Selasa, 14 Desember 2010

T U E S D A Y   December 14, 2010 Billie Truitt

Theme: Vowel Progression — Theme answers start with J+[vowel]+N.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Actress in a classic shower scene (JANET LEIGH).
  • 23A: Weight management guru (JENNY CRAIG).
  • 38A: 1996 Schwarzenegger Christmas comedy (JINGLE ALL THE WAY).
  • 51A: Comedy Central satirist (JON STEWART).
  • 56A: Kipling story collection, with "The" (JUNGLE BOOK).
I can only associate this type of theme with Andrea Carla Michaels, who has used it a number of times in that smooth early-week style of hers that I've come to know and love. (Andrea and I were going to collaborate on a puzzle with a vowel progression theme until I discovered that the specific words we were using (last, lest, list, lost, lust) had already been done — twice!)

Billie Truitt does a great job with this framework. All the theme answers are completely solid (well-known, not forced phrases), and it's hard to complain when the puzzle starts right off with the Scrabble-tastic NAVAJO and AD EXEC right in the northwest corner (1D: Hogan dweller / 2D: Madison Ave. VIP).

  • 1A: Pathfinder org. (NASA). I have ridden in a Nissan Pathfinder exactly once in my life and I can only think of that vehicle when I see the word. I'm like "Pathfinder? That's a Nissan vehicle. … What the heck other kind of Pathfinder is there? …. Ohhhh yeah." Every. Single. Time.
  • 15A: Tuckered out (BEAT).
  • 17A: Siamese checkers? (VETS). Cute clue. A VETerinarian checks out Siamese cats. (Anyone else think Siamese twins first and wonder WTF the clue could possibly be getting at?)
  • 31A: Lieut. producer (OCS). Officer's … something?
  • 32A: Beaujolais's department (RHONE). I believe a department is the French equivalent of what we call a state.
  • 44A: Sleepy colleague? (DOC). Got this one right away, didn't you? Repetition helps!
  • 65A: Golfer Norman (GREG). I caught a glimpse of him on the TV just yesterday. Some young kid was referring to him as "Sharky." I get it that he's The Shark, but Sharky? I wonder if he's okay with that.
  • 8D: Wonder of music (STEVIE).
  • 21D: __ Beach: South Carolina resort (MYRTLE). If you're ever in Myrtle Beach and need a haircut, look for Joey. You won't be sorry.
  • 26D: Adult doodlebug (ANTLION). I have No Idea what this means.
  • 29D: Maggie Simpson's sister (LISA). For some reason, I read the clue as "Marge's sister" which, obviously, made this one a lot harder than it had to be.
Crosswordese 101: If you have a spot in your brain for movie directors, make sure to keep ANG Lee there. The Taiwanese director is often clued straightforwardly like today's 12D: Director Lee. If a movie is included in the clue, it's most likely to be: "Brokeback Mountain," "The Ice Story," "Taking Woodstock," "Hulk," "Sense and Sensibility," or "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

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

  • 5A: D-Day carriers (LST'S).
  • 14A: Sixth Jewish month (ADAR).
  • 49A: Most eligible for the draft (ONE-A).
  • 68A: Standard Oil name (ESSO).
  • 11D: Wahine's gift (LEI).
  • 58D: Originally called (NÉE).
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Everything Else — 9A: Hi-tech classroom (PC LAB); 16A: Bowl, e.g. (ARENA); 20A: Geometry truth (AXIOM); 22A: Low-lying area (VALE); 27A: Low-lying area (DALE); 33A: Through (VIA); 34A: Blast from the past (A-TEST); 35A: Like this answer (ACROSS); 42A: Consensus builder (UNITER); 43A: Mountaineer's tool (ICE AX); 45A: Pops (SODAS); 46A: Inflation stat. (CPI); 53A: Leeway (ROOM); 55A: First name in morning talk (REGIS); 62A: Prefix with -gon (DECA); 63A: "The Interpretation of Dreams" author (FREUD); 64A: Italian bread? (EURO); 66A: Patched pants parts (KNEES); 67A: Barbecue specialty (RIBS); 3D: Some lustrous dresses (SATINS); 4D: Flaming offense (ARSON); 5D: Successor to 56-Down (LBJ); 6D: Bounding main (SEA); 7D: Salon acquisition (TAN); 9D: Cloud of gloom (PALL); 10D: Words to live by (CREED); 13D: Dickensian cry (BAH); 19D: Luggage label (TAG); 24D: Shout of approval (CHEER); 25D: Parks on a bus (ROSA); 28D: Declare (AVOW); 30D: Like pie? (EASY); 34D: Author's rep. (AGT.); 35D: Really got to (ATE AT); 36D: Milder drink than the one before it (CHASER); 37D: "Oedipus __" (REX); 38D: Karate kin (JUDO); 39D: Privy to (IN ON); 40D: "Good one!" ("NICE!"); 41D: Watch readouts, for short (LCD'S); 45D: Melancholy (SOMBER); 46D: Court shooters (CAGERS); 47D: Inflation drives them up (PRICES); 48D: "We're on!" ("IT'S A GO!"); 50D: Have a dispute (ARGUE); 51D: Average guy? (JOE); 52D: Club for most greenside shots (WEDGE); 54D: Auto pioneer (OLDS); 56D: He defeated RMN (JFK); 57D: Coffee source for a crowd (URN); 59D: Yes, to Yvette (OUI); 60D: Poetic planet (ORB); 61D: Levels, briefly (KO'S).

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