Jumat, 05 November 2010

F R I D A Y   November 5, 2010 David Poole

Theme: The Social Network — Puns based on social networking websites.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Favorable time to place an online bid? (EBAY WINDOW).
  • 27A: Online networking site trainee? (MYSPACE CADET).
  • 44A: Detective's job concerning a personal online relationship? (FACEBOOK CASE).
  • 58A: Spinner seen in an online video? (YOUTUBE TOP).
Now this is what I'm talking about with theme answers. Each one starts with the name of a social networking site that's a compound word. The second part of the compound word becomes the first part of a familiar two-word phrase and voilà! You've got yourself a solid, consistent theme! Now, there's nothing particularly flashy about the base phrases BAY WINDOW and BOOKCASE, but TUBE TOP and SPACE CADET are awesome. And I'm willing to overlook the lack of sparkliness because of the elegant consistency. Well done theme, sir!

Now, about that middle section …. Wasn't sure I was even going to finish this puzzle with those blank squares staring at me. I had the AB of ABOU (40A: "__ Ben Adhem"), but couldn't remember the rest of it. I know that's lame. That's why I'll cover it later in CW101, so maybe it will be cemented in my brain. Anyway, without that OU in place, and with no idea about 28D: Actress Aimée's last name, I thought I was doomed. [Oops. Turns out her last name is Aimee and her first name is ANOUK.] Also significant is that I read the abbreviation "coll." to mean "college" in (37A: Coll. of 12 signs ). Reasonable, right? Sure, and yet incorrect. Collection. Collection of 12 signs! So basically what we have here is an awkward abbreviation in a clue for an awkward abbreviation. Not this puzzle's finest moment is what I'm saying.

  • 5A: Travis of country (TRITT). The minute I saw Travis in the puzzle, I knew I was in trouble. He's one of my favorite musicians of all time and I knew it would be tough to find the exact perfect video to share with you. So I spent, oh, I don't know, an hour maybe? scouring YouTube and found two videos that I really wanted to use, only to discover they're not embeddable. Argh! If you're interested you should go ahead and watch them anyway. (If I coded that right, the videos will open up in a new tab.) But if you don't feel like wandering off, I hope you enjoy this musical interlude. Turn it up!

  • 23A: Wellness gp. (HMO). How about "Claim denying gp." or "Money making gp." or "Gp. with really complicated processes but when you call to figure out what the heck you're supposed to do they won't even let you talk to a real person"? I guess that last one would probably be too long.
  • 64A: Ones changing locks (DYERS). Or perhaps changing "hair clusters."
  • 1D: Effectiveness (TEETH). Nice clue.
  • 2D: "Tuesdays With Morrie" author (ALBOM). I read a Mitch Albom book once for a book club. It wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be.
  • 3D: Light smoke (CLARO). This is a type of cigar, right?
  • 7D: Chinese leader? (INDO-). When I read the clue, I thought to myself "You can't fool me! This is either going to be HARD C or SOFT C!" and then I realized that the word Chinese doesn't start with either a HARD C or a SOFT C. D'oh!
  • 8D: Defeated decisively (TROUNCED). I like the word TROUNCED. Say it a couple times in present tense: trounce, trounce, trounce.
  • 10D: "__ By Starlight": jazz standard (STELLA). Here's CrossWorld regular Anita O'Day.

  • 25D: Suffix with lip- (ASE). Whoa. I have no idea what that means. Hold on. Turns out it's "an enzyme that hydrolyzes glycerides." Oh that lipase.
  • 40D: Put oneself at risk, in a way (ABET). I actually tried ANTE here at first and thought, "That's a pretty clever clue for a common crossword word!" Then I saw 57A: Starting stake and knew I had screwed it up.
  • 41D: Messed up a hole, maybe (BOGEYED). Gimme gimme gimme! Love the golf stuff! Keep it coming!
  • 45D: He played Marty in "Marty" (ERNEST). Never heard of this. I guess because it was before my time. ERNEST Borgnine played the title role in the 1955 film "Marty."
  • 50D: Church area (CHOIR). It always freaks me out a little that the place where the CHOIR sings is also called the CHOIR. Seems like the CHOIR should just be the singers and the place they sing should have a different word. As soon as I'm in charge, I'm going to change that.
Crosswordese 101: ABOU Ben Adhem was an Arab Muslim saint and Sufi mystic. For crossword puzzle purposes, though, you don't really need to know that. You just need to know that a poem was written about him by James Henry Leigh Hunt (often known as simply Leigh Hunt). It doesn't come up an awful lot, but it's the only way you'll ever see this particular string of letters clued, so you just need to memorize it!

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 16A: Poi base (TARO).
  • 39A: 2007 honor for Hugh Laurie: Abbr. (OBE).
  • 61A: Seaside flock (ERNES).
  • 29D: 53-Down's homeland (EIRE).
  • 53D: Singer born Eithne Patricia Ní Bhraonáin (ENYA).
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Everything Else — 1A: Tic __ (TACS); 10A: Arrange in a tournament (SEED); 14A: Eliza's greeting ('ELLO); 15A: 2009 Man Booker International Prize winner Alice (MUNRO); 19A: "__ Almighty": 2007 film (EVAN); 20A: Sacred scroll (TORAH); 21A: Silent (SOUNDLESS); 24A: __ de toilette (EAU); 26A: Nobelist Bohr (NIELS); 31A: What odes do (PRAISE); 34A: 1987 Costner role (NESS); 35A: Hope-Crosby destination (RIO); 36A: Pay for periodic use (RENT); 38A: Afghanistan's Tora __ region (BORA); 42A: Warned, in a way (BEEPED); 47A: Bottom bits (DREGS); 48A: Word before or after pack (RAT); 49A: 27-Down, e.g. (SCH.); 52A: Colorful fish (NEON TETRA); 55A: Kirin beer rival (ASAHI); 60A: Bakery buys (RYES); 62A: Bit of Marx's legacy (QUIP); 63A: It may number in the thousands (CAST); 65A: Agile (SPRY); 4D: Milk source (SOYA); 5D: "I didn't need to know that!" ("TMI!"); 6D: Accumulates (RUNS UP); 9D: Student resenters, perhaps (TOWNIES); 11D: Gather information secretly (EAVESDROP); 12D: Some are named for music genres (ERAS); 13D: Slips into (DONS); 18D: Milk by-products (WHEYS); 22D: Winter mos. (DECS.); 27D: 49-Across from which Buzz Aldrin turned down a full scholarship (MIT); 30D: Fly catcher (TOAD); 31D: 27-Down fig. (PROF.); 32D: Sitcom whose theme song was sung by its star (REBA); 33D: Toastmasters' stock (ANECDOTES); 37D: Albee play, with "The" (ZOO STORY); 38D: Buzzer (BEE); 42D: "Hey, ewe!" (BAA); 43D: Cornerstone abbr. (ESTAB.); 46D: Serious depression (CRATER); 49D: Prepared to take notice? (SAT UP); 51D: Wide-haunched (HIPPY); 52D: Cop stopping traffic? (NARC); 54D: Odd character (RUNE); 56D: Movies with "II" in their titles: Abbr. (SEQS.); 59D: Sub letters (USS).

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