Sabtu, 05 Februari 2011

02.05 Sat

S A T U R D A Y February 5, 2011
Brad Wilber and Doug Peterson

Theme: None

Wow. Tough puzzle today. I'm not going to whine about it being too easy, that's for sure. I did end up finishing it on my own with no mistakes, but I sure did have a lot of missteps along the way. The hardest one to figure out was probably when I had JOINER where MOONIE was supposed to go (7D: Unificationist). For some reason my brain only saw "unify" and not "Unification." With that J in place, I figured 7-Across must be JURORS. They reflect … on the … evidence … right? what? No, it doesn't really make any sense, but it did at the time! MOONIE eventually came to me, except I misspelled it MOONEY at first so that also caused a few problems. I'm not going to beat myself up too much about that section though because … um, MUSERS? That's a pretty bad entry (7A: They reflect). I do love DON VITO CORLEONE and EDWARD G. ROBINSON stacked up like that though (13A: Role for which its actor refused an Oscar / 16A: Actor who said "Some people have youth, some have beautyóI have menace"). So maybe MUSERS was worth it? I don't know. What do you think?

The southeast was the last section to fall for me. I had THE GEICO in place and could only come up with the gecko -- I couldn't remember what that other ad campaign was all about. Oh yeah, the CAVEMEN (45A: Offended parties in a long-running series of [TV ADS]). I don't recall too much about those CAVEMEN (I mean, really! do people watch commercials any more??), but here's a caveman I kinda like:

HAVE AN AHA MOMENT (48A: Experience sudden inspiration) took a while to show itself too. I was pretty sure [33D: Seder bread] was MATZOH and I thought [31D: Mrs. Norris in the "Harry Potter" books, e.g.] might be a HOUSE-ELF instead of a HOUSE CAT, so I was looking at HAVEANAHL for quite a while. And even when the correct phrase finally became clear I have to say I don't really think of an AHA MOMENT as inspiration so much as clarification. But maybe that's just me.

Other missteps for included ERA for EON (19A: Proterozoic, for one), THX for PLS (36A: Brief memo nicety), LOBE for TIRE (4D: Spot for studs), ETA for ETD (5D: Terminal abbr.), and THO for E'EN (10D: Yet, to Yeats).

Other than the long acrosses, highlights of the grid for me included:
  • 6D: Reward for rolling over (DOG TREAT). Although I kinda wanted it to be "doggie treat," right?
  • 12D: Less likely to mix (SNOOTIER). This word always makes me think of the Sneetches.
  • 15D: Near-decades (ENNEADS). ENNEA- is a prefix meaning nine.
Couple more things:
  • 28A: Gardener's soil hauler (TIP CART). I don't believe I've ever heard of this.
  • 32A: Albéniz piano work (IBERIA). Whatever you say!
  • 35A: Court official's call (FAULT). Tennis court.
  • 42A: Top 10 hit from U2's "Achtung Baby" album (ONE).

  • [Yes, I know this isn't the U2 song.]

  • 21D: Messing with a script? (DEBRA). She played Grace on "Will & Grace." She was also in an early "Seinfeld" episode. I want to say she was "Mulva" but I think that was the actress on "Frasier." Messing was the one who … did something else. (It's getting late, folks.)
  • 30D: Political blog feature, often (PET PEEVE). I don't understand this clue at all. Maybe it's because I like political blogs and think they're awesome. Do other (normal?) people think they're just a place for people to rant about their PET PEEVES?
  • 35D: Donnybrook (FRACAS). I sometimes confuse "donnybrook" with "boondoggle." Both awesome words, by the way. As is FRACAS.
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Everything Else 1A: Bumpy, in a way (RUTTED); 17A: General at Cold Harbor (MEADE); 18A: Latish alarm setting (TEN A.M.); 20A: Family title word (OURS); 21A: Pool feature (DRAIN); 22A: Have no use for, and then some (HATE); 23A: Use a tap, perhaps (SPY).
  • 24A: "We need to talk" ("SEE ME"); 25A: Rage (MANIA); 26A: On the defensive (AT BAY); 27A: Put on guard (WARNED); 31A: Impedes (HAMPERS); 33A: Magazine with a "Best Places to Live" feature (MONEY); 34A: Gauge (METER); 39A: Gym set (REPS); 40A: Speciously highbrow (ARTSY); 41A: Send sprawling (TRIP); 43A: Equine facial marking (BLAZE); 44A: "Take __!" (A HIKE); 49A: Investigates, with "into" (DELVES); 50A: Airfield fixtures (TOWERS); 1D: Didn't stay where it should, as a skirt (RODE UP); 2D: Not on the ball (UNWARY); 3D: Show stoppers (TV ADS); 8D: __ sprawl (URBAN); 9D: Hardly odds-on (SLIM); 11D: Sitcom about the Conners (ROSEANNE); 13D: Out-of-the-box models (DEMOS); 14D: Like Twinkies filling (CREAMY); 22D: Hideous hybrid of myth (HARPY); 24D: It may be winding (STAIR); 25D: "American Buffalo" playwright (MAMET); 26D: Range units (ACRES); 27D: Without vigor (WANLY); 28D: "Lie to Me" star (TIM ROTH); 29D: Patsy's protest (I BEEN HAD); 36D: Novice's text (PRIMER); 37D: Compares (LIKENS); 38D: Wiped out (SPENT); 40D: 1955 Dior innovation (A-LINE); 41D: __ park (THEME); 43D: Theodore, to Wally (BEAV); 44D: Swear (AVOW); 46D: Coiffure holder (GEL); 47D: Te-__: Mexican cigar brand (AMO).
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