02.20 Sun

S U N D A Y February 20, 2011
Peter Wentz

[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: "Find Out" — F in, D out. The letter F replaces the letter D in familiar phrases, yielding wacky theme answers.

Theme Entries:
  • 23A: Flight attendant's reminder when serving alcohol? (THIS IS NOT A FRILL).
  • 32A: Equine exhibition with poor visibility? (FOG AND PONY SHOW).
  • 45A: Stick around for sautéing? (HANG OUT TO FRY).
  • 64A: Energizing bluegrass instruments? (FUELING BANJOS).
  • 75A: Craze for some moms? (STAY-AT-HOME FAD).
  • 95A: Pixie dust? (FAIRY PRODUCT).
  • 104A: Written warning about gangster Gotti? (FEAR JOHN LETTER).
  • 119A: Imposing monetary penalties with a nice Chianti? (WINING AND FINING).
Nice puzzle today! Did you figure out how the title works? F in, D out. Very clever. I assume that Mr. Wentz came up with the title first and then brainstormed theme entries to fit the pattern. (I usually save the title for last and end up struggling to think of a half-decent one.) FEAR JOHN LETTER was a highlight for me, and I appreciated the elegance of the "Pixie dust?" clue for FAIRY PRODUCT. Lots of fun in the rest of the grid too. You've got HOT COCOA, YULE LOG, THE FLASH, CBS SPORTS, LOUDMOUTH. Good stuff.

You should take a few minutes to read Brendan Emmett Quigley's interview with Peter Wentz here. (You'll also be able to download of his of his gnarly themeless puzzles.) Among other things, you'll learn that he's not the rock star Pete Wentz who used to be married to Ashlee Simpson & named his son Bronx Mowgli Wentz. That's a relief.

  • 20A: Anthem with line "The True North strong and free!" (O CANADA). Great clue, eh?
  • 26A: Fixed, as a pump (SOLED). When you see "pump" in a crossword clue, nine times out of ten it's referring to a shoe.
  • 28A: Hip-hopper's adjective (LIL). Li'l Abner was a hip-hopper? That's phat.
  • 58A: '70s-'80s NHLer known as "Lucky Pierre" (LAROUCHE). I'm not a hockey fan, but this one was easy enough to get from the crossing entries. I can understand why Peter & Rich wanted to avoid a reference to Lyndon Larouche and his political insanity.
  • 92A: Baseball's Matsui (HIDEKI). Great player. He was the 2009 World Series MVP for the Yankees. Not to be confused with their $12.8 million dollar pitcher, Hideki "Fat Toad" Irabu. (His picture keeps making me yawn.)
  • 102A: BART stop (STN). Bay Area Rapid Transit.
  • 10D: Excellent, in slang (DEF). As in Def Leppard.
  • 34D: Like some bks. for kids (ABR). An abridged version of "abridged."
  • 71D: Oldest active NBAer (SHAQ). Interesting that we have an "NHLer" clue and an "NBAer" clue today. I don't mind those two words, and I'm fine with NFLer too. But I can't stand ALer and NLer.
  • 84D: Speedy superhero (THE FLASH). I love this entry! He's literally "The Fastest Man Alive." One of the mainstays of the DC Comics universe, just a notch below Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. There are Green Lantern, Thor, and Captain America movies coming out this summer, so you've got to think a Flash movie is in the works. Sorry to geek out on you. Let's move along...
  • 86D: Thought process (IDEATION). This was the ugliest entry in the grid, but its appearance allowed THE FLASH and HIDEKI to fit into that same corner, so I'm good with it. Go ahead and ideate all you want!
  • 89D: Clip joints? (ARSENALS). Nice clue. Clips of ammunition can be found in arsenals.
  • 113D: "Grand" brand of ice cream (EDY'S). We don't have this brand in the western U.S., so it always bugs me to see it in a puzzle, especially a Los Angeles-based puzzle
  • 115D: Epitome of smoothness (SILK). Shout-out to Barry C. Silk.
  • 123D: Good times (FUN). Apt entry to finish up on. Very enjoyable puzzle today.
Be sure to come back on Monday. We've got a guest blogger coming in, and you're going to love the puzzle.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 69A: U.K. medal (OBE).
  • 108A: Auburn's conf (SEC).



I think that hip-hopper is LIL Kim, not Lil Abner.
Wow, only two CW101s?
Now that is phat!

I did get through this puzzle (grunting a lot), without Googling and only one error. The HIDEKI/KCJONES cross was sort of a Natick for me (two obscure sports figures)... I guessed "M" at the 93 square and that's wrong. Oh well, I did quite well on both time and accuracy, so I'm pretty happy.

Fave clue: 89D "Clip joints" (ARSENAL).

Thought the theme puns were far too corny and as a result didn't help much. I had figured out the "F" in, "D" out thing, so that helped with the theme entries.

I like the Canadian National Anthem, "O CANADA" better than ours.

Time for some good coffee. Noooo DECAF!

Have a grand Sunday and President's Day y'all !

Anonymous said...

Def as in 'Mos Def'

Alicia said...

FEAR JOHN LETTER made me laugh, but "a nice Chianti" left me trying to figure out something involving fava beans.

StudioCitySteve said...

I hated IDEATION and I thought the first theme answer ".. NOT A FRILL" was extremely weak - what has FRILL got to do with serving a drink?

I also didn't like the HIDEKI and KCJONES cross - I knew neither and ended up guessing at "M"

FEAR JOHN LETTER was nice though .. but TANK for "Word with car or top"? I'm OK with "Tank Top" but "Car Tank?" "Tank Car"? Nope, not buying it.

Unknown said...

Johns NH

KC JONES is hardly an obscure sports figure. Two NCAA
championships with Bill Russell (is he obscure) at Univ
of San Fran and 8 nba championships with the Celtics (also with Bill Russell). He coached the Celtics to two NBA championships (this time with Larry Bird). He was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame.

CrazyCat said...

Probably one of the more enjoyable Sunday puzzles in my recent memory. My favorite was WINING AND FINING although I also tried to tie in the fava beans some how at first. Count me in for getting stuck at KCJONES and HIDEKI. I'm just terrible at sports clues. Even CChusband was of no use today. Got LAROUCHE through the crosses and had the same thought as Doug about the awful LYNDON.

@StudioCity FRILL as in "no FRILL airline" which they almost all are these days. The peanuts and pretzels are about the only FRILLs left. WAHOO!

Thanks for a terrific write-up Doug.

Alexscott said...

I really enjoyed this puzzle (even tho I had SNapPEA instead of SNOWPEA). The F in, D out theme was well done--I particularly liked FUELING BANJOS and STAY AT HOME FAD--tho I have to admit I didn't get what Find Out meant til PG explained it. Since I edit a lot of sports books, I always like it when they work in some sports trivia, especially baseball, b-ball, or football. Good puzzles this weekend. Challenging enough to be fun, not so difficult as to make you feel submental.

Avg Joe said...

Pleasant puzzle overall, but DNF due to the K at 93D and 92A junction. Did not know either, so I threw up my hands. Otherwise, I pretty much agree with Doug and everyone else. Funny, when I was a kid I was oft accused of being a non-conformist. :-)

If the clues are any indication, tomorrow should be a very fun puzzle. I'm really looking forward to that.

It's been an entirely weird day here in the Great Plains. At noon it was 63 (and I noticed on the Weather Channel it was 52 in Phoenix). By 2:00 it was down to 44. Looks like the worst of it sailed to the north, since we haven't had any precip, but round 2 of this storm could be quite a bit worse.....certainly colder.

Larry Sittig said...

Sorry, no pity for those knowing neither K.C. JONES nor HIDEKI Matsui. @mary lynn gave Mr. Jones' considerable claims to fame. After dominating in Japan for ten years, Hideki was a Yankee for seven years and last year on the Left Coast with the Angels. Every game 'Godzilla' plays in is covered by a small army of Japanese reporters.

Okay, I'll give you that it was a bit unfair to cross two sports names.

Avg Joe said...

@LarryS: "Okay, I'll give you that it was a bit unfair to cross two sports names."

Ya think??

Anonymous said...

@studioCity Steve--a tank car is a railroad car, cylindrical in shape, black, carries liquids.

Mokus said...

Epitome of smoothness is none other than the UCLA and Laker basketball great Jamaal "Smooth as Silk" Wilkes who won championships at the scholastic, collegiate and professional levels.

Tuttle said...

I can understand why Peter & Rich wanted to avoid a reference to Lyndon Larouche and his political insanity.

So instead they referenced a term that means "The middle man in a three-person sexual encounter".

Golf clap.

36-D is only valid until July 1.

Who the heck is Rembrandt Van RYN? I know of a Rembrandt Van Rijn, the 17th century Dutch master, but not a Van RYN.

Also, are we speaking 17th century Venetian Italian? No? Then the second largest city in, and former capital of, Crete is Chania, not (La) CANEA.

And as a D&D player I have many, many dice that are not cubes.

That said, I enjoyed this one quite a bit.