Kamis, 28 Oktober 2010

T H U R S D A Y   October 28, 2010 Jascha Smilack

Theme: Switch the Flip — Familiar phrases with the pattern "[verb] the [noun]" are flipped so that the noun is the verb and the verb is the noun.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Libertarian slogan? (FIRE THE FED).
  • 24A: Finish an ascent? (SCALE THE TIP).
  • 35A: Tidy up in a wood shop? (DUST THE BIT).
  • 43A: Floor an oppressive boss? (DECK THE MAN).
  • 51A: Value one's vision? (PRIZE THE EYE).
  • 62A: Send a star pitcher for an MRI? (TEST THE ACE).
I really didn't understand the theme on this one until I was almost done. I think the past tense on FIRE THE FED really threw me. I mean, I guess "fed the fire" is a phrase, but I usually think of it in present tense. PRIZE THE EYE also seems a little off to me. I want the phrase to be "keep your eye on the prize," not just "eye the prize." DUST THE BIT, on the other hand, is clever and made me chuckle. My verdict? Uneven execution of an okay theme. I wonder how many possible theme answers ended up on the cutting room floor. There must be a lot of them, right?

Other than the theme, the fill is very light on crosswordese, which is nice, but pretty heavy on abbreviations, some of which are pretty awkward. I guess I don't love this puzzle. But I also don't hate it. For what it's worth. Which I'm sure is not much.

  • 17A: Poet who wrote, about children, "And if they are popular / The phone they monopular" (NASH). We have two telephone handsets in our house and whenever I can't find one, chances are very good they're both in PuzzleDaughter's room. Chances are also good that they are both completely dead.
  • 20A: Rich sponge cake (GATEAU). That G was the last letter I put in the grid. The clue for LUNGS — 1D: Airway termini — was not making a bit of sense to me and I don't know the word GATEAU. But the G seemed like a reasonable guess for some reason.
  • 28A: Cones and prisms (SOLIDS). I tried "shapes" first.
  • 47A: It's often served with lemon (ICE TEA). I tried "hot tea" here.
  • 60A: It merged with AT&T in 2005 (SBC). Whoa. This is HARSH (44D: Caustic). I thought CrossWorld's merged telecom company was always MCI. But MCI merged with Verizon, SBC Communications (formerly Southwestern Bell Corporation) merged with AT&T.
  • 66A: D.C. underground (METRO). Have any of you watched that new show "The Event"? Its sixth episode just aired this week and I was getting into it but I don't think I can watch it any more. At the beginning of this week's episode a character is supposedly on the D.C. Metro and it's … obviously not the D.C. Metro. Spend some money, people! How hard can it be?! Once that started bothering me, I noticed that the show isn't really very good. I'm going to read the recaps on Television Without Pity and if they're entertaining I might keep watching the show just so I can make fun of it, but otherwise … it's a non-event.
  • 68A: Concerning (AS TO). Never sure if this is going to be AS TO or "in re." I tried "in re" first today.
  • 3D: Noodle topper (PASTA SAUCE). I really wanted this answer to be a type of hat.
  • 32D: Charon's river (STYX). Yesterday Pat Benatar, today Styx.

  • 53D: Many Nissan autos (Z-CARS). I was in a cab the other day and saw what looked like a brand-spankin-new Nissan sports car. Bot the cab driver and I couldn't help but stare at it. I've never really been that into sports car, but that one was striking.
  • 57D: Wrangler, for one (JEEP). With the JE in place, I wanted this to be JEAN but it didn't really seem right. (Probably because it wasn't.)
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 9D: Günter's gripe (ACH).
  • 54D: Busybody (YENTA).
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Everything Else — 1A: Fat job? (LIPO); 5A: Interstate exit (RAMP); 9A: See 12-Down (AFTER); 14A: Pararescue gp. (USAF); 15A: Organic compound (ENOL); 16A: Hanker for (CRAVE); 22A: Pithy saying (SAW); 23A: NFL game foursome (QTRS.); 27A: Buying outing (SPREE); 33A: Farm expanse (LEA); 38A: Grads (ALUMS); 41A: Sandwich request (RYE); 42A: Untrusting (LEERY); 46A: __ scripta: written law (LEX); 48A: It can be rolled, pressed or stuffed (SUSHI); 56A: Warrior trained by the centaur Chiron (AJAX); 61A: Be amazed (at) (MARVEL); 65A: Like pretzels (BENT); 67A: "Rigoletto" highlight (ARIA); 69A: Dust crops, e.g. (SPRAY); 70A: Certain NCO (MSGT); 71A: A library book may be on it (LOAN); 2D: Stern with a Strad (ISAAC); 4D: Useful (OF HELP); 5D: Proved false (REFUTED); 6D: "Star Wars" saga nickname (ANI); 7D: Code creator (MORSE); 8D: Fabric fold (PLEAT); 10D: Radio abbr. (FREQ.); 11D: 300-pound president (TAFT); 12D: With 9-Across, fairy tale ender (EVER); 13D: Great American Ball Park team (REDS); 19D: Checker's dance (TWIST); 21D: Flying prefix (AER-); 25D: One of 24 in un jour (HEURE); 26D: Sci-fi writer Frederik (POHL); 29D: Sheltered side (LEE); 30D: "That's my take" ("I BELIEVE SO"); 31D: Desperate (DIRE); 33D: __-da: pretentious (LA-DI); 34D: Juice: Abbr. (ELEC.); 36D: Orch. work (SYM.); 37D: Flirt (TEASE); 39D: NYSE, e.g. (MKT.); 40D: Stride (STEP); 45D: Edible part of a pecan (NUT MEAT); 49D: Doo-wop syllable (SHA); 50D: Like some supplements (HERBAL); 52D: Building girder (I-BEAM); 55D: John with Grammys (ELTON); 56D: Green dispensers (ATMS); 58D: Copernicus's sci. (ASTR.); 59D: Bonus, in adspeak (XTRA); 63D: Peke, e.g. (TOY); 64D: One might be bummed, briefly (CIG).

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