Selasa, 24 Agustus 2010

T U E S D A Y   August 24, 2010 Dave Mackey

Theme: Play ball! — Theme answers are familiar phrases that end with a word that can be related to baseball.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Quilter's layer (COTTON BATTING).
  • 28A: Camper's activity (TENT PITCHING).
  • 49A: Not out of contention (IN THE RUNNING).
  • 59A: "Tom Jones" author (HENRY FIELDING).
A very nice Tuesday offering today. I wonder how many baseball themes constructors are going to be able to come up with. Seems like I've seen a lot of them and I haven't been doing puzzles obsessively for all that long. This one is just fine on a summer Tuesday. I wasn't crazy about TENT PITCHING. Sure, it's descriptive and wasn't hard to figure out, but it's not a stand-alone phrase and typically you want your theme answers to be stand-alone phrases.

I like that a few bonus non-theme theme answers are included in the grid:
  • 52D: Smack a homer, in baseball lingo (GO DEEP).
  • 65D: Squeeze bunt stat (RBI).
Plus a few non-baseball sports answers for good measure:
  • 18A: Defunct Atlanta arena (OMNI).
  • 36A: Hockey score (GOAL).
Other than that:
  • 5A: Start of a childhood learning song (ABCD). Now here's something that's never pleasant to see. Especially right up there in the top row.
  • 23A: Comedian/actor Robert (KLEIN).

  • 38A: Graceland middle name (ARON). Elvis Aron Presley.
  • 53A: Mario Brothers letters (NES). I believe NES is a game system, like X Box or Playstation or Wii, and that the first Mario Brothers games were created specifically for that system. If there are any gamers out there, please feel free to correct me on this.
  • 70A: Tiger's 2004 bride (ELIN). Eerie timing! No way Dave or Rich could have known that Tiger and Elin's divorce would be final yesterday. I guess Elin finally said "BEAT IT" (4D: "Amscray!").
  • 71A: Petrol purchase (LITRE). The British word "petrol" in the clue hints at the British spelling of the answer.
  • 7D: Where Jesus turned water to wine (CANA). It's a town in Galilee.
  • 8D: Composer Shostakovich (DMITRI). He doesn't show up often, but it will be a good idea for you to put this bit of knowledge in your back pocket for later.
  • 9D: Cast a spell over (BEWITCH).
  • 11D: World's second largest island (NEW GUINEA). I did not know that.
  • 21D: 10 C-notes (ONE G). A C-note is a $100 bill; $1,000 is known as a "grand" or a "G."
  • 51D: Break up a team? (UNYOKE). Talking about a team of oxen here.
Crosswordese 101: DUN means exactly what today's clue says it means — 54A: Demand payment from. I recall being surprised once that more people didn't know this word. I spent most of my professional career working for lawyers (I know!) and the "dunning letter" was a regular thing. But I guess it's not that way in every workplace. The only other way you're likely to see DUN clued is as a dull grayish brown color (sometimes in relation to a horse).

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 33A: Onetime Leno announcer Hall (EDD).
  • 68A: Some woodwinds (OBOES).
  • 72A: French summers (ÉTÉS).
  • 12D: Rap's Dr. __ (DRE).
  • 47D: Indigo dye source (ANIL).
  • 50D: Capek play about automatons (RUR).
  • 63D: Marine shockers (EELS).
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Everything Else — 1A: Strikebreaker (SCAB); 9A: Music groups (BANDS); 14A: Movie director's unit (TAKE); 15A: Linguist Chomsky (NOAM); 16A: Each (EVERY); 17A: Song with a cadenza, perhaps (ARIA); 19A: Floored (WOWED); 24A: Wagon wheel depression (RUT); 25A: Country with borders on three diff. oceans (USA); 37A: Capital west of Haiphong (HANOI); 40A: Agile mountain animals (GOATS); 43A: Earth 42-Down (GEOL.); 44A: Copy room powder (TONER); 46A: Ancient Andean (INCA); 48A: Zoo swinger (APE); 55A: Ancient Greek region (IONIA); 64A: TV spot (PROMO); 66A: Shoppe adjective (OLDE); 67A: Actress/artist Sommer (ELKE); 69A: Pass unprofitably, as time (KILL); 73A: Huff and puff (PANT); 1D: Pile neatly (STACK); 2D: Holiday tune (CAROL); 3D: "Go fly __!" (A KITE); 5D: In a short time, old-style (ANON); 6D: Box office disaster (BOMB); 10D: Bell-ringing fragrance giant (AVON); 13D: Guitarist Barrett (SYD); 22D: Syllable of rebuke (TUT); 26D: Prying sort (SNOOP); 27D: Like a contortionist (AGILE); 29D: Eggy seasonal drink (NOG); 30D: Lao-tzu principle (TAO); 31D: Like the nose on your face? (PLAIN); 32D: Broom rider (HAG); 33D: Skip the bistro (EAT IN); 34D: Monotonous sound (DRONE); 35D: Plea made with one's hands up (DON'T SHOOT); 39D: Bk. after Ezra (NEH.); 41D: Former Opry network (TNN); 42D: Chem. or phys. (SCI.); 45D: Rudolph tip-off (RED NOSE); 56D: Nabisco wafer brand (NILLA); 57D: Finish, as a comic strip (INK IN); 58D: Rep (AGENT); 60D: Part of EMT: Abbr. (EMER.); 61D: Move like a butterfly (FLIT); 62D: Not working (IDLE); 64D: D.C. deal maker (POL).

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