Rabu, 01 September 2010

W E D N E S D A Y   September 1, 2010 Mark Bickham

Theme: Don't Stand So Close to Me — Familiar phrases that start with words meaning "close by" are clued as if the last part of the phrase is a synonym of its meaning in the original phrase.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Young woman next door? (NEAR MISS).
  • 24A: Adjoining floor? (TOUCHING STORY).
  • 53A: Proximate coins? (CLOSE QUARTERS).
  • 66A: Chess piece within reach? (HANDY MAN).
Can't say I feel strongly about this puzzle one way or the other. It had a decent Scrabbly-ness factor (just a J short of a pangram), a middle-of-the-road theme, and some fine, fine fill. There were also a couple of clunkers but nothing outrageous. Well, maybe that ABBR. / RISHI crossing is outrageous (4A: It's an example of itself / 7D: Hindu poet). I don't understand what the clue for ABBR. means At All. Not to say that it's necessarily bad — just that I don't get it. Perhaps one of you kind people will 'splain it to me in the comments. As a matter of fact, yes. Yes, I'm sure one of you will.

I'm not crazy about the forced pluralization of all of the long downs: PEAR TREES / BRIOCHES / FOURSOMES / PORTENTS. Can't PORTENT be a verb as well? If so, it should have been clued that way if only so we could say that not all of the long downs were randomly pluralized. The only other thing that really slowed me down at all was 33D: Charles LE BRUN, major decorator of the Palace of Versailles. Um, who? But again, that might just be another sign that I'm not actually smart enough for this particular hobby. But I'm not going to let a little lack of knowledge stop me! And you shouldn't either!

  • 19A: Green light (ASSENT). Very tricky using "green light" as a verb!
  • 43A: Grimace (MOUE). Love this word. I don't think I've Ever said it out loud but I would like to some day.
  • 51A: Brought up (REARED). I was thinking about this in terms of promotion, like baseball. Bringing someone up from the minor leagues.
  • 70A: Letter opener? (ELL). The "opening" (first) letter of the word "letter" is L (ELL).
  • 71A: "When a Man Loves a Woman" singer Percy __ (SLEDGE). Oh sure. Why not?

  • 18D: Part of a Clue accusation (ROOM). With a RO in place, I immediately entered ROPE but realized my error almost immediately. Did you all know that they have different weapons in newer versions of Clue?
  • 25D: Adaptable truck, for short (UTE). Short for "utility."
  • 53D: Biker leggings (CHAPS). The other kind of biker.
  • 56D: Pal of Porthos (ATHOS). Whoa. ATHOS actually threw a mountain at Zeus. Oh wait, wrong ATHOS! The one I'm thinking of is a mythological giant, but the one actually clued here is the musketeer.
  • 62D: Part of SRO (ONLY). SRO = Standing Room Only.
  • 64D: Doze (NOD). Tried NAP here at first.
Crosswordese 101 Round-Up:
  • 15A: "Star Trek: T.N.G." counselor (TROI).
  • 20A: Architect Saarinen (EERO).
  • 32A: Certain fisherman (EELER).
  • 3D: Bosc sources (PEAR TREES).
  • 34D: Somme season (ÉTÉ).
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Everything Else — 1A: Energy (ZIP); 8A: Pure (CHASTE); 14A: Suffix with verb (-OSE); 16A: Bring about sooner (HASTEN); 21A: Earth pigment (OCHER); 23A: Hide-hair link (NOR); 28A: Fireside emanation (WARMTH); 30A: "__ me!" (DEAR); 31A: '50s White House nickname (IKE); 35A: Annoys (MIFFS); 39A: __ Piper (PIED); 41A: Police sting, say (SET-UP); 44A: Happen as a result (ENSUE); 46A: "Who Can It __?": Men at Work hit (BE NOW); 48A: Exhaust, with "up" (USE); 49A: [see other side] (OVER); 58A: Spell (HEX); 59A: Loosen, as laces (UNTIE); 60A: Emerald City visitor (TOTO); 63A: List of things to discuss (AGENDA); 68A: Dividend, e.g. (PAYOUT); 69A: Germany's von Bismarck (OTTO); 72A: Insolence (SASS); 73A: Generous limit? (SKY); 1D: Area (ZONE); 2D: "Got it" ("I SEE"); 4D: 24-hr. cash source (ATM); 5D: French breads (BRIOCHES); 6D: "The Garden of Earthly Delights" artist (BOSCH); 8D: Old battlefield shout (CHARGE); 9D: Is suffering from (HAS); 10D: Beast of burden (ASS); 11D: Court figure (STENO); 12D: Pavarotti, notably (TENOR); 13D: Datebook notation (ENTRY); 22D: Football play also called a sweep (END RUN); 26D: "Casablanca" pianist (SAM); 27D: Request to a barber (TRIM); 28D: Use a napkin on (WIPE); 29D: Like, with "to" (AKIN); 36D: Links groups (FOURSOMES); 37D: A hothead has a short one (FUSE); 38D: Future plant (SEED); 40D: Couples (DUOS); 42D: Omens (PORTENTS); 45D: "The Three Faces of __": 1957 film (EVE); 47D: Very small (WEE); 50D: Treat as the same (EQUATE); 52D: Affectedly cultured (ARTY); 54D: Corporate department (LEGAL); 55D: Daisy variety (OXEYE); 57D: Calf catcher (RIATA); 61D: Chitchat (TALK); 65D: Grooved on (DUG); 67D: Elaborate affairs (DOS).

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