Kamis, 23 Desember 2010

T H U R S D A Y   December 23, 2010 John Lampkin

Theme: Seasonal Puns — Yes, that's right, seasonal puns.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Seasonal cheeses? (SUMMER BRIES).
  • 59A: Seasonal seasoning? (WINTER THYME).
  • 11D: Seasonal smoked salmon? (SPRING LOX).
  • 35D: Seasonal costume? (FALL GUISE).
It's not often that the clue at 1 Across really makes me sit up and take notice but wow! Ptolemaic constellation that is now divided into Carina (the keel), Puppis (the poop deck) and Vela (the sails)! That is one serious clue right there, people. We've covered ARGO in CW101, but I'm pretty sure we've never said anything that would have helped you today. I realized pretty quickly (somewhere between "Ptolemaic" and "constellation") that I had no idea what the answer would be, so I moved on. When I made it back up that way I had a couple crosses in place and — ::head-slap::! Good stuff right from the get-go. I like it.

Other noteworthy entries today include IN A HUFF (40A: Fuming), which is an awesome colloquial phrase. Also SMURF (22D: Blue toon). It's just fun to say, isn't it? Oh and the theme. If you like your puns on the groan-worthy end of the spectrum, you probably weren't thrilled with these. I really like them though. The base phrase for SPRING LOX is kinda drab, but the rest feel really solid and the theme clues are cute.

  • 15A: Grade leader? (CENTI-). Wanna know what I popped right in here without even thinking about it? "Hard G." It's official: I've been doing way more crossword puzzles than a person should.
  • 19A: Hammock support (TREE). I could not come up with this and when I finally did it made me laugh. Down at the PuzzleParents' place in Costa Rica they have something like seven hammocks and not one of them is supported by a tree!
  • 25A: Miller's salesman (LOMAN). Had to rack my brain for this one. Man getting old sucks sometimes! I remembered right off that the son's name is Biff because it was mentioned in one of my favorite "Seinfeld" episodes (yes, I realize how sad that is), but the last name took a while. (This is a reference to Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, by the way.)
  • 36A: "What's cooking?" elicitor (ODOR). And ODOR can, of course, elicit other, less appropriate, questions as well.
  • 42A: Sitcom planet (ORK). Ladies and gentlemen, your "Mork and Mindy" reference of the day.
  • 68A: New kids' block since 1958 (LEGO). First thing that came to my head was "Sesame Street." I don't think it's been around that long though.
  • 2D: Old air fare? (RERUN). I'm all, "They used to serve some other kind of food on airplanes?" No, the "air" in this clue refers to broadcasting.
  • 5D: Venomous arachnid (SCORPION).

  • 26D: Dating concern (AGE).
  • 34D: One-time pal of Baker and Charlie? (ABLE). I assume this is a reference to a phonetic alphabet.
  • 37D: Pianist Laredo (RUTH). Whoa. Anyone ever heard of her?
  • 41D: Ottoman (FOOT REST). In the PuzzleHouse, the word "ottoman" is always accompanied by air-quotes. The first time I ever used the word in front of the kids, they looked at me like I had three heads. They think it's a little hoity-toity for a, ya know, FOOT REST.
  • 44D: "At Seventeen" singer Janis (IAN).

  • 52D: Join (ENROL). If you know anything about me, you probably know that I'm not a fan of the one-L ENROL.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 10A: Exxon forerunner (ESSO).
  • 18A: Mountain nymph (OREAD).
  • 46A: Wheelbarrow feature (AXLE).
  • 33D: "Rubáiyát" poet Khayyám (OMAR).
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Everything Else — 5A: Utter (SHEER); 14A: Miller's product (MEAL); 16A: Peak (APEX); 17A: West Point team (ARMY); 23A: Place purveying potent pints (INN); 24A: Grab from the shelves (SNAP UP); 27A: Dickens's Heep (URIAH); 30A: Fried chicken piece (NUGGET); 33A: Klutzes (OAFS); 38A: Race with batons (RELAY); 39A: Finance major's deg. (MBA); 43A: Pooped (ALL IN); 45A: Con __: briskly, on scores (MOTO); 47A: Empathize (RELATE); 49A: Gallery events (SHOWS); 51A: Troll (GNOME); 53A: Peak (TIPTOP); 57A: Feathered runner (EMU); 62A: Put down (LAID); 64A: "__ under pressure": guts, to Hemingway (GRACE); 65A: Potent pints (ALES); 66A: Japanese soup (MISO); 67A: Retirement plans, informally (ROTHS); 69A: Foreshadowing (OMEN); 70A: "Cats" poet (ELIOT); 71A: Musical syllables (TRAS); 1D: Stockpile (AMASS); 3D: Kind of ray emitted by a supernova (GAMMA); 4D: Greek mount (OLYMPUS); 6D: It may be medicinal (HERB); 7D: Nuke-testing dept. (ENER.); 8D: Much modern business (ETAIL); 9D: Continue the journey, oater-style (RIDE ON); 10D: Corrode (EAT); 12D: Dated (SEEN); 13D: Paired pullers (OXEN); 21D: Ger. setting (EUR.); 28D: Sixth-day creation (ADAM); 29D: Seasonal rooftop noises? (HO HOS); 31D: British nobleman (EARL); 32D: Kid (TYKE); 40D: Like trailers on the road (IN TOW); 46D: Cloverleaf cover (ASPHALT); 48D: Political refugee (EMIGRE); 50D: Cleverness (WIT); 54D: Tippecanoe's partner, in an 1840 campaign (TYLER); 55D: Last in a series (OMEGA); 56D: Sonoran smackeroos (PESOS); 57D: Saint with a fire (ELMO); 58D: Hurt severely (MAIM); 60D: "Mon Oncle" director (TATI); 61D: Nymph who loved her own voice (ECHO); 63D: Put on (DON).

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