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).


Steve said...

@Neville - nice round-up.

Enjoyed this kick-off to my Sunday, some really nice fill - SATIATES, GONZO, FO'C'SLE, CHIANTI to name a few.

I was looking for homophones too until more of the theme revealed itself.

Had cOppER for SOLDER first which slowed me down a little.

Liked the tech mini-theme (SNAILMAIL, NONSECURE, DOTEDU). BUREAU is just an awesome word.

On the DAL/dahl subject, remember that the English translations on an Indian menu are phonetic - you see all kinds of variations (pappadum, poppadom, puppadam, etc.) and they're all equally "acceptable".

Now I'm hungry for some Indian food!

Steve said...

BTW, apropos of the Sunday print edition - does Merl Reagle have a monopoly on Sundays now? I used to enjoy the other regular constructors too such as Sylvia Burstyn (sp?) but I've not seen anyone else for a while. I like a bit of variety, I get bored with the punning theme every single week to the point that I don't bother buying the print edition any more.

Gene said...

As I look back on the finished grid, I said, "That seemed easy, so why did it take me two hours?" I found out that knowing how to spell really helps.

merlbaby said...

just to bring steve up to date ...

barry tunick died three years ago and sylvia bursztyn died in december 2010, so after alternating with sylvia for about a year and a half i became the full-time l.a. times calendar-section constructor (as of january 2011). i just looked at all of my puzzles from the past six months and there have been just six pun puzzles, roughly one per month, so i wouldn't exactly say that there's a "punning theme every single week." my policy has always been to make a pretty wide variety of puzzles because i don't want solvers to know exactly what to expect every sunday morning. my sunday puzzle today is a case in point -- not a pun in sight. --m.r.

Steve said...

@Merl - thanks for the update - I'm truly sorry to hear about John and Sylvia, I thoroughly enjoyed their work.

Maybe I was unlucky with the Sundays when I seemed to pick up the "pun" week every time - I'll trot out and get the print edition today. I stand corrected, thanks for pointing out my misconception.

imsdave said...

Thanks Neville, for a very good writeup on a pretty good puzzle. Would have been a full 4 star outing if I had more love for BRITSPOTS. Thought the rest were super with lots of really nice fill.

Busy all day, or I would have commented on Steve's comment earlier. Much better to have Merl do it.

@Steve - I hope you enjoyed part I of Mr. Reagle's two-parter today. Try and imagine that from a construction perspective.

@Merl - looking forward to the reveal next week, and seeing you at the ACPT next year.

Tom said...

I enjoyed today's puzzle, but did anybody else get thrown by the answer to "Turn-of-the-century year" (MCM)? I guessed either MMI or MCI, since those are actually the turn-of-the-century years.

Neville said...


I left it blank on purpose, because I wasn't sure which one they were going for. Turns at the end of MCM and at the beginning of MCMI, I guess? If the cross had been ambiguous, then I'd be concerned.

Tom said...

Thanks, Neville. It was the cross that gave MCM to me, of course; but when I was first filling in what I thought I "knew," I threw in an 'I' where the 'M' should have gone. Maybe I would have clued it "End-of-century year." No biggie, though.

CoffeeLvr said...

My eraser got a good workout today; I don't think it was the puzzle so much as me. I am just not clearheaded today, and got an important phone call in the middle of the solve. It was good news, but still hard to concentrate afterwards.

I really like some of the theme answers (STRAIT TO HELL, A NIT TO REMEMBER) but others not so much (CAN'T FIT CITY HALL, BRIT SPOTS ON THE HORIZON). I still don't know why the later was clued with "pubs."

Lots of unknown proper names for me: STACEY, STEELE, WYSS, ARDEN, 'ARRIS, IONA (as clued), SHE-RA. On the other hand, knew NAMATH, STATEN, SKYY, SAHL, ADELIE, ELKE, SADIE, MIRA, OBAMAS, ABBAS.

Quibble: 89A puts SWISS in the grid, and 112A puts it in the clue.

kerrys said...

You don't need to trot out to buy Merl's puzzle.

Go to www.latimes.com/games

and you can either solve it on line or print it.


Dave in Bend, Oregon said...

Neville thanks for the nice fill-in for PG/Doug... re: SNAILMAIL. I read "stuff" as a verb as in stuffing something into the box versus it being a noun. Not sure if that takes the "junkiness" out of it.

Clever enough puzzzle. REALLY liked DOTEDU spelt out.

Kind of ominous (and approriate these days) to have NONSECURE under SNAILMAIL.

Dave in Bend, Oregon said...

If you happen to come back to this blog, could you be kind enough to explain what is unusual about the "v's" in this Sunday's puzzle (I got it off the Phil Inq link from Ephram's site)....Just cannot SEE it and am sure it will be a DOH moment. Anyone that did this puzzle can answer. It just would be cool to hear from the constructor.

Dave in Bend, Oregon said...

Probably whistling in a canyon here but JUST had my DOH moement. I did not realize that the Philly Inquirer puzzle is the same one as the first of two on PG's site. I always just disregardeed it. Now I am throughly confused as I have been doing both the LAT and PI sundays for some time now and this is the first time I realized they are the same. Oh well I guess I'll just whistle a bit more tweedle dee tweeeeedle dooooo

Mary in Oregon said...

Posted Monday, 6/27. Did anyone solve the bonus puzzle by Neville Fogarty (More Than Fair Play)? I did, missing only 1A: Game that ends in a tumble. I can't find the solution for this puzzle on-line. Does anyone here know the answer? Thanks for any help.

Neville said...

Mary - the answer for 1A is JENGA, which ends when the tower of blocks tumbles to the table. I hope you enjoyed the puzzle!

Mary in Oregon said...

Thanks so much for the answer, Neville! I loved your bonus puzzle, but was not familiar with the game Jenga. When bonus puzzles are available to print out as I did, are the solutions ever posted?