Senin, 14 Maret 2011

03.14 Mon

March 14, 2011
Billie Truitt

Theme: Hard to describe but ... — Theme answers are familiar phrases that follow the pattern "[xx]ing [xx]g."

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Lather-holding cup (SHAVING MUG).
  • 25A: Sock mender's tool (DARNING EGG).
  • 36A: Violin knob for pitch adjustments (TUNING PEG).
  • 48A: Retriever or pointer (HUNTING DOG).
  • 57A: Joke that gets funnier with repetition (RUNNING GAG).
Looks like we're starting the week off with a really solid Monday puzzle. As I was solving, I have to admit the theme did provoke a raised eyebrow, but the more I look at it the more I like it. And the reason I'm even looking at it again is to make sure I'm not missing something. Is there a vowel progression in the first words? Are the last words related in some way? No and no. But that's okay with me today. Say the phrases one right after the other. Even though it's difficult to describe their connection in words, they definitely go together.

Not much crosswordese in the grid today, which is a nice surprise for a Monday.
  • 19A: Homely fruit (UGLI).
  • 58D: Author Anaïs (NIN).
Crosswordese 101: This is more like Crosswordese 301, but you're ready for it, right? Dame NGAIO Marsh was an author who wrote mysteries. You will almost always see the words mystery, whodunit, and/or writer in clues for NGAIO (as in today's 34D: Whodunit writer Marsh). Other details to try to hold onto: she was a contemporary of Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner, and the protagonist in her books is a detective named Roderick Alleyn.

Entries that jumped out at me as particularly nice include WISE MEN, BIG NEWS, and ARUGULA (I don't like to eat it, but I do like to say it) (28A: Magi / 11D: Special report subject / 38D: Peppery salad green). It took me way too long to come up with DIET from its clue, 16A: Losing strategy? You'd think I'd be hip to that trick by now but apparently not. Love the clue for STINKS, 65A: Smells to high heaven; not so much the clue for AGE, 52A: 2011 minus year of birth, roughly.

38A: "AMEN to that!" is my colloquial phrase of the day. And, I tell you what. I must really like this puzzle because I'm not even going to rant about the horrible, horrible earworm of 41D: "Afternoon __": suggestive #1 hit of 1976 (DELIGHT). And that seems like something I would rant about, doesn't it?

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Everything Else 1A: World Wide __ (WEB); 4A: Gunpowder element (SULFUR); 10A: Turns seaward (EBBS); 14A: Firefighter's tool (AXE); 15A: Dream up (CREATE); 20A: Eye part containing the pupil (IRIS); 21A: Timeline divisions (ERAS); 23A: Habit wearer (NUN); 24A: Kimono sashes (OBIS); 30A: Sweden neighbor (NORWAY); 31A: Utmost degree (NTH); 32A: Church instrument (ORGAN); 35A: Flag maker Betsy (ROSS); 40A: Ecstatic way to walk (ON AIR); 41A: Roman 700 (DCC); 44A: 1992 Olympic skating champ Yamaguchi (KRISTI); 46A: As an alternative (INSTEAD); 51A: Heidi's heights (ALPS); 53A: It replaced the franc (EURO); 54A: Handling the job (ON IT); 55A: Member of an Iraqi minority (KURD); 61A: "Now ___ me down ..." (I LAY); 62A: Complete (ENTIRE); 63A: Hurry, old-style (HIE); 64A: Clearance event (SALE); 66A: Blasting sply. (TNT); 1D: Used to be (WAS); 2D: Lettered piece of court evidence (EXHIBIT); 3D: Pessimistic about Wall Street (BEARISH); 4D: Biol. and chem. (SCIS.); 5D: Coffeepot for a crowd (URN); 6D: Jeans part (LEG); 7D: Hall of __: enshrined athlete (FAMER); 8D: One-eighty (U-TURN); 9D: Win back (REGAIN); 10D: Campus e-mail address letters (EDU); 12D: Sturgeon yielding expensive caviar (BELUGAS); 13D: Tight-fisted (STINGY); 18D: Workbench clamp (VISE); 22D: Noisy sleepers (SNORERS); 24D: Part of BYOB (OWN); 25D: Bruce of "Coming Home" (DERN); 26D: Prefix with -plasty (ANGIO); 27D: Pirate's quaff (GROG); 29D: Canadian lawman on horseback (MOUNTIE); 33D: Raggedy doll (ANN); 36D: Try out (TEST); 37D: Unwelcome engine sound (PING); 39D: Twenty Questions choice (MINERAL); 42D: Ship's leader (CAPTAIN); 43D: Jewel box contents, briefly (CD'S); 44D: Military pants (KHAKIS); 45D: Hardens (INURES); 47D: Zesty taste (TANG); 49D: McJob holder (GRUNT); 50D: "__ know you?" (DON'T I); 54D: Vending machine bills (ONES); 56D: Hair coloring agent (DYE); 59D: Rub the wrong way (IRK); 60D: Retrieve (GET).

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