Feb 21, 2016

Sunday, Feb 21, 2016 Nora Pearlstone

Theme: "Wait, What?" - Long A sound is changed into short U sound.

 23A. Good-natured complaint? : SMILEY FUSS. Like Gary and D-Otto's nits, if they have any. Base phrase is "smiley face".

 29A. Everything you eat? : GUT RECEIPTS. Gate receipts.

 36A. Skilled diver's advantage? : JUMPING OFF PLUS. Jumping off place.

 65A. Fashion show photographer? : STRUT SHOOTER. Straight shooters.

 71A. Inept painter? : MUCK-UP ARTIST. Make-up artist.

 99A. Shore breezes caused by flapping wings? : GULL- FORCE WINDS. Gale force winds. NEAR GALE (86D. 7 on the Beaufort scale) should not have been in the grid. Easy to overlook this kind of dupe in a sound change grid.

106A. Potato expert? : KING OF SPUDS. King of spades.

119A. Prop for the gravedigger scene in "Hamlet"? : SKULL MODEL. Scale model.

Great title. Captures the puzzle gimmick perfectly. 

Nora Pearlstone is Rich's alias, anagram for "Not a Real Person". Always a treat when Rich makes the puzzle. Can you believe he has not made any puzzle for the NYT  since 2008 yet he still is the 3rd most published constructor under Will Shortz era?

I'm always grateful that Rich allows 144 words for LAT Sundays. He's a pro and totally understands the difficulties in coming up with clean fill for a 21*21 grid, esp for rookie  constructors. Can Rich go low on word count? Of course he can. He made tons of themeless puzzles for LAT, NYT & other venues. He also authored this great book (don't think it has anything to do with USA Today puzzles). But he chose a 144-worder, which gives us a  cleaner and smoother grid.

Rich and his wife Kim


1. Relieved reaction : WHEW

5. __ fit : HISSY. Not HONDA.

10. PC debut of 1981 : MS-DOS

15. Cabbage dispensers? : ATMs. Gimme for veteran solvers. 

19. Emanating quality : AURA
20. Sadat of Egypt : ANWAR

21. Ring-shaped ocean formation : ATOLL

22. Fellow : CHAP

25. Wynonna's mother : NAOMI.  The Judds. Look so young.

26. Olympian queen : HERA

27. "Key & __": Comedy Central series : PEELE. Anon T's favorite comedians.

28. Meditation class chorus : OMs

 31. Cousin of com : ORG

33. Computer stylus battery : AAAA

35. Big strings : CELLI. One more I plural word: 112. Voices below soprani : ALTI
43. Exercise in a pool : DO LAPS. Also  7. Like some triathlon segments : SWUM

 46. One, to Juanita : UNA

47. Political fugitives : EMIGRES
48. Sgt., e.g. : NCO

50. Tampico tots : NENEs
51. Slap (on), as cologne : DAUB

53. Attorney-__ : AT-LAW

54. Flora and fauna : BIOTA

56. Bank material : SILT. Not SAND. We also have 69. Bank construction : LEVEE

57. Teen attachment? : AGERS. Teenagers. Hard to tell if the answers is singular or plural with this type of clue.

59. Quincy of '70s-'80s TV et al. : MES. Never watched the show. I figured it might be MDS.

60. Outfits : EQUIPS

62. "... against a __ of troubles": Hamlet : SEA

63. Saharan dust swirlers : SIROCCOS. Sparkly fill.

68. Cote call : COO

70. Like some marked-down mdse. : IRR. Do you have Marshalls in your area? I scored quite a few great deals there over the years.

76. Book supplement : ADDENDUM

81. Angle preceder, in texts : IMO. Viewpoint "angle".

82. Playtime : RECESS

83. 2016 Cactus Bowl sch. : ASU. No idea. Never paid attention to those bowls. Wiki said West Virginia beat Arizona State. Rich is an avid sports fan. He knows these updated sports trivia.

84. Not cramped : ROOMY

85. Bread sometimes prepared with chutney : NAAN. Also 93. Indian lentil dish : DAL. Split peas or lentils. 

87. 11-Down, say : DATUM. And 11. Sports figure : STAT. I wanted STAR.

88. Kama __ : SUTRA

90. Key in : TYPE

91. First name in skin care : ESTEE

94. Limited carry-on items : LOTIONS. Boomer always gets the TSA-Pre lane. No idea why. Big relief though, as taking off & putting on shoes is getting difficult for him, then you have added pressure from the agent and the impatient passengers behind.

96. Always, in verse : E'ER

97. Key below E : D SHARP. Already  had DS* in the slot.

102. Present in court : ARGUE. Verb "Present".

104. Garden resident : ADAM. Eden.

105. Gum ball : WAD

110. "There you are!" : AHA

113. __ Alavesa: Spanish wine : RIOJA. All crosses. Not into wines.

117. Sitar music : RAGA

118. Language that gave us "shawl" : FARSI

121. Law school newbie : ONE-L

122. Esteemed group : ELITE. Not A-LIST.

123. Hides : PELTS

124. Modest dress : MIDI

125. Close attention : CARE

126. "The Dance Class" painter : DEGAS

127. Product, as of labor : FRUIT

128. Huff relative : SNIT


 1. Winged stinger : WASP

2. "A propensity to hope and joy is real riches" philosopher : HUME (David).  I don't remember studying him in schools.

3. Pennsylvania snowbelt city : ERIE

4. Smack : WALLOP. Another nice word.

5. __ fever : HAY

6. Dope : INFO

8. Root beer source : SASSAFRAS. The root is also widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. Cantonese slow-cooked soup tends to incorporate some kind of dried root & herbal stuff.

9. Cen. components : YRS

10. How-to : MANUAL

12. Means of access : DOOR

13. Early Mexican civilization : OLMEC

14. Did a deli job : SLICED

15. Greek warrior famous for his weak spot : ACHILLES

16. Title role for which Adrien Brody won an Oscar : THE PIANIST. Haunting survival story. Did you see the movie, Jayce? There's a pickle scene.

17. Shopping spot : MART. Not MALL.

18. Body wrap offerers : SPAS

24. Like "Halloween" music : EERIE

29. Mountain passes : GAPS

30. Tesla Motors CEO Musk : ELON.  I tried his full name in a puzzle two years ago. Rich asked me to remove it, as it's not widely familiar to solvers.  Might be good for a themeless. No one debuted it yet.

32. HUD financing gp. : GNMA. Ginnie Mae. FNMA as well.

34. Number of good men? : A FEW

36. Traitor : JUDAS

37. Eel, at sushi bars : UNAGI. The smell of freshly grilled unagi is pure heaven.

38. Joe __, only MLB catcher with three batting titles : MAUER. Met him a few times. Incredibly gracious. He has twin daughters.

39. Cuban base, familiarly : GITMO

40. Unwelcome looks : OGLES

41. Sole : UNIQUE

42. Enemy lines infiltrator : SCOUT

44. Martinique volcano : PELEE. Got via crosses.

45. Astronomical red giant : S STAR

49. Singer Redding : OTIS

52. Record-breaking base stealer Lou : BROCK. We pulled an augrophed card of him from a Topps Heritage set a while ago.

54. Flat hat : BERET

55. Rose pest : APHID

58. Really clean : SCOUR

61. Hurting more : SORER

64. Dealt : COPED

65. Quake : SEISM

66. Sets in dens : TVs

67. Contrary afterthought : OR NOT

69. "Star Trek" regular ultimately promoted to Cmdr. : LT. SULU. Easy crosses a well.

71. Worked in a shaft : MINED. Before I read the clue, I already had ?INED in this slot, then ?UCK UP in Across. Was dazed for a second.

72. Member of the NCAA's A-10 Conf. : UMASS

73. Makeshift car door opener : COAT HANGER. Does this work on modern cars?

74. West Point, e.g.: Abbr. : ACAD

75. Label again : RE-TAG

76. Not still anymore : ASTIR

77. Red pig : DUROC. This got me last time. Again today.

78. Elder statesman : DOYEN. Don't associate this word with "statesman". Elder/senior, yes.

79. Called on the field : UMPED. Thought of CAWED.

80. "SNL" alum Mike : MYERS

83. Ford, for one : AUTOMAKER. I was not fooled, but it does have the same letter count as PRESIDENT.

88. Dozing place, perhaps : SOFA

89. Once more : ANEW

92. Therefore : ERGO. Hello Husker Chuck!

94. Honorary legal degs. : LLDs

95. Bee team : SWARM

98. Swollen, with "up" : PUFFED

100. LPGA member? : LADIES. First word of LPGA. Ryder Cup will be played here in MN this year. Too stiff a price. We do go to Sondheim Cup though. Much more affordable & fun. (Correction: Solheim Cup. Thanks, KenoRunner.)

101. They're not literal : IDIOMS

103. Virtual transaction : E-SALE

106. Ray of fast food : KROC

107. Collector's suffix : IANA. ANA suffix is more common.
108. Prude : PRIG

109. Court org. : USTA. WNBA too.

111. Netflix competitor : HULU

114. Chief Norse god : ODIN

115. Yoda trainee : JEDI

116. Landed : ALIT

119. Sunblock letters : SPF. Do any of you take Vitamin D? I feel that I should with the cold Minnesota winter.

120. Versatile ETO carrier : LST



OwenKL said...

FIW again. Yesterday had 3 cells wrong (SERIAL instead of SERIES was my bane), today 4. I_NA+R_GA had been a WAG anyway. UNO instead of UNA and DASH instead of DAUB gave the other three, crossing a pair of ballplayers I had no clue of. The theme entries were IRR. enough that they didn't give me much help until the bitter end either.

There was a girl named NAOMI
Who had a place that was homey.
Till one day her souffle
Out of hand, got away,
And PUFFED up, now her kitchen is foamy!

There once was a mule named SASSAFRAS,
No horse in the county ran half as fast!
Until a politician
Gave him competition
Cuz the mule and the man were both half-ass!

Before trying the KAMA SUTRA,
Best stock up on the LOTIONS that suit ya,
Cuz once in a tangle
With bits all a-dangle
The MART is a place you can't scoot ta!

fermatprime said...


Thanks, Rich and CC!

Had a feeling that it was Rich again!

No cheats, but lots of things were perped:


Have a great Sunday!


Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Got the theme early on and got through most of this one fairly easily, but the middle of the west coast nearly proved to be my Waterloo. Neither MUCKUP ARTIST nor JUMPING OFF PLUS would come to me off the clues, despite knowing the theme. The only Joe I could think of in baseball that would fit (sorry, Mr. DiMaggio) was TORRE. Never heard of that MAUER guy. BROCK was another complete unknown. And I mistakenly went with UNO instead of UNA (which I should have realized right away was wrong since the clue referred to Juanita instead of JUAN).

I finally took out TORRE and stared at the white space with fresh eyes. Got COPED, which gave me both COO and SCOUR. Suddenly, SIROCCOS bubbled up from somewhere deep down in the depths. Then, MUCKUP ARTIST! AGERS! JUDAS! UNAGI! JUMPING OFF PLUS! DAUB! BAM! BAM! BAM! BROCK was filled in completely by the perps and looked reasonable. And that's when I finally realized that UNO should be UNA and tried MAUER. TADA! Of course, it could have just as easily been UNO and MOUER, I suppose, so my victory was a bit muted...

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

"February 21st, 2016 -- a date which shall live in ignominy", to misquote Roosevelt. That's two DNFs in a row! "Unheard of, absurd!", to quote Tevye.

I was doing pretty well until I ran smack into those two side-by-side baseball names in California. Splat! Hand up for UNO and DASH, among others. Yes, C.C., I also wanted STAR and MALL. Will I remember MAUER and BROCK in the future? Extremely doubtful.

Was so addled by the time I got to the bottom that I put LUKE where JEDI needed to be, and almost failed to see the error. D'oh! This just wasn't my day.

PK said...

HI Y'all! Read the name and thought "AHA, Rich is at it again." Found the theme phrases amusing even if some of the fill was tough. I've passed a threshold where tough challenges me and no longer annoys and intimidates. Thanks, Rich! Good expo, C.C.

Didn't know any of the baseball names. All perps.

Flat hat = BERET, I rejected until late because I don't think of it as flat on the head, but sorta draped.

Quake wasn't SpaSM but SEISM. Don't think I've heard that term before.

Funny coincidence, we once had a Senator named DOYEN. Didn't help me with the puzzle because I didn't know the definition. Wonder if he knew it. Probably thought it was his destiny.

C.C., I take Vitamins D, C, B6, B12 & a multiple vitamin daily. Then if there is room, I take food. LOL!

Big Easy said...

I noticed the U substitution at FUSS & PLUS. I found it an easy puzzle to complete, even though I a ton of perp fills- PEELE (PELEE I knew), NENES (nino + nina = NENES???), THE PIANIST, RIOJA, LT SULU, S-STAR, DAL-RAGA-NAAN (Indian theme day), MES (Medical Examiners- WHEW on that one because I didn't get it until your write up) and others. I remembered the DUROC from a few weeks back. Changed MAYAN to AZTEC to OLMEC, SCRUB to SCOUR, ANTSY to ASTIR, and PUFF to PANT to SNIT to finish.

But doing my best to be honest it was a DNF. Not watching movies, tv shows, or following BASEBALL (sorry C.C.) MAUER was a complete unknown and I filled UNO instead of UNA. I looked at the feminine JUANITA and thought about changing O to A but didn't. But I do remember Tony Oliva.

SASSAFRAS Tea = root beer
GNMA- the only 'solvent' MAE a few years back
AAAA battery- I never knew they existed until crossword puzzles enlightened me

C.C.- I noticed the Gale-Gull---'FLAP' but remember 'NORA' is in charge and 'don't bite the hand that feeds you'

Big Easy said...

Barry G- after reading your comments for a while it seems that you and I seem to miss and mess up the same fills quite often.

maripro said...

Thank you Rich and C.C. I, too, got hung up in the Midwest by not knowing Mr. Mauer. I confidently wrote in "uno" as in "uno, dos, tres" etc.
Although I finally got it, I would have preferred a painting reference for "daub" since that area already was difficult.
I love solving clues with perps; puzzles would be boring if you didn't need them.
Have a lovely day, everyone.

KenoRunner said...

Is the Sondheim Cup a tournament for composers who play golf?

Husker Gary said...

-A delightful Sunday excursion, Rich!
-GULL FORCE WINDS gave me the gimmick and GUT RECIEPTS made me laugh out loud and unlocked the NE corner
-STRUT fail/fall (:41) you can see coming!
-I could MUCK UP a 2’ birdie putt ☺ (SMILEY FUSS!)
-The Husker King of HISSY fits and SNITS
-The Judds give off a lovely AURA
-ANWAR’s peace efforts cost him his life in a troubled part of the world with many EMIGRES
-Exercise can be a verb, Gary!
-We hope the NOLA LEVEES will not be found wanting again!
-The symbol should tell you who EQUIPS the Belmont women’s BB team
-A lot of education occurs at RECESS
-Kids in school today KEY IN as much as they WRITE IN
-This game requires much CARE and was the only one grandma had
-A FEW GOOD MEN and GITMO are inextricably entwined
-Gotta run, read y’all later!

Lucina said...

Hello, puzzler friends!

Thank you, Rich and C.C.! Great fun today although DNF in some unexpected places. I knew it was HULU but HULA got in through my subconscious. Thinking about Hawaii I guess. Almost toward the end I caught on to the theme which helped me completer some of the long fill. Spelled SIROCCCOS correctly!

I hope you all have a splendid Sunday!

Steve said...

Nice challenge - took me the first half of the Chelsea v Man City FA Cup game (English soccer for you sports fans out there). JUMPING OFF PLACE was my last fill - I've only used/seen "jumping off point" up until now.

SASSAFRASS caused me conniptions - I wanted SASPARILA for absolutely no good reason, especially as I spelled it incorrectly!

Second half coming up - tied 1-1 at the break. Go Chelsea!

CrossEyedDave said...


I see I made the same false starts as everyone else...

CC: If you know Richs birthday, I would like to link him a cake.
(but it may be under a pseudonym.)
(or anagrammed)
(P.S., try looking up the past tense of anagram...)

Of most interest (to me) was 69D Star Trek regular ultimately promoted to Cmdr.
& without a single perp, it could have been anybody, across multiple series.
(heck, they are so old, they have all been promoted...)
But the one that stuck out in my mind was Chekov.

Sorry, this is going to take 2 links to explain...

You see, Cmdr. is not enough for Chekov...

CrossEyedDave said...

Aw nuts, I forgot to link Sassafras!

Of special interest to me as I find it all over place when hiking.

It is the only plant in the world that has three separate leaf shapes on the same tree!

Every part of the Sassafras tree has been used in one way or another,
but beware if you want to make your own Root Beer, because Safrole oil is banned in the United States for use in commercially mass-produced foods and drugs by the FDA as a potential carcinogen.

CrossEyedDave said...

Sorry, but this theme was ripe for linking...

Smiley Fuss? (Obviously this emoticon is not a crossword solver...)

Gut Receipt? (Pls do not print what I ordered...)

Jumping off plus (Thank goodness for family...)

Sorry, but I did not get past this great idea(or really bad idea) for kids parties.

My idea of a muck up artist.

Sorry, but I did not get past this when researching gull force winds...

Somehow King of Spuds gave me the puzzle theme...

& finally, If I played Hamlet...

Misty said...

A fun Sunday puzzle, tough but pretty doable and I almost, almost got the whole thing. But GUT RECEIPTS really did me in, I wouldn't have gotten that in a million years. I did get both SASSAFRASS and SIROCCOS, and am proud of myself for that. Liked SKULL MODEL for Hamlet's Yorick speech, and the reference to DEGAS' "Dance Class."

So, many thanks, Rich, and C.C., for getting our Sunday morning off to a delightful start!

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Jayce said...

Nifty sound change gimmick; I liked it. Some of them made me laugh. Like Steve, I also wanted SASPARILA, even knowing that is not how it is spelled. At least I spelled "SIROCCCOS" correctly, Lucina! Spelled ACHILLES right, too. And, believe it or not, I was also briefly nonplussed at _INED and _UCKUP. DO LAPS reminded me of our earlaps discussion a few days ago. PK, I agree with you about BERET not really being flat; I was trying to think of a 5-letter synonym for spinner.

I studied HUME in grad school but don't remember much other than his observation that one event following another does not prove one caused the other. He thought, and wrote, a lot about what causality is.

C.C., I saw the movie THE PIANIST, but don't remember much other than how morose Adrian Brody was. I don't remember any pickle scene at all. It's one of many movies that I didn't remember much of after a month or two.

Yes, I recommend vitamin D supplements during winter. Without looking at the label, I think the ones I take are 1000 IU, one pill each day with food.

Boomer is lucky they don't make him take his shoes off in the airport. I would have to wear sandals so that I could slip them back on easily, or I'd be out of luck. Either that or bring along one of those shoehorns that are 3 feet long. But they might think that to be some sort of weapon and take it away from me.

Apparently our neighbor doesn't wear shoes in their house. When you go in the front door, in the entryway there are a couple dozen various shoes, slippers, sandals, and flip-flops arrayed on the floor. They grant me special dispensation, though, and let me wear my slippers in their house. I appreciate that.

Anonymous T said...

Sunday lurker say...

Yes C.C. I do like Key & PEELE. Here's an early sketch from Mad TV. What I love about their comedy is they take an issue dead on and hit the extremes while not dissin' their audience. While I love Carlin too, he was sometimes preachy. Williams (awesome!) was from another planet.

Jayce - get yourself a Global Entry card . Not only do you get to go in the 'special' line w/ your shoes on but coming home you can zip through Customs. Mine took about 2 weeks; but they already knew me 'cuz I had a clearance. YMMV.

CED - LOL links! Thanks. Sassafras is a wonderful tree. In Boy Scouts we'd make Sassafras tea in the spring to thin our blood for summer - at least that's what we thought we were doing. The leaves, while interesting, have a certain smell that let's you know it's not poison sumac (of course, if it was, it's too late :-))

MIL is all moved in and the paper got transferred to her new digs. She now has the Inter-webs too. I told her to lurk for a bit, come up w/ an blogonymn (and TxMs is taken), and come play.

Cheers, -T

inanehiker said...

Slow and steady puzzle today - took a while to figure out the theme since I had STAR instead of STAT - didn't know what GUR RECEIPTS were - DOH!

I'm a big fan of Key & PEELE too - love their intros of players at the "East/West" Bowl

Thanks, CC and Rich

Anonymous T said...

I-Hikers Key & PEELE link for your conveinence. IH - yeah that schtuff is funny too. Thanks. C, -T

Anonymous T said...

When I say they take stuff head on - Watch this K&P. Evokes a grimace and yet is down-right funny. I mean, could you imagine being passed over at auction? Wait, wha? C, -T

Ann said...

U Mass in in the Big 10

CrossEyedDave said...

When reading the post from Jayce,
I thought I could help by finding "the pickle scene."

Well, I have not seen this movie, & was very disturbed by its content.
I did not find anything about pickles, but I did find a scene from Schindlers List
I was going to link.

But after watching all the Key & Peele clips,
I don't want to break up the mood...

Lucina said...

The delights of being over 75, I can leave my shoes on at the airport!

Lucina said...

Ooh, I forgot. The most memorable scene from The Pianist is when Adrian Brody was playing the abandoned piano in a bombed out building and the German lieutenant heard him. The expression on his face was priceless.

Anonymous T said...

CED- w/ DHS today, he sure would have been in pickle. . Sense of humour has escaped the airport. C, -T

Rick Pitino said...

To Ann @ 5:08 pm

UMass is in the Atlantic 10 (A-10) not the Big 10

Dr J (Julius Erving) played basketball for them in the early '70s.

TX said...

Never heard of Key & "Peele" (ESP) since I've not watched Comedy Central in the past - my loss, for sure, since K&P's last episode was in September 2015 per Wiki. Thanks, Anon-T! I loved the hilarious clips, and yes, I don't think I was prepared for the auction skit. But you're absolutely correct about their comedic brilliance.

(lurking Houstonian)

TX Ms said...

Darn auto-fill - TX Ms said "Never heard..."

Anonymous said...

Jayce said "At least I spelled "SIROCCCOS" correctly", perhaps not. I was thinking of the VW Scirocco and added the extra C after the S, not like Jayce, who had three Cs in a row.

Unknown said...

These puzzles used to be enjoyable. It has gotten to the point where some of the clues are so offbeat and far stretches of the imagination that they are not fun anymore.