Rabu, 29 Desember 2010

12.29 Wed

December 29, 2010
Gary Cee

Theme: It's a real eye-opener — The first word of each theme answer can precede the word "eye" in a familiar phrase. Plus some other stuff.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *Unquestioning devotion (BLIND FAITH).
  • 63A: *Knee-slapper (RIB TICKLER).
  • 10D: *Pitchers and tumblers (GLASSWARE).
  • 34D: *Like treatment for visiting dignitaries (RED CARPET).
  • 38A: 5- or 40-Down ... or what the start of each answer to a starred clue can be (EYE-OPENER).
  • 5D: Joe's stimulant (CAFFEINE).
  • 40D: Smoker's stimulant (NICOTINE).
Hi, everybody. I'm feeling a little better so decided to give Doug a break today. Isn't he awesome for stepping in all the time though? I keep telling him he needs to just go ahead and take over the blog already and he's all, "Um … no." Anyway. Today's puzzle is filled to the gills with theme. We've got the reveal right in the damn middle with four of the [x]-eye theme answers and another two examples of EYE-OPENERs. Did you notice that all the theme answers are symmetrical? That's a lot of constraint to put on a grid, but Gary does a great job of filling it nonetheless. I mean, sure, DOZY is a little iffy (to put it mildly), and I'd rather not see SEWAGE in my grid, but there's an awful lot of sparkly stuff too, like POP STAR, HEIGH-HO, YAHTZEE and STAX (which I would have clued as the record label, but whatever). All in all, an ambitious theme well-executed, and you can't ask for much more than that. (I mean, sure, a pangram would have been nice, but I guess Gary was just slacking on this one.)

  • 16A: Stubbs of the Four Tops (LEVI).

  • 21A: "When the smog clears in California, UCLA," e.g. (PUN). That's pretty good, as far as puns go.
  • 22A: Hitchcock title (SIR). I had no idea.
  • 29A: Repugnant reaction (UGH). This was my reaction to 32A: Treatment plant input (SEWAGE).
  • 45A: Latin 101 verb (ESSE). If I hadn't had one of the Ss in place already, I probably would have tried AMAT or AMAS.
  • 58A: Televise (AIR). Unfortunately, the answer word here also appears in a clue (36D: Aired again (RERAN)) and in both instances the word has the exact same meaning. You don't see that very often. I believe that's what's known as an editorial oversight.
  • 68A: Title owner of a sitcom bookstore (ELLEN). Whoa. How long has it been since ELLEN owned the bookstore? Let's see …. The last episode aired in 1998. That's an awfully long time ago. And I think she's done a few things since then that were, I don't know, clue-worthy.
  • 2D: Place to see Bugs? (CEL). You can see Bugs Bunny on an animation CEL.
  • 12D: Like Joe? (AVERAGE). Hi, Avg Joe!
  • 31D: Flavor (SAPOR). This word trips me up every time. I'm quite sure I've never heard it used or seen it written. I've seen it in puzzles before, but it doesn't stick in my brain because it's not connected to anything.
  • 43D: League of __ (NATIONS). Because "Women Voters" wouldn't fit.
  • 62D: Pet physician's deg. (DVM). PuzzleDad tells a story about how back in the day he and his buddies, one of whom was a veterinarian, used to play basketball at the Y. One day, one of the guys got hurt. He was writhing around on the ground holding his ankle so, of course, they called the "doctor" over. After assessing the situation, he delivered the bad news: "I'm afraid we'll have to shoot him." (I bet that joke never gets old for veterinarians.)
  • 66D: Popular New York Times crossword blogger Parker (REX).
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 45A: Latin 101 verb (ESSE).
  • 69A: Homeland of the folk-singing Clancy Brothers (EIRE).
  • 6D: Turkish authority (AGA).
  • 28D: Hi-__ graphics (RES).
  • 39D: Bigfoot cousin (YETI).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Sound return (ECHO); 5A: Suspension bridge support (CABLE); 10A: Obtain forcibly (GRAB); 14A: Miller, for one (BEER); 15A: Shoelace tip (AGLET); 19A: Scored 100 on (ACED); 20A: Bozo (GOOF); 23A: Dice-rolling game (YAHTZEE); 26A: The King or Prince (POP STAR); 30A: Pound sounds (YIPS); 33A: Tie up, in a way (MOOR); 35A: Home of Duke U. (N. CAR.); 37A: Looks bad, comparatively (PALES); 41A: Parisian daily, with "Le" (MONDE); 44A: Singer Amos (TORI); 49A: Signs into law (ENACTS); 51A: Pool room supply (RACK); 53A: Amigo (PAL); 54A: Reaches (ATTAINS); 56A: Chesapeake Bay city (NORFOLK); 59A: Physicians' org. (AMA); 61A: Precisely (TO A T); 62A: Fall (DROP); 67A: Green climber (VINE); 70A: Two out of three, say (MOST); 71A: Teacher's directive (SEE ME); 72A: Pringles-like Lay's product (STAX); 1D: Flow back (EBB); 3D: Dwarfs' song (HEIGH-HO); 4D: Self-contradictory afterthought (OR NOT); 7D: Plane, in a control tower (BLIP); 8D: Relax (LET UP); 9D: Cultural group (ETHNOS); 11D: Conservatory event (RECITAL); 13D: Bridge action (BID); 18D: Half asleep (DOZY); 23D: "De-lish!" ("YUM!"); 24D: Gone by (AGO); 25D: Theme park acronym (EPCOT); 27D: Toon Le Pew (PEPÉ); 28D: Hi-__ graphics (RES); 41D: "Give __ holler!" (ME A); 42D: Province bordering four Great Lakes (ONTARIO); 46D: What a "Me and My Shadow" singer might be (SPOTLIT); 47D: Mineo in movies (SAL); 48D: Mountain lion prey (ELK); 50D: Catches (SNARES); 52D: Ray who said, "It requires a certain kind of mind to see beauty in a hamburger bun" (KROC); 55D: The parenthesis in :-) (SMILE); 57D: Counterfeits (FAKES); 60D: Competent (ABLE); 64D: Pro __: for now (TEM); 66D: Oscar winner Harrison (REX).

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