Kamis, 16 September 2010

T H U R S D A Y   September 16, 2010 David J. Khan

Theme: You Wanna Be Where Everybody Knows Your Name — Theme answers are two-word phrases related to sports, the second word of which can also precede the word BAR in a familiar phrase.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *Powerful punch (RIGHT CROSS).
  • 26A: *Where the tight end is positioned, in football lingo (STRONG SIDE).
  • 50A: *Shot pioneered by Wilt Chamberlain (FINGER ROLL).
  • 11D: *2010 St. Andrews competition (BRITISH OPEN).
  • 25D: *Wimbledon event (MEN'S SINGLES).
  • 58A: Places where you can watch (and whose end can follow the ends of) the answers to starred clues (SPORTS BARS).
Very nice theme today! A little complicated — that explanatory clue needs to be diagrammed — but once you get it, it's pretty awesome. Notice that each theme answer refers to a different sport (boxing, football, basketball, golf, and tennis). That's the kind of detail that can make or break a theme.

Only one thing bothered me and I'm going to just get it out of the way right up front: DESI. Unless I'm really missing something, this clue — 42A: Sitcom pal of Fred — doesn't work at all. Fred Mertz is a character on the 1950s sitcom "I Love Lucy." Desi Arnaz's character in the show is named Ricky Ricardo. Because the clue refers to the character's name (Fred), it's not fair to then turn around and have the answer be the actor's name (DESI). I actually wrote in DESI and then erased it right away because I immediately realized it couldn't be right, that the clue must be referring to some other Fred becaue "Ricky" wouldn't fit. This is the kind of dissonance you hardly ever see in crosswords which makes me believe this one just got by the test-solvers, editors, etc. It happens! (But not often!)

  • 1A: Piano pro (TUNER). This one made me chuckle. First because I was thinking exclusively of someone playing the piano, so when I got the answer I felt pretty dumb. And second because my piano really needs to be tuned.
  • 23A: Depict artistically (LIMN). Whoa. That there's a fancy word!
  • 38A: "Spartacus" Oscar winner (USTINOV). Man I hate it when the answer seems So Much like something I should know.
  • 44A: Shades that fade in fall (TANS). Tricky clue! This refers to the tans people have on their bodies and how they fade when summer's over.
  • 45A: Bond trader's phrase (AT PAR). Tried NO PAR first.
  • 57A: Kerouac's Paradise et al. (SALS). Sal Paradise is the protagonist of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, a book I … couldn't get through.
  • 6D: Wedge-shaped mark (CARET). Karat, carat, caret. Here's the thing. [Edited to actually get it right! I totally didn't get it wrong the first time on purpose! ARGH!] "Carat" is a unit of weight for precious stones; "karat" is a unit of fineness for gold; and "caret" is a wedge-shaped mark like so: ^. I can never keep the spelling straight on these words.
  • 18D: Where some signs change (CUSP). Ooh, zodiac reference. How 70s!
  • 24D: Sympathetic words (I CARE). I have always hated this answer. I just can't envision the situation in which someone, with sincere sympathy, would say "I care."
  • 33D: Fab Four member (STARR). I already had the S in place here so I didn't have the first-name/last-name debate with myself.
  • 60D: Rider of Dinny the dinosaur (OOP). I always knew there was a comic strip called Alley Oop, but I don't recall ever actually seeing it or knowing what it was about. Alley Oop is a caveman and Dinny is his pet dinosaur. And that's pretty much all I will ever remember about this particular topic.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 19A: "Still Life With Old Shoe" artist (MIRÓ).
  • 53A: Knife of yore (SNEE).
  • 55A: Beer-making aid (OAST).
  • 64A: "Don't change it" (STET).
  • 1D: Rocky hill (TOR).
  • 2D: Weapon designer __ Gal (UZI).
  • 28D: Actor Ken and others (OLINS).
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Everything Else — 6A: Fizzy drink (COLA); 10A: Kellogg School deg. (MBA); 13A: UV ray absorber (OZONE); 14A: x and y, perhaps (AXES); 15A: Blackberry lily, e.g. (IRIS); 20A: Together, in music (A DUE); 21A: Ham (EMOTER); 29A: Polar buildup (ICECAP); 31A: Extremists (ULTRAS); 32A: West pointers, sometimes? (VANES); 33A: Sulky state (SNIT); 34A: See 59-Down (SHOP); 37A: It prints many scheds. (IRS); 41A: Mined matter (ORE); 47A: Not completely (IN PART); 49A: Admirals' concerns (FLEETS); 54A: Like "ASAP" memos (URGENT); 65A: Liver nutrient (IRON); 66A: Bother persistently (NAG AT); 67A: Curly shape (ESS); 68A: "Forget about it" ("NOPE"); 69A: Like an evening in a Frost title (SNOWY); 3D: Nutmeg-topped drink (NOG); 4D: Add pizazz to (ENHANCE); 5D: Like many a volunteer: Abbr. (RETD.); 7D: Kitchen gadgets brand (OXO); 8D: Haitian seaport __ Cayes (LES); 9D: Be convinced about (ASSENT TO); 10D: Cocktails similar to a Buck's Fizz (MIMOSAS); 12D: Made public (AIRED); 16D: Peeved (SORE); 22D: Retail VIP (MGR.); 23D: Really, really 16-Down (LIVID); 27D: Meet unexpectedly (RUN INTO); 30D: Barry Bonds's alma mater, briefly (ASU); 35D: Wax eloquent (ORATE); 36D: As such (PER SE); 39D: Gets going (STARTS IN); 40D: Batman before George (VAL); 43D: Consumes (INGESTS); 46D: Treaty subject (TEST BAN); 48D: Reliever's spot, for short (PEN); 49D: Needing a 1-Across (FLAT); 50D: Hoo-ha (FUSS); 51D: Really 16-Down (IRATE); 52D: Ben player on "Bonanza" (LORNE); 56D: Payroll figs. (SSN'S); 59D: With 34-Across, country club feature (PRO); 61D: In days past (AGO); 62D: Untrained (RAW); 63D: Place to serve slop (STY).

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