06.30 Thu

June 30, 2011
Ed Sessa

Theme: Mickey Mouse Club — Theme answers are familiar phrases that begin with a letter. The letters spell out M-I-C-K-E-Y.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: *13th in a literary series of 26 (M IS FOR MALICE).
  • 29A: *Me.-to-Fla. route (I NINETY-FIVE).
  • 35A: *Benjamin (C-NOTE).
  • 39A: *Blue Light Specials store (KMART).
  • 43A: *The Boss's backup (E STREET BAND).
  • 53A: *All men have them (Y CHROMOSOMES).
  • 52D: When spelled out, word that follows the beginnings of the starred answers in a memorable kids' show theme song (MOUSE).
Well a fine good morning to all of the 16 people who are likely reading this blog today. It was weird yesterday at my office — it was so eerily quiet I could have sworn the long weekend had already started. And if the traffic here at LACC is any indication, my office wasn't the only place. Y'all are in vacation mode! I can tell! Well here at LACC we never go on vacation! (Not exactly true, but it felt good to say.) So anyway let's talk about this puzzle.

Super ambitious theme today. Basically six theme answers across plus the reveal at 52D — that's quite a lot of theme. The fill suffers a little (I'm looking at you, southern Texas, with your RONEE / TOKED / SNOOTED collision), but overall this puzzle seemed to continue the trend of smooth grids we've seen this week.

  • 10A: Net info sources (FAQS). Always a good place to look if you have a question. Like, for example, if you don't know why an entry is always highlighted in the grid at the top of my posts. It's right there in the FAQ!
  • 25A: Diary of a sort (LOG). Can anyone think of the "diary"-type LOG without picturing Captain Kirk? I know I can't.
  • 33A: Party invite inits. (BYO). Bring Your Own … chair. Or booze or whatever. Depends on what kind of party it is.
  • 51A: Cooks quantity? (TOO MANY). Cute. As in the phrase "TOO MANY cooks spoil the lasagna." Or something.
  • 61A: Blakley of "Nashville" (RONEE). No idea.
  • 63A: "I Love Lucy" producer/writer Oppenheimer (JESS). Again with the absence of ideas.
  • 64A: Tipped at the casino (TOKED). I'm not the inveterate gambler you might find in some people's families (*cough* mine *cough*), but I have spent a little time in the casino now and then and I have no idea what this means. Perhaps PuzzleMom will be by to enlighten us. Not that she's spent a lot of time in casinos or anything.
  • 2D: Complain (REPINE). I don't believe I've ever heard this word in my life.
  • 4D: Argonauts' island refuge (CORFU). This is another place I would point to as a victim of the ambitious theme, but I'm not sure that's fair. Is this legit and I'm just annoyed because I didn't know it? I hate when that happens.
  • 5D: Kate's "Charlie's Angels" role (SABRINA). So I'm just scanning the down clues going, "'Potemkin mutiny city'? Not off the top of my head …. 'Argonauts' island refuge'? Nope …. 'Kate's "Charlie's Angels" role'? Easy! SABRINA!"
  • 31D: Popularity (FAME).

  • 38D: Decisive downfall (WATERLOO). John Wayne's hometown. (Yes, I know that's not true, so no need to write to me about it. It's a joke.)
  • 41D: 1980s sitcom set in rural Vermont (NEWHART). The only thing I know about this show is "My brother Darryl and my other brother Darryl." And I'm not even sure I'm spelling Darryl right, not that it matters. Also, I believe as an inn proprietor, Bob NEWHART was able to use his famous "one-sided telephone conversation" schtick quite a bit.

  • 42D: Acted snobbishly toward (SNOOTED). Ouch. Took me a while to get SNUBBED out of there.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 17A: Copycat (APER).
  • 32A: Actress Gardner (AVA).
  • 65A: Winged archer (EROS).
  • 3D: Potemkin mutiny city (ODESSA).
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Everything Else 1A: Nile reptile (CROC); 5A: Dance in Rio (SAMBA); 14A: Make over (REDO); 15A: Dwindling Alaskan tribe (ALEUT); 16A: It runs in Juárez (AGUA); 18A: Horn without keys (BUGLE); 19A: Place to brood (COOP); 23A: Glucose regulator (INSULIN); 24A: Winter phenomenon, commercially (SNO); 28A: Cultural org. since 1965 (NEA); 34A: "So be it!" ("AMEN!"); 38A: "__ to him who believes in nothing": Hugo (WOE); 40A: Bats (LOCO); 41A: "Platoon" setting, briefly (NAM); 42A: Author Grafton who wrote 20-Across (SUE); 46A: Basic resting spot (COT); 49A: "So that's it!" ("OHO!"); 50A: Where kronor are spent: Abbr. (SWE.); 55A: Bunker smoother (RAKE); 58A: Give __: inspire (A LIFT); 59A: Capable of (UP TO); 60A: Cell impulse transmitter (AXON); 62A: Put in stitches (SEWN); 1D: Fill snugly with (CRAM IN); 6D: Some booster club members (ALUMNI); 7D: Byte beginning (MEGA-); 8D: Dartboard area (BULLS-EYE); 9D: Diminished slowly (ATE INTO); 10D: Watch part (FACE); 11D: Back in time (AGO); 12D: Status __ (QUO); 13D: Deplete (SAP); 21D: Martini garnish (OLIVE); 22D: Demure (COY); 25D: Andean bean (LIMA); 26D: Done (OVER); 27D: Mannerly fellow (GENT); 30D: Nuclear radiation weapon, for short (N-BOMB); 32D: Comment end? (-ATOR); 35D: Mark's love (CLEO); 36D: Chips and dip, say (NOSH); 37D: Twice quadri- (OCTO-); 39D: Praise (KUDOS); 44D: PC key (ESC); 45D: Payment for cash? (ATM FEE); 46D: Boy scout, at times (CAMPER); 47D: Fight combo (ONE-TWO); 48D: Boxer Mike et al. (TYSONS); 53D: Desires (YENS); 54D: Pen call (OINK); 55D: British rule in India (RAJ); 56D: Bush whacker? (AXE); 57D: Haymaker consequences (KO'S).


06.29 Wed

June 29, 2011
Jack McInturff

Theme: GEE WHIZ! — The first word of each theme answer can follow the letter G in a familiar phrase.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: *Fit perfectly (SUIT TO A TEE).
  • 23A: *Sexy beachwear (STRING BIKINI).
  • 50A: *Behavior made automatic from frequent repetition (FORCE OF HABIT).
  • 62A: *Superhero nickname (MAN OF STEEL).
  • 39A: "Gosh!" (or, based on the starts of starred answers, one who is expert at solving this puzzle's theme?) ("GEE WHIZ!").
I really flew through this one. I think it was easier for me than either Monday or Tuesday this week. I didn't catch onto the theme right away because the first two theme answers I got were FORCE OF HABIT and MAN OF STEEL. So I thought the theme was going to have to do with [something] OF [something]. But then I got to GEE WHIZ and it became clear. The theme is cute, with GEE WHIZ smack-dab in the middle and colorful theme phrases (except for SUIT TO A TEE, which is nothing to write home about). Seems like an awful lot of four-letter-starting-with-A entries today: AZOV, AMIS, ANON, ARON, ANEW, AROO, AM SO, AEON. Not sure how I feel about that. I also kind of wish that we didn't have both MR. ED and MR. HYDE in the grid, or at least to have them symmetrical so it looks like the duplication was done on purpose.

But there are some really nice entries, and the long downs are very nice. I like to look at them in symmetrical pairs (not sure what my deal is with symmetry, but for some reason it's important today): ONE FINE DAYNOSE AROUND / NABOKOVENCORES … even YERBAWORMS. Seems like there should be a type of WORM called a YERBA, doesn't it?

  • 1A: Sea of __: Black Sea arm (AZOV). Of all the four-letter-starts-with-A entries, this is definitely the most interesting. I guess a Z will just do that.
  • 19A: Veggie that may be black (BEAN). Are BEANs really veggies? Hmmm.
  • 26A: White Sox star who played in five decades (1949-1980) (MIÑOSO). The funny thing is that I was pretty sure I knew the name "Minnie MIÑOSO," only I was pronouncing it without the tilde and figured I was confused with Minnie the Moocher. In any case, I had no idea MIÑOSO was a baseball player. Fun facts: MIÑOSO is one of just two players in Major League history to play in five separate decades and his full name is Saturnino Orestes Armas Miñoso Arrieta. So now you know.
  • 31A: "A horse is a horse" horse (MR. ED). I swear to God with the RED in place I was all, "FRED? Is there a horse named FRED I should know?"
  • 66A: Gal who gets what she wants (LOLA). Wow. Didn't know this one At All. I thought maybe this was referring to lyrics from the Kinks song, but no. "Whatever Lola Wants" is a song from the musical "Damn Yankees." Take a listen:

  • 45D: Former Jewish settlements (SHTETLS). If you're not familiar with this word, you should try to file it away somewhere. It doesn't come up often, but if you do crosswords regularly, you will certainly see it again.
  • 53D: Vietnam's capital (HANOI). I much prefer to clue for HANOI than the typical "Red River city," which I always think is going to be FARGO and never is.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 5A: Parisian pals (AMIS).
  • 25D: Don Juan's mother (INEZ).
  • 58D: Long, long time (AEON).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 9A: Light bite (NOSH); 13A: In-box note, perhaps (MEMO); 14A: Like candy near the register, maybe (MINTY); 16A: Hostile to (ANTI); 20A: Bone: Pref. (OSTEO-); 21A: Golda of Israel (MEIR); 22A: "The Wizard __": comic strip (OF ID); 29A: Shortly (ANON); 30A: Graceland middle name (ARON); 35A: Partner of each (EVERY); 38A: Seaman's "Help!" (SOS); 41A: __ volente: God willing (DEO); 42A: Prepare to be knighted (KNEEL); 44A: Composer Bartók (BELA); 45A: German coal region (SAAR); 46A: Once again (ANEW); 48A: Literary alter ego (MR. HYDE); 55A: Buck suffix (-AROO); 56A: Way to go (ROAD); 57A: Rosary units (BEADS); 61A: Unfocused photo, e.g. (BLUR); 64A: Single (LONE); 65A: Hill on Vail (SLOPE); 67A: Loose things to tie up (ENDS); 68A: Location (SITE); 69A: Barbershop sound (SNIP); 1D: Schoolyard retort (AM SO); 2D: Olympian bigwig (ZEUS); 3D: Cut out (OMIT); 4D: Decides via ballot (VOTES ON); 5D: Latin lover's word (AMO); 6D: Home of the Heat (MIAMI); 7D: One __: unlikely chance (IN TEN); 8D: "Shrek!" author William (STEIG); 9D: "Lolita" author (NABOKOV); 10D: Clooney/Pfeiffer comedy (ONE FINE DAY); 11D: Washday challenge (STAIN); 12D: Delhi language (HINDI); 15D: __ Buena, town that became San Francisco (YERBA); 18D: Little tykes (TOTS); 24D: "City of Seven Hills" (ROME); 26D: Halloween cover-up (MASK); 27D: Press (IRON); 28D: Act like a snoop (NOSE AROUND); 32D: Confederate (REB); 33D: Lady in the flock (EWE); 34D: UPS rival (DHL); 36D: Enjoy the library (READ); 37D: Time past (YORE); 39D: Elated feeling (GLEE); 40D: Foot in a poem (IAMB); 43D: Extras for a cheering crowd (ENCORES); 47D: Squirmy bait (WORMS); 49D: Barbecue fare (RIBS); 50D: Aesop work (FABLE); 51D: Sweater synthetic (ORLON); 52D: Stable newborns (FOALS); 54D: Take as one's own (ADOPT); 59D: Bagels and lox seller (DELI); 60D: Blow with a palm (SLAP); 63D: ATM charge (FEE).


06.28 Tue

June 28, 2011
Victor Fleming & Nancy Salomon

Theme: French! — That's right, French!

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Delight in living (JOIE DE VIVRE).
  • 24A: Paris site of objets d'art (MUSÉE DU LOUVRE).
  • 48A: Peppercorn-coated beef entrée (STEAK AU POIVRE).
  • 56A: Shrimp cocktail, e.g. (HORS D'OEUVRE).
Well, we're off to a great start this week, aren't we? I really enjoyed this puzzle. Obviously, I got a kick out of the ... French! But that's not the only reason. Look at some of those other entries: HAIL MARY, MAKE HAY, HAS-BEEN, AIRBALL — even MOPSY kind of tickled me today (3D: Desperation gridiron pass / 40D: What some do while the sun shines? / 30A: Fading star / 43A: Hoops shot that misses everything / 32A: Peter Rabbit sibling). The biggest problem — and I'm sure I'm not alone in this — was figuring out how to spell some of the theme answers. Thank God for crosses!

The only real clunkers I found were SSS and ISLS. (11A: Leaky tire sound / 20A: Aruba et al.: Abbr.). You really hate to see SSS in the grid. I wonder if there are any good options for that corner, but don't have to time right now to really focus on it. Other than that, though, really solid and really smooth. Like I said, we're off to a great start.


  • 36A: Word with cozy or bag (TEA). Is anyone good with this type of clue? I'm horrible — horrible — with them! I actually love coming up with them when I'm constructing a puzzle, but as a solver I can ne-Ever get them.
  • 46A: Hatch, as a scheme (THINK UP). I tried DREAM UP first.
  • 52A: Pre-splat cry (OOPS). HAha: "pre-splat."
  • 7D: Ford in a Beach Boys hit (T-BIRD). Now here's a Beach Boys song I've heard of.

  • 10D: Springsteen, to fans (THE BOSS). And if THE BOSS is more your style, take a gander at this.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 21A: Wine-and-cassis apéritif (KIR).
  • 9D: Former Egypt-Syr. alliance (UAR).
  • 18D: __ out: barely gets (EKES).

[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Sounds of laughter (HAHAS); 6A: Show off, as one's stuff (STRUT); 14A: Change with the times (ADAPT); 15A: West Indian sorcery (OBEAH); 16A: Back muscle, for short (LAT); 19A: Stretch to remember (ERA); 22A: With 50-Across, quarterback who started a record 297 consecutive games (BRETT); 28A: Not for (AGAINST); 31A: __-Novo: Benin's capital (PORTO); 33A: Play (with) (TOY); 34A: Slate-backing strips (LATHS); 39A: Apple models (IMACS); 41A: They may be blown in games (LEADS); 50A: See 22-Across (FAVRE); 51A: The whole shebang (ALL); 55A: Saloon order (ALE); 60A: Knight's title (SIR); 61A: Justice Samuel (ALITO); 62A: Speedy base runner's strategy (STEAL); 63A: Thing to run at a bar (TAB); 64A: Red Sea republic (YEMEN); 65A: Prefix with frost (PERMA-); 1D: Pilgrim to Mecca (HAJI); 2D: Bustles (ADOS); 4D: Jungle film costume (APE SUIT); 5D: CST part: Abbr. (STD.); 6D: Like old Russian states (SOVIET); 8D: Give gas to (REV); 11D: Place for an ace? (SLEEVE); 12D: "No Exit" dramatist (SARTRE); 13D: __ Island Ferry (STATEN); 23D: Red gemstone (RUBY); 25D: __-Cat: winter vehicle (SNO); 26D: "This could be a problem" ("UH-OH"); 27D: Swimmer's reps (LAPS); 28D: On target (APT); 29D: Bit of baby babble (GOO); 32D: The Rockies, e.g.: Abbr. (MTS.); 34D: In __ land: loopy (LA-LA); 35D: First Amdt. defender (ACLU); 36D: Corporate acquisition (TAKEOVER); 37D: School URL ending (EDU); 38D: Fanged serpent (ASP); 39D: Building beam (I-BAR); 41D: Ullmann of "Autumn Sonata" (LIV); 42D: On the way (EN ROUTE); 43D: Equally speedy (AS FAST); 44D: Roma's land (ITALIA); 45D: Echoic effect (REVERB); 46D: Snitched about (TOLD ON); 47D: Port of Hawaii (HILO); 49D: Second of a word-processing pair (PASTE); 53D: English carriage (PRAM); 54D: Ward of "CSI: NY" (SELA); 57D: Cheer for a toreador (OLÉ); 58D: Perimeter (RIM); 59D: Clairvoyance, briefly (ESP).


06.27 Mon

June 27, 2011
Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke

Theme: I Hear a Symphony — Each theme answer ends with a word that can mean a piece of music.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Stops broadcasting (GOES OFF THE AIR).
  • 31A: Very cheaply (FOR A SONG).
  • 40A: Make minor changes to (FINE-TUNE).
  • 53A: 1969 Beach Boys hit, and a hint to the ends of 20-, 31- and 40-Across (I CAN HEAR MUSIC).
Wow. Super smooth solve for our Monday puzzle this week. Some later-week words definitely snuck into the grid somehow, but the crosses were all solid so they didn't slow me down a bit. Not much to the theme. Kinda wish there had been a fourth synonym instead of the reveal answer, but that's a minor quibble. I guess the fact that I've never heard of that Beach Boys song is a little bigger quibble but, again, smooth Monday solve = great start to the week, as far as I'm concerned.

  • 17A: Took off (SPLIT). Thought about STRIP for a minute which obviously isn't the right part of speech, but then I couldn't think of "took off" any other way. The crosses took care of everything.
  • 23A: Calif.'s second-busiest airport (SFO). SFO is the airport code for San Francisco International Airport.
  • 26A: 1956 perfect game pitcher Don (LARSEN). He shows up in the puzzle from time to time, so if you're not a big sports fan, you might just try to keep this info in your back pocket.
  • 27A: Soldiers' knapsacks (KIT BAGS). I'm not sure I've ever heard this phrase before. Again, though, crosses made it clear.
  • 43A: Exhibit curiosity (ASK). I got this one totally through crosses. Why? Because I was looking at both "exhibit" and "curiosity" as nouns. Wait. The way I was thinking about it, I guess "exhibit" would be an adjective. In any case, it wasn't a verb and that made the answer impossible for me to see.
  • 61A: Lie around idly (LAZE). Sounds like heaven.
  • 64A: Once-over giver (EYER). Ugh. The only thing worse than this answer is its clue. Luckily, this is the only real clunker that jumped out at me.
  • 3D: Acquired dishonestly (ILL-GOTTEN). Is this word ever used to describe anything besides "gains"?
  • 23D: Watercraft for one (SKIFF). This is one of the later-week words I was talking about. I'm not a boat person, but I do know some of the main boating words that come up in puzzles. Not this one though.
  • 24D: Flowers, in Florence (FIORI). Speaking of airports, this one made me think of Fiorello La Guardia.
  • 28D: Diminish (BATE). Hmm. Look like it's missing a letter to me. Oh wait, I get it. Like "BATEd breath." Got it.
  • 33D: Blackball (OSTRACIZE). Another later-week word. And this one has a Z. Awesome.
  • 34D: "Dagnabbit!" ("NERTS!"). I like both of those expressions.
  • 38D: Fountain pen filler (INK). PuzzleHusband and I were watching NY Ink last night for the first time. It's a reality show about a tattoo shop that's staffed by quite the motley crew. Totally made both of us want to get tattooed (again).
  • 46D: Con artists (HOSERS). Now I know for a fact I've never heard this word used this way. Interesting.
  • 49D: Feltlike fabric (BAIZE). Whoa, what? Haha. Ne-Ever heard of this. It's kind of amazing how many interesting/unusual words are in this grid without bogging it down. Two thumbs up.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 15A: Sheltered, on a ship (ALEE).
  • 4D: Hodgepodge (OLIO).
  • 7D: Five Norse kings (OLAFS).
  • 59D: Author Deighton (LEN).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Earlier (PRIOR); 6A: King of the Empire State Building? (KONG); 10A: Felix and Sylvester (CATS); 14A: Beautiful, in Bologna (BELLA); 16A: Very much (A LOT); 18A: "You couldn't hit the broad side of a __!" (BARN); 19A: Shore phenomenon (TIDE); 25A: Applies gently (DABS); 29A: Lamb cut (LEG); 30A: Greek "i" (IOTA); 36A: Worries (FRETS); 38A: Payment promise letters (IOU); 39A: Stage platform (RISER); 42A: Houston player, informally ('STRO); 44A: Souvenirs with slogans (T-SHIRTS); 47A: Surprise attack (AMBUSH); 51A: Message from the boss (MEMO); 52A: Mule's parent (ASS); 56A: Fishtail (SKID); 57A: Roast cut (RUMP); 58A: Use TurboTax, say (E-FILE); 62A: "Am __ late?" (I TOO); 63A: Used a wrecking ball on (RAZED); 65A: Marseilles monikers (NOMS); 66A: Angioplasty implant (STENT); 1D: NEA grant recipient (PBS); 2D: Crunch unit (REP); 5D: Like some bonds (RATED A); 6D: Cookout offerings on sticks (KABOBS); 8D: Spongy ball brand (NERF); 9D: More sensitive about breaking bad news (GENTLER); 10D: Supply party food for (CATER); 11D: Misleading name (ALIAS); 12D: "It's __ for!": "Fabulous!" (TO DIE); 13D: Tiller's locale (STERN); 21D: Drop in the middle (SAG); 22D: Comics Viking (HÄGAR); 29D: Baseball great Gehrig (LOU); 31D: Grant, to Lee (FOE); 32D: Señor's "Positively!" ("¡SÍ SÍ!"); 35D: A dozen dozen (GROSS); 37D: Secret supply (STASH); 41D: Herald, as a new era (USHER IN); 44D: Beats for this puzzle's theme (TEMPOS); 45D: Dallas campus: Abbr. (SMU); 47D: Theater divider (AISLE); 48D: Olympics sportscaster Jim (MCKAY); 50D: In a trance (UNDER); 51D: 1983 Michael Keaton role-reversal movie (MR. MOM); 54D: Caddy or Jag (AUTO); 55D: "__ first you don't succeed ..." (IF AT); 60D: Boston summer hrs. (EDT).


06.26 Sun (calendar)

June 26, 2011 (calendar)
Merl Reagle

[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: "Pattern Recognition" — There's something unusual about all the V's in the puzzle. Apparently the mystery will be revealed to us next week.

Theme answers:

  • 27A: Start of a query (WHAT'S UNUSUAL ABOUT).
  • 60A: Query, Part 2 (THE LOCATIONS OF ALL OF).
  • 94A: End of the query (THE V'S IN THIS PUZZLE).
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Everything Else 1A: Member of the Addams family? (CHAS); 5A: Ones with war stories (VETS); 9A: Old CIA foe (KGB); 12A: Work on successfully (SOLVE); 17A: Enticed (LURED); 19A: Nymph who loved her own voice (ECHO); 20A: Scatter's first name (ELLA); 22A: Actor Diffring or Walbrook (ANTON); 23A: Flexible (AGILE); 24A: Tennessee's state flower (IRIS); 25A: Wiener schnitzel need (VEAL); 26A: Not phony (LEGIT); 31A: Crowd's cry (OLÉ); 32A: Numbers on letters (ZIPS); 33A: Flair (ELAN); 34A: Pitchfork-shaped letter (PSI); 35A: Abbr. for emeu or iglu (VAR.); 36A: Tightfisted types (MISERS); 39A: Star on the horizon? (COMER); 41A: Toe-shoe jumps (JETÉS); 43A: Luciano's love (AMORE); 44A: Deals (with) (COPES); 45A: Pertaining to a king's deputy (VICE REGAL); 49A: Tries to ease, as an ache (RUBS); 50A: Plug-in Chevy (VOLT); 51A: Not phony (VALID); 52A: Do-it-yourself maven Bob (VILA); 53A: Corp. bigwigs (VP'S); 54A: Photo IDs (VISAS); 55A: View through a pay telescope (VISTA); 56A: Sun screen? (VISOR); 57A: Having feathers, as an arrow (VANED); 58A: Disgusting (VILE); 59A: Catherine's role in "Chicago" et al. (VELMAS); 65A: Says out loud (VOICES); 66A: Norman's place: abbr. (OKLA.); 67A: Squiggle over an "n" (TILDE); 68A: Helps, as a fugitive (ABETS); 69A: Whips up (MAKES); 71A: Item that's fit for a king? (SHEET); 72A: "Real Time with Bill Maher" night: abbr. (FRI.); 75A: Dodgers' spring training city for 59 years, ___ Beach, Fla. (VERO); 76A: Pie-in-the-face comic (SALES); 77A: Bombard (PELT); 78A: Custard creation (FLAN); 79A: Worship (ADORATION); 81A: Collection of directors (BOARD); 83A: Bite at the ballpark (FRANK); 84A: Hopeful list (SLATE); 85A: Rises to breathe, as a whale (VENTS); 86A: Writer de Tocqueville (ALEXIS); 87A: Copier nuisance (JAM); 90A: Abbr. after Acre (ISR.); 91A: On the ocean blue (ASEA); 92A: "Truer words were never spoken" (AMEN); 93A: "___ combination thereof" (OR A); 101A: Go nuts, as a crowd (ERUPT); 103A: Shoot!" (DANG); 104A: Countless centuries (EONS); 105A: Painkiller withdrawn in 2004 (VIOXX); 106A: Sing like an Austrian, maybe (YODEL); 107A: British gun of WWII (STEN); 108A: Pooch in pictures (ASTA); 109A: Oddly familiar (EERIE); 110A: Nobel, for one (SWEDE); 111A: Grads-to-be, briefly (SRS.); 112A: Count (on) (RELY); 113A: Roast setting? (DAIS); 1D: Hammer part (CLAW); 2D: "House" star's first name (HUGH); 3D: Solo selection (ARIA); 4D: Club sodas (SELTZERS); 5D: Thin blue lines, maybe (VEINS); 6D: Stationery shade (ECRU); 7D: "I was ___ close ..." (THIS); 8D: "I was wrong. What can I say?" ("SO SUE ME"); 9D: Bulletproof vest material (KEVLAR); 10D: Find out, in a way (GLEAN); 11D: Tell (BLAB); 12D: More R-rated, as dialogue (SALTIER); 13D: Part that starts (ONE); 14D: Statehouse equiv. of a backup QB (LT. GOV.); 15D: Kin of "presto!" (VOILÀ); 16D: ATM button (ENTER); 18D: U2 hit of 1988 (DESIRE); 21D: Baldness (ALOPECIA); 28D: Increases (UPS); 29D: Tall orders, maybe (ALES); 30D: Spanish pronoun (USTED); 36D: Sportscaster Albert (MARV); 37D: Late riser's "all right already!" ("I'M UP!"); 38D: Cries out loud (SOBS); 39D: Piña ___ (COLADA); 40D: Chooses (OPTS); 41D: Abandon before I do? (JILT); 42D: Barber's setting (SEVILLE); 44D: Trig function, briefly (COSEC); 45D: Bouquet holders (VASES); 46D: Thingamajig's other spelling (GISMO); 47D: "Half ___ is better ..." (A LOAF); 48D: Scandinavian name (LARS); 50D: Trattoria quaffs (VINOS); 51D: Lithuania's capital (VILNA); 54D: Lowlands, to poets (VALES); 55D: Bass ___ (VIOLS); 56D: Grassy plain, in Africa (VELDT); 57D: Flight paths (VECTORS); 58D: Minnesota pros, briefly (VIKES); 59D: Parker at the hotel (VALET); 60D: Go ___ (turn in) (TO BED); 61D: Glyph opening (HIERO); 62D: Subway slug (TOKEN); 63D: Rest of the group (OTHERS); 64D: Area of expertise (FIELD); 65D: "Voom" preceder (VA-VA); 69D: Restaurant VIPs (MAÎTRE D'S); 70D: Health-food-store phone greeting? (ALOE); 71D: Knockdown, drag-out's opposite (SPAT); 72D: Raw material for Rumpelstiltskin (FLAX); 73D: Royal that sounds like a boy's name (RANI); 74D: Contents of some cartridges (INKS); 76D: Secret supply (STASH); 78D: Wild (FRENZIED); 80D: Somewhat (A LITTLE); 81D: "___ waiting long?" (BEEN); 82D: Out of control (ON A TEAR); 83D: River to the sea, in French (FLEUVE); 85D: Winning gestures (V-SIGNS); 86D: Item with a treble knob (AMP); 87D: Young hoppers (JOEYS); 88D: Traffic light feature (ARROW); 89D: Brassy role for Bea (MAUDE); 91D: Voice actor in "Up" (ASNER); 92D: Analyze, as ore (ASSAY); 95D: Cousins of tanks (VATS); 96D: Engine conduit (HOSE); 97D: Wd. in many airport names (INTL.); 98D: Author ___ Neale Hurston (ZORA); 99D: Total days in July and August, to Caesar (LXII); 100D: Old flames (EXES); 102D: Bi or mo ending (-PED).

06.26 Sun

June 26, 2011 (syndicated)
Mike Torch

[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: "Hi Comedy" - Seven phrases change meaning when GH is removed - just like "High Comedy" becomes "Hi Comedy."

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Unforgettable louse? (A NIT TO REMEMBER).
  • 33A: Waterway for sinners? (STRAIT TO HELL).
  • 44A: Uncovers a serious flaw in municipal building plans? (CAN'T FIT CITY HALL).
  • 62A: Barely visible English pubs? (BRIT SPOTS ON THE HORIZON).
  • 74A: Ohio sweaters? (KNITS OF COLUMBUS).
  • 92A: Low cost pay-per-view match? (BOUT FOR A SONG).
  • 103A: Where to get a copy of "The Communist Manifesto"? (RED LIT DISTRICT).
Hi, everybody! Neville here, sitting in for Doug, who's in Las Vegas! I don't think we'll hear about his exploits there - you know what they say about what happens in Vegas. Be sure to read to the bottom of today's post for a bonus puzzle!

Some of these I thought were kind of cute - especially that last theme entry. Kind of evokes a "Back in the USSR/Roxanne" mash-up feel. I think STRAIT TO HELL could've been clued nicely as [Styx?], but maybe that've been to tricky and would've confused some looking for an explicit Greek reference. I'll buy it. I did get confused at first - part of me thought it was homophones (like in the latter) and part thought it was long I to short I. Hope things make sense now for you too.

  • 5A: Stuff in a box on the street (SNAIL MAIL). Makes it sound like it's just a bunch of junk.
  • 22A: ___ Island, N.Y. (STATEN). I took the Staten Island Ferry for the first time yesterday. I had asked my friends what the best thing to do on SI was - the unanimous response was "leave."
  • 2D. Immortal wife of Francesco del Giocondo (MONA LISA). I feel like the word here should be "immortalized" - I mean she's dead.
  • 11D. 2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton's alma mater (AUBURN). War Eagle? No - ROLL TIDE!
  • 54D. Chest (BUREAU). I may have had the wrong sort of chest on my mind - the AU on the end was quite confusing for me!
  • 93D. Cry of exasperation (AARGH). Charlie Brown requests a note that this is a variant spelling:

  • 98D. Regs. (STDS.). You're thinking it too, but I just have to point it out - this also stands for something that doesn't pass the so-called breakfast test. I won't post a picture of this one.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 26A: Indian lentil stew (DAL). I know this spelled DHAL, so it messed with me, the way Indian food usually does.
  • 109A: Sommer of cinema (ELKE)
  • 48D: "Mrs. ___ Goes to Paris": 1992 TV film (ARRIS). This is the game where you have to listen for the rhyme without being told to. I was not amused. And I believe that if it debuts on TV, it's a movie and not a film.
Crossword Extra!
So you're holding me to that promise of a bonus crossword? Well, here it is - specially constructed for today! Click here to download this bonus Sunday-sized puzzle. Update: this link has both the pdf and a puz file!

[What's Twitter? Apparently this is: Follow PuzzleGirl]

Everything Else 1A: Bit of schoolyard disagreement (AM SO); 14A: States as fact (SAYS SO); 20A: 1978 medical thriller (COMA); 21A: Like some items in downloads (NONSECURE); 25A: "Broadway Joe" (NAMATH); 27A: Loses everything (BUSTS); 28A: Juan's ones (UNOS); 30A: Milk: Pref. (LACTO-); 31A: Promote at work (ELEVATE); 36A: Tightwads (MISERS); 37A: Turn down in an ugly way (SPURN); 39A: Tested (ASSAYED); 40A: Has the stage (IS ON); 41A: Expensive outing, probably (SPREE); 42A: Goes on strike, in slang (WALKS); 48A: Seemingly forever (AGES); 52A: Top of the morning? (ONE A.M.); 53A: Clerical vestments (ALBS); 54A: Rodeo ride (BRONC); 55A: Like the larger-eared elephant (AFRICAN); 59A: Sham (FALSE); 61A: Look for help from (TURN TO); 66A: Volcanic rock (BASALT); 67A: Incursions (RAIDS); 68A: "Rad!" (AWESOME); 69A: Talus joint (ANKLE); 70A: Brew (SUDS); 71A: Words with bike or wave (RIDE A); 73A: Grey Goose competitor (SKYY); 81A: Volleyball coup (SPIKE); 83A: Tennyson's Enoch (ARDEN); 84A: Westchester, N.Y., college (IONA); 85A: "Most likely ..." ("ODDS ARE …"); 89A: Reuben essential (SWISS); 90A: Aviation force (THRUST); 95A: Ristorante red (CHIANTI); 96A: Befuddled (AT SEA); 97A: Comic who wrote jokes for JFK (SAHL); 98A: Shoe parts (SOLES); 100A: Covert fed. group (CIA); 101A: Maid concerns (METERS); 107A: Antarctic penguin (ADELIE); 108A: Pennsylvania's state dog (GREAT DANE); 110A: Most convinced (SUREST); 111A: Controls (HARNESSES); 112A: "The Swiss Family Robinson" writer (WYSS); 1D: Hypothetical (ACADEMIC); 3D: Is favorable to (SMILES ON); 4D: Muffin choice (OAT); 5D: Tapir features (SNOUTS); 6D: Longship crewmen (NORSE); 7D: Works without __ (A NET); 8D: Philosophies (ISM'S); 9D: Poe's "Annabel __" (LEE); 10D: Turn-of-the-century year (MCM); 12D: "The Faerie Queene" woman (IRENA); 13D: "Vive __!" (LE ROI); 14D: IRS info (SSN); 15D: Baffled (AT A LOSS); 16D: Steinway competitor (YAMAHA); 17D: Actress Dash of "Clueless" (STACEY); 18D: Come to terms (SETTLE); 19D: Waiting for tech support, often (ON HOLD); 24D: Way to the top (T-BAR); 29D: Delays (STALLS); 32D: Let off steam (VENT); 33D: Mutton fat (SUET); 34D: Small spade (TREY); 35D: "For shame!" ("TSK!"); 37D: Humane Soc. ally (SPCA); 38D: Victorian (PRIM); 41D: Worker with a pad (STENO); 42D: Former 49ers coach Bill (WALSH); 43D: "Seascape" Pulitzer-winning playwright (ALBEE); 45D: Bo's'n's quarters (FO'C'SLE); 46D: Unfitting (INAPT); 47D: Desists (HALTS); 49D: Bananas (GONZO); 50D: Branch of zool. (ENTOM.); 51D: Tea biscuit (SCONE); 55D: Arafat's successor (ABBAS); 56D: Direct (FRANK); 57D: Full of pitfalls (RISKY); 58D: 2006 World Cup winner (ITALY); 59D: Pass off (on) (FOIST); 60D: Plus (AND); 61D: Item on a rack (TOWEL); 63D: Place for a donut (TRUNK); 64D: "Sexy" Beatles woman (SADIE); 65D: Sported (HAD ON); 70D: Sun Valley visitors (SKIERS); 71D: Country mail rtes. (RFD'S); 72D: Summer coolers (ICES); 75D: Cut (SAWN); 76D: Not a dup. (ORIG.); 77D: Oscar winner Sorvino (MIRA); 78D: In an animated way (BOUNCILY); 79D: Opens with effort, as a window (UNSTICKS); 80D: Stuffs (SATIATES); 81D: Wild vacations? (SAFARIS); 82D: For (PRO); 85D: "Dreams From My Father" family (OBAMAS); 86D: College address ending (DOT-EDU); 87D: Long riding coat (DUSTER); 88D: Addison's publishing partner (STEELE); 89D: Plumber's alloy (SOLDER); 90D: Doctors' works (THESES); 91D: H.S. subject (HIST.); 94D: He-Man's twin sister (SHE-RA); 95D: "Crazy" singer (CLINE); 99D: Harem rooms (ODAS); 102D: It precedes 81-Across (SET); 104D: PC linkup (LAN); 105D: Mineral suffix (-ITE); 106D: Remote button (REW).


06.25 Sat

June 25, 2011
Julian Lim

Theme: None

Every once in a while life really gets in the way of blogging and today is definitely one of those days. Just honest-to-God no time for it today. But I did want to at least post the grid and give you all a place to talk about the puzzle if you're so inclined. I will tell you that the northwest corner took me about as much time as the whole rest of the puzzle and have to assume it caused some gnashing of teeth among you guys too. Hope you all are having a great weekend and now I'm off to my busy day!

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    Everything 1A: Bounce (DRIBBLE); 8A: Site of the largest WWII Allied Pacific amphibious assault (OKINAWA); 15A: Pigment used in some primer paints (RED LEAD); 16A: Worldly (SECULAR); 17A: Glowing, perhaps (PLEASED); 18A: "You're in charge!" ("SEE TO IT1"); 19A: Courage (HEART); 20A: Fightin' with (AGIN'); 22A: Exobiologist's org. (SETI); 23A: Covering an outfield position (IN LEFT); 25A: Byzantine emperor known as "the Armenian" (LEO V); 27A: Some hosps. (VA'S); 28A: Mil. officers (LTS.); 29A: Demolish, in Durham (RASE); 31A: Most recently introduced (NEWEST); 33A: Summons (TICKET); 35A: One putting on shows (AIRER); 36A: "The sea was angry that day," e.g. (PATHETIC FALLACY); 40A: Hatch of Utah (ORRIN); 41A: Neil Diamond title words after "I am the tune" (PLAY ME); 42A: One may be packed with Oreos, briefly (P B AND J); 44A: Uma's role in "The Producers" (ULLA); 45A: Label for Nilsson (RCA); 48A: Yom __: holiday, in Hebrew (TOV); 49A: Kosovo resident (SERB); 51A: Hawks' contacts, perhaps (ARMERS); 53A: Uncultivated, probably (ARID); 55A: Banter (JEST); 57A: Does a word-processing task (SAVES); 58A: Reacts in fear, in a way (REARS UP); 60A: Like some soap (ON A ROPE); 62A: "Eugene Onegin" heroine __ Larina (TATIANA); 63A: NBAer orig. from Minnesota (L.A. LAKER); 64A: Made red-faced? (SLAPPED); 65A: Evidence provider (DNA TEST); 1D: "Family First" author, familiarly (DR. PHIL); 2D: Give in (RELENT); 3D: Epitomes (IDEALS); 4D: Play up to the max? (BLARE); 5D: Some buds (BEST FRIENDS); 6D: Papua New Guinea port (LAE); 7D: Snorri Sturluson's "Prose __" (EDDA); 8D: Walter's "I'm Not Rappaport" co-star (OSSIE); 9D: Really into (KEEN ON); 10D: Plans may be put on it (ICE); 11D: More than just touched (NUTS); 12D: Herbal medicine plant (ALOE VERA); 13D: "Not so fast!" (WAIT A SEC); 14D: Craft (ARTISTRY); 21D: Competitors in a Fox comedy-drama (GLEE CLUBS); 24D: Bumpkin's lack (TACT); 26D: Trattoria offering (VEAL MARSALA); 30D: Problem with an old record (SKIP); 32D: Bit of cunning (WILE); 33D: Like a poor argument (THIN); 34D: Maker of nonstick cookware (T-FAL); 36D: Toaster brand (POP-TARTS); 37D: Like kinkajous (ARBOREAL); 38D: "Fallen woman," in an opera title (TRAVIATA); 39D: "The Clan of the Cave Bear" protagonist (AYLA); 43D: Not exciting (JEJUNE); 45D: Take away (REVOKE); 46D: Brunch fare (CRÈPES); 47D: Maintain (ASSERT); 50D: Fix, as brakes (REPAD); 52D: Corday victim (MARAT); 54D: Cone eater's concern (DRIP); 56D: Let in on (TOLD); 59D: Enervate (SAP); 61D: Turkic flatbread (NAN).


    06.24 Fri

    F R I D A Y
    June 24, 2011
    James Sajdak

    Theme: Down on the Farm — Each theme answer is a farm pun where the last word is a two-syllable word ending in DDER(s).

    Theme answers:

    • 20A: Thoroughbred farm slur? (SO'S YOUR MUDDER).
    • 29A: Dairy farm proverb? (BE KIND TO UDDERS).
    • 46A: Cattle farm commandment? (HONOR THY FODDER).
    • 56A: Clydesdale farm boast? (HEAVY BREEDERS).
    Cute theme. Of the theme answers, I got MUDDER first and then BREEDERS so I thought all the puns were going to be about horses. That made UDDERS pretty hard to see. Yes, I know the other clues make it clear that they're not about horses. I'm not saying my thinking process always makes sense.

    • 15A: Recitative follower (ARIA). With the A in place, I tried AMEN.
    • 18A: "The Case for Public Schools" author (MANN). I was thinking Thomas MANN, but then I remembered that's James Earl Jones's character in "Field of Dreams," which I just watched the other night with the PuzzleKids. This MANN is actually Horace.
    • 19A: Nice head (TÊTE). Were you tricked by the word Nice? Remember we talked about that back when we discussed the crosswordese ÉTÉ?
    • 23A: Schubert's "The __ King" (ERL). Learned it from crosswords.
    • 35A: Tub filler (LARD). Hey! Someone here wanted LARD in their tub the other day, didn't they? Well, here ya go.
    • 52A: "Jane Eyre" star Wasikowska (MIA). Wow. No idea.
    • 54A: Valuable Ming (YAO). Professional basketball player YAO Ming. Not a vase.
    • 5D: Shortwave medium (HAM RADIO). I think this is my favorite entry in the grid.
    • 7D: Hora part (MINUTO). I kept think I was looking for part of the hora dance, not the Italian word for "hour."
    • 11D: African evergreen whose leaves are chewed as a narcotic (QAT). Great Scrabble word. Always good to have those U-less Q words in your pocket.
    • 14D: Muscle-contraction protein (MYOSIN). I feel like I really should have known this one. But I didn't.
    • 30D: Man-to-boy address (KIDDO). Random.
    • 31D: Former Jerry Marcus comic strip (TRUDY). Huh?
    • 47D: Denmark's __ Gardens (TIVOLI). PuzzleParents took PuzzleSister and me to Europe back, like, a hundred years ago, and I remember our day at TIVOLI Gardens has the highlight of the trip.
    • 59D: "Cannery Row" restaurant owner __ Flood (DORA). This is the late-week clue for Dora. Cluing DORA as the explorer would have been way too easy for Friday (darn).
    Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
    • 41A: European capital (OSLO).
    • 21D: They articulate with radii (ULNAS).
    • 43D: Big name in household humor (ERMA).
    • 57D: Winged god (EROS).
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    Everything Else 1A: Drops a fly, say (ERRS); 5A: Web code (HTML); 9A: Patio parties, briefly (BBQ'S); 13A: Fiefdom, e.g. (REALM); 16A: "For sure!" ("YEAH!"); 17A: Test (ASSAY); 24A: '70s radical gp. (SLA); 25A: "Eternally nameless" principle (TAO); 26A: Fancy pond swimmer (KOI); 33A: Words before "Gave proof through the night" (IN AIR); 34A: It has pedals and stops (ORGAN); 38A: Loses interest (SOURS); 42A: Sweat (EXUDE); 44A: Half a "Star Wars" character (DETOO); 51A: Ruling party (INS); 53A: Business __ (END); 60A: Drop a line, in a way (MOOR); 62A: Some tributes (ODES); 63A: Capital at the foot of Mount Vitosha (SOFIA); 64A: Shared currency (EURO); 65A: Time to give up (LENT); 66A: Body (TRUNK); 67A: Things to pick (NITS); 68A: Eating up (INTO); 69A: Part of many a snail's diet (ALGA); 1D: Rub out (ERASE); 2D: Suck up again (RESORB); 3D: Fight in the boonies (RASSLE); 4D: Rub out (SLAY); 5D: Shortwave medium (HAM RADIO); 6D: Car for the pits? (TRAM); 8D: "Ed Wood" Oscar winner (LANDAU); 9D: Memory unit (BYTE); 10D: Microbrewery stock (BEER KEGS); 12D: Pirate's pronoun (SHE); 21D: They articulate with radii (ULNAS); 22D: Doofus (DODO); 27D: Spoken (ORAL); 28D: Money-object connection (IS NO); 32D: Dickens's Edwin (DROOD); 35D: City near Provo (LEHI); 36D: Neural transmitter (AXON); 37D: Not have enough (RUN SHORT); 39D: Mentions (REFERS TO); 40D: One may be skipped (STONE); 45D: Most curious (ODDEST); 48D: SDS co-founder Tom (HAYDEN); 49D: Hottie (EYEFUL); 50D: Ready and eager (RARING); 55D: Yodo River city (OSAKA); 58D: Out of shape? (BENT); 60D: Rooks, for example (MEN); 61D: Overseas agreement (OUI).


    06.23 Thu

    T H U R S D A Y
    June 23, 2011
    Bill Thompson

    Theme: "Don't worry dear, I'm sure it's just a big ape" — The letter string YETI is hidden in each theme answer.

    Theme answers:

    • 20A: When to say night-night (BEDDY-BYE TIME).
    • 28A: Ohio Stadium purchase (BUCKEYE TICKETS).
    • 42A: Advance sale teaser line (NOT YET IN STORES).
    • 47A: Dubious Himalayan headlineóand phenomenon in 20-, 28- and 42-Across (YETI SIGHTING).
    Good Thursday morning, everybody. Before we get started, I just want to put in another plug for Lollapuzzoola 4, which will take place in New York on Saturday, August 6. It's an annual tournament that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and is sillier and wackier than your typical crossword puzzle tournament (which, admittedly, doesn't take much). I've heard rumors that Rex Parker and Doug Peterson and even Andrea Carla Michaels (!) will be there. (Amy: Are you coming this year?) You should definitely pop right over to the registration page and sign yourself up. Now for the puzzle.

    Looks like we're just barreling through this week with relatively uninspired theme concepts executed solidly. The ramp up of the degree of difficulty seems to be progressing smoothly as well. Today we're seeing less crosswordese (good) and some trickier cluing (also good). I have a feeling some people are not going to be particularly happy about BUCKEYE TICKETS as a theme answer. It's obviously not a common phrase, but it sure looks legit to me. They're pretty into football in Ohio, so I can imagine this phrase being used. My biggest beef with the phrase is that it starts with BUCK and not HAWK. But that U makes UPPITY possible, which is actually one of my favorite words in the grid, so maybe I'll get over it.

    • 1A: Improvise at the jazz club (VAMP). Read this clue and had to move right along. Wanted RIFF, which obviously wasn't going to work with the crosses, and couldn't get my brain to think of anything else.
    • 9A: Oncle's spouse (TANTE). French! (See also NEUF (64A: Pont __: Paris bridge)).
    • 14A: River to the Fulda (EDER). One of these days I swear to God I'm gonna learn my rivers.
    • 24A: Author of the Yiddish memoir "And the World Remained Silent" (WIESEL). We usually see his first name (ELIE) in the grid, which as I'm sure you know is pretty standard crosswordese.
    • 35A: Chinese tea (CHA). Huh? This is a new one on me.
    • 37A: Georgia of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (ENGEL). She played Ted Baxter's girlfriend, Georgette, who was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, to put it mildly.

    • 38A: "Cinque, dieci, venti, trenta" in "The Marriage of Figaro," e.g. (DUET). You are forgiven for plopping in ARIA without really thinking.
    • 54A: Peer in a box (JUROR). Anytime I see a "___ in a box" phrase, I can only think of Justin Timberlake on SNL. I would tell you why, but it would be totally inappropriate. You can Google it if your interested.
    • 33D: Magician's secret cohort (PLANT). This is the kind of late-week tricky cluing I was talking about. Think of all the various ways you can clue PLANT. This one is great.
    • 43D: He has a cello named Petunia (YO-YO MA). Awwww.
    Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
    • 23A: Former Mideast org. (UAR).
    • 58A: Golfer Aoki (ISAO).
    • 61A: Sommelier's prefix (OENO-).
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    Everything Else 5A: Butt (in) (HORN); 15A: Its French name means "high wood" (OBOE); 16A: Sun Valley locale (IDAHO); 17A: Move, briefly (RELO); 18A: Monument Valley sight (MESA); 19A: Many a Justin Bieber fan (TWEEN); 33A: Swiss Guard charges (POPES); 34A: Quick (AGILE); 36A: Prunes (LOPS); 39A: Yellowfin tuna (AHI); 40A: Estate home (MANOR); 41A: Sounds content (PURRS); 45A: "I love what you do for me" automaker (TOYOTA); 46A: Big-house link (AS A); 57A: Relinquish (CEDE); 59A: Japanese art genre (ANIME); 60A: Oregon Trail team (OXEN); 62A: Lose it (GO MAD); 63A: Distance swimmer Diana (NYAD); 1D: 3-Down, e.g. (VERB); 2D: "Zip-__-Doo-Dah" (A-DEE); 3D: Blend (MELD); 4D: Yields (PRODUCES); 5D: Man of La Mancha (HOMBRE); 6D: Mind (OBEY); 7D: See 12-Down (ROSE); 8D: Bourbon order (NEAT); 9D: They may be tufted (TITMICE); 10D: Magazine that highlights Clio winners (ADWEEK); 11D: "Sorry, laddie" ("NAE"); 12D: With 7-Down, Bette Midler classic (THE); 13D: Quite a span (EON); 21D: Goes on and on (YAKS); 22D: Volunteer's offer (I WILL); 25D: Like an encrypted transmission, in theory (SECURE); 26D: Old anesthetics (ETHERS); 27D: Future J.D.s' exams (LSAT'S); 28D: Melodramatic cry (BOO-HOO); 29D: Haughty (UPPITY); 30D: Greek New Ager (YANNI); 31D: Goad (EGG ON); 32D: Feature of some fancy cakes (TIERS); 37D: Really worry (EAT AT); 38D: Term (DURATION); 40D: Like some mail (METERED); 41D: Sumptuous (POSH); 44D: Remnant (TAG END); 48D: Tiny trash can, e.g. (ICON); 49D: Hot (SEXY); 50D: Thought (IDEA); 51D: "Mm-hmm" ("I SEE"); 52D: Half a sitcom sign-off (NANU); 53D: Flub (GOOF); 54D: Spree (JAG); 55D: The loneliest numero? (UNO); 56D: Drum edge (RIM).


    06.22 Wed

    W E D N E S D A Y
    June 22, 2011
    Don Gagliardo & C. C. Burnikel

    Theme: The Racer's Edge — Each theme answer is a familiar three-word phrase with the initials STP.

    Theme answers:

    • 16A: Makes an offer more desirable (SWEETENS THE POT).
    • 27A: Hopelessly ruined (SHOT TO PIECES).
    • 36A: Stock trader's goal (SHORT-TERM PROFIT).
    • 44A: "Satisfaction guaranteed" catchphrase (SURE TO PLEASE).
    • 58A: Editor's "Whoa!" (STOP THE PRESSES).
    • 58D: Auto additives co. that hints at this puzzle's theme (STP).
    Wow. Don and CC have been busy! Here's another solid puzzle with a tried-and-true theme concept. Was I complaining about a financial theme answer being boring the other day? Because today SHORT-TERM PROFIT kinda just sits there. But SURE TO PLEASE and STOP THE PRESSES are both awesome, so all in all I'd give the theme answers a win.

    The fill, as I said, is solid. The only real clunkers I found were EYERS and RE-EXPOSE (21A: Lookers / 37D: Uncover again) which, yes, are technically words but that doesn't mean I have to like them. STUPE (35A: Dumbbell) is a word I've seen in crosswords but I can't say I've ever actually heard anyone use that particular slur. Regional? Generational? Whatever. Oh, and AX JOB (51A: Editor's ruthless overhaul, informally) is unfamiliar to me. Is that the same thing as a HATCHET JOB? Cuz that's the way I've heard it.

    Good stuff:
    • 14A: Used cars (RODE). I'm a fan of clues that make you think about a word as more than one part of speech. Here, you need to flip the switch in your brain from "adjective" to "verb." Love it.
    • 19A: Entertain at one's loft (HAVE UP). Okay, here's what I don't get. What exactly is a loft? When I lived in New York, I thought it was just a big garage-kinda apartment. But I always wondered if there was a part of the apartment that was actually The Loft. Like it was up higher than the rest of the place. It makes sense to me that a loft is, somehow, up. So this clues makes sense in that way. But I've always felt confused about the technical details.
    • 22A: Org. that provides handicaps (USGA). I tried LPGA here first.
    • 65A: Multicolored (PIED). This term is usually used to refer to horses, right? How exactly was the PIED Piper PIED? I've never thought of him as particularly colorful. I guess maybe it's just his clothes?
    • 2D: Network marketing giant (AMWAY). They still have AMWAY?
    • 7D: Paper back items? (ADS). Another good clue. ADS are items you might find in the back of a newspaper. Actually, you find them throughout the paper, but there are more of them in the back, don't you think?
    • 17D: Fanny (TUSH). Oh sure, why not?

    • 26D: Lukewarm (TEPID). TEPID is an awesome word. This is my standout entry of the day.
    • 52D: "Friday the 13th" villain (JASON). PuzzleSon has been bugging me about watching a bunch of horror movies lately. I think I'm going to turn that one over to PuzzleHusband. I used to love those movies back in high school but I'm pretty sure I couldn't handle them now.
    • 53D: Ferrell's partner in "SNL" Spartan Cheerleaders bits (OTERI). I know she's crosswordese, but I still like the look of her name in the grid.
    Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
    • 15A: Jacob's twin (ESAU).
    • 22D: __ Reader: eclectic bimonthly (UTNE).
    • 45D: Brewery oven (OAST).
    • 53D: Ferrell's partner in "SNL" Spartan Cheerleaders bits (OTERI).
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    Everything Else 1A: Religious ritual (MASS); 5A: Bell sound (PEAL); 9A: Like freshly washed hair (DAMP); 13A: Skip (OMIT); 20A: Big rig (SEMI); 24A: They appear before U (R-S-T); 31A: Digital comm. method? (ASL); 34A: Santa __ winds (ANA); 41A: Former country on its own peninsula (KOREA); 42A: Little piggy, so to speak (TOE); 43A: Govt. Rx watchdog (FDA); 49A: Ranch handle (TEX); 50A: Votes of support (AYES); 55A: Blog comment (POST); 57A: Take to the air (AVIATE); 62A: Shock with a stun gun (TASE); 63A: Cookie since 1912 (OREO); 64A: Ripped (TORE); 66A: Geeky type (NERD); 67A: Foul mood (SNIT); 1D: Mideast statesman Dayan (MOSHE); 3D: Strainer (SIEVE); 4D: Takes the helm (STEERS); 5D: SAT practice (PREP); 6D: Long time, even in the singular (EON); 8D: "Time to leave" ("LET'S GO"); 9D: Regard (DEEM); 10D: Aim for (ASPIRE TO); 11D: Statesman on a 100-yuan note (MAO); 12D: Delay, with "off" (PUT); 18D: Clunker (HEAP); 23D: Surprise with a "Boo!" (STARTLE); 25D: Shoe mark (SCUFF); 28D: Brittle cake grain (OAT); 29D: 1-Down's land: Abbr. (ISR.); 30D: Words with date or record (SET A); 31D: Seeks, as permission (ASKS); 32D: Loud tone (SHOUT); 33D: Moto player (LORRE); 38D: What Tweety tawt he taw (TAT); 39D: "The Simpsons" bar (MOE'S); 40D: Green shade (PEA); 46D: Long boa (PYTHON); 47D: Keep for later (SAVE); 48D: Lives (EXISTS); 54D: Harass (BESET); 56D: Guest columnist's piece (OP-ED); 57D: 2007 signer of the richest contract in MLB history (A-ROD); 59D: Mai __ (TAI); 60D: Long beginning? (ERE); 61D: By authority of (PER).