Jumat, 24 Desember 2010

F R I D A Y   December 24, 2010 Kenneth J. Berniker

Theme: Ours is not to reason Y — Add a Y to the beginning of familiar phrases.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Those who outwit safecrackers? (YEGG BEATERS).
  • 26A: 1945 view for Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin? (YALTA VISTA).
  • 39A: Chronologists? (YEAR SPECIALISTS).
  • 50A: Core of the dark side? (YIN ESSENCE).
  • 60A: Paradise brewing aid? (YEAST OF EDEN).
It's 31 degrees outside right now, but I don't think that's why this puzzle left me cold. I know people get tired of add-a-letter themes, but I guess I've always thought there are only so many things you can do, so if adding a letter is the one you want to use that's fine. But then you have to do something with it. YEGG is a word I learned from crossword puzzles. I assume it's a word you see a lot if you read books in which men wear fedoras, smoke cigarettes and call women "dames." But it's pretty weak as the key part of a theme answer. And the rest of the theme answers? They kinda just lie there, don't they? The base phrases are … boring. And the resulting phrases are … also boring.

I see three entries in the grid that look like their purpose is to toughen this puzzle up:
  • 70A: Newbery Medal winner for "Island of the Blue Dolphins" (O'DELL).
  • 13D: "Pal Joey" author (O'HARA).
  • 24D: First multiracial coed college in the South (BEREA).
But none of these are interesting either. There's just nothing here to get excited about. Oh, except for POPS. 40D: Opens, as a hood is an excellent, excellent clue for POPS. Sadly, that was the high point of the puzzle for me.

  • 14A: Princess Toadstool's rescuer (MARIO). I watch my kids playing the Mario Bros. games and I realize how truly old I am. Give me Space Invaders, Pac Man, … I would say Pong here, but that would probably be excessive. These newfangled games where people jump and fly around and grab stuff in the air? I can't keep track of what the hell is going on! Now you kids get off my lawn!
  • 19A: "__ Believer" (I'M A). Sure, why not?

  • 44A: TV world (ORK). Okay, okay, we get it. Enough with the "Mork & Mindy" already!
  • 48A: Botanical cavity (ALVEOLA). I've seen this word in puzzles twice in the last week. The first time, I got it totally through crosses but now I think it's something I actually know.
  • 69A: Neighbor of Homer (NED). Simpsons!
  • 1D: Etiquette guru Vanderbilt (AMY). Personally, I find Miss Manners much more entertaining.
  • 2D: Inventing initials (TAE). Thomas Alva Edison.
  • 31D: Paper cutters, briefly? (EDS.). EDitorS make papers shorter (i.e., they "cut" them).
  • 38D: Lamb piece (ESSAY). Charles Lamb, whose nom de plume, Elia, is a long-time CrossWorld resident.
  • 47D: Words after "Because" (I SAY SO). Personally, I always say "Because I said so." Not that I say that more than … oh once or twice a day.
  • 52D: Put the kibosh on (NIXED). "Kibosh" is an awesome word.
  • 58D: "The X-Files" gp. (SETI). Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 66A: Squeeze (out) (EKE).
  • 3D: Fraction of a joule (ERG).
  • 9D: Boston sports legend (ORR).
  • 18D: "A Day Without Rain" musician (ENYA).
  • 41D: Gaelic tongue (ERSE).
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Everything Else — 1A: '50s headline event (A-TEST); 6A: Architectural style (TUDOR); 11A: Status follower (QUO); 15A: Accustom (ENURE); 16A: Its law sch. is in Concord (UNH); 20A: Artist Matisse (HENRI); 23A: Law school standards-setting org. (ABA); 29A: Beef (RED MEAT); 32A: Really riles (IRES); 33A: Bucks (BREAD); 34A: See 51-Down (IKE); 35A: Zap with a weapon (TASE); 43A: Asian wrap (SARI); 45A: Chimú conquerors (INCAS); 46A: Light bites (NIPS); 54A: Miss Pym's creator (TEY); 55A: Woman in a "Paint Your Wagon" song (ELISA); 56A: Auspices (AEGIS); 59A: Do some bartending (MIX); 67A: Ranch wanderer (STRAY); 68A: Boosted (STOLE); 71A: Parts of pig tales (OINKS); 4D: [I give up] (SIGH); 5D: Start of a classic question (TO BE); 6D: Claw (TEAR AT); 7D: Up to (UNTIL); 8D: Anticipated (DUE); 10D: Back up anew (RESAVE); 11D: Marx forte (QUIPS); 12D: Like certain expectations (UNMET); 21A: Regarding (AS PER); 22D: __ Chapel (SISTINE); 23D: Fast food chain known for roast beef (ARBY'S); 25D: "Be __ ..." (A DEAR); 27D: Kind of torch (TIKI); 28D: Gazetteer figure (AREA); 30D: Quantico inhabitants (MARINES); 34D: Opposite of "Yum!" ("ICK!"); 36D: English racing town (ASCOT); 37D: Old hat (STALE); 42D: Tyler of "The Incredible Hulk" (LIV); 48D: Like a vinegar radical (ACETYL); 49D: One of more than 245,000 in a Christmas tree at a California theme park (LEGO); 50D: Oman neighbor (YEMEN); 51D: With 34-Across, '50s slogan (I LIKE); 53D: Like a cold sufferer's voice (NASAL); 57D: "Say that's true ..." ("IF SO …"); 61D: LAX listing (ETD); 62D: Exist (ARE); 63D: Tough boss (DON); 64D: Forest ranger? (ELK); 65D: Old console using Game Paks (NES).

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