Rabu, 12 Januari 2011

01.12 Wed

January 12, 2011
Ken Bessette

Theme: Circle the Wagons — First and last two letters of each theme answer (which are circled) spell out a type of wagon.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: When some suits don't wear suits (DRESS-DOWN FRIDAY).
  • 23A: The Pawtucket Red Sox, e.g. (TRIPLE-A FARM TEAM).
  • 52A: Sandals in Jamaica, e.g. (CARIBBEAN RESORT).
  • 60A: Assume a defensive position (and what we did to highlight this puzzle's theme) (CIRCLE THE WAGONS).
I really, really want to love this puzzle. Seeing circles in my puzzle always make me a little skeptical, but this theme? This is why God invented circles in puzzles. The phrase is CIRCLE THE WAGONS. The circled letters are types of wagons. It's an idiomatic phrase with a literal interpretation. It's perfect. Exactly the kind of wordplay that makes me happy I'm a crossword freak. And yet …. DRESS-DOWN FRIDAY? I'm pretty sure I've never heard Casual Friday referred to that way. DRESS-DOWN FRIDAY makes it sound more like everyone's gonna get yelled at. And you definitely don't want to be restricted by a necktie when you're getting yelled at? Sorry, but that theme answer just doesn't work for me. TRIPLE-A FARM TEAM is probably okay, but it's not a phrase I would use. Not that I talk about minor league baseball that much, but when I do I'm more likely to say "triple-A club" or, simply, "farm team." CARIBBEAN RESORT is fine. The only problem I had with that is having to think about how to spell CARIBBEAN, but that's not the puzzle's fault.

I smiled when I unerstood what was going on with the theme. But that's before I really looked at the theme answers. And please don't get me started on the crosswordese. (Hint: Too much for Wednesday!) I crossed my fingers that just because the first two across answers were LE CAR and ENYA that didn't mean we were in for a Crosswordese Fest, but no such luck.

Best entries in the grid? EBBETS and OYE COMO VA (48D: Brooklyn's __ Field / 36D: Santana hit also covered by Tito Puente). Remember how the other day I wanted OYE COMO VA in the grid and it wasn't there and I posted the video anyway? Oh wait, that was over at Rex's. Here ya go.

Well, there's snow on the ground here in the Washington, DC, area, so I need to go take care of my legal obligation to spend some time freaking out this morning. Y'all enjoy your Wednesday and I'll see you back here tomorrow. Also, I have a feeling something pretty cool might happen next Wednesday, so be sure to come back.

Crosswordese 101: Occasionally, AVA is clued as simply a "Palindromic girl's name," but it's most often clued as AVA Gardner. Sometimes her last name is in the clue (e.g., "Gardner of Hollywood," "Gardner of film," "Actress Gardner"), but other times the clue will signal that the answer you're looking for is a first name by including a different person's first name — either an ex-husband (Mickey, Artie or Frank) or a co-star:
  • Movie: "The Barefoot Contessa"
  • Co-star: Humphrey (Bogart)
  • Movie: "On the Beach"
  • Co-star: Gregory (Peck)
  • Movie: "Mogambo"
  • Co-star: Clark (Gable)
  • Movie: "The Killers"
  • Co-star: Burt (Lancaster)
Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 1A: The Renault 5, in North America (LE CAR).
  • 6A: One-named New Ager (ENYA).
  • 21A: Frat "T" (TAU).
  • 42A: River to the North Sea (TYNE).
  • 46A: "Sonic the Hedgehog" developer (SEGA).
  • 59A: Cheese or its town (EDAM).
  • 8D: Gossipmonger (YENTA).
  • 63D: Bambi's aunt (ENA).
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Everything Else — 10A: Lake plant (ALGA); 14A: Street of San José (CALLE); 15A: Ending with play or party (GOER); 16A: Rosemary, for one (HERB); 20A: Sound from Simba (ROAR); 22A: Fords with racing stripes (GT'S); 28A: Nuclear org. created under HST (AEC); 29A: __ Grey tea (EARL); 30A: Deep Throat's org. (FBI); 31A: Bamboozle (SCAM); 33A: Christian surname? (DIOR); 35A: How oaths are taken (ALOUD); 39A: __ de espera: waiting room (SALA); 40A: She played Buffy (SARAH); 43A: Derby town (EPSOM); 45A: Trig ratio (SINE); 49A: Schoolyard claim (DIBS); 51A: Frame for Roger Rabbit (CEL); 58A: Mideast "son of" (IBN); 66A: Hard downpour (HAIL); 67A: Music biz sensation, perhaps (TEEN); 68A: "If I Were a Rich Man" singer (TEVYE); 69A: Feminine suffix (-ENNE); 70A: Mex. miss (SRTA.); 71A: Clear (ERASE); 1D: Elec. readout (LCD); 2D: Field unit (EAR); 3D: Some temps (CLERICALS); 4D: Journalist Stewart or Joseph (ALSOP); 5D: Consignment shop transaction (RESALE); 6D: Swelled head (EGO); 7D: Word of urgency (NOW); 9D: Kennel double talk? (ARF ARF); 10D: Tuna at a luau (AHI); 11D: Building shelf (LEDGE); 12D: Persona non __ (GRATA); 13D: Wide gulf (ABYSM); 18D: Bob Marley feature (DREADS); 19D: Cuban dance (RUMBA); 23D: Café cup (TASSE); 24D: Roundup (RECAP); 25D: Met favorites (ARIAS); 26D: Where to see a lot of keys (FLORIDA); 27D: Knight games (TILTS); 32D: Haka dancers of New Zealand (MAORI); 34D: Made a quick stop (RAN IN); 37D: Madison's foil (UNGER); 38D: Passed out in Vegas? (DEALT); 41D: Sharon's language (HEBREW); 44D: Company that uses Pegasus as a symbol (MOBIL); 50D: Get under control, in a way (SEDATE); 52D: Buried supply (CACHE); 53D: Like most cardinals (AVIAN); 54D: __ to go (RARIN'); 55D: Pencil maze word (ENTER); 56D: More wise (SAGER); 61D: Cavs, on scoreboards (CLE); 62D: Worked (up) (HET); 64D: Where Rockefeller was gov. (NYS); 65D: Match, as a raise (SEE).

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