Selasa, 15 Maret 2011

03.15 Tue

March 15, 2011
Gary Steinmehl

Theme: Hitting the Gym — The last word of each theme answer is (arguably) something you would do REPS of while exercising.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Last leg of a race (HOME STRETCH).
  • 27A: Chocolate bar with crisped rice (NESTLÉ CRUNCH).
  • 49A: Overseas news-gatherers (FOREIGN PRESS).
  • 59A: Very little, in slang (DIDDLY SQUAT).
  • 57D: PR specialists, and a word associated with the ends of 20-, 27-, 49- and 59-Across (REPS).
I have mixed feelings about this theme. The theme answers themselves are all colorful and the theme hangs together very well until … you get to the reveal. REPS? Do you really do REPS of STRETCHes? Um, no. No, you don't. You just STRETCH. And then (if you're motivated and you're at, say, a gym) you do the rest of the things mentioned. So, to me, THE GYM would have been a much better reveal. If I had seen that, I would have been all "Oh, right! These are all things you do at a gym!" With STRETCH as the first entry, I might have even thought they were in some kind of logical order. It all would have been very pleasant and right now I would be talking some more about how sparkly the theme entries are. Instead, though, right now I'm going: REPS? Really?!

If you're not a fan of foreign words in your puzzle, you were probably troubled by all the French in this grid:
  • 16A: Author Zola (ÉMILE). Which reminds me, if you haven't seen "Wordplay," you really should.
  • 23A: Nice season? (ÉTÉ). We've covered this in Crosswordese 101 — both the answer and the way it's clued.
  • 46A: Paris's __ la Paix (RUE DE). This one is not only French, it's also an ugly partial. Twofer!
  • 10D: Porthos, to Athos (AMI). French for "friend" (and previously covered in CW101).
  • 13D: Place for a beret (TÊTE). French for "head."
  • 35D: D-Day target city (ST.-LÔ). Another CW 101 alum.
You also might be able to include BEAU (15A: Steady fellow) in this list without getting into too much trouble. Speaking of CW 101, here are the other grid entries that we've already covered. Each answer word below is a link to the post where you'll find more details.
  • 18A: Elongated fish (EELS).
  • 39A: Sheltered Greek walkway (STOA).
  • 43A: IRS agent (T-MAN).
  • 66A: Cleveland's lake (ERIE).
So, what else? Well there are some nice Scrabbly entries in ZAGAT, ZEPHYRS, and SEQUIN (9A: Big name in restaurant guides / 9D: Gentle winds / 51D: Fashion sparkler). SEQUIN was actually hard for me to come up with because I had RHINESTONE in my head and couldn't shake it.

  • 19A: Turning point (PIVOT).

  • 52A: Run or ruin (DASH). Great clue. Think "50-yard DASH" or having your hopes DASHed.
  • 67A: DDE's alma mater (USMA). Dwight D. Eisenhower's alma mater is the U.S. Military Academy.
  • 69A: Ole Miss rival (BAMA). When I was a kid, I thought Duke and Marquette were the coolest college names. I still think they're awesome, but I love BAMA too (even though it's obviously not the school's official name). I always hoped I'd graduate from a college with a cool name. But instead I ended up at … Maryland.
  • 11D: Abraham, to Lincoln (GIVEN NAME). I tried FIRST NAME first.
  • 26D: Bee or Em (AUNT). I think of Em as AUNTIE, but I see that's what she's called in the film but not in the books. AUNT Bee is from "The Andy Griffith Show" and, yes, that is how her name is spelled.
  • 28D: Fa follower (SOL). Do re mi fa SOL la ti do.
  • 34D: DoD fliers (USAF). The U.S. Air Force flies for the Department of Defense.
  • 50D: Letters under a 4 (G-H-I). Today's random letter string is clued in relation to the telephone keypad.
  • 55D: Cass and Michelle, famously (MAMAS). Cass Elliot and Michelle Phillips were the MAMAS of the 1960s group, "The MAMAS and the Papas."
  • 62D: Bean town? (LIMA). Get it? 'Cuz the name of the town is also a type of bean. (Ugh.)
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Everything Else 1A: Cote bleats (BAAS); 5A: Further (ALSO); 14A: Flattop opposite (AFRO); 17A: Plane or sander (TOOL); 24A: Snail mail need (STAMP); 25A: Color in the four-color process (CYAN); 34A: Plug-and-play PC port (USB); 37A: Borat creator Sacha Baron __ (COHEN); 38A: Trapper's gear (SNARE); 41A: Number-guessing fund-raiser (LOTTO); 44A: False __ (ALARM); 48A: Ambulance initials (EMS); 53A: Times spent in prison or in office (TERMS); 57A: Dusting aid (RAG); 64A: Remove from the videotape (ERASE); 68A: Argentine grassland (PAMPA); 70A: Modern Roman, e.g.: Abbr. (ITAL.); 71A: Take badly? (STEAL); 72A: Disappearing slope apparatus (T-BAR); 73A: Big Board letters (NYSE); 1D: They're drawn in tubs (BATHS); 2D: In progress (AFOOT); 3D: Bakery quality (AROMA); 4D: Serious (SOLEMN); 5D: Aid's partner (ABET); 6D: Look that may be accompanied by a smirk (LEER); 7D: Shopping news (SALE); 8D: Bounce, as from a bar (OUST); 12D: Oodles (A LOT); 21D: Risky business, briefly (SPEC); 22D: Brutus' 300 (CCC); 29D: Rose feature (THORN); 30D: Rain more gently (LET UP); 31D: Rectangular computer key (ENTER); 32D: Stuff (into) (CRAM); 33D: Lady birds (HENS); 36D: Monopoly, for one (BOARD GAME); 40D: House painter's calculation (AREA); 42D: Dedicated verse (ODE); 45D: Card player's goof (MISDEAL); 47D: Ballpark figs. (ESTS.); 54D: Out of practice (RUSTY); 56D: Old hat (STALE); 58D: "I smell __!" (A RAT); 60D: Unpaid loan, e.g. (DEBT); 61D: Not bright at all (DRAB); 63D: Wine taster's guesstimate (YEAR); 65D: Healthful resort (SPA).

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