Kamis, 30 September 2010

T H U R S D A Y   September 30, 2010 David Poole

Theme: Bird Puns — Bird puns!

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Bird bonnet? (ROBIN HOOD).
  • 24A: Bird boo-boo? (CARDINAL SIN).
  • 34A: Bird brain? (CHICKEN NOODLE).
  • 50A: Bird backpackers? (EAGLE SCOUTS).
  • 56A: Bird bottoms? (KITE TAILS).
Before we get started, can I please get a big round of applause for SethG? I really appreciate it when he steps in for me at the last minute like that and you all probably enjoy the break from my inanity. Speaking of inanity — or is it insanity? — this J-O-B thing is rough! Yesterday was my first day and I had to be up, showered, dressed (up), and ready to head out the door at 7:30am. It's been a long time is all I'm saying. Then last night I went to PuzzleSon's Back to School Night which lasted from SEVEN until NINE. I could barely keep my eyes open driving home. But the job is going well (thank you all for the good wishes!) and the ol' bank account is going to be ecstatic in a couple weeks, so it's all good!

Today's puzzle is solidly in the "okay" category. I really like the theme and especially like the clue for CHICKEN NOODLE. Kinda wish the other theme clues could have been actual phrases but that's easy for me to say since I wasn't the one actually writing the clues. The fill had a couple sparkles with CHESHIRE and HEINIE (!) (34D: Wonderland cat / 9D: Bum), but clunked pretty heavily in a couple sports like OIL COLOR and RESNAP (38D: Artist's choice / 2D: Close again, as a change purse). I was at a complete loss at the cross of NANA (19D: Zola novel) and LINA (22A: Director Wertmüller). Never heard of LINA and would like to say I've never heard of NANA, but that's not exactly true. I've heard of it but, unfortunately, it didn't actually take up residence in my memory. Sigh.

  • 10A: "Once I had ... love and it was __": Blondie lyric (A GAS). This clue is a fun twist on some tired crosswordese.
  • 20A: Shows scorn (SNEERS). Much better than "sneery"!
  • 39A: Author Silverstein (SHEL). I've said it before and I'll say it again. Do Not get me started on "The Giving Tree."
  • 40A: First first name in Olympic gymnastic tens (NADIA). Nadia Comaneci. I remember being completely amazed by her. Man that was a long time ago. (1976!)
  • 45A: 1,000 G's (MIL). And again with the G = 1,000 thing. Did y'all get it this time? It's easier when it's just a G and not the letter spelled out (gee).
  • 46A: Free TV ad (PSA). Here's a good one I saw just the other day.

  • 59A: "Tootsie" Oscar winner (LANGE). Have you seen her in "Frances"? One of the top three most depressing movies of all time. (The others would be "Leaving Las Vegas" and, I don't know, I can't think of a third one right now because my brain is fried.)
  • 63A: Something to take lying down (REST). Sounds like heaven.
  • 12D: Traditional song with the line "Je te plumerai" (ALOUETTE). I can't think of this song without hearing "Ginger Grant" singing it on "Gilligan's Island."
  • 31D: Miss's equal? (MILE). What's the saying? "A miss is as good as a mile"? Right. What's it mean again? Hmm. Oh, I got it. If you just barely miss something it's not really any better than missing it by a mile because you still missed it. Something like that.
Crosswordese 101:There are generally three ways of cluing ENT. First, as a suffix (e.g., "Suffix with string" or "Suffix with differ"). Second, as an abbreviation for Ear Nose & Throat (e.g., "Sinus specialist, briefly," "Tonsilitis MD," or simply "MD's specialty"). And finally, there is the dreaded tree-creature. I don't know if the tree-creature is actually dreaded, but it sure sounds like it should be. Clues for this ENT will generally include a reference to J.R.R. Tolkien (like today's 57D: Tolkien's Treebeard is one). Other words to look for include "middle-earth" and "Fangorn Forest."

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 23A: Hound over a debt (DUN).
  • 54A: Morlock haters (ELOI).
  • 60A: Ireland, to poets (ERIN).
  • 10D: Oberhausen "Oh!" ("ACH!").
  • 19D: Zola novel (NANA).
  • 42D: Depilatory brand (NEET).
  • 48D: Autumn blooms (ASTERS).
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Everything Else — 1A: Bouillabaisse base (BROTH); 6A: "Coffee Cantata" composer (BACH); 14A: So out it's in (RETRO); 15A: In unison, musically (A DUE); 16A: Caffeine source (COLA); 17A: One of Israel's 12 tribes (ASHER); 26A: Ruby of "A Raisin in the Sun" (DEE); 27A: Favorable times, as for pics (OPS); 28A: Marshland (FEN); 29A: Afternoon services (TEASETS); 31A: Mazda MX-5, familiarly (MIATA); 33A: Granola grains (OATS); 41A: Cardinal Cooke (TERENCE); 49A: Suffix with expert (-ISE); 53A: Cubs, on scoreboards (CHI); 55A: Clawed (TORE AT); 61A: Cuba, to Castro (ISLA); 62A: Polecat relative (OTTER); 64A: It helps you get up (STEP); 65A: Orchestra section (REEDS); 1D: 1997 Depp title role (BRASCO); 3D: Unlisted ones (OTHERS); 4D: Cornered, in a way (TREED); 5D: Frightful (HORRIFIC); 6D: Milky Way, e.g. (BAR); 7D: "Be __": "Help me out" (A DOLL); 8D: Georges Braque, for one (CUBIST); 11D: Considerable amount (GOOD DEAL); 13D: Blue state (SADNESS); 21D: Furtive type (SNEAK); 25D: Get in the game (ANTE); 30D: 16-Across, e.g. (SODA); 32D: Landers with advice (ANN); 35D: Finder's cry (HERE IT IS); 36D: Title (NAME); 37D: Keats or Shelley (ODIST); 39D: Price that's rarely paid (STICKER); 43D: French city near a Chunnel terminus (CALAIS); 44D: Diva, stereotypically (EGOIST); 46D: Mambo bandleader Tito (PUENTE); 47D: Faked, as a fight (STAGED); 51D: Former French textile city (LILLE); 52D: Use the soapbox (ORATE); 58D: Doofus (SAP).

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