Selasa, 08 Maret 2011

03.08 Tue

March 8, 2011
Robert Fisher

Theme: Head Start — The word "head" can follow the last word of each theme answer in a familiar put-down.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Not-so-humorous humerus spot (FUNNY BONE).
  • 23A: Exam taker's dread (MENTAL BLOCK).
  • 39A: Daydreams (CASTLES IN THE AIR).
  • 49A: Devoid of niceties, as some politics (BARE KNUCKLE).
  • 61A: Racer's edge, or the ends of 17-, 23-, 39- and 49-Across, unflatteringly (HEAD START).
I got through this one without too much trouble. Fun theme. I got to the third theme answer before I had caught on and entered CASTLES IN THE SKY, which I think is how I've heard it before. But CASTLES IN THE AIR sounds good too, and the phrases result in about the same number of Google hits, so I assume they're equally common. Along the same lines, I thought our [9D: 41st president, affectionately] was POPPY BUSH, not PAPA BUSH, but it looks like both variations of this nickname are legit.

Other than that, there were only a few spots that gave me a frowny-face. Tacking an "S" onto the end of a famous person's name always bothers me unless the family itself is well-known. So, yeah, for ORR there's "Hockey legend Bobby," but not so much with the "et al." (Examples of plural famous names that would not bother me a bit: EWINGS ("Dallas"), O'NEALS (Ryan and Tatum), and OSMONDS (Osmonds). But mostly, this was just a smooth solve that felt pretty much perfect for a Tuesday.

  • 9A: Trees along tropical beaches (PALMS). Or possibly in Wisconsin, depending on which cable news channel you're watching.
  • 25A: Grubs and maggots (LARVAE). Eww. I seriously do not want to be thinking about grubs and maggots when I'm solving a crossword puzzle. Again, eww.
  • 34A: Annual parade celeb (ST. PAT). When I lived in New York, St. Patrick's Day seemed like a great day to just stay inside. Lots of drunk people everywhere is what I'm saying.
  • 42A: Joe Cocker's "You __ Beautiful" (ARE SO). My favorite Joe Cocker clip, with captions in case you don't understand what the heck he's singing.

  • 45A: Slangy "No reason" ('CUZ). I do like seeing the slang in my puzzle.
  • 47A: "Amen to that!" ("I'LL SAY!"). Also the colloquial phrase.
  • 67A: 1/30 of abril (DIA). "Abril" is the Spanish word for "April," which has 30 days. "DIA" is the Spanish word for "day." So a DIA is 1/30 of abril (in Spanish, the names of months aren't capitalized).
  • 8D: Tropical cyclone center (EYE). Which, as some of us recently learned, is surrounded by an EYEWALL.
  • 25D: Crazy, in a Ricky Martin song (LOCA). I will now have "Livin' the Vida Loca" stuck in my head all day. Would you like to join me?

  • 38D: Projector's slide holder (TRAY). For all you youngsters out there, "slides" used to be actual physical objects, not just computer-generated components of a PowerPoint presentation.
  • 40D: Rigidly inflexible process (LOCKSTEP). My favorite entry.
  • 50D: Lincoln Center's __ Fisher Hall (AVERY). Clever how Mr. Fisher got his name in the clue.
  • 62D: Casual top (TEE). I created one this morning just for fun. I know Rex Parker wants one.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 21A: Hockey legend Bobby et al. (ORRS).
  • 30A: "Garfield" pooch (ODIE).
  • 63A: Mountain ridge (ARETE).
  • 3D: It's near the 17-Across (ULNA).
  • 26D: Month after Shevat (ADAR).
  • 37D: Verdi opera (AIDA).
  • 49D: Rum-soaked cakes (BABAS).
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Everything Else 1A: Pert (SAUCY); 6A: Top grade, in slang (ACE); 14A: Aptly named cooler brand (IGLOO); 15A: Small island (CAY); 16A: Perpendicular to the keel (ABEAM); 19A: Tri- plus bi- (PENTA-); 20A: Drink from leaves (TEA); 21A: Hockey legend Bobby et al. (ORRS); 22A: Sea north of Poland (BALTIC); 29A: Manhattan sch. (NYU); 31A: Fan mag (ZINE); 43A: Formal coiffure (UPDO); 44A: Alan of "The Aviator" (ALDA); 55A: Disinclined (AVERSE); 56A: Works a tough row? (HOES); 57A: "The Amazing Race" airer (CBS); 60A: Prove apt for (BEFIT); 64A: www address (URL); 65A: Otherworldly (EERIE); 66A: IHOP condiment (SYRUP); 68A: Seed anew (RESOW); 1D: Sort through, as for clues (SIFT); 2D: Fit of fever (AGUE); 4D: Put one over on (CON); 5D: Cellist with 16 Grammys (YO-YO MA); 6D: Item in a fall stash (ACORN); 7D: Art able to (CANST); 10D: Clear as __ (A BELL); 11D: Slowly, in music (LENTO); 12D: "It slices! It dices!" gadget Veg-O-__ (MATIC); 13D: Wallop (SMACK); 18D: Zephyr (BREEZE); 22D: Journalist Nellie (BLY); 24D: What all good things come to (AN END); 27D: Increase (RISE); 28D: November honorees (VETS); 32D: Liar Joe in old TV car ads (ISUZU); 33D: Hip flask quickie (NIP); 35D: Greenish blue (TEAL); 36D: Sidekicks (PALS); 41D: Worked arduously (TOILED); 46D: Arles article (UNE); 48D: Like the preferable evil (LESSER); 51D: Allude (to) (REFER); 52D: Verdi aria that means "It was you" (ERITU); 53D: Strasbourg sweetheart (CHERI); 54D: Eucalyptus muncher (KOALA); 57D: Jaguar and Impala (CARS); 58D: Verve (BRIO); 59D: Hearty entrée (STEW); 61D: 1963 Paul Newman film (HUD).

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