Selasa, 15 Februari 2011

02.15 Tue

T U E S D A Y February 15, 2011
Jack McInturff

Theme: Next to Last — The first word of each theme answer can come after (i.e., next to) the word "last" in a familiar phrase.

Theme answers:

  • 18A: Knock off (CALL IT A DAY).
  • 23A: Doomed fairy tale abode (STRAW HOUSE).
  • 40A: Stick to formalities (STAND ON CEREMONY).
  • 51A: Fast-cook grain product (MINUTE RICE).
  • 59A: Penultimate, and where you might see the first words of 18-, 23-, 40- and 51-Across (NEXT TO LAST).
This is the kind of early-week theme I like. It's easy but there's a purpose to it. You're not just making random phrases for no reason, you're putting the word next to the word "last" because there's this phrase "NEXT TO LAST" that we've all heard and used a million times and this puzzle is, like, taking it literally. Now I'm not saying that this theme would be totally stupid without the cool twist to it. I kinda think that there are only so many theme ideas out there and they're not all going to be awesome. So on a Monday or Tuesday? That's okay. Any later in the week though, I want some cleverness there. And this week, we got the cleverness early. Huzzah!

  • 17A: Diamond team (NINE). That would be a baseball diamond. There are NINE positions on a baseball field.
  • 33A: Satisfied sound (AAH). I'd never really taken the time to think about it until now, but I've just decided that I do not like the entries AAH, OOH, and SHH. On the other hand, I do not mind BRR and AWW. I can't really explain it and really, you'd probably just as soon I didn't.
  • 36A: Drink away, as sorrows (DROWN).

  • 39A: Largest of the Philippines (LUZON). Lots of random islands in the grid today. See also PALAU (7D: 2005 "Survivor" island) and ELLIS (8D: __ Island, former immigration center).
  • 45A: Place for buoys and gulls (SEA). I didn't see this clue as I was solving. I can't decide if I love it or hate it. I think I kinda of love it.
  • 46A: Gibson of tennis (ALTHEA). She was the first African-American woman to play on the world tennis tour and the first to win one of the Grand Slam tournaments (the French Open in 1956).
  • 71A: Wall St. market (NYSE). New York Stock Exchange.
  • 37D: Loos, briefly (WC'S). Can we ever really get enough of the British bathroom words?
  • 38D: Big name in Indian politics (NEHRU). Okay, look. I don't really know anything about this guy but it seems like he's been in the puzzle every day for at least a week and I'm tired of him. Him and his jacket.
  • 41D: Okinawa's capital (NAHA). Whoa. I didn't see this clue either. NAHA? That's awesome.
  • 62D: Jilted lover's need, briefly (TLC). Heh.
Crosswordese 101: O'SHEA is almost always clued like today's 44A: Milo of "Ulysses." Milo O'SHEA is an Irish-born actor whose other films include "Romeo and Juliet," "Barbarella," and "The Verdict." The only other O'SHEAs you're likely to see are the Welsh, Tony-winning actress Tessie O'SHEA and the rapper Ice Cube. "Ice Cube?" you ask? Yes, apparently Ice Cube's real name is O'SHEA Jackson. You're welcome.
Other Crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 14A: Old apple spray (ALAR).
  • 30A: Max of "The Beverly Hillbillies" (BAER).
  • 66A: Writer __ Rogers St. Johns (ADELA).
  • 5D: Legendary bird (ROC).
  • 60D: Tokyo, once (EDO).
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Everything Else 1A: Rope material (HEMP); 5A: Ready for the picking (RIPE); 9A: Staff symbol (C CLEF); 15A: Like some vaccines (ORAL); 16A: "The Magic Flute," for one (OPERA); 20A: Screwups (GOOFS); 22A: Capitol worker (AIDE); 26A: Overcharge, in slang (SOAK); 31A: Point a finger at (ACCUSE); 43A: Reef material (CORAL); 48A: Let us know, in an invite (RSVP); 50A: __ bargaining (PLEA); 57A: Meat pkg. letters (USDA); 58A: It has banks and a mouth (RIVER); 65A: Ice cream drink (SODA); 67A: Cavern sound (ECHO); 68A: Metal sources (ORES); 69A: Veranda (PORCH); 70A: Gush (SPEW); 1D: Associates (with), slangily (HANGS); 2D: "The Naming of Cats" poet (ELIOT); 3D: Lord's estate (MANOR); 4D: Ready-made home (PREFAB); 6D: Songwriter Gershwin (IRA); 9D: Coop (COTE); 10D: No.-crunching pro (CPA); 11D: Guided (LED); 12D: Big Band __ (ERA); 13D: Wray of "King Kong" (FAY); 19D: It may be half-baked (IDEA); 21D: Wrap, as an infant (SWADDLE); 24D: Saver of the day (HERO); 25D: Maine college town (ORONO); 26D: Pond problem (SCUM); 27D: Greek liqueurs (OUZOS); 28D: What "two shall be" after the I do's, in song (AS ONE); 29D: Land of Obama's father (KENYA); 32D: Butcher's tool (CLEAVER); 33D: Musicians' org. (ASCAP); 34D: Lagoon border (ATOLL); 35D: Poker Flat creator (HARTE); 42D: Musical silence (REST); 47D: Playground retort (AM SO); 49D: Place up the 58-Across? (PRISON); 52D: Sits at a light, say (IDLES); 53D: Anti-racism gp. since 1909 (NAACP); 54D: Classic Procter & Gamble soap brand (IVORY); 55D: Formally gives up (CEDES); 56D: Wipe off the board (ERASE); 57D: Colorado neighbor (UTAH); 59D: Short sleep (NAP); 61D: Signer, at times (X'ER); 63D: Miss identification (SHE); 64D: Stranded motorist's need (TOW).

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