Kamis, 06 Januari 2011

01.06 Thu

January 6, 2011
Gary J. Whitehead

Theme: Of all the …. — Theme answers end with a word that can be a synonym for "nerve."

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Marinara, for one (TOMATO SAUCE).
  • 28A: Pentagon bigwigs (MILITARY BRASS).
  • 46A: Not serious (TONGUE-IN-CHEEK).
  • 60A: Part of an axon (and what 17-, 28- and 46-Across each has?) (NERVE ENDING).
I hate to say it, but I just can't love this puzzle. Mostly because the theme really doesn't do it for me and because of the huge amount of crosswordese. As for the theme, I get how SAUCE, BRASS and CHEEK can mean NERVE, but in two of the three cases I'm distracted by how they're so often used as adjectives (saucy and cheeky) and not as nouns. Also, and this might just be me, I'm not sure I've ever seen the word BRASS used in this way — not even as an adjective. Add the science-y reveal and what you've got is a theme that leaves me cold. I will say this, though — I can see where the theme phrases could have been way more boring than they are, so that's a plus. I don't think I can say anything nice about the crosswordese, though. There's just too much of it. On a Thursday! The pay-off for all that crosswordese is a few pretty cool entries (I'm looking at you, GO AWOL and SIXTH SENSE) and a definite Scrabbly lean, but it's just not enough to tip the scale for me. I'll be interested to hear your take on it.

  • 7A: They have guards on both sides of them: Abbr. (CTRS.). Football!
  • 25A: Moor (HEATH). This clue/answer pair gave me a double whammy of literature associations: "Moor" makes me think of Othello, and HEATH makes me think of "Wuthering Heights."
  • 41A: Reliant Stadium NFL team (TEXANS). I can't keep track of the stadium names. Part of it is that I really just don't want to. The corporate stadium names are just terrible and are far too silly to actually say. Ugh.
  • 53A: Eldest Younger gang member (COLE). I do not know what this means.
  • 7D: Winter Palace figure (CZAR). Remember when I said "Sometimes it's spelled CZARS, but in crossword puzzles it's almost five times likelier to be spelled TSARS, so that's my default"? Yeah, that didn't help me today.
  • 11D: Intuition (SIXTH SENSE). I'd like to see this movie again. It's been a long time. Speaking of old movies, has anybody seen the new "Wall Street" movie? (I realize it's not that new any more.) It looks like it should be pretty good.
  • 18D: Exotic honeymoon, perhaps (SAFARI). Can't say I've ever heard of anyone going on a SAFARI for their honeymoon. Sounds kinda cool though.
  • 30D: "Monster" (2003) co-star (RICCI). I struggled and struggled to remember Charlize Theron and then found she wasn't the right answer. Hate when that happens.
  • 37D: What the mouse did clockwise? (RAN UP). This is the awesomest thing in the puzzle. Great, great clue.
  • 44D: Collision preceder (SCREECH).
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 16A: Worldwide workers' gp. (ILO).
  • 22A: The gamut (A TO Z).
  • 23A: __ II, king who founded Borg (now Sarpsborg) (OLAF).
  • 36A: Cheri who played Gail Hailstorm in "Scary Movie" (OTERI).
  • 45A: French possessive (SES).
  • 66A: One of a jazz duo? (ZEE).
  • 7D: Winter Palace figure (CZAR).
  • 9D: "One Thousand and One Nights" bird (ROC).
  • 12D: Spread on the table (OLEO).
  • 22D: Asteroids maker (ATARI).
  • 58D: Curved molding (OGEE).
  • 61D: "Strange Magic" band (ELO).
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Everything Else — 1A: Techie talk, e.g. (JARGON); 11A: Roman sun god (SOL); 14A: Nine follower? (ONE ONE); 15A: Menageries (ZOOS); 19A: Marked, in a way (X'ED); 20A: Winter coat (SNOW); 21A: Pusher pursuer (NARC); 32A: Swindle (CON); 33A: Philip __: 16th-century Italian saint (NERI); 34A: Only just (BARELY); 38A: First person in Berlin? (ICH); 40A: Yearned (PINED); 43A: Latin quarters? (CASA); 49A: Artful dodges (RUSES); 50A: Mention with an ulterior motive (DROP); 51A: Finish shooting (WRAP); 55A: Louisville's river (OHIO); 59A: Air base? (HUB); 63A: Feverish, say (ILL); 64A: Natural balm (ALOE); 65A: Browbeat (COERCE); 67A: It's often seen under a cap (GOWN); 68A: Swindle (HUSTLE); 1D: Scribbles (JOTS); 2D: Soon, poetically (ANON); 3D: San __ (REMO); 4D: Commit a service infraction (GO AWOL); 5D: Toronto's prov. (ONT.); 6D: Nursery arrival (NEONATE); 7D: Winter Palace figure (CZAR); 8D: Sensitive (TOUCHY); 10D: GPS heading (SSE); 13D: One of Poland's three most populous cities (LODZ); 24D: Winter coat features (LININGS); 26D: Withdraw (EBB); 27D: Wyoming tribe (ARAPAHO); 28D: Choral piece (MOTET); 29D: Unyielding (INEXORABLE); 31D: Streamlined (SLEEK); 32D: No-frills bed (COT); 35D: NFL gains (YDS.); 39D: Radio moniker (HANDLE); 42D: Take to court (SUE); 47D: Money set aside (ESCROW); 48D: Lyric poems (EPODES); 51D: Crackerjack (WHIZ); 52D: Run the show (RULE); 54D: Bakery appliance (OVEN); 56D: "Cotton Candy" trumpeter (HIRT); 57D: Not left out: Abbr. (INCL.); 60D: Henpeck (NAG); 61D: "Strange Magic" band (ELO); 62D: __-turn (NO U).

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