Jumat, 08 April 2011

04.08 Fri

April 8, 2011
Scott Atkinson

Theme: Incomplete Countries — Each theme answer is a city/country pair with one letter missing from the country's name, which (obviously) creates much wackiness.

Theme answers:

  • 16A: Celtic quaffs? (CARDIFF wALES).
  • 30A: Caribbean baby animal? (HAVANA CUBa).
  • 38A: Arabian guy? (MUSCAT oMAN).
  • 52A: East Asian "pet"? (BEIJING CHInA).
  • 11D: Iberian bridge? (MADRID SPAiN).
  • 26D: Mesopotamian savings plan? (BAGHDAD IRAn).
I had a hard time with this theme, but it's totally not the theme's fault. I pieced CARDIFF together completely from crosses. I'm sure I've heard of CARDIFF at some point in my life, but I wouldn't have been able to tell you it was in [W]ALES. And I thought CARDIFF ALES sounded like a legitimate thing on its own. (What do I know from ales?) So, that was baffling to me. The next theme answers I got were HAVANA CUB and BAGHDAD IRA, so I'm trying to figure out how to tack an extra letter onto CARDIFF ALES to make it … something. Obviously that didn't work. It wasn't til I got to MUSCAT MAN that I realized the theme answers were missing a letter but not necessarily the last letter. Then I looked back at CARDIFF ALES and still had to think for a minute about what letter to add back into ALES to make a country. Duh. In hindsight, CARDIFF does sound very Welsh, doesn't it? Speaking of Welsh:

  • 6A: Disaster response gp. (EVAC). Emergency Volunteer Air Corps. I only know that cuz I looked it up. Totally wanted FEMA here.
  • 14A: Conscious (AWARE). I started to write in AWAKE and then realized I better check the cross.
  • 26A: Club ingredient (BACON). Mmmm, bacon.
  • 34A: Senescent (AGING). Senescent? Definitely my word of the day.
  • 40A: Withdrawal concern (DT'S). Delirium tremens. Nasty, nasty stuff there.
  • 43A: '70s TV cop played by Robert Blake (BARETTA). I can never remember if it's two Rs or two Ts.
  • 46A: Farewells overseas (ADIEUS). French!
  • 51A: Lighting brand (BIC). I misread the clue as "Lightning brand" and had no idea what to think about that.
  • 2D: "__ (So Far Away)": 1982 hit for A Flock of Seagulls (I RAN). So at first I was all, "Cool clue. Instead of cluing it as the country, IRAN, break it up and clue it as a cheesy 80s song. Awesome." Then I realized that one of the theme answers is based on the IRAN the country and I don't like it so much any more. Unless you can make that same play on all the theme countries, I say don't do it all. [This just in: I've heard from several reliable sources that Baghdad is, in fact, in IRAQ not IRAN. I will continue to investigate this claim and let you know as soon as I have confirmation.]
  • 7D: Feb. sentiment (VAL.). Ladies and gentlemen, your clunker of the day.
  • 10D: Y for men only? (CHROMOSOME). This is a great clue/answer pair. It threw me not only because it's tricky, but also because I kind of expected this long down to be a theme answer.
  • 23D: Complaint while groping (I CAN'T SEE). I guess that depends on what you're groping. Thankyouverymuch I'll be here all week.
  • 27D: Earhart et al. (AVIATRICES). Anyone else have that A in place and start writing in A-M-E-L-I…oh crap.
  • 32D: Naval acronym (SEALS). Sea Air And Land.
  • 41D: And those following, in footnotes (ET SEQQ.). Whoa whoa whoa. Hold it right there, buddy. ET SEQQ? With two Qs? Whoa.
  • 55D: Chantilly crower (COQ). I guess this isn't a reference to Chantilly, Virginia.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 23A: Composer Stravinsky (IGOR).
  • 49D: Operatic slave (AIDA).
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Everything Else 1A: Chuck E. Cheese's order (PIZZA); 10A: Eric the Red's birth year, roughly (CML); 13A: Lets go (FREES); 15A: "A likely story!" ("HAH!"); 18A: Old cereal box letters (RDA); 19A: __-Caps (SNO); 20A: Anderson of Jethro Tull (IAN); 21A: Pyle portrayer (NABORS); 25A: Words of affection from Luigi (CARA MIA); 28A: Astronaut Grissom (GUS); 29A: Seed alternative (SOD); 32A: Impudent (SASSY); 35A: Refinery input (ORE); 36A: Escape to Vegas, maybe (ELOPE); 37A: "__ life!" (THAT'S); 41A: 911 response initials (EMS); 42A: Hardly local (ALIEN); 45A: Assorted: Abbr. (MISC.); 47A: Dinghy thingy (OAR); 48A: Electrical sound (ZAP); 56A: "__ you nuts?" (ARE); 57A: Matching (EQUAL); 58A: Agony and ecstasy (MOODS); 59A: Dorm agts. (RA'S); 60A: 640 acres: Abbr. (SQ. MI.); 61A: Opposite of lanky (SQUAT); 1D: Cpl.'s subordinates (PFC'S); 3D: Reset (ZERO); 4D: Letter from London (ZED); 5D: "__ was saying ..." (AS I); 6D: McGregor of "The Men Who Stare at Goats" (EWAN); 8D: Circus sites (ARENAS); 9D: French Oscar (CÉSAR); 12D: Capital ENE of Kathmandu (LHASA); 14D: Way out yonder (AFAR); 17D: Shrek's love (FIONA); 22D: Like much Hawaiian lava (BASALTIC); 24D: Some Chinese restaurant decor (GONGS); 25D: Dice and ice, often (CUBES); 28D: Spiritual leaders (GURUS); 30D: It may be tipped (HAT); 31D: One commonly follows "said" (COMMA); 33D: Japanese dough (YEN); 39D: Stone monument (CAIRN); 43D: King with a trunk (BABAR); 44D: Old TV parts (TUBES); 45D: Knight's protection (MAIL); 47D: Ventura County resort (OJAI); 48D: Contemporary of Mao (ZHOU); 50D: It's behind us (PAST); 53D: Elemental suffix (-IUM); 54D: MLB execs (GM'S).

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