Sabtu, 23 Oktober 2010

S A T U R D A Y   October 23, 2010 R. M. (Bob) Peoples

Theme: None

[If the significance of the highlighted entry
has you scratching your head, you're not alone.
It's the number one most Frequently Asked Question.]

This puzzle put up a little big of a fight, but not too much. I'm not going to rag on its level of difficulty though because I'm too distracted by the awesome long entries. In the downs we've got GREASY SPOON (11D: Hardly a Michelin three-star eatery) and CATCH A FEW Z'S (23D: Catnap). That last one was a little tricky because I was reading the clue as a noun, not a verb. Then in the acrosses we've got the fresh and colloquial "OK I GET IT ALREADY!" (17A: "You've made your point!") and the almost-too-good-to-be-true OLD WHAT'S-HIS-NAME (60A: Reference to a long-forgotten acquaintance). That's really a fabulous entry. It took a while to decode it because I reflexively entered ILL. instead of NEB. for 62D: Lincoln's st. — can't believe I'm the only one who made that mistake — so it looked like the long phrase was going to end with the word ME somehow. Had no idea on 64A: Truman secretary of state Dean ACHESON but it all finally came together when THE BEST (66A: Number one) came into focus.

Stuff I just flat-out didn't know:
  • 22A: Starfleet registry prefix (NCC). Did any of you hear George Takei on "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!" recently? He was pretty funny.
  • 5D: Grieg's "__ Death" (ASE'S). This is the title of one movement of Edvard Grieg's incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's "Peer Gynt."
  • 49D: Birthplace of Merle Oberon (INDIA). Wikipedia says she was an Indian-born British actress whose best-known role was Cathy in "Wuthering Heights" (1939). (I tried to read Wuthering Heights once. It was really zzzzzzzz.....)
  • 51D: __ Maria Remarque, author of "All Quiet on the Western Front" (ERICH). Obviously, I've heard of this title, but I've never known the author.
  • 8A: Small hounds (BEAGLES). PuzzleHusband often threatens to get our family a "coupla hounds." If he ever does, I'll be blogging from ... somewhere else.
  • 20A: Atomic number of nitrogen (SEVEN). Also the prospective name of George Costanza's prospective child (for a while anyway).
  • 27A: Turn left (HAW). GEE, on the other hand, means "turn right." Good to know if you ever find yourself riding a mule.
  • 34A: One who draws exceptionally well? (MEGASTAR). This isn't a reference to someone's ability to draw, like, with a pen, but to draw a crowd.
  • 40A: Surfer's destination (WEB PAGE). I tried WEB SITE first.
  • 47A: Beehive, say (COIF). I knew right away the clue was referring to a hairstyle, but I needed a cross before I could come up with the right four-letter word.
  • 58A: One sold at Sotheby's in 1989 for more than $50,000 (CEL). This clue refers to an animation cel from the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" If you're interested in learning some background information about CELs, this page is pretty interesting.
  • 63A: Taking by force (SEIZURE). Is this a mistake or am I just reading the clue wrong? Sees to me that the clue is a verb and the answer is a noun. Are the two substitutable? I am probably just missing something.
  • 7D: Destination in a poetic riddle (ST. IVES).
  • As I was going to St Ives
    I met a man with seven wives
    Each wife had seven sacks
    Each sack had seven cats
    Each cat had seven kits
    Kits, cats, sacks, wives
    How many were going to St Ives?
  • 12D: Plain in the Southwest (LLANO).

  • [BoDeans: Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas]

  • 18D: When Sunday NFL action starts on the West Coast (TEN A.M.). Have I mentioned how much I hate living on the East Coast during the post-season?
  • 31D: Equal opening (ISO-). I've seen this prefix pop up a lot in the puzzles I've been solving recently, so I think it's finally cemented in my brain.
  • 48D: Smashed (OILED). As in ... sozzled.
  • 59D: Fast time (LENT). It's the time of year that some religions encouraging fasting (i.e., not eating).
  • 61D: Art today? (ARE). While in the past you might have heard someone use the phrase "thou art," today you're more likely to hear "you are."
Crosswordese 101: The biggest problem you have when you see a clue like 32D: Place to buy tkts., where know the clue is looking for an abbrevation for station? You don't know if the answer will be STA or STN. They're both used in CrossWorld. STA is much more common, but it wouldn't have been a good guess today. Unfortunately, there's just no way to know for sure until you check the cross.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 46A: Preschool group? (ROE).
  • 56A: Tank swimmer (TETRA).
  • 9D: Fish often smoked (EEL).
  • 57D: "Off the Court" autobiographer (ASHE).
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Everything Else — 1A: Sources of inside info? (CT SCANS); 15A: Question at a wine tasting (HOW IS IT?); 16A: Like some glass display cases (REAR-LIT); 19A: Stroke (PET); 21A: Place for controls (PANEL); 24A: E-mails (SENDS); 26A: Hurting (SORE); 29A: In a level-headed way (SANELY); 31A: 1987 Beatty bomb (ISHTAR); 38A: Insert casually (STICK IN); 41A: Precisely (ON THE DOT); 43A: Short-changed (ROOKED); 44A: Energy problem (ANEMIA); 50A: Health, in Le Havre (SANTE); 52A: "Coming Home" subject (NAM); 54A: Wrinkles (LINES); 65A: He played Captain Davies on "Roots" (ED ASNER); 1D: Do some food prep (CHOP); 2D: Keepsake (TOKEN); 3D: Swing both ways (SWITCH HIT); 4D: Smoke, briefly (CIG); 6D: Evenings in the classifieds (NITES); 8D: Cherry, so to speak (BRAND NEW); 10D: Seniors' PAC (AARP); 13D: It might get you down (EIDER); 14D: Pizazz (STYLE); 25D: "Against the Wind" singer (SEGER); 28D: Rise, and maybe shine (WAKEN); 30D: Cabinet department since 1913 (LABOR); 33D: Teases (RIDES); 35D: Decide to defend someone, say (TAKE A CASE); 36D: Wine selection concern (AGE); 37D: Wine selection (RED); 39D: Irrespective of (NO MATTER); 42D: Some silverware parts (TINES); 45D: In addition (AT THAT); 47D: Nip and tuck (CLOSE); 53D: Notes (MEMOS); 55D: Steer clear of (SHUN).

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