Senin, 10 Januari 2011

01.10 Mon

January 10, 2011
Bruce Venzke and Gail Grabowski

Theme: Extra! Extra! — Theme answers start with the words "Read all about it."

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Do some palmistry (READ ONE'S FORTUNE).
  • 26A: Groundbreaking 1970s sitcom (ALL IN THE FAMILY).
  • 47A: Link on a writer's site (ABOUT THE AUTHOR).
  • 61A: Hilly Clinton bestseller (IT TAKES A VILLAGE).
  • 68A: When repeated, start of an old shout that ends with the starts of 17-, 26-, 47- and 61-Across (EXTRA).
First of all I want to say: SMERSH. I just really felt like that needed to be said right up front this morning. SMERSH. Maybe several times. SMERSH SMERSH SMERSH. I've never read any James Bond novels and I've never been a big fan of the movies either, so SMERSH was a complete mystery to me. Got it entirely through crosses, at which point I marveled "Where have you been all my life?" I mean, I don't care who ya are, that's one awesome word right there. SMERSH. Welcome to my vocabulary, SMERSH.

For some reason, the LA Times archive on hasn't been updated yet, so I had to solve on the applet this morning, which is no fun. I will say this for the LA Times's applet: it seems to be more user-friendly than the applet on the NY Times's site. Of course, that's not saying much. I can't figure out why there isn't a decent applet out there yet. What year is it again? Let's just talk about the puzzle before I get myself all worked up.

Fun theme today. Using the applet distracted me, so I wasn't able to pay attention to it as I was solving, which is kind of a bummer. I also found myself a little distracted by SMERSH (in case you hadn't noticed) but that's not the theme's fault. I especially like the entry ABOUT THE AUTHOR — a phrase that looks like a partial, but that you've actually seen a million times if you read at all. And any reference to ALL IN THE FAMILY is always good. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this to you before, but when I used to watch the show, I was a kid in Fargo, North Dakota, which means I basically had no idea what they were talking about half the time. When I got a little older and saw a little more of the world it all came together for me and I was like "Ohhhh yeeeah … that's funny."

  • 22A: Fine distinction (NICETY). I tried "nuance" first.
  • 23A: Tavern tussle (MELEE). I tried "brawl" first. (I don't usually have this much trouble on a Monday!)
  • 25A: Delaware senator who sponsored IRA legislation (ROTH). Did you remember he was from Delaware? Me neither.
  • 38A: "Midnight Cowboy" hustler Rizzo (RATSO). And here's our friend RATSO again.
  • 44A: Soviet anti-spy group in some James Bond novels (SMERSH). SMERSH!
  • 10D: Armstrong's nickname (SATCHMO). I'm all "Neil Armstrong had a nickname? What was it, like … Space Boy?"
  • 28A: In poor taste (TRASHY).

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 20A: Giant legend Mel (OTT).
  • 7D: Condé ___ Publications (NAST)
  • 11D: Turn on an axis (SLUE).
  • 35D: Andean stew veggie (OCA).
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Everything Else — 1A: Make mention of (CITE); 5A: Bamboo lover (PANDA); 10A: Army NCO (SSGT); 14A: Eight, in Essen (ACHT); 15A: Look forward to (AWAIT); 16A: Tiger or Twin, briefly (AL'ER); 21A: Chick's digs (NEST); 33A: Excessively ornate (FLORID); 34A: Sensitive skin spots (SORES); 35A: Not operating (OFF); 40A: __ Kan: Alpo alternative (KAL); 41A: Welsh dog (CORGI); 51A: "__, old chap!" (I SAY); 52A: Laura's cry on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (OH ROB); 54A: Small gun (PISTOL); 57A: Western tie (BOLO); 60A: Stag party attendee (GUY); 64A: One who might 17-Across (SEER); 65A: Begat (SIRED); 66A: Top draft status (ONE-A); 67A: Music boosters (AMPS); 69A: Cold War initials (USSR); 1D: Billiards bounce (CAROM); 2D: Summer refresher (ICE TEA); 3D: "__ be the day!" (THAT'LL); 4D: LAX datum (ETD); 5D: Window section (PANE); 6D: Leaves speechless (AWES); 8D: "What's the __?" (DIF); 9D: Numerous (A TON OF); 12D: Lady's partner (GENT); 13D: Low card (TREY); 18D: NBC correspondent Roger (O'NEIL); 19D: Hayworth and Moreno (RITAS); 24D: Wrapper for Santa (ELF); 25D: Obstacle for Moses (RED SEA); 27D: Hide-hair link (NOR); 29D: Blackjack request (HIT ME); 30D: Aggravate (IRK); 31D: Grassy expanse (LEA); 32D: French designer's monogram (YSL); 36D: Watch chain (FOB); 37D: To's opposite (FRO); 39D: Tulsa sch. named for a televangelist (ORU); 42D: Rock instruments (GUITARS); 43D: "Not to worry" ("IT'S OK"); 45D: Seat that often swivels (STOOL); 46D: 1968 loser to RMN (HHH); 48D: "Honor Thy Father" author Gay (TALESE); 49D: Instruments with many pedals (ORGANS); 50D: Cheek colorers (ROUGES); 53D: How some learn music (BY EAR); 54D: Tuscany tower site (PISA); 55D: Agenda unit (ITEM); 56D: Twelve-__ program (STEP); 57D: Homer's son (BART); 58D: In excess of (OVER); 59D: "__ Rose": "The Music Man" song (LIDA); 62D: Common dinner hour (SIX); 63D: Comic Costello (LOU).

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