Jumat, 04 Februari 2011

02.04 Fri

F R I D A Y February 4, 2011
Ed Sessa

Theme: A Spot of T — The letter T is added as the second letter to words and phrases that begin with the letter S.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: "Oklahoma!" prop? (STAGE BRUSH).
  • 21A: Time off spent with Rover? (STICK DAY).
  • 34A: Undercover operations where agents can bring guests? (STING-ALONGS).
  • 42A: Dance for louses? (STINKER BALL).
  • 52A: Taser switch? (STUN DIAL).
  • 61A: Fancy shoes for the campaign trail? (STUMP PUMPS).
Can't say this puzzle really moved me one way or the other. Didn't love it. Didn't hate it. The theme answers don't seem particularly amusing or clever, but I had fun trying to figure them out once I understood the theme. And there were an awful lot of them, which is always kind of impressive in a grid, like this one, that doesn't rely on a lot of crosswordese and clunky fill. It's a shame that all the crosswordese is right up at the top of the grid. Seeing ETON, AGORA, and GAR right off the bat made me think we were in for a real CW-fest, but the rest of the grid thankfully steered clear.

My favorite grid entries include:
  • 10A: Bloke (CHAP).
  • 20A: Subject of a 2009 national tournament cheating scandal (SUDOKU). Great clue.
  • 11D: Not easily topped (HARD TO BEAT).
  • 45D: Mighty Dump Trucks, e.g. (TONKAS).
  • 16A: Symbolic ring (HALO). Also an extremely violent video game.
  • 28A: Fingers (ID'S). Tricky clue, in that I don't usually think of "fingers" as a verb.
  • 56A: Mickey's "The Wrestler" co-star (MARISA). I haven't seen this movie, but I've heard it's good. I loved MARISA Tomei in "In the Bedroom" and, of course, "My Cousin Vinny."
  • 65A: Lollipop, for one (SHIP). Wikipedia tells me that the "ship" in "On the Good Ship Lollipop" is actually an airplane. I did not know that.
  • 1D: "Summertime" singer (BESS). From the Gershwin opera "Porgy and Bess."
  • 5D: Rock collection? (ALBUM). Are ALBUMs still called ALBUMs today even though they're not really ALBUMs any more? I know I still call them ALBUMs but I wonder if that's just an oldster thing or if it held up the same way "dialing a phone" or "rolling up the car window" did.
  • 27D: Penguins' home (PITTSBURGH). I believe there's another team in PITTSBURGH that's doing pretty well this year.
  • 40D: Clear as mud (ABSTRUSE). I don't think I've ever used the word "abstruse," but I have occasionally explained things to the point where they are "clear as mud." Right here on this blog even!
  • 53D: Hip Charlie, in ads (TUNA). I forgot that Charlie the TUNA was supposed to be hip. But he does where that rakish beret. And if a rakish beret isn't hip, then I don't know what is.
  • 55D: "Kick, Push" rapper __ Fiasco (LUPE). Never heard of this guy, but that is one fantastic name.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 5A: Ancient meeting place (AGORA).
  • 14A: School since 1440 (ETON).
  • 46A: Head of government? (GEE).
  • 6D: Needle-nosed fish (GAR).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: In development, as software (BETA); 15A: Really enjoy (LAP UP); 19A: Heavenly bodies (ORBS); 23A: Star car (LIMO); 25A: Downsizing event? (DIET); 26A: Extend across (SPAN); 31A: Fumble (for) (GROPE); 37A: Tampa NFLer (BUC); 38A: Jobs, idiomatically (HATS); 39A: Tesla, by birth (CROAT); 40A: Sol lead-in (AERO-); 41A: Creative output (ART); 44A: "Beau __": Gary Cooper film (GESTE); 47A: Body shop figs. (ESTS.); 48A: Close connection (BOND); 50A: Water carrier (DUCT); 60A: "Young" reformer (TURK); 63A: "Young Frankenstein" lab assistant (INGA); 64A: Small thicket (COPSE); 66A: Cheers (RAHS); 67A: Exhaust (SPEND); 68A: A long, long time (EONS); 2D: Caesarean rebuke (ET TU); 3D: Warty hopper (TOAD); 4D: Luanda natives (ANGOLANS); 7D: Numbered piece (OPUS); 8D: Sign of age (RUST); 9D: Garden pest (APHID); 10D: Round jewelry item (CHOKER); 12D: Jessica of "Sin City" (ALBA); 13D: Bridal accessory (POSY); 18D: Scratching (out) (EKING); 22D: Butts (CIGS); 24D: Deepwater Horizon, for one (OIL RIG); 26D: Disconcerting look (STARE); 29D: Blackmore heiress (DOONE); 30D: Took a sinuous path (SNAKED); 32D: Knitting stitches (PURLS); 33D: Sci. concerned with biodiversity (ECOL.); 34D: Thick carpet (SHAG); 35D: Behave (ACT); 36D: Co. that merged into Verizon (GTE); 42D: Texting button (SEND); 43D: Newscast segment (RECAP); 49D: Saucers and such (DISCS); 51D: Made lots of calls, in a way (UMPED); 52D: Mix (STIR); 54D: At the peak of (ATOP); 57D: "As I see it," online (IMHO); 58D: Go a few rounds? (SPIN); 59D: Slithery threats (ASPS); 62D: Co. with a butterfly logo (MSN).

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