Jumat, 06 Agustus 2010

F R I D A Y   August 6, 2010 Charles Barasch

Theme: C to the C-K — Words that end with a C in familiar phrases are changed to end with a CK, resulting in wacky phrases clued "?"-style.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Pre-1991 Russian veto? (SOVIET BLOCK).
  • 29A: West Florida currency? (TAMPA BAY BUCK).
  • 35A: Assault by killer trucks? (BIG MACK ATTACK).
  • 43A: Construct a microscopic house? (BUILD ON SPECK).
  • 57A: Jumpy bug? (NERVOUS TICK).
The theme today didn't really do much for me. But the rest of the puzzle was tough enough that it kept me interested. There were a few entries that I just flat didn't know:
  • 14A: '60s-'70s San Francisco mayor (ALIOTO).
  • 27A: Genes responsible for hereditary variations (ALLELES).
  • 46D: Trillionth: Pref. (PICO-).
  • 32D: Slightly eccentric (PIXILATED).
and a few that I really had to work for. I knew 41A: Actress Scala's was either Nia or Lia or … oh yeah GIA. (AGOG to the rescue! (36D: Worked up)). I'm not sure I would describe SPICE CAKE as necessarily "tangy," so I couldn't see that answer for quite a while (12D: Tangy dessert).

What else:
  • 1A: Like some teeth (GAPPED). I had to work pretty hard up in this little corner. PuzzleFamily is getting read for vacation, but we're not driving so GAS UP (1D: Get ready to travel) didn't occur to me at all. Then I entered a C for the G — capped teeth, reasonable right? — and was really confused. Obviously worked it out eventually.
  • 20A: Certain cardholder's cry (UNO). Tried "gin" first.
  • 33A: Reactor safety overseer: Abbr. (NRC). Not sure exactly what this stands for, but I'm guessing the N is for "nuclear." Hold on … Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Looking stuff up for you. Just another service provide.
  • 42A: He beat Okker to win the 1968 U.S. Open (ASHE). I don't believe I've ever heard of Okker, but "1968 U.S. Open" pointed me right to the gentleman from Virginia.
  • 53A: Developmental step (STAGE). Tried "phase."
  • 54A: E lead-in (B-C-D). Random alphabet string. ugh.
  • 56A: Chickadee relative (TIT). Heh.
  • 64A: Easter Island attraction (STATUE). This didn't come to my mind At All, but as soon as I got it, it was a real head-desk moment. I guess I've never really thought too much about those statues. Obviously, I've seen pictures of them, but I don't know anything about them.
  • 2D: All by oneself (ALONE). See also 25D: Dateless (STAG).
  • 6D: Web outfit (DOT COM). For the record, there's no period in DOT COM. I don't know if it's hyphenated or not and, honestly, I don't care. But there is no period right in the middle of that word. Because that wouldn't make any sense.
  • 11D: Fashionable repast (LATE LUNCH). My favorite entry.
  • 40D: Magic, at one time (NBA STAR). Even though I have When the Game Was Ours (by Larry Bird and Earvin "Magic" Johnson) sitting right on my bedstand, I was tricked by this one.
  • 60D: Cardinal's letters (STL). More sports.
Crosswordese 101: LST, which stands for Landing Ship, Tank, "was the military designation for naval vessels created during World War II to support amphibious operations by carrying significant quantities of vehicles, cargo, and landing troops directly onto an unimproved shore" (according to Wikipedia). In crosswords, LST is almost always clued in reference to World War II, which clues such as "D-Day craft," "WWII transport," "D-Day carrier," "WWI vessel," "Omaha Beach lander, briefly," or 11A: WWII Normandy lander.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 4D: Islands staple (POI).
  • 5D: Time to tan in Cannes (ÉTÉ).
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Everything Else — 7A: Recover (HEAL); 11A: WWII Normandy lander (LST); 15A: Business opening? (AGRI-); 16A: National Poetry Mo. (APR.); 19A: Madre's brother (TIO); 21A: Bit of tryst talk (COO); 22A: Boot (EJECT); 24A: Site of some adoptions (PET SHOP); 31A: On __ with (A PAR); 34A: Opposing vote (NAY); 40A: Equi- ending (NOX); 48A: Out there (AT LARGE); 49A: Occupy (INHABIT); 55A: Uracil is one of its basic components (RNA); 62A: __ Zion Church (AME); 63A: Gunk (CRUD); 65A: Not the color of money? (RED); 66A: Directors' banes (HAMS); 67A: Respected ones (ELDERS); 3D: Scissors feature (PIVOT); 4D: Islands staple (POI); 5D: Time to tan in Cannes (ÉTÉ); 7D: Symbol of virtue (HALO); 8D: Kind of trip taken by oneself? (EGO); 9D: Circle part (ARC); 10D: Plausible (LIKELY); 13D: One of the original Politburo members (TROTSKY); 18D: Comet Hale-__ (BOPP); 23D: Bush seen in Florida (JEB); 26D: Hurt (HARM); 27D: Incantation beginning (ABRA); 28D: Milk: Pref. (LACT-); 30D: Singer Paul and family (ANKAS); 31D: "Finally!" ("ABOUT TIME!"); 37D: Art film theater (CINE); 38D: Driver's gadget, for short (TACH); 39D: "May I __ favor?" (ASK A); 44D: Hang back (LAG); 45D: Soak (DRENCH); 47D: Ultimate purpose (END USE); 50D: Shiny, in product names (BRITE); 51D: Bring upon oneself (INCUR); 52D: Directors' units (TAKES); 54D: Some underwear (BVD'S); 58D: Notable period (ERA); 59D: Mai tai ingredient (RUM); 61D: Pinch (TAD).

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