Jumat, 17 September 2010

F R I D A Y   September 17, 2010 John Lampkin

Theme: A to I — Familiar phrases have a short A sound converted to a short I sound.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Ballet? (TIP DANCING).
  • 27A: Photo session with a klutz? (TRIP SHOOTING).
  • 47A: Part of a barber shop review? (SNIP JUDGMENT).
  • 62A: Christmas morning ritual? (RIP SESSION).
Wow. This theme did Nothing for me. The resulting phrases are boring and their cluing is abysmal. (Remember how I said I was going to use that word the other day? Well here's my chance.) So you change the A sound in TAP DANCING to an I sound (only not both A sounds, just the first one) and the resulting phrase is another type of dancing also described by the shoes. This is not wacky. It's nonsensical, yes, but it doesn't strike me as funny or clever or … anything. It just sits there. Ya know what would have been a better clue for TIP DANCING? "Strip club performance." Because then the TIP part is about money and not about the exact same thing it's about in the original phrase. I'm not going to go over each theme answer in this much detail. But I could! Because each one of them is awkward in its own way. Put them all together and what you've got is a Big Mess.

There is some nice fill, but nothing super long or super flashy. MENSCH (8D: Good guy)is probably the best word in the grid. BOTOX and ZIP CODES are also up there and they both had awesome clues as well — 55A: Shot to the face? / 38D: 60606 and 70707, e.g. Ya know what? Let's just go to bullets because there are a few other things to talk about.

  • 1A: Bulldogs' home (YALE). Is the bulldog the mascot at Georgia too? Because all I could think of was Georgia.
  • 10A: Tevye's toast subject (LIFE). I got this totally through context and guessing. I believe Tevye refers to the main character in "Fiddler on the Roof," who is Jewish so his toast is probably the common Jewish toast "L'Chaim," which means "to life." This is all completely from the top of my head and the details may be wrong, but it brought me to the right answer so I'm totally okay with it.
  • 16A: Bridal gown shade (ECRU). I thought this would be ECRU, but I had already entered LOGO where ICON was supposed to go (11D: Macintosh's apple, e.g.) so I had a little trouble in this corner.
  • 21A: Au pair in a ring? (KTS.). Okay, here's why I hate this clue. It's trying really hard to be cute. Au is the symbol for gold. Pair = two. So we're supposed to think the ring is made of two-karat gold. Is that even a thing? I mean, I'm sure two-karat gold exists but would someone bother to make a ring out of it? Two-carat diamond? Yes. Two-karat gold? No. As a constructor friend of mine said, "First off, don't put KTS in your grid." That's good advice.
  • 28D: Ford muscle car, to devotees (STANG). Is this really something devotees say? Or is it like the "Frisco" thing Amy was talking about the other day?
  • 32A: Realtors' database: Abbr. (MLS). Multiple Listing Service. If you've ever bought or sold a home, you're probably familiar with this.
  • 58A: ESP, e.g. (PSI). I don't know what this means.
  • 64A: Area between gutters (LANE). I stupidly entered EAVE thinking about gutters on the roof instead of gutters in a bowling alley.
  • 65A: Come about (OCCUR). Tried ARISE here.
  • 69A: Blonde, at times (DYER). I've been a blonde all my life and for years I was up on my high horse, so superior to dyed blondes because it was natural for me. Then I got pregnant. Pregnancy does All Kinds of strange stuff to a woman's body. One of the things it did to me was darken my hair. So now I'm down here with everyone else.
  • 6D: English, maybe (BACKSPIN). "English" is a word for the spin you put on a ball. I've only ever heard it used in pool but it's probably used elsewhere.
  • 18D: Game company first called Syzygy (ATARI). Oh why couldn't they have kept that name?
  • 26D: What misters do (MOISTEN). My first thought? Misses. Totally inappropriate.
  • 29D: Lithographer James (IVES). This made me laugh. I'm all "I'm supposed to know lithographers now?!" And then it's our old friend from Currier & IVES, who I most certainly do know.
  • 33D: The Eagles' "__' Eyes" (LYIN). I'm not sure why the clue includes the apostrophe after the blank. Typically, the punctuation is left for the solver to figure out.
  • 40D: Proctor's announcement (TIME IS UP). Me: "Why isn't TIME'S UP fitting??"
Crosswordese 101:
  • 14A: Airline with a King David Lounge (EL AL).
  • 44A: Naldi of silents (NITA).
  • 1D: Elusive Himalayans (YETIS).
  • 18D: Game company first called Syzygy (ATARI).
  • 56D: Fire __ (OPAL).
  • 62D: Some eggs (ROE).
  • 63D: Long lead-in (ERE).
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Everything Else — 5A: Controversial 2009 Nobelist (OBAMA); 15A: Drink disparaged by W.C. Fields (WATER); 19A: Iberian Peninsula invader (MOOR); 20A: Cartographic detail (INSET); 22A: Salsa instrument (BONGO); 23A: Can't commit (SEE-SAWS); 25A: "Don't gimme that!" ("C'MON!"); 35A: Abbr. part, often (INIT.); 36A: "The nerve!" ("I NEVER!"); 37A: Court cry (OYEZ); 39A: Airborne annoyances (GNATS); 41A: Dynamic opening? (AERO-); 42A: Gibbon, e.g. (SIMIAN); 46A: Use a seed drill (SOW); 50A: She played Elizabeth I in "Elizabeth" (CATE); 51A: Wrote a Dear John (ENDED IT); 60A: Predawn (EARLY); 61A: Pundit's piece (OP-ED); 66A: Further (ELSE); 67A: Line discontinued in 2004 (OLDS); 68A: Military camp (ETAPE); 2D: "Drop me __" (A LINE); 3D: Dropping the ball, so to speak (LAPSE); 4D: First arrival (ELDEST); 5D: MYOB part (OWN); 7D: Arguing (AT IT); 9D: Its mon. unit is the peso (ARG.); 10D: Throat-soothing brew (LEMON TEA); 12D: __ legs (FROG); 13D: Prefix with bond or dollar (EURO); 22D: Godsend (BOON); 24D: Hand-tightened fastener (WING NUT); 30D: Fabled fiddler (NERO); 31D: Generate interest (GROW); 32D: Damp area growth (MOSS); 34D: Big Mack (SEMI); 43D: "Iliad" hero (AJAX); 45D: Much of Chile (ANDES); 48D: Portray (DEPICT); 49D: Ribbed (TEASED); 52D: How deadpan humor is delivered (DRILY); 53D: Terse concession (I LOSE); 54D: Jazz pianist McCoy __ (TYNER); 55D: New Mexico's official neckwear (BOLO); 56D: Fire __ (OPAL); 57D: Be inclined (to) (TEND); 59D: Shelter org. (SPCA).

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