Selasa, 01 Maret 2011

03.01 Tue

March 1, 2011
Donna S. Levin

Theme: Incognito — The first word of each theme answer is a synonym for "unidentified."

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Cop's often-unreliable lead (ANONYMOUS TIP).
  • 28A: Retailer's private label (NO-NAME BRAND).
  • 50A: Facetious name for a school cafeteria staple (MYSTERY MEAT).
  • 56A: "The Gong Show" regular with a paper bag on his head, with "the" (UNKNOWN COMIC).
Happy March, everybody. Seems like there's been a streak of puzzles that — despite their good points — didn't really sit well with me for one reason or another. Thank goodness Donna's here! This was a very smooth puzzle to me. The theme answers are all (every single one of them!) lively and they hang together well as a theme. There's some crosswordese and some fill that's kinda blah, but that's okay on Tuesday, especially if they're offset by sparkly entries like:
  • 52A: Checkers demand (KING ME).
  • 5D: West Coast ocean concern (TSUNAMI).
  • 6D: Mingle (with) (HOBNOB).
All that with the added bonus of a grammar/punctuation lesson — 23A: Apostropheless possessive (ITS) — and I can consider this a solid puzzle all the way around.

  • 10A: The man's partner, in a Shaw title (ARMS). The play is called "Arms and the Man." Personally, I've never heard of it. All I could think of was THE SEA. Okay, I admit it. My first thought was actually CHICO.
  • 16A: "Trés __!" (BIEN). French!
  • 17A: Screw-up (SNAFU). Seems like every time this shows up, someone has never heard of it. It stands for Situation Normal All Fouled Up. There is at least one other F-word that can be used in place of "Fouled."
  • 42A: Martial arts-influenced workout (TAE BO). Yep, I bought the videotapes. Pretty sure they're stuffed back in a corner in the basement right now.
  • 60A: March Madness org. (NCAA). March Madness refers, of course, to the annual college basketball championship tournaments. As Joon mentioned in the comments yesterday, the phrase "Midnight Madness" also has a connection to college basketball.
  • 67A: Row of waiters (LINE). Did you picture a row of aloof-looking, bow-tied men, each with a cloth napkin draped over one forearm? I know I did.
  • 68A: Dweebish (NERDY). I resemble that remark!
  • 4D: Davenport, e.g. (SOFA). Because TOWN IN IOWA didn't fit.
  • 9D: Jane Eyre, e.g. (HEROINE). Struggled mightily to put my finger on the word GOVERNESS, only to find it didn't fit.
  • 22D: Reverse (UNDO). Do any of you remember a TV ad from a while back (I think it was for IBM) where a bunch of co-workers are huddled around a computer laughing because they're composing some kind of smart-ass email to their boss (or maybe a client)? The email ends up getting sent, even though that wasn't the intention, and they're all "Unsend! Unsend!" That's the catchphrase we use in the PuzzleHouse whenever we need a do-over.
  • 35D: Performed in an aquacade (SWAM). I do not believe I've ever come across the word "aquacade" before, but it was pretty easy to piece together what the answer might be.
  • 44D: Cyclone's most dangerous part (EYEWALL). I also don't believe I've ever heard of EYEWALL before. Then again, I've always thought tornados and cyclones were the same thing. (They're not!)
  • 59D: "Moonstruck" Oscar winner (CHER). Oh good. An opportunity to post one of my favorite video clips.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 36A: Clerical robes (ALBS).
  • 47A: RR stop (STA.).
  • 70A: WWII carriers (LST'S).
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Everything Else 1A: Rollicking good time (BLAST); 6A: "Pipe down!" ("HUSH!"); 14A: Western neckwear (BOLOS); 15A: Leer at (OGLE); 18A: Fuzzy image (BLUR); 19A: Jedi guru (YODA); 26A: Start of a Latin I conjugation (AMO); 27A: Snack for a gecko (INSECT); 32A: Milne hopper (ROO); 33A: Caroline Kennedy, to Maria Shriver (COUSIN); 34A: Three-layer snacks (OREOS); 37A: "The Bachelor" network (ABC); 38A: Laundry (WASH); 45A: Chewed like a beaver (GNAWED); 47A: RR stop (STA.); 54A: Glutton (PIG); 55A: Lic.-issuing bureau (DMV); 61A: Passed with flying colors (ACED); 62A: Up front (AHEAD); 66A: Former U.N. leader Waldheim (KURT); 69A: Evian et al. (SPAS); 71A: Swap (TRADE); 1D: Air gun pellets (BB'S); 2D: Chaney of horror (LON); 3D: Chicken-king link (ALA); 7D: Like an extremely unpleasant situation (UGLY); 8D: Inner city blight (SLUM); 10D: Deep fissure (ABYSS); 11D: Tear gas target (RIOTER); 12D: Sawbones (MEDICO); 13D: Shape up (SNAP TO); 21D: Harbinger (OMEN); 23D: Machu Picchu architect (INCA); 24D: Home Depot buy (TOOL); 25D: Cold shoulder (SNUB); 29D: Right hand: Abbr. (ASST.); 30D: Mechanical worker (ROBOT); 31D: Circumference part (ARC); 37D: "Washboard" muscles (ABS); 39D: Astounded (AWED); 40D: Fabric joint (SEAM); 41D: Rec room centerpiece (HD TV); 43D: 1-Down, e.g. (AMMO); 44D: Cyclone's most dangerous part (EYEWALL); 45D: Harsh (GRIM); 46D: NFLer who used to play in Yankee Stadium (N.Y. GIANT); 47D: Striped stinkers (SKUNKS); 48D: Costner/Russo golf flick (TIN CUP); 49D: Anatolian Peninsula capital (ANKARA); 51D: Some Horace poems (EPODES); 53D: Pesky fliers (GNATS); 57D: "JAG" spin-off (NCIS); 58D: Penny (CENT); 63D: Memorable time (ERA); 64D: Total (ADD); 65D: Color, in a way (DYE).

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