Sabtu, 30 April 2011

04.30 Sat

S A T U R D A Y
April 30, 2011
Barry C. Silk


Theme: None.

Wow. Really enjoyed this puzzle. Between the awesome clue for MATH MAJOR right at 1A (Michael Jordan began college as one) to RIN TIN TIN atop TÊTE-À-TÊTE in the southeast corner (58A: Shepherd of old radio / 60A: Where three's a crowd), I found this puzzle a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I promised Rex I'd cover his blog for him today, so I'm gonna have to cut this short. I know you all are like, "Wait, you're covering for Rex? What is wrong with you? Don't you know you just moved into a new house and you're a mess?!" I assure you, those are legitimate questions. But not questions I am prepared to answer at this time. Let me just say Barry, you're awesome, thanks to everybody else for stopping by, and I hope you'll get some gabbing done in the comments. Doug will be here with tomorrow's puzzle and I'll see you back here Monday.

[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 10A: Leather leggings (CHAPS); 15A: Plants (SHRUBBERY); 16A: "Casbah" actor, 1948 (LORRE); 17A: Sex symbol of the silents (THEDA BARA); 18A: Very funny (ARIOT); 19A: Accessory (ADD-ON); 20A: Titans, e.g. (NISSANS); 22A: Current source (OUTLET); 24A: Negative sentiment (I HOPE NOT); 25A: "Wedding Day at Troldhaugen" composer (GRIEG); 26A: He got his only World Series ring in 2009 (A-ROD); 27A: Staff note (MEMO); 28A: "Viva-Vegas" link (LAS); 29A: Eastern quaff that's typically 18-25% alcohol (RICE WINE); 32A: 21-Down, e.g. (ELEMENT); 34A: They're assumed (ANONYMS); 38A: Motions (GESTURES); 40A: Want ad abbr. (EEO); 41A: Mosque leader (IMAM); 44A: "__ a hunch ..." (I HAD); 45A: Far from assertive (TIMID); 47A: Ariadne, to Minos (DAUGHTER); 49A: Archaeologists, at times (DATERS); 50A: Clique (IN-GROUP); 51A: "Going Rogue" author (PALIN); 52A: Three-time Clooney role (OCEAN); 53A: Adjacent to (ALONGSIDE); 57A: Old Scottish landholder (THANE); 59A: Like some bars (SANDY); 1D: Colorado hrs. (MST); 2D: Sound of recognition (AHH); 3D: Mill's "On Liberty," for one (TREATISE); 4D: Where plays may be discussed (HUDDLE); 5D: GMAT taker's goal (MBA DEGREE); 6D: Brother's keeper? (ABBOT); 7D: Name often seen before a hyphen (JEAN); 8D: #4 at Boston Garden (ORR); 9D: 2006 N.L. MVP (RYAN HOWARD); 10D: Necklace feature (CLASP); 11D: Jockeys (HORSEMEN); 12D: European satellite launcher (ARIANE); 13D: Nous or vous (PRONOM); 14D: Begins (SETS TO); 21D: Kelp nutrient (IODINE); 22D: Eye up and down (OGLE); 23D: River through Orsk (URAL); 24D: Fight cause, often (IRE); 26D: Behave suitably (ACT THE PART); 30D: As found (IN SITU); 31D: What oldies evoke (NOSTALGIA); 33D: Hollywood-themed Vegas hotel (MGM GRAND); 35D: Rial spender (YEMENITE); 36D: Rabin's '70s predecessor (MEIR); 37D: Fixes bare spots, in a way (SODS); 39D: Former Mideast gp. (UAR); 41D: Certain how-to book targets? (IDIOTS); 42D: La __: region of central Spain (MANCHA); 43D: Like the stables cleaned by Hercules in a single day (AUGEAN); 46D: "I disagree" ("IT ISN'T"); 48D: Love (HONEY); 49D: "Purgatorio" writer (DANTE); 51D: Bridge in Paris (PONT); 54D: Rest (LIE); 55D: Morse character (DIT); 56D: Wind dir. (ENE).

Jumat, 29 April 2011

04.29 Fri

F R I D A Y
April 29, 2011
Jeff McDermott


Theme: AB-Positive — The letters AB are added to the beginning of familiar phrases, creating new wacky phrases clued wackily.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Entrance exam study guide? (ABOUT DOORS).
  • 62A: Behar's home? (ABODE TO JOY).
  • 11D: Steal office supplies? (ABDUCTTAPE).
  • 28D: Missing letters? (ABSENT MAIL).
Good morning and happy Friday. I guess there was some kind of big wedding or something this morning that people were interested in. For the most part, I have been able to ignore the whole thing, which has been awesome. And I think at this point I will continue that trend ….

How about this puzzle? Weird theme. I mean, there's nothing necessarily weird about adding letters to the beginning of phrases to make theme answers, but AB? Why? This puzzle needed a title or a reveal answer or something. (No, the title I included isn't really the title of the puzzle, it's just something I made up like I do every day (except Sunday).) Could ABSORB (9D: Engross) somehow have been used to wrap up the theme? If not, it probably shouldn't be in the grid. You can't make a theme out of adding AB to the beginning of words and then include a word starting with AB that doesn't work with the theme. Well, I guess you can, but my point is that you probably shouldn't.

The resulting phrases themselves are okay. ABDUCT TAPE made me chuckle. But the clue for ABOUT DOORS is overly cute and the clue for ABODE TO JOY is just plain awkward. Come to think of it, there are a lot of places in this puzzle where the cluing just seems, I don't know, weird. [67A: Six-sided rooms] for ELLS seems kind of random. Maybe that's a common construction or architectural term or something, but it doesn't mean anything to me. [10D: Snoopy-wearing-shades trait] is on the strange side. Nothing against Joe Cool, but that's just an awkward way to clue COOLNESS, a word that's pretty awkward all on its own.

I do appreciate some of the tricky clues though. [42A: They're tucked in a cannonball] is fun for KNEES. And [54A: Sink or swim, perhaps] for NOUN is just mean (but in a good way). So that's about all I have time for today. No bullets, but of course you can talk about whatever entries you want in the comments.

In conclusion: RACQUETS!

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 6A: Aptly named lotion (AFTA).
  • 16A: Reed in a pit (OBOE).
  • 19A: Jim Davis pooch (ODIE).
  • 23A: Mediterranean high spot (ETNA).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Put one's hands at ten and two (STEER); 10A: 1970 NBA expansion team (CAVS); 14A: Poet Neruda (PABLO); 15A: Affect, in slang (GRAB); 20A: Parlor treat (SUNDAE); 21A: "Break a leg" ("GOOD LUCK"); 25A: Dazes (TRANCES); 26A: They go nowhere (DEAD ENDS); 30A: Lead singer Michaels of Poison (BRET); 31A: Sphere (ORB); 32A: American patriot Deane (SILAS); 34A: Legally prevent (ESTOP); 37A: Game with a Ural territory (RISK); 39A: Only part of Egypt in Asia (SINAI); 41A: "Ditto" ("SAME"); 44A: Suisse capital (BERNE); 46A: Selfish sort (PIG); 47A: Russian refusal (NYET); 49A: Squash relative (RACQUETS); 51A: Flanders city (ANTWERP); 55A: Cross, often (MEMORIAL); 57A: Title for Bovary (MADAME); 61A: Man __ (O' WAR); 64A: John __, the Lone Ranger (REID); 65A: Atty.-to-be's exam (LSAT); 66A: Maternally related (ENATE); 68A: Guidelines: Abbr. (STDS.); 69A: Battle of the __ (SEXES); 1D: Mudbath offerers (SPAS); 2D: House of Dana perfume (TABU); 3D: "By a swan's __ bill": Keats (EBON); 4D: Gave the runaround (ELUDED); 5D: Spins (ROTATES); 6D: Back (AGO); 7D: Throat trouble (FROG); 8D: Card worth a fortune? (TAROT); 12D: Declare (VOICE); 13D: Looks for (SEEKS); 18D: Menace with a blond cowlick (DENNIS); 22D: Schoolyard pressure (DARE); 24D: Stage surprise (AD LIB); 26D: Doofus (DORK); 27D: "__ Brockovich" (ERIN); 29D: Less fruity? (SANER); 33D: Wrap around a wrap, maybe (SARAN); 35D: Drop (OMIT); 36D: Identifies (PEGS); 38D: Googling elements (KEY WORDS); 40D: Net __ (INCOME); 43D: 8-Down user (SEER); 45D: Puts on a par (with) (EQUATES); 48D: Olympic qualifying events (TRIALS); 50D: Incomplete (UNDONE); 51D: Martin's "That's __" (AMORE); 52D: Staircase support (NEWEL); 53D: Its maker claims it won a blue ribbon in 1893 (PABST); 56D: Pack (LOAD); 58D: Trojan War hero (AJAX); 59D: Floating speck, perhaps (MOTE); 60D: Looks closely at (EYES); 63D: Some NFL linemen (DT'S).

Kamis, 28 April 2011

04.28 Thu

T H U R S D A Y
April 28, 2011
Jonathan Porat


Theme: Publishers Clearinghouse — Theme answers are made-up two-word phrases where each word is the name of a popular magazine.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Lawyer after too much coffee? (WIRED ESQUIRE).
  • 36A: A day at the spa? (GLAMOUR TIME).
  • 43A: George, Abe et al.? (MONEY PEOPLE).
  • 57A: Place to find both parts of 20-, 36- and 43-Across (MAGAZINE RACK).
I found the construction of today's puzzle pretty interesting. Once I figured out the theme I was all "meh." Pretty sure I've seen this one before and the theme answers themselves just weren't interesting enough to get me excited about it. WIRED ESQUIRE is amusing, but GLAMOUR TIME and MONEY PEOPLE are pretty blah. I can see where an attempt was made to jazz up the clue for MONEY PEOPLE a little and, well, I guess I appreciate the effort. So. How do you spice up a grid with a boring theme? Scrabbly letters, that's how. And wow. This grid is full of 'em. We've got Xs, Js, Qs, and Zs all over the place. Was that enough to make this puzzle interesting for you? I think I'm leaning more toward no, but I'm eager to hear what you all think.

Bullets:
  • 10A: 2004 Best Actor (FOXX). I still haven't seen "Ray." It's gotta be on Netflix, right? I need to put that one in my queue.
  • 15A: Rocker's place (PORCH). Ha! I know this is supposed to be deceptive (rocking chair v. rock-and-roll musician), but the picture that came to my mind was the Rolling Stones hanging out on the porch in rocking chairs. They're not exactly spring chickens any more is what I'm saying.
  • 24A: Came with (BROUGHT). Something about this seems a little off.
  • 28A: Bowie's scientist role in "The Prestige" (TESLA).


  • 32A: "I'm just __ boy, I need no sympathy": "Bohemian Rhapsody" (A POOR). If you want to quiz yourself on the rest of the lyrics, try this Sporcle quiz.
  • 48A: Ruby's spouse (OSSIE). Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.
  • 61A: Gertz of "Still Standing" (JAMI). I often get my Seinfeld actresses confused, but I'm pretty sure JAMI Gertz was the "I can't spare a square" girl. By the way, what kind of messed up way is that to spell a person's name? Reminds me of a conversation I had recently with my hairdresser, whose name is Mary. She told me that her whole name was "Mary Katherine." At least that's how it was spelled in my head when she told me. Then she goes, "With a C." In my head I'm all, "Okay, Catherine." Mary: "And a Y." Me "Alrighty then, Cathryn." Mary: "And and E on the end." Me: "Cathryne? WTF?!" She thinks her parents may have been drunk when they filled out her birth certificate.
  • 12D: MTV Generation member (X'ER). I can never remember which generation is which. I think it's because I fall right in between X and Y. Or maybe I'm a little too old to be an X, so I don't really fall in either X or Y? Basically, it's like I said: I can never remember.
  • 21D: Bit of sediment (DREG). Not crazy about the singular here, but I'm sure it's legit.
  • 26D: Geographical mnemonic (HOMES). The Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
  • 27D: Spring for, with "to" (TREAT). Somebody please splain this to me, because I don't see how these are equivalent at all.
  • 29D: Reaction to an offensive line, perhaps (SLAP). Not a football reference. (Speaking of which, do you all watch "Friday Night Lights"? Excellent, excellent show.)
  • 56D: Move furtively (SKULK). This is a great word. Best word in the grid.
Crosswordese 101: Today's Crosswordese 101 entry is more like Crosswordese 301, but I know you all are ready for that. There's not really much to learn about this entry — it's just one you have to know. Today's clue is typical — 47A: Pianist Claudio. Sometimes he's also described as Chilean, but that's pretty much the only variation. He's from Chile, he plays piano, his first name is Claudio, and his last name is ARRAU. Put that one in your back pocket, because you'll definitely need it again someday.

Other crosswordese in today's puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 42A: Draft status (ONE-A).
  • 66A: Israeli arms (UZIS).
  • 5D: '60s TV munchkin (OPIE).
  • 45D: Cork's location (EIRE).
  • 59D: Actress Skye (IONE).
  • 62D: Nitrogen-based dye (AZO).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Given by (FROM); 5A: Milton or Shelley (ODIST); 14A: __ lamp (LAVA); 16A: Top (APEX); 17A: Had too much (OD'ED); 18A: Comforting words (I CARE); 19A: Midas competitor (CAR-X); 23A: Military response (NO SIR); 33A: Bank worker that never takes time off (ATM); 39A: Snub, say (SHUN); 41A: First U.S. multimillionaire (ASTOR); 46A: Prime meridian std. (GST); 50A: Welcome site (DOORMAT); 53A: Onetime "SCTV" head writer Harold (RAMIS); 64A: Truth held to be self-evident (AXIOM); 65A: Roquefort hue (BLEU); 67A: Tubes on the table (PENNE); 68A: Gas or elec. (UTIL.); 69A: Olympic VIPs (GODS); 70A: Newark's county (ESSEX); 71A: Chilly and wet (DANK); 1D: Left the coop (FLOWN); 2D: Ham's medium (RADIO); 3D: Printing extras (OVERS); 4D: Is living the dream (MADE IT); 6D: MS Word output (DOCS); 7D: OPEC founding member (IRAQ); 8D: Cancel, slangily (SCRUB); 9D: "... over __ flock by night": Luke (THEIR); 10D: Deal with (FACE UP TO); 11D: __-Locka, Florida (OPA); 13D: Old designation for strong beer (XXX); 22D: Big engine sound (ROAR); 25D: __ concern (GOING); 30D: Zap (LASE); 31D: Recess riposte (AM TOO); 33D: Equally irate (AS MAD); 34D: Complete, briefly (THORO); 35D: Saki's real name (MUNRO); 37D: "My bad" ("OOPS"); 38D: Addresses with dots (URLS); 40D: "Phew!" evoker (NEAR MISS); 44D: Sunniest place on Earth, per Guinness (YUMA); 49D: iPod accessory (EARBUD); 51D: Like losers' faces after a buzzer-beating shot (AGAPE); 52D: April concern (TAXES); 54D: Island nation near Sicily (MALTA); 55D: Trap at the chalet (ICE IN); 58D: Some reds, briefly (ZINS); 60D: Roswell's st. (N. MEX.); 61D: Makeshift band instrument (JUG); 63D: Day's beginning? (MID-).

Rabu, 27 April 2011

04.27 Wed

W E D N E S D A Y
April 27, 2011
Victor Fleming


Theme: Black Tie Optional — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase ending in a word that can be part of a dress shirt.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: One of a pool table pair (SIDE POCKET).
  • 24A: Illegal football tackle involving grabbing the inside of the shoulder pads from behind or the side (HORSE COLLAR).
  • 36A: Album holders (RECORD SLEEVES).
  • 48A: Seafood entrée (LOBSTER TAIL).
  • 58A: Item featuring the ends of 17-, 24-, 36- and 48-Across (DRESS SHIRT).
Good morning, everybody! And big thanks to My Boys™: Doug, Seth, Sam and Neville. It was so nice to take a couple days off and know the blog was in good hands. I appreciate you guys!

It's still a little nuts around here because there are a few random moving details to take care of this week, but for the most part we're in our new house and it's awesome. This is gonna be a great house for us and I'm excited about being here. But, hey! Let's talk about the puzzle!

Today we have a very nice Wednesday offering from Judge Fleming. The theme wasn't immediately recognizable to me because I had to skip over the HORSE COLLAR theme entry, having no idea what that might be from the clue. I had the HO in place early and assumed the answer would start with HOLD, but that didn't last long. So I had SIDE POCKET and RECORD SLEEVES first, then jumped back up to the northeast and filled in HORSE COLLAR and by then the theme was clear. (Wait. Do dress shirts typically have tails? Discuss.)

Bullets:
  • 14A: Sex educator Hite (SHERE). I always have to think about how to spell her name. I can never remember how to spell SHERI/SHARI Lewis either.
  • 20A: Franken and Gore (ALS).


  • 29A: Trick (CON). Was it yesterday we had the PRO/CON puzzle? (I'm a little behind….)
  • 31A: Head, to Cécile (TÊTE). French!
  • 47A: Big name in stationery (EATON). Once, a long time ago, I commented that I always wanted the stationery answer to be CRANE and it never was. Amy took that opportunity to teach me that there are so many other ways to clue CRANE, it would never be clued as the stationery company. Good point!
  • 62A: Major-__ (DOMO). This was honestly the first thing that came to mind, but I didn't think it would be right. I don't even really know what this means. Something computer geeky. I remember seeing it back in the Usenet days. Or, what was the thing before Usenet? It had initials. A couple Rs maybe?
  • 64A: Part of SSS: Abbr. (SYST.). I don't have time to look it up, but I'm gonna say this stands for Selected Service SYSTem.
  • 1D: Battery partner (ASSAULT). I'm really bad at figuring out these types of clues. I always think about it the wrong way around. Like, I was thinking "Battery and _____" and wasn't coming up with anything. Obviously.
  • 3D: Voting map designation (RED STATE). This is a great entry.
  • 4D: Infuriation (IRE). Not thrilled about seeing both IRE and IRATE in the same grid (54A: Foaming at the mouth, so to speak).
  • 11D: Jacket features (LAPELS). Bonus non-theme theme answer!
  • 13D: Aristocracy (GENTRY). This made me chuckle. I hardly ever think of Vic Fleming without also thinking of his sometime collaborator, friend, and all-around lovely woman Bonnie GENTRY.
  • 25D: Where to study mathématiques (ÉCOLE). More French!
  • 32D: One walking in front of a train (BRIDE). Me: "Dumb-ass?"
  • 34D: Fashion monogram (YSL). Ya know what? I'm gonna count this as even more French!
  • 35D: Like "Nip/Tuck," rating-wise (TV-MA). Mature Audience? Again, that's just off the top of my head.
  • 38D: Humbly takes the blame (EATS DIRT). Raise your hand if you tried EATS CROW first.
  • 47D: Inventor Otis (ELISHA). Of elevator fame. Not to be confused with ELIHU Yale. I say that because I often confuse them. Well, I don't actually confuse them, I just forget which one of them has which first name.
  • 52D: AOL communications (IM'S). Instant Messages. Do people still use AOL? I guess they do.
  • 58D: Bridge installer's deg. (DDS). Ha! I went to the dentist yesterday. Nothing serious, just a regular old six-month check-up. I swear to God, though, while I was there I heard the song 63A: "HERE I Go Again": Whitesnake #1 song. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Stinging (ACRID); 6A: Texas Rangers CEO Nolan (RYAN); 10A: Go, as through mud (SLOG); 15A: Billion add-on (-AIRE); 16A: Hobbler's support (CANE); 19A: Take the stage first (OPEN); 21A: Old-fashioned wedding vow pronoun (THEE); 22A: Inhabited, with "in" (DWELT); 23A: Final: Abbr. (ULT.); 27A: Prevaricators (LIARS); 30A: Bond, for one (SPY); 32A: M16 attachment (BAYONET); 40A: Practiced with the platoon (DRILLED); 41A: When repeated, a food fish (MAHI); 46A: Citrus drink (ADE); 53A: Shipping lane milieu (SEA); (IRATE); 55A: Prefix with sphere (HEMI-); 56A: Sot's syndrome, briefly (DT'S); 57A: Moore of "Ghost" (DEMI); 65A: Part of a process (STEP); 66A: Starlike flower (ASTER); 2D: More in need of a sweater, say (CHILLIER); 5D: Ocean-bottom areas (DEPTHS); 6D: Indy entrant (RACER); 7D: "Uh-oh!" ("YIKES!"); 8D: "__ you for real?" (ARE); 9D: Court divider (NET); 10D: Displeased look (SCOWL); 12D: Quarter-mile, maybe (ONE LAP); 18D: "Gotcha!" ("OHO!"); 22D: Charity, e.g. (DONEE); 26D: Funnel-shaped (CONED); 28D: Stamp for an incoming pkg. (RECD.); 33D: Freud contemporary (ADLER); 37D: Get on the soapbox (ORATE); 39D: Shape-maintaining insert (SHOE TREE); 42D: Agitated (IN A STIR); 43D: Skips over in pronunciation (ELIDES); 44D: Extremely (SORELY); 45D: First family (OBAMAS); 49D: Clown heightener (STILT); 50D: Most crosswords have one (THEME); 51D: Fabulous fellow? (AESOP); 59D: Rubbish (ROT); 60D: "For __ a jolly ..." (HE'S).

Selasa, 26 April 2011

04.26 Tue

T U E S D A Y
April 26, 2011
Dave Sarpola



Theme: Pro & Con — Three two-word phrases. The first words start with PRO; the second words start with CON.

Theme Entries:
  • 17A: What an inflammatory statement is intended to do (PROVOKE CONFLICT).
  • 38A: What a restraining order is designed to do (PROHIBIT CONTACT).
  • 59A: What a band PR man is paid to do (PROMOTE CONCERTS).
  • 5D/61D: Both sides (and this puzzle's title) (PRO) and (CON).
Hey, puzzle fans. This is Doug again. PuzzleGirl will be back tomorrow, rain or shine. We (Seth, Sam, Neville, and I) love filling in for her, but we love reading her write-ups even more.

As far as I know, this is Mr. Sarpola's debut. Congratulations! I thought the theme was fresh. I can't recall seeing anything quite like this one before. Since the L.A. Times daily puzzles don't have titles, Mr. Sarpola had to fit PRO and CON into the grid somewhere to explain the theme. I like the way they're tucked into the corners. On the con side, PROVOKE CONFLICT & PROHIBIT CONTACT don't make me think happy thoughts. But we finish on a positive note with PROMOTE CONCERTS. Whaddya think? I'm running late, so let's get to the bullets.

Bullets:
  • 1A: Head covering (SCALP). This one grossed me out a little because I was thinking of answers like SCARF, BERET, DO-RAG, etc.
  • 16A: XIX x III (LVII). OK, I'm going to admit it. I don't mind a random Roman numeral from time to time. That said, I never do the Roman math problems. I let the crossing entries fill them in.
  • 36A: Lost film fish (NEMO). Cool. I've been waiting for NEMO to show up so I could post this video. (I'm sure PuzzleGirl is rolling her eyes right now.)

  • 46A: Meetings of lips (KISSES). That's an utterly unromantic clue for KISSES. I guess they don't want us getting too excited while solving a Tuesday puzzle.
  • 47A: Rodeo shouts (YEEHAWS). Love this entry.
  • 28D: __ Hopkins University (JOHNS). I can think of another way to clue JOHNS. (PuzzleGirl is rolling her eyes again.)
  • 8D: Ike's WWII command (E.T.O.). This is bit of familiar crosswordese that you can read about here: ETO. The initials stand for the European Theater of Operations in World War II. Its commander was General Dwight Eisenhower a.k.a. Ike a.k.a. DDE.
  • 9D: Author of muchas epístolas (SAN PABLO). Saint Paul, in español.
  • 39D: Bird that dines on stinging insects (BEE EATER). I hate bees, and I love bee eaters. Look at how cute that little guy is. That bumblebee is toast.
  • 58D: Personnel IDs (SSNS). I trust the readers of this blog, so I'm going to give you my Social Security Number: 078-05-1120. OK, it's not really mine. It used to belong to a lady named Hilda Schrader Whitcher. Back in the '30s, when Social Security cards were still a novelty, a New York wallet manufacturer decided to print up sample cards to insert in each of their wallets. Believe it or not, they used the actual card of one of the secretaries who worked there, Mrs. Whitcher. Thousands of people ended up adopting the number. By 1943, a reported 5,755 Americans were using Mrs. Whitcher's number as their own. For the whole story, check out snopes.com.

Senin, 25 April 2011

04.25 Mon

M O N D A Y
April 25, 2011
Jennifer Nutt



Theme: Getting Your Ears Lowered - Things that that get covered in Hairstyling 101.

Theme answers:
  • 16A: Near miss (CLOSE SHAVE).
  • 22A: Boxer's fit condition (FIGHTING TRIM).
  • 37A: Neckwear accessory (TIE CLIP).
  • 49A: Specially edited version of a film (DIRECTOR'S CUT).
  • 61A: Establishment where the ends of 16-, 22-, 37-and 49-Across take place (BARBER SHOP).
Good morning, puzzlers - Neville here, standing in with scissors in hand while PuzzleGirl finishes up her move. (Poor thing - she's without Internet at the moment!)

So we've got your BARBER SHOP basics in this puzzle - SHAVE, TRIM, CLIP and CUT. None of these is directly related to hair as clued, and that's nice to see. As someone always in search of the perfect CLOSE SHAVE, though, this one could be construed in a hair care fashion. I still like it a lot though, because it's a great entry, and a great theme overall.

I suppose the partner puzzle for this moves down the body a bit: PLUCKED STRINGS, WAX POETIC... erm, STEVE MCNAIR? This needs work - I'll leave the hair removal puzzles to Jennifer, I think.

Bullets:
  • 9A: "___, poor Yorick!": Hamlet (ALAS)... I knew him, Horatio:



    Yeeeeeeeah!
  • 15A. Tibetan spiritual master (LAMA). At the ACPT I was reminded of that gem by Ogden NASH (60A):
    The one-L lama,
    He's a priest.
    The two-L llama,
    He's a beast.
    And I would bet
    A silk pajama
    There isn't any
    Three-L lllama.
  • 25A: Texas city across the border from Ciudad Juárez (EL PASO). I hope you remembered Juárez from last Thursday's puzzle! Okay, enough blatant self-promotion.
  • 43A. It's younger than a yearling (FOAL) - not a MONTHLING.
  • 46 & 48A. Police action (RAID & ARREST). Hey, Jennifer - give it ARREST!
  • 54A. Regal pronouncement (EDICT). We've got a royal wedding coming up! I wish I had this Friday off.
  • 7D: Succeed in every way (HAVE IT ALL). Are the kids these days still listening to Jesse McCartney? I don't think this song is terrible:
  • 27D: Cut the peel from (PARE). With the P in position, I questioned if the answer could be PEEL, but that's not allowed.
  • 59D: Acme (APEX). see 27D above, but replace P with A.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • I don't think there's any real crosswordese in this puzzle? Think I missed something? Kvetch below!
  • Okay, on second thought, PG has deemed 21A. Glacial ridge (ARETE) as crosswordese in the past. Let's all remember it (and its classical meaning of excellence) from now on so we don't have to revisit this one. 
[I'm still not on it, but if you are, you should totally follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything else - To be updated!

Minggu, 24 April 2011

04.24 Sun (calendar)

S U N D A Y
April 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: "Easter Egg Hunt" — The word EGG is hidden throughout the grid.

Theme answers:

  • 11A: Beer bash (KEGGER).
  • 23A: Actress in "The Collector" (SAMANTHA EGGAR).
  • 34A: Cyborg portrayer (SCHWARZENEGGER).
  • 42A: Expecting, in England (PREGGERS).
  • 46A: Connecticut resident (NUTMEGGER).
  • 57A: Be unwanted (GO BEGGING).
  • 74A: Walking: slang (LEGGING IT).
  • 90A: German philosopher Martin (HEIDEGGER).
  • 94A: 1960s game-show regular (PEGGY CASS).
  • 104A: Swiss composer (ARTHUR HONEGGER).
  • 118A: Former editorial page editor of The Washington Post and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for Newsweek (MEG GREENFIELD).
  • 123A: Marley's music (REGGAE).
  • 3D: A.m. order (HAM AND EGGS).
  • 8D: Waffle-ad words (MY EGGO).
  • 12D: Deli drink (EGG CREAM).
  • 16D: Decent person (GOOD EGG).
  • 29D: Omelet need, often (THREE EGGS).
  • 48D: Moussaka need (EGGPLANT).
  • 52D: Savings (NEST EGGS).
  • 61D: Bomb (LAY AN EGG).
  • 75D: Zeroes (GOOSE EGGS).
  • 91D: Helicopters: slang (EGGBEATERS).
  • 105D: Audience missiles (RAW EGGS).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: AIn (AT HOME); 7A: Its main ingredient is ozone (SMOG); 15A: Stare at (OGLE); 19A: Sniggering MTV teen (BEAVIS); 20A: Covergirl Banks (TYRA); 21A: Where Pooh lives, Hundred ___ Wood (ACRE); 22A: Atlas line (ROAD); 25A: London stroller (PRAM); 26A: CD selection (SONG); 27A: Acted like acid (ATE); 28A: "Bed-In" participant of 1969 (ONO); 29A: "Little piggie" (TOE); 30A: Sidestep (DODGE); 31A: Candy shape (CANE); 33A: Arabian-tale avian (ROC); 38A: Sound: abbr. (AUD.); 39A: Mitchum or De Niro film (CAPE FEAR); 41A: Faucet brand (MOEN); 44A: Bard work (SONNET); 51A: Attach, in a way (PASTE ON); 53A: Fertilizer ingredients (NITERS); 55A: Doorknob freebie (SAMPLE); 56A: "Take this" ("HERE"); 59A: Mrs. Munster et al. (LILYS); 60A: Utah ski area (ALTA); 63A: "This ___ stickup!" (IS A); 65A: Bring back (RESTORE); 67A: "Right you ___" (ARE); 68A: Place for an egg roll (LAWN); 69A: Jet trackers in towers: abbr. (ATCS); 71A: Well-drawn character? (TOON); 72A: Bad mood (SNIT); 73A: Caustic stuff (LYE); 78A: Expressed (PUT); 79A: Greek letters (ETAS); 80A: Positive, as an attitude (CAN-DO); 83A: Turned up one's nose at (SNOOTED); 85A: Apple or berry lead-in (CRAN-); 87A: Marc of distinction (ANTONY); 89A: Suspicious, as a dog (GROWLY); 96A: Big Sur institute (ESALEN); 98A: Good for growing (ARABLE); 99A: Call's mate (BECK); 101A: Dirksen and Sloane (EVERETTS); 103A: Outback sight (EMU); 109A: "There once" follower (WAS); 110A: It stings (WASP); 111A: Metro city (PARIS); 112A: Some advice (DO'S); 113A: It may smear (INK); 114A: Took a rest or a test (SAT); 115A: Kool-Aid ad container (EWER); 116A: ___ accompli (FAIT); 124A: LSAT, for one (EXAM); 125A: Crowd noise? (BOOS); 126A: Batman's butler (ALFRED); 127A: Fast fliers, once (SST'S); 128A: Bert's role in Kansas, not Oz (ZEKE); 129A: Blyth and Sothern (ANNS); 130A: Okays (PASSES); 1D: Infomercial muscles (ABS); 2D: British East India Co. monopoly (TEA); 4D: Egg-shaped (OVATE); 5D: Silver container? (MINE); 6D: Founded: abbr. (EST.); 7D: Positions (STANCES); 9D: "... good witch ___ bad witch?" (OR A); 10D: Elongated fish (GAR); 11D: Gunshot sound, in the comics (KAPOW); 13D: Geologist's span (ERA); 14D: Sleep-clinic study (REM); 15D: Screen Bean (ORSON); 17D: "Tootsie" co-star (LANGE); 18D: Trimming tool (EDGER); 24D: Hula helper? (HOOP); 30D: Of canines? (DENTAL); 31D: Yokum family artist (CAPP); 32D: Halo (AURA); 33D: Scratching the ground, as chickens (RASORIAL); 34D: Grad-to-be (SENIOR); 35D: "Impossible!" ("CAN'T BE!"); 36D: Richie portrayer on "Happy Days" (RON); 37D: Chief Olympian (ZEUS); 39D: Language whence "pemmican" came (CREE); 40D: Hawaii's Hiram (FONG); 43D: Ira Allen's brother (ETHAN); 45D: Singer Travis (TRITT); 47D: Copyright year on "A Beautiful Mind" (MMI); 49D: City near Cleveland (ELYRIA); 50D: Turns to 000 (RESETS); 54D: Pry (SNOOP); 58D: Curmudgeon (GROUCH); 60D: Uppercase only, to eds. (ALL CAP); 62D: Double sawbuck (TWENTY); 64D: Doing easily (ACING); 66D: Implores (ENTREATS); 70D: Dozer's din (SNORE); 72D: ___ message (SEND A); 76D: "Long may ___" (IT WAVE); 77D: Penn pal (TELLER); 81D: "How is he?" addressee (DOC); 82D: Patronizing Greyhound, e.g. (ON A BUS); 84D: Colorist (DYER); 86D: Televises (AIRS); 88D: Belgian river (YSER); 92D: Shady group? (ELMS); 93D: Enlist again (RE-UP); 95D: MIT, e.g. (SCH.); 97D: Novelty (NEWNESS); 100D: Type of bear (KODIAK); 102D: Tolerate (TAKE); 104D: They mimic (APERS); 106D: Sundae, e.g. (TREAT); 107D: Employs (HIRES); 108D: Terse denial (NOT ME); 110D: Oliver Twist et al. (WAIFS); 113D: Pressing need? (IRON); 114D: Everglades location, in gazetteers (SFLA); 116D: Shriner topper (FEZ); 117D: Tree feller (AXE); 118D: George W.'s degree (MBA); 119D: Incite (EON); 120D: Tot's break (NAP); 121D: Spider-Man's creator (LEE); 122D: License to drill?: abbr. (DDS).

04.24 Sunday

S U N D A Y
April 24, 2011
David Blake


[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: "At Your Convenience" — The letters "AT" are added to familiar phrases to make wacky entries.

Theme Entries:
  • 22A: South-of-the-border political assent? (SI SI, SENATOR).
  • 36A: Knockoffs of "Woman With a Hat"? (NEAR MATISSES).
  • 43A: Where to excavate perfume? (ATTAR PITS).
  • 57A: The first glossy fabric? (ORIGINAL SATIN).
  • 87A: Dishonest Yankees? (BRONX CHEATERS).
  • 101A: A lifetime at the North Pole? (SANTA FATE).
  • 108A: Feature of a mad scientist's machine? (MUTATE BUTTON).
  • 122A: "Wrestling" maneuver? (THUMB ATTACK).
  • 3D: Food evaluation measure? (NOSE RATING).
  • 83D: Amusement park for fans of flowing music? (LEGATO LAND).
Hey, puzzle fans. Doug here in my usual Sunday slot. Happy Easter! Thanks to SethG and PuzzleHunk for filling in over the past couple of days. PuzzleGirl might be back tomorrow. Tune in and find out. Oh, and it's her birthday today, so send her some nice wishes in the comments when she comes back.

I believe this is Mr. Blake's LA Times debut. Congratulations! Today's theme is very similar to last week's. Last Sunday, we added AV, and today we add AT. Lots of nice phrases in this bunch. I'm a Yankee fan, and I can think of a few BRONX CHEATERS. I also liked NEAR MATISSES, MUTATE BUTTON, and THUMB ATTACK. Did you know that thumb wrestling has professional and amateur varieties, just like real wrestling? I did a little Greco-Roman thumb wrestling when I was in college.

Bullets:
  • 19A: Jipijapa hat (PANAMA). Jipijapa is a palmlike plant from Central and South America, and its leaves are used to make Panama hats. In my high school Spanish class, each student had to "adopt" a Spanish-speaking county and learn all kinds of stuff about it to present in an oral report (in Spanish) at the end of the semester. I chose Panama, and in my report I said that their national anthem was written by Van Halen. I thought I'd get a laugh or a frown or something, but the teacher didn't even blink.

  • 29A: Amazonian predator (ANACONDA). I used to live near Anaconda, Montana. I always thought it was a cool name for a city. The founder wanted to call it Copperopolis, but that name was already taken.
  • 36A: Knockoffs of "Woman With a Hat"? (NEAR MATISSES). There's the "Woman With a Hat" over on the right. You'd think they could come up with a catchier title. I'd call it "Stop Staring at My Freaking Hat!"
  • 53A: "___ Rose": "The Music Man" quartet (LIDA). I've seen this entry a few times, and I can never remember it.
  • 90A: Not incl. (EXC). I'm guessing that EXC is an abbreviation for except. Ouch.
  • 131A: Slate, briefly (SKED). SKED is short for schedule, at least in crosswords.
  • 12D: Yoga pose (ASANA). I don't do yoga, so I don't know how common this words is among yoga devotees. And why do I want to put a tilde over the N?
  • Click on picture to enlarge and read
  • 28D: Three-time co-star of Fisher and Ford (HAMILL). Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill were all in the first three "Star Wars" movies. Or are they technically the last three? Not sure. I used to love "Star Wars," but the recent episodes give me a gigantic headache.
  • 85D: Nuts (SCREWY). Love this entry & it reminds me of Bugs Bunny. "So long, screwy! See ya in St. Louie!"
  • 87D: Four-time all-star catcher Santiago (BENITO). He was also the National League Rookie of the Year in 1987. Santiago was best known for throwing out would-be base stealers from his knees.
  • 118D: Needle case (ETUI). An odd bit of crosswordese that never seems to die. Not a great entry, but it has a goofy charm. And where else are you going to keep your needles?
Plug:

Now for a shameless plug. If you enjoy difficult themeless puzzles, please take a look at my Washington Post "Post Puzzler" that was published today. You can get it as a pdf or an Across Lite file. It's my debut "Post Puzzler," and I'm pretty excited about it. The puzzle is much harder than a typical Saturday L.A. Times puzzle, so be warned.

See you next Sunday if not sooner. Adios.

    Sabtu, 23 April 2011

    04.23 Saturday

    S A T U R D A Y
    April 23, 2011
    Michael Wiesenberg




    Greetings crossword fans! As PuzzleGirl and the rest of PuzzleFamily continue to move their Fortress of Solitude to a new, undisclosed location, the lineup of guest bloggers continues. I’m Sam Donaldson, a regular poster over on another crossword blog (there are other crossword blogs?), but for purposes of this blog I think I’ll be PuzzleHunk. ("Hunk of what," I suppose, remains to be determined.)

    It’s Saturday, so it must be time to roll up our sleeves for a challenging freestyle (nee themeless) puzzle, right? Oops, maybe not….


    Theme
    : "Dude, Who Took My E?" – You won’t find an E anywhere in the grid or even in the clues.

    Theme answers
    : Um, everything in this puzzle is a theme answer. So let’s just get down to the nitty-gritty.

    At first blush, one wouldn’t know this is a themed puzzle, as the 72/31 grid is pretty standard for freestyle crosswords (72/31 is my shorthand way of noting the number of answers and the number of black squares, respectively. Most freestyle puzzles have no more than 72 answers and fewer than 33 black squares, though of course there are exceptions.) But there’s a note that accompanies the puzzle: “
    Can you spot the unusual feature in this puzzle's clues and answers?” I confess I didn’t get the gimmick until well into the solve. Given the letter E is the most commonly used one in our alphabet, it’s not easy to make a fluid grid without one, and even tougher to write sensible clues. Did the Wiesenberg-Norris tandem pull it off well? You be the judge!

    For what it’s worth, my vote is an enthusiastic “yes.” There’s lots to like in this offering. Take the PUSSYCAT that’s ON LOAN TO the PIANO BAR in the northwest corner—it’s always nice when a triple stack provides not only juicy entries but a little story to boot. Alas, the story in the southeast (a CHIP SHOT on CATALINA lands in ASHTRAYS) isn’t as endearing, but the stack is still solid. Other interesting items include GOT OUT (64A. Quit), SAIL INTO (37D. Bawl out), AT A LOSS (7D. Stuck), AS OF NOW (25D. So far), and SLAM ON (3D., Apply strongly, as to start braking). On that last one, note that the clue would normally read along the lines of “Apply strongly, as brakes”—but that last word has the dreaded E, so it has to be re-written in a way that’s still accurate but not so awkward as to look strained. Since I didn’t notice it, I’d have to say it worked.

    I toyed with writing a review that contained no E’s, but when I couldn’t think of an elegant way to say this was a “themed” puzzle after about 30 seconds of thought, I just gave up and decided instead to marvel at this construction. If you force me to pick some nits in this review, I'll go with these: (1) it's a little awkward to have
    GO IN (30D. Antonym of withdraw) and GO SOFT (35A. Show sympathy toward, with "on") in the same grid (the added presence of GOT OUT just makes it that much more apparent); and (2) NINTHS (59A. Last innings) is a cumbersome plural. But I can look the other way on these points; given the construction constraints, you can color me impressed. Kudos both to Michael and Rich!

    Ammo
    (Oh wait, it’s usually “bullets,” isn’t it? My bad.):

    • 18A: ‘60s-‘70s Saudi King (FAISAL). His full name, Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, is consistent with the theme. Sheez, like it would have been soooo hard to get his full name into the puzzle! All you need is a 23x23 grid and you’re home free.


    • 22A: Woodworking slot (DADO). I understand Diddy sang the dirty ditty, “Dada Wants His Dado,” but I've never heard it. I think it’s about building a bookcase.
    And sex.

    • 28A: Civil rights activist Roy (INNIS). He was opposed by Outtis. (Look, people, when the jokes are free, you get your money’s worth.)


    • 32A: Just okay (NOT SO HOT). Your reaction to this writeup, perhaps?


    • 38A: Qom inhabitants (IRANIS). Merl Reagle’s favorite crossword entry! I think the clue was used just so you couldn’t say the theme was that the letter Q was missing throughout.


    54A: Soothing hot drink also known as Lucky Dragon (HYSON). I would have sworn "hyson" is what a mother said to her boy when he came home from school. You might think a drink called "Lucky Dragon" would contain firewater, but it's just a Chinese green tea.

    11D: Sports no-nos, informally ('ROIDS). That's short for steroids, which in turn make other things short. So I hear.

    35D: Young birds (GOSLINGS). Had it not been for the "no E" constraint, I'm sure the clue would have been [Ryan, et. al.].

    57D: Kin kin (KITH). What what? The the? F...ok, I'll stop there. Ken ken I know, but the kin kin was sure new to me. My dictionary defines kith as "one's friends and acquaintances." Now I suppose I have to use it in a sentence for it to sink in fully.

    That's all for today, my kith. Things return to form tomorrow when Doug pops in to talk about the Sunday puzzle. Thanks for reading this far, and enjoy the rest of your weekend. PuzzleHunk out!

    [Don’t follow PuzzleHunk on Twitter]

    Jumat, 22 April 2011

    04.22 Fri

    F R I D A Y
    April 22, 2011
    Scott Atkinson



    Whassuuuppp, my crossword peoples! SethG here today, filling in for PuzzleGirl and her mobile family. SethG is also mobile--I've been busy, so I'm a bit behind on my puzzles. This is the first newspaper puzzle I've done in almost two weeks, so if it turns out that the same theme ran elsewhere yesterday or something don't expect me to mention it. I'll catch up soon, and I'd bet this theme didn't run elsewhere yesterday.

    Theme: Spernooisms, aka THE OLD SWITCH ER OO — Theme answers switch the letters ER for OO in common phrases to make less common but wackier phrases.

    Theme answers:

    • 5D: The poop deck is a partial deck above a ship's main afterdeck. Below the beforedeck is the [Convicts' level on a prison ship?], the PERP DECK.
    • 11D: Vitus Jonassen Bering was the Danish explorer in the Russian Navy who discovered Alaska. The people who already lived there could see Russia from their igloos. They were less than enthralled, and they yodeled mean stuff at him or something. Anyway, that's why the [Narrow passage where catcalls are heard?] came to be known as The BOOING STRAIT.
    • 24D: A tattoo artist inks, while a TATTER ARTIST is a [Creative user of worn-out clothes?].
    • 41D: When you BOOT Bert LAHR, you [Evict a "Wizard of Oz" actor?].
    • 7D: Deceptive swap that literally resulted in 5-, 11-, 24- and 41-Down (THE OLD SWITCHEROO). This is 16 letters, which is why this puzzle is not a square.
    Short write-up today, because I've got to get back to being busy. Before I go, here's some
    Stuff:
    • 1A: (SHEEP) were Bo-Peep's [Victims of a storied loser]. She was una perdedora.

    • 10A: [Björn Ulvaeus's group] was ABBA. I assume "Ulvaeus" didn't help you much here. Swedish music!
    • 45A. 47A. Speaking of Alaskan passages, The ARCTIC is the [Northwest Passage ocean], the SOVIET was an [Old Russian council].
    • 66A. May, June, July, and August are the only months with no Rs in their names, and oysters apparently like cold. That's why [Like non-oyster months, traditionally] are R-LESS.
    • 38D. 38A. It's cute to cross a cross reference, so you get [See 38-Down] for 38-Across. But that's totally not enough reason to give a pass to CONV. CTRS. being [large pol. arenas]. Ugh.
    • Slate is an E-mag with EDS, birds that CAW would live in a Corvine, and KONG isn't a donkey, and the PEBBLE isn't fruity. Any questions?
    [Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]


    Kamis, 21 April 2011

    04.21 Thu

    T H U R S D A Y
    April 21, 2011
    Neville L. Fogarty



    Theme: OMG! One Masterful Grid — Three-letter "netspeak" abbreviations are used as the inspiration for theme entries that begin with the same three letters.

    Theme Entries:
    • 17A: Acquire incriminating info (on), as hinted by 19-Across (GET THE GOODS).
    • 19A: "I'm heading out," in netspeak (GTG).
    • 33A: Lament about a lost opportunity, as hinted by 32-Across (I MISSED OUT).
    • 32A: "Here's how I see it," in netspeak (IMO).
    • 38A: "Break time's over," as hinted by 41-Across (BACK TO WORK).
    • 41A: "Oh, and did I mention ...," in netspeak (BTW).
    • 56A: Charity for young alopecia sufferers, as hinted by 55-Across (LOCKS OF LOVE).
    • 55A: "That's too funny!" in netspeak (LOL).
    (The netspeak abbreviations stand for Got To Go, In My Opinion, By The Way, and Laughing Out Loud.)

    Hey, puzzle fans. Doug here today. If you follow the blog, you know that PuzzleGirl and her family are moving this weekend, and she's a little busier than usual. So you're going to have to put up with fill-in bloggers for the next few days. We'll do our best to keep things light and puzzly. (I hope PuzzleGirl's not checking up on me today, because the purple in my grid doesn't go with the blog color scheme. She'll think it clashes. Looks OK to me.)

    Fun puzzle from Neville Fogarty. The first thing I noticed was that the pattern of black squares in the grid was unusual. So I suspected that the theme was going to be out of the ordinary. Yep, Neville had to place a three-letter entry next to each of the long theme entries, and that explains the interesting grid design. I like the way it sort of looks like a whirlpool in the center.

    As for the theme itself, I liked that too. These new-fangled chat/text abbreviations the kids are using have been a boon for crossword constructors. We love new three-letter entries! I don't know which constructor was the first to put LOL or OMG into a grid, but the floodgates have been opened and there's no going back. Fifty years from now, people are still going to see LOL in their crosswords and they'll wonder what the heck "Texter's titter" means. Anyway, Neville made clever use of four common texting abbreviations today. And I thought the theme answers got better as I moved down the puzzle. GET THE GOODS is a little clunky without "on," but not horrible. I MISSED OUT is good. BACK TO WORK & LOCKS OF LOVE are excellent. I read an article in a local newspaper yesterday about a seven-year old girl who donated her knee-length hair to Locks of Love, so that entry jumped out at me. I'd donate my hair if I had any left.

    There's plenty of cool stuff in the rest of the grid, so let's get to it.

    Bullets:
    • 11A: Is for all? (ARE). "Are" is the plural form of "is." Hmmm, I'm not positive that "plural form" is the correct term, but you get the idea, right?
    • 23A: Pearl weights (CARATS). I wasn't sure whether this was going to be CARATS or KARATS. Then I remembered that carats are units of weight, and karats are units of purity (24k gold, e.g.). PuzzleGirl probably has a good mnemonic to help you remember that.
    • 25A: Stone's 14: Abbr. (LBS). A stone is equivalent to 14 pounds. They still use that measurement in the UK apparently. I heard that Kate Middleton weighs around eight stone (112 pounds) and she'd like to gain another stone before her big wedding. Sounds painful.
    • 62A: Turn right? (ORIENT). Great clue. If you turn someone the right way, you orient them. I have a horrible sense of direction, so I need a lot of orienting.
    • 65A: Large TV family (BRADYS). Nine of them, if you count Cousin Oliver.
    • 5D: Greets the visitors (JEERS). Clue of the day. My first thought was "Wow, that's rude." Then I figured it out. When you're at the ballpark, how do you greet the visiting team? With boos and hisses and jeers.
    • 23D: "Avatar" spec. effects (CGI). Short for computer-generated imagery.
    • 41D: Robin's way down (BATPOLE). Holy awesome entry, Neville! I've seen the Batmobile and the Batcave in puzzles before, but never the Batpole. I love it.

    • 44D: One taking a lot of notes (TELLER). Bank teller. Another super clue.
    • 54D: "Ohio" folk-rock quartet, initially (CSNY). Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. I just noticed that if you put an "I" in the middle, you get the TV show "CSI: NY." Trippy.
    • 43D: Bentley of "Ghost Rider" (WES). Ghost Rider might be my second favorite comic book character after Batman. Why? Because he's a flaming skeleton who rides a motorcycle. It doesn't get much cooler than that. I saw the "Ghost Rider" movie, and it....wasn't good. But it had scenes with a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle, so I feel I got my money's worth. Also, you could pretend that Nicolas Cage was actually on fire, and that was fun. All that said, I have no idea who Wes Bentley is.
    • 59A: Soccer mom's need (VAN). You also need one if you're moving. I really wish I lived near PuzzleGirl so I could help her move some furniture. Too bad I'm on the other side of the country. I'm heartbroken.
    PG has lined up some talented guest bloggers for Friday and Saturday. I'll see you all on Sunday. TTFN.

    Rabu, 20 April 2011

    04.20 Wed

    W E D N E S D A Y
    April 20, 2011
    Don Gagliardo & C. C. Burnikel


    Theme: Family Affair — Nicknames for family members are hidden within familiar phrases.

    Theme answers:

    • 21A: *Ages (FOREVER AND A DAY).
    • 29A: *Surgery prep area (SCRUB ROOM).
    • 39A: *"Aha!" (JUST AS I SUSPECTED).
    • 48A: *Bout with very big contestants (SUMO MATCH).
    • 59A: Groundbreaking sitcom, and a hint to four different three-letter words concealed by starred answers (ALL IN THE FAMILY).
    Today we have another nice puzzle from veteran Don Gagliardo and my crossword blogging colleague, C. C. Burnikel. As you may know, I'm kinda rushing this week, so let me just make a couple points about this theme and this grid and then we'll jump straight to bullets.

    For this kind of theme to avoid being completely boring, a couple things have to happen. First, you really want to start with sparkly theme phrases. In this case, SCRUB ROOM and SUMO MATCH seem a little bland, but FOREVER AND A DAY and JUST AS I SUSPECTED are completely awesome. Second, it's much more elegant for the "hidden" words to span multiple words in the theme phrases. If DAD were hidden in, say, CRAWDAD, well, that wouldn't be very impressive now would it? No, it would not. But starting with a fun phrase like FOREVER AND A DAY and then finding the hidden word breaking across three words is very nice. Even if you started with a fun theme answer like DADDY WARBUCKS, that would still be blah for two reasons: (1) the hidden word is found whole inside another word and (2) the hidden word and the clue for the hidden word have exactly the same meaning. The theme today is well done is what I'm saying.

    As for the fill, there are definitely some sparkly entries — STONER, MY HERO, WORF — but you sure hate to see an entry like AGI hanging out over there (47A: Form 1040 calc.), especially when that G could easily have been changed to an N. No, ANI crossing LENO isn't ideal fill, but if it allows you to get rid of AGI, I'm thinking you wanna take that risk.

    I'm gonna go ahead and put the Crosswordese 101 round-up right up front today. I know somebody is going to ask about ENS (26A: Minnesota twins?) which, if you've been following the blog for a while you know is a "literal letter" clue. So to you, gentle yet confused reader, here's your answer.

    Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
    • 25A: Old Olds creation (REO).
    • 26A: Minnesota twins? (ENS).
    • 7D: Banned apple spray (ALAR).
    • 42D: Thurman of "Kill Bill" (UMA).
    • 61D: Mythical archer (EROS).
    • 63D: River of Flanders (YSER).
    Bullets:
    • 1A: Berlin Olympics star (OWENS).
    • 17A: Pheasant ragout (SALMI). Wow. No idea. Is this a common thing that's just not in my sphere of knowledge?
    • 27A: Buff (FAN). Very tricky. With the AN in place, I plopped a T in there without thinking too much about it.
    • 45A: "Really __ ...": "Tears of a Clown" lyric (I'M SAD). Oh sure, why not?


    • 56A: Prefix with moron (OXY-). I can't hear the word OXYmoron without thinking of George Carlin who, I believe, was the very first host of SNL (64D: NBC hit since '75).
    • 66A: Live (EXIST). Another tricky clue depending on which pronunciation you chose to start with.
    • 9D: He who is without sin? (STONER). Ha!
    • 10D: Links gp. (USGA). I tried LPGA first.
    • 30D: Reine's spouse (ROI). French!
    • 40D: It usually includes crossed-off items (TASK LIST). Please tell me I'm not the only one who tried TO-DO LIST first.
    • 41D: Soccer star Freddy (ADU). Since I started working in real estate law, ADU means Affordable Dwelling Units to me.
    • 52D: Big hits (HOMERS). Another tricky clue. I was thinking music, not baseball.
    [Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

    Everything Else 6A: Test sites (LABS); 10A: Unexpected result (UPSET); 15A: "The King's Speech" Oscar winner Firth (COLIN); 16A: Touched down (ALIT); 18A: Far from fresh (TRITE); 19A: Snack in a shell (TACO); 20A: Garden figure (GNOME); 24A: Spelling on screen (TORI); 33A: Glob suffix (-ULE); 34A: Mack Sennett lawman (KOP); 35A: Hard-twisted cotton thread (LISLE); 46A: __ tai (MAI); 53A: Droid (BOT); 54A: Go on and on (YAK); 57A: He succeeded Boutros (KOFI); 64A: Arab big shot (SHEIK); 65A: Sleek, in car talk (AERO); 68A: Like the Vikings (NORSE); 69A: Fairway club (IRON); 70A: Religious practices (RITES); 71A: Led Zeppelin's "Whole __ Love" (LOTTA); 72A: At sea (LOST); 73A: Foam opener (STYRO-); 1D: Fall mo. (OCT.); 2D: Klingon officer in the "Star Trek" franchise (WORF); 3D: "The Untouchables" co-author, 1957 (ELIOT NESS); 4D: Powerful liquid, for short (NITRO); 5D: Derisive looks (SNEERS); 6D: Incurring a fine, maybe (LATE); 8D: Antacid choice, briefly (BICARB); 11D: Prevalent all over (PANDEMIC); 12D: Memorial __-Kettering: NYC hospital (SLOAN); 13D: Tube awards (EMMYS); 14D: Draw (TIE); 22D: VapoRub maker (VICKS); 23D: Durante's "Inka Dinka __" (DOO); 27D: Japan's highest mountain (FUJI); 28D: Grad (ALUM); 31D: FedEx rival (UPS); 32D: Bullring shout (OLÉ); 36D: Balance (STABILITY); 37D: Kids' block (LEGO); 38D: Do some cutting (EDIT); 43D: Used a stool (SAT); 44D: "__ card, any card" (PICK A); 49D: Many a Fed. holiday (MON.); 50D: Beefy stew ingredient (OXTAIL); 51D: "You saved me!" ("MY HERO!"); 54D: Shout of delight (YAHOO); 55D: All ears (ALERT); 58D: Handy "Mr." (FIX-IT); 60D: Swedish furniture chain (IKEA); 62D: Type type (FONT); 67D: Chicken general? (TSO).