Selasa, 01 Februari 2011

02.01 Tue

T U E S D A Y February 1, 2011
Bruce Venzke and Gail Grabowski

Theme: Everybody Out of the Pool! — The first word of each theme answer can be related to pool (billiards).

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Coach's pregame lecture (CHALK TALK).
  • 24A: Home seller-and-buyer's short-term loan (BRIDGE FINANCING).
  • 41A: 1929 women's air race, as dubbed by Will Rogers (POWDER PUFF DERBY).
  • 51A: Production number director's cry (CUE THE ORCHESTRA).
  • 65A: Summer shindig, and a hint to the starts of 17-, 24-, 41- and 51-Across (POOL PARTY).
The theme didn't help me on this one at all. I assumed the first words of the theme answers were related, but I didn't see how until I got the reveal. And then … okay. I guess I've never been a good enough pool player to need POWDER. Is it for the players' hands? I know the CHALK is for the tip of the CUE and a BRIDGE is that cheater thing that's supposed to help you aim or keep the cue steady or something. I assume any self-respecting pool player would never be caught dead with one, but I've used one plenty of times myself personally.

The theme answers themselves are fairly colorful, I will say that. CHALK TALK is awesome. And even though BRIDGE FINANCING is a fairly boring concept, the words themselves are cool. POWDER PUFF DERBY? Never heard of it, but am happy to learn about it. Love how the nickname is just dripping with condescension. "Well, hello, little ladies. I understand you have learned how to fly a plane in direct contradiction to societal norms as well as, no doubt, the wishes of your families. That's really quite an amazing achievement, girls! Now make sure you don't mess up your pretty little cheeks on your way across the country!" And then there's CUE THE ORCHESTRA. I can imagine someone saying that, but for me it really doesn't work as a stand-alone phrase worthy of inclusion in a theme.

I started out strong throwing BOSS in for [1A: One in charge] right away, but then ran into trouble. I tried BY BUS where BY CAB was supposed to go (1D: How many city folks travel). I'm not proud to say that I knew right away [2D: Fireworks watcher] would be OOHER. That's one cringe-worthy entry there. And I can never remember how to spell 3D: Puppeteer Lewis's first name. It's SHARI. After that, though, I was pretty much off to the races.

Highlights in this grid for me include:
  • 9D: Pampered (SPOON-FED).
  • 58D: Joe's "Midnight Cowboy" pal (RATSO). I remember seeing the character's full name — RATSO RIZZO — in a Barry Silk puzzle sometime in the last year and since then he seems to be turning up quite frequently.
  • 35D: Instinctive, as a feeling (GUT). Like the clue.
  • 9A: Resell at a major markup (SCALP). Probably not a good idea to get me started on SCALPing. It makes me completely insane. Remember when it used to be possible to see a concert without taking out a second mortgage? Ah, the good old days.
  • 28A: TV revue since '75 (SNL). I remember watching the "Samurai" sketch on the very first episode of "Saturday Night Live" and thinking "This is the dumbest thing I've ever seen in my life. No way this show survives." Of course I was only 10.
  • 60A: Gambling letters (OTB). Off-Track Betting.
  • 61A: Gambling city (RENO). It's the biggest little city in the world, you know.
  • 63A: Absolut rival, for short (STOLI). Vodka!
  • 36D: Company with a web-footed spokescritter (AFLAC). And there's that stupid duck again.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 20A: Raptor's roost (AERIE).
  • 23A: Diarist Anaïs (NIN).
  • 45A: 1944 invasion city (ST.-LÔ).
  • 49A: Oktoberfest cry (ACH).
  • 6D: Harem room (ODA).
  • 66D: Andean tuber (OCA).
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Everything Else 5A: Ticketless rail rider (HOBO); 14A: Pirate's syllables (YO HO); 15A: Bean product? (IDEA); 16A: More virtuous (PURER); 19A: University of Maine town (ORONO); 21A: Late-night Jay (LENO); 29A: Acting instructor's deg., perhaps (MFA); 30A: Start to knock? (ANTI-); 34A: Pop music's Lady __ (GAGA); 37A: Surround securely (EMBED); 44A: Rail rider (TRAIN); 46A: Spot for a hoop (LOBE); 47A: WWII espionage gp. (OSS); 62A: Assumed identity (ALIAS); 68A: Fruit served in balls (MELON); 69A: Way to store pix (ON CD); 70A: Prepare for a shot (POSE); 71A: Speak at length (ORATE); 72A: Soup veggies (PEAS); 73A: Job opening (SLOT); 4D: Three-dimensional (SOLID); 5D: Wallop (HIT); 7D: Attorney Melvin (BELLI); 8D: Like wine barrels (OAKEN); 10D: Mangy mongrel (CUR); 11D: Rice-__ (A-RONI); 12D: Bolshevik leader (LENIN); 13D: Plug projection (PRONG); 18D: Tapped barrels (KEGS); 22D: '60s-'70s service site, briefly (NAM); 25D: Certain Caltech grad: Abbr. (ENGR.); 26D: Envelope parts (FLAPS); 27D: Desert mount (CAMEL); 30D: Well-chosen (APT); 31D: Fish-fowl connection (NOR); 32D: Bygone intl. carrier (TWA); 33D: Jerk (IDIOT); 38D: Short relative? (BRO); 39D: Recede (EBB); 40D: Change, as one's locks? (DYE); 42D: Elect to a Hall of Fame, say (ENSHRINE); 43D: Nina of "Spartacus" (FOCH); 48D: "What did I tell you?" ("SEE?"); 50D: Disorderly mound (HEAP); 51D: Women's mag (COSMO); 52D: Put into words (UTTER); 53D: African virus (EBOLA); 54D: "Hop __": Dr. Seuss book (ON POP); 55D: ABC's Arledge (ROONE); 56D: High-fives, e.g. (SLAPS); 57D: Divided Austrian state (TIROL); 59D: Up to this point (AS YET); 64D: Subdivision unit (LOT); 67D: Mormons' gp. (LDS).

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