Jumat, 03 Desember 2010

F R I D A Y   December 3, 2010 Pamela Amick Klawitter

Theme: Add ARY — The letters ARY are tacked onto the end of familiar phrases, then … everything's wacky.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Where a witch's influence ends? (SPELL BOUNDARY).
  • 25A: Office employee to avoid? (DEADLY SECRETARY).
  • 47A: Shuttle evangelist? (SPACE MISSIONARY).
  • 53A: Bird in a landfill? (GARBAGE CANARY).

The big news at the PuzzleHouse is that I got a new job yesterday. Yay! I know, I know. You probably thought I still had that other job. Well, that one didn't work out and it ended sort of traumatically, so I didn't really want to talk about it. But yesterday I got two job offers, chose the one that I think will be best for me, and am now ready to get back to work later this month. With the interviewing, waiting, weighing, and negotiating (plus dealing with strep girl), this week has been a little stressful. Today it's time to get caught up on everything I missed. But let's talk about today's puzzle first.

I really like this puzzle. It seems like more of a Monday/Tuesday theme and, in fact, the puzzle overall was much easier than I like to see on Friday. There were definitely a few iffy spots, but nothing that made me fight with it too hard. Basically, this feels like a perfect Wednesday puzzle.

We covered OONA previously in Crosswordese 101, but there are a couple other names in the puzzle that I'm going to guess caused problems for some solvers. I would consider these names CW301 — not so common that I'm going to spend a lot of time on them, but common enough that they definitely should be noted:
  • 8D: Linebacker Junior who played in 12 consecutive Pro Bowls (SEAU).
  • 29D: Gulager of "The Virginian" (CLU).
  • 56D: "The Long, Hot Summer" vixen __ Varner (EULA).
Then there are a couple names that I don't consider crosswordese at all, but that I might have been problematic for some of you: that would be YANCY (32D: "The Waltons" handyman Tucker) and ALS (24A: Tim's "Tool Time" sidekick et al.). Because "The Waltons" was before my time, I know the name "John Boy" and that the name of the actor who played Grandpa is like Richard Gere's name but spelled differently (that would be Will Geer). Obviously, there are many ways to clue ALS, but if you didn't watch "Home Improvement" religiously the way some people did (who me?), you might not be familiar with AL Borland.

  • 23A: River past Memphis (NILE). I admit it, I was tricked by this for a hot minute. Was thinking Tennessee and not Egypt.
  • 34A: What a recent ex may need (TLC). I actually tried "tac" for this at first, thinking the ex in the clue was the first X in "tic tac toe."
  • 35A: With 62-Down, call (SEE A). Funny that the clue for the cross-reference answer BET has to include the word "see" (62D: See 35-Across), when SEE is part of the answer.
  • 42A: Cookie recipe morsels (NUTS). I tried "oats" first.
  • 59A: Actress Thomas who is now St. Jude's National Outreach Director (MARLO). St. Jude's must have a lot of banner ads on the internet because I totally knew this even though I don't recall ever consciously thinking about it.
  • 65A: Kate __, a.k.a. Batwoman (KANE). Not knowing my superheroes, I considered the possibility that Batwoman was Lois Lane's evil twin.
  • 3D: Source of the food thickener alginate (KELP). If this is in any of the food I eat, I really don't want to know about it.
  • 12D: Unlike folks on "Hoarders" (TIDY). I haven't watched this show because the few ads I've seen for it make me really, really sad for those people.
  • 22D: Some traffic monitors (NARCS). Drug traffic.
  • 50D: Mississippi source (ITASCA). I knew this because as a child growing up in North Dakota, I visited ITASCA State Park.
  • 53D: 8 on the Beaufort scale (GALE). I guess the Beaufort scale measures wind. Good to know.
Crosswordese 101: ÉTAT is the French word for "state." It's often clued as the partial "Coup d'_____" or "'L'_____, c'est moi': Louis XIV." Other clues, however, are a little trickier, but they definitely give you a hint that the answer you're looking for is French. It might include the name of a place that you know is a state, but use the French word for it, like Californie, Pennsylvanie, or Floride. Or, it will indicate the need for French with an obviously French name, like "Jacques's state," "State to Sarkozy," "South Dakota, to Pierre, " or 28D: Texas and Tennessee, in Toulouse.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:

  • 15A: Cartoon drooler (ODIE).
  • 18A: Eugene O'Neill's daughter (OONA).
  • 64A: Actor Baldwin (ALEC).
  • 11D: Kuwaiti VIP (EMIR).
  • 39D: Sch. in Troy, NY (RPI).
  • 57D: Some HDTVs (RCA'S).
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Everything Else — 1A: Actor Gyllenhaal (JAKE); 5A: Big rolls (WADS); 9A: "Zorba the Greek" setting (CRETE); 14A: Very top (APEX); 16A: Invoice word (REMIT); 17A: Downed shot (BELT); 19A: Lab flask contents, perhaps (ACIDS); 33A: Teen sensation? (ANGST); 36A: Early 16th-century date (MDI); 37A: "Also sprach Zarathustra" composer (STRAUSS); 41A: Shade on a beach (TAN); 44A: Fitting (APT); 45A: Phoenician dialect (PUNIC); 51A: Part of a roadie's load (AMP); 52A: __ bomb (ATOM); 60A: For all of us (OURS); 61A: Certain line crosser (SCAB); 63A: Sunburn soothers (ALOES); 66A: Air ducts (VENTS); 67A: "There you have it!" ("TA-DA!"); 68A: USMC rank (SSGT); 1D: Setup punch (JAB); 2D: Fossey focus (APES); 4D: Lengthens (EXTENDS); 5D: Wild associate? (WOOLLY); 6D: Sun-dried structures (ADOBES); 7D: Flintstones' Snorkasaurus (DINO); 9D: Treetop rocker (CRADLE); 10D: Changes the actor (RECASTS); 13D: Saturn drivers? (ET'S); 21D: Light melodies (LILTS); 25D: Condemns (DAMNS); 26D: Become, finally (END UP); 27D: Antacid target (AGITA); 30D: Insurance company named for a mountain (AETNA); 31D: Televise again (REAIR); 38D: City on its own bay (TAMPA); 40D: Item in a stirring picture? (SPOON); 43D: Like an infamous "A" (SCARLET); 46D: Exposes (UNMASKS); 48D: Make stand out (EMBOSS); 49D: Divine (SACRED); 54D: Elvis __ Presley (ARON); 55D: Billy __ (GOAT); 58D: Bright side? (YANG); 59D: Dallas NBAer (MAV).

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