Kamis, 19 Agustus 2010

T H U R S D A Y   August 19, 2010 Gene Newman

Theme: Topsy-Turvy — Prepositions at the beginning of familiar phrases are replaced with their opposites.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Dishonest? (BELOW BOARD).
  • 26A: Happy? (UP IN THE MOUTH).
  • 42A: Sick? (OUT OF THE PINK).
  • 56A: Incompetent? (OFF THE BALL).
To me, today looks like a clever, fun theme surrounded by a pretty tough grid. How about you? Lots of tough cluing too, right? I kept overthinking a lot of them. Like, I thought 14D: Eagles' attacks would be something about football, but it's about birds (SWOOPS). And I didn't think the 40A: War ender would be something easy like PACT — I thought it would be a suffix, although I couldn't think of one. But then some answers just came right to me like Annie OAKLEY for 43D: "Little Sure Shot." I don't ever recall hearing her referred to by this nickname, but she popped right into my mind. Well, there's a lot to talk about in this little gem of a puzzle so …

Let's get right to it:
  • 1A: Boot's meal (MESS). No idea what this was going for. I always think it's bizarre how tiny bits of faint knowledge come floating slowly to the surface of my brain as I solve a puzzle. Boot = soldier? Sure! That sounds right!
  • 15A: Machu Picchu's land (PERU). Then again, I can Never remember where Machu Picchu is. And it's really not that hard.
  • 16A: Jewish youth org. (YMHA). Young Men's Hebrew Association.
  • 19A: Baseball Triple Crown component (RBI'S). The fact that there even is a Triple Crown in baseball is something I learned from crosswords. I thought Triple Crown was only a horse-racing thing but, in fact, a baseball player is said to have achieved a Triple Crown when he leads his league in home runs, RBIs, and batting average (or, for pitchers, wins, strikeouts, and ERA).
  • 24A: Specialty, informally (THING). Love this.

  • 38A: MLB All-Star Game day (TUES.). Unless the All-Star Game is, like, this week, this clue is amazingly random.
  • 41A: Serious borders? (ESSES). Ooh, ouch. Two letter Ss "border" the word "serious."
  • 1D: Gas brand with a red "o" in its logo (MOBIL). I tried Amoco first. Because I'm an idiot. See also the part where I entered "Cicero" for CYRANO (9D: Rostand's long-nosed lover). **headdesk**
  • 11D: Punxsutawney predictor (PHIL). The rodent fortune teller. I'm a little surprised this one ever picked up any traction.
  • 30D: Adman's award (CLIO). Because all the people who work in the advertising business are men.
  • 32D: Welder's need (ACETYLENE). If you say so.
  • 37D: Sieben follower (ACHT). German!
  • 54D: Reading by a night light, perhaps (ABED). Where I should be right now … good-night, folks!
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 23A: Galeón booty (ORO).
  • 48A: Asian title of respect (SRI).
  • 55A: Russian city on the Oka (OREL).
  • 63A: U.S. Army decorations (DSC'S).
  • 54D: Reading by a night light, perhaps (ABED).
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Everything Else — 5A: What houses may be built on (SPEC); 9A: Li'l Abner's creator (CAPP); 13A: Some finals (ORALS); 20A: Winter sailcraft (ICE BOATS); 21A: Locks up (JAILS); 22A: Sgts.' superiors (LTS.); 30A: Coach in the air? (CLASS); 33A: Tries to sink, perhaps (RAMS); 34A: "Now I get it!" ("OHO!"); 35A: Journalist Clare Boothe __ (LUCE); 36A: Teases maliciously (BAITS); 39A: ___-de-France (ILE); 46A: America's Cup entry (YACHT); 47A: Bank book no. (INT.); 51A: Illegal pickoff moves, e.g. (BALKS); 53A: Out of the box (UNCRATED); 58A: First name in Old West fiction (ZANE); 59A: "Go away!" ("SHOO!"); 60A: Like Serling stories (EERIE); 61A: Be compliant (OBEY); 62A: Get wise with (SASS); 2D: Upright (ERECT); 3D: Rep's work (SALES); 4D: Schulz's Pig-Pen, e.g. (SLOB); 5D: Exact, to a Brit (SPOT ON); 6D: Porridge morsels (PEAS); 7D: Goof (ERR); 8D: Ruminant's mouthful (CUD); 10D: Equivocal (AMBIGUOUS); 12D: Coquette's wink, say (PASS); 18D: Adriatic port (BARI); 21D: Slim __: snack items (JIMS); 24D: One of those things (THAT); 25D: Bottom lines? (HEMS); 26D: Take habitually (USE); 27D: Like overused crossword clues (TRITE); 28D: Biblical pronoun (THEE); 29D: Ponderosa heavyweight (HOSS); 31D: Beaut (LULU); 36D: British spa town (BATH); 38D: Sound made with a head shake (TSK); 40D: U.S. Army E-3s (PFC'S); 41D: Early bird special item (ENTRÉE); 44D: Mottled horses (PINTOS); 45D: Move furtively (INCH); 48D: Oscar Night assembly (STARS); 49D: Dig find (RELIC); 50D: What a slacker does (IDLES); 51D: Oaf (BOZO); 52D: Certain Semite (ARAB); 53D: Area 51 sightings (UFO'S); 56D: WWII spy org. (OSS); 57D: Govt. loan insurer (FHA).

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