that I think is more common for this: "man bag."
  • 28D: Protect from erosion, as a riverbank (REVET). Not familiar with this word, but it looks legit and it is Saturday after all.
  • 45D: __ Minor (URSA). This is the only crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered. And I didn't really see any more. That's awesome.
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Everything Else — 14A: Country with a mostly red, white and blue flag (SERBIA); 15A: Receiving aid (ANTENNA); 16A: It makes it easier for you to lose your balance (ATM CARD); 18A: General plan (ROAD MAP); 19A: Time out? (NAP); 20A: Einstein and Planck, e.g. (GERMANS); 22A: Unproven ability, for short (ESP); 23A: Brew choice (DRIP); 26A: Scruff (NAPE); 27A: Its capital is Doha (QATAR); 30A: Colombian title (SEÑOR); 31A: Modus operandi (SYSTEM); 35A: Weighed (EVALUATED); 39A: Forgetful, in a way (SENILE); 46A: It may be thrown in (TOWEL); 47A: Digging, so to speak (INTO); 50A: Part of a stage question (TO BE); 52A: Urges (PRESSES); 54A: Accident consequence (JAM); 57A: Trig inverse (ARCSINE); 59A: Driving need (LICENSE); 60A: Shade of pink (SALMON); 61A: Like aftershave (SCENTED); 62A: Wide of the mark (ERRANT); 1D: Things to mind (P'S AND Q'S); 2D: Radioactive emission (BETA RAY); 4D: "Heroes" home (NBC); 6D: "Chapter 27" star Leto (JARED); 9D: Class-conscious orgs.? (PTAS); 10D: Logical letters (QED); 12D: Up the creek (IN A SPOT); 17D: Word with kettle or steel (DRUM); 26D: Is unobliged to (NEED NOT); 30D: Shooting sport (SKEET); 36D: Unlike matzo (LEAVENED); 37D: Monomaniac (FANATIC); 38D: Beat (OUTPACE); 40D: Mount Suribachi's island (IWO JIMA); 41D: Part of ancient Phoenicia, today (LEBANON); 42D: Gold, e.g. (ELEMENT); 48D: Remove (ERASE); 49D: Clipped (TERSE); 52D: Pub serving (PINT); 53D: __ tissue (SCAR); 58D: Point-and-shoot alternative, briefly (SLR).


FRIDAY, June 25, 2010 — Mark Feldman

Theme: Ethnic Food — Food puns based on foreign cities.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Swiss poultry dish? (BASEL CHICKEN).
  • 27A: Korean menu listing? (SEOUL FOOD).
  • 35A: Indian lunch fare? (DELHI SANDWICH).
  • 43A: Moroccan hearty meal? (RABAT STEW).
  • 52A: Meccan omelet ingredient? (JEDDAH CHEESE).
I don't know if I still have my cranky-pants on from yesterday or what, but this theme didn't thrill me at all. I'm sure that "basil chicken" is a thing, but it's not, say, "chicken ala king" or "chicken caciatorre." It's not even "lemon chicken" or "orange chicken," which you can find on every Chinese restaurant menu in America. It's just … chicken with basil I guess. Doesn't work for me. Also, JEDDAH CHEESE? So JEDDAH is the second largest city in Saudi Arabia. I've never heard of it. But that's not why I don't like this answer. I don't like this answer because it's not consistent with the rest of the theme. The other theme answers all start with a city whose name sounds exactly the same as the word it's punning on. Wait. I just looked up BASEL and it turns out it's not pronounced the same as "basil." I guess if I had ever heard of BASEL I'd know that. So okay. Two of the cities change the pronunciation and three don't. I still don't like it. BASEL/basil is not as egregious as JEDDAH/cheddar, if that makes any sense. Done ranting. About that …. What's with both FRI. and TGIF in the grid? (29D: It can be casual: Abbr. / 42A: Letters that come at the end of the week.) Do not like.

Like yesterday, the fill just wasn't colorful enough to make up for the drab theme. I like LEFT JABS (although I'm not crazy about the gratuitous plural) (37D: Right crosses may follow them). And SHANGHAI and BUBBAS have a little sparkle to them (except there's that plural again) (10D: City near the Yangtze River / 1D: Good ol' boys). But overall? I guess my expectations for Friday are pretty high.

Anything to talk about? Well, sure!
  • 4A: 1960 Olimpiadi host (ROMA). The foreign spelling of "Olympics" is a clue that the answer will also be a foreign spelling.
  • 4D: Texter's response to a hilarious joke (ROFL). Entered LMAO at first. But, obviously, the A would not be appropriate for the puzzle.
  • 8D: Basho's forte (HAIKU). Even with the K in place, I couldn't see this answer until I got the U. I don't know Basho / Learned from the crossword puzzle / Haiku is his forte. (See what I did there?)
  • 31D: President with two Grammys (OBAMA). Quick story. A bunch of my co-workers went out to lunch together yesterday. It was kind of a slow day at work so they went to Ray's Hell Burger, which is a little farther away than our typical lunch spots. About thirty minutes after they leave, we get a call: "We're locked down at Ray's because President Obama will be here any minute. We'll get back to the office when we can, but we'll probably be late." Turns out Obama thought a nice juicy burger would be a good lunch for Russian President Medvedev. It's so unfair! My co-workers don't even pay attention to all the political stuff. I, on the other hand, actually have a few things I'd like to discuss with the President! (Probably best not to get me started….)
  • 43D: Bench, once (RED). I'm not looking this up, but I'm going to say with a lot of authority that Johnny Bench once played for the Cincinnati Reds. So there you have it.
Crosswordese 101: There are basically three ways you're likely to see NANA clued. First, as another way of saying "grandma." Then, as the main character in Émile Zola's 1880 novel of the same name. And finally, there's the dog in "Peter Pan," which is what we're seeing today (62A: Barrie Newfoundland). Not being a dog person, I didn't realize that Newfoundland is a type of dog so I was completely perplexed by this clue even after I got it through crosses. I guess this is the Friday version of "'Peter Pan' pooch" or "Wendy Darling's dog."

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 28D: Lionized actor? (LAHR).
  • 30D: Treaty gp. since 1948 (OAS).
  • 36D: "The Praise of Chimney-Sweepers" essayist (ELIA).
By the way: If you don't typically solve the weekly Wall Street Journal puzzle, you might want to give it a try today. Joon Pahk and Andrea Carla Michaels have created a Sunday-sized (21x21) puzzle with some pretty tricky cluing, but the theme is really fun and it (the theme) is easy enough that it will help you with the rest of the fill. You can download the WSJ puzzle in Across Lite here if you're interested. Also, I did the write-up of the puzzle over on Amy's blog.

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Everything Else — 1A: A.L. East team (BOS); 8A: Padlocked, perhaps (HASPED); 14A: Glob suffix (-ULE); 15A: Receptive (OPEN); 16A: More gray (ASHIER); 17A: 2006 farce involving a drinking contest (BEERFEST); 19A: "Magic Hour" author (ISAACS); 22A: Memo abbr. (ATTN); 23A: Move beyond (OUTGROW); 32A: Frost (HOAR); 33A: Fast horse (ARAB); 34A: Frayed (TATTY); 40A: Certain Net user (AOLER); 41A: '60s Mod staple (MINI); 48A: Fare that's filled and baked (MEAT PIE); 51A: Race (TEAR); 57A: All one had (ESTATE); 60A: Transfers again, as computer files (RECOPIES); 61A: Hungary neighbor (SERBIA); 63A: Fruitcake (NUT); 64A: Is out there (EXISTS); 65A: African antelope (ORYX); 66A: Rte. finder (GPS); 2D: Fatty acid salt (OLEATE); 3D: Handles (SEES TO); 5D: Crude org. (OPEC); 6D: Interlock (MESH); 7D: Boycotting, perhaps (ANTI); 9D: Black listing? (ASSET); 11D: Emmy-winning news anchor Lindström (PIA); 12D: Common Mkt. (EEC); 13D: "ER" extras (DRS.); 18D: Contact lens solution brand (RENU); 21D: Cape __ (COD); 24D: VMI program (ROTC); 25D: Bit of irreverence (OATH); 26D: Twisted (WRY); 34D: Fool (TWIT); 35D: Old Venetian judge (DOGE); 38D: Point (NIB); 39D: Stranded material (DNA); 40D: 20s provider, for short (ATM); 44D: Dance move (STEP); 45D: Elevating, in a way (TEEING); 46D: Relax (EASE UP); 47D: Takes by force (WRESTS); 49D: __ four (PETIT); 50D: Bean products? (IDEAS); 53D: Cartoonist Peter (ARNO); 54D: When repeated, word of agreement (HEAR); 55D: Manhattan sch. (CCNY); 56D: Piltdown man, e.g. (HOAX); 57D: Language suffix (-ESE); 58D: Bio datum (SEX); 59D: Head of state? (TRI-).


THURSDAY, June 24, 2010 — John Lampkin

Theme: C'est La Vie — Theme answers are song titles that end with the word life, but for some reason the word life isn't there.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Beatles classic (A DAY IN THE).
  • 24A: Stevie Wonder classic (FOR ONCE IN MY).
  • 37A: "Annie" classic (IT'S THE HARD-KNOCK).
  • 46A: "Dirty Dancing" classic (THE TIME OF MY).
  • 58A: Sinatra classic, and hint to what's missing from this puzzle's other classics (THAT'S LIFE).

What am I missing? The song titles are supposed to have the word life at the end but … they don't. And Frank Sinatra's "classic" "That's Life" is a hint. I guess what I'm saying is, this theme really doesn't do it for me. Because I had a hard time figuring out the theme, the fill gave me quite a bit of trouble too. That didn't bother me though — actually I kind of liked it for a change — but if I'm going to work hard I want a payoff. Two good long answers and a couple tricky clues aren't enough. In fact, the tricky clues mostly just got on my nerves. For example, ARF ARF (22A: Woofer's output?). Ugh. I think what I really needed was for the theme to rock and it just … didn't.

Talking Points:
  • 28A: Hot (IRED). This word just needs to go away.
  • 51A: Coming-out party? (DEB). A debutante is a party (person) at a coming-out party.
  • 57A: Two little words? (I LOVE). "I LOVE you" is sometimes referred to as "three little words."
  • 3D: Beating one won't get you anywhere (DEAD HORSE). This is a beautiful entry. Best thing in the grid by far.
  • 5D: Center opening? (EPI-). Both this and 7D: Centric opening (ETHNO-) are tricky, I guess. But why does one have a question mark and the other doesn't? I guess if you're going to put two prefixes so close together you should do something to try to make it interesting, but I don't think this does it.
  • 9D: Actress North, once touted as "the new Marilyn Monroe" (SHEREE). I guess that didn't work out so well for Miss SHEREE.
  • 24D: Bass or drum (FISH). This one goes in my "plus" column. Good use of misdirection.
  • 32D: James's creator (IAN). I saw 48D: Bond creator (EPOXY) before this entry and was trying to figure out how to fit FLEMING into five spaces but it just wasn't working. And then he pops up somewhere else.
  • 34D: News promo (SOUNDBITE). My second-favorite grid entry.
  • 39D: "High Noon" actress Jurado (KATY). Perhaps she was "the new Sheree North"?
Crosswordese 101 Round-Up:
  • 19A: China's Zhou __ (ENLAI).
  • 23A: Code word (DAH).
  • 26A: Thor's father (ODIN).
  • 33A: Genesis twin (ESAU).
  • 45A: WWII gun (STEN).
  • 55A: Robert Morse title role (TRU).
  • 8D: At birth (NÉE).
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Everything Else — 1A: Chain of hills (RIDGE); 6A: Top rating (TEN); 9A: Startle (SCARE); 14A: Stay a step ahead of (ONE-UP); 15A: Tribe that fought the Navajo (UTE); 16A: Soaked (HOSED); 20A: Covers (LIDS); 21A: Very long time (EON); 26A: Thor's father (ODIN); 29A: What peddlers peddle (WARES); 31A: Bank leader? (CITI); 40A: Celebratory feeling (GLEE); 41A: Bit of naughtiness (NO-NO); 42A: Sharp (ACUTE); 43A: Dover domestic (CHAR); 54A: American elk (WAPITI); 56A: Efficient (ABLE); 60A: Snazzes (up) (SEXES); 61A: A-line line (HEM); 62A: Offer, as one's two cents (PUT IN); 63A: Hot meeting? (TRYST); 64A: Source of iron (ORE); 65A: Church closings (AMENS); 1D: "Fantastic Mr Fox" author Dahl (ROALD); 2D: Home to more than a billion (INDIA); 4D: Half a 1950 musical (GUYS); 6D: Teach privately (TUTOR); 8D: At birth (NÉE); 10D: Kind of man or game (CONFIDENCE); 11D: Narnia lion (ASLAN); 12D: Fix, as a slot machine? (REARM); 13D: Uplift (EDIFY); 18D: Night light (NEON); 22D: Astringent (ACRID); 25D: Blast cause, briefly (NITRO); 27D: Some cops (DETECTIVES); 29D: Rug (WIG); 30D: Ga. airport (ATL); 31D: Regular duty (CHORE); 35D: Take the stage (ACT); 36D: Mandolin kin (UKE); 38D: As a friend, to Fifi (EN AMI); 44D: Regular alternative, informally (HI-TEST); 45D: X-rated stuff (SMUT); 46D: Unexpected climax (TWIST); 47D: In better health (HALER); 49D: "... O, be some __ name": Juliet (OTHER); 50D: Bowler's division (FRAME); 52D: Puckish (ELFIN); 53D: Has-__ (BEENS); 56D: Astringent compound (ALUM); 58D: Nevertheless, briefly (THO); 59D: Baths (SPA).


WEDNESDAY, June 23, 2010 — Dan Naddor

Theme: Snakes in a Puzzle — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase containing four Ss.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Confident (SELF-POSSESSED).
  • 26A: Second-counter's opening (ONE MISSISSIPPI).
  • 41A: Evaluation by co-workers (PEER ASSESSMENT).
  • 47A: Professional hitter? (HIRED ASSASSIN).
  • 61A: Each of the four longest puzzle answers has two pairs of them (ESSES).
Yep, all the theme answers have four Ss alright. Love love love ONE MISSISSIPPI. The others are just meh. Also, I was starting to get annoyed by all the plurals until I realized that all the Ss in the theme answers made that more or less inevitable.

Talking Points:
  • 10A: Short pans? (UGHS). Pans as in "bad reviews."
  • 14A: The Dixie Chicks, e.g. (TRIO).

  • 17A: Bell sound (DONG). Alrighty then.
  • 33A: Fontanne of Broadway (LYNN). Unfair! The name of the Broadway theater, which I learned from crosswords, is Lunt-Fontanne. With the L and the first N in place, I thought I was so smart!
  • 40A: Cream dispensers (TUBES). Whatever you say. Oh, I was thinking cream as in food. But this is like medicinal cream. Okay then.
  • 45A: Cut into slices (CARVE). Can't see the word CARVE without recalling the horrible RECARVE fiasco of 2008. (Sorry, Caleb.)
  • 62A: Fargo's st. (N. DAK.). I read the abbreviation "st." to mean "street." I know Fargo's a small town but I swear there's more than one street!
  • 4D: Under-the-bed hider (BOGEYMAN). PuzzleSon would like to remind you all that the bogeyman checks to make sure Chuck Norris isn't under his bed.
  • 8D: QB's misthrows (INTS.). For the sports-challeneged: QB - quarterback, INT = interception.
  • 24D: Without siblings (ONLY). I know someone is going to gripe about this. Yes, "only child" is a familiar phrase, but sometimes it's shortened to ONLY.
  • 36D: Sting victim's wail (I BEEN HAD). Sting victim's woefully ungrammatical wail, that is.
Crosswordese 101: ELIAS Howe invented the sewing machine. ELIAS is also Walt Disney's middle name. Now you will recognize 98% of the clues for ELIAS.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 54A: Perlman of "Cheers" (RHEA).
  • 2D: What Pizarro sought (ORO).
  • 21D: Luau souvenirs (LEIS).
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Everything Else — 1A: "Stay" singer Lisa (LOEB); 5A: DeMille with an Oscar (CECIL); 15A: Wet, in a way (RAINY); 16A: Essence (SOUL); 18A: Make a delivery? (ORATE); 19A: Salinger title girl (ESME); 23A: "In a sec" ("NOT YET"); 25A: Sierra Club founder John et al. (MUIRS); 31A: Inventor Howe (ELIAS); 32A: Bonehead (IDIOT); 34A: Mix (BLEND); 35A: High-quality cotton (PIMA); 39A: Son of Sarah (ISAAC); 46A: Materialize (APPEAR); 52A: Ahmadinejad's land (IRAN); 53A: Nut-yielding tree (BEECH); 57A: Telescope part (LENS); 58A: Carpenter's machine (LATHE); 59A: Rows (OARS); 60A: "__ Anything": "Oliver!" song (I'D DO); 1D: Inc., in London (LTD.); 2D: What Pizarro sought (ORO); 3D: Brain (EINSTEIN); 5D: Partner of Seals (CROFTS); 6D: Tombstone lawman (EARP); 7D: "Later!" ("CIAO!"); 9D: Cleaning compounds (LYES); 10D: Exhausts (USES UP); 11D: Dirt (GOSSIP); 12D: Scapulae-to-ulnae bones (HUMERI); 13D: Mushers' vehicles (SLEDS); 22D: Discharge (EMIT); 23D: Christmas air (NOEL); 27D: Marner of fiction (SILAS); 28D: Think tank output (IDEAS); 29D: Subsequently (SINCE); 30D: Landscaper's supply (SOD); 34D: Jamboree gp. (BSA); 35D: Lift weights (PUMP IRON); 37D: Actress Suvari (MENA); 38D: Galileo's sci. (ASTR.); 39D: Burned up (IRED); 40D: Recipe amts. (TSPS.); 41D: Like socks, hopefully (PAIRED); 42D: Trip to the bank, say (ERRAND); 43D: Nonetheless (EVEN SO); 44D: Pane holders (SASHES); 45D: Common cook-off dish (CHILI); 48D: Skilled (ABLE); 49D: Neptune's realm (SEAS); 50D: Match makers? (SETS); 51D: Hurt (ACHE); 55D: Procter & Gamble detergent (ERA); 56D: "Shoot!" ("ASK!").


TUESDAY, June 22, 2010 — Gail Grabowski

Theme: Shopping Spree — Theme answers are familiar phrases (?) that end with a word that's a name of a store.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Information disparity in a social system (KNOWLEDGE GAP).
  • 32A: Ready-made graphics for frames (CLIP ART BORDERS).
  • 40A: Standard cooking supplies (KITCHEN STAPLES).
  • 56A: Skeet challenge (MOVING TARGET).
  • 45A / 66A: Each of this puzzle's four longest answers ends in one (RETAIL / STORE).

I've never been much of a Gap Girl — although I do like to by clothes for the PuzzleKids there — but the other three stores? Well, let's just say I could spend all my money at any one of them at any time. Books, office supplies, and … Target? Yes! I actually have a soft spot in my heart for Target because that's where I had my first job. Little ol' Target Store #61 in Fargo, North Dakota. That was, like, a hundred years ago. Back when we didn't have those cushy scanners. No, we had to type the numbers into the register! Those were the good old days. Now you kids get off my lawn!

So, yeah, I like the theme. Not crazy about the two middle theme answers though. They don't really seem like stand-alone phrases to me. Well, maybe KITCHEN STAPLES is but I just don't know it because I've never really been much into the whole kitchen thing. And, yes, I know what CLIP ART BORDERS are. I just don't think the phrase is in-the-language. At least not enough to be a theme answer.

The fill in this puzzle was easy-peasy. I paused at IDOL (31D: Pop star) because I thought it might be icon. And with the (first) GO in place, I wanted 22D: Like disco dancers to be gold. (Y'all remember the Solid Gold Dancers?) Other than that, it was pretty much non-stop solving. Sometimes that's not what I'm looking for, but today it felt just fine.

Crosswordese 101: This feels a little more like Crosswordese 301, but you guys are ready for an advanced lesson, right? Today I'm going to show you how to recognize a clue for STELE. It's actually very simple. Take one word from Group A and one word from Group B. Ta-da!

A: inscribed, engraved, stone, commemorative

B: marker, pillar, monument, slab

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 39A: Substitute spread (OLEO).
  • 64A: Gardner of mysteries (ERLE).
  • 6D: Still in the sack (ABED).
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Everything Else — 1A: Smoocher's smoochers (LIPS); 5A: Course with fractions (MATH); 9A: Russian country home (DACHA); 14A: Short race distance, for short (ONE K); 15A: Peek or bug ending (-ABOO); 16A: Moral principle (ETHIC); 17A: Birthday treat (CAKE); 18A: Mannerly man (GENT); 19A: "Here Come the __": 1945 college comedy (CO-EDS); 23A: Greets and seats (SEES IN); 24A: Piggy bank opening (SLOT); 25A: Calif.'s second-busiest airport (SFO); 28A: Office conf. (MTG.); 30A: Clapton's strings (GUITAR); 37A: Small songbird (WREN); 38A: Actress Lupino (IDA); 46A: NBC weekend revue (SNL); 47A: Ltr. afterthoughts (PSS); 48A: Docs prescribe them (MEDS); 51A: Coffee orders (DECAFS); 58A: Can't stomach (ABHOR); 61A: Wordsmith Webster (NOAH); 62A: Field of expertise (AREA); 63A: Mouthed on-field greeting (HI MOM); 65A: Painful skin ridge (WELT); 67A: College leader (DEAN); 68A: Not as much (LESS); 1D: Security devices (LOCKS); 2D: Absurd (INANE); 3D: Orange __ tea (PEKOE); 4D: Distorts, as data (SKEWS); 5D: Purplish hue (MAGENTA); 6D: Still in the sack (ABED); 7D: Salad servers (TONGS); 8D: The Waldorf, e.g. (HOTEL); 9D: Central Illinois city (DECATUR); 10D: Situated on (ATOP); 11D: Revolutionary Guevara (CHE); 12D: Stayed out of sight (HID); 13D: Their capacity is measured in BTUs (ACS); 21D: Flaccid (LIMP); 25D: Inscribed pillar (STELE); 26D: Taxi charges (FARES); 27D: Estimate phrase (OR SO); 29D: Broad smile (GRIN); 32D: Reacts to a tearjerker (CRIES); 33D: Baltic natives (LETTS); 34D: Cuzco empire builder (INCA); 35D: NFL six-pointers (TDS); 36D: Dugout equipment (BATS); 37D: Sitcom radio station (WKRP); 41D: Boyfriend-to-girlfriend "You have to choose!" ("HIM OR ME!"); 42D: Mountain ht. (ELEV.); 43D: "Here's what happened next ..." ("AND THEN …"); 44D: Courtroom response (PLEA); 49D: Ate a formal meal (DINED); 50D: Sleeper's sound (SNORE); 52D: Move on all fours (CRAWL); 53D: See eye to eye (AGREE); 54D: Has a hunch (FEELS); 55D: ERA and RBI (STATS); 56D: Drop anchor (MOOR); 57D: Red-carpet event (GALA); 58D: Satisfied sounds (AHS); 59D: Small piece (BIT); 60D: Patient care gp. (HMO).


MONDAY, June 21, 2010 — Gareth Bain

Theme: Laundry Day — Theme answers are familiar phrases that start with a word that can mean a laundry day mishap.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *Losing ground quickly (FADING FAST).
  • 25A: *Seeking a municipal office (RUNNING FOR MAYOR).
  • 46A: *Extreme introvert (SHRINKING VIOLET).
  • 59A: When the accidents at the starts of the answers to starred clues are apt to occur (LAUNDRY DAY).
Pretty good Monday puzzle, right? Simple theme with sparkly theme answers, fill ranges from adequate to interesting, good cluing — this puzzle's got what I'm looking for on Monday. PA KETTLE is an awesome entry that took me every cross to get (19A: Farmer in a '40s-'50s film series). With the PAK in place, I thought it was going to be an Asian name that I'd never heard before. Definite "D'oh!" moment there.

I liked the tricky OSLO / RIAL one-two punch down in the southeast corner (56D: Norwegian capital / 57D: Iranian capital). Have you seen "capital" used in clues to mean "money/currency" enough that you weren't fooled? Speaking of geography-based trickery, I had no idea Dalmatia was a place (65A: Dalmatian, e.g. (SLAV)). I mean, it makes perfect sense, but it has Never occurred to me.

Your mission is to use both "blockhead" and "bumpkin" in everyday conversation today. (15A: Blockhead (FOOL) / 29D: Bumpkin (YOKEL).)

  • 16A: Jagger of the Stones (MICK). Oh thaaat Jagger.
  • 32A: Disney toon who traded her voice for legs (ARIEL). Don't know my toons all that well, but this one wasn't too difficulty to figure out. (She's a mermaid.)
  • 34A: TV's kid explorer (DORA). Heart-breaking parental moment: in the pediatricians office, three-year-old PuzzleSon is informed by another child that Dora is "for girls." ::sigh::
  • 41A: Poker "bullets" (ACES). ACES are "bullets" and kings are "cowboys." I like to call queens "the girls," but I don't think it's actually caught on.
  • 68A: Inedible doughnut part? (HOLE). Mmmm … doughnuts.
  • 20D: Coloratura's vocal effect (TRILL). Seems like "coloratura" should mean something related to painting, but no.
  • 26D: Robert of "Spenser: For Hire" (URICH). Ya know how sometimes famous people change their names? I think if my name sounded a lot like "urine," I would consider it.
  • 37D: "(You're) Having My Baby" songwriter (ANKA). Soooo many things wrong with this song. Probably best not to get me started.
  • 42D: "Happy Days" catchphrase (SIT ON IT). Was this phrase primarily directed at Potsy? In my head, I always hear it as "Sit on it, Potsy."
  • 55D: Pierre's home: Abbr. (S. DAK.). Not a French person's name in this case, but the capital of South Dakota.
  • 58D: "I'm sorry, __": "2001: A Space Odyssey" line (DAVE). Awesome, awesome clue.
Crosswordese 101: The word COSÌ is Italian for "so" or "thus." According to Wikipedia, "COSì fan tutte," literally means "Thus do all [women]" but it is often simplified to "Women are like that." It is the title of an Italian comedic opera by Mozart. And that's pretty much the only way the word is ever clued in crossword puzzles.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 9A: Attacker of seals (ORCA).
  • 24D: Seaside flier (ERNE).
  • 25D: Indian princes (RAJAS).
  • 37D: "(You're) Having My Baby" songwriter (ANKA).
  • 56D: Norwegian capital (OSLO).
  • 61D: Singer Sumac (YMA).
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Everything Else — 1A: Lost in a good book, say (RAPT); 5A: __ prof. (ASST.); 13A: Length times width (AREA); 14A: In the freezer (ON ICE); 21A: Golfer Els (ERNIE); 22A: Nabisco cookie (OREO); 23A: None (ZERO); 33A: Astronomical time span (EON); 35A: "The __ is up!" (JIG); 36A: Southern Calif. daily (L.A. TIMES); 40A: The Sunflower St. (KAN.); 43A: Hearty holiday quaff (NOG); 44A: Letter before iota (THETA); 50A: Color akin to aqua (TEAL); 51A: "Auld __ Syne" (LANG); 52A: Knock out (FLOOR); 55A: Notified (SENT WORD); 62A: Atlas section (ASIA); 63A: __-skid brakes (ANTI); 64A: Whirlpool brand (AMANA); 66A: Gone by (PAST); 67A: Shaggy Tibetan beasts (YAKS); 1D: Knievel prop (RAMP); 2D: Diva's solo (ARIA); 3D: Chaste kiss (PECK); 4D: Offer from a flier distributor (TAKE ONE); 5D: Like old television signals (ANALOG); 6D: Fries, e.g. (SIDE); 7D: __-fi (SCI); 8D: Hamilton is on it (TEN); 9D: Designed for rough terrain (OFF-ROAD); 10D: Palomino's stablemate, perhaps (ROAN); 14D: Time and again (OFTEN); 18D: Idea's start (GERM); 23D: Camera function (ZOOM); 27D: African river or country (NIGER); 28D: Pretend (FEIGN); 30D: Spout speeches (ORATE); 31D: Charged (RAN AT); 38D: Hard work (TOIL); 39D: Time in the Army, e.g. (STINT); 45D: Bunk (HOGWASH); 47D: Jock's antithesis (NERD); 48D: Learns bit by bit (GLEANS); 49D: Chekhov title uncle (VANYA); 52D: Exercise, as wings (FLAP); 53D: Turner of "Ziegfeld Girl" (LANA); 54D: Exposes (OUTS); 60D: Flat fish (RAY).


SUNDAY, June 20, 2010 — Merl Reagle (calendar)

Theme: Happy Father's Day! — Theme answers are phrases whose words being with the letters P.O.P., clued in relation to a generic Dad occupation.

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

Theme answers:
  • 20A: What Dad the CEO occupies? (POSITION OF POWER).
  • 24A: What Dad the investor is after? (PIECE OF PROPERTY).
  • 41A: What Dad the artist uses? (PLASTER OF PARIS).
  • 48A: Words from Dad the game show host? (PASS OR PLAY).
  • 60A: Issue for Dad the professor? (PUBLISH OR PERISH).
  • 72A: Window sign for Dad the dry cleaner? (PLANT ON PREMISES).
  • 82A: Purchase by Dad the art teacher? (POT OF PASTE).
  • 89A: Concern of Dad the cashier? (PAPER OR PLASTIC).
  • 108A: Job for Dad the doctor? (POST-OP PROCEDURE).
  • 116A: Father's Day reminder? (PICK OUT PRESENTS).
Everything Else — 1A: Don't agree (DIFFER); 7A: Rob ___ (Scotch Manhattans) (ROYS); 11A: Area meas. (SQ. CM.); 15A: Back-ordered? (RECALLED); 17A: Put on cloud 9 (ELATE); 19A: Old cry of despair (O WOE); 22A: Regan's dad (LEAR); 23A: Sell with a yell (HAWK); 26A: Simple (ONE-STEP); 29A: Part of an immigrant's educ. (ESL); 30A: Covert org. (NSA); 31A: Dusk-dawn insert (TIL); 32A: "Meet the Press" guest, perh. (SEN.); 33A: Affirmatives (AYES); 35A: Lorenzo or his actor dad (LAMAS); 39A: Tampa Bay players (RAYS); 45A: His dad is Atticus Finch (JEM); 46A: Titusville discovery (OIL); 47A: Bumper sticker, "That was Zen, this is ___' (TAO); 53A: Greek letter (TAU); 55A: Where Octavian beat Antony and Cleopatra in 31 B.C. (ACTIUM); 58A: Light or dark subject (MEAT); 59A: WWII pinup girl (LANA); 63A: Rehab of a sort (DETOX); 64A: Coin-___ (OPS); 65A: Greek letter (RHO); 66A: Fab Four's fifth? (ONO); 67A: Imitate (APE); 69A: Infamous African (IDI); 70A: Hammer parts (PEENS); 78A: Radius companion (ULNA); 79A: Seed covering (ARIL); 80A: Brando, by birth (OMAHAN); 81A: Old recorder format (VHS); 85A: LAX news (ETA); 86A: First Republican prez (ABE); 88A: Removable floor covering (MAT); 95A: Mrs. in a ghost story (MUIR); 97A: From Iran or Iraq (ASIAN); 98A: Bosun's ___ (MATE); 99A: Barbara Stanwyck film, "The Lady ___" (EVE); 100A: Aero finish (SOL); 101A: Salon stuff (GEL); 103A: In favor of, to a Clampett (FER); 106A: Royal tomb of a sort (PYRAMID); 114A: The Graf ___ (SPEE); 115A: A fan of (INTO); 119A: Knotted (TIED); 120A: Knot (SNARL); 121A: Intersecting points (VERTICES); 122A: It's nothing (ZERO); 123A: He played Tony on "NYPD Blue" (ESAI); 124A: Previously, previously (ERE NOW); 1D: They're under blotters (DESKS); 2D: Henri's here (ICI); 3D: ___ farm (FAT); 4D: Pinball hitter (FLIPPER); 5D: Time-travel race (ELOI); 6D: Actress Taylor (RENEE); 7D: Used car of a sort (REPO); 8D: Sweden's Palme (OLOF); 9D: Loud, harsh cry (YAWP); 10D: Howard and Isaac (STERNS); 11D: Lone (SOLE); 12D: ___ keyboard (QWERTY); 13D: Raccoonlike carnivores (COATIS); 14D: Sophie's portrayer (MERYL); 15D: Ivanhoe's love (ROWENA); 16D: OR people (DOCS); 18D: Love god (EROS); 20D: Discussion group (PANEL); 21D: "The Most Happy ___" (FELLA); 23D: Place to see 16 Down: abbr. (HOSP.); 25D: Kitchen tool (PARER); 27D: "Play Time" actor-director (TATI); 28D: Peeper protector (EYELASH); 34D: ___ voce (SOTTO); 36D: Artist Jean (ARP); 37D: Tony Rome's home (MIAMI); 38D: Some brayers (ASSES); 40D: Plenty of (AMPLE); 42D: Deeply felt emotion (SOUL); 43D: Evenhanded (FAIR); 44D: Grey ___ (POUPON); 45D: Write quickly (JOT); 49D: Where siroccos blow (SAHARA); 50D: Around 11 p.m., perhaps (LATISH); 51D: Oxidation sites (ANODES); 52D: Graph line (Y AXIS); 53D: Elvis's birthplace (TUPELO); 54D: Away (ABSENT); 56D: "Journey Into Healing" author (CHOPRA); 57D: Diverti or penti ending (-MENTO); 60D: 3-D, as some books (POP-UP); 61D: Return address? (IRS); 62D: Lodger (ROOMER); 63D: "Dose guys" (DEM); 68D: Infraction reaction (PENALTY); 71D: Model Campbell (NAOMI); 73D: Talks like Daffy (LISPS); 74D: Mongolia's ___ Mountains (ALTAI); 75D: Warsaw Pact counterpart (NATO); 76D: Drugstore: abbr. (PHARM.); 77D: Currier's partner (IVES); 79D: Likely (APT); 83D: Coen Brothers classic (FARGO); 84D: Watcher of the skies: abbr. (EPA); 87D: Boxer Max (BAER); 90D: Ablaze, in French (EN FEU); 91D: Tahitian port (PAPEETE); 92D: Lures (TEMPTS); 93D: College climbers (IVIES); 94D: Surrender (CEDE); 95D: Mass-wedding participant (MOONIE); 96D: Northern Irish province (ULSTER); 97D: ___ skiing (ALPINE); 100D: Dog with a saliva problem? (SPITZ); 102D: Actor Omar (EPPS); 104D: 1999 Ron Howard comedy (EDTV); 105D: Indian coin (RUPEE); 107D: Good ___ (AS NEW); 109D: Controversy (TO-DO); 110D: Some TVs (RCAS); 111D: Louisiana veggie (OKRA); 112D: E. ___ (COLI); 113D: Siren sound, in the comics (RRRR); 117D: Sloth, for one (SIN); 118D: Friendly introduction? (ECO-).