Kamis, 09 September 2010

T H U R S D A Y   September 9, 2010 John "Doppler" Schiff

Theme: Flip-Flop — The words in familiar two-word phrases are reversed.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Excessive pride in one's china? (PLATE VANITY).
  • 26A: Brawl during a game of musical chairs? (SEAT RUMBLE).
  • 36A: What Winfrey couldn't do during a noted couch-jumping episode? (CONTROL CRUISE).
  • 51A: Zorro's chamois? (BLADE WIPER).
  • 61A: Cassette deck feature, and a hint to this puzzle's theme (AUTO REVERSE).
Cute them, nice puzzle today. I wasn't crazy about starting right off with a partial at 1-Across ("I WALK the Line"), but I think I'll let it go because it's Johnny Cash. I then had a quick misstep at 6-Across also. It's so not fair that both of Ringo STARR's names are five letters long. And who ever calls him STARR? I always try "Ringo" first and it's very rarely correct. (It's 3–4 times more likely to be STARR, actually. Those are just good letters!) By the time I got to the N in Ringo, I glanced at the clue for 6D: Clinton's department and knew that I had been tricked again. (Hillary Clinton is, of course, the U.S. Secretary of STATE.)

So what should we talk about?
  • 19A: A storm might delay it: Abbr. (ARR.). Oh yeah, this one was tricky for me too. Tried ETD first, thinking to myself "Of course, it might just as well be ETA." Totally forgot about ARR. Arrgh!
  • 34A: Bolt, e.g. (EAT). So funny. All I could think of was the Bolt Bus, a really cheap bus line that runs from Washington, D.C. to Boston (with stops in Baltimore, Philly, and New York). I've taken it a couple times. It's not too bad. And the price is definitely right. But this was a totally different meaning of "bolt." See also 2D: Gobbled (WOLFED).
  • 41A: Case, for instance: Abbr. (SYN.). We were not fooled by this one today, were we? (The words "case" and "instance" can be SYNonyms.)
  • 55A: Chihuahua child (NIÑO). I tried "nene" here, like a big dope. "Nene" has been clued as the word for "baby" in Spain, like, twice. So I thought I was being so clever. Never mind that Chihuahua is in Mexico.
  • 3D: 2009 James Cameron blockbuster (AVATAR). You all have probably seen this already, but I think it's hilarious, so I'll post it here anyway.

  • 9D: Accel.'s opposite, in music (RIT.). That would be "accelerando" (speed up) and "ritardando" (slow down).
  • 18D: It drops with fog: Abbr. (VIS.). Didn't we just have this hideous abbreviation recently?
  • 25D: Jerry's comedy partner (DEAN). I think I saw the other "Jerry's partner" clue first (63D: Jerry's partner), which I wanted to be "Ben" but was TOM. Then with this one, I thought it would be a comedy duo that goes by the comedians' two names (like Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Stiller & Meara). I guess this is Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin who obviously worked together, but I forgot that they were "partners."
  • 36D: Twisters (CYCLONES). Also Iowa State University's mascot. Boo!!!
  • 46D: "Gracias" response (DE NADA). This is how I learned to respond to "gracias" when I first started picking up Spanish. I've noticed, though, that when we're in Costa Rica, the typical response is "Con mucho gusto," and the other night at Chipotle when PuzzleDaughter thanked the cashier in Spanish, she said "Por nada." I'm guessing it's a regional thing.
  • 50D: Word-for-word reference? (ROGET'S). Nice clue!
Crosswordese 101: Wikipedia explains that ORC "is a word used to refer to various races of tough and warlike humanoid creatures in various fantasy setting." In crossword puzzles, and particularly in the L.A. Times, ORC is almost always clued with a reference to J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings." Except for today, where it's clued simply as a 43A: Middle-earth monster.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 15A: She played Adrian in "Rocky" (TALIA).
  • 59A: Sheet with beats, for short (EKG).
  • 68A: Marshall Plan pres. (HST).
  • 34D: Trains overhead (ELS).
  • 45D: Fishing village that became Tokyo (EDO).
  • 62D: Alleged spoon-bender Geller (URI).
  • 64D: Sushi fish (EEL).
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Everything Else — 11A: "Gosh!" ("GEE!"); 14A: Trailer follower (MOVIE); 16A: Cellular transmitter (RNA); 20A: Sailor's rear (AFT); 21A: Sorrowful comment (PITY); 22A: Congo neighbor (GABON); 24A: Coveted role (LEAD); 29A: Relevant, in law (AD REM); 31A: Tuxedos, often (RENTALS); 32A: Power source size (AAA); 35A: Acquire (GET); 42A: Apt. ad spec (RMS.); 44A: Followed, as an impulse (ACTED ON); 47A: Respectful refusal (NO SIR); 56A: B on a table (BORON); 57A: High, to Henri (HAUT); 60A: Filmmaker Lee (ANG); 65A: Ball-bearing device (TEE); 66A: Queen's mate (DRONE); 67A: Reason for a raise (MERIT); 69A: Sighted (AIMED); 70A: Thicke and Rickman (ALANS); 1D: Savanna leaper (IMPALA); 4D: Burning (LIT); 5D: Medieval castle tower (KEEP); 7D: Tucker of country (TANYA); 8D: "Float like a butterfly" boxer (ALI); 10D: Flash Gordon weapon (RAY GUN); 11D: Random assortments (GRAB BAGS); 12D: Course taker (ENROLLEE); 13D: Not kidding (EARNEST); 23D: Tsp. or tbsp. (AMT.); 27D: __ II razor (TRAC); 28D: Fashionably dated (RETRO); 30D: Gym safety item (MAT); 33D: Feathered flier (ARROW); 37D: In line with the goal (ON TARGET); 38D: Defunct sci-fi magazine (OMNI); 39D: Vase relative (URN); 40D: Clickable pic (ICON); 41D: Day of rest (SABBATH); 48D: High chain (SIERRA); 49D: Finalizes, as a cel (INKS IN); 52D: Cellular transmitter (PHONE); 53D: Like cornstalks (EARED); 54D: Wish one hadn't (RUE); 58D: Adult cable rating (TV-MA).

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