Sabtu, 19 Februari 2011

02.19 Sat

S A T U R D A Y February 19, 2011
Bruce Venzke

Theme: None

I'm having a really hard time focusing on the blog tonight, but I feel like I have a lot to say about this puzzle, so I'm going to do the best I can. Overall, I would have to say I liked this puzzle. It felt kind of uneven to me — really hard spots right next to super super easy spots, some awesome 15-letter entries and some really really bad shorter stuff …. Let me just get this out of the way and then we'll move on to the good stuff. Ed SNEED has no business being in a puzzle. I'm sorry, but he just doesn't. I mean, look at that clue! [33D: Ed __, runner-up in the first Masters sudden death playoff.] I might have — might have — cut some slack here if the man had actually won the first Masters sudden death playoff but no. He was the runner-up. You know what that means, right? He lost. Do you want to know who he lost to? Cuz that guy I bet you've heard of: Fuzzy Zoeller. I'm sure that Ed SNEED is a very nice man and I congratulate him for all his success, but I'm not budging from this position. He has no business in being in the puzzle. Said PuzzleGirl.

And it's not that I'm one of those people who thinks anything I hven't heard of myself personally must be obscure. There were several other entries in today's puzzle that I didn't know but that I would classify as perfect legitimate. For example:

  • 27A: Velvet's older sister in "National Velvet" (EDWINA).
  • 29D: Peter's "Easy Rider" role (WYATT).
Oh, and it's also not that I have something against difficult golf clues. I don't mind [59D: Golfer IAN Woosnam] at all. I didn't know his first name right off the top of my head, but I know that he's a current golfer who has had some success over the last couple of decades.

Okay, one last thing. I promise this will be my last gripe about the puzzle. ASSY.?!?!? I'm sorry, but put that next to 53D: Butt end (ASH) and it looks like we have a mini-theme going here that's completely inappropriate.

Good stuff? Yes! There's good stuff!:
  • 1A: Set off, as an alarm (TRIPPED). I like this clue because it tricked me. "Set" is one of those verbs that can be both present and past tense and in crossword clues I always read it as present tense and then can't figure out why the answer has so many letters.
  • 15A: TV host's segue (BE BACK IN A MINUTE). This is a little clunky but I think it's just because of the clue. The answer itself is pretty good.
  • 17A: Sources of track reports (STARTERS' PISTOLS). Again, very tricky! I was thinking more along the lines of the Daily Racing Form. But in this case "report" refers to the sound a gun makes.
  • 20A: Egyptian fertility deity (ISIS). I had to laugh at myself here. I had both Ss in place and saw the word "Egypt" in the clue so I immediately entered ASPS without even thinking about it.
  • 34A: Lonely guy in old 60-Down [ads] (MAYTAG REPAIRMAN). I had the REPAIRMAN part but couldn't remember what company he worked for. I'm all, "Whirlpool? Amana? …." Anyway, I love this entry.
  • 58A: Creed foe, with "The" (ITALIAN STALLION). And I love this entry even more! Got it with absolutely no crosses in place.
  • 63A: Maneuver through a tight opening (THREAD THE NEEDLE). Funny, I was sewing patches on PuzzleDaughter's Girl Scout sash yesterday and thinking to myself about how I've never been much of a seamstress, but that these days the most frustrating part is threading the needle.
  • 10D: As far as the eye can see: Abbr. (VIS.). VISibility? Yikes.
  • 16D: Secretive org. (NSA). I tried CIA here first.
  • 25D: Very little money (PEANUTS). This is an excellent, excellent clue.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 8A: Elko native (NEVADAN).
  • 52A: Defense gp. formed in Bogotá (OAS).
  • 6D: Just make, with "out" (EKE).
  • 9D: Former Radiohead label (EMI).
  • 55D: Musical with the song "Radames' Letter" (AIDA).
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Everything Else 18A: Certain border, to a philatelist (PERF); 19A: Menlo Park wizard, initially (TAE); 21A: It might be req. for some new furniture (ASSY.); 24A: Eject (SPEW); 30A: Sends, in a way (EMAILS); 38A: Author Levin (IRA); 39A: Kind of blouse (PEASANT); 40A: Shade (HUE); 41A: Fighting words (LET'S STEP OUTSIDE); 44A: Impressive property (ESTATE); 45A: Filled in (TEMPED); 46A: Travel about (ROAM); 48A: Fed. inspection group (USDA); 49A: Letter on a sweater (ZETA); 52A: Defense gp. formed in Bogotá (OAS); 54A: Shortfall (LACK); 64A: High-powered (INTENSE); 65A: Lower (DEGRADE); 1D: Medicinal amt. (TBSP.); 2D: Anatomical network (RETE); 3D: Support beam (I-BAR); 4D: Layered dessert (PARFAIT); 5D: Election night fig. (PCT.); 6D: Just make, with "out" (EKE); 7D: Bad way to play (DIRTY); 8D: Collars can hide them (NAPES); 9D: Former Radiohead label (EMI); 11D: Dovelike (ANTIWAR); 12D: Batman and Robin et al. (DUOS); 13D: King of the Huns, in Norse myth (ATLI); 14D: Loch seen from Urquhart Castle (NESS); 22D: Shapes up (SNAPS TO); 23D: Smart-sounding brew (SAGE TEA); 26D: Gave off (EMITTED); 27D: '60s boxing champ Griffith (EMILE); 28D: Braves (DARES); 31D: "You dig?" response (I'M HIP); 32D: Cum __ (LAUDE); 35D: "The Facts of Life" actress (RAE); 36D: Debatable "ability" (ESP); 37D: Kung __ chicken (PAO); 42D: Illinois-based food giant (SARA LEE); 43D: Compressed (SMALLER); 47D: __ Cristo: fried sandwich (MONTE); 48D: Peruvian pronoun (USTED); 49D: Rigatoni relative (ZITI); 50D: Race: Pref. (ETHN-); 51D: Sharp (TART); 55D: Musical with the song "Radames' Letter" (AIDA); 56D: Under 20, to most (COLD); 57D: Joint for guitarists? (KNEE); 60D: Some pitches (ADS); 61D: Chemical suffix (-ANE); 62D: It may be pulled (LEG).

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