01.31 Mon

M O N D A Y January 31, 2011
Donna S. Levin

Theme: Hot Hot Hot — The last word of each theme phrase can precede the word "alarm" in a familiar phrase.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Exec's perk (COMPANY CAR).
  • 23A: Tempts fate, in a way (PLAYS WITH FIRE).
  • 50A: Second in a Sue Grafton series (B IS FOR BURGLAR).
  • 61A: Fairly spicy, as chili (and like this puzzle, literally, based on the ends of 17-, 23- and 50-Across) (THREE-ALARM).
Really smooth Monday puzzle today. Highlights for me include: FALAFEL, AT FIRST, and TAILBACK. Cute theme. It's unfortunate that you can't really do much with the word "alarm." I mean, an alarm is pretty much just one thing, so we're not gonna see three different types of alarms in the theme phrases. But I've always found chili's "three-alarm" designation pretty humorous and it is, in fact, how I prefer my chili, so overall I'm gonna give this one a thumbs up.

  • 10A: Dog bugger (FLEA). I thought for a minute there might be a word for "dog boogers." But that would be gross.
  • 16A: Bee, to Andy (AUNT). Before anyone says it: Yes, that is how Aunt Bee spells her name.
  • 19A: Adriatic resort (LIDO).

  • 29A: Actor Diggs (TAYE). I've seen the name, but I don't know who this is. Let me look it up. … Hm. Okay, he played the young stud in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back." I read the book, but didn't see the movie. Now he's on TV in a show called "Private Practice" that's apparently a spin-off of "Gray's Anatomy." So now you know.
  • 33A: Actress Cheryl (LADD). Cheryl LADD, on the other hand, I knew right off the bat. "Good morning, angels!"
  • 38A: One in an extra-large baby carriage, perhaps (TRIPLET). Yikes. There's a set of first-grade triplets at PuzzleDaughter's school. That just seems insane to me.
  • 57A: Horn for a Muppet named Zoot (SAX). For some reason, I read this as "Mom for a Muppet named Zoot." I'm not familiar with this particular Muppet. Does he wear a zoot suit?
  • 7D: Avian chatterbox (MACAW). I tried MYNAH first.
  • 12D: Biblical witch's home (ENDOR). I thought the phrase "The Witches of Endor" was something, but I think I'm getting that confused with "The Witches of Eastwick." ENDOR is only known to me in the context of Star Wars. And using the word known might be a slight exaggeration. Is it a forest? Is it where the ewoks live? I feel like that girl on that video.
  • 18D: R&B artist with the 2006 #1 hit "So Sick" (NE-YO). CAn't say I'm familiar with this particular artist. Seems quite un-Monday-ish, but the crosses are all solid.
  • 35D: Perpetrator (DOER). I can't really picture anyone using the word DOER besides Andy Sipowicz.
  • 63D: '70s TV boss of Mary, Ted and Murray (LOU). More TV right in my sweet spot. The Mary Tyler Moore show.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 15A: Pastry served au rhum (BABA).
  • 68A: Eyelid woe (STYE).
  • 27D: Score after deuce (AD IN).
  • 58D: Jason's vessel (ARGO).
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Everything Else 1A: Dissolves into a puddle (MELTS); 6A: Firing range rounds (AMMO); 14A: Audibly astonished (AGASP); 20A: Sixth sense letters (ESP); 21A: Tableland (MESA); 22A: Conestoga, e.g. (WAGON); 27A: God of manly beauty (APOLLO); 30A: "Saturday Night Fever" dance genre (DISCO); 31A: Bogus plan (SCAM); 37A: Acolyte's suffix (-IST); 41A: Angus's greeting (MOO); 42A: Space Shuttle gp. (NASA); 44A: Feb. 14 (V-DAY); 45A: Colorado resort (ASPEN); 47A: "Of __ I Sing" (THEE); 49A: Mideast fleet (OILERS); 55A: One more time (AGAIN); 56A: "Trick" or "treat" (VERB); 60A: Defame (SLUR); 64A: Charged particles (IONS); 65A: Feathery wraps (BOAS); 66A: Dance in a line (CONGA); 67A: Layer of paint (COAT); 69A: Praise (KUDOS); 1D: Nutmeg spice (MACE); 2D: Boardroom clashers (EGOS); 3D: Streetlight supports (LAMP POSTS); 4D: 1/6 fl. oz. (TSP.); 5D: Musical with the song "The Holy Grail" (SPAMALOT); 6D: Bottomless pit (ABYSS); 8D: Wharton deg. (MBA); 9D: Galley mover (OAR); 10D: Pita filling (FALAFEL); 11D: "Super Mario" brother (LUIGI); 13D: Do penance (ATONE); 22D: "For what reason?" ("WHY?"); 24D: Partnership letters (LLC); 25D: Country with a da Vinci drawing on its one-euro coin (ITALY); 26D: Docile (TAME); 28D: Galileo's birthplace (PISA); 31D: Flip of a hit single (SIDE B); 32D: IRS audit rep (CPA); 34D: Barnes & Noble link? (AMPERSAND); 36D: Crime bosses (DONS); 39D: Winnebago owner, briefly (RV'ER); 40D: NFL ball carrier, often (TAILBACK); 43D: In the beginning (AT FIRST); 46D: Gp. that abducted Patty Hearst (SLA); 48D: Sweetie (HON); 49D: Meanie (OGRE); 50D: Rudimentary (BASIC); 51D: Inuit home (IGLOO); 52D: Sweat box? (SAUNA); 53D: Sun danger (UV RAY); 54D: Witherspoon of "Walk the Line" (REESE); 59D: Dec. holiday (XMAS); 61D: "Very funny" TV station (TBS); 62D: In vogue (HOT).


01.30 Sun

S U N D A Y January 30, 2011
Merl Reagle (calendar)

[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: "Aliens!"

Theme answers:

  • 23A: One dressed in ragged clothes (TATTERDEMALION).
  • 28A: Resident of a Missouri city (SEDALIAN).
  • 30A: Orgiastic (BACCHANALIAN).
  • 41A: Like Cate Blanchett or Geoffrey Rush (AUSTRALIAN).
  • 51A: Breed of horse used in show jumping (WESTPHALIAN).
  • 60A: Like bats, cats, and rats (MAMMALIAN).
  • 84A: Shaw show (PYGMALION).
  • 90A: Orgiastic (SATURNALIAN).
  • 103A: Of a Roman satirist (JUVENALIAN).
  • 112A: Certain churchgoer (EPISCOPALIAN).
  • 116A: A-list screenwriter (and crossword fan) who won an Oscar for "Schindler's List," Steven ___ (ZAILLIAN).
  • 123A: Long word for a long word (SESQUIPEDALIAN).
  • 72A: Space traveler whose first five letters, spelled backward, are oddly appropriate (NEIL ARMSTRONG).
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Everything Else 1A: Quarreled (HAD A SPAT); 9A: Meager (SCANT); 14A: Miss America (1959) who became a film and TV actress, Mary Ann ___ (MOBLEY); 20A: Dusk, old-style (EVENTIDE); 21A: Roger's follower (WILCO); 22A: Narcotic (OPIATE); 25A: City SSW of Jerusalem (HEBRON); 26A: Small island (AIT); 27A: Mon follower (AMI); 36A: Ancien régime VIP (ROI); 37A: It fell to earth in March 2001 (MIR); 39A: Said twice, it means "enthusiastic" (RAH); 40A: Oil source (OLIVE); 45A: Rock discoveries (ORES); 47A: ___ budget (ON A); 48A: Dollywood's state: abbr. (TENN.); 50A: City in Tuscany (SIENA); 54A: Customs (USAGES); 58A: 48 Across neighbor (ALA.); 59A: Bob Hope's "home" for 70 years (NBC); 64A: Lethal coiler (COBRA); 67A: Cartoon squinter (MAGOO); 69A: Lethal coiler (BOA); 70A: Aside from that (ELSE); 71A: Rap sheet letters (AKA); 77A: Instrument for Clarence Clemons (SAX); 78A: Royal wife, in Raipur (RANI); 80A: The "bad" lipoprotein (LDL); 81A: Mark for an aside: abbr. (PAREN.); 82A: Get used (to) (ADAPT); 87A: Commotion (ADO); 88A: Shout across the border (OLÉ); 89A: Carol start (ADESTE); 96A: Tony-winning Tracy Letts play, "August: ___ County" (OSAGE); 99A: Suit option (VEST); 101A: Boxed bunch (SET); 102A: Concerning (IN RE); 107A: Austen heroine et al. (EMMAS); 109A: "In excelsis ___" (DEO); 110A: Part of a Jedi's name (OBI); 111A: Ticket window transaction (BET); 120A: ___ funk (IN A); 121A: Asian automaker (KIA); 122A: Too good to ___ (BE TRUE); 130A: He played Yogurt in "Spaceballs" (BROOKS); 131A: ___ belli (act of war) (CASUS); 132A: Example (INSTANCE); 133A: Band instrument (CORNET); 134A: Breathing problem (APNEA); 135A: Lit into (ATTACKED); 1D: Worked (up) (HET); 2D: Burt and Kirk's love interest in "Seven Days in May" (AVA); 3D: Separates (DETACHES); 4D: Prank (ANTIC); 5D: It means "chest" (STETHO); 6D: Part of a circle equation (PIR); 7D: Say further (ADD); 8D: Shot enabler (TEE); 9D: Turbaned one (SWAMI); 10D: Tiny hairs (CILIA); 11D: Ring master, once (ALI); 12D: Sgts., e.g. (NCO'S); 13D: Printer refills (TONERS); 14D: Sweater material (MOHAIR); 15D: German car name (OPEL); 16D: Actress Andersson or Besch (BIBI); 17D: Wyoming city (LARAMIE); 18D: British student (ETONIAN); 19D: Hankering (YEN); 24D: Peacock, e.g. (MALE); 29D: Little Dorothy (DOT); 30D: Furrowed part? (BROW); 31D: Swiss river (AARE); 32D: "Welcome to Waikiki" ("ALOHA!"); 33D: 1492 vessel (NINA); 34D: Of grandparents (AVAL); 35D: A Bobbsey twin (NAN); 38D: Cell stuff (RNA); 42D: Coin word (UNUM); 43D: Sailing, old-style (ASEA); 44D: Glove fabric (LISLE); 46D: Dressing-room door symbol (STAR); 48D: Diminutive drum (TABOR); 49D: Include (ENCOMPASS); 52D: Strategy (PLAN); 53D: Teri in "Young Frankenstein" (INGA); 55D: Sword, to a Brit (SABRE); 56D: Start of an O'Neill play (A MOON); 57D: U.S. agent (G-MAN); 61D: Rick agonizes over her (ILSA); 62D: Straightaway, briefly (ASAP); 63D: The following (NEXT); 64D: Complain (CARP); 65D: Acceptable (OKAY); 66D: Boom alternative (BANG); 67D: Just-right skirts? (MIDIS); 68D: Earmark (ALLOT); 73D: A model publication (ELLE); 74D: Begin contemporary (SADAT); 75D: Victory pace (TROT); 76D: Dressy do (GALA); 79D: PR concern (IMAGE); 83D: House of lox (DELI); 85D: Mideast gulf (ADEN); 86D: St. Petersburg's river (NEVA); 88D: In store (ON TAP); 91D: Drew Carey's mil. outfit, once (USMC); 92D: Italy's San ___ (REMO); 93D: Pen filler (INDIA INK); 94D: Nevada's mysterious ___ 51 (AREA); 95D: Source of sign shine (NEON); 96D: Pepe's peeper (OJO); 97D: Very, very cold (SUB-ZERO); 98D: Lindbergh, e.g. (AVIATOR); 100D: Hydrocarbon finish (-ENE); 104D: Least klutzy (ABLEST); 105D: Island freebie (LEI); 106D: Minnesota lake (ITASCA); 107D: Actor Morales (ESAI); 108D: He played Oddjob in "Goldfinger," Harold ___ (SAKATA); 113D: Arouse, as interest (PIQUE); 114D: "Made ___" (IN U.S.A.); 115D: Lavender flower (LILAC); 117D: De-wrinkle (IRON); 118D: New Testament saint (LUKE); 119D: A tide (NEAP); 122D: Network on the telly (BBC); 124D: Nine-digit ID (SSN); 125D: Ms. Zadora (PIA); 126D: Depend end (-ENT); 127D: Mar. switch-over (DST); 128D: Crackerjack (ACE); 129D: Actor Beatty (NED).

01.30 Sun

S U N D A Y January 30, 2011
Mel Rosen

[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: "How to Read the Personal Ads" — Tongue-in-cheek translations of statements found in personal ads.

Theme Entries:
  • 23A: "Free spirit" means ... (I LOST EVERY JOB I EVER HAD).
  • 31A: "Enjoys long conversations" means ... (I DIDN'T PAY MY CABLE BILL).
  • 49A: "Likes home cooking" means ... (I'M TOO CHEAP TO EAT OUT).
  • 67A: "Adventurous" means ... (I HAVE BEEN TO THE ZOO ONCE).
  • 85A: "Enjoys the beach" means ... (I OWN A METAL DETECTOR).
  • 103A: "Likes to cuddle" means ... (MY APARTMENT HAS NO HEAT).
  • 112A: "Takes long walks" means ... (MY CAR'S BEEN REPOSSESSED).

Hey, puzzle peeps. This is Doug, back for another Sunday extravaganza.

This theme reminded me of "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes. That's all about personal ads, right? I haven't heard it recently (thank goodness), but I remember the general idea. Some creepy guy likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. Seems a little weird to me, but maybe that's what women liked in the '70s. I was alive during the '70s, but fortunately I was too young to realize how weird everything was.

  • 15A: Story morals, e.g. (TAGS). This one made no sense to me. But I checked the dictionary, and a tag can be defined as "an epithet or verbal appendage, the refrain of a song, the moral of a fable, etc." In L.A., tags are spray-painted on freeway overpasses.
  • 55A: Solfeggio syllables (FAS). "Solfeggio" is a fancy name for the musical notes do, re, mi, etc.
  • 58A: Syr. and Eg., once (UAR). Not to be confused with UAE. Actually they are pretty confusing. Try to remember that the UAR (United Arab Republic) no longer exists, so its clues will usually include "former" or "old" or "once." The UAE (United Arab Emirates) is still around and includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi. If you're not sure, just fill in the UA and get the last letter from the crossing entry. (On a side note, who abbreviates Egypt as Eg.?)
  • 109A: Ending for ranch (ERO) / 33D: Buck suffix (AROO). One of these should have been left out.
  • 112A: "La ___ Breve": de Falla opera (VIDA). "Livin' la Vida Breve" is one of my favorite arias.
  • 5D: Windup toy device (DETENT). It's a little gear or something. Tough word.
  • 25D: Rogers Centre team, familiarly (JAYS). The Toronto Blue Jays play in Rogers Centre, which used to be called the SkyDome.
  • 46D: "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" author (ROSSNER). Another '70s flashback. I vaguely remember this being a very scandalous movie (I was 8 when it came out), and of course I thought it had something to do with candy bars.
  • 50D: "La Boheme" waltzer (MUSETTA). I tried SUSETTE at first, which is a more normal-looking name. Does Musetta just waltz, or does she have lines too? I'm baffled.
  • 63D: Research assoc.? (DEV). Research and development or R&D.
  • 98D: "Key Largo" co-star (BACALL). I tried BOGART first. They're both awesome. "The Big Sleep" is one of my all-time favorite films.
  • 108D: Right-hook man in "Peter Pan"? (SMEE). Best clue for SMEE I can remember. If you need a SMEE refresher, check out the entry in our Crosswordese Round-up below.
OK, it's way late on Saturday night, so I'm going to wrap it up. Be sure to tune in Monday for a full helping of PuzzleGirl.

    Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
    • 20A: Airline since 1948 (EL AL).
    • 28A: Outback runner (EMU).
    • 100A: Brewery oven (OAST).
    • 4D: 2002 British Open champ (ELS).
    • 87D: River of central Germany (EDER).
    • 108D: Right-hook man in "Peter Pan"? (SMEE).
    Everything Else 1A: Like electric basses (AMPED); 6A: Chorister's cover (ROBE); 10A: One of the Wayans brothers (SHAWN); 19A: Rouen room (SALLE); 21A: Chevy model (TAHOE); 22A: Another, in Ávila (OTRA); 27A: Without delay (NOW); 29A: Have something (AIL); 30A: Sarge's boss (LOOIE); 39A: Spohr's Opus 31 and others (NONETS); 40A: Flying Clouds, e.g. (REO'S); 41A: Came to the rescue (AIDED); 42A: Fractions of a joule (ERGS); 43A: They don't skip 48-Downs (LOCS); 44A: "Otello" composer (VERDI); 46A: They may be dirt: Abbr. (RDS.); 59A: "Wassup," formally ("HELLO"); 60A: Big name in vacuums (DYSON); 61A: Word of exhortation (RAH); 62A: E-mail button (SEND); 64A: Call's partner (BECK); 66A: Writable storage media, briefly (CDR'S); 74A: Daughter of Phoebe (LETO); 75A: Seaside cottage asset (VIEW); 76A: Describe in detail (LIMN); 77A: Canon camera named for a goddess (EOS); 78A: Alley "oops" (SPLIT); 80A: Common people (PLEBS); 83A: Rented (LET); 84A: Must-take coll. course (REQ.); 91A: Slapstick prop (PIE); 92A: Cuts, say (EDITS); 93A: Big cut (GASH); 94A: Terrier of film (ASTA); 98A: Ring for breakfast (BAGEL); 101A: Sans contractual buyers (ON SPEC); 108A: Pesto or aioli (SAUCE); 110A: British ref. (OED); 111A: Compass dir. (NNE); 120A: Env. stuffer (ENCL.); 121A: "History of the World: __": Brooks film (PART I); 122A: "La __ Breve": de Falla opera (VIDA); 123A: Tropical palm (ARECA); 124A: Handy abbr. (ET AL.); 125A: Liqueur herb (ANISE); 126A: Struck (out) (EXED); 127A: Small songbirds (LARKS); 1D: Just plain silly (ASININE); 2D: Stink (MALODOR); 3D: Digging up some dirt (PLOWING); 6D: Excite (REV UP); 7D: Opry adjective (OLE); 8D: Piano or roll follower (BAR); 9D: Bridge guru Culbertson (ELY); 10D: Impassive (STOIC); 11D: "Aquí se __ español" (HABLA); 12D: Some sushi tuna (AHI); 13D: Distressed state (WOE); 14D: Ariz. neighbor (NEV.); 15D: Doughnut-shaped (TOROID); 16D: Playwright Fugard (ATHOL); 17D: Chalice's cousin (GRAIL); 18D: "Smooth Operator" singer (SADE); 24D: Paramedics, briefly (EMT'S); 26D: North Sea feeder (ELBE); 32D: Lucie's dad (DESI); 33D: Buck suffix (-AROO); 34D: "Guh-ross!" ("YECCH!"); 35D: Six-Day War figure Dayan (MOSHE); 36D: Milhouse's pal (BART); 37D: Venice Film Festival site (LIDO); 38D: Warhol "superstar" Sedgwick (EDIE); 43D: "SNL" producer Michaels (LORNE); 44D: Restaurant worker who's rarely in the restaurant (VALET); 45D: Historic period (EPOCH); 47D: One may be an item (DUO); 48D: Stop: Abbr. (STN.); 51D: Exercise portmanteau (TAE BO); 52D: Jostled (ELBOWED); 53D: Enlarge, in a way (ADD ONTO); 54D: Rookie (TYRO); 55D: Calendar col. (FRI.); 56D: "That feels go-o-o-od" ("AAH"); 57D: "Let's" evoker (SHALL WE); 65D: Kenan's TV pal (KEL); 66D: Tailed orbiter (COMET); 68D: Ore source (VEIN); 69D: Bug like a pup (NIP AT); 70D: Doesn't hold back (TELLS); 71D: Zip (ZILCH); 72D: Cedar Rapids college (COE); 73D: Litigator's letters (ESQ.); 78D: Just a taste (SIP); 79D: Luau dish (POI); 81D: Had, in the Bible (BEGAT); 82D: Hidden supply (STASH); 86D: Big opening? (MEGA-); 88D: Arcade foul (TILT); 89D: "¿Cómo __?" (ESTÁ); 90D: Hardly thoughtful (RASH); 95D: "The Faerie Queene" poet (SPENSER); 96D: New Jersey town near the George Washington Bridge (TEANECK); 97D: Substituted for (ACTED AS); 99D: Me-tooer (APER); 100D: __ about (ON OR); 101D: Till bills (ONES); 102D: "I won't sign" ("NO DEAL"); 103D: Is forbidden to, quaintly (MAYN'T); 104D: New Mexico state flower (YUCCA); 105D: Bumps into (MEETS); 106D: Banks called "Mr. Cub" (ERNIE); 107D: "Such a pity" ("SO SAD"); 113D: Mud bath venue (SPA); 114D: Block (BAN); 115D: "__ tu": 44-Across aria (ERI); 116D: Apple pioneer? (EVE); 117D: Thumbnails, nowadays (PIX); 118D: Poetic praise (ODE); 119D: Málaga Mrs. (SRA).


    01.29 Sat

    S A T U R D A Y January 29, 2011
    Gareth Bain

    Theme: None

    It was a little difficult for me to concentrate on this puzzle because I solved it right after what might be the last of a really long string of Iowa Hawkeye wrestling victories. Their win against Northwestern tonight brings the Hawks' unbeaten streak to 72 but it's not at all unlikely that they might lose on Sunday to top-ranked Penn State. The suspense is killing me. And I'm sure you'll forgive me for needing almost every cross for LANES (2D: Pins may be at the ends of them) because all I could think was "a wrestling match against a Hawkeye." No chance of getting away from that one. But let's get to the puzzle because I know you didn't come here to read about Iowa wrestling.

    I really hope YES THERE IS A GOD was the seed entry for this puzzle because it's an awesome phrase to build a puzzle around. In fact, both of the 14-letter entries in this grid are spectacular:

    • 20A: Ecstatic cry (YES THERE IS A GOD).
    • 45A: Go from 10 to 8, say (DROP A DRESS SIZE).
    The two 15s don't really sparkle for me, but it's kinda cool that they're related:
    • 17A: "West Side Story" duet (ONE HAND ONE HEART).
    • 50A: Angel's concern (BROADWAY MUSICAL).
    Stuff I just flat-out didn't know:
    • 9A: Russian city to host the 2014 Olympics (SOCHI).
    • 35A: __ Squalor, Count Olaf's girlfriend in "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (ESME). I would have gotten this if it had been a Twilight clue.
    • 37A: Billy Dee's "The Empire Strikes Back" role (LANDO).
    • 45D: "The Sopranos" Emmy winner De Matteo (DREA). She also played Joey's sister Gina on "Friends."
    • 48D: 2006 N.L. MVP __ Howard (RYAN). He plays first base for the Phillies.
    What else can we talk about?
    • 1A: Edmonton's prov. (ALTA.). Learned this from crosswords. It really seems like there should be a B in there somewhere.
    • 24A: Fish you don't want to be biting (PIRANHAS). Today I learned that I don't really know how to spell PIRANHA. After the PIR, I needed help from the crosses.
    • 31A: One-footer, e.g. (TAP-IN). Golf!
    • 43A: Tab competitor (DIET R.C.). I tried FRESCA here first.
    • 55A: Dustin's "The Graduate" co-star (ANNE). I can never remember that it was ANNE Bancroft who played Mrs. Robinson. I do know the song very well though. In fact, I recall a period of time when PuzzleSister and I were in, oh I don't know, fourth and fifth grade probably? Where she played the song over and over and over again in an apparent plot to drive the rest of the family into madness. But it didn't work!

    • 3D: End-of-day destination for many (THE SUBURBS). I'm so glad that both my job and my home are in THE SUBURBS. On good days my commute is like 12 minutes. Oh and this is another very cool entry.
    • 25D: __ jure: by the law itself (IPSO). Oh good. Another IPSO phrase for me to get confused with Lhasa Apso.
    • 37D: Traditionally, when women were allowed to propose marriage (LEAP DAY). Ya know what? I think it's probably best not to get me started on this particular tradition.
    Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
    • 5A: North __ Sea, Syr Darya River outlet (ARAL).
    • 8D: Anderson of "WKRP in Cincinnati" (LONI).
    • 38D: Windblown soil (LOESS).
    • 44D: Industry overseers (CZARS).
    • 46D: Elephants' predators, in myth (ROCS).
    [Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

    Everything Else 14A: Sounds of triumph (HAHS); 15A: Move, in real estate (RELO); 16A: Some soli (ARIAS); 21A: Loan guarantor (SURETY); 22A: Whiz (PRO); 23A: Stir vigorously (BEAT); 29A: Attached, in a way (GLUED); 32A: Peke output (YIP); 33A: They fit in locks (OARS); 34A: Deli suffix (-WURST); 36A: Overalls part (BIB); 38A: Glove material (LATEX); 39A: How much radio is broadcast (IN STEREO); 41A: Pharmacist's datum (DOSE); 42A: Had a life (WAS); 51A: Site of a sacred building called the Kaaba (MECCA); 52A: Resort NE of Los Alamos (TAOS); 53A: Swarthy (DARK); 54A: Far from swarthy (PASTY); 56A: Word of consequence (ELSE); 1D: Bridge call? (AHOY); 4D: Hardwood sources (ASH TREES); 5D: CNN Gulf War reporter (ARNETT); 6D: Towel off again (RE-DRY); 7D: Shrub with tubular flowers (ALOE); 9D: Arid (SAHARAN); 10D: Ducks' home (OREGON); 11D: "Bye!" ("CIAO!"); 12D: Like some copies and courts (HARD); 13D: Social end (-IST); 18D: Winning (AHEAD); 19D: Lively wit (ESPRIT); 24D: 1960s-'70s "Jeopardy!" announcer (PARDO); 26D: Riotous (HYSTERICAL); 27D: Parisian lover's word (AIME); 28D: Eyewear, commercially (SPEX); 29D: Home to many Bactrian camels (GOBI); 30D: Rested (LAIN); 31D: Some find it hard to carry (TUNE); 34D: 1955 treaty city (WARSAW); 35D: Manhattan's FDR Drive is on it (EAST SIDE); 40D: With an intermission (TWO-ACT); 41D: Neglect (DISUSE); 43D: Familiar, perhaps (DEMON); 47D: It may be described in gigs (DATA); 49D: Sommer of "The Prize" (ELKE); 50D: Image file letters (BMP).


    01.28 Fri

    F R I D A Y January 28, 2011
    Don Gagliardo

    Theme: De-Ugh-ify — Theme answers are familiar phrases with the letter string UGH removed, creating new wacky phrases, clued "?"-style.

    Theme answers:

    • 17A: Where to sleep off a bender? (SOT SHELTER).
    • 24A: Anxious campus society? (FRAT WITH TENSION).
    • 38A: Hair styling prodigy? (DO BOY).
    • 46A: Talented jazzman? (CAT WITH THE GOODS).
    • 57A: "Airport music so early?" ("ENO ALREADY?").
    Hey, everybody, sorry I missed you yesterday. Big thanks to Amy and Doug for stepping up in my hour of need. Our power flickered on and off most of the evening on Wednesday, and totally cut out at 10:00. So we got up this morning, took the food out of the fridge and put it on the porch, and went to work where we wouldn't freeze to death. The PuzzleKids joined me at my office, which was … interesting. Let's just say it wasn't my most productive day ever. It was a weird day anyway though: everybody was wearing jeans, coming in late, whining about the snow, oh and my kids weren't the only ones there, so it was all good. PuzzleDaughter ingratiated herself by making valentines for everybody. I got word from the neighbors that the power came back on around 2:00 this afternoon which was (obviously) welcome news. Now I'm back here at the house, warm and toasty with the internet fired up and everything is right with the world. So let's talk about this puzzle, shall we?

    I'm not going to lie to you, this theme confused me while I was solving. I couldn't put any of the theme answers together with any certainty, but managed to figure out that one started with CAT and one started with FRAT, so I came to the reasonable conclusion that the starts of the other theme answers would rhyme as well. Not so! The next one to appear was SOT and then ENO and I thought to myself "This is a very strange and complicated theme. I hope I am smart enough to figure it out." And I did. Eventually. You see, the theme isn't built on the pronunciation aspect of these words but simply on the spelling. The letters UGH are removed from the first word of each phrase. The resulting first words looked to me like a real mishmash: SOT, FRAT, DO, CAT, ENO. And they are if you try to find a common thread, because there just isn't one. Two of them rhyme with each other, one is pronounced more or less the same as the base phrase, two of them have the UGH removed from the end, while the other base phrases remove the UGH before a terminal T. It just seems … messy to me. I don't believe there's anything fundamentally wrong with this theme. It just doesn't speak to me personally. Or maybe it's speaking to me but it sounds like jibberish.

    • 5A: Company whose name is quacked in ads (AFLAC). Man that duck gets on my nerves.
    • 28A: Yankee nickname (A-ROD). Alex Rodriguez. Perhaps you've heard of him.
    • 31A: 2008 Libertarian presidential candidate (BARR). It doesn't happen often, but Every Once In A While being a politics geek comes in handy.
    • 41A: Part of the dog days of Dijon (AOÛT). The French word for August.
    • 45A: Atterbury Street gallery (TATE). I didn't know for sure that the TATE gallery was on Atterbury Street, but I knew it was in London and thought Atterbury Street sounded quite British. Quite.
    • 56A: Frost, say (POET). Have you all seen the TV show "Chase"? The main character's name is Annie Frost and she Kicks Ass and never forgets to also Take Names.
    • 61A: Dino's love (AMORE).

    • 62A: Lhasa __ (APSO). This is a type of dog, right? I can never remember if it's APSO or IPSO. I guess I always get "ipso facto" in my head and then can's remember if the dog is different than the Latin phrase or the same. But I know it's one of those two.
    • 64A: Mearth's mother, in a '70s-'80s sitcom (MINDY). Okay, it looks like we are going to have to start counting Mork & Mindy references. This is like the third one this year, right?
    • 9D: Frequent Martha's Vineyard arrival (CAR FERRY). Because "rich a**hole" doesn't fit. Kidding! I'm sure Martha's Vineyard is full of lovely, lovely people. In fact, I'm a little ashamed of myself for implying otherwise.
    • 10D: Is, when simplified (BOILS DOWN TO). This is a great grid entry, but I'm not crazy about the clue.
    • 13D: Singer/songwriter born Robert Zimmerman (DYLAN). Gimme!
    • 18D: Spoke uncertainly (HAWED). Second time this week for HAW. Did it come to you right away this time? I sure didn't hesitate long.
    • 29D: MS. enclosure (SAE). We covered the SASE in a previous Crosswordese 101 lesson. I guess it's not too hard to figure that that the SAE is the same as the SASE. But without the S[tamp].
    • 34D: Incriminating record, maybe (VIDEOTAPE). I solved this one from the bottom up and was going to be all kindsa freaked out if SEX TAPE was in the puzzle.
    • 36D: Kareem, at UCLA (LEW). Before he changed his name, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was known as Lew Alcindor.
    Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
    • 20A: Aurora's counterpart (EOS).
    • 43A: Friend of Dalí (SERT).
    • 53A: Dag Hammarskjöld's successor (U THANT).
    • 12D: Olds that replaced the Achieva (ALERO).
    [Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

    Everything Else 1A: Plain type? (JANE); 10A: Finishing nail (BRAD); 14A: Work (OPUS); 15A: Sporty Mazda (MIATA); 16A: Slick (OILY); 19A: Atl. republic since 1944 (ICEL.); 21A: Smart guy? (ALEC); 22A: Pivoting points (FULCRA); 27A: La __ Tar Pits (BREA); 29A: Worked with horses, in a way (SHOED); 33A: Like some rugs (OVAL); 37A: Pool shade (AQUA); 39A: Off the mark (WIDE); 40A: Abbr. followed by a year (ESTD.); 42A: Fund (ENDOW); 54A: Cramming method (ROTE); 55A: Disturb, as the balance (TIP); 60A: Regarding (IN RE); 63A: Headlights starer (DEER); 65A: Flunky (PEON); 1D: Pianist Hofmann (JOSEF); 2D: "I'm just __ wayfaring stranger": song lyric (A POOR); 3D: More than just into (NUTS ABOUT); 4D: Indirect route (ESS); 5D: Earhart of the air (AMELIA); 6D: Sole order (FILET); 7D: Door fastener (LATCH); 8D: Scarfed up (ATE); 11D: "Sleepy Hollow" actress (RICCI); 23D: Card game with a pre-victory warning (UNO); 25D: Stays afloat, in a way (TREADS WATER); 26D: Fateful card (TAROT); 30D: Operations ctrs. (HQ'S); 31D: Diner option (BOOTH); 32D: __ Dhabi (ABU); 35D: Foofaraw (ADO); 38D: Competitive missile hurlers (DART TEAM); 42D: More than ready (EAGER); 44D: German article (EIN); 45D: Big name in tea (TETLEY); 46D: Missile-shooting god (CUPID); 47D: Make restitution (ATONE); 48D: "Ta-da!" ("THERE!"); 49D: Town on the Firth of Clyde (TROON); 50D: Emulate Scrooge (HOARD); 51D: Playground retort (DID SO); 52D: Watch from the trees, say (SPY ON); 58D: Feature of a two-ltr. monogram (NMI); 59D: "The Gold-Bug" monogram (EAP).


    01.27 Thu

    T H U R S D A Y
    January 27, 2011
    Dan Naddor & Doug Peterson

    Theme: Seething resentment! Four phrases end with nouns that double as verbs that partner with GRUDGE.

    Theme answers:
    • 45d. A GRUDGE is a [Feeling of resentment associated with the last words of the starred answers]. Can you honestly say there is no one or nothing you hold a grudge against? Just a little bit?
    • 17a. The GRIZZLY BEAR is a [*Yellowstone Park beast]. In each of the theme phrases, the final word is a noun that doubles as a verb that is often paired with "grudge," as in "bear a grudge."
    • 28a. [*Fort McHenry defended it in 1814] clues BALTIMORE HARBOR. This is not the sort of trivia I have at my command, but I don't harbor a grudge against learning American history.
    • 43a. A REGISTERED NURSE is a [*Medical professional]. I would rather nurse a beer than a grudge, but I feel like an idiot when I nurse a Diet Coke. Why is that?
    • 55a. [*Feature of many customer service calls] is MUSIC ON HOLD. Phrase feels a little awkward to me. Wrestling fiend PuzzleGirl could tell us all the wrestling hold names that might've worked here, but I don't know any.
    I bring tidings from PuzzleGirl, whose electricity went out Wednesday night. Doug co-constructed this puzzle and Seth is out sick, so she was forced to reach to the back of the bench and call me into the game. (Do the Chicago Bears have another backup quarterback after Caleb Hanie? That's my equivalent.) Forgive me for deviating from the usual format—I'm basically copying my Diary of a Crossword Fiend post as is. I could add photos and videos and whatnot but I am lazy. Sad but true.

    • 51a. [Seasonal pharmacy offering] is a FLU SHOT. I got a flu shot in September. I've had a cold since then, but nothing bad.
    • 3d. [Forensic test site] clues CRIME LAB, which I suspect is much more "in the language" than the DNA LAB that keeps popping up in crosswords.
    • 4d. I don't watch TMZ ON TV, but boy, what a fresh entry that is. It's a [Celebrity gossip show].
    • 37d. [Inexpensively] clues FOR A SONG. Isn't that a terrific entry? I like it.
    • 42d. [Sam Spade, e.g., slangily] is a GUMSHOE.
    A few more clues:
    • 40a. [Curly smacker] is MOE of the Three Stooges. That Moe was so abusive. He really needed therapy.
    • 9d. HEALTH FOOD is clued as a [Nutritionist's recommendation]. Not necessarily. Depending on your medical status, you may be warned away from many of the healthiest (fine, fine, pedants: "most healthful") foods. True story!
    • 25d. ["We get letters" '50s-'60s TV singer/host] clues Perry COMO. I had no idea that phrase had a Perry Como connection.
    • 29d. [Group that goes through the motions?] is a MIME TROUPE. I've been leery of mimes ever since I saw The Aristocrats.

    Note from Doug:

    Benchwarmer? Hardly! Amy's the franchise.

    When Rich offered me the chance to construct a puzzle using one of Dan's themes, I jumped at it. Then I got worried. What if it's a "seven-banger" (seven theme answers)? Fortunately, this was one I could handle. As most of you know, Dan loved to cram as many theme entries as possible into his grids. One of my favorite Naddor crosswords was a Sunday L.A. Times puzzle called "California Pros" that included 14 theme entries(!), one for each major sports team in California. Awesome.

    I met Dan a couple of times, and of course, we talked puzzles. His face lit up when we started discussing themes. He seemed to have hundreds of themes, half-themes, and theme concepts buzzing around in head. And yes, I was a little jealous, because coming up with a theme is often the toughest part of the process for me. So I'm glad I got to dip into Dan's theme reservoir today. It's an honor to share a byline with him.


    01.26 Wed

    W E D N E S D A Y
    January 26, 2011
    Robert A. Doll

    Theme: I've Got a Secret — Theme answers are all super-heroes, clued by their secret identities.

    Theme answers:
    • 17A: Diana Prince's alter ego (WONDER WOMAN).
    • 24A: Peter Parker's alter ego (SPIDER-MAN).
    • 31A: Britt Reid's alter ego (THE GREEN HORNET).
    • 37A: Steve Roger's alter ego (CAPTAIN AMERICA).
    • 48A: Linda Lee Danvers's alter ego (SUPERGIRL)
    • 56A: Reed Richards's alter ego (MR. FANTASTIC).
    Hey, folks. This is Doug, filling in for PuzzleGirl. She's been called away to deal with a Girl Scout Cookie emergency. By day, she's a mild-mannered puzzle solver and blogger, but by night, she dons her cape and boots to become...Cookie Mom! Or maybe she's Cookie Mom during the day and a mild-mannered blogger at night. Anyway, she'll be back tomorrow.

    I flew through this puzzle like a speeding bullet. I saw the clue for 17A and filled in WONDER WOMAN immediately. Then I went through the rest of the theme entries and got them all with no crossers. Yep, I used to be a major comic book geek. I haven't read a comic in years, but I've still got a few hundred of my old ones sitting in a closet. I suspect some of you non-geeky people had a tough time with this one. The heroes get more obscure as you move from top to bottom. Everyone's heard of Wonder Woman & Spider-Man, but Supergirl & Mr. Fantastic aren't household names. And just so you know, Batman could beat up all six of these heroes without breaking a sweat.

    If you enjoyed this puzzle, you might want to solve this one too: Super-Hero Boots. Here's the set-up: The Flash, Batman, Superman, and Aquaman were caught with their boots off when an emergency call came in....

    • 35A: Bite for Mister Ed (OAT). Are you kidding? That horse was a star. Remember when he hit a home run off Sandy Koufax? I hope he ate something better than plain old oats.
    • 45A: "Kubla Khan" river (ALPH). As if there weren't enough real-world rivers in crosswords, there are also a few imaginary ones you need to remember. ALPH usually gets a clue referencing Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan." There's STYX, often clued as "Underworld river" or "Charon's river." And finally LETHE, river of forgetfulness or oblivion.
    • 61A: Bis plus one, to a pharmacist (TER). "Bis" means twice a day and "ter" means three times a day. I think. I'm always a bit hazy on the pharmacy clues.
    • 3D: "General Hospital" actress (ANNA LEE). She played Lila Quartermaine from 1978-2003.
    • 28D: "How now? ___?": Hamlet, before mistakenly slaying Polonius (A RAT). Sorry, I can't embed the video, but there's a great "The Simpsons" version of "Hamlet" here. Polonius: "I hide behind curtains because I have a fear of being stabbed."
    • 29D: Letter after epsilon (ZETA). What's up with Catherine Zeta-Jones's name? I'm thinking about adding a random Greek letter to my name. How does Douglas Omicron-Peterson sound?
    • 50D: 1961 British movie monster (GORGO). I've never heard of this movie, so did a little research on Mr. Gorgo. He's the usual dinosaur/Godzilla-type monster. And here's the exciting part: his mother is named Ogra! If the movie "Gorgo" experiences a sudden surge in popularity, OGRA could become the new go-to entry for crossword constructors. We wouldn't have to rely on OGRE as much as we do now. So please, everyone, add "Gorgo" to your Netflix queues.
    • 53D: Lee who co-created 24-Across (STAN). This is a nice bonus to go along with the comic book theme. Stan Lee is a legend in world of comic books and was also instrumental in the creation of 56-Across and the rest of the Fantastic Four.
    • 58D: Rhine feeder (AAR). Here's an excellent Crosswordese101 lesson on AAR and many other baffling rivers.


    01.25 Tue

    T U E S D A Y
    January 25, 2011
    Marti DuGuay-Carpenter

    Theme: Only Ifs and Buts — Theme answers are familiar three-word phrases where the middle word (AND) is removed. Then … wackiness.

    Theme answers:

    • 17A: *Worm change? (BAIT SWITCH).
    • 37A: *Relocation company's cocktail mixers? (MOVERS' SHAKERS).
    • 60A: *Court mistake? (TRIAL ERROR).
    • 68A: Word usually found in the answers to starred clues (AND).
    Happy Tuesday, everybody. What a fun little theme for us today. I kinda wish there was more of it! And I really mean that. I mean, three theme answers is plenty, but this one is really cute and there must be more phrases that would work. No, as a matter of fact, I can't think of any right now, but I'm sure there are some!

    Highlights of this puzzle for me include:
    • 26A: Hardly a tough decision (NO-BRAINER).
    • 2D: "C'mon sport, help me out" ("BE A PAL!").
    • 18D: Coordinated fan effort at a stadium (THE WAVE).
    I once wrote an English paper about THE WAVE. Yep, got away with it too.

    Unfortunately, PuzzleDaughter is BarfyDaughter tonight, so I'm gonna try to finish this up and get to bed since I doubt I'll have the opportunity to sleep all the way through the night. Ugh.

    • 4A: Slopeside structure (CHALET). This answer can only remind me of one thing today: Girl Scout cookies. Yes, that's right, I'm the Cookie Mom this year. Pretty sure I had some sort of brain damage the day I signed up for that. One of the types of cookies we have here in the DC area (not all Girl Scout troops across the country have all the same cookies — weird, right?) is Lemon Swiss Chalet Cremes. I actually need to get the troop's cookie order in tomorrow so I've been "WGSC: All Girl Scout Cookies All The Time" the last couple days. God help me.
    • 15A: Dugouts, e.g. (CANOES). I could not not think about baseball here.
    • 24A: Lender's product (BAGEL). I'm not sure I've ever eaten a Lender's bagel, but I've heard of the brand. For some reason, I have in my mind that they're not very good. Of course, once you have an H&H bagel, you're ruined for life.
    • 29A: Decelerate (SLOW UP). Who else went "SLOW DO…Hey! It won't fit!" I'm more likely to say "slow down" or "hold up," but SLOW UP strikes me as legit.
    • 33A: Words before "Here's to," perhaps (A TOAST). We sure do have a lot of toasting going on around here these days. Skoal! Salud! Here's to, I don't know … SAM (23D: One of the Warner Brothers). (Who knew?)
    • 55A: "How Do I Live" singer LeAnn (RIMES). We've talked about this song here before, haven't we? It has my vote for Sappiest Co-Dependent Song of All Time. She's not even singing about having lost her man. She's singing about how bad she would feel if he did leave. Which he hasn't. Drama Queen much?
    • 5D: Hesitating sounds (HAWS). Couldn't get past ER and UM in my head, so this one came through crosses. I guess this is like "hemming and HAWing"?
    • 9D: Top at the beach (T-SHIRT). I'm fairly confident that I'm not the only one who tried BIKINI here first.
    • 10D: St. __ Girl beer (PAULI). You never forget your first girl.
    • 39D: Biblical mount (ASS). I literally laughed out loud at this one. My brain was so focused on trying to think of a mountain's name that even with the first two letters in place this didn't come to me immediately. My D'oh moment of the day.
    • 40D: Foreign Legion cap (KEPI). Here's the weird thing. I was fairly certain it started with a K, but even now that I see the whole word it doesn't look familiar to me at all. I'm tucking this one away in my brain though. Looks like it might come in handy.
    Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
    • 14A: DDE opponent (AES).
    • 20A: Shimmery sushi fish (OPAH).
    • 43A: Nice vacation time? (ÉTÉ).
    • 58A: Architect Saarinen (EERO).
    • 65A: Canapé topper, perhaps (ROE).
    • 52D: Wickerwork willow (OSIER).
    • 57D: On the sheltered side (ALEE).
    [Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

    Everything Else 1A: Utah Jazz's gp. (NBA); 10A: Sodas (POPS); 16A: Frizzy do (AFRO); 19A: Sci-fi saucers (UFO'S); 21A: Lush (SOT); 22A: Speck in the sea (ISLET); 31A: Dough dispenser, briefly (ATM); 32A: Craps cube (DIE); 36A: Remain unsettled (PEND); 41A: Without accomplices (LONE); 42A: Didn't run the ball (PASSED); 44A: Old word of annoyance (FIE); 46A: Twitches (SPASMS); 50A: Kentucky's state flower (GOLDENROD); 54A: Sacro- ending (ILIAC); 56A: One of a salty seven (SEA); 59A: Start of a coconut cocktail name (PIÑA); 63A: Former Israeli president Weizman (EZER); 64A: Shoelace holder (EYELET); 66A: Corporate freebie (PERK); 67A: Breaks down in English class? (PARSES); 1D: Pooh-bahs (NABOBS); 3D: Cheese from Italy's Veneto region (ASIAGO); 4D: IV amounts (CC'S); 6D: Negatively charged atom (ANION); 7D: Game with scratching (LOTTO); 8D: Treaty of Rome org. (EEC); 11D: Lawbreaker (OFFENDER); 12D: Dietary needs found in beef (PROTEINS); 13D: Titanic signal (SOS); 25D: Bard's instrument (LUTE); 27D: Bubbly soothers (BATHS); 28D: Wine choice (RED); 30D: __ favor: señor's "please" (POR); 34D: According to (AS PER); 35D: Retirement org. (SSA); 36D: One on a bike (PEDALER); 37D: Add an engine to (MOTORIZE); 38D: Quick joke (ONE-LINER); 41D: Hose filler? (LEG); 44D: Giant's first word (FEE); 45D: Arched foot part (INSTEP); 47D: __ Nevada mountain range (SIERRA); 48D: Strand on a 22-Across (MAROON); 49D: Made a basket, say (SCORED); 51D: Old German money, for short (D-MARK); 53D: Antes precede them (DEALS); 59D: Vim (PEP); 61D: Shaggy Scandinavian rug (RYA); 62D: Sci-fi invaders, for short (ET'S).


    01.24 Mon

    M O N D A Y
    January 24, 2011
    John Lampkin

    Theme: ROFLMAO — Okay, not really ROFLMAO. Just LOL. Theme answers are familiar three-word phrases with the initials L.O.L.

    Theme answers:

    • 20A: Comfortable situation to live in, with "the" (LAP OF LUXURY).
    • 56A: Low-paying but rewarding project (LABOR OF LOVE).
    • 11D: Minnesota-based dairy cooperative (LAND O' LAKES).
    • 29D: "Like that's going to work!" ("LOTS OF LUCK!").
    • 41A: Cyberchuckle, and a hint to this puzzle's four longest answers (LOL).
    Good morning, everyone. Looks like we're starting out the week with a smooth solve from Mr. Lampkin. I usually expect something tricky from John, but today's puzzle is pretty straightforward. Well, it is Monday after all. Did you notice how many of the clues seemed to be "paired"? For example:
    • 44A: "Romeo and Juliet" city (VERONA).
    • 46A: Before, to Shakespeare (ERE).

    • 6D: Brand over spaghetti (RAGU).
    • 7D: Brand under the sink (AJAX).
    I think of that type of cluing as Bob Klahn-esque, and it doesn't surprise me that we're seeing quite a bit of it from John.

    As for the theme, it's a perfectly solid theme for Monday. Theme phrases are not particularly sparkly, but they don't just lie there either. The only nit I would pick is that three of the theme answers use OF as the O part of the phrase, while the fourth is the contraction O'. That didn't affect my solving experience, but it does detract somewhat from the theme's elegance. And I admit that's being awfully picky.

    Grid entries that spice up this Monday fare include:
    • 14A: Ballerina's rail (BARRE).
    • 27A: A deuce used as an ace, say (WILD CARD).
    • 5D: Showing shame (RED-FACED).
    • 42D: Like a stroller at the shore, shoewise (BAREFOOT).
    That last clue made me LOL. "Shoewise"? Had no idea what was going on there and only figured it out from crosses.

    • 39A: Went to the polls (VOTED). When PuzzleSon was just a toddler, we took him with us to vote one time. Our polling place was an elementary school in the neighborhood, and they used machines where you make your choices and then push a big green button clearly marked with the word VOTE. As we went through the process, I explained it to PuzzleSon, the way parents do with little kids (knowing that none of it probably made a bit of sense to him). After that, every time we'd drive by that school he would yell out "Push green button say boat!"
    • 66A: Nuts (LOCO). One of the few relatively tricky clues in the grid because the answer could have gone in a number of directions. Nuts like peanuts and walnuts? Nuts like a group of nutty people? Nope, it's not even a noun in this case. I had the same sort of hesitation with 13D: Relaxed (EASED). There, my first thought was to read the clue as a verb.
    • 8D: Spanish toast (SALUD). Add this to your list of toasts, which should include SKOAL from the other day.
    • 21D: Angle iron (L-BAR). Ane here, once again, ladies and gentlemen, a perfect example of how doing crossword puzzles regularly can help you become a better solver. I wouldn't have had the foggiest idea on this one if we hadn't just had L-BAR as a theme (and, if I recall correctly, the reveal answer was clued as "angle iron").
    • 28D: People magazine focus (IDOL). Have y'all been watching "American Idol" this season? I'm a big Aerosmith fan, so I was afraid seeing Steven Tyler on the panel would make me cringe like crazy. Now, I haven't watched a whole episode all the way through, but the bits and pieces I've seen of him have been palatable. I understand that he sometimes tends a little toward the pedophile end of the spectrum, and that doesn't sit well with me at all, but from what I've seen, he's pretty entertaining.
    Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
    • 17A: Twisty-horned antelope (ELAND).
    • 34A: Beethoven's Third (EROICA).
    • 43A: "Born Free" lioness (ELSA).
    • 46A: Before, to Shakespeare (ERE).
    • 47A: "Free Willy" critter (ORCA).
    • 59D: Chief Norse god (ODIN).
    • 61D: Gaelic language (ERSE).
    [Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

    Everything Else 1A: Where many knots are tied (ALTAR); 6A: Tabula __: blank slate (RASA); 10A: Elmer's product (GLUE); 15A: In __: stuck (A JAM); 16A: Bear with too-hot porridge (PAPA); 18A: Powerful wind (GALE); 19A: Tiny army marchers (ANTS); 23A: Anonymous Jane (DOE); 24A: Research facility (LAB); 25A: Songwriter Neil (DIAMOND); 32A: Store, as a hose (COIL); 33A: "Much __ About Nothing" (ADO); 36A: Li'l Abner's creator Al (CAPP); 42A: Cake maker (BAKER); 49A: Turns on, as an engine (STARTS UP); 51A: What mirrors do (REFLECT); 54A: Golfer's support (TEE); 55A: Dot-com's address (URL); 62A: Very dry, as Champagne (BRUT); 64A: Musical quality (TONE); 65A: __ but wiser (OLDER); 67A: Ending for exist (-ENCE); 68A: Leaves out (OMITS); 69A: Actress Sommer (ELKE); 70A: Nut, e.g. (SEED); 71A: Past or present (TENSE); 1D: Adam's second son (ABEL); 2D: Refrain syllables (LA LA); 3D: Mouse catcher (TRAP); 4D: Golfer Palmer (ARNOLD); 9D: Part of USA (AMERICA); 10D: 4.0, for one: Abbr. (GPA); 12D: Pulitzer author Sinclair (UPTON); 22D: NBA's __ Ming (YAO); 26D: Glittery mineral (MICA); 27D: Breaker at the shore (WAVE); 30D: Romeo or Juliet, e.g. (ROLE); 31D: Christian's dresses? (DIORS); 35D: Coagulate, as blood (CLOT); 37D: Lima's country (PERU); 38D: Get ready, briefly (PREP); 40D: British peer (EARL); 44D: Moves out (VACATES); 45D: Peacekeeping gp. since 1949 (NATO); 48D: Animation collectible (CEL); 50D: "Out with it!" ("TELL ME!"); 51D: Moscow money (RUBLE); 52D: Filmdom's Flynn (ERROL); 53D: Steakhouse steak (T-BONE); 57D: Grimm beginning (ONCE); 58D: Oboe or bassoon (REED); 60D: Docs for doggies and dogies (VETS); 63D: Stubbed digit (TOE).


    01.23 Sun

    S U N D A Y (syndicated)
    January 23, 2011
    Gail Grabowski

    [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.]

    [Note from PuzzleGirl: This is the one week out of the year where I'm going to just mention that there is a donation button over in the sidebar. Please read my pitch for donations at the beginning of Monday's write-up here. Because Doug has been so great about picking up the Sunday puzzle these last several months, I promise I will use any donations I get today to take Doug out to dinner at this year's ACPT. Thanks so much for being here and for all the kind notes I've received over this past week. You won't hear anything else from me about donations until next year. Thanks again!]
    Theme: "Get In" —Nine phrases with the word "GET" hidden inside of them.
    Theme Entries:
    • 23A: Compelling read (PAGE TURNER).
    • 28A: Oberlin, e.g. (COLLEGE TOWN).
    • 43A: Spa fixture (MASSAGE TABLE).
    • 66A: Refinery sight (STORAGE TANK).
    • 90A: Landscaping tool (HEDGE TRIMMER).
    • 106A: Travel agency offering (PACKAGE TOUR).
    • 115A: Airport freebie (LUGGAGE TAG).
    • 31D: Site of some trash talk (GARBAGE TRUCK).
    • 39D: Dairy Queen option (FUDGE TOPPING).
    Hey, everybody. Doug here with you again on a Sunday. I need to catch up on some non-crossword work this weekend (ugh!), so today's write-up is going to be short and sweet. I hope none of the fonts/colors look weird. I'm still learning how to use the new & improved super-snazzy blog.

    Simple theme with nine solid, in-the-language theme entries. Too bad the clue for 28A wasn't Iowa City, home of the Hawkeyes. Moving right along...

    • 36A: "But ___ a man in Reno": Johnny Cash lyric (I SHOT). "... just to watch him die." That's hardcore.
      • 48A: Colt 45 brewer (PABST). Lots of colts in the puzzle today.
      • 57A: Top in the 'hood (DO-RAG). It's a rag that protects your phat do, homie. I love when crosswords go into the 'hood.
      • 75A: Former Colt .45 (ASTRO). The Houston Astros were called the Houston Colt .45s during their first three years (1962-64). In 1965, they moved into the Astrodome and changed their name accordingly. Then in 2000, they started playing in Enron Field. D'oh! That name didn't last long.
      • 106A: Travel agency offering (PACKAGE TOUR). Do travel agencies still exist? If so, they're probably all in strip malls next to video stores and places that develop your film.
      • 115A: Airport freebie (LUGGAGE TAG). I was going to make a TSA groping joke, but I better just go to the next bullet.
      • 6D: Colt carrier (MARE). Another colt, and this time it's actually a horse.
      • 36D: Fertility goddess (ISIS). If you're around my age, you might have watched the Shazam/Isis Hour as a kid. I watched a few clips on YouTube recently, and it's about six-hundred times worse than I remembered. But Isis is gorgeous, so it wasn't all bad.
      • 46D: ___ Lee Bunton, a.k.a. Baby Spice (EMMA). I swear I'm not a Spice Girls fan, but I knew this one immediately. Weird.
      • 70D: Manhattan sch. (KSU). That'd be Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. There's also a Manhattan in Montana, population 1,396.
      • 97D: Parts of Alaska's Denali Highway are built on them (ESKERS). Esker is an old-school crosswordese word, usually clued as a "glacial ridge."
      • 116D: Diamond putout (TAG). Oops. This one crosses LUGGAGE TAG at the T.
        Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
        • 20A: U.S. Open stadium (ASHE).
        • 30A: Ancient market (AGORA).
        • 51A: Santa ___ winds (ANA).
        • 89A: Mythical flier (ROC).
        • 2D: Menu catchphrase (ALA).
        • 56D: Año part (MES).