Rabu, 08 Desember 2010

W E D N E S D A Y   December 8, 2010 Dan Naddor

Theme: It's a Small World — Each theme answer begins with a word that can be a synonym for small.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Members of a small army (TOY SOLDIERS).
  • 20A: Lumbering critter of Borneo (PYGMY ELEPHANT).
  • 36A: Some Steinways (BABY GRAND PIANOS).
  • 52A: Game often involving a windmill (MINIATURE GOLF).
  • 57A: Pluto, now (DWARF PLANET).
I've gotta believe Rich is getting close to the bottom of his Naddor pile, which is sad. But for today, we get to enjoy one of them so let's have fun with it. When I see five theme entries in a 15x15 grid, I think there's no way the fill is going to be 100% smooth. But I've gotta admit, Dan was able to pull it off most of the time. The only answer that caused me to physically react was DIPLO. DIPLO?! The L was the last letter I entered into the grid and I thought I must have misspelled MINIATURE in 52A because surely the prefix meaning double is DUPLO, right? Well, no. DIPLO it is. And so I learn something today.

  • 4A: Spinnaker, e.g. (SAIL). Because I'm not really up on my nautical terms, I had no idea on this one. The only place my brain would go was "spinet," which I assume is because of the other PIANO in the grid.
  • 8A: Tending to hang down (DROOPY).
  • 32A: Poker ploy (RAISE). Raise your hand if you tried "bluff" first.
  • 34A: Grumpy co-worker? (SNEEZY). Very cute clue and it kinda goes with the theme.
  • 49A: Japanese veggie (UDO). I've seen this word a few times and just now decided to look it up. The stem of the UDO (arialia cordata) is boiled for miso soup and the roots can be used for herbal medicines. So much learning going on today!
  • 51A: Take potshots (SNIPE). One of the jobs I interviewed for last week was with a guy whose last name was not "Snape," but it sounded very much like "Snape." And his first name had three syllables. So I had this stupid Harry Potter puppet song going through my head all week. (I'm not going to tell you what his name is because it just feels like that would be wrong. What if he's ego-surfing and finds himself mentioned in this blog? Okay, okay, his last name is just like this answer but with an S on the end, and his first name is the long form of Ben. That shouldn't come up in a Google search now, should it?)
  • 62A: Soul, to Sartre (AME). I just saw this word in a puzzle recently and for some reason took note of it, so this one came easy.
  • 63A: Start liking (TAKE TO). I tried "warm to" first.
  • 65A: OPEC unit (BBL.). Whenever BBL is in the grid, inevitably someone pipes up in the comments about how that's not the abbreviation for "barrel." So I'm just going to say right here and right now: yes, it is.
  • 10D: "Are you out __?" (OR IN). Ooh, I forgot about this one. Do not like. It's just, like, totally backwards.
  • 58D: "Are __ pair?": "Send in the Clowns" lyric (WE A). Okay, this answer got a physical reaction out of me too but not because of anything inherently wrong with it being in the puzzle. It's just that I hate that song. I mean really hate it. Have I ever told you my three Least Favorite Songs of All Time? What? Only 12 times? Well here they are again: "Just the Way You Are," "The Lady in Red," and "Send in the Clowns." Hideous, hideous songs.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 14A: Treasure de la Sierra Madre (ORO).
  • 22A: Conger catcher (EELER).
  • 64A: WWII Normandy battle site (ST.-LÔ).
  • 19D: Birthstone after sapphire (OPAL).
  • 37D: "__ Ben Adhem": James Leigh Hunt poem (ABOU).
  • 53D: Wrath, in a hymn title (IRAE).
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Everything Else — 1A: Rd. traveler's stat (MPG); 14A: Treasure de la Sierra Madre (ORO); 15A: "M*A*S*H" star (ALDA); 16A: Merited (EARNED); 17A: Kung __ chicken (PAO); 23A: Publicize (AIR); 24A: Delivery experts, for short (OB'S); 27A: Remnant (DREG); 28A: Stuffed (FULL); 31A: "Knock it off!" ("STOP!"); 40A: WWII depth charge targets (U-BOATS); 41A: Bungling (INEPT); 42A: Any day now (SOON); 43A: Bite like a beaver (GNAW); 44A: Construction beam (I-BAR); 48A: Loud laugh (YUK); 59A: Former CNN anchor Dobbs (LOU); 60A: Wreck, as plans (DERAIL); 61A: Losing proposition? (DIET); 1D: Swabbed (MOPPED); 2D: Bedtime ritual for many (PRAYER); 3D: Provider of millions of hits (GOOGLE); 4D: Woodlands deity (SATYR); 5D: Lip balm ingredient (ALOE); 6D: Pastoral verse (IDYL); 7D: Cut with a surgical beam (LASE); 8D: Indian metropolis (DELHI); 9D: Tool for scouting pitchers (RADAR); 11D: Count that may diffuse anger (ONE TO TEN); 12D: Part of 1-Across (PER); 13D: QB's gains (YDS.); 21D: "When Harry Met Sally..." co-star (MEG RYAN); 25D: Doofus (BOZO); 26D: 1974 CIA spoof (SPYS); 28D: Fragrant evergreens (FIRS); 29D: __ Today (USA); 30D: Red Square honoree (LENIN); 31D: Restaurant host's purview (SEATING); 33D: FBI employee (AGT.); 34D: Gush (SPEW); 35D: Barely beat (NIP); 36D: Not taking calls, perhaps (BUSY); 38D: Web surfer's shortcut (BOOKMARK); 39D: Paternity suit letters (DNA); 43D: Intent (GOAL); 45D: Class with dissections, for short (BIO LAB); 46D: Poise (APLOMB); 47D: Gas up (REFUEL); 49D: Not qualified (UNFIT); 50D: Double: Pref. (DIPLO-); 51D: Brief brawl (SET-TO); 53D: Wrath, in a hymn title (IRAE); 54D: Smidgens (TADS); 55D: Military group (UNIT); 56D: Casting need (REEL); 57D: Banned bug killer (DDT).

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