Kamis, 10 Februari 2011

02.10 Thu

T H U R S D A Y February 10, 2011
Don Gagliardo

Theme: Happy Hour — Ingredients of a dry martini are hidden at the end of the theme answers.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Delta location (RIVER MOUTH).
  • 20A: Source of showroom shock? (STICKER PRICE).
  • 35A: Standing by for an on-air appearance (ABOUT TO GO LIVE).
  • 53A: Risk calculation (SAFETY MARGIN).
  • 57A: Its components are hidden at the ends of 17-, 20-, 35- and 53-Across (DRY MARTINI).
Let me tell you what's awesome about this theme. Maybe you already noticed this, but just in case you didn't. The phrases used for the theme answers don't end with the actual words VERMOUTH, ICE, OLIVE, and GIN — it's just that the letters that spell those words happen to be the last letters of the phrase. It feels like I didn't explain that very well. Let me try this. Here's an example of what a bad theme answer would be for this theme: SKATING ON THIN ICE. Besides the fact that it's too long, it's boring how the word we're looking for is ICE and that's actually the last word in the phrase. It's much cooler that the last word of the phrase is PRICE and we have to figure out that it's just the ICE that we're interested. (There isn't any RICE in a martini, right?)

Stuff I just flat-out didn't know:
  • 19A: Actor Sitka who appeared in numerous Three Stooges films (EMIL).
  • 43A: Central Chinese city (XIAN).
  • 50D: Croesus' kingdom (LYDIA).
To be honest, there was other stuff I didn't know, like I didn't know that GONZAGA was a [34D: Spokane university], but I do know of other schools called GONZAGA so it wasn't that hard to put together, especially because I had the Z in there early thanks to [46A: Jazzman Stan] GETZ. EMIL, on the other hand … I filled him in from the back end, so just knowing that EMIL is a name didn't really help until I had fully 3/4 of the letters in place.

As for the rest of the grid, well, there is definitely some nice fill, but there are quite a few abbreviations and some clunkers too. Actually some of the abbreviations are also clunkers. (I'm looking at you, REGT. (33A: Battle gp.).) But I had to fight a bit through this one and the theme is pretty good, so I can see how someone could make the argument that it's a fair trade.

  • 14A: Martinez with three Cy Young Awards (PEDRO). Whenever I see "Martinez" in a baseball clue I can only think of Tino. And I always know that's not right.
  • 25A: "Catcher in the Wry" author (UECKER). Speaking of baseball.
  • 31A: Send (THRILL). As in the Sam Cooke song, "You Send Me."
  • 40A: Bauble (GAUD). My WTF answer of the day. I know "gaudy," but can't say I've ever seen GAUD. The U was the last letter I entered into the grid. If I had included an actual Clunkers List in this post, GAUD would probably be right on top. I haven't decided yet if I can forgive this one.
  • 51A: Fit for consumption (EATABLE). Kinda makes EDIBLE sound high-falutin', doesn't it?
  • 7D: "The Caine Mutiny" novelist (WOUK). PuzzleHusband and I were just talking about this book/movie the other day. I can't remember why exactly, but I remember I said that it's awesome. Which it is.
  • 8D: Cigar tip? (-ETTE). The question mark is a hint that the answer won't be a word you would call the literal tip of a cigar. Instead, think about adding a "tip" to the end of the word "cigar."
  • 13D: "Total Eclipse of the Heart" singer Bonnie (TYLER). You know I was going to post the "Literal Video" version of this song, but I've used that one before, so how about we mix it up a little and take a look at these knuckleheads instead:

  • 23D: Jewish social org. (YMHA). Young Men's Hebrew Association.
  • 45D: Terrified, to the bard (AFEARD). Sounds more like a backwoods kinda phrase, but okay.
  • 47D: Designated (TERMED). I tried DEEMED first.
  • 54D: "Happy Days" mom, to the Fonz (MRS. C). Oooh, I always like seeing MRS. C in the grid. It reminds me of how Fonzie always turned into such a cream puff around her.
  • 55D: Auel heroine (AYLA). I read this series (it's the one that starts with "Clan of the Cave Bear," right?) at least a hundred years ago. I remember really enjoying it, but there was no way I was going to come up with her name without every single cross.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 27A: Hershiser with a Cy Young Award (OREL).
  • 56A: Beard-preventing brand (ATRA).
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Everything Else 1A: Get used to it (ADAPT); 6A: PBS moderator Ifill (GWEN); 10A: Go for (COST); 15A: By __: from memory (ROTE); 16A: Sale modifier (ONLY); 22A: Healthy routine (HYGIENE); 26A: Make __ dash for (A MAD); 30A: Wind instrument vibrator (REED); 41A: Citi Field org. (N.Y. METS); 48A: Some are named for music genres (ERAS); 49A: Carrying limit (ARMFUL); 61A: Forest denizens (DEER); 62A: Capri, e.g. (ISLE); 63A: Quilt filler (EIDER); 64A: Used too much (OD'ED); 65A: USNA part: Abbr. (ACAD.); 66A: Puts in a hold (STOWS); 1D: Mortgage no. (APR); 2D: "De Civitate __": "The City of God," St. Augustine work (DEI); 3D: -ly word, usually: Abbr. (ADV.); 4D: Spanish fort (PRESIDIO); 5D: Rich dessert (TORTE); 6D: Food merchant (GROCER); 9D: Early Indian leader (NEHRU); 10D: Strong-arm (COERCE); 11D: Wired for sound (ON MIKE); 12D: Did a deli job (SLICED); 18D: Camera company that merged with Konica (MINOLTA); 21D: With some sauce (PERTLY); 22D: One of many jobs, in metaphor (HAT); 24D: Things to wear (GARB); 28D: Wear away (ERODE); 29D: Relay runner's assignment (LEG); 32D: Wheel securer (LUG NUT); 34D: Spokane university (GONZAGA); 36D: Play with a dog toy, maybe (TUG); 37D: Response to "You were kidding, right?" (I MEANT IT); 38D: Word of action (VERB); 39D: And friends, facetiously (ET AL.); 42D: Capt.'s heading (SSE); 43D: Like DVDs in a restricted room (X-RATED); 44D: "We can talk now" ("I'M FREE"); 49D: South American grilled meat dish (ASADO); 52D: Exhausts (TIRES); 58D: Altar promise (I DO); 59D: Fresh (NEW); 60D: Letters seen in many forms (IRS).

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