01.09 Sun

S U N D A Y (syndicated)
January 9, 2011
Jack McInturff

[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: "Oui" — The letters "OU" are replaced with "I" in familiar phrases, and the resulting entries are given punny clues.

Theme Answers:
  • 23A: Herb homily? (SERMON ON THE MINT).
  • 39A: Like a stroller out of breath? (WALKING WINDED).
  • 50A: Golf pro's protection? (GRIP INSURANCE).
  • 70A: Coffee at church? (HALLOWED GRIND).
  • 81A: Adoptee's goal? (FINDING FATHER).
  • 105A: "Last Comic Standing" winning routine? (CHAMPIONSHIP BIT).
  • 35D: Knighted vintner's nickname? (SIR GRAPES).
  • 46D: Dorm room Christmas tree? (FIR POSTER).
Hey, folks. Doug here with you on a Sunday. First, some sad news to report. Longtime L.A. Times Sunday puzzle constructor Sylvia Bursztyn has passed away. She and Barry Tunick began constructing a Sunday puzzle for the newspaper back in 1980, and it's become a weekly institution for many Angelenos. The Times has a nice write-up here: Sylvia Bursztyn.

Today's syndicated puzzle was a good one. Rather than simply adding or subtracting a letter, Jack McInturff pulls a little switcheroo, substituting "I" for "OU." My favorite theme entry is SIR GRAPES because it conjures up a goofy image, and goofy images are the bread and butter of my blog posts. My least favorite is FIR POSTER, because the clue (Dorm room Christmas tree?) feels a bit off. I think the idea is that a college student wouldn't have an actual Christmas tree in his or her dorm room, so the kid might tack up a poster with a Christmas tree on it. Hmmm. Maybe a clue about a "Christmas tree blog" and "blog posters" would make more sense.

Quite a few unfamiliar names in this one, but I didn't have trouble getting them from the crossing entries. Let's begin the bullets.

  • 19A: Yellow spreads (OLEOS). You think "Big Tobacco" is too powerful? What about "Big Butter"? Oleo (margarine) is naturally white. In the early 19th century, the butter lobby supported legislation to ban the addition of yellow coloring to margarine. Some states even enacted laws to require margarine manufacturers to add pink coloring to make the product look unpalatable. By the start of the 20th century, eight out of ten Americans couldn't buy yellow margarine, and those that could had to pay a hefty tax on it. Bootleg colored margarine became common, and manufacturers began to supply food-coloring capsules so that the consumer could knead the yellow color into margarine before serving it. (Wikipedia)
  • 26A: Canadian pianist Kuerti (ANTON). First "huh?" name of the day.
  • 36A: Van Morrison's singing daughter (SHANA). Second "huh?" name of the day. To be fair, SHANA clues usually reference Shana Alexander, and I don't know her either. Maybe Ms. Morrison can supplant her as the go-to SHANA.
  • 44A: Sound relatives (BAYS). Sounds and bays are bodies of water. Tricky.
  • 78A: Former U.K. carrier (BOAC). British Overseas Airway Corporation. I once confused this with HUAC, House Un-American Activities Committee.
  • 1D: Speaker of note (BOSE). Bose is a company that makes high-end audio equipment. My first guess for this one was TRIS Speaker, Hall of Fame centerfielder.
  • 3D: Michael Corleone's bodyguard Al (NERI). Third "huh?" name of the day.
  • 31D: "___ Promise You": *NSYNC hit (THIS I). This I promise you: I will never include an 'N SYNC video on the blog. But the Meaty Cheesy Boys are cool.
  • 40D: Pianist/composer Chasins (ABRAM). Fourth "huh?" name of the day.
  • 64D: Former title-winning women's wrestler Stratus (TRISH). Fifth and final "huh?" name of the day. I couldn't find a SFB (Safe For Blog) picture of Ms. Stratus, so you'll have to google your own. She's a seven-time WWE Women's Champion, and her signature moves include the Chick Kick, MaTrish Reloaded, and Stratusfaction. Maybe Iowa should hire her to help coach the wrestling team. (I'm kidding, PuzzleGirl! I just want to make sure you're reading this.)
  • 81D: Bernie, Roz, and Greg, in a 2004 film (FOCKERS). I'm a little surprised to see this entry in a mainstream puzzle. I suspect it would have been disallowed if the word crossing the "O" was the least bit ambiguous. How many of these "Fockers" movies are there anyway? I've seen a lot of billboards for the latest installment.
  • 84D: Spy covers (FAKE IDS). Remember "The Bourne Identity" movie? While in Zurich, the amnesiac Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) opens up a safe deposit box and finds a collection of his fake passports and IDs. And all of them have my birthday on them: month, day, and year! Cool, eh? A couple years after the movie came out, I noticed that some company was selling "Bourne Identity" props on eBay, so I emailed to ask them about the fake passports. They said they can't sell items that could be used for fraudulent purposes. Lame!
  • 106D: Hugs, on cards (OOO). You don't usually see them without kisses (XXX).
Crosswordese101 Round-up:
  • 19A: Yellow spreads (OLEOS).
  • 74A: Hindu title (SRI).
  • 96A: Pelvic bones (ILIA).
  • 108A: It has banks in Switzerland (AARE).
  • 24D: One-time partner of novelist Miller (NIN).
  • 54D: African antelope (ELAND).
  • 65D: Saree wearer (RANEE).
Everything Else — 1A: Language group that includes Swahili (BANTU); 6A: "Great" swingers (APES); 10A: Yaks (GABS); 14A: "Get out!" ("SCRAM!"); 20A: "Gloria" actress Rowlands (GENA); 21A: It will probably keep you in bed (AGUE); 22A: Raccoon kin (COATI); 27A: It's usually over a door (EXIT SIGN); 28A: Australia's __ Rock (AYERS); 29A: Current concern (EL NIÑO); 30A: Dismayed cry (OH NO); 31A: One begins "Rhapsody in Blue" (TRILL); 32A: Witness to the Transfiguration of Jesus (ST. PETER); 33A: Mag transformed by Helen Gurley Brown (COSMO); 37A: Union leavers (SECEDERS); 38A: Hawaiian tuna (AHI); 43A: Fallen orbiter (MIR); 45A: With no rocks (NEAT); 46A: Suspect story, maybe (FIB); 49A: '90s game disc (POG); 55A: Nest egg initials (IRA); 56A: Upgrade to five stars, say (RERATE); 58A: Not rented (OWNED); 59A: Capers (LARKS); 61A: "Sherlock Holmes" actress Rachel (MCADAMS); 63A: "What __ Is This?" (CHILD); 64A: Wander (TRAIPSE); 66A: Attend to loose ends (MOP UP); 67A: Look uncertainly (for) (GROPE); 68A: 1972 Oscar refuser (BRANDO); 69A: Wrath (IRE); 77A: Elected ones (INS); 79A: Slick trick (RUSE); 80A: Lincoln progeny (TAD); 86A: Director's challenge (EGO); 87A: Remove with effort (DISLODGE); 91A: Use the soapbox (ORATE); 92A: Spanish others (OTRAS); 94A: Lures (ENTICES); 95A: Moccasin, e.g. (SNAKE); 98A: Areas above hooves (SHANKS); 99A: Pursue (CHASE); 100A: Torino tongue (ITALIANO); 104A: Pasta often served alla vodka (PENNE); 107A: Drive-thru decision (ORDER); 109A: Not a happy fate (DOOM); 110A: Writer Zora __ Hurston (NEALE); 111A: Tries out (TESTS); 112A: Lulus (PIPS); 113A: Sound measure (SONE); 114A: Taunts (GIBES); 2D: Author Haley (ALEX); 4D: Hand-played drum (TOM TOM); 5D: Wartime diversion (USO SHOW); 6D: To the max, in the disco era (A-GO-GO); 7D: Ivy League member (PENN); 8D: Stud attachment? (-ENT); 9D: Dry and hot (SAHARAN); 10D: Some wardens' concern (GAME LAW); 11D: "__ Like You": Young Rascals hit (A GIRL); 12D: Keister (BUNS); 13D: Place to be quiet (SET); 14D: Like Super Bowl tickets, perhaps (SCALPED); 15D: Hustled (CONNED); 16D: Kiwi or rhea (RATITE); 17D: Sorry sort (ATONER); 18D: They may have 84-Down (MINORS); 25D: Giving the once-over (EYING); 29D: "Yada, yada, yada ..." ("ETC., ETC. …"); 32D: Family car (SEDAN); 33D: Summer getaway (CAMP); 34D: River formed at Pittsburgh (OHIO); 36D: Internet communications company (SKYPE); 37D: Golf's Slammin' Sammy (SNEAD); 41D: Café additions (LAITS); 42D: Denoting a loss (IN RED); 47D: Bugs (IRKS); 48D: It may be stolen (BASE); 50D: Plotting aid (GRAPH); 51D: Not at all (NO HOW); 52D: Steal (SWIPE); 53D: Without direction (UNLED); 57D: http://ucla.__ (EDU); 60D: It may be financial or legal (AID); 61D: Year of Super Bowl XXXVI (MMII); 62D: Muffin grain (CORN); 63D: Signs of spring (CROCI); 67D: Forest clearing (GLADE); 68D: Cruel, as force (BRUTE); 71D: Stomachs (ABIDES); 72D: Suit sizes (LONGS); 73D: Irritate (GRATE); 75D: Shankar music style (RAGA); 76D: Nuptial vows (I DOS); 82D: They aren't stars (NO NAMES); 83D: Understand (GRASP); 85D: Like white water (ROILING); 87D: Absolute ruler (DESPOT); 88D: Beckoning words (IN HERE); 89D: Score holders (STANDS); 90D: Small finch (LINNET); 93D: Capital city that hosted the 2007 Baseball World Cup (TAIPEI); 95D: #, on scores (SHARP); 96D: "Whoís there?" reply ("IT'S ME"); 97D: "Well, __-di-dah" (LAH); 99D: Indian spiced tea (CHAI); 100D: A party to (IN ON); 101D: Rhyme scheme of Kipling's "Ifó" (ABAB); 102D: Cairo's river (NILE); 103D: Plural suffix with Capri (-OTES); 105D: Salary limit (CAP).



Aside from the fact that this Sunday puzzle is twice the size of a weekday puzzle, it took me a little over twice as long to solve, so I'd rate it Easy to Moderate... solved in less than an hour with no errors. As far as construction quality, I'd give it a B- ... some nice fill words, but again, I abhor these replace-the-letters themes with corny clues. Please, please, Rich & Joyce get some better Sunday puzzles for the LAT. I've thought seriously about quitting the Sundays... the only thing keeping me interested is Doug's fun and informative writeups. Thanks Doug.
The Chicago Tribune offers 3 puzzles in their Puzzle Island section. Today I enjoyed Gail Grabowski's and Charles Preston's puzzles immensely more than this one.

One of my childhood chores was kneading the OLEO bag with the dye capsule. That tells you that I was just a kid in the 40s.

Sooo sad to hear about Sylvia Bursztyn's passing. We will surely miss her in Puzzledom.

Bye all!

imsdave said...

JNH and I have been known to disagree and today is one of those days. I thought this puzzle was incredibly clever, funny, and challenging (see Doug's notes about the WTF names - POG was also totally unknown to me). Definitely a solid A from me. Excellent work Mr. McInturff.

I think I would have titled it IOU instead of OUI.

You know you do way too many crosswords when you plop in RATITE with no crosses.

Thanks for the write-up and the link to the one on Ms. Bursztyn.

Lisa said...

There appears to be an error in the print version. "DOWN" questions 68-74 do not appear on my print job. I have not noticed this type of omission from pervious puzzles I've printed.

Nice job with your site!

Dave in Bend, OR said...

Thought it was a clever premise. Once I got the ou/i connection everything opened up....Pogs were collection chips that originated in Hawaii of all places. Had characters on them and were an alternative to Pokemons....Seems to me that you could play tiddlywinks with pogs as well...winner getting the pogs to keep for themselves. Not sure why I remember this except was collecting baseball cards back then and went to a few shows where pogs were the "new rage".

Rube (if you post) a well deserved "touche'" for your pigs flying comment vis a vis the Seahawks yesterday. Although the Saints looked asleep at the wheel, there were actually a few moments of brilliance on the 'Hawks part.

Unknown said...

I had this same problem, both on a Mac with Safari and an HP with IE.


Unknown said...

The puzzle in my LATimes today is 'Light Work'. Can anyone explain why some Sundays the puzzle covered in this forum is not the one appearing in the Times, yet some Sundays it is??

ddbmc said...

This one took me a while. It was a DNF on some of the WTF names. AL NERI? Obviously haven't watched the Godfather trilogy in a bit!

@Doug, thanks so much for your write up. SOUNDS RELATIVES completely escaped me! Duh.

Big fan of Van Morrison, YET not a clue to his daughter's name! Definitely remember SHANA ALEXANDER and her Point/Counterpoint on "60 Minutes" with James Kilpatrick. Was especially fond of the Jane Curtain/Dan Ackroyd spoof on SNL!
Jane, you ignorant...

KJGooster said...

@psladydi: It's confusing, but the Sunday Calendar Crossword Puzzle is different than the syndicated one Doug is blogging about. The syndicated puzzle is available in Across Lite format at Cruciverb or with a clunkier interface at the LA Times games page .

As Doug mentioned in his writeup, today's Calendar puzzle is the last by Sylvia Bursztyn, who had constructed them for many years.

As for the puzzle, another lukewarm effort, IMO. Doug pointed out all the Huh? proper names, and the fill overall lacked sparkle. Also seemed pretty easy, around 20 min for me, but that's in keeping with the trend lately.

As for 1D: Speaker of note (BOSE) -- Buy Other Stereo Equipment. Those products are 95% marketing and 5% technology. You can do far, far better for the $$$.

Avg Joe said...

I have to vote on the side of "enjoyable" for todays puzzle. Not stellar, but it kept my interest and was challenging all the way through. Finished, declared victory and felt pretty good about it. OTOH, it was not nearly as frustrating as the week old version of the NYT puzzle in our paper, which I simply gave up on in disgust.

Thanks Doug for posting the obit for Sylvia Bursztyn (and others as well). It sounds like the relationship with Barry Tunnick was a "two rooms" deal ala Elton John and Bernie Taupin. It's hard to argue with that, especially when it works.

Agree with ddbmc that I had no clue about Van Morrison's daughter. Also agree with KJKooster that there are any number of better speakers out there....say Klipsch as only one example.

Rube said...

Like @AvgJoe & others, I too enjoyed this puzzle. Did most of it last night and finally just got back to finish it. Sort of enjoy these punny puzzles.

OHNO! Just realized I had OHmy and never checked AGOGy. Had no idea about either Miller or NIN, and AGOGO was never in my vocabulary during tha disco era.

Oh well, the rest was a pleasure even though all those names Doug didn't know, neither did I. Didn't know the songs either, but all gettable through crosses.

@Dave in Bend -- Being an ex Seattle boy I too was rooting for the 'Hawks. (Even though they were just a gleam in the city fathers' eyes at the time.) It's too bad that the Seattle Times only carries the syndicated NYT puzzle, otherwise we might get more Seattlite puzzlers here, real time.

Dave in Bend, OR said...

Luckily enough the Bend Bulletin - our pretty good daily for a small town - 70,000 - carries BOTH LAT and (synd) NYT here so I have at least real time with LAT bloggers. Am originally from Santa Monica so I guess the LAT should be my "home" xword but lean towards the NYT, not just for quality but to see Rex's insight as well (although PG and Company are fun as well)...Main reason I am a 'Hawk fan is not because I am now a (11 year) NW transplant but because I was a Chuck Know fan when he moved from the - then - LA Rams to Seattle but he got stuck with that knucklehead Bosworth and Knox was so defensive minded....sheeesh his offense was called "Ground Chuck" but I decided to stay with the Seahawks even after he left. Long way to get around to saying that I remain a "12th Man"! They will have hands full again next week and won't have a Qwest Field backing this time.

Van55 said...

I'll see Doug's "unknown" proper names and raise a couple: NEALE, ANTON, AYERS [rock]. SHANA, MCADAMS, NERI, ABRAM and TRISH. Still, I got them all with help from the crosses.

Enjoyed the theme puns very much.

RIP Ms. Bursztyn.

Eric said...

@Rube: Yeah, AGOGO's more 60s, isn't it? Like the Whiskey a Go Go, where the Doors had early gigs, and Van Morrison played as well, along with many other greats of the era, and where, according to that article, go-go dancing was invented more or less by accident.

But then, there's this kind of agogo, a dual cowbell.