Rabu, 09 Maret 2011

03.09 Wed

March 9, 2011
Gareth Bain

Theme: Awesome Back-up Band — Theme answers are all people with the initials M.G.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: *Moscow park eponym (MAXIM GORKY).
  • 61A: *"What's Going On" singer (MARVIN GAYE).
  • 10D: *20th-century cartoonist who wrote "He Done Her Wrong," a 300-page pantomime tale (MILT GROSS).
  • 32D: *"Mad Max" star (MEL GIBSON).
  • 48D: Leader of the band with the 1962 hit "Green Onions" (BOOKER T).
  • 61D: With "the," 48-Down's band (which sounds as if it could have included the answers to starred clues) (MG'S).
Don't you totally want to see Booker T performing in front of a Pip-ified MAXIM GORKY, MARVIN GAYE, MEL GIBSON, and MILT GROSS? That's one funny-looking back-up band. I don't believe I've ever heard of MILT GROSS and I would never have been able to come up with GORKY's first name on my own, but this puzzle just seemed like fun to me. I think the thing I appreciated the most was the quirky cluing. Especially:
  • 10A: Hi sign nicknames (MOMS). It's not unusual for a televised crowd shot of a sporting event to catch someone with a sign that says "Hi, Mom." So I guess you could call those "Hi signs" (a play on the phrase "high signs").
  • 24A: Upside-down frown (SMILE). Who hasn't heard the phrase "Turn that frown upside-down"?
  • 65A: Kindergarten staple (GLUE). The use of the word "staple" in the clue really tickles me. It's meant in the sense of a supply that's constantly needed, but the word can also refer to something that attaches things together — just like GLUE!
Highlight entries for me today include:
  • 2D: Shortest book in the Hebrew Bible (OBADIAH). I would like to see a resurgence of this name. Unfortunately, I'm past my child-bearing years so it's up to one of you young women out there.
  • 34D: East African language (SWAHILI). I know it's not an uncommon entry, but I just love the way it sounds. The word, not the language. I don't actually know how the language sounds.
  • 41D: Burst (RUPTURE).
  • 44D: Vicks ointment (VAPORUB). As soon as you entered the word could you smell it?
  • 1A: Doughnut shape (TORUS). This is a word I learned from crosswords. I assume it's a word I learned back in a math class somewhere too, but I relearned it in the last couple years from crosswords.
  • 36A: Animals who often bear twins (EWES). Get out! Who knew? And don't tell me you did, because you didn't.
  • 43A: It's not known for MPG efficiency (SUV). Using MPG in the clue is a clever way of including a hint that the answer will be an abbreviation.
  • 51A: One of Chekhov's "Three Sisters" (MASHA). The other two are … just a minute …. Olya and Irina. Just so ya know.
  • 57A: Option for Hamlet (TO BE). Another good clue.
  • 66A: Courtroom demand (ORDER).
  • 69A: Burden bearer (BEAST). You know what's coming.

  • 5D: Mozart's "Jupiter," e.g.: Abbr. (SYM.). I actually entered SON. first thinking it was a sonata, but that's pretty dumb because (a) it's a horrible abbreviation that I'm sure is never used and (b) if the entry was actually SON, it wouldn't be clued that way (see (a)).
  • 6D: Noted composer of Études (CHOPIN). I remember being so shocked when I learned Chopin was Polish. I always assumed he was French.
  • 8D: Mork's planet (ORK). I'm seriously going to start a count of "Mork and Mindy" references.
  • 42D: Actor Banderas (ANTONIO). Sigh.
  • 50D: Impeccable service (ACE). Tennis!
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 35A: Hops-drying oven (OAST).
  • 40A: Asian sea (ARAL).
  • 67A: Quite a long time (AEON).
  • 13D: Old JFK arrival (SST).
  • 25D: Sicilian mount (ETNA).
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Everything Else 6A: Doofus (CLOD); 14A: Furniture wood (EBONY); 15A: Circle dance (HORA); 16A: Does a bakery job (ICES); 19A: "__ we forget" (LEST); 20A: Palm Treos, e.g., briefly (PDA'S); 21A: Tailless primate (APE); 22A: School orgs. (PTA'S); 23A: Article for Adenauer (EIN); 26A: __ Dei (AGNUS); 28A: __ Andreas Fault (SAN); 29A: Bit of dogma (TENET); 30A: Poppycock (TRIPE); 31A: Opera setting, for short (THE MET); 33A: Outs partners (INS); 38A: Evokes wonder in (AWES); 45A: Soak up (ABSORB); 49A: Din in the library? (GUNGA); 53A: Big suit, briefly (CEO); 54A: About the eye (OPTIC); 55A: Elect to take part (OPT IN); 56A: Hoo-ha (ADO); 58A: Exxon Valdez cargo (OIL); 59A: Short run, for short (ONE K); 60A: Wimple wearers (NUNS); 64A: Élan (BRIO); 68A: Pair in bunk beds, perhaps (SIBS); 1D: Violent storm (TEMPEST); 3D: Steve Martin film based on "Cyrano de Bergerac" (ROXANNE); 4D: Colleges, to Aussies (UNIS); 7D: Rhine siren (LORELEI); 9D: "And God called the light __": Genesis (DAY); 11D: "1984" setting (OCEANIA); 12D: Goofs (MESS-UPS); 18D: Spermatozoa, e.g. (GAMETES); 22D: Frisk, with "down" (PAT); 24D: Crock-Pot potful (STEW); 27D: Collector's goal (SET); 37D: Sport for heavyweights (SUMO); 39D: Israeli diplomat Abba (EBAN); 40D: In days past (AGO); 46D: Anthem for "eh" sayers (O CANADA); 47D: Overnight flights (RED-EYES); 52D: "As I was going to __ ..." (ST. IVES); 59D: Fairy tale baddie (OGRE); 60D: Hoops org. (NBA); 62D: Poetic boxer (ALI); 63D: San Francisco's __ Hill (NOB).

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