May 31, 2009

Sunday May 31, 2009 Edward Sessa

Theme: Double Plays

23A: Munchkin femmes fatales?: WICKED LITTLE WOMEN (Wicked; Little Women)

36A: Workplace braggart?: COMPANY SHOWBOAT (Company; Showboat)

55A: Inferior pomade?: HAIR GREASE (Hair; Grease)

76A: Like sturdy chairs?: FANNY PROOF (Fanny; Proof)

95A: Standing ovation: TITANIC APPLAUSE (Titanic; Applause)

111A: Queen Henrietta's personal account of Cromwell's treachery?: OLIVER THE KING AND I (Oliver; The King and I)

16D: Jazz lovers on the Mississippi?: BIG RIVER CATS (Big Rivers; Cats)

61D: Detective usin' taps?: DANCIN SLEUTH (Dancin'; Sleuth)

Each theme answer contains two Broadway play names, hence "Double Plays". The below fills are play-related bonus fills:

66A: At the theater, perhaps: ON A DATE

1D: Curtain call response: BOW

25D: Lerner's partner: LOEWE

40D: One -__: uninterrupted play: ACT-ER

115D: Gershwin of Broadway: IRA

Hope Clear Ayes gets her internet connection back today. This puzzle is tailor-made for her. Just saw Gwyneth Paltrow's "Proof" the other night. Not my cup of tea.

When I googled earlier, some of the above theme answers are plays, some are musicals. What are the main differences between the two?

Quite a few tricky & fresh clues in today's puzzles. I was misdirected many times.

Across:

1A: The Tide: BAMA. Thought their nickname is the Crimson Tide.

5A: Fundamental: BASAL. Wrote down BASIS first. So my crossing answer is SET rather than LOT for 9D: Film studio site.

10A: Fly to fear: TSETSE. Better than "Dangerous fly" clue. Reminded me of Eric Jong's "Fear of Flying".

16A: __-Rhin: Strasbourg's department: BAS. Unknown to me. BAS-Rhin is French for "Lower Rhine". Haut-Rhin (Upper Rhine) lies in its south. But I can't find either in this Strasbourg map.

19A: Algerian seaport: ORAN. Thought Camus was born here. Wrong. He was born in Mondovi, Algeria. Yves Saint Laurent was born in ORAN.

20A: "Ooh, send me!": I'LL GO. I had trouble with many of the multiple words today.

21A: Blowhard's output: HOT AIR

22A: Peak overlooking Knossos: IDA. Mount IDA is the Greek "Mountain of Goddess". I had no idea where Knossos is.

27A: Baker Street transports: HANSOMS. Stumped. Knew the Sherlock Holmes connection., but I could not come up with HANSOMS.

29A: Closed the gap on: NEARED

31A: HBO alternative: SHO

33A: Slip into: DON. D'oh, clothes. I was in the wrong direction.

34D: Off! ingredient: DEET

35A: Dish sometimes served with wasabi: SASHIMI. "Sometimes"? All times for me. I've never had SASHIMI without wasabi.

41A: Last Hebrew letter: TAV. The first is aleph.

42A: No longer an item: APART. Good clue too.

43A: Pulitzer poet Marianne: MOORE. Completely stranger to me.

44A: Crosby and Como: CROONERS. Nice C, C & C.

48A: Prong: TINE

49A: Rewards for playing well: ESPYS. The sports awards.

52A: Little bit: DROP

58A: __anglais: English horn: COR. It's neither English nor horn. COR is French for "horn".

59A: Cocktails with triple sec: SIDECARS. No idea. I don't know what a "triple sec" is either.

63A: Frequent morning surprise: ALARM. Not the surprise I have in mind.

64A: Slithering: SNAKY

69A: 20-20 observation: IT'S A TIE. Nice clue. My mind wandered off to 20/20 vision.

71A: Gold digger: MINER. I liked this clue too. Thought of Kanye West's "Gold Digger".

72A: Country singer Haggard: MERLE

74A: Busch partner: ANHEUSER

75A: "Yadda yadda yadda": Abbr.: ETC. "Seinfeld".

80A: Grasshopper's antithesis, in a fable: ANT. Aesop fable.

81A: Reformer Jacob: RIIS. Reformer of what?

83A: Drones, e.g.: MALES. Male bees. I was thinking of airplanes.

84A: Result of an egg-toss miss: SPLAT

86A: Dots on la carte: ILES. Carte is French for "map".

90A: Clementi work: SONATINA. A short sonata. I was stumped. Wikipedia says the Italian musician Muzio Clementi is famous for his piano sonatas and SONATINAS.

92A: "Nature's soft nurse" to Shakespeare: SLEEP. No idea.

93A: Conductor's aid: SCORE

99A: Little Dipper star: POLARIS. The North Star.

102A: Charles II's royal architect: WREN (Christopher). I forgot. Googled him before. Wikipedia says he designed 55 of 87 London churches after the Great fire of London in 1666, including St. Paul's Cathedral in 1710.

103A: Golden age, e.g.: ERA. Why "age" is not capitalized?

104A: H.S. dropout's goals: GED

105A: '40s-'50s Marshall Islands trials: A-TESTS. I thought they were conducted at Bikini Atoll.

107D: Domed hall: ROTUNDA

110A: VW predecessors?: STU. Alphabet STUVW.

116A: Peewee: TOT

117A: Hoity-toity: LA-DI-DA

118A: Milk a scene: EMOTE

119A: Row in a bowl: TIER. Bowl game.

120A: Lenten symbol: ASH

121A: Be a big brother to: ASSIST

122A: Rib shots: POKES. Had trouble understanding the clue.

123A: On the main: ASEA

Down:

2D: D-backs, on scoreboards: ARI. Arizona Diamondbacks. They won World Series the first year I came to the US (2001).

3D: 1978 Village People hit: MACHO MAN. Not a familiar song to me.

4D: "My Way" songwriter: ANKA (Paul)

5D: Competes to buy: BIDS ON. As on Ebay.

6D: Ghostwriters' noms de plume, say: ALLONYMS. New word to me. How is it different from pseudonym?

7D: Like a big loser?: SLIM. Lose weight. Nice clue.

8D: Ticket sellers: Abbr.: AGTS. Had trouble with this answer also.

10D: Home shopping network?: THE WEB

11D: Site of a 1976 anti-apartheid uprising: SOWETO. Have never heard of SOWETO Uprising. Thought it's in Johannesburg.

12D: School since 1440: ETON. This has become a gimme.

13D: Angus' topper: TAM. Angus county in Scotland. I was thinking of the beef.

14A: Tuscan hill town: SIENA. So close to the "Earthy color" SIENNA. One less letter N.

15D: Che, really: ERNESTO. Che Guervara.

17D: Relevant, in law: AD REM. Escaped my mind also.

18D: Tony-winning Manhattan restaurateur: SARDI. I don't get this clue. I know the award name Tony was coined in the Sardi's. Did Vincent SARDI win a Tony Award also?

24D: Finish by: END AT

31D: Satchmo's singing style: SCAT

32D: Southwestern pottery maker: HOPI. Beautiful olla.

34D: Back: Pref.: DORSI. Forgot. It appeared in our puzzle several months ago.

35D: Arrive en masse: STREAM IN

37D: Go ahead of: PRECEDE

38D: Former frosh: SOPHS. Why the clue is singular?

39D: Georgetown player: HOYA

45D: Switch positions: ONS. ON/Off.

46D: Raw recruit: ROOKIE

47D: Lighter on one's foot: SPRYER. I like this clue.

49D: "L'___, c'est moi": Louis XIV: ETAT. Oh boy, where did I get "Le roi, c'est moi" quote?

51D: Pledging site: FRAT

54D: Accessory for an old-time flying ace: SCARF. How come?

57D: City on the Ruhr: ESSEN

59D: Suzanne of "Step by Step": SOMERS. Know Suzanne SOMERS. Have never heard of the TV series "Step by Step".

60D: Ab __: from the beginning: INITIO. Hope I can remember it next time.

62D: Money-saving carpeting choices: REMNANTS. Ha ha, I did not know there is a special term for those carpets.

65D: Big name in beachwear: NAUTICA. Nope. Not a beach person. I like her shirt.

67D: Actress Soleil Moon __: FRYE. New name to me also. Great name, Soleil Moon.

68D: Yodeler's range: ALPS. Mountain range.

70D: At __: nevertheless: THAT. At THAT is a new idiom to me.

73D: Zhou of China: ENLAI. Our first premier.

74D: Wouldn't hurt __: A FLEA. I thought it's "Wouldn't hurt a fly".

77D: Bordeaux buddy: AMI. Alliteration again.

78D: "Hold Me" Grammy winner: OSLIN. Here is the song.

79D: Cartel acronym: OPEC

82D: Casa areas: SALAS

85D: Desire: APPETITE. Oh, desire for food.

87D: Four-time Olympic diving gold medalist: LOUGANIS. No idea. Wikipedia says Greg LOUGANIS won two gold in 1984 and two in 1988.

88D: Gaelic tongue: ERSE

89D: Tourney ranking: SEED

91D: Largest of the British Virgin Islands: TORTOLA. See this map. Completely foreign to me.

92D: Hägar's dog: SNERT. Learned from doing Xword. I don't read the comic strips.

93D: Subject for Eric Partridge: SLANG. I did not know who Eric Partridge is. Wikipedia says he was a noted New Zealand/British lexicographer of the English language, particularly of its SLANG.

96D: Suit fabrics: TWEEDS. SERGE is "Suit fabric" too.

97D: Landfall for Noah: ARARAT

98D: Lops and tops: PRUNES. Nice rhymes.

99D: Elbows, maybe: PASTA. Elbow pasta. I was fooled.

100D: Four Holy Roman emperors: OTTOS

101D: __ Malvinas: the Falklands: ISLAS. Got it from Across fills. I don't know where ISLAS Malvinas is. Oh, I see, different name origins, hence Spanish Malvinas and English Falklands.

106D: Half of MXIV: DVII. Half of 1,014=507.

107D: San __, Italy: REMO

108D: "All right, already!": OK OK

109D: Base material?: DATA. Why?

113D: In the know: HEP. Wrote down HIP first.

114D: Mark to improve: DEE. Was thinking of a verb.

Answer grid.

C.C.

May 30, 2009

Saturday May 30, 2009 Robert H. Wolfe

Theme: None

Total blocks: 36

Total words: 72

Of all the 24 Robert H. Wolfe puzzles I've blogged, most are late-week puzzles, several are Sundays. Interesting background, veterinarian.

I liked the three grid-spinning Across fills:

17A: "Maybe I can help?": WHAT'S THE PROBLEM

37A: "Now we're getting somewhere": THAT'S MORE LIKE IT

56A: Statement of intolerance: I WON'T STAND FOR IT

I also liked the sequential clue order of F-STOP (23D: Photo setting) and OPS (24D: Photo finishes?). My favorite clue today is DEM (13D: Party people: Abbr.). Brought to mind the infamous Harold Ford for Senator attack ad. "I met Harold at a Playboy party... Harold, call me!". Ford is a DEM.

I don't get SEE FIT (60A: Decide is best) though. Can you explain to me the clue? The grammar confuses me.

Across:

1A: Begins energetically: WADES IN

8A: Went up: SCALED. Why? I've only heard of "scale down". Thought of SPIKED.

16A: Boom: THRIVE

19A: Philippine bread: PESO. Had no idea that PESO is a currency in the Philippines. Wanted NAAN, thinking maybe the Indian bread is enjoyed there too.

20A: Common opening: DEAR SIRS

21A: French possessive: SES. His/her/its.

22A: Add more brown to, say: REDYE

23A: Cat's pajamas?: FUR. Cute.

24A: Where the 'eart is?: 'OME. Home is where the heart is. letter H is dropped in Cockney accent.

26A: Reckon, rurally: S'POSE. Big stumper.

31A: Removed, in a way: SCRAPED OFF

36A: Jobs for underwriters, briefly: IPOS. And ARBS ( 10D: Wall St. hedgers).

39A: Farm drier: OAST. I thought OAST is used for brewery only.

40A: Soft drink order: EXTRA LARGE. Had trouble obtaining this answer. Might have gotten it if it were clued as egg-related.

41A: "Bah!": PSHAW. I always say "Shoot".

43A: Caesar's tax form?: MXL. 1040. Great clue.

45A: Levi's "Christ Stopped at __": EBOLI. See the book cover. So close to E COLI.

49A: Suffix with amyl: ASE. I am used to "Enzyme ending" clue. Amylase is a kind of enzymes too, says the dictionary. Hopefully I will remember it next time.

50A: Try to get in the running: NOMINATE

54A: "Thanks, __": "Are you hungry?" response: I ATE

61A: Commonly receding boundary: HAIRLINE

63A: Words from one closing a door, perhaps: TOO LATE

Down:

2D: "That's the spot": AAH. Ah, massage.

3D: More frequent changes reduce its likelihood: DIAPER RASH. Have never changed a diaper in my life.

4D: Major followers? ETTES. Majorettes.

6D: Comparison words: IS TO

7D: Book before Esth.: NEH. After Ezra.

8D: Prospective adoptee: STRAY

9D: Tasks: CHORES

11D: 1953 Caron film: LILI. "1958 Caron film" would be GIGI.

18D: Walker, briefly: PED (Pedestrian)

21D: For example: SUCH AS

22D: Electron transfer process, often: REDOX. RED(duction) + OX(idation). Unknown to me. I actually misread the clue as "Electric transfer process".

25D: Kid's enthusiastic "I do!": ME, ME

27D: Burrowing rabbitlike mammal: PIKA. Not familiar with this rabbit at all.

28D: Style of Mozart's "Idomeneo": OPERA SERIA. No idea. It's Italian for serious drama. Opposite "opera buffa", the comic drama.

29D: Elegantly done: SOIGNE. Cary Grant had the SOIGNE charm.

30D: Colorado's __ Park: ESTES. Not named after Senator Kevauver, often clued as "Adlai's running mate".

32D: Kofi __ Annan: ATTA. No idea. It means "Twin" in his native language. Annan has a twin brother. They share the middle name.

33D: Boxer's scrap: ORT

34D: Atom-splitting Novelist: FERMI (Enrico). I forgot his name again. He won Nobel Physics in 1938.

38D: Bugged?: ILL. D'oh, I was picturing wiretapping.

42D: Entered: WENT IN. Wanted CAME IN.

47D: Six-time N.L. home run champ: OTT. I like clues with trivia. Mel OTT had a total 511 home runs.

48D: Wife of Jacob: LEAH. Rachel is his other wife.

49D: Lagoon border: ATOLL. Bikini ATOLL is probably the most famous one.

50D: Not final, in law: NISI. Decree NISI. I forgot again.

51D: "Closer" Oscar nominee Clive __: OWEN. "Closer" is one of my favorite movies. Love should not be that complicated though.

52D: Bubbly brand: MOET. The champagne: Moët et Chandon.

53D: Dope: INFO. I was in drug direction.

54D: Personal: Pref: IDIO. Thought it's a "peculiar" prefix, as in idiosyncrasy.

55D: Do to pick: AFRO. I understand hairdo, why "to pick"?

57D: Washington MLBer: NAT. Nationals. The former Expos. They moved in Washington in 2005. Twins used to be based in Washington (Senators).

58D: Money pd. for use of money: INT

59D: Athletic supporter?: TEE. I suppose it could be for football and golf. Tricky clue.

Answer grid.

C.C.

May 29, 2009

Friday May 29, 2009 Dan Naddor

Theme: I Like "U" (I U)

17A: Flared garb for Tarzan: JUNGLE BELLS (Jingle Bells)

24A: Manage to provide morning refreshment?: MUSTER COFFEE (Mister Coffee)

37A: Scarf makers?: BOA CONSTRUCTORS (Boa Constrictors)

46A: Wrinkle on a dessert topper?: CHERRY PUCKER (Cherry Picker)

57A: Wolves full of themselves?: BLUSTER PACK (Blister Pack)

Why BELLS for "Flared garb"? I don't understand the connection. My favorite theme entry is BLUSTER PACK. I've been opening so many Blister Packs of baseball cards. And it also reminded me of Kim Jong-il and his blustering brinkmanship. Insane!

Typical Dan Naddor puzzle. Lots of theme squares (61). There are also four noticeable 10-letter long Down entries intersecting three of the theme entries:

11D: 1989 Daniel Day-Lewis film: MY LEFT FOOT. Wikipedia shows that the film won several Oscars. I've never seen it.

12D: One putting on a show: IMPRESARIO

27D: Cutting-edge farm parts: PLOWSHARES. Gimme for Windhover. But it's a new word to me. PLOWSHARE does not sound "cutting-edge" at all, PLOWSHARP does.

28D: It's hoisted on ice annually: STANLEY CUP. Nice, timely fill.

Quite a few clever clues. My favorite is BLTS (30A: Alphabetical orders?). I got B & S in position, then I filled in BCDS immediately, completely ignoring the question mark in the clue.

Across:

1A: Debacle: FIASCO. I've got no interest to read the sequel to "FIASCO".

7A: Fish used in sashimi: OPAH. Holy moley! I love sashimi, but I've never had OPAH. Wanted TUNA.

11A: "Good Will Hunting" setting, briefly: MIT. Great movie. The setting for Kevin Spacey's "21" is also MIT.

14A: Racket: UPROAR

15A: Denpasar is its capital: BALI. I had to check my dictionary to see where Denpasar is.

16A: Sumac from South America: YMA. From Peru. Her name means "Beautiful flower".

19A: Old platters: LPS

20A: First woman to land a triple axel in competition: ITO (Midori). Interesting trivia.

21A: Crumb: LOUSE. Did not know crumb is a slang for "worthless person". Was thinking of bread crumb.

22A: Levels: TIERS

26A: Orbital point: APSIS. Thought of APOGEE first.

29A: Keisters: PRATS. Both are new slang to me.

31A: Mogadishu native: SOMALI. The only SOMALI I know is Iman, wife to David Bowie.

35A: Actress Wray: FAY. Stranger to me. Wikipidia says FAY Wray is the first ever scream queen, originating from her appearances in the 1932 film "Doctor X" and the 1933 film "King Kong".

40A: Wheat beard: AWN. Fun clue. It reads like "Wheat bread".

41A: Short stops: PAUSES. Another great clue. Made me think of baseball's shortstop.

42A: Silk, in St. Étienne: SOIE. And TASSE (13D: Café cup). Alliteration in both clues.

43A: Finely contoured: SLEEK. I like the sequential clue order of 42 "Silk..."and then 43 "Finely contoured".

45A: Ulan __: BATOR. Ulan BATOR is literally "Red Hero". Russia's Ulan Ude is "Red Uda".

51A: Clapton hit that won the 1992 Best Rock Song Grammy: LAYLA. Here is the song clip. It's about Pattie Boyd, then wife of George Harrison.

52A: Off-the-wall piece on the wall: OP ART. Excellent clue.

53A: Humanities degs.: BAS

56A: Tolkien creature: ORC

60A: Modern, in Mannheim: NEU. Same pronunciation as our "new", Kazie? What is German for "old"?

61A: Tales and such: LORE

63A: Sixth of five?: ESP. The Sixth Sense. Stumped me.

64A: Odessa-to-Waco direction: EAST. I like this new cluing.

65A: Lacing air: EYELET

Down:

1D: Big film maker: FUJI. Also the highest mountain in Japan. And of course, FUJI apples.

2D: "__ a Spell on You": 1957 Screamin' Jay Hawkins song: I PUT. Here is the song. I wanted CAST.

3D: Florentine flower?: ARNO. River flows, hence flow-er.

4D: Soak, in British dialect: SOG. No idea. Thought of RET, which is often clued as "Soak flax".

5D: "We want to hear from you": CALL US. Nailed it immediately. But when I looked at my finished grid, I kept seeing CALLUS.

6D: Ingredients in a McFlurry, perhaps: OREOS. Stumped. I've never had McFlurry.

8D: Not so bright: PALER. As in color?

10D: Memorable: HISTORIC

18D: "Despite what I just said ...": BUT

23D: "__ tree falls ...": IF A. "IF A tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?".

25D: Not quite a B: C PLUS

31D: Serpentine: SNAKY

32D: Home of the NCAA's Buckeyes: OSU (Ohio State University). Just learned that Jack Nicklaus attended OSU.

33D: Whitney et al.: Abbr.: MTS. Thought of ELI Whitney first.

36D: River to the North Sea: YSER

38D: In working order: OPERABLE

39D: 1917 abdicator: TSAR

44D: Goethe's "The __-King": ERL. Gimmie after yesterday's Schubert's "The ____-King" clue. So, the boy is indeed fevered and hallucinating about the ERL-King?

46D: Knockoff: CLONE

47D: Falls heavily: POURS. D'oh, rain!

48D: Discomfit: UPSET

49D: Ailurophobe's dread: CAT. Had to check the dictionary for ailurophobe.

50D: Last word in a doughnuts: KREME. Krispy KREME. Not a fan of doughnuts. I wrote down EAT ME first.

54D: Teen breakout?: ACNE. Got it immediately. Saw identical clue somewhere before.

55D: Game with no card lower than seven: SKAT

58D: Mauna __: LOA. Hope to see the full MAUNA LOA in a grid someday.

Answer grid.

C.C.

May 28, 2009

Thursday May 28, 2009 Tom Heilman

Theme: HYPOCRITE (62A: Insincere type suggested by the starts of the answers to starred clues)

17A: *Hack's output: POTBOILER

21A: *Canceling: CALLING OFF

26A: *Idealized family: THE JONESES

48A: *Pitched percussion instrument: KETTLE DRUM

56A: *Sorcery: BLACK MAGIC

In Chinese, we have an idiom similar to POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK: Crow laughing at the pig for being black.

I always thought THE JONESES simply means your neighbor, not necessarily an "idealized family". I got the defining entry HYPOCRITE first, then worked my way up, thinking the starts of the starred theme clues might synonyms to HYPOCRITE. Quite an inventive theme approach.

Besides KETTLE DRUM, there are several other music/musician/musical instrument related fills:

1A: Item of concern in a sound check: AMP

1D: "Spanish Flea" trumpeter: ALPERT (Herb). The guy in the middle?

15D: Schubert's "The __ King": ERL. Completely unknown to me. Here is a short plot summary.

18D: Instruments for Earl Scruggs: BANJOS

I don't think question mark is needed for NITRO (19A: TNT component?). The ? made me think of DRAMA, you know, TNT's "We know drama".

Across:

4A: Height: Pref.: ACRO. As in acrophobia. It appeared in our puzzle before, but I forgot. Wanted ALTI or ELEV, which are actually "Height: Abbr.".

8A: Part of a diploma accolade: MAGNA. MAGNA cum laude.

13A: John, to Ringo: LOO. John is slang for bathroom. Can't fool me.

20A: Film feline: ELSA. From "Born Free".

23A: Umbrella alternative: RAIN HAT

25A: Summer blowers: FANS

29A: Baseball feature: SEAMS. See this official Major League Rawlings baseball, with the commissioner's signature. That's Bud Selig.

33A: Hammer, for one: TOOL. Thought of Tom DeLay, "The Hammer".

36A: Analyze in English class: PARSE

39A: Groan inducer: PUN

40A: Where alpaca roam: ANDES. Which one is alpaca? I don't know how it looks differently from a llama.

42A: Org. concerned with climate change: EPA

43A: "Dang": DARN. Don't like the clue.

45A: U.S. document issuer: GPO (Government Printing Office). I was stumped.

53A: Enthusiastic okay, in Seville: SI SI. Shi Shi in Chinese.

55A: The first requirement: RULE ONE. Not RULE NUMBER ONE?

60A: Arguing: AT IT. Stop Arguing/Bickering! Clue me.

61A: "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding" author: LOCKE (John). Easy guess. Have never heard of this essay.

64A: Sprain site: ANKLE. Ouch!

66A: Fascist leader?: NEO. Neo-fascist. Nice clue.

Down:

2D: Dough: MOOLAH. I used to confuse this word with mullah.

3D: "Happy Days" friend of Richie and Ralph: POTSIE. No idea. Thought of Fonzie, the guy who jumped the shark. Which one is POTSIE?

4D: __ Z: A TO

5D: Mexican-American: CHICANO. This is a new word to me.

6D: Empathize: RELATE

7D: Sports commentator Hershiser: OREL. Often clued as "Pitcher Hershiser".

8D: Heavenly fare: MANNA

9D: Associates (with): ALIGNS

10D: Deteriorate: GO TO SEED. New phrase to me.

11D: Ball used for dorm hoops: NERF

12D: Beginning: AS OF. I nailed almost all the multiple word answers today.

22D: "Granting that ...": IF SO. Can you give me an example on how these two are interchangeable?

27D: Slow the growth of: STUNT

28D: Very long interval: EON

30D: Live and breathe: ARE. Need your help again. I don't understand this cluing. The grammar is confusing.

31D: Woolf's "__ Dalloway": MRS. I learned this book from "The Hours".

34D: Collar extension: LAPEL

38D: Searches thoroughly: RANSACKS

39D: Season opener?: PRE. Preseason. A home-run clue. Nice!

41D: Loving refusal: NO DEAR. I like YES DEAR.

44D: Actor Tamiroff: AKIM. Hebrew for "God will establish". I can never remember his name.

45D: Important energy source for the brain: GLUCOSE. Thought of Fructose first. I figured my brain loves quick sugar from fruits.

47D: Amuse: TICKLE

49D: Shooter's aid: TRIPOD. And SKEET (54D: Shooter's sport). Nice pair.

51D: Merges: UNITES

52D: Earth threat in some sci-fi films: METEOR

56D: Tell: BLAB

59D: Pita sandwich: GYRO. Here is a GYRO sandwich with some ROTINI (50D: Spiral pasta) salad. What's your favorite pasta?

63D: These, in Troyes: CES. French for "these". I don't know where exactly Troyes is. It's picked just for alliteration purpose I suppose.

Answer grid.

C.C.

Poll Result

Pool Question: What's Your Favorite Puzzle Theme?

Total replies: 181

Words that precede/follows: 6 (3%)

Synonym/rhyming: 8 (4%)

Hidden words (split into several parts): 4 (2%)

Clue related: 39 (21%)

Other word manipulation (drop/add letters): 5 (2%)

Quip/Quote: 8 (4%)

Holiday or other special event puzzle: 22 (12%)

Rebus: 3 (1%)

I prefer themeless: 19 (10%)

I don't really care: 32 (17%)

Thanks for the participation.

C.C.

May 27, 2009

Wednesday May 27, 2009 Doug Peterson

Theme: Dog-tired

20A: Journalists with specialties: BEAT REPORTERS

33A: Washington Irving title setting: SLEEPY HOLLOW

41A: Dessert topping: WHIPPED CREAM

57A: Title place you "won't come back from," in a 1964 Jan & Dean hit: DEAD MAN'S CURVE

I'm exhausted!

I've never heard of Jan & Dean or their "DEAD MAN'S CURVE". BEAT REPORTERS and CITY DESK (38D: Local news department) brought to mind Watergate. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein started their investigative reporting from Washington Post's CITY DESK.

I am amazed by the expense scandals emerging from the British Parliament. Maybe Heather Brooke had a Deep Throat assisting her along the way as well. She should come back to the US and have a look at our own Congress.

Doug Peterson's Newsday Stumper is always hard. But his themed TMS Daily or LAT is just perfect for me. He likes to use 4 (sometimes 3) theme entries, and synonym theme is quite fascinating and educative, esp for a non-Native English speaker.

Across:

1A: Oil container: DRUM. Wanted TANK.

5A: Golden Arches pork sandwich: McRIB. Have never had McRIB. What's the white stuff? Doesn't look like onion.

14A: 2000s sitcom set in Texas: REBA. Could only think of "Dallas".

15A: Tabriz resident: IRANI. Tabriz is in northwest of Iran. Literally "causing heat to flow" in IRANI language.

16A: Three-sided sails: JIBS. Ah, now I see what a boom really is.

17A: Yankee nickname: A-ROD. He is rumored to be dating Kate Hudson. Madonna is history now.

19A: Sighed line: ALAS

23A: Sweden's neighbor across the Baltic: LATVIA. Its capital city is Riga.

24A: Holiday number: NOEL. "Number" here means song.

25A: Was holding: HAD. I did not get this one immediately. Nor did I get OWNS (36D: Just bought).

29A: IRS employee: AGT. Thought CPA first.

31A: Split: CLEAVE. Root word of cleavage. Disappointed? Well, that's THE cleavage of the election year.

36A: Sea predator: ORCA

39A: Rivière contents: EAU. Water is Shui in Chinese, as in Feng Shui, literally "water-wind".

40A: Chooser's first word: EENY. From "EENY, meeny, miney, mo"? Why racist?

46A: Spendable salary: NET PAY

47A: Bouncers check them: IDS. I misread it as "Bounced check" first. Nice clue.

48A: Sign of a smash: SRO (Standing Room Only). Smash hit. Another great clue.

52A: Green side: PEAS. Side dish. I thought of LEAS first.

55A: Sea surrounding Lemnos: AEGEAN. See this map. Lemnos is directly above the word AEGEAN Sea.

62A: Meir's successor: RABIN. He is succeeded by Begin during his first term.

63A: Eldly: AGED

65A: Damaged layer: OZONE. Damaged? Not damaging?

66A: Bath residue: RING. I was thinking of FOAM/SUDS.

67A: Beatle bride: YOKO. Nice to see YOKO rather than ONO.

68A: Nero at the piano: PETER. I forgot all about this pianist. By the way, what is exactly the instrument Nero was fiddling while Roman burned?

69A: Two gelcaps, e.g.: DOSE

Down:

1D: In a dreary: DRABLY

2D: Study, in a way: REREAD. "In a way", yes.

3D: WWII subs: U-BOATS

4D: Comedy show that once featured "Spy vs. Spy" cartoon: MADTV. No idea. I've never seen MADTV.

5D: Odometer reading: MILEAGE

6D: Cut short: CROP. D'oh, CROP the hair.

7D: Incriminate: RAT ON

8D: Lead-in: INTRO

9D: Gene therapist's field, briefly: BIOTECH. Easy guess. I don't know what a gene therapist does.

10D: Close to closed: AJAR. I like the clue. This puzzle is quite scrabbly.

11D: Sedimentary fuel source: OIL SHALE. I've vaguely heard of SHALE OIL, not OIL SHALE. Wish DRUM (1A: Oil container") were clued differently. Don't like the oil repetition.

12D: Org. with Heat and Thunder: NBA. Only know Miami Heat. Oklahoma City Thunder is new to me. Our Minnesota pro soccer team is called Thunder too.

21D: Muscat moolah: RIAL. Also the moolah in Iran and Yemen.

22D: Cockney greeting: 'ELLO. Letter H is dropped in Cockney accent.

26D: Mary Kay rival: AVON

27D: Damp at dawn: DEWY. These DEWY persimmons need frost to to be sweet.

32D: Type of sch.: ELEM

33D: Seven-time NFL Pro Bowler Warren: SAPP. Nope. Only know #4 Favre guy on his left. Is 99 the highest jersey number in NFL?

37D: Flightless bird: RHEA. Do you know RHEA only has three toes? Ostrich has only two.

43D: Bit of ocular irrigation: EYE DROP

44D: "Lou Grant" star: ED ASNER

45D: "Just __!": A SEC. Repeat offender.

48D: Brasil '66 bandleader Mendes: SERGIO. No idea. The only Mendes I know is Eva Mendes.

49D: Croaking birds: RAVENS

50D: Jumpy: ON EDGE

54D: Dutch shoe: SABOT. Like these?

56D: Keep safe: GUARD

58D: Really big show: EXPO

59D: Musical inspired by Fellini's "8 1/2": NINE. Completely unknown to me. Where is the other 1/2?

60D: Cook with a skillet: FRY. I only use skillet to stir-fry.

61D: Thai language: LAO. LAO is spoken in northern Thailand.

Answer grid.

C.C.

PS: Bay Area LAT solvers, please write to Katharine Fong (Deputy Managing Editor) of Mercury News if you prefer Rich Norris's LAT puzzles to the current Daily Communter. Her email address is kfong@mercurynews.com and her phone number is 408 278 3448. Thanks, WM.

May 26, 2009

Interview with Fred Jackson III

Today's My Fair Ladies in Broadway is our second Fred Jackson III puzzle since the LAT switch. Fred comments here on the blog occasionally and has provided valuable insights on the grid from a constructor's point of view.

Since Jan 2002, LA Times has published 25 of Fred's puzzles. He has also sold his work to Chicago Tribune, USA Today, New York Sun, Universal Crosswords, Games Magazine and Simon & Schuster Mega Crossword Puzzle Book.

It's enlightening to see how Fred worked out the 4 theme entries. And I love his answers on puzzle theme inspirations. Even if the universe provides me with similar gift in the middle of the night, I doubt I will get up and write it down. Too lazy.

How did today's theme come to you? And which theme answers/fills gave you the most trouble during construction?

I decided to do a theme based on the titles of Broadway shows, but I need a hook to tie them all together. I found a list of Broadway shows and noticed that several shows had a woman's name in the title. I said to myself "there's my hook!". I compiled a list of shows with women's names in the title somewhere and began the process of weeding them out until I came up with a workable set of theme answers. I don't remember any problems creating the fill, but this puzzle was originally submitted back in early February and now it's the end of May so a lot of small details are fuzzy.

Rich Norris liked the theme, but suggested I go one step further and only use titles where the women's names came at the end of the show title. So I had to throw out about half of my answers, such as "Irma La Douce". The new theme answers did not fit in with the original fill so I threw out 100% of the original fill and started over. Everything then had to be reclued and I sent off the revisions to Rich, which he accepted.

What is the most unforgettable puzzle you've constructed? What's the theme and why is it so special?

When I look back over my published puzzles I just see ways I could have done them better. I constantly work at improving my craft and what I'm doing now is usually an improvement over what I've done in the past. When I look at other constructor's puzzles I never see poor clueing or poor word choices like some others do. I look for what I can learn from that constructor's puzzle to improve myself. I just see the positive. My goal is too constantly get better and try new things. And Rich Norris has helped me greatly in improving my craft and I thank him for it.

Where do you get your puzzle inspirations? What kind of books/ magazines do you read?

Sometimes they come to me unbidden in the middle of the night as I am falling asleep. I get up immediately and write them down. Those usually always sell. I consider them a gift from the universe as I had nothing to do with thinking them up. It still takes a lot of work to develop them into a finished product. At times my wife, Martha, will present me with a good theme idea which I am able to convert into sales. My wife is very supportive of my hobby. I also get new theme ideas by going over old crossword puzzles or leafing through a dictionary. I call this priming the pump because it puts my mind in puzzle mode and new ideas eventually spring forth. I very seldom get an idea if I'm casually reading a non-puzzle related book or magazine for pleasure.

Who are your favorite constructors and why? Who gives you the most trouble?

I like the same names everyone else mentions when asked this question. I also like Ray Hamel, Lynn Lempel, Randall J. Hartman, Doug Peterson, Jack McInturff, and Alan Olschwang. I like puzzles that are fun to do and have a humorous element. Alan Olschwang always gives me a bit of trouble with his clever clueing and great fill words.

What is your background? What else do you do for fun?

I've been married to Martha for 37 years. We have two grown sons, Chris and Darren. I'm a retired sign maker for a city in Michigan.

For fun I like to go places with my wife, like going to museums, restaurants, or vacation trips. I like to listen to classical music, jazz, and classic rock. I like to read a lot, mostly science fiction. I collect old-time-radio shows from the 1930s and 40s, such as The Shadow, The Green Hornet, Jack Benny and Gunsmoke (it started out as a radio show before it went to TV). I collect movie serials from the 1930s and 1940s. I also love to watch baseball and football on TV. Go Detroit Tigers!

Tuesday May 26, 2009 Fred Jackson III

Theme: My Fair Ladies in Broadway

26A: 1948 Porter musical inspired by "The Taming of the Shrew": KISS ME, KATE

26A: 1925 musical that spawned the unsuccessful "Yes, Yes, Yvette": NO, NO, NANETTE

44A: 1953 musical with the song "No Other Love": ME AND JULIET

56A: 1964 musical starring Carol Channing: HELLO, DOLLY!

All above theme answers are musicals with lady's name at the end. Tight theme indeed.

I've never heard of "ME AND JULIET", and I always associated "HELLO, DOLLY" with Barbara Streisand.

I liked how ELFIN (29D: Fairylike) is centered in the middle of the grid, connecting two of the theme answers. Also loved how A ONE (59A: Excellent) crosses BEST (55D: Cream of the crop). The clue for LOCO (53D: Nuts or crackers?) drove me bananas. I just could not get snack out of my mind! Very clever.

This puzzle is quite scrabbly: 1 Z, 2 J's and 6 K's.

Across:

1A: Puzzle with blind alleys: MAZE. The most famous one is probably King Minos' huge MAZE to contain the monster Minotaur.

5A: Prepared, as hash: DICED

10A: Some blue birds: JAYS. Good morning. Any Blue JAYS fans? I just learned that no one has been inducted into Hall-of Fame in Blue JAYS uniform. How sad!

14A: "Tosca" tune: ARIA

15A: __ worse than death: A FATE. I did not know this euphemism phrase for rape. I wonder why Titian did not pick up another name for his "The rape of Europa" then (King Minos is the son of Zeus and Europa).

16A: Beekeeper played by Peter Fonda: ULEE

20A: Hose reaching to the patella: KNEE SOCK. I can't read her uniform. What does it say?

22A: Race of Norse gods: AESIR. They live in Asgard.

24A: 007 et al: Abbr.: AGTS. My favorite Bond movie is Casino Royale. What's yours?

30A: Auto speed letters: MPH. And GTOS (25D: Pontiac muscle car).

33A: One way to read: ALOUD. Wrote down SPEED first.

34A: Maned Oz visitor: LION. The Cowardly LION. Have not seen LAHR for a while.

35A: It's often framed: ART. Thought of PIX/PIC first.

36A: Make cents: MINT. I like this clue. Play on "Make sense".

37A: Lifts with effort: HEFTS

39A: Casanova: ROUE. Nailed it immediately. Dennis mentioned last time that Casanova wore condoms made of linen. RAKE anyone?

40A: First mother?: EVE. "First lady?", "First grandmother?", etc. You can't fool me any more.

41A: Atmospheric prefix: AERI

42A: Christmas song leapers: LORDS. From "The Twelve Days of Christmas". I got the answer from Down fills.

43A: Stage scenery: SET. Alliteration.

48A: Eye, in Paris: OEIL. Have to show Julian Beever's Trompe l'OEIL again. Amazing pavement work. No "Eye, in Aix" alliteration today.

49A: comparably large: AS BIG

52A: Fraternal group, familiarly: ELKS CLUB. Or is it ELKS' CLUB/ELK'S CLUB? I don't know how to spell it out.

60A: Furry "Star Wars" critter: EWOK

61A: Typeface type: ARIAL. Like this instead of this.

62A: Some watch faces: LCDS. What's the difference between LCD and plasma?

63A: Texting exchanges.: Abbr. : MSGS

64A: Wisdom unit?: PEARL. PEARLS of wisdom.

65A: Ill-gotten gains: LOOT

Down:

1D: Identity hider: MASK

3D: Fan mag. e.g.: ZINE. ZINE is short for fanzine. But now ZINE refers to any e-ZINE, right?

4D: Let go tactfully: EASED OUT. Have to be careful about the tense of Let.

5D: 1860s-'80s territory on the Canadian border: DAKOTA. Oh, I was not aware of this fact. They were admitted as two states in 1889.

6D: "...assuming it's doable": IF I CAN

7D: Port container: CASK. Port wine. Nice clue.

9D: Obama or FDR: DEM. The initial BHO simply just does not have the FDR/JFK feel, does it?

10D: Football feints: JUKES. No idea. What is a JUKE? Just learned several months ago that "Hockey feints" is DEKES.

11D: "Unhappily ...": ALAS

12D: Rumored Himalayan: YETI. Exactly. "Rumored".

13D: One dealing in futures?: SEER. Not the commodity futures. OK, here is the famous Rick Santalli "Rant of the Year". He is the "One dealing in futures" too, from the Chicago Board of Trade floor.

24D: Bickering: AT IT. I kept reading it as A TIT. Can you make a sentence for me?

26D: Tom, Dick and Harry, e.g.: NAMES

28D: Sextet plus three: NONET. Octet plus one. Whatever.

30D: Native New Zealander: MAORI. Literally "ordinary people".

31D: Fuddy-duddy: PRUDE

32D: Explosive '50s trial: H-TEST. At Bikini Atoll. I was stumped, thinking of some espionage trial. Funny how they named bikini swimsuit after this island.

37D: Obey: HEED. Are they really synonymous?

39D: Attendance check: ROLL CALL

41D: Cisco, to Pancho: AMIGO. I liked this new clue. "The Cisco Kid".

42D: Hall of Famer Aparicio: LUIS. He was inducted in 1984, in White Sox uniform. Any of you collect baseball cards?

45D: Register single: DOLLAR. D'oh! Cash register.

46D: Stevenson's ill-fated doctor: JEKYLL. What a perfect fill. Lots of consonants.

47D: Swindles: BILKS

50D: Puts in stitches: SEWS. So simple. I was thinking of the other "in stitches" meaning.

51D: Online journal: BLOG

54D: Reverse, on an edit menu: UNDO. You wouldn't believe it, but I wrote down STET first. What can I say? I am LOCO.

57D: Skip, as stones: DAP. Stumped last time when it's clued as "Fly-fishing action".

58D: Miners dig it: ORE. I dig this clue.

Answer grid.

C.C.

May 25, 2009

Monday May 25, 2009 Gia Christian

Theme: Play Ball!

18A: Not in working order, informally: OUT OF WHACK

23A: Crook who doesn't need the combination: SAFE CRACKER

36A: Union benefit during a walkout: STRIKE PAY

42A: Everything, informally: BALL OF WAX

47A: Promising picnic forecast: FAIR WEATHER

60A: Tendency to anger easily: FOUL TEMPER

(Note from C.C.: Argyle blogged today's post. Our editor Rich Norris seems to pick different alias name for himself according to the difficulty of the puzzle. All the Gia Christian and Lila Cherry puzzles we've solved are Monday's. Nora Pearlstone authored a hard Friday. Quite scrabbly puzzle today. Loved the OUT/SAFE, STRIKE/BALL & FAIR/FOUL order. Wish SHAG (54A: Thick carpet) were clued as baseball related too. )

Back to Argyle.

OUT OF WHACK. When a hitter is in a slump.

SAFECRACKER. Also known as a yegg or yeggman.

STRIKE PAY. Did ball players get any when they went on strike?

BALL OF WAX. Usually known as the whole BALL OF WAX.

FAIR WEATHER. Domed statiums don't worry about the weather.

FOUL TEMPER. None of that in baseball, is there?

Lest we forget: George Carlin's Baseball vs Football.

Across:

5A: Quick __ flash: AS A.

8A: Open, as a gate: UNBOLT.

15A: Dickens pen name: BOZ. Sketches by Boz was Dickens's first work.

16A: Connect, as a stereo: HOOK UP.

17A: Kind of party torch: TIKI. If you have watched "Survivor", you've seen these torches.

28A: Las Vegas's desert : MOJAVE. Most of it is in California.

33A: Shooter's aiming aid: SIGHT. Telescopic optic mounted on rifles.

41A: Shredded: TORE.

44A: Annual athletic awards: ESPYS. Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards from ESPN (Entertainment Sports Programming Network). If you would like to see the Best Major League Baseball Player ESPY Awards since 1993, go here. A-Rod won last year.

45A: Vote out: UNSEAT.

46A: Hip-hop Dr.: DRE.

54A: Thick carpet: SHAG. Also, a baseball term: shagging flies (to throw back fly balls during batting practice).

58A: Point on a wire fence: BARB. You won't find any barb wire fences on horse farms.

63A: Mrs. Peel of "The Avengers": EMMA. EMMA is due for a vacation.

64A: Regional dialect: PATOIS. Origin: 1635–45.

65A: Grammar best-seller "Woe __:: IS I. Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better to better English by Patricia T O Conner, an editor at the New York Times Book Review.

67A: Start to nod off: DROWSE. As at a four hour ball game.

68A: Souse's woe: DTS. We sure have a lot of drunk references lately.

69A: Full of pep: SPRY.

Down:

1D: Madrid misses: Abbr.: SRTAS. Spainish senoritas.

2D: Boxer Ali: LAILA. Laila Ali with father Muhammed Ali. She probably "floats like a butterfly but stings like a bee".

3D: Request from: ASK OF.

4D: Moby Dick, notably: WHITE WHALE. From the book by Herman Melville.

6D: Composer of marches: SOUSA. Might hear one in a parade today.

7D: Early Mexican: AZTEC.

8D: TV dial letters: UHF. VHF/UHF Very high frequency/Ultra high frequency. This will have to be clued as former TV dial letters after next month.

10D: Quantum physicist Niels: BOHR. Niels Bohr, a Danish physicist who worked on the Manhatten Project and a frequent answer in crossword puzzles.

11D: "Works for me": OKAY.

12D: Time co-founder Henry: LUCE. Time Magazine co-founders Briton Hadden and Henry Luce were classmates at Yale University: more Eli's to remember.

13D: Toll rds.: TPKS. Turnpikes: don't like 'em, take the shunpike!

24D: Maine coon, for one: CAT. I had a cat that had some Maine Coon Cat in her. And 62D: Suffix with Siam: ESE. Siamese cat.

26D: Soldier of Seoul: ROK. We learned they fought on our side in Vietnam and earned Dennis' respect.

29D: Fashionable fliers: JET SETTERS.

30D: Per unit: A POP.

31D: Fluctuate: VARY.

33D: Child star of "The Thief of Bagdad" (1940): SABU. Sabu Dastagir, 1924 – 1963, was a film actor of Indian (South Asian) origin. Credited only by his first name, Sabu, for his role as Abu. movie poster As Abu, the thief , son of Abu the thief, grandson of Abu the thief, he helps the real Prince escape prison.

37D: Hijack-prevention gp.: TSA. Transportation Security Administration

38D: "Oedipus __": REX.

40D: Old Spice alternative: AFTA.

46D: Explosion remains: DEBRIS.

48D: "Big Blue": IBM. International Business Machines Corporation, abbreviated IBM and nicknamed "Big Blue" (for its official corporate color).

49D: Fast: RAPID.

50D: Obtain using force: WREST.

51D: Overplay: HAM UP.

52D: Wascally Wabbit hunter: ELMER. Elmer Fudd, hunter.

54D: Bay Area enforcers, initially: SFPD. San Francisco Police Department.

57D: Vibrant look: GLOW.

It was a fun Monday puzzle. Everybody have a reverent Memorial Day and I don't believe today's honorees would mind if you watched a baseball game; it was one of the things they were fighting for.

Answer grid.

Argyle

May 24, 2009

Sunday May 24, 2009 Kevin Donovan

Theme: Keep an Eye Out

24A: Betting a buck on Vegas?: STAKING ONE'S CLA(I)M

47A: Wheat farm operator?: BRA(I)N SURGEON

67A: Very old races?: ANCIENT RU(I)NS

83A: Notes from Charlie?: CHA(I)N LETTERS

106A: Think nostalgically about one's long-haired days?: REMEMBER THE MA(I)NE

3D: Hollywood exodus?: FLIGHT OF STA(I)RS

57D: Kudos after a great meal?: HAIL TO THE CH(I)EF

The theme title reminds me of "It's Not the Same Without You" puzzle Elissa mentioned two days ago. All of the letter U's were removed from the puzzle. There are still 4 I's left in the above theme answers.

I like REMEMBER THE MANE the best, as I often do think nostalgically about my long-haired days. Took me some time to figure out that Charlie in "Notes from Charlie" refers to Charlie Chan. Ah me!

Still a challenging puzzle for me. Got fooled by several tricky clues. But I had fun filling, erasing and filling again. Kevin Donovan is another regular contributor to Stan Newman's Newsday puzzle.

Across:

1A: Winchester, e.g.: RIFLE. Stumped immediately. Have never heard of Winchester RIFLES.

12A: Cultural Revolution leader: MAO. Cultural Revolution lasted 10 years (1966-1976).

18A: One with a big weight on his shoulders: ATLAS. The Titan with heavens on his shoulders.

19A: Angola neighbor: NAMIBIA. Here is the map. Angola is to its north. Strange capital name, Windhoek. Dictionary shows that W is pronounced as V.

21A: Dada Daddy?: ARP (Jean/Hans). Nice clue.

22A: Polished off: ATE

23A: Makes less dense: THINS

27A: Caught off base: TAGGED. Baseball.

29A: Form 1040 calc.: AGI (Adjusted Gross Income). I know nothing about income tax. My husband only asks me to sign those papers.

30A: Libreville is its capital: GABON. Easy guess.

31A: Puppy's protest: YELP. Alliteration.

32A: Its a pain: ACHE. So simple.

33A: Dwell constantly (on): OBSESS

37A: Fortitude: GRIT

43A: Paquin and Pavlova: ANNAS. Alliteration again.

44A: Hole in the wall: OUTLET

50A: Easygoing sorts: SOFTIES

52A: Brewer's need: YEAST. Baker's need too.

54A: Put on the rolls: LISTED

55A: Friend needing feeding: PET. No PET in our house.

56A: In the know: HIP

60A: Change: ALTER

64A: Occurred (to): CAME

66A: Makeup artist?: LIAR. Nailed it immediately.

73A: Hawk's weapon: TALON

74A: Peel's title: MRS. Emma Peel.

75A: Site of Floresta da Tijuca, one of the world's largest urban forests: RIO. Floresta da Tijuca is new to me.

76A: "2001" computer: HAL

77A: Tell: TATTLE

78A: Egyptian port: SUEZ. Near the south end of SUEZ Canal.

79A: Runaway bus film: SPEED. Starring Sandra Bullock & Keanu Reeves.

82A: Lunch and study hall: PERIODS. What is study hall PERIOD?

86A: Tight undergarment: CORSET. She has a perfect body!

87A: Patient record: CHART. And RECORD (72A: "Made to be broken" thing).

88A: Needle: HYPO. We just had NEEDLE clued as "Hypo" several days ago.

90A: Store door nos.: HRS. Thought of Dennis and his hobby stores.

93A: Thing intentionally dropped: HINT

94A: Lode load: ORE. Neat clue.

96A: Nearly boils: SCALDS

98A: Beetle's warning: BEEP. The car.

99A: Ga. Tech grad.: ENGR

100A: Sets limits on, with "in": REINS

103A: John __ Lennon: ONO. I like this new ONO clue.

104A: Cochise was one: APACHE. I forgot who Cochise was. Do know Geronimo though.

110A: Lacking color: ASHEN

113A: More modest: HUMBLER

114A: Traction aid: TREAD

115A: Oscar winner Kingsley: BEN. He won Oscar for "Gandhi". Great movie.

117A: Struggle: TUSSLE

118A: Dagger handles: HAFTS

Down:

1D: Caning material: RATTAN. Thought of Bangkok immediately. So hot there.

2D: Cornell University site: ITHACA

4D: "Cape Fear" actress: LANGE (Jessica). No idea. This poster looks scary.

5D: Latin being: ESSE

6D: Banana pair: ENS. Two N's in Banana.

7D: Information to process: DATA SET. Only knew DATA.

8D: Photographs, e.g.: IMAGES

9D: South Pacific idols: TIKIS. Are TIKIS all made of wood?

10D: Shikoku sash: OBI. Another alliteration.

11D: Criminal group: RING

14D: Covert __: spy doings: OPS. Got it from Across fills. I am used to the "Photo OPS" clue.

15D: Amalfi Coast city: SALERNO. See this map. It's foreign to me.

16D: Like 15-Down: ITALIAN

17D: Entices: TEMPTS

20D: Turkish title: AGA

26D: Trumpeter youngster: CYGNET. Someone mentioned trumpeter swan on the blog months ago.

28D: Dressed to kill, with "up": DOLLED

34D: Tournament exemptions: BYES. Tennis?

35D: 1986 #1 song by Starship: SARA. Stumped, though the tunes sounds very familiar.

41D: Used to be: WAS

45D: Unqualified: UTTER. Can you give me an example of how they are interchangeable?

46D: Theater section: TIER. Penned in LOGE first.

47D: Improved: BETTER. I was trying to think of another verb.

48D: Start of a damsel's distressed demand: UNHAND. UNHAND me? Nice alliteration.

49D: 5/7/1945 German surrender site: REIMS. Here is the map. It's in NE France.

50D: Race with gates: SLALOM. I was thinking of horse racing.

51D: Less sincere: OILIER

52D: Mysterious Asian giant: YETI

55D: Weight training targets, briefly: PECS

58D: "Dover Beach" poet: ARNOLD (Matthew). Unknown to me. I've never heard of the poem either.

59D: Public ones can be embarrassing: SCENES

61D: Real bore: SNOOZE. Why?

62D: St. Paul- to -Sault St. Marie dir.: ENE. Got it from Across fills.

63D: Implants firmly: ETCHES. Wanted EMBEDS.

64D: Temple feature?: CURL. I was trapped. Did not think of Shirley Temple.

67D: The Little Mermaid: ARIEL

68D: Line on a map: ROAD

69D: "Sonatine Bureaucratique" composer: SATIE (Erik). Obtained the answer from Across fills again.

71D: Main force: BRUNT

73D: Sea dogs: TARS. Both are slang for sailors.

77D: Saintly mother: TERESA. Mother TERESA.

78D: Onetime friend of Camus: SARTRE. A rare gimme for me. They were indeed friend once.

79D: Place with many grunts: STY. Pigs. I was thinking of soldiers.

80D: Energy: PEP

82D: Atlantic, to Brits: POND. The POND.

83D: Lantern type: CHINESE. Have you seen Gong Li's "Rise the Red Lantern"? A very influential Chinese movie in the 1990s. Gong Li is my favorite actress.

84D: Word-guessing game: HANGMAN. No idea. Does not sound like a good game title.

85D: "... all snug in __ beds": THEIR. From "The Night Before Christmas".

86D: Potter of "M*A*S*H" for one: COLONEL. Not familiar with this character.

87D: Winged child: CHERUB

89D: Channels you can't surf: CANALS. Excellent clue.

91D: Warm up, in a way: REHEAT

92D: Lays out: SPENDS. New meaning of "lay out" to me.

94D: Go around in circles?: ORBIT. Great clue.

95D: Gets out of the water, with "in": REELS. Fish.

97D: Tangle removers: COMB. Hair tangle.

98D: City of southeastern Iraq: BASRA

101D: Extreme degree: NTH

102D: Put a lid on: SHUT. Reminded me of the "Shh!" puzzle earlier this month.

105D: It may be beaten: PATH. Filled in immediately.

107D: It precedes juin: MAI. French for May.

108D: Outback runner: EMU

Answer grid.

C.C.