Kamis, 31 Maret 2011

03.31 Thu

March 31, 2011
Steve Salitan

Theme: The Boys of Summer! — It's a baseball theme for opening day.

Theme answers:

  • 1A: *One way to reach a superhero (BAT PHONE).
  • 23A: *2008 Republican hopeful (MITT ROMNEY).
  • 34A: *Roll-fed toy (CAP PISTOL).
  • 46A: *Musical about rock's 4 Seasons (JERSEY BOYS).
  • 62A: Its season starts today; its equipment starts the starred answers (BASEBALL).

Very uneven solve for me today. Love the theme. I'm only a casual sports fan, so I don't always know when opening day is but my new boss — a huge baseball fan — took the day off today to go see our Nats, so I was aware this year. As for the theme answers, one made me chuckle, one made me smile, one made me groan, and the one right in the middle gave me a lot of trouble. For some reason, I always want to spell SCADS with a K (31D: Carloads). I also had had TIE ONTO where TIE INTO was supposed to go (25D: Link with). I was waiting to see whether 28D would be STNS or (the correct) STAS (28D: Coming and going spots: Abbr.). But I was pretty sure it was going to be an N after that K, so CAP PISTOL was looking like KNPPOSTOL and that ... took me a while to sort out.

Lots of prepositions and other weird partials in the grid today: AGREED ON right next to ON SALE, SEEN AS, IN UP, TIE INTO. And then there are the several downright clunkers: NOA, LOPER, and NUS (7D: Tishby of "The Island" / 9D: Horse warming up, say / 42D: Sorority letters). But then there's quite a bit of good stuff too, like the triple stack of 7s in the northeast corner:
  • 12D: Chemical bonding number (VALENCE).
  • 13D: Winning numbers (ELEVENS).
  • 14D: Flights that often span two days (REDEYES).
Sure those three words are full of Wheel of Fortune letters, but the Vs just spice it right up for me. There are a few other entries that I like for one reason or another, so let's go to the bullets.

  • 27A: Focus of some trips (EGO). Nice clue.
  • 30A: Explain (CONSTRUE). I do not think this word means what I think it means.
  • 36A: Fertilizer component (POTASH). I like to pronounce this word like POE-TASH and for some reason I crack myself up whenever I do that.
  • 39A: "I can't explain it" ("NO REASON"). I typically like answers clued as spoken expressions. Even better when they're exclamations like 55D: "Super!" ("FAB!").
  • 53A: "The Executioner's Song" Pulitzer winner (MAILER). For some reason Norman MAILER and Jimmy Breslin are the same person in my brain.
  • 55A: Burlesque act (FAN DANCE).
  • 4D: Stylish waves (PERMS). Stylish?
  • 40D: African plain (SAVANNA).
  • 47D: "The Vampire Diaries" heroine Gilbert (ELENA). I'm a little disappointed ELENA wasn't clued with a reference to SONIA (28A: Justice Sotomayor) but that's probably just me. Also, the Twilight series is about as deep as I'm going to get into the vampire genre so I was out of luck here.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 43A: Imitated (APED).
  • 44A: Old 51-Across devices (ETNAS).
  • 45A: "The Simpsons" shopkeeper (APU).
  • 52A: Jai __ (ALAI).
  • 8D: Head M.D.? (ENT).
  • 28D: Coming and going spots: Abbr. (STAS.).
  • 54D: Quarterback Dawson (LEN).
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Everything Else 9A: Blind slat (LOUVER); 15A: Concurred about (AGREED ON); 16A: Lower, for now (ON SALE); 17A: Ogled (LEERED AT); 18A: Skinned (PEELED); 19A: One of two O.T. books (SAML.); 20A: When Donne is done for the day? (E'EN); 21A: Genesis outcast (EVE); 22A: Go by (PASS); 29A: Unsatisfactory marks? (ACNE); 32A: Fiona, after Shrek's kiss (OGRESS); 49A: Benjamin et al.: Abbr. (PVTS.); 50A: Give pieces to (ARM); 51A: Trial site, perhaps (LAB); 59A: Show up (ATTEND); 60A: Some feelers (ANTENNAE); 61A: Viewed to be (SEEN AS); 1D: __ masqué: dance with costumes (BAL); 2D: A good while back (AGES AGO); 3D: Crime of betrayal (TREASON); 5D: Cad (HEEL); 6D: "How peculiar" ("ODD"); 10D: Bridge opener, briefly (ONE NO); 11D: Take for a chump (USE); 22D: Chest ripple (PEC); 23D: Transform eerily, in sci-fi (MORPH); 24D: __ to one's neck (IN UP); 25D: Link with (TIE INTO); 26D: Donald's second ex (MARLA); 32D: Others, in Oaxaca (OTRAS); 33D: Proceeds (GOES); 35D: Sharp competitor (SONY); 36D: Hefner garb (PAJAMAS); 37D: Work (OPERATE); 38D: Unhappy home inspection find (TERMITE); 41D: Like some film effects (OPTICAL); 44D: Flow back (EBB); 48D: Play places (YARDS); 49D: Secondary strategy (PLAN B); 52D: Chick chaser? (-ADEE); 56D: Actress Gasteyer (ANA); 57D: Some Windows systems (NT'S); 58D: Epitome of slipperiness (EEL).

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