Jumat, 31 Desember 2010

12.31 Fri

December 31, 2010
Gareth Bain

Theme: Who Dat? — Theme answers are familiar phrases with ST (the abbreviation for "saint") removed from the beginning of the first word.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Conger's protection? (EEL HELMET).
  • 26A: Tracker of bauxite thieves? (ORE DETECTIVE).
  • 43A: Roadie, after a gig? (AMP COLLECTOR).
  • 58A: Diamond oration? (UMP SPEECH).
  • 41D: Hardly a model of perfection, and a hint to how this puzzle's theme puns are derived (NO SAINT).
Add-a-letter/drop-a-letter themes are never gonna be flashy, but if they're executed well, you can at least say they're solid. This one I think qualifies as solid. I mean EEL HELMET? The visual I get with that is pretty funny. I also liked AMP COLLECTOR because it reminded me of good ol' Dana, a roadie for Aerosmith back in the day. Wonder what he's up to? Also liked UMP SPEECH. I can totally picture an umpire standing on the pitcher's mound with a microphone doing, like, a Jimmy Swaggart kinda thing. HAha! So yeah, a few chuckles, and that's a good deal. (And, no, that's not Dana in the picture.)

Have I mentioned that I can't get used to seeing themes in the Friday puzzle? I have? A couple times? Okay. How about how the late-week puzzles still aren't really hard enough for my taste? Yes? I've talked about that already too? Huh.

I jumped around quite a bit on this one, instead of just smoothly making my way from one section to another. I ended up in the northeast corner, where ZAPS (11D: Sci-fi effects) was not showing itself and the crosses weren't helping. DOPED = 19A: Figured (out), slangily? That was a total mystery to me. I thought KAZUO (9A: "The Remains of the Day" author __ Ishiguro) might be Karuo or Kaluo, but I finally made it to Z. I vaguely remember seeing the movie "The Remains of the Day" but the only book of his I've read is "Never Let Me Go," which, if I recall correctly, is excellent.

  • 14A: Sweeping story (EPIC). My first thought? Cinderella.
  • 21A: '60s quartet member (MAMA). The Mamas and the Papas.
  • 35A: "X-ing" one (PED). Cute clue. This is a reference to those PED XING traffic signs that encourage you to avoid mowing down the PEDestrians who are just trying to X the street and really aren't causing any trouble, after all.
  • 37A: Seriously impairs (MAIMS). Here's the thing I don't like about starting a new job. When you sit down to talk about benefits, they always want to let you know about the Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance. I really don't want to be sitting there thinking about, much less talking about, the possibility of dismemberment. I just don't.
  • 39A: Loud, ringing sound (BONG). Or whatever.
  • 4D: Univ., e.g. (SCH.). I don't like this abbreviation for "school" but I think we're going to have to just get used to it.
  • 9D: "Devil Without a Cause" musician (KID ROCK). Now we're talkin'.

  • 27D: Beethoven dedicatee (ELISE). I can never remember if this particular ELISE is spelled with an I or a Y. It's the mom on "Family Ties" that's spelled with a Y. Just in case you were wondering. And I know you were.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 61A: Hook's mate (SMEE).
  • 63A: Hägar's dog (SNERT).
  • 12D: Fonda title role (ULEE).
  • 18D: Mideast bigwigs (EMIRS).
  • 49D: Blunted swords (ÉPÉES).
  • 54D: Name on some neutral WWII ships (EIRE).
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Everything Else — 1A: Blows (BOPS); 5A: Open some (AJAR); 15A: Like some walls (BARE); 16A: Collectively (IN ALL); 20A: __-Magnon man (CRO); 22A: Times for cool heads (CRISES); 23A: 6 7/8, e.g. (HAT SIZE); 25A: __ Age (IRON); 31A: Latin Quarter site (PARIS); 34A: Soup vegetable (LEEK); 36A: Space-saving abbr. (ET AL.); 40A: Barnyard male (TOM); 41A: Lofgren of the E Street Band (NILS); 42A: Flooded field (PADDY); 47A: Sailing, say (ASEA); 48A: Alluring tops (HALTERS); 52A: Sign with an arrow (ONE WAY); 55A: Like falling off a log (EASY); 56A: Snap (PIC); 57A: Alp-öhi's granddaughter in an 1880 novel (HEIDI); 60A: Dum-dum (MORON); 62A: Appear (SEEM); 64A: Event with gowns (BALL); 65A: __ buco (OSSO); 1D: Tree with edible nuts (BEECH); 2D: "What's __, Doc?": Classic "Looney Tunes" short (OPERA); 3D: Joystick user (PILOT); 5D: Burning (ABLAZE); 6D: Improvised, in a way (JAMMED); 7D: Zone (AREA); 8D: Soak flax (RET); 10D: Baptize with oil (ANOINT); 13D: Cutlass maker (OLDS); 22D: First Nations members (CREES); 24D: Muddy (SOIL); 25D: News __ (ITEM); 28D: Product with earbuds (IPOD); 29D: Push, so to speak (VEND); 30D: Avant-garde (EDGY); 31D: Org. where fur doesn't fly? (PETA); 32D: Splitting it releases energy (ATOM); 33D: Modeling milieu (RAMP); 37D: Cyrus who plays Hannah Montana (MILEY); 38D: __ breve (ALLA); 39D: One of TV's Mavericks (BART); 42D: Sea anemone, e.g. (POLYP); 44D: Macbeth's thanedom before he became king (CAWDOR); 45D: Vegas drive-through (CHAPEL); 46D: Fez feature (TASSEL); 50D: Prepares potatoes, in a way (RICES); 51D: Jerk (SCHMO); 52D: Resistance units (OHMS); 53D: Its atomic number is 10 (NEON); 55D: Jane Austen opus (EMMA); 58D: PC port for a flash drive (USB); 59D: Spanish pronoun (ESO).

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