03.27 Sun

March 27, 2011
Matt Skoczen & Victor Fleming

[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: "Rowdy Bunch" — Theme entries in which the first word can follow the word "WILD" to make a familiar word or phrase: wild card, wild cherry, Wild Turkey, wildflower, etc.

Theme Entries:
  • 22A: *Old library aid (CARD CATALOG).
  • 32A: *Soda fountain choice (CHERRY COKE).
  • 97A: *Ragtime dance (TURKEY TROT).
  • 110A: *'60s Haight-Ashbury type (FLOWER CHILD).
  • 3D: *Political mantra (PARTY LINE).
  • 20D: *Drug problem (SIDE EFFECT). 
  • 67D: *One side of a defunct wall (WEST BERLIN). 
  • 76D: *A cappella leader's gadget (PITCH PIPE). 
  • 64A: Maurice Sendak kids' book, and the starts of starred answers (WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE).
Hey, everybody. This is Doug, back from Brooklyn and the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. I had a fantastic time! If you haven't read PuzzleGirl's ACPT recap yet, what are you waiting for?

OK, today's puzzle is by Matt Skoczen & Victor Fleming. Very impressive construction. Matt and Vic have taken the basic "word that can go before..." theme to another level. First of all, the 21-letter theme revealer, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, is excellent. Second, each theme entry crosses another theme entry, and some of them cross two theme entries! That's not easy to pull off. (I highlighted all the theme entries so you could see how they intersect.) Kudos to today's constructing duo.

  • 19A: Aromatic resin (ELEMI). This is one of those crosswordy words that shows up every now and then, usually clued as "Fragrant resin" or "Varnish ingredient." I wish I had even one interesting thing to say about elemi, but I don't.
  • 24A: Gadget, for one: Abbr. (INSP). "Inspector Gadget" was an cartoon in the mid-'80s. I watched it couple of times. It was pretty bad, but Don Adams did the voice of Inspector Gadget, so I'll give it bonus points for that.
  • 48A: Cockney toast starter ('ERE'S). As in "'ere's to you, 'enry 'iggins!" I've also seen OME clued as "Cockney's abode." I'm not sure how far we can carry this Cockney cluing thing. How about "'uge 'erbivore" for IPPO?
  • 50A: Souvenirs at the park, usually (FOULS). I've never caught a foul ball at the ballpark or been close to anyone who has. Very disappointing. I must be sitting in the wrong sections.
  • 119A: Stieg Larsson was one (SWEDE). The late Stieg Larsson is the author who wrote "The Girl With the Yankees Sweatshirt Who's About to Blow Your Head Off" and other umlaut-laden novels.
  • 9D: 1847 novel based on its author's time in the Society Islands (OMOO). Has anyone actually read this book? I would read it, but I've learned all I need to know about "Omoo" from crossword clues. I feel the same way about the opera/play "Aida."
  • 13D: E-mail option (REPLY ALL). I know you all saw this ad during the Super Bowl, but it's worth another look.
  • 40D: Abecedarian (NEOPHYTE). "Abecedarian" means "one who teaches or studies the alphabet; a beginner." And the word apparently came from the the letters A, B, C, and D. They just strung them together with a couple e's and added "-arian." How cool is that? For some reason, my made-up words never catch on.
  • 101D: Kind of shoes or blues (DRESS). Great clue. At first glance, I thought the answer was SUEDE.
Short write-up today. I'm still tired from last weekend's crossword extravaganza. Have a great week.


Anonymous said...

How about a made-up word for a puzzle critic, ala RP: "crucifier".

Avg Joe said...

This was a fun puzzle, but probably a little too easy for a Sunday. Glad the theme revealer was in there, or I'd have had a hard time connecting the theme answers. Didn't realize the symmetry of the grid...that's really cool.

Also did not know that Don Adams did the voice of Insp Gadget. Always just figured it was somebody trying to sound like that. Agree it was not very entertaining, but if you had kids around that time, it was inescapable.

John Wolfenden said...

A very fun Sunday. I loved the baseball mini-theme, and it's cool to see DEISM twice in a week.

Plenty of writeovers for me:
SCOWL and SNEER for SMIRK (double writeover!)
I really wanted OPRY for "Country place."

Doug, your comment about ERES for "Cockney toast start" made me laugh. Plenty of other tasty clues too, like "A beanball might lead to one" for MELEE and my favorite, "One in a black suit" for SPADE.

Some good learning moments too in CANEA, TURKEY TROT, ORAL B, SPCA. I would suggest that perhaps ODOUL's beer was named after Lefty O'Doul, but I think the beer came decades after the slugger.

RIP Stieg Larsson.

My only gripes were TENTSHOW (yuk) and that the clue for ULTRA should have indicated a prefix.
I wonder if FOOTLONG being capitalized was an error.

Is it "little suckers" for VAC because it's an abbreviation? And someone remind me what ENLS is again.

Anonymous said...

@John W -

Yes, "little" because VAC is an abbreviation/shortening.

ENLS is short for "enlargements," so the "8 x 10 phots." would qualify. Enls. & phots. are both ugly abbreviations, and who exactly gets film developed nowadays? :)

CoffeeLvr said...

So glad I found your writeup on this puzzle, PG; thank you. I was scratching my head over ELEMI, still am, but at least I know it is correct.

Also, although 64A, the reveal, was one of the very first things I entered, I could not figure out how the *'d answers were related. Now I can relax.

I also thought this was unusually easy for the typical Sunday Parade magazine puzzle.

KJGooster said...

Pretty easy Sunday, with the revealer was a gimme for me.

I think I mentioned this before, but I recently had a patient named Abcd, pronounced to sorta rhyme with Cassidy. She's now just about the age to be an abecedarian.