Senin, 13 Desember 2010

M O N D A Y   December 13, 2010 Gareth Bain

Theme: Puzzle of the Decade — Theme answers are familiar phrases that follow the pattern "[noun] of the [time period]."

Theme answers:
  • 19A: Restaurant special (SOUP OF THE DAY).
  • 27A: '60s ABC boxing show (FIGHT OF THE WEEK).
  • 41A: Featured mail-order club offering (BOOK OF THE MONTH).
  • 47A: Motor Trend magazine award (CAR OF THE YEAR).
Happy Monday, everyone. Hope you had a great weekend and are ready for another fun week of puzzling. Today's theme is very cute. I'd be surprised if it hasn't been done before, but I'm not going to look it up because it just doesn't matter. I solved this one pretty much from top to bottom, so the theme was clear right away. The only small slip-up I had is that "FIGHT OF THE" ends in "century" in my brain. Obviously that wasn't going to work, and the correct answer wasn't too tough to figure out. Ya know what makes this theme really work? That the time periods start short and get longer as you progress through the grid. That's one of those things that new solvers might (a) take for granted or (b) not even notice, but I'm here to tell you that it's no accident. If Gareth had submitted the puzzle with the entries in a different order, Rich would have probably told him it was a nice theme but he needed to redo it to make it right. (That is, of course, completely hypothetical — Gareth would never do that because he knows better.)

There's quite a bit of crosswordese in the fill, but it is Monday after all. And there are a couple of interesting and/or Scrabbly words in the grid like OPAQUE, KELP and REHASH. I had some trouble in the Oklahoma/Texas area where my frequent inability to parse long down answers showed itself. It's just something about reading on the vertical that gives me trouble. Sometimes I end up writing the word out horizontally just so I can see it properly and get my head-slap moment. Reading PUT*TO*ED from top to bottom was just not going anywhere and the crosses of PAT and BARA were not helping. I mean, come on, BARA?! The only "silents" actresses I've ever needed to know are Zasu Pitts and Nita Naldi. Expanding that particular list to three seems a little excessive, doesn't it??

  • 1A: __ Squad: Best Buy service team (GEEK). Actually had to think about this one. My brain didn't want to move away from the Buy More "Nerd Herd" on the TV show "Chuck."
  • 32A: Fillies, as adults (MARES). Look like we've got a little female animal subtheme going here. See also 8D: Doe, for one (FEMALE).
  • 33A: Singer Chris or actor Stephen (REA). Do I know who Chris REA is? ... Nope, I sure don't. But wow. He's got a great voice.
  • 38A: Minute stake? (ANTE). Well sometimes it's not very minute, but we get the point.
  • 58A: French parting (ADIEU). I'm all "The French had something to do with parting the Red Sea?!" So weird the associations we make.
  • 61A: Roger who played Bond (MOORE). Like this one. Roger? I went right to Daltrey. (Okay, first I went to my uncle Roger, but that probably doesn't mean anything to you.) I don't think either one of those Rogers would have made a credible James Bond.
  • 21D: Qatar's capital (DOHA). Is this the capital city or the country's currency? … It's the city. Qatar's currency is the riyal.
  • 48D: Top choice, for short (FAVE). With F*VE in place I thought, well sure "five" is the top choice on a scale of one to five but … what the heck is "five" short for? Ohhhh, I get it now.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 16A: Inland Asian sea (ARAL).
  • 24A: Rap's Dr. __ (DRE).
  • 33A: Singer Chris or actor Stephen (REA).
  • 34A: Tennis star/anti-apartheid activist Arthur (ASHE).
  • 44A: B'way "no seats" sign (SRO).
  • 63A: Cathedral recess (APSE).
  • 3D: Biblical twin (ESAU).
  • 12D: __ Khan (AGA).
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Everything Else — 5A: Paving surface (TAR); 8A: Classic orange soda (FANTA); 13A: Bit of subterfuge (RUSE); 14A: Naked (BARE); 15A: Ruthless J.R. on "Dallas" (EWING); 17A: Write on, as sheet metal (ETCH); 18A: Mediterranean island country (MALTA); 22A: Barrio uncle (TIO); 23A: MSN rival (AOL); 35A: Microwave gadget (TIMER); 36A: Sci-fi escape craft (POD); 37A: Geometry calculations (AREAS); 39A: Vienna's land: Abbr. (AUS.); 40A: Nasal detections (ODORS); 45A: Contrived (PAT); 46A: Run in (NAB); 53A: Ribs sauce style, briefly (BAR-B-Q); 56A: Silents actress Theda (BARA); 57A: Niger neighbor (MALI); 59A: What avengers get (EVEN); 60A: Study a lot in a short time (CRAM); 62A: Low grade (DEE); 1D: Mardi __ (GRAS); 2D: Continental cash (EURO); 4D: Brown seaweed (KELP); 5D: Bit of body art (TATTOO); 6D: Semicircular entrance (ARCH); 7D: Prepared, as leftovers (REHEATED); 9D: On holiday, say (AWAY); 10D: Zero, in soccer (NIL); 11D: Explosive abbr. (TNT); 14D: Suits (BEFITS); 20D: Catchall category (OTHER); 24D: The Kalahari, for one (DESERT); 25D: Uninspired new version (REHASH); 26D: Barely gets by, with "out" (EKES); 27D: Key of Beethoven's "Appassionata" Sonata (F MINOR); 28D: "You are not!" rejoinder ("I AM TOO!"); 29D: Plato's language (GREEK); 30D: First-year student, briefly (FROSH); 31D: __ Terror: Bush campaign (WAR ON); 35D: Bills at bars (TABS); 36D: Finished dealing with (PUT TO BED); 37D: Hacienda brick (ADOBE); 39D: "We Three Kings" adverb (AFAR); 40D: Certain Nebraskan (OMAHAN); 42D: Opposite of transparent (OPAQUE); 43D: Main dish (ENTREE); 47D: Trucker with a handle (CB'ER); 49D: Song sung with arm motions (YMCA); 50D: O.K. Corral name (EARP); 51D: Word of sorrow (ALAS); 52D: "The __ of the Ancient Mariner" (RIME); 53D: "Pow!" cousin ("BAM!"); 54D: Hoo-ha (ADO); 55D: __ Grande (RIO).

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