Rabu, 11 Agustus 2010

W E D N E S D A Y   August 11, 2010Don Gagliardo

Theme: Ohhhh, I see! — Every letter C in the grid is pronounced as a hard C in its across entry and as a soft C in its down entry (59D: They're hard in across answers and soft in down ones (CEES)).

Theme answers (too many to list, but here are some examples):
  • 8A: Strip in the paper (COMIC).
  • 8D: Makes reference to (CITES).
  • 12D: Disney Store sales (CELS).

  • 54A: Sway on a curve (CAREEN).
  • 54D: Give up (CEDE).
I originally thought the theme was MIDDLE C (34D: Piano benchmark, and a feature of 16-, 22-, 51- and 61-Across) but noticed that each of those answers also begins with a C and thought that couldn't be a coincidence but couldn't figure out how it related to the MIDDLE C theme. Anyway, here are the answers with the MIDDLE Cs:
  • 16A: French Open surface (CLAY COURT).
  • 22A: Cramming session (CRASH COURSE).
  • 51A: Joker on the line (CRANK CALLER).
  • 61A: Just fall short (COME CLOSE).
This is the kind of theme I really appreciate. Clever, interesting, and (I've gotta believe) difficult to construct. Two of the MIDDLE C entries are only so-so, but the other two, CRASH COURSE and CRANK CALLER, are awesome. The rest of the fill is solid with a sparkle here and there. There seem to be a lot of three-letter words, but none of them are abbreviations and only one, KER-, is a prefix (37D: Flooey lead-in). That's pretty impressive.

  • 1A: Self-titled 2000s sitcom (REBA). Early in the week, you get a hint that we're not talking about Lucille Ball. Later in the week, you'll see a clue like "Television redhead" and will probably be tempted to enter LUCY. Not that that's ever happened to me.
  • 18A: Innsbruck is its capital (TYROL). It's an Austrian state. I know that because I just looked it up.
  • 20A: "There __ 'I' in 'team'" (IS NO). But, as I have been reminded, there are three Us in "Shut the F**k Up."
  • 21A: Odessa natives (TEXANS). I admit it, I fell for it. I was only thinking about the Ukrainian Odessa.
  • 31A: 1944 Normandy battle site (CAEN). If you entered St.-Lô without even thinking about it, you've been paying attention to CW101. Unfortunately, it didn't really help you today.
  • 42A: Makizushi wrapper (NORI). I assume this is sushi.
  • 47A: Francesca of "Collateral Damage" (NERI). No idea. She is primarily famous for her work in Italy, but she also co-starred in "Hannibal" and (as the clue tells us) "Collateral Damage" in the early 2000s.
  • 1D: It's sold in cakes (RICE). I tried "soap" first.
  • 10D: Wellington __, New York Giants co-owner for 45+ years (MARA). Ne-ever heard of this guy. Wikipedia says he was "one of the most influential and iconic figures in the history of the National Football League." If you say so.
  • 30D: Make an honest man of, so to speak (WED). I appreciate the attempt at making this non-sexist but honestly, "make an honest man of" is not a phrase. Yes, it's been said and you can even Google it, but I've gotta believe it's mostly used in a joking way that's actually meant to emasculate the man referred to in some way. I should probably just leave it at that.
  • 48D: Old cold-block bringers (ICEMEN). Bringers?
Crosswordese 101: SEVE Ballesteros is a professional golfer from Spain. He won the British Open three times and the Masters twice. His first Masters win came a year after Fuzzy Zoeller won the tournament (for some reason that shows up in puzzles every once in a while). You really don't need to know anything else about him for crossword puzzle purposes. The clue will almost always include his last name and a hint about his profession (i.e., the word "golf," "links," or "PGA").

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 26A: Disbelieving dying words (ET TU).
  • 45A: Legendary Greek vessel (ARGO).
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Everything Else — 5A: Missal site (PEW); 13A: Part of, as a surprise party plan (IN ON); 14A: Mitchell of music (JONI); 15A: Blown away (IN AWE); 19A: Knock off a sub? (EAT); 25A: China is in it, with "the" (EAST); 27A: Coat on the slopes (SNOW); 33A: Look (SEEM); 35A: Lamb's mom (EWE); 36A: Sot's milieu (SKID ROW); 39A: Fixed income (STIPEND); 41A: Letter writer? (PEN); 44A: Took much more than one should have (OD'ED); 49A: Meat source (DELI); 58A: Actor Cage, casually (NIC); 60A: Where to learn une leçon (ECOLE); 63A: Prehistoric beasts, briefly (DINOS); 64A: Urgent care abbr. (EMER.); 65A: "It's crystal clear" ("I SEE"); 66A: Online social appointment (E-DATE); 67A: Craving (YEN); 68A: Catfish Row opera heroine (BESS); 2D: Interweave (ENLACE); 3D: Regatta action (BOAT RACING); 4D: Some (ANY); 5D: Prey (on), cat-style (POUNCE); 6D: Implants deeply (ENROOTS); 7D: Amusing quality (WIT); 9D: Colorful quartz varieties (ONYXES); 11D: Arms-up declaration (I WON); 14D: Kid around (JOSH); 17D: Rain storage reservoir (CISTERN).
  • 21D: Faithfully following (TRUE TO); 23D: "Sing __ Song": Merle Haggard hit (A SAD); 24D: Salt Lake City university team (UTES); 28D: Like some pliers (NEEDLE-NOSE); 29D: Hold title to (OWN); 32D: Reagan biographer Peggy (NOONAN); 36D: Place to get naked, perhaps (SPA); 38D: Birdhouse bird (WREN); 40D: Zest in a cocktail (PEEL); 43D: Dander-raising (IRKSOME); 46D: Domestic-looking wildcat (OCELOT); 50D: Showy spring bloomers (IRISES); 52D: Baseball's Pee Wee (REESE); 53D: Affirm confidently (AVER); 55D: Sharp (ACID); 56D: TV tabloid pioneer Barrett (RONA); 61D: '70s-'80s Dodger third baseman Ron (CEY); 62D: Women's __ (LIB).
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