Jumat, 04 Maret 2011

03.04 Fri

March 4, 2011
Matt Matera

Theme: Breakfast Puns — That's right, breakfast puns.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Halloween breakfast pastry? (CREEPY CRULLER).
  • 33A: Lone breakfast pastry? (CRUMPET SOLO).
  • 42A: Cherished breakfast pastry? (THE BUN I LOVE).
  • 56A: Ones hooked on breakfast pastry? (THE SCONEHEADS).
Now this puzzle right here? This is what I'm talking about. I enjoyed this puzzle from start to finish. Part of that felt very personal to me — several entries brought to mind private jokes and nice or humorous memories — so I'll be interested to hear what you all think.

The puns are … puns. Nothing really notable there. They're not horrible and they're not fantastic (although, now that I think about it, "fantastic pun" might be an oxymoron). But the cluing is really, really good and the grid is full of sparkly entries like:
  • 8A: Like some Disneyland passes (TWO-DAY).
  • 11D: Gallantry (DERRING-DO).
  • 35D: In one piece (UNSCATHED).
  • 44D: Endangered great apes (BONOBOS).
Derring-do! How awesome is that?!

Oh, I also wanted to mention that I met Matt Matera at last year's awesome Lollapuzzoola tournament. The only problem is that I also met Matt Besse and I'm not sure which of them is which. So I asked our good friend Doug P. about it and it turns out he has the same problem. Our conversation went kinda like this.
Doug: He's a Ryan and Brian guy. I might have met him last year.
Me: Yeah, me too. I think I follow him on Twitter.
Doug: Red Sox cap, right?
Me: Yeah.
Doug: Wait, I think that's Matt Besse. Matt Matera is joon's friend, I'm almost positive.
Me: So Red Sox cap guy isn't Matera?
Doug: Well, he might be.
The problem was only compounded when I did a Google image search for Matt Matera and one of the images that popped up was … Matt Gaffney, a puzzle constructor extraordinaire who also works with Matt Jones. At that same moment, a message arrived in my inbox from the Cruciverb.com mailing list from … Matt Ginsberg. All these Matts around, of course, can only mean one thing: Big Ten Wrestling Championships this weekend! (HAha. Like you care.)

In conclusion, DERRING-DO!

  • 1A: The word? (MUM). My first thought? GREASE.
  • 15A: __ bene (NOTA). I had a little trouble here. It's the same trouble I always have, confusing "NOTA bene" with "nolo contendre." Two entirely different things, by the way.
  • 16A: It may involve an exaggerated age (FAKE I.D.). This one was really hard for me because I've never really heard of FAKE I.D.s. Oh my gosh, I see they're used by underage kids to gain access to bars. Why, that's illegal and those kids must be awful. Glad I never did that. (Hi, Mom.)
  • 39A: Igloos and yurts (ABODES). "Yurts" is fun to say.
  • 60A: Type of sauce served with falafel (TAHINI). As if "falafel."
  • 63A: Homework amount? (TON). Love this clue. Who hasn't said, "Oh my God, I have a TON of homework tonight"?
  • 64A: Puck's king (OBERON). From Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • 65A: "Dulce et Decorum est" poet Wilfred __ (OWEN). That O was the last letter I entered into the grid. The poem's title? The author's name? No brain cells firing at all on this one.
  • 5D: Michael's nemesis on "The Office" (TOBY). Ha! I haven't watched "The Office" in a while due to DVR issues. I'm still mad that we got rid of TiVo and the new DVR makes me so irritated that I can't get it to work right. Anyway. I had to think through a few characters — JIM? ANDY? — before I got to TOBY.
  • 9D: Half a city (WALLA). WALLA WALLA was a theme entry in the first puzzle I ever created and submitted to Will Shortz. With that rejection, as PuzzleMom reminded me, I joined a very big club.
  • 26D: Prelate's title: Abbr. (RT. REV.). See, if you're gonna have an abbreviation in the grid, it should be an awesome abbreviation like this one.
  • 30D: Actors Rogen and Green (SETHS). Hi, Seth!
  • 34D: Clinton Treasury secretary (RUBIN). I confidently entered REICH here. Was he a Treasury secretary too? Nope, he was Clinton's Secretary of Labor. But he is an economist, so I think I'm forgiven for the mistsake.
  • 47D: Baseball star who reportedly said, "I think there's a sexiness in infield hits" (ICHIRO). Personally, I think the 6-4-3 double play is the sexiest play in baseball.
  • 55D: Rachel Maddow's station (MSNBC). Speaking of sexy. Love her! Here's a great clip from a recent show of hers. It's not political at all, so it shouldn't be offensive to anyone.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 12D: River island (AIT).
  • 36D: Award with a Sustained Achievement category (OBIE).
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Everything Else 4A: You might need to watch yours (STEP); 14A: Downed (ATE); 17A: With 19-Across, serious warnings (RED); 18A: Not much (A BIT); 19A: See 17-Across (ALERTS); 23A: 1938 "The War of the Worlds" broadcast, for one (HOAX); 24A: Keystone enforcer (KOP); 25A: Blazing (AFIRE); 28A: Go-aheads (ASSENTS); 32A: __'acte (ENTR); 37A: Garden product word (GRO); 38A: Attacks (RUNS AT); 41A: Sch. attendance notation (ABS.); 46A: End of a boast (VICI); 48A: Got for nothing (SPONGED); 49A: Make official (ENACT); 51A: Newspaper supply (INK); 52A: Islamic leader (IMAM); 62A: Gaucho's weapon (BOLA); 66A: Flow out (EBB); 67A: Henry VIII et al. (TUDORS); 68A: Hitch (SNAG); 69A: Wall St. monitor (SEC); 1D: Orderly movement (MARCH); 2D: Nirvana #1 album "In __" (UTERO); 3D: Scorned lover of Jason (MEDEA); 4D: Lose it (SNAP); 6D: Boarding pass generator (E-TICKET); 7D: Sponsors (PATRONS); 8D: Brand of nonstick cookware (T-FAL); 10D: Michael of "Caddyshack" (O'KEEFE); 13D: NFL stat (YDS.); 21D: Show-what-you-know chances (EXAMS); 22D: Machinating (UP TO); 27D: Unevenly worn (EROSE); 29D: Cross words (SPAT); 31D: Big gun or big cheese (SLANG); 33D: Desire and then some (CRAVE); 40D: "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini," for one (OLDIE); 43D: Broad (EPIC); 45D: x, at times (UNKNOWN); 50D: Caruso, for one (TENOR); 53D: A couple (MATES); 54D: Acrobat developer (ADOBE); 57D: Serious lapses (SINS); 58D: Zeno's home (ELEA); 59D: Dangle (HANG); 60D: Tater __ (TOT); 61D: __ Simbel, site of Ramses II temples (ABU).

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