Rabu, 16 Maret 2011

03.16 Wed

March 16, 2011
John Lampkin

Theme: Thinking Happy Thoughts — Theme answers are words that follows the word "positive" in familiar phrases.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: *Survey response (FEEDBACK).
  • 21A: *Trying to remember (THINKING).
  • 26A: *Prospects (OUTLOOK).
  • 48A: *Disposition (MINDSET).
  • 55A: *Cocky manner (ATTITUDE).
  • 63A: Word (suggested by the black shape in this grid's center) that can precede the answers to starred clues (POSITIVE).
I didn't catch onto the theme while I was solving, because I didn't get to the reveal until the end. Then I thought, "Okay, that's good." Then later when I was looking it over to do this write-up it occurred to me that POSITIVE THINKING, POSITIVE OUTLOOK, POSITIVE MINDSET, and POSITIVE ATTITUDE are all pretty closely related while POSITIVE FEEDBACK … isn't. But, you know what? I'm just going to stay POSITIVE today so I guess the puzzle rubbed off on me.

[Hey, that's Mr. Noodle!]

You know what you can expect from a John Lampkin puzzle? Music and nature, that's what. I had to piece together the first two musical entries, but didn't have any trouble with the staccato music notation:
  • 53A: Beethoven's only opera (FIDELIO).
  • 30D: 19th-century Italian violin virtuoso (PAGANINI).
  • 49D: Like staccato notes (DOTTED).
And, as for nature, it's all for the birds today:
  • 16A: Bird that hangs its nest from a branch (ORIOLE).
  • 60D: Brutus' bird (AVIS).
  • 61D: Eat like a bird (PECK).
As you may know, in addition to puzzles, John is interested in music and nature photography. In fact, that oriole over there? Yeah, John sent me that picture to use with the blog. If he hadn't sent it, you probably would have gotten Cal Ripken, so everybody say "Thank you, John!" (Not that there's anything wrong with Cal Ripken. Oh what the hell, here's Cal anyway.)

  • 20A: Juliet's volatile cousin (TYBALT). You'd think this would be easy for me, being that I majored in English and all. Well, you'd be wrong. I misspelled it TYBALD. D'oh!
  • 34A: Know-it-all (SMARTIE). Great word. When I got the SMART part in there, I wondered for a minute if we might be headed in a different — less appropriate — direction.
  • 40A: Push-up sound, perhaps (GRUNT). See also 46A: Push-up garment (BRA). Two totally different kinds of push-ups.
  • 5D: "Not to worry" ("THAT'S OK"). I'm a fan of the colloquial phrase!
  • 6D: Cristal maker (BIC). For some reason I thought this was alcohol-related. But I guess a "Cristal" is a type of pen. Huh.
  • 8D: Best-seller (HOT ITEM). Another sparkly entry.
  • 9D: Age opening? (IRON). The word IRON "opens" for the word "Age" in the phrase "IRON Age."
  • 11D: Like a rock (SOLID). Okay, the first song I thought of was Ashford & Simpson's "Solid as a Rock," but that song is, well, I liked it in the 80s but it doesn't seem to have aged very well. Then there's Bob Seger's "Like a Rock," but that got all commercialized a while back. So I just happened to come across an awesome cover of Paul Simon's "Loves Me Like a Rock" on YouTube that I've never seen before, but it's not embeddable. Here's a link if you want to head over to YouTube to see it. It's pretty funky.
  • 18D: "SportsCenter's Not Top Plays" videos, e.g. (BLOOPERS). Oh man. So hard to decide which BLOOPER to include. I think I'll have to go with a classic.

Crosswordese 101: There's not too much you need to know about ELENI for crossword puzzles. It's always clued as a Nicholas Gage book/memoir/best seller or as a 1985 John Malkovich/Kate Nelligan movie directed by Peter Yates.

Other crosswordese in today's grid that we've already covered:
  • 24D: Pre-op test (EKG).
  • 26D: Play-of-color gem (OPAL).
  • 27D: Forearm bone (ULNA).
  • 37D: Pierre's state (ÉTAT).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Inedible Swiss cheese part? (HOLE); 5A: Sched. uncertainty letters (TBA); 8A: Greets the bad guy (HISSES); 14A: Bard's black (EBON); 15A: "__ Latest Flame": Presley hit (HIS); 19A: Rang (TOLLED); 23A: Suffer defeat (LOSE OUT); 25A: Cubic roller (DIE); 29A: Cartoon skunk Le Pew (PEPÉ); 32A: Mideast political gp. (PLO); 33A: UPS delivery (PKG.); 38A: "Tomorrow" musical (ANNIE); 41A: Longtime Dodgers manager (LASORDA); 44A: Org. with shrinks (APA); 47A: Software buyer (USER); 50A: Chinese menu general (TSO); 58A: Draw into wrongdoing (ENTRAP); 62A: __ Tomatoes: film review website (ROTTEN); 65A: "Wait!" ("ONE SEC!"); 66A: Calendar col. (THU.); 67A: Weighty production (EPIC); 68A: Oppressive boss (TYRANT); 69A: Short flight (HOP); 70A: Cubicle furnishing (DESK); 1D: Test the weight of (HEFT); 2D: Carry out (OBEY); 3D: Leopold's co-defendant (LOEB); 4D: Ultimate goal (END-ALL); 7D: Mail an invitation for, as a wedding (ASK TO); 10D: Hairlike corn feature (SILK); 12D: Nicholas Gage memoir (ELENI); 13D: Rushlike plant (SEDGE); 22D: Marching syllables (HUPS); 28D: Lots (TONS); 31D: Commit 18-Down (ERR); 35D: Old boats (TUBS); 36D: Memo "apropos of" (IN RE); 39D: Paper in a pot (IOU); 42D: Gone (DEFUNCT); 43D: Bone-dry (ARID); 44D: Pierre's soul (AME); 45D: More than fills the inbox (PILES UP); 50D: Medium's medium (TAROT); 51D: Expressionless (STONY); 52D: Playful swimmer (OTTER); 54D: Diver's concern (DEPTH); 56D: "__ girl!" (IT'S A); 57D: Former girls' magazine (TEEN); 59D: Ready to eat (RIPE); 64D: "Now I get it!" ("OHO!").

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