hi! i’m e.a., and welcome to the second installment of BRINGIN UP OLD STUFF, where we’re crate-digging for old, unblogged indie puzzle gold.
this week’s puzzle is unthemely #27 by todd mcclary. you can solve it here (pdf) or here (puz). and the rest of the unthemelies are all conveniently linked to here for your solving pleasure.

this week’s co-host is doug peterson, a crossworld legend whose mindboggling oeuvre includes newsday saturday stumpers, southwest airlines in-flight

magazine puzzles, and books that you can buy literally right this second! an edited transcript of our conversation follows.
Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 9.54.30 AM
e.a.: oh man you picked a good one! unthemely #27 was a diabolical challenge for me, and very fun. doug, how’d you find it?
Doug: Not quite a diabolical challenge for me, but yes, very fun. The upper left corner is particularly excellent.
e.a.: one of the selling points of todd’s puzzles is their emphasis on neologisms and uber-fresh phrases, so when i saw 1A [Establishment serving many cultures] – i thought it was going to be some new term for a fusion restaurant. a FUSIURANT. hey, that fits! instead it’s YOGURT BAR, which is twisted and genius and makes me very jealous.

Doug: If FUSIURANT was a thing, and it totally should be, Todd would be the first to put it into a puzzle. How did you fare with 3D: GEILS? I feel like the J. Geils Band had a very brief window of popularity in the early ’80s. My favorite J. Geils Band memory (we all have one, right?) is from their “Centerfold” video. Remember the snare drum filled with milk? So awesome! Thank god I don’t live in the ’80s anymore and can watch it in handy gif form. One of the many reasons my parents never bought me a drum set is that I would’ve definitely tried to recreate this stunt at home.

e.a.GEILS was probably the last entry to fall for me in that corner. i’ve totally heard of (*googles*) him before, but i thought he was, like, a nixon cabinet member or something. thank you for the gif, which i watched for approximately 7 minutes.
after getting stymied by that corner (despite the 10-letter gimme in UNCLE REMUS (4D: [Narrator in Br’er Rabbit tales]), i bounced around the grid a bit before making relatively short work of the SW corner. some pretty straightforward stuff in there, including a channing TATUM reference (58A: [“Magic Mike” star]) which, like the good wife clue from last week’s review, still holds up 3 years later.
Doug: Yes, on the TATUM entry and clue, though my brain initially wanted the answer to be CHANNING. Tatum Channing sounds about as good as Channing Tatum. Not quite Aimee Anouk or Lenya Lotte territory, but close.
e.a.: we’ve had this lenya lotte convo at least once before and i still had to google it just now to see if that was the right way round. guh.
you know stuff, so i’m going to ask you instead of looking it up: can you explain [Princess seat] for DECK CHAIR and [White House section] for RESIDENCE? those puzzled me in an otherwise fairly resistanceless SE corner.
Doug: Princess Cruises is a big cruise line. I probably know this because the ship on The Love Boat was called the Pacific Princess. I liked that clue a lot. I’m not 100% sure on the RESIDENCE clue, but I assume it refers to the part of the White House where the President and his family and the dog live. Speaking of the Prez, Todd faked me out with the clue for 34A: [Roberts swore him in]. I filled that in wrong and had to erase. Thanks, Obama!
e.a.: oh yeah that was in a gaffney once. cool.

another great fakeout in the NE region: [Where merchandise is sold left and right] is an AMAZING clue for SHOE STORE, and one that took me several crossings to fill in. also got tripped up on EGG CRATES (13D: [Contoured mattress pads]), despite the hour of mattress pad research i’d done only days prior. grade-A clue.

Doug: That SHOE STORE clue is everything!
I’m impressed by your memory for Gaffney metas and your dedication to mattress pad research! My time limit for researching any purchase is about 3 minutes. Back in the day, I would’ve been all in on buying an Edsel.

My vote for funniest clue is [“Get to work, jester!”]

e.a.: i’m mostly the same! but i don’t fuck around when it comes to sleep.
that one definitely AMUSEd ME. i was probably most tickled by the CEYLONESE twins at 39A – not intrinsically funny, but, to someone who hasn’t read the work in question, audaciously and delightfully random-seeming.
did you have any major beefs or trouble spots?
Doug: A quick comment on the CEYLONESE clue. It strikes me as the type of clue Brad Wilber would come up with, and that’s a good thing.
No major beefs, but I didn’t love SLENDERIZE, a “meh” entry in one of the 10-letter slots.
e.a.: i’d never heard SLENDERIZE before and just kind of assumed it was one of those neologisms we were talking about earlier. definitely had trouble around that area.
also was slowed up by not knowing [Co. with a meowing logo] was MTM – i put MGM thinking he was just being cute, which made it hard to get the tricky REPERTORY (9D: [Team with many plays]).
Doug: Did you say “cute”? And can we do another gif?
e.a.: we can do as many gifs as your heart desires. hey, you worked in a cute cat thing, and this isn’t even a buzzfeed review!
Doug: Any final thoughts? I’ll give a shout-out to the word “Unthemely.” So clever. I wish I’d thought of it. Since we’re still sort of in Back to the Future Week, I’d like to use my time machine to go back and steal that word.
e.a.: excellent call. 100% agreed.
shouts also to crosswords la, the tournament that i just saw you at! the puzzles were edited by mr. mcclary and will probably be available for purchase soon? your finals themeless (or unthemely, if you’ve successfully stolen the word by now) alone is worth the price of admission, whatever that is.
Doug: Thanks! Yes, the puzzles will be up for sale soon. I assume details will be posted on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Trendrr, or wherever you get your crossword news.
This was too much fun. Let’s do it again soon, Snart Junior!
e.a.: i look forward to it, papa snart
thanks to doug for helping blog the puzzle, and to you for joining us! i encourage you to chime in in the comments with your favorite j. geils band memory, or whatever else you feel like chatting about. until next time!
  1. Ben Johnston said:

    This is really nice. I haven’t done Todd’s puzzles before, but I guess maybe I should start.

    The Crosswords LA puzzles are available at for $8. I’ve bought my set, but I won’t have time to go through them until the weekend.


  2. Howard B said:

    J. Geils: Love stinks…. yeah yeah….
    Not my favorite 80’s band, but the milk drum was nicely ridiculous.


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