Senin, 11 April 2011

04.11 Mon

April 11, 2011
Gareth Bain

Theme: Signed, Sealed, Delivered — Theme answers begin with words that can be words for the elements of a postal address.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: "I'll pay whatever you're asking" (NAME A PRICE).
  • 30A: Cost to the customer, as of illicit drugs (STREET VALUE).
  • 36A: Smooth urbanite (CITY SLICKER).
  • 44A: Subject of a highly classified file (STATE SECRET).
  • 59A: "Not another word!" (ZIP YOUR LIP).
Looks like we're starting the week off with a fine Monday offering from Mr. Bain. This is one of those puzzles where the theme was no help to me at all — I didn't actually figure it out until after the grid was completely full — and on a Monday that means my time turns out to be significantly slower than usual. I don't talk a lot about speed here on the blog because I know a lot of people aren't speed-solvers and don't care, but I enjoy the challenge of speed-solving and if I happen to be either particularly slow or particularly fast on a particular puzzle, it's interesting for me to try to determine why. I think of myself as a four-to-four-and-a-half-minute Monday solver, although I think that's actually being kind of conservative these days. Since I started solving puzzles obsessively regularly, my speed has definitely improved. I actually finished today's New York Times puzzle in 2:59, which is wicked fast for me. And this one? 4:45, which is quite a bit slower than usual. Like I said, though, I think the main thing that slowed me down was not getting any help from the theme. And I want to be clear, that's not a complaint, it's just an observation. Did the grid also include some un-Monday-ish entries? Hmm … I'm thinking TO BOOT and PHENOL and LACE-UPS are pretty high end for a Monday. (Ouch though! Just noticed BOOT in the grid and "Hiking boots" in the clues. That's a no-no!) So what do you all think? If you time yourself, were you slowed down today? If you don't time yourself, did it just seem a little harder than usual for a Monday?

I also noticed a lot of names in this grid. Personally, I like seeing names in my puzzles, but I know some people don't. Let's see who we've got lurking around today:
  • 33A: Toon storekeeper from India (APU).
  • 66A: Moorehead of "Bewitched" (AGNES).
  • 11D: "The Guns of Navarone" author MacLean (ALISTAIR).
  • 40D: Pres. after GWB (BHO).
  • 46D: Director Hitchcock (ALFRED).
  • 47D: "Cosby" actress Phylicia (RASHAD).
  • 48D: Jerry's female friend, on "Seinfeld" (ELAINE).
  • 59D: When doubled, a Gabor (ZSA).
That might be an interesting party.

Just a couple more things to mention and I'll be off to enjoy the rest of my Monday. Hope you do the same.

  • 22A: Holy smoke (INCENSE). Nice clue.
  • 34A: Problem for Pauline (PERIL). According to Wikipedia: "The Perils of Pauline is a motion picture serial shown in weekly installments featuring Pearl White as the title character. Pauline has often been cited as a famous example of a damsel in distress, although some analyses hold that her character was more resourceful and less helpless than the classic damsel stereotype." So, I hate to ask the obvious question here, but how is PEARL the title character when the character in the title is PAULINE? Just asking.
  • 40A: Campus VIP (BMOC). Big Man On Campus.
  • 51A: Mustard's rank: Abbr. (COL.). Clue!
  • 67A: Chess standoff (DRAW). I thought it was called something else in chess. A stalemate? Oh I guess if you get to a stalemate in chess, then the games ends in a draw.
  • 35D: Genealogy abbr. (DESC.). Descendant.
  • 41D: Chopping, as garlic (MINCING). Are chopping and mincing the same thing? I mean in anybody's kitchen besides mine.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 17A: Bird sacred to Tut (IBIS).
  • 20A: Doves' homes (COTES).
  • 24A: Sportage automaker (KIA).
  • 33A: Toon storekeeper from India (APU).
  • 42A: Double-reed winds (OBOES).
  • 68A: Yemen city on its own gulf (ADEN).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Dance move (STEP); 5A: Give a free ticket to (COMP); 9A: __-Abyssinian War: 1936 Mussolini triumph (ITALO); 14A: Task list heading (TO-DO); 15A: Foot's curve (ARCH); 16A: Grinding tooth (MOLAR); 23A: "Rock and Roll, Hoochie __": 1974 hit (KOO); 27A: As __ as Methuselah (OLD); 28A: "... three men in a __" (TUB); 35A: Brake component (DISC); 43A: "She Done __ Wrong": Mae West film (HIM); 50A: Small bill (ONE); 52A: Audible dance style (TAP); 53A: Pub purchase (ALE); 54A: Homemade shorts (CUT-OFFS); 57A: Lazy __: revolving tray (SUSAN); 62A: Use UPS (SHIP); 63A: Sound that might accompany 37-Down (SNORT); 64A: French franc successor (EURO); 65A: "The __ Love": Gershwin song (MAN I); 1D: Pick-up __: toy (STICKS); 2D: Also (TO BOOT); 3D: Newspaper bigwig (EDITOR); 4D: Model's stance (POSE); 5D: Is able to (CAN); 6D: "... man __ mouse?" (OR A); 7D: Early 20th-century year (MCMI); 8D: Early antiseptic compound (PHENOL); 9D: Get in the way of (IMPEDE); 10D: In a dilemma (TORN); 12D: Hiking boots, e.g. (LACE-UPS); 13D: Galena or hematite (ORE); 19D: Civil rights gp. (ACLU); 21D: Trapshooting (SKEET); 25D: "Lord knows __!" (I TRY); 26D: Rent-a-car option (AVIS); 29D: Tampa NFLer (BUC); 31D: "Beowulf," e.g. (EPIC); 32D: Dole out (ALLOT); 36D: Discover fortuitously (COME UPON); 37D: Scoffer's words (I BET); 38D: __ Nostra (COSA); 39D: Hangs on to (KEEPS); 44D: Runs fast (SCOOTS); 45D: Vegan staple (TOFU); 49D: Part of a daunting split, in bowling (TEN PIN); 55D: Rugby radial (TYRE); 56D: Cast aspersions on (SLUR); 58D: West Point inits. (USMA); 60D: Savings vehicle for later yrs. (IRA); 61D: Comics punch sound (POW).

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