09.30 Fri

September 30, 2011
David Poole

Theme: Left to Right — Familiar phrases change an L to an R.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Halloween tricksters' route? (FRIGHT PATH).
  • 23A: Best place to watch "Animal House"? (FRAT SCREEN TV).
  • 45A: Feathers? (FROCK OF BIRDS).
  • 56A: Work the late shift at the diner? (FRY BY NIGHT).
  • 35A: How most reading is done, and this puzzle's title (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT).
Excuse me, but how the hell did it get to be September 30 already? Man! Time really does fly. Even when you're not having fun.

Closing out the month with a tough one. I had trouble here and there throughout the grid, but it ultimately felt more like a romp than a struggle. The theme is pretty cool. I wondered if the initial F on each theme answer was significant somehow, but didn't come up with a good answer. FRY BY NIGHT is clearly the marquee entry. Can't you just picture it?

I had the most trouble in Northern California where I plopped in AC/DC where AM/FM was supposed to go (25D: Like some switches). Many other factors contributed to the confusion there. First, I've never heard of this Kate person (29A: Kate of "Ironclad" (MARA)). Never heard of the movie either. Second, the clue for ACTRESS (25A: Close, for instance) was so deliciously deceptive that I had No Idea what was going on there. Even with the A in place, I was at a loss. I also thought MADEIRAS (39A: Sherry alternatives) might be CASSIRES (sp?) … something like that? … anyone? It was a big mess is what I'm saying.

Only one other place that really made me tear my hair out and that was at the cross of MACERATE and MTS. (30A: Soften by soaking /
30D: Summer escapes: Abbr.). I must have run the alphabet three times. I guess using an L in that square would have been too obvious.

  • 14A: "The Wolf and the Crane" author (AESOP). With the SO in place, I thought the name would be something-SON, but then it just clicked somehow that the title sounded like a fable.
  • 20A: Roy Halladay stat (ERA). Halladay is a pitcher for … the Phillies? … Yes, the Phillies.
  • 40A: Albany's father-in-law (LEAR). This is another one that just clicked in from nowhere. As you continue to solve puzzles, that will start happening more and more.
  • 58A: "__ no kick from Champagne": song lyric (I GET). Sure, we could listen to Frank Sinatra right here, but this lyric reminded me of a Keb' Mo' song, so let's listen to that instead. It'll be funkier, I promise.

  • 4D: Dress finely, with "out" (TOG). This word comes up occasionally in puzzles and I'm just about to the point where I can just accept it without wincing first.
  • 26D: Word spoken with amore (CARA).
  • 27D: Put one's foot down (TROD). In this clue, the word "put" is in the past tense. You always have to be looking out for that.
  • 49D: Two-time loser to McKinley (BRYAN). Could have been just about anybody here as far as I knew.
Crosswordese 101: There are a couple of ERNOs worth knowing for crossword purposes. There's a pianist/composer named Dohnanyi, a cosmetics maker named Laszlo and an architect named Goldfinger. By far the most popular ERNO in CrossWorld, though, is [37D: Cube creator Rubik]. And the clue for this particular ERNO is likely to include the words "Rubik" and "cube," so he should be pretty easy to spot.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 6A: 1940s-'50s Israeli UN ambassador (EBAN).
  • 21A: Sister of Calliope (ERATO).
  • 51A: Noted Beethoven interpreter (ARRAU).
  • 32D: "The African Queen" co-screenwriter (AGEE).
  • 34D: Raison d'__ (ÊTRE).
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Everything 1A: Shoots the breeze (CHATS); 6A: 1940s-'50s Israeli UN ambassador (EBAN); 10A: Game __ (PLAN); 14A: "The Wolf and the Crane" author (AESOP); 15A: Cross off (X OUT); 16A: Piece of one's mind? (LOBE); 17A: Halloween tricksters' route? (FRIGHT PATH); 19A: Awestruck (AGOG); 20A: Roy Halladay stat (ERA); 21A: Sister of Calliope (ERATO); 22A: It may be icy (STARE); 23A: Best place to watch "Animal House"? (FRAT SCREEN TV); 25A: Close, for instance (ACTRESS); 28A: Unburden (RID); 29A: Kate of "Ironclad" (MARA); 30A: Soften by soaking (MACERATE); 35A: How most reading is done, and this puzzle's title (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT); 39A: Sherry alternatives (MADEIRAS); 40A: Albany's father-in-law (LEAR); 41A: "Piers Morgan Tonight" channel (CNN); 42A: Eisenhower library site (ABILENE); 45A: Feathers? (FROCK OF BIRDS); 50A: Nigerian seaport (LAGOS); 51A: Noted Beethoven interpreter (ARRAU); 52A: CIA's ancestor (OSS); 55A: Cancel (UNDO); 56A: Work the late shift at the diner? (FRY BY NIGHT); 58A: "__ no kick from Champagne": song lyric (I GET); 59A: Steady (BEAU); 60A: Response to a skeptic (NO LIE); 61A: Gets into (DONS); 62A: Employee IDs (SSN'S); 63A: Third shift hr. (ONE A.M.); 1D: Champs …lysées feature (CAFE); 2D: Bach title? (HERR); 3D: Land east of the Urals (ASIA); 4D: Dress finely, with "out" (TOG); 5D: Field of influence (SPHERE); 6D: Americans in Paris, maybe (EXPATS); 7D: Tug and junk (BOATS); 8D: Overlord (AUTOCRAT); 9D: Ultimate (NTH); 10D: Home at the park? (PLATE); 11D: Airport whose code is BOS (LOGAN); 12D: Decide not to finish (ABORT); 13D: Desert bordering the Sinai Peninsula (NEGEV); 18D: Choral syllables (TRAS); 22D: Feast in the month of Nisan (SEDER); 23D: Position in a viewfinder (FRAME); 24D: Moneyed, in Monterrey (RICO); 25D: Like some switches (AM/FM); 26D: Word spoken with amore (CARA); 27D: Put one's foot down (TROD); 30D: Summer escapes: Abbr. (MTS.); 31D: Little streams (RILLS); 32D: "The African Queen" co-screenwriter (AGEE); 33D: Instead of (THAN); 34D: Raison d'__ (ÊTRE); 36D: Trounces (LICKS); 37D: Cube creator Rubik (ERNO); 38D: Royal introductions (FANFARES); 42D: France-based jet maker (AIRBUS); 43D: Sound from Eeyore (BRAY); 44D: "Beats me!" ("I DUNNO!"); 45D: Not fixed (FLUID); 46D: Title chameleon voiced by Johnny Depp in a 2011 animated film (RANGO); 47D: Osmonds' hometown (OGDEN); 48D: Codgers (COOTS); 49D: Two-time loser to McKinley (BRYAN); 52D: Look like a creep? (OGLE); 53D: Branch of Islam (SHIA); 54D: Check (STEM); 56D: NFL ball carriers (FB'S); 57D: Fluoride, for one (ION).


09.29 Thu

September 29, 2011
Don Gagliardo & C. C. Burnikel

Theme: Made in China — Theme answers (and there are a lot of them!!) are all items that were invented in China.

Theme answers:

  • 1A: *Rock conqueror? (PAPER).
  • 10A: *Soy milk brand (SILK).
  • 17A: *Dental checkup freebie (TOOTHBRUSH).
  • 28A: *Wile E. Coyote buy (GUN POWDER).
  • 35A: *Gets creative (NOODLES).
  • 39A: *Extent (COMPASS).
  • 45A: *Flashy display (FIREWORKS).
  • 59A: *Beginner's piano piece (CHOPSTICKS).
  • 64A: *Forged check (KITE).
  • 66A: It celebrates National Day on October 1 (and it's where the answers to starred clues were invented) (CHINA).
This is one of those puzzles that's not going to be a hit with speed solvers. It has asterisks in some of the clues which makes you think maybe there's something tricky going on, but the chances are slim to none that the unifying concept will become clear before you reach the reveal answer. Now, I am generally a speed solver (at least I attempt to be; I may not be the speediest of speed solvers!), so I was sort of grudgingly making my way through this grid without really getting a foothold anywhere and actually starting to feel mildly annoyed. The only theme answers I had come up with after my first run through were SILK and KITE and I definitely couldn't see what those two had to do with each other. But then I got to CHINA. The clouds parted and the choir sang and I was back at it with a new determination. There's a rumor that I even had a small smile on my face, but I don't know if that's true.

I had two major trouble spots. The first was down in the Oklahoma/Texas area. I tried STEP OUT and SLIP OUT before the correct SKIP OUT (43D: Abandon, with "on"). And I had SNIPPY before SNAPPY (47D: Irritable). So there was a lot of erasing going on down there. Then there was the northwest. Even with TOOTHBRUSH and SNL in place, I struggled. I had DST for EDT (4D: Atlanta summer hrs.), which is really a rookie mistake and it messed me up good. Also, I've never heard of ARON Ralston (though I'm thankful for another way to clue ARON) (2D: Mountain climber Ralston, subject of "127 Hours"). And I couldn't get Barney the Freaking Dinosaur out of my head long enough to figure what the heck he had in common with Bo. (I knew Bo was the Obamas PET. I'm still not sure who Barney's owners were. … Oh, he was the Bushes' dog. That wasn't that long ago. You'd think I might have remembered it. But no.)

Other than that, I just had spelling errors at CODY and ASTIN (COTY and ASTON) (65A: Maker of Kate Moss fragrances / 63A: John who played Gomez Addams) and bad guesses at PESO (I tried EURO) (33A: Its symbol is "$") and USNA (I thought he might have been a marine; really who can remember back that far?) (57D: Oliver North's alma mater: Abbr.).

The only other things I want to mention are that I love how all the theme answers are not clued as the literal China-invented items that they represent in the theme. (Except for TOOTHBRUSH, so that's a little bit of a bummer. And, I guess GUN POWDER too. Darn.) I particularly like the clues for FIREWORKS and CHOPSTICKS. And some of the fill in this one is really sparkly, which you might not expect in a grid this theme-heavy. I especially liked the aforementioned SKIP OUT along with YOU'RE UP and FLOOR LIMIT. And did you notice a lot of Ks in the grid? That's always good.

One final thought, because I'm sure this will be confusing to somebody. The clue for ABLE (32A: Napoleon, before seeing Elba?) refers to the well-known palindrome ABLE WAS I ERE I SAW ELBA. Clever clue.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 16A: Singer with the platinum 1992 album "The Celts" (ENYA).
  • 19A: Hungarian spa city (EGER).
  • 44A: Pennsylvania port (ERIE).
  • 29D: Japanese chip maker (NEC).
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Everything 1A: *Rock conqueror? (PAPER); 6A: Ilk (TYPE); 10A: *Soy milk brand (SILK); 14A: Diminish, as trust (ERODE); 15A: Court target (HOOP); 16A: Singer with the platinum 1992 album "The Celts" (ENYA); 17A: *Dental checkup freebie (TOOTHBRUSH); 19A: Hungarian spa city (EGER); 20A: "30 Rock" is loosely based on it, briefly (SNL); 21A: Georgia campus (EMORY); 22A: Transparent personality? (GHOST); 23A: Webber's partner (PAINE); 24A: Stink ending (-AROO); 25A: Are proper for (BEFIT); 28A: *Wile E. Coyote buy (GUN POWDER); 32A: Napoleon, before seeing Elba? (ABLE); 33A: Its symbol is "$" (PESO); 34A: West Bank initials (PLO); 35A: *Gets creative (NOODLES); 39A: *Extent (COMPASS); 41A: "Alice" spinoff (FLO); 42A: Gives goose bumps, maybe (AWES); 44A: Pennsylvania port (ERIE); 45A: *Flashy display (FIREWORKS); 48A: Umbrella brand (TOTES); 49A: Idiot (LUNK); 50A: Finalize, as a comic strip (INK IN); 52A: Pub drinks (SWIGS); 54A: Sudden outpouring (SPATE); 55A: Sch. with a Phoenix campus (ASU); 58A: Comic book buyer of old? (DIME); 59A: *Beginner's piano piece (CHOPSTICKS); 61A: Analogous (AKIN); 62A: Forceful takeover (COUP); 63A: John who played Gomez Addams (ASTIN); 64A: *Forged check (KITE); 65A: Maker of Kate Moss fragrances (COTY); 66A: It celebrates National Day on October 1 (and it's where the answers to starred clues were invented) (CHINA); 1D: Bo and Barney, e.g. (PETS); 2D: Mountain climber Ralston, subject of "127 Hours" (ARON); 3D: Hustler's game (POOL); 4D: Atlanta summer hrs. (EDT); 5D: Warm up (REHEAT); 6D: Crowd (THRONG); 7D: Words to one on deck (YOU'RE UP); 8D: Nosegay (POSY); 9D: Bk. before Philippians (EPH.); 10D: Envision a way (SEE HOW); 11D: To a great extent (IN GOOD PART); 12D: Caustic fluids (LYES); 13D: Go-__ (KART); 18D: ASCAP rival (BMI); 22D: Union member? (GROOM); 23D: Like pintos (PIED); 24D: Lhasa __ (APSO); 25D: Alberta national park (BANFF); 26D: "Christ Stopped at __" (EBOLI); 27D: Amount requiring a credit card authorization (FLOOR LIMIT); 29D: Japanese chip maker (NEC); 30D: Borden mascot (ELSIE); 31D: Derby prize (ROSES); 36D: Some green acres (LAWNS); 37D: "Star Wars" tree-dweller (EWOK); 38D: Sun. talk (SER.); 40D: Drudge (PEON); 43D: Abandon, with "on" (SKIP OUT); 46D: Oregon Ducks' home (EUGENE); 47D: Irritable (SNAPPY); 48D: Pin in a shirt (TIE TAC); 51D: Gold units: Abbr. (KTS.); 52D: Mt. Rushmore's state (S. DAK.); 53D: Joint Web project (WIKI); 54D: "Buzz off!" ("SHOO!"); 55D: When Emile sings "Some Enchanted Evening" (ACT I); 56D: Word with care or cream (SKIN); 57D: Oliver North's alma mater: Abbr. (USNA); 59D: V x LX (CCC); 60D: -like relative (-ISH).


09.28 Wed

September 28, 2011
Bruce Venzke & Gail Grabowski

Theme: Sue the Bastards — The first words of the theme answers form a familiar phrase related to the legal profession.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: *Test that sounds easier than it often is (OPEN-BOOK EXAM).
  • 26A: *"End of discussion" ("AND THAT'S THAT").
  • 36A: *Z's (SHUT-EYE).
  • 43A: *Thing to do before a heist (CASE THE JOINT).
  • 51A: What the first words of the answers to starred clues describe (LAWYER'S DREAM).
A few quick links to share with you before we get started. First, Brad Wilber has a new free themeless puzzle up at his website. I haven't solved it yet, but Brad's puzzles are always first-rate and you can choose from two sets of clues depending on how smart you feel. Second, the lovely and talented Andrea Carla Michaels is featured in a short video over at the Atlantic's website. Go watch it and fall in love all over again. And finally, you don't want to miss Dana Delany and Jimmy Kimmel chatting about crossword puzzles. They even mention a well-known crossword blogger (not me!). (Fast forward to about 16:30 if you're not interested in the whole show.)

Today's theme made me chuckle because it reminded me of a story PuzzleDad once told me:
After a 107-77 win over Kentucky Wesleyan, the preseason No. 1, in the semifinals of the D-II tournament, a television reporter asked University of Northern Alabama Coach Bill Jones if in his wildest dreams he’d thought he’d score the win in that fashion.

Jones replied: “My wildest dreams don’t include basketball.”
  • 6A: State secrets? (BLAB). We see a couple grammatical tricks in today's clues. In this clue "state" is a verb. And over at 60-Down, "retiring" is an adjective (meaning SHY).
  • 14A: Logger's competition (ROLEO). Learned this one from crosswords. Can't imagine I'll ever have occasion to use it in real life.
  • 17A: Bottomless pit (ABYSM). I had ABYSS here at first which caused me some trouble.
  • 31A: Symbol of strict control (IRON HAND). For some reason I wanted this to be IRON FIST. Is that a phrase too? I don't have time to look it up.
  • 63A: Corkers? (IRISH). Cute! County Cork is in Ireland.
  • 7D: Trunk attachment (LIMB). Anyone else get stuck picturing an elephant's trunk? What the heck would "attach" to that??
  • 8D: Chow chow (ALPO). The first "chow" is a type of dog. The second "chow" is a synonym for food.
  • 9D: Affectionate gesture con los labios (BESO). No idea what "labios" means. Affectionate gesture with one's labels?
  • 23D: "Bullying is __!": school rule (A NO-NO). I'm guessing the kids who are prone to bullying will also be prone to mocking this phrase.
  • 44D: Cape May County weekly (HERALD). Random!
  • 46D: Foster's dream girl (JEANIE). Awesome.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 1A: Olds compact (ALERO).
  • 10A: "Casablanca" character (ILSA).
  • 61A: Hindu royal (RANI).
  • 1D: Notre Dame's Parseghian (ARA).
  • 3D: Bridge guru Culbertson (ELY).
  • 21D: Greek vowel (ETA).
  • 53D: __-Ball (SKEE).
  • 54D: Manuscript marking (DELE).
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Everything 1A: Olds compact (ALERO); 6A: State secrets? (BLAB); 10A: "Casablanca" character (ILSA); 14A: Logger's competition (ROLEO); 15A: Get to (RILE); 16A: Like Switz. in WWII (NEUT.); 17A: Bottomless pit (ABYSM); 18A: Strike callers (UMPS); 19A: Major-__ (DOMO); 20A: *Test that sounds easier than it often is (OPEN-BOOK EXAM); 23A: Fill with bubbles (AERATE); 25A: Major stories (EPICS); 26A: *"End of discussion" ("AND THAT'S THAT"); 30A: Weather map figures (LOWS); 31A: Symbol of strict control (IRON HAND); 35A: Cycle opener (UNI-); 36A: *Z's (SHUT-EYE); 39A: Compete (VIE); 40A: She has a memorable smile (MONA LISA); 42A: Hamlet, for one (DANE); 43A: *Thing to do before a heist (CASE THE JOINT); 47A: Scrub, at NASA (ABORT); 50A: Either "Cathy's Clown" singer (EVERLY); 51A: What the first words of the answers to starred clues describe (LAWYER'S DREAM); 55A: Genesis victim (ABEL); 56A: Swedish furniture giant (IKEA); 57A: Egg holders (NESTS); 61A: Hindu royal (RANI); 62A: Tumbled (FELL); 63A: Corkers? (IRISH); 64A: Howard's wife, to the Fonz (MRS. C); 65A: Offended, with "off" (TEED); 66A: Homework assignment (ESSAY); 1D: Notre Dame's Parseghian (ARA); 2D: Tennis tactic (LOB); 3D: Bridge guru Culbertson (ELY); 4D: Vacation destinations (RESORTS); 5D: Brass band sound (OOM-PAH); 6D: Brown-haired boy (BRUNET); 7D: Trunk attachment (LIMB); 8D: Chow chow (ALPO); 9D: Affectionate gesture con los labios (BESO); 10D: Thorough (INDEPTH); 11D: April 1605 pope (LEO XI); 12D: "Poison" shrub (SUMAC); 13D: Elemental bits (ATOMS); 21D: Greek vowel (ETA); 22D: "The Family Circus" cartoonist (KEANE); 23D: "Bullying is __!": school rule (A NO-NO); 24D: Dickens's Drood (EDWIN); 26D: Homecoming guest (ALUM); 27D: Occupy, in a way (SIT AT); 28D: Roman numeral (TRE); 29D: Today, in Toledo (HOY); 32D: Help (AVAIL); 33D: Dolt (NINNY); 34D: Bug bugger (DEET); 36D: November ticket (SLATE); 37D: Embroidered word (HIS); 38D: Put to the test (USE); 41D: Painter's medium (ACRYLIC); 42D: Half-story windows (DORMERS); 44D: Cape May County weekly (HERALD); 45D: Time for celebration (EVE); 46D: Foster's dream girl (JEANIE); 47D: Security device (ALARM); 48D: Kid-lit elephant (BABAR); 49D: "Hee Haw" host (OWENS); 52D: Break (RIFT); 53D: __-Ball (SKEE); 54D: Manuscript marking (DELE); 58D: Family nickname (SIS); 59D: Org. with body scanners (TSA); 60D: Retiring (SHY).


09.27 Tue

September 27, 2011
Steven J. St. John

Theme: Flight From Hell — Each theme answer is a not-uncommon inconvenience related to air travel.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Invasive airline inconvenience (BODY SCANNER).
  • 29A: Uncomfortable airline inconvenience (CRAMPED SEAT).
  • 46A: Wearying airline inconvenience (LONG LAY-OVER).
  • 64A: Excruciating airline inconvenience (the last straw!) (LOST LUGGAGE).
I have mixed feelings about this puzzle. The theme isn't very exciting, but it's cool how the theme answers are in order (from top to bottom) of how a person would experience these things on an actual trip. Also, the fill is quite good (and Scrabbly!). So overall, I found it an enjoyable puzzle with a "meh" theme.

Standout entries for me today include:
  • 5A: Talisman (AMULET). Makes me feel all mystical just reading the word.
  • 3D: Awe (BEDAZZLE).
  • 6D: Spaghetti go-with (MEATBALL). Mmm … meatballs.
  • 39D: Military day starter (REVEILLE). I tell you what. No one can be more surprised than me that I plopped this baby in with the correct spelling the very first time I tried.
  • 40D: Shame (DISGRACE).
The most troublesome spot for me was in the northeast where KNAVISH (21A: Untrustworthy) crosses LINK-UP (8D: Connection). As I've mentioned before, sometimes I have a hard time "seeing" the vertical words in the grid. With LIN*UP in place, I just couldn't figure out what was going on. I could see that an E would make sense there, but I just couldn't get that to fit the clue or the cross. I finally wrote the vertical word out horizontally so I could actually "read" it, and, well, not exactly voilà. I still couldn't make sense out of the grammar. I was thinking of LINK UP as a verb, but I finally decided that, with a hyphen, LINK-UP can also be a noun. Mystery solved. Whew!

  • 1A: Dinner wear for the highchair set (BIBS). The phrase "highchair set" tickled me.
  • 39A: Flippable card file (ROLODEX). I think you can still buy ROLODEXes at the Flintstone Office Supply store. They're old-fashioned is what I'm saying.
  • 67A: One way to share (EVENLY). Huh. Not feeling this one.
  • 9D: Barbara who played a genie (EDEN). I don't have anything to say about this clue/answer, but I know Doug wouldn't forgive me if I didn't post a picture of Barbara EDEN with the opportunity just handed to me like this.
  • 13D: Papa Smurf's headgear (RED HAT). I guess I've never really looked at Papa Smurf long enough to register that his HAT is RED. I see RED HAT listed nine times in the Cruciverb.com data base, and it's never been clued in relation to the RED HAT Society, which I guess might be a little obscure for a Tuesday, but I'm surprised it hasn't been used at all.
  • 58D: Bright star (NOVA).

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 36A: Island ring (LEI).
  • 52A: Moonfish (OPAH).
  • 66A: Due-in hr. (ETA).
  • 57D: Baldwin of "30 Rock" (ALEC).
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Everything 1A: Dinner wear for the highchair set (BIBS); 5A: Talisman (AMULET); 11A: Spoil (MAR); 14A: Working without __ (A NET); 15A: Next to (BESIDE); 16A: Sam Adams product (ALE); 17A: Invasive airline inconvenience (BODY SCANNER); 19A: Groovy relative? (RAD); 20A: One with an office couch, maybe (ANALYST); 21A: Untrustworthy (KNAVISH); 23A: __ garden (ZEN); 24A: A/C measure (BTU); 26A: Durante's "__ Dinka Doo" (INKA); 27A: Wood-dressing tool (ADZ); 29A: Uncomfortable airline inconvenience (CRAMPED SEAT); 33A: President when Texas was annexed (POLK); 35A: With 1-Down, discoverer of cave treasure (ALI); 36A: Island ring (LEI); 37A: Salon polish target (TOE NAIL); 39A: Flippable card file (ROLODEX); 43A: Mag. edition (ISS.); 44A: Father's Day mo. in Australia (SEP.); 45A: Congenial (NICE); 46A: Wearying airline inconvenience (LONG LAY-OVER); 51A: Lawn strip (SOD); 52A: Moonfish (OPAH); 53A: Lumberjack's tool (AXE); 54A: Subj. with x's (ALG.); 56A: Faraway (DISTANT); 59A: Paid no attention to (IGNORED); 63A: Roam (about) (GAD); 64A: Excruciating airline inconvenience (the last straw!) (LOST LUGGAGE); 66A: Due-in hr. (ETA); 67A: One way to share (EVENLY); 68A: Clickable image (ICON); 69A: Not optional: Abbr. (REQ.); 70A: French film festival site (CANNES); 71A: "__ la vie" (C'EST); 1D: See 35-Across (BABA); 2D: Part of, as a plot (IN ON); 3D: Awe (BEDAZZLE); 4D: Panache (STYLE); 5D: Basics (ABC'S); 6D: Spaghetti go-with (MEATBALL); 7D: Mil. branch (USN); 8D: Connection (LINK UP); 9D: Barbara who played a genie (EDEN); 10D: Giga- x 1,000 (TERA-); 11D: Oceanic (MARINE); 12D: State with the Big Dipper on its flag (ALASKA); 13D: Papa Smurf's headgear (RED HAT); 18D: Pop music's 'N__ (SYNC); 22D: Sight (VISION); 25D: "More than I need to know!" ("TMI!"); 27D: Suited (APT); 28D: Scooby-__ (DOO); 30D: Mrs. Gorbachev (RAISA); 31D: Skip church, in a way? (ELOPE); 32D: Sci-fi's Lester __ Rey (DEL); 34D: Jumping chess piece (KNIGHT); 38D: Comm. for the hearing-impaired (ASL); 39D: Military day starter (REVEILLE); 40D: Shame (DISGRACE); 41D: Green prefix (ECO-); 42D: Struck (out) of the text (X'ED); 44D: Red or White team (SOX); 46D: Inn resident (LODGER); 47D: Morphine, e.g. (OPIATE); 48D: Where YHOO stock is traded (NASDAQ); 49D: China's Sun (YAT-SEN); 50D: Pealed (RANG); 55D: Spock's forte (LOGIC); 57D: Baldwin of "30 Rock" (ALEC); 58D: Bright star (NOVA); 60D: Dolls' dates (GUYS); 61D: They may not be quiet on the set (EGOS); 62D: Small body-shop job (DENT); 65D: Former Opry network (TNN).


09.26 Mon

September 26, 2011
Robert Fisher

Theme: Runnin' On Fumes — The first word of each theme answer is a commonly used measure of fuel in a vehicle's gas tank.

Theme answers:

  • 18A: Ceremonial uniform (FULL DRESS).
  • 23A: Necktie knot (HALF WINDSOR).
  • 38A: NCAA Elite Eight team (QUARTER FINALIST).
  • 50A: Parent whose kids have moved out (EMPTY NESTER).
  • 59A: Dashboard device, and a hint to the starts of 18-, 23-, 38- and 50-Across (FUEL GAUGE).
  • 66A: What to add when the 59-Across gets low (GAS).
First things first: Please don't talk about today's New York Times puzzle in the comments. I will say (as unspoilerishly as I can) that the two puzzles don't have the same theme, but the similarities are remarkable enough that I'm pretty sure people will want to remark on them. By all means, go solve the NYT, but please — no spoilers!

Cute theme today. Pretty sure I've seen it before. In fact, I'm pretty sure I blogged it, but I'm too lazy to go look it up. The theme answers are all interesting and non-awkward. Just solid all the way around. Two grammatically tricky clues worth noting:
  • 34A: Way up (STAIR). I read this as in "Man oh man, that hot-air balloon is WAY UP there." But, in this clue, "way" is a noun.
  • 68A: Back at the track (BET ON). In this one, my brain came up with "I heard Angel Cordero had to go take care of some personal business, but now he's BACK AT THE TRACK." But here, "back" is a verb.
Other than that, it's pretty much Monday, which means a couple sparkles (EAST-WEST, CATTY) and the rest straightforward and solid.

  • 6A: Inst. that turns out lieutenants (OC'S). Officers' … something?
  • 15A: Rock music's __ Fighters (FOO). I believe David Letterman is a big fan of Foo Fighters, which for some reason I find hilarious.
  • 48A: 41-Down sound in the comic "B.C." (ZOT); 41D: Threat to tiny workers (ANTEATER).
  • 9D: Rookie's mentor (OLD PRO). For some reason I entered OLD PAL first, which would be a terrible answer to this clue.
  • 12D: Bucks and rams (HES). Bucks are male deer. Rams are male sheep. Each individually animal might be referred to as "he." Collectively, they are HES. (I know, right?)
  • 47D: Song spelled with arm motions (YMCA). I don't really have anything to say about this. I just wanted to include a picture of the Village People.
  • 53D: Rosetta __ (STONE). It's a little strange that the word STONE appears in the clue for COULD (7D: "This __ be the last time": Stones lyric).
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Everything 1A: Minister's home (MANSE); 6A: Inst. that turns out lieutenants (OC'S); 9A: Poker game similar to Texas Hold 'em (OMAHA); 14A: Polynesian greeting (ALOHA); 15A: Rock music's __ Fighters (FOO); 16A: Tied, as shoes (LACED); 17A: Crest dispensers (TUBES); 18A: Ceremonial uniform (FULL DRESS); 20A: Turf grabbers (CLEATS); 22A: Yo-yo string feature (LOOP); 23A: Necktie knot (HALF WINDSOR); 25A: Tidal return (EBB); 28A: Ample shoe width (EEE); 29A: Temple with a minaret (MOSQUE); 31A: PC key for getting out of trouble (ESC); 34A: Way up (STAIR); 37A: Emanation detected by psychics, so they say (AURA); 38A: NCAA Elite Eight team (QUARTER FINALIST); 42A: __ no good (UP TO); 43A: Kept secret (SAT ON); 44A: Faux __: blunder (PAS); 45A: Main thoroughfare (ARTERY); 48A: 41-Down sound in the comic "B.C." (ZOT); 49A: __ of the land (LAY); 50A: Parent whose kids have moved out (EMPTY NESTER); 57A: Civil rights org. (ACLU); 58A: Work that ridicules folly (SATIRE); 59A: Dashboard device, and a hint to the starts of 18-, 23-, 38- and 50-Across (FUEL GAUGE); 64A: Carryalls (TOTES); 65A: Out of port (AT SEA); 66A: What to add when the 59-Across gets low (GAS); 67A: Create, as a statute (ENACT); 68A: Back at the track (BET ON); 69A: The USA's 50 (STS.); 70A: Takes in tenants (RENTS); 1D: Fire lighter (MATCH); 2D: Gene Vincent's "Be-Bop-__" (ALULA); 3D: __ Prize (NOBEL); 4D: Grain bundle (SHEAF); 5D: How latitude lines run (EAST-WEST); 6D: On vacation (OFF); 7D: "This __ be the last time": Stones lyric (COULD); 8D: Goes it alone (SOLOS); 9D: Rookie's mentor (OLD PRO); 10D: Make a dent in (MAR); 11D: Poker "bullet" (ACE); 12D: Bucks and rams (HES); 13D: Commercials (ADS); 19D: Weaver's machine (LOOM); 21D: Seven, in Sinaloa (SIETE); 24D: Approaches (NEARS); 25D: Supply with gear (EQUIP); 26D: Sac between a bone and tendon (BURSA); 27D: Cop's rounds (BEATS); 30D: Gal of song (SAL); 31D: The same (EQUAL); 32D: Old sporty Toyota (SUPRA); 33D: Spiteful, as gossip (CATTY); 35D: "__ tree falls ..." (IF A); 36D: Swanky (RITZY); 39D: Fish eggs (ROE); 40D: High hours? (NOONS); 41D: Threat to tiny workers (ANTEATER); 46D: '80s Cold War leader (REAGAN); 47D: Song spelled with arm motions (YMCA); 51D: Spark providers (PLUGS); 52D: Pull on (TUG AT); 53D: Rosetta __ (STONE); 54D: Giant (TITAN); 55D: Standing upright (ERECT); 56D: Concludes one's court case (RESTS); 59D: Detergent brand (FAB); 60D: Jeep or Land Rover, briefly (UTE); 61D: Superlative suffix (-EST); 62D: Lion sign (LEO); 63D: Dollar sign shape (ESS).


09.25 Sun

September 25, 2011
Jeffrey Lease

[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: "It's a Surprise" — IT is added to familiar phrases, yielding punny results.

Theme Entries:
  • 23A: Stakeout? (SITTING OPERATION).
  • 28A: "May I cut in?" speaker? (POLITE DANCER).
  • 47A: Part of an excavated skeleton? (ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIGIT).
  • 62A: Voracious vampire's mantra? (BITE ALL THAT YOU CAN BITE).
  • 77A: Pot with limited seafood portions? (A FINITE KETTLE OF FISH).
  • 100A: Unaffected horse movements? (NATURAL GAITS).
  • 106A: One pirating Springsteen CDs? (THE E STREET BANDIT).
Hey, crossword fans. Doug here on Sunday. Straightforward theme concept today with a nice marquee entry smack-dab in the middle of the grid. Solid.

I'm a little surprised that POLE DANCER was (sort of) in the puzzle as the base phrase for POLITE DANCER. Are pole dancers usually polite? I don't know. The polite ones might get bigger tips. If you're one of our many pole-dancing LACC readers, feel free to chime in with a comment. (Or better yet, send me a private email.) I also got a chuckle out of A FINITE KETTLE OF FISH. An infinite kettle of fish would be frightening & very smelly.

  • 21A: Morlock prey (ELOI). From H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine." I think the Morlocks ate the Eloi, and I think it's time to for crossword constructors to retire ELOI.
  • 35A: NY subway line past Yankee Stadium (IRT). Interborough Rapid Transit.
  • 38A: Letters on some tubes (A.D.A.). Toothpaste tubes.
  • 47A: Part of an excavated skeleton? (ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIGIT). If you have a tough time spelling "archaeological," you can cheat by looking at the clue for 49-Down: Fictional archaeologist Croft (LARA). Who says answer words repeated in clues are a bad thing?
  • 53A: Brand promoted by Michael Jordan (HANES).Charlie Sheen used to be a Hanes pitchman too. I have no idea why they dropped him.
  • 54A: "Mission: Impossible" actress (BAIN). I loved this show when I was a little kid, even though I could never exactly figure out what they were doing. But I knew it was cool and dangerous. Good preparation for my life as a part-time crossword constructor and blogger.
  • 7D: Cal Poly's city, initially (SLO). San Luis Obispo. Tough for non-Californians, but fair for the L.A. Times puzzle.
  • 11D: Singer with the Blackhearts (JETT).
  • 15D: Doll or vase material (PORCELAIN). I can't remember seeing this word in a crossword puzzle before. I like it! As an added bonus, we didn't get a "toilet" clue.
  • 79D: Unhelpful response to "How did you do that?" (IT'S MAGIC). Unless you're a witch.
  • 90D: Previously missing letter, e.g. (INSERT). I enjoyed this clue. I had no idea where it was going until I got the answer through crossings.
  • 102D: Champagne Tony of '60s golf (LEMA). I always want this to be LAMA instead of LEMA. "Lema" doesn't look like a sensible name. And then there's the Tony Lama brand of cowboy boots. My new mnemonic for this golfer: LEMA is an anagram of LAME.
Hope you're all enjoying autumn so far. See you next Sunday.


    09.24 Sat

    S A T U R D A Y
    September 24, 2011
    Gareth Bain

    Theme: None, it's Sa…. wait, what? Hey! There's a theme on Saturday! — And it has to do with cookies!

    Theme answers:

    • 16A: Common closer (TWIST TIE).
    • 36A: Superficial, uncaring effort (LICK AND A PROMISE).
    • 56A: Carnival game in which a suit is worn (DUNK TANK).
    • 50D: Food associated with the starts of 16-, 36- and 56-Across (OREO).
    Anybody else freaked out by seeing a theme on a Saturday? I sure wasn't looking for one. Nice surprise when I got down to the reveal answer. The theme answers didn't give it away at all — they're all interesting phrases we might see in a themeless. Lots of good fill in this one as well. We've got some old-timey language with "IT IS SO" and CANST (17A: "Yea, verily" / 26A: Art able to) along with television references for both the old people among us — RAT PATROL (8D: With "The," 1960s series set in the North African desert during WWII) — and the youngsters — GOSSIP GIRL (10D: TV drama narrated by a teen blogger).

    Couple things I didn't know. I've probably seen Pulitzer-winning poet Conrad AIKEN's name before, but it sure didn't come to me. And CAUSERIE totally doesn't look like it should mean [60A: Informal essay], does it? Overall, an enjoyable solve. Let's just get into a few details and then call it a day.

    • 8A: "Superbad" co-screenwriter Seth (ROGEN). I'm including a video here of the song that immediatley came into my head upon reading this clue. I apologize in advance.

    • 39A: "Go ahead" ("FEEL FREE"). Nice colloquial phrase. You know I love those.
    • 46A: Name meaning "gift of Isis" (ISADOR). I tried ISABEL first.
    • 61A: Gifted one? (DONEE). I think people were talking about this yesterday. No, it's not a word people use every day, but I've seen it quite a bit in legal documents.
    • 62A: Spot checker? (VET). As in VETerinarian. As in, what Gareth Bain is studying to be.
    • 3D: "See you next fall!" elicitor (TRIP). HAha! I'm going to explain this one, because I'm sure it confused some people. I have no idea how this started, but I've seen it in practice: a person is walking along and trips over something, the person's "friends" then exclaim, "Have a nice trip! See you next fall!"
    • 19D: Rembrandt van __ (RYN). There's always a debate about how Rembrandt's name is spelled, but I think we all just need to accept the fact that it varies.
    • 31D: Smackeroo (CLAM). Both are slang terms for a dollar.
    • 32D: Hall & Oates's first Top 10 hit (SARA SMILE). And now I'll make up for the video I posted earlier. Pretty sure I've used this one in the past, but it's definitely worth repeating.

    Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
    • 1A: Aleutian island (ATTU).
    • 23A: Folkie DiFranco (ANI).
    • 52A: Brewery equipment (OASTS).
    • 14D: Words indicating betrayal (ET TU).
    • 30D: "The Mikado" weapon, briefly (SNEE).
    • 53D: South Seas staple (TARO).
    • 57D: Country that incl. Sharjah (UAE).
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    Everything 1A: Aleutian island (ATTU); 5A: Upheaval (ADO); 8A: "Superbad" co-screenwriter Seth (ROGEN); 13A: In a bind? (CORSETED); 15A: Prison break? (PAROLE); 16A: Common closer (TWIST TIE); 17A: "Yea, verily" ("IT IS SO"); 18A: Rash (SPATE); 19A: Calms (REPOSES); 20A: Nuttiness (LUNACY); 23A: Folkie DiFranco (ANI); 24A: Training gear? (BRA); 26A: Art able to (CANST); 28A: Troopers' gps. (PD'S); 31A: Goalpost component (CROSSBAR); 34A: Its state fish is the chinook salmon (OREGON); 36A: Superficial, uncaring effort (LICK AND A PROMISE); 38A: City known for wool (ANKARA); 39A: "Go ahead" ("FEEL FREE"); 40A: Tiny part of a hard drive (MEG); 41A: Pulitzer-winning poet Conrad __ (AIKEN); 43A: Aged (OLD); 44A: Wee hrs. (AM'S); 46A: Name meaning "gift of Isis" (ISADOR); 49A: Verdict readers (FOREMEN); 52A: Brewery equipment (OASTS); 55A: Give holy orders to (ORDAIN); 56A: Carnival game in which a suit is worn (DUNK TANK); 59A: Tease (NEEDLE); 60A: Informal essay (CAUSERIE); 61A: Gifted one? (DONEE); 62A: Spot checker? (VET); 63A: Forming strands (ROPY); 1D: Spiel, e.g. (ACT); 2D: Helps to water-ski (TOWS); 3D: "See you next fall!" elicitor (TRIP); 4D: WWII battlecruiser in the Pacific (USS ALASKA); 5D: Where unison countdowns usually begin (AT TEN); 6D: Agnus __ (DEI); 7D: Lofty lines (ODE); 8D: With "The," 1960s series set in the North African desert during WWII (RAT PATROL); 9D: Hunter killed by Artemis, in some accounts (ORION); 10D: TV drama narrated by a teen blogger (GOSSIP GIRL); 11D: If not (ELSE); 12D: Revivalists (NEOS); 14D: Words indicating betrayal (ET TU); 15D: Trivial Pursuit symbol (PIE); 19D: Rembrandt van __ (RYN); 21D: Phillips, e.g.: Abbr. (ACAD.); 22D: Wine orders (CARAFES); 24D: Tuna preserver (BRINE); 25D: Common Zen temple feature (ROCK GARDEN); 27D: Nursing a grudge (SORE); 29D: Gave two tablets to, say (DOSED); 30D: "The Mikado" weapon, briefly (SNEE); 31D: Smackeroo (CLAM); 32D: Hall & Oates's first Top 10 hit (SARA SMILE); 33D: __ B'rith (B'NAI); 35D: "Howards End" author (E.M. FORSTER); 37D: Transportation secretary under Clinton (PEÑA); 42D: Cousin, for one (KIN); 45D: Gettysburg general (MEADE); 47D: Sweet ring (DONUT); 48D: Cork sources (OAKS); 49D: Attracted to, with "of" (FOND); 50D: Food associated with the starts of 16-, 36- and 56-Across (OREO); 51D: Hydrocarbon suffix (-ENE); 53D: South Seas staple (TARO); 54D: Tonsorial sound (SNIP); 56D: V x XI x XI (DCV); 57D: Country that incl. Sharjah (UAE); 58D: Map feature (KEY).


    09.23 Fri

    F R I D A Y
    September 23, 2011
    Daniel Finan

    Theme: Numb3rs — For the theme answers, clue numbers are part of the clue.

    Theme answers:

    • 20: questions (FUN GUESSING GAME).
    • 36: hours (ONE AND A HALF DAYS).
    • 49: ers (FOOTBALL PLAYERS).
    Super clever theme today. Really enjoyed it. If you're still confused by it, look at the way I posted the theme answers at the top of this write-up. (Usually I include an A (across) or a D (down) after the clue number, but I took the As out today so there would be a better visual presentation of the trick clues.) The answers themselves aren't really stand-alone phrases that are "in the language" (as they say). They are, instead, definitions, not unlike the type of theme we see from time to time where the theme answers all have the same one-word clue and each answer is a different definition of that word. Some people love those themes, some people get really bent out of shape that the theme answers aren't "really" theme answers. I like to see it every once in a while for a change of pace. And in this case, as I said, the theme is really clever so it's okay with me.

    I definitely had several WTF moments throughout the solve, though.
    • 18A: Blanche __, pseudonymous author of the 1983 best-seller "Truly Tasteless Jokes" (KNOTT). Wait, really?
    • 22D: Swindler, in slang (GANEF). Ne-Ever heard this term. Oh, I see it's Yiddish slang. That pretty much explains it.
    • 44D: Walk bouncily (LOLLOP). Again with the ????
    Clues that were definitely amped up for Friday include:
    • 14A: San __ (REMO). Geez Louise! Could be anything!
    • 45A: Seat of Colorado's Pitkin County (ASPEN). Very familiar Colorado place name, but difficult to see with that clue.
    • 7D: Where kip are spent (LAOS). Same here.
    • 53D: Hunted (PREY). The clue here is not a verb. That's what makes it tricky.
    My write-overs:
    • 5D: Dug, so to speak (LIKED). Tried LOVED first.
    • 9D: Party pooper (WET NOODLE). Totally wanted this to be WET BLANKET. I was actually writing it in, and then … ran out of boxes.
    • 56D: Urban miasma (SMOG). Apparently, I don't know what "miasma" means because my first guess was SLUM.
    • 5A: Dey job? (L.A. LAW). The clue refers to Susan Dey who starred on the TV show "L.A. LAW." I don't know about you, but I have a hard time thinking of Susan Dey as anybody other than Laurie Partridge. ("Hello world, there's a song that we're singin' ….")
    • 24A: Annual sign of bad behavior? (COAL). It took me way too long to get that this clue refers to the "lump of coal" some people get in their stockings at Christmastime.
    • 35A: High point of an Alaskan trip? (DENALI). I used to call DENALI its other name until I met my husband, who climbs mountains for fun. Now I can't even remember its other name. Is it Mt. McKinley? Wikipedia says … yes.
    • 62A: Its state bird is the cardinal (OHIO). I had to think for a minute about Iowa's state bird here. I was pretty sure it wasn't the cardinal (it's the golfinch), but Iowa is always a possibility when you're looking for a four-letter state.
    • 6D: Heart lead singer Wilson et al. (ANNS). The PuzzleKids were watching "X Factor" last night and it appears that several people who have no business whatsoever singing "Barracuda" were attempting to sing "Barracuda."
    Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
    • 16A: Adidas alternative (AVIA).
    • 57A: Frankfurt's river (ODER).
    • 58A: Phils, e.g. (NL'ERS).
    • 60A: '70s pinup name (LONI).
    • 11D: Where the iris is (UVEA).
    • 51D: Sommelier's prefix (OENO-).
    • 54D: Pre-coll. catchall (EL-HI).
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    Everything 1A: Dollar bill weight, roughly (GRAM); 5A: Dey job? (L.A. LAW); 10A: __ Stream (GULF); 14A: San __ (REMO); 15A: Silly (INANE); 16A: Adidas alternative (AVIA); 17A: From the top (ANEW); 18A: Blanche __, pseudonymous author of the 1983 best-seller "Truly Tasteless Jokes" (KNOTT); 19A: "No ice, please" (NEAT); 20A: questions (FUN GUESSING GAME); 23A: Terhune collie (LAD); 24A: Annual sign of bad behavior? (COAL); 25A: "Alice" singer Lavigne (AVRIL); 28A: Orator's vocal quality (RESONANCE); 33A: Sacramento daily (BEE); 34A: Sched. B item on a 1040 (INT.); 35A: High point of an Alaskan trip? (DENALI); 36A: hours (ONE AND A HALF DAYS); 40A: Seven-time N.L. batting champ (MUSIAL); 41A: Storm dir. (ENE); 42A: They lead to an F (C-D-E); 43A: Six-pack abs? (BEER BELLY); 45A: Seat of Colorado's Pitkin County (ASPEN); 47A: TriBeCa neighbor (SOHO); 48A: Blueprint subject, perhaps (ELL); 49A: ers (FOOTBALL PLAYERS); 57A: Frankfurt's river (ODER); 58A: Phils, e.g. (NL'ERS); 59A: Deception (FLAM); 60A: '70s pinup name (LONI); 61A: Beneficiary (DONEE); 62A: Its state bird is the cardinal (OHIO); 63A: 2-Down unit (DROP); 64A: Fixes (SPAYS); 65A: Place to cross, on signs (X-ING); 1D: Seles rival (GRAF); 2D: Eye care brand (RENU); 3D: Flock response (AMEN); 4D: "The Jungle Book" boy (MOWGLI); 5D: Dug, so to speak (LIKED); 6D: Heart lead singer Wilson et al. (ANNS); 7D: Where kip are spent (LAOS); 8D: Silliness (ANTICS); 9D: Party pooper (WET NOODLE); 10D: Underworld (GANGLAND); 11D: Where the iris is (UVEA); 12D: Neeson who voiced Aslan in the "Narnia" movies (LIAM); 13D: You may have a brush with it (FATE); 21D: It merged with Continental in 2010: Abbr. (UAL); 22D: Swindler, in slang (GANEF); 25D: Trinity test subject (A-BOMB); 26D: Locale (VENUE); 27D: Maker of pieces? (REESE); 28D: Genetic letters (RNA); 29D: One of the convicted Rosenberg spies (ETHEL); 30D: Image Awards org. (NAACP); 31D: 1930s public enemy (CLYDE); 32D: NFL Network sportscaster Rich (EISEN); 34D: Devil's tools, metaphorically (IDLE HANDS); 37D: Touchdown site (AIRSTRIP); 38D: Big shot (NABOB); 39D: More than zero (ANY); 44D: Walk bouncily (LOLLOP); 45D: Modeled after (À LA); 46D: Sneaky devil (SLY FOX); 48D: "It's nobody __ business" (ELSE'S); 49D: Go out (FOLD); 50D: Nose wrinkler (ODOR); 51D: Sommelier's prefix (OENO-); 52D: Singer Horne (LENA); 53D: Hunted (PREY); 54D: Pre-coll. catchall (EL-HI); 55D: Shower in public? (RAIN); 56D: Urban miasma (SMOG).


    09.22 Thu

    T H U R S D A Y
    September 22, 2011
    Betty Keller

    Theme: For the Birds — Each theme answer consists of a familiar two-word phrase that starts with a type of duck, then the second word of that phrase is used as the first word of another familiar two-word phrase. Put them all together, clue wackily, and voilà!

    Theme answers:

    • 17A: Daffy trying to hit the piñata? (DUCK BLIND FOLDE).
    • 25A: Survey response at the farm? (CHICKEN FEED BACK).
    • 43A: Tom fooler? (TURKEY LEG PULLER).
    • 57A: Loosey's cake-making aid? (GOOSE EGG BEATERS).
    Fun solve today. The theme really helped me on this one (which doesn't always happen). The cluing was definitely amped up a little to make this a late-week puzzle. Let's get right to the details.

    • 1A: Clips for trailers (SCENES). When I saw the word "trailers," the first thing I thought of was movies, but then I second-guessed myself and tried to think of the equipment people use to hitch trailers to their cars/trucks/RVs. Have y'all seen the trailer for "Moneyball"? I can't wait for that movie. Loved loved loved the book. Seriously, one of the most entertaining books I've ever read. And I'm not crazy into baseball. I mean, I like it, and I follow it a little, but I'm not sitting at home crunching numbers this time of year. Anyway, looks like it will be good.

    • 11A: Triangular sail (JIB). This one was a gimme, and only from solving crossword puzzles regularly. In real life, I don't know my JIB from my SPAR.
    • 15A: Dagwood's pesky kid neighbor (ELMO). See what I mean about the clues being toughened up? Today must be Tertiary Comic Strip Characters Day. See also IRMA (23A: "Garfield" waitress).
    • 22A: Pops (DADDY). Sometimes the one-word clues are really frustrating. When the answer provokes a chuckle, though, then I think the frustration is worth it. That's what happend for me today on this one.
    • 37A: Sends regrets, perhaps (RSVP'S). That's right, folks: RSVP'ing isn't just about saying "yes"! It's also about saying "no"! The point is to let the host know how many people to expect. If you don't respond with regrets then the host really doesn't know if you'll show up or not. Manners, people! Manners!
    • 54A: Likely result of failing a Breathalyzer test, briefly (DUI). When I was growing up, it was always a DWI. Then somehow it became DUI. Then when I moved to Iowa they called it OWI, which sounds all kindsa wrong, but whatever.
    • 62A: Blanche Dubois's sister (STELLA). [Insert obligatory yell here.]
    • 6D: Strauss opera based on a Wilde play (SALOME). No idea. Totally crosses.
    • 7D: Flat bread? (RENT). My first thought, of course, was NAAN, but if NAAN were the answer, the clue wouldn't need a question mark. "Bread" in this clue means "money" and "flat" means "apartment."
    • 23D: Brain freeze cause (ICES). I entered ICEE without thinking about it too much. Had to go back and fix that S.
    • 55D: Bing info (URL'S). Do people actually use Bing?
    • 58D: Bulldog booster (ELI). An ELI is a student at Yale University, where the mascot is a bulldog.
    Crosswordese 101: Apparently, William Shatner wrote some sci-fi novels. The series is called "TEK War," TEK being a drug of some sort. And that's all you need to know about TEK to recognize it in a crossword clue.

    Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
    • 52A: Mountaintop home (AERIE).
    • 60A: Dedicatee of Lennon's "Woman" (ONO).
    • 58D: Bulldog booster (ELI).
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    Everything 1A: Clips for trailers (SCENES); 7A: Fridge incursion (RAID); 11A: Triangular sail (JIB); 14A: Kia model (OPTIMA); 15A: Dagwood's pesky kid neighbor (ELMO); 16A: Japanese salad ingredient (UDO); 17A: Daffy trying to hit the piñata? (DUCK BLIND FOLDED); 20A: Campfire remains (ASH); 21A: It originates from the left ventricle (AORTA); 22A: Pops (DADDY); 23A: "Garfield" waitress (IRMA); 24A: Detective Spade (SAM); 25A: Survey response at the farm? (CHICKEN FEED BACK); 33A: Stows in a hold (LADES); 34A: x, y or z (AXIS); 35A: Many a Louis (ROI); 36A: Supplies for Seurat (OILS); 37A: Sends regrets, perhaps (RSVP'S); 39A: Entry in a PDA (APPT.); 40A: Maui strings (UKE); 41A: Waterfall sound (ROAR); 42A: Not at all good at losing? (OBESE); 43A: Tom fooler? (TURKEY LEG PULLER); 47A: Only reason to watch the Super Bowl, some say (ADS); 48A: Like a pretentious museumgoer (ARTY); 49A: Plane parking place (APRON); 52A: Mountaintop home (AERIE); 54A: Likely result of failing a Breathalyzer test, briefly (DUI); 57A: Loosey's cake-making aid? (GOOSE EGG BEATERS); 60A: Dedicatee of Lennon's "Woman" (ONO); 61A: Jazz singer Laine (CLEO); 62A: Blanche Dubois's sister (STELLA); 63A: Place with presses (GYM); 64A: It may be a peck (KISS); 65A: "Mustn't do that!" ("TSK! TSK!"); 1D: Fizz in a gin fizz (SODA); 2D: PC "brains" (CPU'S); 3D: Make quite an impression (ETCH); 4D: Beat back? (-NIK); 5D: Boards at the dock (EMBARKS); 6D: Strauss opera based on a Wilde play (SALOME); 7D: Flat bread? (RENT); 8D: "M*A*S*H" actor (ALDA); 9D: Currency-stabilizing org. (IMF); 10D: Thingamabobs (DOODADS); 11D: Hirsch of "Numb3rs" (JUDD); 12D: Picked from a lineup (ID'ED); 13D: Shampoo ad buzzword (BODY); 18D: Shah's land, once (IRAN); 19D: New ewe (LAMB); 23D: Brain freeze cause (ICES); 24D: Juanita's half-dozen (SEIS); 25D: Leverage (CLOUT); 26D: 17-syllable verse (HAIKU); 27D: Slugabed (IDLER); 28D: Green Bay legend (FAVRE); 29D: Abbr. on food labels (EXP.); 30D: Adrien of cosmetics (ARPEL); 31D: Small woods (COPSE); 32D: Bad-check passer (KITER); 37D: Acuff and Clark (ROYS); 38D: Actor Mineo (SAL); 39D: With skill (ABLY); 41D: Scapegoat in some down-home humor (REDNECK); 42D: Downs more dogs than, in an annual contest (OUTEATS); 44D: "Get Smart" evil org. (KAOS); 45D: Shirts and skirts (GARB); 46D: Mass leader (PRIEST); 49D: Visibly wowed (AGOG); 50D: Chincoteague horse (PONY); 51D: Sufficient space (ROOM); 52D: Sits in a wine cellar (AGES); 53D: Inflatable items (EGOS); 54D: Shoulder muscle, for short (DELT); 55D: Bing info (URL'S); 56D: Writer Dinesen (ISAK); 58D: Bulldog booster (ELI); 59D: Shatner's "__War" (TEK).