Rabu, 22 September 2010

W E D N E S D A Y   September 22, 2010 James Sajdak

Theme: Har-dee-har-har — Theme answers are props traditionally used in slapstick comedy routines.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *Coconut dessert (CUSTARD PIE).
  • 23A: *Facetious name for a fund-raising circuit entrée (RUBBER CHICKEN).
  • 46A: *Mixer holder (SELTZER BOTTLE).
  • 57A: *Yellow slipper? (BANANA PEEL).
  • 36A: Where it's laughable to see the answers to starred clues (SLAPSTICK COMEDY).
I have to admit, I was a little distracted while I was solving this puzzle. I found out that I made a stupid mistake in my job interview and even though I'm likely to get an offer, it probably won't be at the salary I was hoping for. Oh well. Live and learn. In any case, it will be more than I'm making now (which is zero) so if I want to look at the bright side, there definitely is one to look at.

Although there isn't anything super exciting about this theme, it did bring to mind funny scenes of physical comedy that made me chuckle. Whenever I think about this kind of comedy I remember seeing Marlo Thomas on the Letterman show many years ago demonstrating a spit-take (which, of course, her dad was famous for). I've never been able to find the clip though. It was hilarious. This is about the closest thing I could find:

I had a little trouble up in the northeast corner because I misspelled ORECK as "Orick" (11D: Vacuum shown lifting a bowling ball in TV ads). With that I and the two Ns in place, I decided the 19A: State bordering eight others: Abbr. must be MINNesota. Which is a terrible, terrible answer for many reasons including the fact that it's not true. (Of course, the correct answer is TENNessee.)

  • 5A: Fall, as home prices (SLUMP). I usually think of SLUMP as a noun ("The housing market is in a slump") but I guess this works too.
  • 40A: Old curse word (POX). Okay, I know I say this all the time but seriously: This is an awesome word and we should all use it as often as possible. "A POX on both your houses!"
  • 53A: TV channels 2 to 13 (VHF). I can never remember the difference between UHF and VHF.
  • 56A: Lisa's title (MONA). Wait, what? MONA is a title? Hold on …. Sure enough! "Mona" is a "polite form of address" that comes from "madonna" which comes from the Italian "ma donna" ("my lady"). The things you learn!
  • 3D: "Don't worry about it!" ("JUST RELAX!").
  • 8D: Printemps month (MAI). French!
  • 10D: Like smart phones, e.g. (HI-TECH). PuzzleHusband recently purchased a Droid phone. It's a very very smart phone. As it happens, way too smart for PuzzleHusband.
  • 24D: Sch. near the Rio Grande (UTEP). University of Texas El Paso. Do you think this should go in CW101 someday? I never think of it as crosswordese because I lived near El Paso for several years. But I would imagine for people in the rest of the country it's not a real big-name college.
  • 26D: '50s Red Scare gp. (HUAC). House Un-American Activities Committee.
  • 32D: Assure victory in, slangily (ICE). I'm pretty sure I've never heard this particular usage.
  • 35D: Bridge assents (AYES). This clue refers to the bridge on a ship, not the card game or whatever other kind of bridge you might have been thinking about.
  • 39D: Keyboardist Saunders who collaborated with Jerry Garcia (MERL). Wow. Never heard of this guy! Got him totally through crosses.
Crosswordese 101: An AIT is exactly what today's clue says it is — a 4D: River isle. Typical clues for AIT include "Small island," "River islet," "Spot in a river," and "Island in the Thames."

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 31A: Kuwaiti currency (DINAR).
  • 42A: Canal that Sal worked on, in song (ERIE).
  • 62A: Janis's comics mate (ARLO).
  • 38D: Container allowance (TARE).
  • 48D: Hawaii's Pineapple Island (LANAI).
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Everything Else — 1A: Cabo locale (BAJA); 10A: Havana howdy (HOLA); 14A: Distant start? (EQUI-); 15A: Insured patient's med cost (COPAY); 16A: Mideast nation (IRAN); 20A: Krazy of comics (KAT); 21A: Backsliding event? (LUGE); 22A: Tourist attraction (MECCA); 27A: Some campus sisters (THETAS); 29A: Big repair bill reaction (OUCH); 30A: "Hee Haw" prop (BALE); 33A: Fairy tale legume (PEA); 41A: Overhangs (EAVES); 43A: Stud farm stud (SIRE); 44A: Groundbreakers (FIRSTS); 51A: Mindful (AWARE); 52A: Rankles (IRKS); 60A: "Agreed!" ("OKAY!"); 61A: Put an __: stop (END TO); 63A: Sale caution (AS IS); 64A: County northeast of London (ESSEX); 65A: Oceanic flora (KELP); 1D: Eponymous German brewer Heinrich (BECK); 2D: Caribbean color (AQUA); 5D: Surgical coverage? (SCRUBS); 6D: Raccoon ___, "The Honeymooners" fraternal group (LODGE); 7D: Like some echelons (UPPER); 9D: Joe-__ weed: herbal remedy (PYE); 12D: Tilting pole (LANCE); 13D: 1997-2006 UN leader (ANNAN); 18D: Goya's "Duchess of __" (ALBA); 22D: Prefix with scope (MICRO-); 25D: Bops (CONKS); 27D: Kitchen meas. (TBSP.); 28D: Saintly circle (HALO); 31D: One going down (DIVER); 33D: Gut it out (PERSEVERE); 34D: Cut out, say (EDIT); 37D: Take by force (SEIZE); 43D: Range rovers? (STRAYS); 44D: Loc. with billions in bullion (FT. KNOX); 45D: "__ girl!" (IT'S A); 46D: Island where Robert Louis Stevenson died (SAMOA); 47D: Furry Endor inhabitants (EWOKS); 49D: Pickles (BINDS); 50D: Speak formally (ORATE); 54D: War, to Sherman (HELL); 55D: Hardly a big ticket-seller (FLOP); 57D: Sewing circle (BEE); 58D: T or F, on tests (ANS.); 59D: Karachi's country: Abbr. (PAK.).

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