Kamis, 09 Desember 2010

T H U R S D A Y   December 9, 2010 Kurt Mueller

Theme: To the Maximum — The first theme answer's clue is simply the letter M. Each subsequent theme answer adds one letter to the clue.

Theme answers:
  • 25A: Ma (MRS. KETTLE).
  • 51A: Maxi (LONG SKIRT).
  • 62A: Maxim (PITHY PRINCIPLE).
I think a lot of us have seen the theme where each theme answer has the same one-word clue. Some people really don't like that type of theme because the answers are, largely, not in-the-language phrases. Today's puzzle gives that theme idea a little twist, and the people who don't like the original way probably won't like this either. I actually do like this type of theme every once in a while for a change of pace. I like how it works my brain in a slightly different way. It feels like I'm given the answer and have to come up with a good clue (much like I should be doing with a particular grid that's been sitting on my desk for weeks). In today's puzzle, I think the answers-that-are-really-clues are quite good. I came at PITHY PRINCIPLE from the back end, having the entire second word filled in with nothing in front of it. My thought process was like, "Okay, a maxim is a type of PRINCIPLE. It's usually short and kinda cute…." When the Y dropped in, it didn't take long for PITHY to show itself. I had a lot of fun with this one.

  • 1A: Magic (MOJO). I can't hear this word without thinking about Quincy Jones's "The Dude," which I'm sure was the first time I ever heard it. (Not sure Al actually knows all the words here, but it's still a fun performance.)
  • 14A: Bud (BRO). I wanted "pal" or "mac" first.
  • 31A: Doesn't try to reach the green, in golf (LAYS UP). I don't golf, but I do watch golf movies (and actual golf, but I happened to learn this particular golf term from "Tin Cup").
  • 45A: Low-quality (CHEAPO). I swear I had C***P* in place and thought "Rich wouldn't allow CRAPPY to see print, would he?"
  • 55A: Site of a 1981 sitcom honeymoon (ORK). Oh my God. They got married? Seriously? Man we watched some C***P* TV back then.
  • 66A: Old number? (ETHER). In this clue, "number" means "something that numbs." You always have to be on the lookout for clues like this. The other one you'll see a lot is "flower" referring to a river (something that flows).
  • 67A: Instrument on which Jake Shimabukuro can play "Bohemian Rhapsody" (UKE). Well that seems like something we should definitely see.
  • 69A: Meg and Robert (RYANS). Who the heck is Robert Ryan? …. Oh, he's an old-time actor I've never heard of. He sound interesting though. From his Wikipedia page: "At a screening of 'Odds Against Tomorrow,' he appeared before black and foreign press representatives to discuss 'the problems of an actor like me playing the kind of character that in real life he finds totally despicable.'"
  • 30D: Boil over? (RECOOK). "Over" in this clue means "over again" not "over the top."
  • 34D: __ Jordan: Nike brand (AIR). Is it the shoes?
  • 41D: Little butt? (CIG). In this case, the word "little" in the clue indicates not that the butt itself is little, but that the answer word will be a shortened form. Butt = cigarette; shortened form = CIG.
  • 46D: Barrel worker (HOOPER). I do not know what this means.
  • 48D: Hercule's creator (AGATHA). Couldn't get this one off the clue and never got back to it because I filled it all in through crosses. Hercule Poirot is a detective in many AGATHA Christie mysteries.
  • 61D: Word on a biblical wall (MENE). The phrase "the writing on the wall" comes from the Bible. In the story, the words written on the wall were "Mene, Mene, Tekel u-Pharsin," all words for currency. Daniel deciphered the phrase to mean that King Belshazzar's kingdom would be divided which, of course, happened the very next day. And now we use the phrase to mean an omen of doom.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 2D: Yemen neighbor (OMAN).
  • 29D: Cologne cry (ACH).
  • 39D: Culture medium (AGAR).
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Everything Else — 5A: Time in a classified ad (AFT.); 8A: Syrian president (ASSAD); 13A: Surrounded by (AMID); 15A: Little wood (COPSE); 19A: So-so connection? (AND); 20A: __ forces (ARMED); 21A: Senate majority leader Harry (REID); 23A: Baseball stat. (AVG.); 28A: More clownish (ZANIER); 32A: Current letters (AC/DC); 33A: Less taxing (EASIER); 43A: Most tender (SOREST); 44A: Pace (GAIT); 49A: Sumatran swingers (ORANGS); 56A: Minute amount (IOTA); 57A: __ badge (MERIT); 59A: "Big Blue" (IBM); 68A: Kind of officer or shark (LOAN); 70A: __ Perce tribe (NEZ); 71A: Asian beef source (KOBE); 1D: Goya subject (MAJA); 3D: Crackerjack (JIM DANDY); 4D: Poetic tribute (ODE); 5D: Common crossword clue letters (ABBR.); 6D: "The Art of Loving" author (FROMM); 7D: Cartridge filler (TONER); 8D: Coolers, briefly (AC'S); 9D: One may be choked back (SOB); 10D: Stylish (SPORTY); 11D: They may be liquid or frozen (ASSETS); 12D: Original "Star Trek" studio (DESILU); 17D: Wise one (SAGE); 18D: Driller's deg. (DDS); 22D: Bank acct. entry (DEP.); 24D: Morrow and Damone (VICS); 26D: One who lifts a lot? (KLEPTO); 27D: '50s-'60s chief justice Warren (EARL); 28D: Microwave (ZAP); 35D: Vane dir. (SSE); 36D: Part of TGIF (IT'S); 38D: AOL et al. (ISP'S); 40D: Lover of Yum-Yum in "The Mikado" (NANKI-POO); 42D: Gold meas. (KTS.); 45D: Second-century date (CLI); 47D: Thing (ENTITY); 50D: Uniformed campus gp. (ROTC); 52D: Little rascal (IMP); 53D: Chance to see what you missed the first time (RERUN); 54D: Early mode of transportation (TRIKE); 58D: Powerful 1966 hurricane (INEZ); 60D: Yak (BLAB); 63D: Cock's mate (HEN); 64D: Jr. and sr. (YRS.); 65D: Type (ILK).

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