07.31 Sun (calendar)

July 31, 2011
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: "Space Exploration" — Familiar words, phrases, and names have spaces inserted in "wrong" places.

Theme answers:

  • 18A: Daydream? (DEPART MENTALLY).
  • 22A: Obvious trait of a certain two-digit number? (TWENTY-FOUR'S EVEN).
  • 38A: Rock Star Pays Kid's Bail? (BRUCE SPRINGS TEEN).
  • 45A: Prepares to play Scrabble? (TURNS TILES).
  • 57A: Tarzan's response to, "Hey, where do they keep the sugar on this ship?" (BOWL IN GALLEY).
  • 66A: Request from someone who brought his own cola? (JUST ICE).
  • 71A: Bride's guy, in France? (LE GROOM).
  • 80A: Choice of sailing topics? (WINDS OR KNOTS).
  • 98A: Registers one's answer on a computerized true-false quiz? (HOLDS DOWN THE F OR T).
  • 119A: Cowboy? (PERCHER ON HORSES).
  • 126A: Florida's new "be kind to golfers" slogan? (SAVE THE MAN A TEE).
  • 51D: Injury from an extinct bird? (MOA BITE).
Follow PuzzleGirl65 on Twitter

Everything d in ___ (A DRAW); 108A: Seductress (VAMP); 110A: Poisonous shrubs (SUMACS); 114A: ___ the chase (CUT TO); 117A: Part of ERA (EQUAL); 119A: Cowboy? (PERCHER ON HORSES); 125A: "Hasta ___" (LUEGO); 126A: Florida's new "be kind to golfers" slogan? (SAVE THE MAN A TEE); 127A: Graf foe, often (SELES); 128A: Tries to win at auction (BIDS ON); 129A: Outcome (RESULT); 1D: Spring time, in Minn. (CDT); 2D: Kareem, before (LEW); 3D: Uncouth one (APE); 4D: Needed rewinding (RAN DOWN); 5D: That bleeping droid (ARTOO); 6D: Eyelid woe (STYE); 7D: Vintage autos (REO'S); 8D: Ex-leader of Burma (UNU); 9D: Orch. section (STR.); 10D: Talks back to (SASSES); 11D: "May ___ you in on a little secret?" (I LET); 12D: Edison's middle (ALVA); 13D: With Boy, a fancy chair (LA-Z-); 14D: Genesis victim (ABEL); 15D: Arizona phenomenon (MIRAGE); 16D: "___ Fideles" (ADESTE); 17D: Poet Anne (SEXTON); 19D: Maker: abbr. (MFR.); 20D: So far (YET); 23D: Ex-Sen. Sam of Georgia (NUNN); 27D: Work units (ERGS); 29D: Canine on the case (ASTA); 30D: Locomotive sound (CHUG); 31D: 1947 Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Slick ___" (HARE); 32D: Deck quartet (ACES); 33D: Proposition vote (YES); 35D: Humane org. (ASPCA); 38D: Bingo call (B TEN); 39D: Skin (RIND); 40D: Arm bones (ULNAS); 41D: Ground breaker (PLOW); 42D: Seal again (RECLOSE); 43D: Words from one who's with it (I'M HIP); 44D: Perfect for basketball (TALL); 46D: Heidi's creator (SPYRI); 51D: Injury from an extinct bird? (MOA BITE); 52D: Blue indigo (ANIL); 54D: Illinois city (ALTON); 55D: Rio Grande feeder (PECOS); 56D: High on highballs, e.g. (LIT); 57D: 2007 catchphrase, "Don't tase me, ___!" (BRO); 58D: Whiz preceder (GEE); 59D: "Dee-lish!" ("YUM!"); 60D: Like Tampa weather (HUMID); 61D: Together (AS ONE); 63D: French lace town (ALENCON); 66D: Mandible (JAW); 67D: Dove sound (COO); 68D: Spanish river (EBRO); 70D: Military training ctr. (OC'S); 72D: Popular knife brand (GINSU); 73D: Outback critter, slangily (ROO); 76D: "___ it wouldn't last" (I KNEW); 78D: Slow movement (LARGO); 81D: Utterly exhausted (DEAD); 82D: Tic (SPASM); 83D: Unseat (OUST); 85D: Bartlett, e.g. (PEAR); 86D: "Harper Valley P.T.A." writer Hall (TOM T.); 89D: Lummoxes (OAFS); 90D: A distance (AFAR); 91D: Edelstein of "House" (LISA); 92D: Over again (ANEW); 94D: Orange drinks (ADES); 96D: Agent, briefly (REP); 97D: Felt hats (FEDORAS); 98D: Crude abodes (HOVELS); 99D: Not translucent (OPAQUE); 100D: Traveler Gulliver (LEMUEL); 101D: "I'll meet you further ___ the road" (Johnny Cash) (ON UP); 102D: Quieted (HUSHED); 107D: Do penance (ATONE); 109D: Beeper message (PAGE); 111D: My, to Mimi (MES); 112D: Part of U.A.E. (ARAB); 113D: Human bone total, in Roman numerals (CCVI); 114D: Joel or Ethan of filmdom (COEN); 115D: Albuquerque sch. (UNM); 116D: "___ she blows!" (THAR); 118D: Part of UCLA (LOS); 120D: Aliens, briefly (ET'S); 121D: Greek letter (RHO); 122D: "Simpsons" character, Disco ___ (STU); 123D: Shocking swimmer (EEL); 124D: Become firm (SET).

07.31 Sun

July 31, 2011
Mike Peluso

[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: "Oohs and Aahs" — "Ooh" sounds are changed to "aah" sounds in familiar phrases.

Theme Entries:
  • 21A: Charity that rewards golf talent? (ALMS FOR THE PAR).
  • 33A: Treat a Saudi king with TLC? (COMFORT FAHD).
  • 56A: Timid officer? (CHICKEN COP).
  • 67A: Miniature B-17? (BABY BOMBER).
  • 88A: Hall of Famer Warren after garage work? (GREASY SPAHN).
  • 106A: Padding in an Easter basket? (CHOCOLATE MOSS).
  • 15D: Stuffy trio? (THE THREE STODGES).
  • 41D: Onset of boredom? (BIRTH OF THE BLAHS).
Hey, crossword fans. Doug here on Sunday. Today's theme is pretty solid. I tend to like themes that employ a sound change rather than simply adding or taking away letters. The theme answers are a bit tougher to predict, which makes for a fun solve.

I'm betting the names Fahd and Spahn caused problems for some solvers, but the rest of the answers are right over the plate. My favorite is CHOCOLATE MOSS. Mmmm, chocolate moss. OK, it sounds a little gross, but I can guarantee it'd taste better than marshmallow Peeps. I never ate the Peeps in my Easter basket. I'd save them for a few weeks until they got rock-hard, and then I'd smash them on the driveway. The ants loved it.

  • 24A: ___ Rebellion" 1786-'87 insurrection (SHAYS'). I remember the name from high school history class, but I couldn't tell you a thing about it. I'll read up on it later.
  • 28A: Stitching on Li'l Abner's towel? (HIS'N). Why would hillbillies, or anyone else, say "his'n & her'n" instead of "his & hers"? Does it have something to do with "my" and "mine"? I have more questions than answers so far.
  • 33A: Treat a Saudi king with TLC? (COMFORT FAHD). Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud was the King of Saudi Arabia from 1982-2005. And the fact that there are still countries ruled by kings blows my mind.
  • 60A: All-time RBI leader (AARON). Hank Aaron, with 2,297 runs batted in.
  • 74A: NYC-based securities gp. (ASE). I'm assuming this is short for American Stock Exchange, more commonly known as AMEX. Is this a better clue than the usual "Enzyme ending"?
  • 75A: After-school treats (OREOS). Also great before and during school.
  • 79A: Did well on the quiz (GOT A B). I know I've commented on this entry before. It's not completely horrible. (Although some might get confused and think it's supposed to be "Go, Tab!") But it opens up the door to so many other questionable entries: GOT AN A, GET A D, GETS A C, etc, etc. We constructors need to nip this in the bud.
  • 88A: Hall of Famer Warren after garage work? (GREASY SPAHN). (Lots of baseball in this bullet. Skip ahead if you can't handle it.) Warren Spahn racked up 363 wins in 21 seasons, more than any other left-handed pitcher. You may recognize his name from the rhyme: "Spahn and Sain, and pray for rain." It was inspired by the performance of Spahn and his teammate, pitcher Johnny Sain, during the Boston Braves' 1948 pennant drive. From Wikipedia: "The team swept a Labor Day doubleheader, with Spahn throwing a complete 14-inning win in the opener, and Sain pitching a shutout in the second game. Following two off-days, it did rain. Spahn won the next day, and Sain won the day after that. Three days later, Spahn won again. Sain won the next day. After one more off-day, the two pitchers were brought back and won another doubleheader. The two pitchers had gone 8–0 in 12 days' time." Not bad. The Yankees are going to try something like that in this year's play-offs: "C.C. Sabathia and pray for a monsoon."
  • 94A: Hall of Fame pool player ___ Mataya Laurance (EWA). Seems obscure, but I knew this one. I enjoy watching billiards on TV sometimes. Ms. Laurance was born in Sweden, and her nickname is one of the coolest in all of sports: "The Striking Viking." 
  • 114A: Words on some Montana license plates (BIG SKY). Awesome.
  • 9D: Reach for the Skyy, excessively (TOPE). Skyy vodka. Cute clue.
  • 22D: "Bananaphone" singer (RAFFI). No video will be provided. I tried YANNI first. Yanni and Raffi occupy the same spot in my brain. It's a spot I'd like to have removed.
  • 36D: Rapper ___ Shakur (TUPAC). Here's an entry from the first real 15x15 puzzle I ever constructed: ITUPAC. I believe I clued it as "Start of a rapper's formal statement" or some such nonsense. And I had the audacity to criticize Neville's use TIR of yesterday. Shocking.
  • 63D: Bond nemesis (SMERSH). Group that opposes Bond, James Bond. Apparently SMERSH is an acronym from two Russian words and means "Death to Spies". I'd rather join KAOS.
Next Sunday's blog will be abbreviated, because I'll be at Lollapuzzoola 4 in Manhattan! I hope to see some of you there. Adios.


07.30 Sat

July 30, 2011
Neville Fogarty

Theme: None

Looks like we're ending the week with a tough, fun Saturday romp from Neville Longbo… er—Fogarty. As I write about this puzzle I'm going to try to forget that Neville is responsible for the completely irritating song that's stuck in my head right now. You really don't wanna know. Okay, okay, if the suspense is killing you, go ahead and click on this link. I wouldn't recommend it though. You Have Been Warned!

There are some pretty nice stacks in this grid. I think my favorite is LADY GAGA / ALGEBRA I / PIERRE, S.D. (12D: Singer known for unconventional outfits / 13D: Basic math course / 14D: Second-least populous st. capital). Other stand-out entries to me include BANANARAMA (60A: Female pop trio since 1979 — was it really that long ago??) and RV HOOKUP (36D: KOA amenity). That last one was a gimme for me. When I took my epic road-trip across the country mumble-mumble-teen years ago I camped at KOAs along the way and was kind of surprised to learn that there's a whole RV culture out there. I had no idea! Some of the nicest people I've ever met too. They thought this (relatively) young woman traveling alone and sleeping in a tent was a little on the nutty side, but they looked out for me, which was really nice and comforting.

This next part I'm going to write is a little … sensitive. Please select the text here and you can see what I've written. Neville, you should just skip this and go on to the bullets. [TIR? AMOY?? Seriously?? WTF?? Those entries are completely ridiculous! Blech!]


  • 1A: Revisiting the past? (TIME TRAVEL). Immediately brings to mind "The Time Traveler's Wife" and "Back to the Future," both of which are awesome.
  • 11A: __ shot (SLAP). Who knew how many different kinds of shots could come into a person's head at one time? Bank shot, drop shot, rim shot, etc., etc. Of course this particular shot is from one of the few sports I know nothing about (hockey). Fortunately (?), PuzzleHusband often quotes from the movie "SLAP shot," so the phrase was knocking around in my brain somewhere.
  • 15A: "Been there" ("I CAN RELATE"). If you know anything about me, you know I love seeing colloquial phrases in the grid. This one is awesome, as is "AS I SAID …" (<39A: "To reiterate …").
  • 34A: Tales you can also read backwards? (SAGAS). You can't actually read the tale itself backwards, but you can read the word SAGAS backwards. Cute!
  • 42A: Jenny Fields's son, in a 1978 best-seller (T. S. GARP). Man it must be a hundred years since I read this book and the answer came to me immediately. Now if I could only remember what I came in here for ….
  • 58A: Whitman of "Arrested Development" (MAE). I always get this show confused with "Curb Your Enthusiasm" in my head. They're both on my Need To Watch List.
  • 65A: Only place on Earth where crocodiles and alligators co-exist (EVERGLADES). Look how this kinda boring answer is dressed up with a cool clue.
  • 2D: Mariner from Japan (ICHIRO!).
  • 11D: Duck in the Eurasian taiga (SMEW). Duck in the Eurasian what-ga?
  • 35D: Shepherd-protecting org. (ASPCA). One of two misleading dog clues in this puzzle. See also CANINE (29A: Like some boxers).
  • 38D: Pioneer in side-scrolling video games (NINTENDO). Who knew?
  • 50D: One may come with wings (BREAST). Mmmm… chicken.
  • 63D: Emulate Sir Mix-A-Lot (RAP).

Follow PuzzleGirl65 on Twitter

Everything 1A: Revisiting the past? (TIME TRAVEL); 11A: __ shot (SLAP); 15A: "Been there" ("I CAN RELATE"); 16A: Country with a green, yellow and red flag (MALI); 17A: Israelites, to many (CHOSEN ONES); 18A: Hone (EDGE); 19A: The sport of shooting, in Soissons (TIR); 20A: Took in (ATE); 21A: Finn's friend (SAWYER); 23A: Sarah McLachlan's record label (ARISTA); 25A: Chinese port also known as Xiamen (AMOY); 27A: 2012 games host country, in Olympics code (GBR); 28A: Come to (COST); 29A: Like some boxers (CANINE); 31A: "Who __ we kidding?" (ARE); 32A: Personification (AVATAR); 34A: Tales you can also read backwards? (SAGAS); 36A: Fakes (RINGERS); 39A: "To reiterate ..." ("AS I SAID …"); 41A: Notable Nixon gesture (V-SIGN); 42A: Jenny Fields's son, in a 1978 best-seller (T. S. GARP); 44A: Luv (HON); 45A: Talked up (TOUTED); 47A: Certain dieter's concern (CARB); 51A: Go (for) (OPT); 52A: Objects (ENDS); 53A: Glassy-eyed one (STARER); 55A: Brand named for two states (ORE-IDA); 57A: __ favor (POR); 58A: Whitman of "Arrested Development" (MAE); 59A: Essex neighbor (KENT); 60A: Female pop trio since 1979 (BANANARAMA); 64A: Go back, in a way (UNDO); 65A: Only place on Earth where crocodiles and alligators co-exist (EVERGLADES); 66A: Lowly worker (PEON); 67A: Pans, and how (TEARS APART); 1D: Popular mint (TIC TAC); 2D: Mariner from Japan (ICHIRO); 3D: "The Piano" extras (MAORIS); 4D: USNA grad (ENS.); 5D: Pay for (TREAT); 6D: Airport offering (RENT-A-CAR); 7D: Succulent genus (ALOE); 8D: Cargo carrier (VAN); 9D: Summer abroad (ÉTÉ); 10D: Good thing to learn (LESSON); 11D: Duck in the Eurasian taiga (SMEW); 12D: Singer known for unconventional outfits (LADY GAGA); 13D: Basic math course (ALGEBRA I); 14D: Second-least populous st. capital (PIERRE, S.D.); 22D: Bridge response (AYE SIR); 24D: Immortal college coach (STAGG); 25D: Santa __ (ANA); 26D: Illusion (MIRAGE); 30D: Ready to father (AT STUD); 33D: Let it all out (VENTED); 35D: Shepherd-protecting org. (ASPCA); 36D: KOA amenity (RV HOOKUP); 37D: Petroleum processing by-product (ISOPRENE); 38D: Pioneer in side-scrolling video games (NINTENDO); 40D: Tearjerkers of a kind (SAD SONGS); 43D: 61-Down crossers: Abbr. (STS.); 46D: How some stunts are done (ON A BET); 48D: Fighting force (ARMADA); 49D: Hole widener (REAMER); 50D: One may come with wings (BREAST); 54D: Refrain from singing? (TRA-LA); 56D: "Bring __!" (IT ON); 57D: Tudor widow (PARR); 61D: See 43-Down (AVE.); 62D: Gp. for teachers (NEA); 63D: Emulate Sir Mix-A-Lot (RAP).


07.29 Fri

July 29, 2011
Chris A. McGlothlin

Theme: Long Time No C — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase with the letter C removed from it, creating a new wacky phrase, clued wackily.

Theme answers:

  • 10A/42A/66A: Words to an old friend, whose end is a hint this puzzle's grid and theme (LONG / TIME / NO SEE).
  • 18A: Sailing attire for 1-Across? (ARGO PANTS).
  • 23A: Dearth of frost? (LOW RIME RATE).
  • 38A: Celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day? (USED ARS).
  • 40A: Regional poem? (AREA ODE).
  • 50A: Do some tweezing? (PULL UP A HAIR).
  • 61A: "I've completed the flag"? (ROSS WORDS).
Another good theme idea today. Not just randomly dropping a letter for no reason, but doing so on the basis of a well-known phrase (LONG TIME NO SEE). Too bad the resulting theme phrases are so boring. Obviously I was happy to see the reference to Talk Like a Pirate Day, which affirmed what I told you the other day, and ROSS WORDS is fabulous as clued, but the rest? Meh. I mean, they're okay, but nothing that really pops.

  • 15A: Offenbach's okays (OUIS). French! Also, wow. Offenbach doesn't look like a French name to me. NYET (31D: Dmitri's denial) was much more obvious from the clue.
  • 17A: The world according to Arp (MONDE). More French! Now this clue is definitely cute.
  • 26A: Rowan Atkinson character (MR. BEAN). I didn't know his name was Rowan Atkinson, but I have heard of MR. BEAN so, with a couple crosses in place, he presented himself.
  • 32A: Antenna shelter (RADOME). Pretty sure I've never seen this word in my life.
  • 55A: Players try to hit triples with them (Q TILES). This clue gave me fits. If I had just filled in the crosses I would have been okay — they're all super solid — but I kept trying to piece it together without that help. (This is a Scrabble reference, for anyone still wondering.)
  • 1D: Jazz pianist Ahmad __ (JAMAL).

  • 4D: It's often traded in (OLDER MODEL). Sure, if you're Donald Trump. (Thank you very much. I'll be here all week.)
  • 11D: "Think I'm kidding?" ("OH NO?"). Awesome colloquial phrase.
  • 49D: Ballets __: early 20th-century dance company (RUSSES). Got this through crosses. Assume it means "Russian."
  • 62D: Colorado sports nickname, with "the" (ROX). Any Colorado fans out there who can confirm this? It sounds perfectly reasonable, but I can't say that I've ever heard it.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 20A: Miracle Mets star (AGEE).
  • 21A: "From __ Zinc": vitamin slogan (A TO).
  • 35A: Hosp. test (EKG).
  • 60A: First name in courtroom fiction (ERLE).
  • 5D: Alumna identifier, perhaps (NÉE).
  • 24D: "__ la Douce" (IRMA).
  • 25D: "Diana" crooner (ANKA).
  • 29D: The orchestra tunes to one (OBOE).
  • 58D: WWII craft (LST'S).
  • 63D: Singer DiFranco (ANI).
Follow PuzzleGirl65 on Twitter

Everything1A: Golden Fleece seeker (JASON); 6A: Disputed strip (GAZA); 10A: With 42- and 66-Across, words to an old friend, whose end is a hint this puzzle's grid and theme (LONG); 14A: Nimble (AGILE); 15A: Offenbach's okays (OUIS); 16A: Kentucky border river (OHIO); 17A: The world according to Arp (MONDE); 18A: Sailing attire for 1-Across? (ARGO PANTS); 20A: Miracle Mets star (AGEE); 21A: "From __ Zinc": vitamin slogan (A TO); 22A: Gives a facelift (REDOES); 23A: Dearth of frost? (LOW RIME RATE); 26A: Rowan Atkinson character (MR. BEAN); 27A: Understood (KNOWN); 32A: Antenna shelter (RADOME); 35A: Hosp. test (EKG); 37A: PayPal owner (EBAY); 38A: Celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day? (USED ARS); 40A: Regional poem? (AREA ODE); 42A: See 10-Across (TIME); 43A: Funnyman Kinison (SAM); 45A: Run in (ARREST); 46A: Comes down hard? (HAILS); 48A: Sole man (HERMIT); 50A: Do some tweezing? (PULL UP A HAIR); 55A: Players try to hit triples with them (Q TILES); 59A: Mama bear, in Madrid (OSA); 60A: First name in courtroom fiction (ERLE); 61A: "I've completed the flag"? (ROSS WORDS); 63A: Had a home-cooked meal (ATE IN); 64A: Smack (SWAT); 65A: Pâté base (FOIE); 66A: See 10-Across (NO SEE); 67A: Sounds of disapproval (TSKS); 68A: Cans (AXES); 69A: Touch and shuffle (IPODS); 1D: Jazz pianist Ahmad __ (JAMAL); 2D: Disco era suffix (A-GO-GO); 3D: Tough tissue (SINEW); 4D: It's often traded in (OLDER MODEL); 5D: Alumna identifier, perhaps (NÉE); 6D: Chin hider (GOATEE); 7D: Sky lights (AURORAE); 8D: Turn sharply (ZIG); 9D: "__ of Homecoming": U2 song (A SORT); 10D: Put in a clip (LOAD); 11D: "Think I'm kidding?" ("OH NO?"); 12D: Evening, in ads (NITE); 13D: Former CIA director Porter __ (GOSS); 19D: Glance (PEEK); 21D: Some ales (AMBERS); 24D: "__ la Douce" (IRMA); 25D: "Diana" crooner (ANKA); 28D: Second or third, for instance (NEAR THE TOP); 29D: The orchestra tunes to one (OBOE); 30D: Bankrolls (WADS); 31D: Dmitri's denial (NYET); 32D: "The Book of __": Jane Hamilton novel (RUTH); 33D: Aral Sea locale (ASIA); 34D: Starting half? (DEMI); 36D: The old man's old man (GRAMPA); 39D: "Is there any group I haven't offended?" satirist (SAHL); 41D: Ranch addition? (-ERIA); 44D: French art song (MELODIE); 47D: Erupt (SPEW); 49D: Ballets __: early 20th-century dance company (RUSSES); 51D: Yank's home, briefly (U. S. OF A.); 52D: Playground retort (ARE SO); 53D: "Well ... not exactly" ("I LIED"); 54D: Magritte and Descartes (RENES); 55D: Queue before U (Q-R-S-T); 56D: Pulls along (TOWS); 57D: Writer Dinesen (ISAK); 58D: WWII craft (LST'S); 62D: Colorado sports nickname, with "the" (ROX); 63D: Singer DiFranco (ANI).


07.28 Thu

July 28, 2011
John Dunn

Theme: Right Down the Middle — Each theme answer begins with a word that can precede the words "in the middle" in a familiar phrase.

Theme answers:

  • 16A: Breakfast option (SOFT-BOILED EGGS).
  • 24A/51A: Presley hit with "glue" in the lyrics (STUCK / ON YOU).
  • 38A: "A Clockwork Orange" star (MALCOLM MCDOWELL).
  • 60A: End the chat room suspense, in a way (MEET FACE-TO-FACE).
  • 69A/1A: Spend time frivolously (MONKEY / AROUND).
  • 17D: Like this answer's position, and what can follow the starts of 16-, 24/51-, 38-, 60- and 69/1-Across (IN THE MIDDLE).
This is a great idea for a theme: Put IN THE MIDDLE right down the middle of the grid and build phrases around it that end with IN THE MIDDLE. Perfect. Not a thing wrong with it. And yet …. Holy Cow! This theme is all over the place! The cross-referenced theme answers were just too much for me. When I read the reveal clue (17D: Like this answer's position, and what can follow the starts of 16-, 24/51-, 38-, 60- and 69/1-Across) (!!!) I really just wanted to give up. Sure it all comes together in the end, but it's such a mess along the way! Too frustrating for me to enjoy it. If any of you are aspiring crossword constructors, I'm gonna give you a tip right now: Don't ever clue 1A as "See 69-Across." Just don't. You're welcome.

  • 19A: Slight winning margin (NOSE). I always think there's a chance this answer might be HAIR but it hardly ever is. I think because there are so many other great ways to clue HAIR. Of course there's the musical and then there's all kinds of wordplay you can do using words like part, locks, and even beehive. Every once in a while HAIR is clued as something like a "slight margin of victory," but not very often.
  • 33A: Uffizi display (ARTE). Let's see if I can get the country right on this art museum. I think last time I said the Prado was in Italy. Turns out it's actualy in Spain. Huh. Well, the Uffizi is actually in Italy. Florence to be exact. And ARTE is the Italian word for "art." (Just like in Spanish — so you can see how I might get confused!!)
  • 34A: "Big Love" actress Sevigny (CHLOE). See now, I thought "Big Love" was a reality show. There was a reality show about a polygamous family, right? .... Yep, "Sister Wives." No way I'll ever remember any of that.
  • 56A: Comedian Hartman (PHIL). I was desperately trying to remember his name the other day for some reason and couldn't do it. AARGH! (See what I did there?)
  • 67A: Boorish sorts (CHURLS). Try to use the word CHURL today if you can.
  • 6D: __ gratiam habeamus: Kentucky's Latin state motto (DEO). It means something about God and thanks and … bodies? No wait, it's the "corpus" in "habeas corpus" that means "body." You know what, I'm gonna look it up for you. "Let us be grateful to God." So now you know.
  • 10D: Got fed up? (ATE). Cute question-marky clue. See also 35D: Plot device? (HOE).
  • 40D: Lethargic (LOGY). I love this word. You know why? Because Doug put it in a grid we were working on one time and I had no idea what it meant but now I do. It will never thwart me again!
  • 46D: Not of the cloth (LAICAL). This is one of those words that I think has too many syllables. Like sometimes you'll hear someone stumbling around and say something like "comfortableness." Well, no. "Comfort" would do just fine there. In this case, isn't LAIC enough? Or am I missing something?
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 29A: Mediterranean smoker (ETNA).
  • 43A: Massey of "Rosalie" (ILONA).
  • 50D: "Avatar" extras (ET'S).
  • 62D: Coastal raptor (ERN).
Follow PuzzleGirl65 on Twitter

Everything1A: See 69-Across (AROUND); 7A: Catch-22 (PARADOX); 14A: Retro headgear (BEANIE); 15A: Quintessence (EPITOME); 16A: Breakfast option (SOFT-BOILED EGGS); 18A: Mountain Dew producer, informally (PEPSI); 19A: Slight winning margin (NOSE); 20A: Not divided (ONE); 21A: Easy melodies (LILTS); 24A: With 51-Across, Presley hit with "glue" in the lyrics (STUCK); 29A: Mediterranean smoker (ETNA); 31A: "__ Coy Mistress": Andrew Marvell poem (TO HIS); 33A: Uffizi display (ARTE); 34A: "Big Love" actress Sevigny (CHLOE); 36A: Asylum seeker (EMIGRÉ); 38A: "A Clockwork Orange" star (MALCOLM MCDOWELL); 42A: Gushed on stage (EMOTED); 43A: Massey of "Rosalie" (ILONA); 44A: Talk with one's hands (SIGN); 45A: Like days of yore (OLDEN); 47A: "Great shot!" ("NICE!"); 51A: See 24-Across (ON YOU); 53A: Professional pitcher? (ADMAN); 55A: Edit out (CUT); 56A: Comedian Hartman (PHIL); 58A: Excludes (OMITS); 60A: End the chat room suspense, in a way (MEET FACE-TO-FACE); 66A: Chaplin's tramp, e.g. (PERSONA); 67A: Boorish sorts (CHURLS); 68A: Non-specific (GENERAL); 69A: With 1-Across, spend time frivolously (MONKEY); 1D: Out of the picture (ABSENT); 2D: Start up after a fire, say (REOPEN); 3D: Dumbbells (OAFS); 4D: Before (UNTIL); 5D: Tip for a writer? (NIB); 6D: __ gratiam habeamus: Kentucky's Latin state motto (DEO); 7D: Boehner's predecessor (PELOSI); 8D: Plays Simon says with (APES); 9D: Harley outings (RIDES); 10D: Got fed up? (ATE); 11D: Follow (DOG); 12D: Texting exclamation (OMG); 13D: Cancels (out) (X'ES); 17D: Like this answer's position, and what can follow the starts of 16-, 24/51-, 38-, 60- and 69/1-Across (IN THE MIDDLE); 18D: Macabre master (POE); 22D: Tepid response to "How's this?" (IT'LL DO); 23D: Tower (over) (LOOM); 25D: Home of Nationals pitcher Chien-Ming Wang (TAIWAN); 26D: Try to convince (URGE); 27D: PC key (CTRL); 28D: Nautical spine (KEEL); 30D: Passbook ID (ACCT. NO.); 32D: Sonoran Desert resort city (SEDONA); 35D: Plot device? (HOE); 37D: Work wk. start (MON.); 38D: Prefix with -zoic (MESO); 39D: "The Last King of Scotland" tyrant (AMIN); 40D: Lethargic (LOGY); 41D: Skelton persona Kadiddlehopper (CLEM); 46D: Not of the cloth (LAICAL); 48D: Standoffish one (ICICLE); 49D: Like Care Bears (CUTESY); 50D: "Avatar" extras (ET'S); 52D: Ready and willing to do (UP FOR); 54D: Like a stick-in-the-mud (NO FUN); 57D: '80s tennis great Mandlikova (HANA); 59D: New Testament figure (MARK); 60D: Sticker stat (MPG); 61D: Shoe spec (EEE); 62D: Coastal raptor (ERN); 63D: Prufrock poet's monogram (TSE); 64D: Cable sta. for vintage films (TCM); 65D: "Gotcha!" ("OHO!").


07.27 Wed

July 27, 2011
Jonathan Black

Theme: Itchy Itchy — The word FLEA is hidden inside familiar phrases.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Woods has often been atop it (GOLF LEADERBOARD).
  • 26A: Hold one's nose, perhaps (STIFLE A SNEEZE).
  • 42A: They're fun to jump in (PILES OF LEAVES).
  • 55A: Pet owner's bane, and a hint to what's hidden in 17-, 26- and 42-Across (FLEA INFESTATION).
Short and sweet today because I'm still not feeling great. So weird — I felt fine on Monday and then all of a sudden yesterday, bam! I'm knocked out again. Going to do some power resting today to see if I can't kick this thing.

Weird theme today. I mean, FLEAs? Ew. And to me, the theme answers seem to be all over the place. STIFLE A SNEEZE is awesome, PILE OF LEAVES is supremely adequate, and GOLF LEADERBOARD is, well, not something people say. And I guess I feel the same about the fill. A couple sparkly entries (FLAMBÉ, SLURP, and for some reason DIDO tickled me today), the rest solid but nothing to write home about. The only entry I really have a problem with is AARGH. I can't stress this enough. Pirates don't say AARGH. Pirates say ARRR. Two totally different things. Totally. Different. Please, for the love of God, try not to make this mistake in your life. Pirates = ARRR. Frustrated people = AARGH. Don't say I never taught you anything.

  • 1A: People person (CELEB). In this clue, "People" refers to the magazine.
  • 20A: Mass. hours (EST). If you didn't see the period after "Mass" you were probably thinking along the lines of Sunday morning. But no. This clue is about Massachusetts.
  • 38A: Go up the creek without a paddle? (SWIM). Cute clue.
  • 4D: Will Ferrell holiday comedy (ELF). I couldn't decide which "Talladega Nights" clip to use, so I decided to go with this. Your reaction to this video will undoubtedly fall into one of two categories: (1) You love it; or (2) You think it's the dumbest thing you've ever seen and don't understand why some people think it's funny. Warning: There are some bad words in it.

  • 34D: Miami couple? (EMS). There are two (i.e., a couple) letter Ms (i.e., EMS) in the word Miami. If you want to read a little more about this type of clue/answer pair, click on the link down in the CW101 section.
  • 58D: Suds source (TAP). "Suds" in this clue is a slang word for "beer."
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 24A: Word on some euros (EIRE).
  • 39A: Doggy bag item (ORT).
  • 46A: Ben-Gurion airline (EL AL).
  • 47A: Toll-road toll unit (AXLE).
  • 8D: End of a common list (ZEE).
  • 10D: Orbital high point (APOGEE).
  • 24D: Biblical birthright seller (ESAU).
  • 34D: Miami couple? (EMS).
  • 51D: Long, long time (AEON).
Follow PuzzleGirl65 on Twitter

Everything1A: People person (CELEB); 6A: Throw for a loop (FAZE); 10A: Crew cut's opposite (AFRO); 14A: Good on one's feet (AGILE); 15A: In __ of: as a substitute for (LIEU); 16A: Ring out (PEAL); 17A: Woods has often been atop it (GOLF LEADERBOARD); 20A: Mass. hours (EST); 21A: Food with a Veterinary Formula (IAMS); 22A: Ungentle giants (OGRES); 23A: Cilantro, e.g. (HERB); 24A: Word on some euros (EIRE); 26A: Hold one's nose, perhaps (STIFLE A SNEEZE); 31A: Power strip inserts (PLUGS); 32A: It may be promised (LAND); 33A: Dedicated work (ODE); 35A: Justice appointed after Clarence (RUTH); 36A: Religiously devoted (PIOUS); 38A: Go up the creek without a paddle? (SWIM); 39A: Doggy bag item (ORT); 40A: She had a big hit with "Thank You" in 2001 (DIDO); 41A: Prepares, as a hook (BAITS); 42A: They're fun to jump in (PILES OF LEAVES); 46A: Ben-Gurion airline (EL AL); 47A: Toll-road toll unit (AXLE); 48A: Talk Like a Pirate Day cry (AARGH); 51A: Thrift store stipulation (AS IS); 52A: Counterterrorism org. (FBI); 55A: Pet owner's bane, and a hint to what's hidden in 17-, 26- and 42-Across (FLEA INFESTATION); 59A: Case the joint, say (ABET); 60A: Plant used for first aid (ALOE); 61A: Blair's predecessor (MAJOR); 62A: Tool used to create 42-Across (RAKE); 63A: "__ of Steel": '80s workout video (BUNS); 64A: Sudden increase (SPIKE); 1D: Hamster's home (CAGE); 2D: Prima donnas have big ones (EGOS); 3D: Happy tune (LILT); 4D: Will Ferrell holiday comedy (ELF); 5D: Personal theology elements (BELIEFS); 6D: Burn a dessert on purpose? (FLAMBÉ); 7D: Helps out (AIDS); 8D: End of a common list (ZEE); 9D: It's W of the Urals (EUR.); 10D: Orbital high point (APOGEE); 11D: More than just butterflies (FEAR); 12D: "Still mooing," at a steakhouse (RARE); 13D: Bygone automaker (OLDS); 18D: Banjoist Scruggs (EARL); 19D: Watching the clock, perhaps (BORED); 23D: Above the strike zone (HIGH); 24D: Biblical birthright seller (ESAU); 25D: Getaway spots (INNS); 26D: Suck down (SLURP); 27D: __-frutti (TUTTI); 28D: Hard to get close to (ALOOF); 29D: "Yikes!" ("ZOWIE!"); 30D: Puts in a good word? (EDITS); 31D: Debate side (PRO); 34D: Miami couple? (EMS); 36D: City on the Arno (PISA); 37D: 1-Across, usually (IDOL); 38D: Word processing command (SAVE); 40D: Indian metropolis (DELHI); 41D: Aromatic firs (BALSAMS); 43D: Emissary (LEGATE); 44D: Misses (LASSES); 45D: Escape hatch, e.g. (EXIT); 48D: Way, way off (AFAR); 49D: Jessica of "Fantastic Four" (ALBA); 50D: Stink to high heaven (REEK); 51D: Long, long time (AEON); 52D: Pacific archipelago (FIJI); 53D: Volume (BOOK); 54D: Memo header (IN RE); 56D: Catch red-handed (NAB); 57D: Fever cause (FLU); 58D: Suds source (TAP).


07.26 Tue

July 26, 2011
Jeff McDermott

Theme: PB&J, Hold the PB — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase that either begins or ends with a word for a fruity spread.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Filled to capacity (JAM-PACKED).
  • 27A: Certain wildlife refuge (STATE PRESERVE).
  • 47A: Hit from the "Moulin Rouge!" soundtrack (LADY MARMALADE).
  • 62A: Spineless one (JELLYFISH).

Random Thoughts:
  • 9A: Drink in a Dixie cup? (JULEP). The question mark hints that the clue doesn't refer to an actual "Dixie cup," as you would normally think of it. But rather a cup that's in the south. Where they apparently drink JULEPs. I used to know an old guy who was, I think, from Arkansas. He had a real low, gravelly voice and he used to say "I didn't get this accent from drinkin' outta Dixie cups." I was never really sure what that meant, but I laughed anyway.
  • 15A: ___ breve: 2/2 time (ALLA). This is a reference to a time signature in music. I was going to explain it to you but, as it turns out, I don't really understand it myself. I was going to say it means two beats to a measure with a half note equalling one beat. But I can't really get that to make sense in my head. It's been a while ….
  • 34A: Annoying kid at the pool (SPLASHER). I believe this is one of those entries Rex would call an "odd job," which basically just means it's a plain old word with ER tacked on the end. Yes, there is such a thing as a SPLASH and yes, it's something people do. But SPLASHER isn't really a word you hear very often. See also LADLER (8D: Soup kitchen volunteer).
  • 59A: Summer pitcherful (ICE TEA). Yes, yes, I know, I know ….
  • 66A: Collette of "United States of Tara" (TONI). I'd never heard of this show before. Sounds like a bizarre premise — Tara is a suburban housewife who suffers from dissociative identity disorder — but Ms. Collette won several Emmys, so I guess she figured out how to make it work.
  • 68A: White House maiden name (TODD). Struggled to remember Michelle Obama's maiden name, just to find it didn't fit anyway. (It's Robinson.)
  • 22D: Words before "of rules" (A SET). Weak sauce.
  • 55D: "See you," in poker (I'M IN). I can't decide if I like this or not. It's awfully cute. Not sure if it's too cute. When a poker player "sees" another person's hand, they're "in" and might even say "I'm in." In that situation, though, the player wouldn't actually say "see you," so I don't think this really works. There you go. My mind is made up.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 65A: Latin 101 infinitive (ESSE).
  • 7D: Guinness of "Star Wars" (ALEC).
  • 11D: Pre-euro Italian currency (LIRA).
  • 12D: Harrow rival (ETON).
  • 33D: Oklahoma city (ENID).
  • 57D: Hot times in the cité (ÉTÉS).
  • 58D: Anka's "Eso __" (BESO).
  • 60D: Young newts (EFTS).
Follow PuzzleGirl65 on Twitter

Everything 1A: Aaron of Cooperstown (HANK); 5A: Fast ender (MEAL); 9A: Drink in a Dixie cup? (JULEP); 14A: Lotion additive (ALOE); 15A: ___ breve: 2/2 time (ALLA); 16A: Get under one umbrella, so to speak (UNITE); 17A: Filled to capacity (JAM-PACKED); 19A: Panel member (JUROR); 20A: Soaking and relaxed (IN A TUB); 21A: One seeking repayment (CLAIMANT); 23A: Form W-4 fig. (SSN); 24A: NFL mike wearer (REF); 26A: Ballpark fig. (EST.); 27A: Certain wildlife refuge (STATE PRESERVE); 34A: Annoying kid at the pool (SPLASHER); 36A: Catch, as a podcast (TUNE IN); 37A: Panache (ELAN); 38A: What a fluid oz. measures (LIQ.); 40A: Half of MCDII (DCCI); 41A: Geometry measure (LENGTH); 44A: Was in pain (SUFFERED); 47A: Hit from the "Moulin Rouge!" soundtrack (LADY MARMALADE); 49A: Ending with Cray (-OLA); 50A: CBS's Rather (DAN); 51A: Shakespearean exclamations (AYS); 54A: Ticking danger (TIME BOMB); 59A: Summer pitcherful (ICE TEA); 61A: Stradivari's tutor (AMATI); 62A: Spineless one (JELLYFISH); 64A: Star in the same constellation as Betelgeuse (RIGEL); 65A: Latin 101 infinitive (ESSE); 66A: Collette of "United States of Tara" (TONI); 67A: Ouzo flavoring (ANISE); 68A: White House maiden name (TODD); 69A: Name-dropper, often (SNOB); 1D: Pilgrims to Mecca (HAJIS); 2D: Greenspan and Turing (ALANS); 3D: Area of uncertainty (NO-MANS LAND); 4D: Held on to (KEPT); 5D: Shakespeare's shortest tragedy (MACBETH); 6D: Yellowstone grazer (ELK); 7D: Guinness of "Star Wars" (ALEC); 8D: Soup kitchen volunteer (LADLER); 9D: Martial art emphasizing throws (JUJITSU); 10D: Word on a dime (UNUM); 11D: Pre-euro Italian currency (LIRA); 12D: Harrow rival (ETON); 13D: Cheeky (PERT); 18D: New Age-y emanations (AURAS); 22D: Words before "of rules" (A SET); 25D: Have a hunch (FEEL); 28D: Like some barbecue sauce (TANGY); 29D: Periscope part (PRISM); 30D: Wrapped up (ENDED); 31D: Hiking or biking (RECREATION); 32D: Nasty habit (VICE); 33D: Oklahoma city (ENID); 34D: Broker's order (SELL); 35D: Entreaty (PLEA); 39D: Four-sided campus space (QUAD); 42D: BlackBerry network choice (T-MOBILE); 43D: Saintly ring (HALO); 45D: Made things harder for the lifeguard (FLAILED); 46D: Ornate (FANCY); 48D: Engine for missiles (RAMJET); 52D: Like some easy questions (YES/NO); 53D: Indian honorific (SAHIB); 54D: O'Hara plantation (TARA); 55D: "See you," in poker (I'M IN); 56D: Star-struck trio? (MAGI); 57D: Hot times in the cité (ÉTÉS); 58D: Anka's "Eso __" (BESO); 60D: Young newts (EFTS); 63D: Source of some '60s trips (LSD).


07.25 Mon

July 25, 2011
Marti DuGuay-Carpenter

Theme: I'm Melting! — The first word of each theme answer describes size; from top to bottom, the sizes move from biggest to smallest.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Winter Olympics event with gates (GIANT SLALOM RACE).
  • 23A: One stalking lions or tigers (BIG-GAME HUNTER).
  • 38A: T-bone with a warm, red center (MEDIUM-RARE STEAK).
  • 48A: Lass awed by the big city, maybe (SMALL-TOWN GIRL).
  • 58A: He "runs through the town ... in his nightgown" (WEE WILLIE WINKIE).
Looks like we're starting off the week with a theme-heavy Monday offering! Three 15-letter theme entries seems like quite a lot, especially for an early-week puzzle. But the theme phrases are mostly solid; the only one I might have rethought a little is MEDIUM-RARE STEAK. That just doesn't seem like an in-the-language phrase all on its own to me. And the funny thing is, the theme would have worked fine without it — I don't think the MEDIUM really adds anything to the progression. But the rest of the theme answers are good. My favorite is SMALL-TOWN GIRL, which is something I have definitely been accused of being and to which I reply, "Are you kidding me? Fargo's the biggest town in the state!" So there.

There's usually not a lot to talk about on Mondays, but I see a couple things it might be worth going over. First, I want you to look at the abbreviations in the grid:
  • 20A: Invoice fig. (AMT.).
  • 28A: It.'s continent (EUR.).
  • 56A: IM offerer (AOL).
  • 30D: Sch. in Big D (SMU).
If you're new to puzzles and trying to improve your skills, these entries illustrate a basic concept you need to be familiar with. Clues with abbreviations in them generally are giving you a hint that the answer will be an abbreviation as well. Notice "fig.," "It.'s," and "IM" in the clues above. And in the last one, you even get two hints: "Sch.," and "Big D." There's one other abbreviated entry, but its clue isn't another abbreviation: ID'S is clued as "61D: Credit card users may be asked for them, briefly." In this case, it isn't that the credit card users are only being asked "briefly" for their ID'S, but that the entry is a "brief" way of stating the answer. In a late-week puzzle, you might not even get that hint for the answer ID'S — some abbreviations are so commonly used that it's almost like they're not abbreviations any more. I think ID'S falls into that category.

The other thing we'll look at today are the question-mark clues:
  • 13D: Flames that have cooled? (EXES).
  • 47D: Chilly powder? (SNOW).
  • 50D: Newspaper bye lines? (OBITS).
  • 59D: India Inc.? (LTD.).
These are relatively easy as question-mark clues go. In three of the four clues, the wordplay pretty much jumps out at you because of spelling changes: chilly-chili, bye-by, inc.-ink. Then there's the odd man out, "Flames that have cooled?" That's a play on the "beau" meaning of the word "flame." Later in the week, you'll see more wordplay like this, that isn't quite so obvious.

The last thing you'll want to do to build up your crossword skills, is check out today's Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 15A: Woody Guthrie's son (ARLO).
  • 1D: Nintendo competitor (SEGA).
  • 53D: Orléans's river (LOIRE).
  • 62D: Society page word (NÉE).
These are words that come up again and again (and again and again ...) in crossword puzzles and if you just know them, they can really help you get a foothold in a tough puzzle. Click on the word above and you'll be magically transported to a post where you can learn more about this bit of crosswordese that — with any luck — will help you recognize it in the future.

Follow PuzzleGirl65 on Twitter

Everything 1A: Burn badly (SCALD); 6A: The lightning bolt on Harry Potter's forehead, e.g. (SCAR); 10A: Squirrel away (SAVE); 14A: "__ World": ticklish Muppet's "Sesame Street" segment (ELMO'S); 15A: Woody Guthrie's son (ARLO); 16A: Candy that comes in twos (TWIX); 17A: Winter Olympics event with gates (GIANT SLALOM RACE); 20A: Invoice fig. (AMT.); 21A: Place for inks or oinks (PEN); 22A: Subtle vibes (AURAS); 23A: One stalking lions or tigers (BIG-GAME HUNTER); 28A: It.'s continent (EUR.); 29A: Raw rocks (ORES); 30A: "Octopus's Garden" singer Ringo (STARR); 33A: Talk show guest's blatant promotion (PLUG); 35A: Swelled head (EGO); 38A: T-bone with a warm, red center (MEDIUM-RARE STEAK); 42A: Colorful card game (UNO); 43A: Lends a hand to (AIDS); 44A: Lecture rooms (HALLS); 45A: Abel's assassin (CAIN); 47A: Jazzy horn (SAX); 48A: Lass awed by the big city, maybe (SMALL-TOWN GIRL); 54A: Bright (SMART); 55A: Sis's sib (BRO); 56A: IM offerer (AOL); 58A: He "runs through the town ... in his nightgown" (WEE WILLIE WINKIE); 63A: Thomas __ Edison (ALVA); 64A: Tater __: Ore-Ida product (TOTS); 65A: Big tractor name (DEERE); 66A: Movie house suffix (-PLEX); 67A: Allergy trigger, often (DUST); 68A: Passover dinner (SEDER); 1D: Nintendo competitor (SEGA); 2D: Start up the mountain (CLIMB); 3D: Italian violin maker (AMATI); 4D: Chaney of horror (LON); 5D: "Spring ahead" hrs. (DST); 6D: Witch trials town (SALEM); 7D: Whooping bird (CRANE); 8D: Entirely (ALL); 9D: Kanga's kid (ROO); 10D: Vain walks (STRUTS); 11D: In the loop (AWARE); 12D: Anglican parish priest (VICAR); 13D: Flames that have cooled? (EXES); 18D: Box for practice (SPAR); 19D: Horse's hair (MANE); 24D: Spice Girl Halliwell (GERI); 25D: Ashram authority (GURU); 26D: Store posting (HOURS); 27D: Craving (URGE); 30D: Sch. in Big D (SMU); 31D: Commandment count (TEN); 32D: Hubbub (ADO); 33D: Painting reproduction (PRINT); 34D: Schoolboy (LAD); 35D: Slippery fish (EEL); 36D: "For Me and My __" (GAL); 37D: Gives the nod (OKS); 39D: Postal sackful (MAIL); 40D: Layered haircut (SHAG); 41D: Crosstown bus alternative (TAXI); 45D: Auto finish protection (CAR WAX); 46D: Height: Pref. (ALTI-); 47D: Chilly powder? (SNOW); 48D: What the nose knows (SMELL); 49D: "Circle of Friends" writer Binchy (MAEVE); 50D: Newspaper bye lines? (OBITS); 51D: Seize (from) (WREST); 52D: Gathered, as fallen leaves (RAKED); 53D: Orléans's river (LOIRE); 54D: Exchange (SWAP); 57D: Ogle (LEER); 59D: India Inc.? (LTD.); 60D: Gehrig who played with Ruth (LOU); 61D: Credit card users may be asked for them, briefly (ID'S); 62D: Society page word (NÉE).


07.24 Sun

July 24, 2011
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: "Inserting a Little Humor" — The letter string PUN is inserted into common words and well-known phrases and names.

Theme answers:

  • 23A: Jack-o-lanterns, in a manner o' speakin'? (PUNKIN FOLKS).
  • 29A: Departed from part of Pakistan? (LEFT PUNJAB).
  • 37A: Tabloid headline about a singer being fined? (CHER PUNISHED).
  • 53A: Rudely removed Lurch from the "Addams Family" set? (PUNTED CASSIDY).
  • 56A: Where to buy green hair dye and body chains? (PUNKMART).
  • 69A: What the 97-pound weakling blamed his physique on? (PUNY CHROMOSOMES).
  • 83A: Online columnists? (E-PUNDITS).
  • 85A: TV series about an irrepressible lawman? (SPUNKY MARSHAL).
  • 99A: "Always serve ___" (dog soiree advice?) (CAT PUNCH COLD).
  • 108A: Cause of a Peugeot's flat tire? (LE PUNCTURE).
  • 118A: James Bond after a week without a shower? (A PUNGENT OO7).
Follow PuzzleGirl65 on Twitter

Everything Else 1A: Abbr. on a platter (ASCAP); 6A: Old hat (DATED); 11A: Tooth's partner (NAIL); 15A: Simple puppet (SOCK); 19A: Hyphen's cousin (SLASH); 20A: Watson of "Angela's Ashes" (EMILY); 21A: "Free Willy" subject (ORCA); 22A: Leonid's successor (YURI); 25A: Daisy supporter (STEM); 26A: Sack dress creator (DIOR); 27A: Certain 113 Across (SGT.); 28A: Like some editions (LATE); 31A: Archers take it (AIM); 32A: More bananas (BATTIER); 36A: Substantial (MEATY); 41A: In check (AT BAY); 44A: Wander (ROVE); 45A: Without ___ (insouciant) (A CARE); 46A: Plaintiffs (SUERS); 47A: Hair-raising stuff? (GEL); 50A: Chemist's ending (-ENE); 51A: Her, in Hamburg (IHR); 59A: Corned beef dish (HASH); 60A: Away from the wind (ALEE); 61A: Inns and stores: abbr. (ESTABS.); 62A: Inns (LODGES); 66A: Maximas and Stanzas (NISSANS); 72A: Brimming (REPLETE); 75A: Slot machine symbols (SEVENS); 76A: How much there is to go when the white flag comes out (ONE LAP); 80A: Cuba, por ejemplo (ISLA); 81A: Self-satisfied (SMUG); 91A: ___ glance (AT A); 92A: Everyday article (THE); 93A: Like Lamb or Bacon: abbr. (ENG.); 94A: Buy alternative (LEASE); 95A: Sanitation worry (ECOLI); 97A: Name from Chinese history (CHOU); 98A: Howard and James (DEANS); 102A: Asteroids creator (ATARI); 105A: I problem? (EGOTISM); 107A: Olive shaped like a stringbean (OYL); 111A: Actress Skye (daughter of 1960s singer Donovan) (IONE); 113A: Mil. category (NCO); 116A: Ideal for cacti (ARID); 117A: Santa ___, Calif. (ROSA); 122A: Rock climber's grip (CRAG); 123A: Inventory listing (ITEM); 124A: Virtuous (MORAL); 125A: Sound (AUDIO); 126A: Carol of "Taxi" (KANE); 127A: Hiring-firing type (BOSS); 128A: On edge (TENSE); 129A: Pool member (STENO); 1D: Lethal hissers (ASPS); 2D: Belt (SLUG); 3D: "Got other plans, sorry" ("CAN'T"); 4D: Pipe up, perhaps (ASK); 5D: Charles's dad (PHILIP); 6D: Adroit (DEFT); 7D: Of simple organisms (AMOEBIC); 8D: "___ next time ..." (TIL); 9D: Wapiti (ELK); 10D: Functional opening? (DYS-); 11D: Long time follower? (NO SEE); 12D: Forgeries of a sort (ART FRAUDS); 13D: Rapper-turned-actor (ICE-T); 14D: Nightingale's symbol (LAMP); 15D: Opera house city (SYDNEY); 16D: Message board? (OUIJA); 17D: Zagreb native (CROAT); 18D: Bruno of "City Slickers" (KIRBY); 24D: Cinema whale (NAMU); 29D: Eye shade? (LID); 30D: Amherst sch. (U. MASS.); 31D: Word with "so!" or "not!" (ARE); 33D: Pronto, briefly (ASAP); 34D: "No ___ traffic" (THRU); 35D: New driver, often (TEEN); 37D: Fancy flapjack (CRÈPE); 38D: Baseball's Wagner (HONUS); 39D: Happening (EVENT); 40D: Voice-over: abbr. (NARR.); 42D: Electronic dance music (TECHNO); 43D: Lingerie buy (BRA); 46D: Add zing to (SEASON); 47D: River of monsters? (GILA); 48D: "Paradise Lost" setting (EDEN); 49D: Caustic solutions (LYES); 51D: Permeate (IMBUE); 52D: "It ___ been easy" (HASN'T); 54D: A Sunday crossword usually has one (THEME); 55D: Mouthed off to (SASSED); 57D: Kotter portrayer (KAPLAN); 58D: Mom's forte (TLC); 63D: Skeptic's comment (OH SURE); 64D: Wine residue (DREGS); 65D: State VIP (GOV.); 67D: "Too rich for my blood" ("I'M OUT"); 68D: Medicinal shrub (SENNA); 70D: Toady (YES-MAN); 71D: Compass pt. (SSE); 72D: Elevation (RISE); 73D: It has action highlights (ESPN); 74D: Leak fix (PLUG); 77D: Often numbered print (LITHO); 78D: Dramatist Fugard (ATHOL); 79D: Assumed name: abbr. (PSEUD.); 82D: The good-hands people? (MASSEUSES); 84D: ___ in the neck (PAIN); 86D: Anne or Robert (KLEIN); 87D: Verily (YEA); 88D: Canned-soup instruction (HEAT); 89D: Play opening (ACT I); 90D: Chops (LOPS); 96D: Some Chevys (LUMINAS); 97D: 1/4 of M (CCL); 98D: The Internet's Matt (DRUDGE); 99D: Iowa college (COE); 100D: Scoop holder (CONE); 101D: "The Lion King" villains (HYENAS); 102D: Partner of alas (ALACK); 103D: Earth word (TERRA); 104D: Of bees (APIAN); 106D: Fat units (GRAMS); 109D: Tot spot (CRIB); 110D: Baum bow-wow (TOTO); 112D: Eye (OGLE); 113D: Lymph ___ (NODE); 114D: Quarter, e.g. (COIN); 115D: 5 hrs. before noon, in the service (O7OO); 118D: Total: abbr. (AMT.); 119D: The Baltimore Ravens are named in his honor (POE); 120D: Caterer's vessel (URN); 121D: Carter's discovery (TUT).

07.24 Sun

July 24, 2011
Caleb Rasmussen

[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: "An Author Thing Coming" — Punny phrases featuring authors' names.

Theme Entries:
  • 26A: People who recite "Jabberwocky" door-to-door during the holidays? (CHRISTMAS CARROLLERS).
  • 49A: Fictional tornado protection? (BAUM SHELTER).
  • 56A: Periods when Harry Potter books are unavailable? (ROWLING BLACKOUTS).
  • 67A: "A Room of One's Own" writer wearing a wool sweater? (WOOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING).
  • 84A: Medical procedure done while reading "The Outcasts of Poker Flat"? (OPEN HARTE SURGERY).
  • 95A: "Salomé" writer's pet? (WILDE ANIMAL).
  • 113A: Not as hard to pronounce at some 17th-century poetry? (EASIER SAID THAN DONNE).
Hey, crossword fans. Doug here on Sunday. Today's theme is literary puns. As with all pun themes, there are a couple great ones & a couple groaners. I like OPEN HARTE SURGERY and ROWLING BLACKOUTS best. OPEN HARTE SURGERY looks nonsensical in the grid, but the clue is perfect. And ROWLING BLACKOUTS is funny and topical. Much of the U.S. is suffering through a massive heat wave and that means rolling blackouts, at least in California. And then there's the new Harry Potter movie. I'm way behind on that series. I read part of the first book and saw the first movie. I've got a little catching up to do.

The weirdest theme entry is CHRISTMAS CARROLLERS. That's the only one in which the author's name is altered, and it doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense. But puns are generally fun, so I enjoyed the solve.

  • 22A: Eavesdropper, say (HEARER). Hearer? That's a word I've never actually heard. Or maybe I should say a word I've never been a hearer of.
  • 49A: Fictional tornado protection? (BAUM SHELTER). L. Frank Baum wrote "The Wizard of Oz" and lots of other "Oz" books. Does the punny clue make sense?
  • 90A: Them, with "the" (ENEMY). I was hoping this clue had something to do with giant ants. I saw a trailer for the new "Planet of the Apes" movie yesterday. Ugh! I'd rather live on a planet ruled by giant ants than intelligent monkeys.
  • 93A: Highlights segment (RECAP). For a moment, I thought this was referring to Highlights magazine. The only place I ever saw it was at the doctor's or dentist's office. Remember "Goofus and Gallant"? Wikipedia tells me that "Goofus and Gallant" first appeared in 1948 and they're still going strong. So Goofus has been acting like a little jerk for over 60 years. I'm surprised his parents haven't shipped him off to military school.
  • 107A: Better part of a loaf? (HALF). Half a loaf is better than none. Cute.
  • 12D: Excellent server (ACER). I know people are going to complain about this one. Don't bother. Like the dreaded ICE TEA, it's not going anywhere.
  • 36D: San Francisco mayor, 1968-'76 (ALIOTO). Joseph Alioto. I remember this entry was in a puzzle at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament the first year I attended. Toughie.
  • 68D: Rescuer of Odysseus (INO). I don't know how to pronounce her name, so I'm going to assume it has a long I and a long O. She's part of my new mythology-based comedy routine: "Who was the sea goddess who saved Odysseus?" "Ino." "If you know, then tell me! Who was it?" "Ino." Yeah, that's pretty much it. Needs work.
  • 83D: Bill of Right part: Abbr. (AMDT). That entry is ugly as sin, but it's a valid dictionary abbreviation. Still, it hurts a little.
  • 97D: Florida State player, familiarly (NOLE). Short for Seminole.
  • 116D: Wall St. traders (ARBS). Arb is short for arbitrageur, a type of market speculator.
If you saw yesterday's post, than you know that PuzzleGirl is under the weather. I hope she's well enough to do tomorrow's blog (so I don't have to.) Feel better soon!

Everything Else1A: Guadalajara gal pal (AMIGA); 6A: Determined by the stars, as time (SIDEREAL); 14A: Music box? (CD CASE); 20A: Indiana's senior senator (LUGAR); 21A: Pre-fight steps? (WAR DANCE); 23A: Reason for a market recall (ECOLI); 24A: Totaled, with "to" (AMOUNTED); 25A: Home of big-eared elephants (AFRICA); 29A: Name of 13 popes (LEO); 30A: Match part (SET); 31A: Disney lioness (NALA); 32A: Gp. jet-setters stand in line to see? (TSA); 35A: Miles per hour, e.g. (RATE); 38A: Stick in (ADD); 41A: Applies lightly (DABS); 44A: Betrays (RATS OUT); 46A: For K-12 use (EL-HI); 47A: Lows in a field (MOOS); 51A: One of a Vegas pair (DIE); 52A: Feverish fits (AGUES); 54A: Apt. units (RMS.); 55A: Stuffed grape-leaf dish (DOLMA); 62A: More than tear up (WEEP); 63A: Allen or Frome (ETHAN); 64A: Prepare for takeoff (TAXI); 65A: Helpful connections (INS); 77A: Lennon lover (ONO); 78A: Phillies catcher Carlos (RUIZ); 79A: Ear-related (AURAL); 80A: Russian car (LADA); 92A: Appomattox loser (LEE); 94A: Small belt (NIP); 99A: Closed (SHUT); 100A: Vital part (PITH); 101A: "Can we proceed?" ("IS IT A GO?"); 102A: Smell (ODOR); 104A: "No seats" sign (SRO); 105A: Victrolas, e.g. (RCA'S); 106A: D.C. VIP (SEN.); 109A: Guitar great Paul (LES); 111A: Super Mario Galaxy 2 console (WII); 122A: Dashingly? (AT A RUN); 124A: Broadly and happily (EAR TO EAR); 125A: Out on a limb (TREED); 126A: Steppes settlers (TATARS); 127A: Most suave (URBANEST); 128A: Square things (ATONE); 129A: Lace place (EYELET); 130A: Expresses opposition (DISSENTS); 131A: Lost cause (GONER); 1D: Smart fellow? (ALEC); 2D: Little's opposite (MUCH); 3D: Stereotypical lab assistant (IGOR); 4D: Name on Pisa's airport (GALILEI); 5D: Get up (ARISE); 6D: Stroked (SWAM); 7D: "__ Rock": 1966 hit (I AM A); 8D: Inferior material (DROSS); 9D: Brought out (EDUCED); 10D: Accumulated charges (RAN A TAB); 11D: __'acte (ENTR); 13D: Tricked (LED ON); 14D: Braided bread (CHALLAH); 15D: Vanquished (DEFEATED); 16D: Mystery writer John Dickson __ (CARR); 17D: Teacher of Alexander the Great (ARISTOTLE); 18D: You may be asked to hold on for one (SEC); 19D: Period (ERA); 27D: Without exception (TO A MAN); 28D: Metallica drummer Ulrich (LARS); 33D: Defiant challenge (SUE ME); 34D: "It's __!": warning shout (A TRAP); 35D: Sketched over (REDREW); 37D: "My Generation" band (THE WHO); 39D: Rapper Snoop __ (DOGG); 40D: Misgivings (DOUBTS); 42D: Dogwood cover, aptly (BARK); 43D: Contest in a dohyo (SUMO); 45D: Decelerate (SLOW); 48D: Repeated word in Psalms (SELAH); 50D: East Lansing sch. (MSU); 53D: __-Coburg: former Bavarian duchy (SAXE); 57D: Kobe's team, on scoreboards (LAL); 58D: Dope (INFO); 59D: 1980s-'90s Olds (CIERA); 60D: Up to, in ads (TIL); 61D: __-cone (SNO); 66D: Night sight (STAR); 69D: Queue before Q (N-O-P); 70D: Siamese sign of contentment (PURR); 71D: Places (SITES); 72D: Pole neighbors (CZECHS); 73D: Affectionate gesture (HUG); 74D: Peaceful (IRENIC); 75D: Japan Airlines hub (NARITA); 76D: Pictographs (GLYPHS); 80D: "Mere Christianity" author (LEWIS); 81D: Licorice-flavored seed (ANISE); 82D: Describe pictorially (DELINEATE); 85D: Samuel's teacher (ELI); 86D: Nautilus captain (NEMO); 87D: Move (toward) (HEAD); 88D: Dino's tail? (-SAUR); 89D: Like Harlem in Manhattan, say (UPTOWN); 91D: Sarcastic reply (YEAH SURE); 96D: Touching (AGAINST); 98D: Flirtatious adolescents (LOLITAS); 100D: Before (PRIOR TO); 103D: Fixed up (REDONE); 108D: Slip eponym (FREUD); 110D: Dutch painter Jan (STEEN); 112D: Collar accessory for Fido (I.D. TAG); 114D: Asian sea (ARAL); 115D: Indian wrap (SARI); 117D: "And __ thou slain the Jabberwock?" (HAST); 118D: Skills (ARTS); 119D: Sign gas (NEON); 120D: Hawaii's state bird (NENE); 121D: Linda of Broadway's "Jekyll & Hyde" (EDER); 122D: Consumed (ATE); 123D: Scotland's longest river (TAY).