March 27, 2011
Matt Skoczen & Victor Fleming
[Note: This is the syndicated L.A. Times puzzle. It does not appear in the actual newspaper, but is available for free at cruciverb.com.]
Theme: "Rowdy Bunch" — Theme entries in which the first word can follow the word "WILD" to make a familiar word or phrase: wild card, wild cherry, Wild Turkey, wildflower, etc.
- 22A: *Old library aid (CARD CATALOG).
- 32A: *Soda fountain choice (CHERRY COKE).
- 97A: *Ragtime dance (TURKEY TROT).
- 110A: *'60s Haight-Ashbury type (FLOWER CHILD).
- 3D: *Political mantra (PARTY LINE).
- 20D: *Drug problem (SIDE EFFECT).
- 67D: *One side of a defunct wall (WEST BERLIN).
- 76D: *A cappella leader's gadget (PITCH PIPE).
- 64A: Maurice Sendak kids' book, and the starts of starred answers (WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE).
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, is excellent. Second, each theme entry crosses another theme entry, and some of them cross two theme entries! That's not easy to pull off. (I highlighted all the theme entries so you could see how they intersect.) Kudos to today's constructing duo.
- 19A: Aromatic resin (ELEMI). This is one of those crosswordy words that shows up every now and then, usually clued as "Fragrant resin" or "Varnish ingredient." I wish I had even one interesting thing to say about elemi, but I don't.
- 24A: Gadget, for one: Abbr. (INSP). "Inspector Gadget" was an cartoon in the mid-'80s. I watched it couple of times. It was pretty bad, but Don Adams did the voice of Inspector Gadget, so I'll give it bonus points for that.
- 48A: Cockney toast starter ('ERE'S). As in "'ere's to you, 'enry 'iggins!" I've also seen OME clued as "Cockney's abode." I'm not sure how far we can carry this Cockney cluing thing. How about "'uge 'erbivore" for IPPO?
- 50A: Souvenirs at the park, usually (FOULS). I've never caught a foul ball at the ballpark or been close to anyone who has. Very disappointing. I must be sitting in the wrong sections.
- 119A: Stieg Larsson was one (SWEDE). The late Stieg Larsson is the author who wrote "The Girl With the Yankees Sweatshirt Who's About to Blow Your Head Off" and other umlaut-laden novels.
- 9D: 1847 novel based on its author's time in the Society Islands (OMOO). Has anyone actually read this book? I would read it, but I've learned all I need to know about "Omoo" from crossword clues. I feel the same way about the opera/play "Aida."
- 13D: E-mail option (REPLY ALL). I know you all saw this ad during the Super Bowl, but it's worth another look.
- 40D: Abecedarian (NEOPHYTE). "Abecedarian" means "one who teaches or studies the alphabet; a beginner." And the word apparently came from the the letters A, B, C, and D. They just strung them together with a couple e's and added "-arian." How cool is that? For some reason, my made-up words never catch on.
- 101D: Kind of shoes or blues (DRESS). Great clue. At first glance, I thought the answer was SUEDE.