Kamis, 29 Juli 2010

THURSDAY, July 29, 2010Doug Peterson and John Doppler Schiff

Theme: Strange Competitions — Familiar two-word types of competitions are clued as if the first word means something else.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Competition for witches? (SPELLING BEE).
  • 27A: Competition for entomologists? (CRICKET MATCH).
  • 43A: Competition for pastors? (STEEPLE CHASE).
  • 58A: Competition for painters? (ROLLER DERBY).
A big thanks to Rex Parker for sitting in for me yesterday. I was, um, well ... I had something personal to do. It wasn't a secret spy mission! What would make you think it was a secret spy mission?! It just some regular old thing that had nothing to do with secrets or spies or missions. Glad we got that settled.

A nice smooth Thursday puzzle this week. It skewed a little more difficult than I was expecting, but that's a good thing. The theme is clever, but I really like the fill on this one. We've got the high-brow EPIGRAM and ALLEGORY (41D: Bon mot / 37D: "The Tortoise and the Hare," for one) in the same grid with "DIBS!" and SORTA (31D: "Mine!" / 49D: To some extent, colloquially), which is fun. And the Scrabbly factor rose dramatically with ZONK OUT, WIDE AWAKE, and X'S and O'S (55A: Nod off, in slang / 33D: Not nodding / 42D: Playbook symbols). Who doesn't love seeing ZONK OUT in the grid? It's awesome!

  • 20A: Churl (PEASANT). I always thought "churl" meant more like "cad" or "rogue." Hmmm … Merriam-Webster online says "churl" is a synonym for "jerk," but the PEASANT definition comes before "rude ill-bred person" in its main entry so okay. Learn something new every day.
  • 23A: Prêt-à-porter monogram (YSL). Yves Saint Laurent.
  • 31A: Churchill __ (DOWNS). I was all proud of myself for knowing this racetrack off the top of my head and then realized it's where the Kentucky Derby is run, so probably everyone else knew it right away too.
  • 35A: "What have we here?!" ("OHO!"). Seems like we're seeing a lot of OHO lately. In fact, I think OHO has over-stayed its welcome at this point.
  • 40A: Bridge turn (BID). This one tricked me. I was thinking like a bridge that goes over water, not bridge the card game.

  • 52A: Bodybuilder's breakfast, maybe (RAW EGGS). Someone mentioned "Caddyshack" the other day and I was trying to think of what other old movies I'd like to see again. Rocky's definitely in there.
  • 61A: Typeface type (ARIAL). Mmmmm, typefaces.
  • 64A: Some are urban (MYTHS). I'm sure you all know about Snopes.com, but here's a link just in case you don't. I can spend hours on that site and I pretty much never leave the "What's New" section.
  • 3D: Hollywood dad or his acting daughter (O'NEAL). I can never remember how Ryan and Tatum spell their last name. I know that it's either (a) the same as Shaq or (b) different than Shaq — but I can never remember which one.
  • 9D: Not a good shot (ONE IN TEN). I was tricked by this one too! I thought the answer would be a word describing someone who can't shoot a gun accurately. I'm going "One … eyed?"
  • 11D: Pre-railroad transport (CONESTOGA). Ah, we meet again, CONESTOGA. In case you're wondering, this is absolutely without a doubt a shout-out to me. And if anyone tells you different, they're lying.
  • 25D: Aspen rooftop sight (SKI RACK). I assume this means car roof? Or do skiers put skis on the rooves (rooves? roofs?) of their houses too? Probably not.
  • 30D: Big bikes (HOGS). Love this nickname for Harleys.
  • 45D: Shrubs with edible nuts (HAZELS). Who knew?
  • 50D: Hexahedral puzzle inventor (RUBIK). Hexahedral? Now you're just showing off.
Overall I'd say this is pretty much what we've come to expect from Doug and it's a very nice debut for John. Good job, guys!

Crosswordese 101: I'm not much of a religious person, so I'm going to quote from Wikipedia on this one: "INRI is an acronym of the Latin inscription IESVS NAZARENVS REX IVDÆORVM (Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum), which translates to English as 'Jesus the Nazarene (Galilean), King of the Jews (Judeans).' The Greek equivalent of this phrase … (Iesous ho Nazoraios ho Basileus ton Ioudaion), appears in the New Testament of the Christian Bible in the Gospel of John (19:19)." INRI is typically clued as "crucifix inscription," "Calvary inscription," "initials on a cross," or 18D: Cross letters.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 41A: "First Lady of Song" (ELLA).
  • 57A: She played Bea in "Kill Bill" (UMA).
  • 44D: Poetic preposition (ERE).
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Everything Else — 1A: Cry of feigned innocence (WHO ME?); 6A: Northwest Passage seeker (CABOT); 11A: Spy's eye, briefly (CAM); 14A: Ancient Greek dialect (IONIC); 15A: Sheepish? (OVINE); 16A: Carry a balance (OWE); 19A: "Move it!" ("NOW!"); 21A: Prove pleasing (SIT WELL); 24A: Nest egg segments, briefly (IRA'S); 26A: Not big bites (NIPS); 34A: Brand that may cause brain freeze (ICEE); 36A: Words while anteing (I'M IN); 37A: Brother of Moses (AARON); 39A: Awestruck (AGOG); 42A: Inside information? (X-RAYS); 47A: R&B singer India.__ (ARIE); 48A: __ Sutra (KAMA); 49A: Some H.S. students (SRS.); 60A: With 29-Down, cabbage variety (BOK); 62A: Agree to participate (OPT IN); 63A: __ out: barely manage (EKE); 65A: Vampire's concern (STAKE); 1D: Thin, as smoke (WISPY); 2D: Signs of optimism (HOPES); 4D: Thickness measures (MILS); 5D: Cream puffs (ECLAIRS); 6D: Source of cold comfort? (CONTAC); 7D: Batter's fig. (AVG.); 8D: They hang in seafood restaurants (BIBS); 10D: Links appointment (TEE TIME); 12D: Missing in the mil. (AWOL); 13D: Little cry (MEWL); 22D: New Deal prog. (WPA); 27D: 1980 Turner launch (CNN); 28D: Natural prefix (ECO-); 29D: See 60-Across (CHOY); 32D: Leave out (OMIT); 38D: Sam Adams, maybe (ALE); 39D: "We __ the Champions" (ARE); 46D: Latin love (AMOR); 51D: "Gypsy" composer (STYNE); 52D: Yahoo (RUBE); 53D: Bad way to run (AMOK); 54D: Thin opening (SLIT); 56D: Didn't surrender (KEPT); 59D: "Well, __-di-dah" (LAH).

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