Selasa, 12 April 2011

04.12 Tue

April 12, 2011
Jerome Gunderson

Theme: On-Again Off-Again — Each theme answer is a compound word or a two-word phrase where each of the two parts can be preceded by both ON and OFF in familiar phrases.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Where sea meets sand (SHORELINE).
  • 25A: Behind-the-scenes worker (STAGEHAND).
  • 51A: Distract (SIDETRACK).
  • 61A: Sentry's job (GUARD DUTY).
  • 37A: Light controller—either of its first two words can precede either part of 17-, 25-, 51- and 61-Across (ON/OFF SWITCH).
Very nice theme for our Tuesday puzzle this week. I thought the reveal clue seemed more convoluted than was probably necessary, but I didn't really spend any time trying to come up with something better, so you can take that criticism with a grain of salt. Theme answers themselves are nice, especially STAGEHAND and SIDETRACK. Nothing super sparkly in the grid, only a little bit of crosswordese, seems like the abbreviations were all kinda bunched there in the middle so by the time I got to ALT. (after DEC. and RTE.) I thought "Okay, enough with the abbreviations already!" and then there weren't any more. Made me feel like I had special powers or something.

Two words in the grid made me chuckle because to me they're just strange words. TATAR (59A: Steppes native) and PITHY (42A: Brief and forceful). To me, TATAR always seems like it should be something else — TARTAR? TARTAN? — or maybe it's like someone trying to say TATER in a hifalutin way. And PITHY, well that just sounds like someone lisping, right? I actually used the word "pissy" in an email this morning. (If you're wondering — and I'm sure you are — I was telling someone in my office that I was in a pissy mood and it kinda seemed like this other person in the office needed to be yelled at so I was volunteering.)

  • 5A: Syrup brand (KARO). Mmmm, syrup.
  • 9A: Scatter (STREW). Oh here's another one. I know this is a perfectly legitimate word but have you ever heard it actually used? Or have you only heard it as, like, something STREWN about?
  • 19A: Like most attics (DUSTY). I tried MUSTY first. I guess the basement is more MUSTY and the attic is more DUSTY.

  • 23A: Links elevator? (TEE). Cute. The TEE "elevates" the golfball.
  • 56A: Place for a pint (BAR) and Place for a cup (BRA). Cute.
  • 10D: Liar's undoing (TRUTH). Oh if only this were true. Sometimes the TRUTH doesn't seem to make any difference. Sigh.
  • 39D: Suffix with cord (-ITE). I don't think I know what "cordite" is. Should I look it up? Oh okay, I will. Hold on.
    cordite noun: a smokeless powder composed of nitroglycerin, guncotton, and a petroleum substance usually gelatinized by addition of acetone and pressed into cords resembling brown twine.
    Alrighty then.
  • 50D: Western dry lakes (PLAYAS). Again, I'm sure this is right, but it doesn't fit with my experience of the word PLAYA. I mean, PLAYA is a beach right? I was tyring to think of ARROYO and, what's the one that starts with W? WADI? Yes, WADI. I think those things are all related, but different.
Crosswordese 101: I don't really know what an ARBitrageur is (except that it is presumably a person who engages in ARBitrage). All I know is that ARBitrage has something to do with Wall Street trading and hedging. Thank goodness that's all I need to know for crossword-puzzle purposes. Clues for ARB will almost always include one word from Group A and one from Group B:
Group A: Wall St., NYSE, market, trading, hedge fund
Group B: hedger, trader, specialist, whiz, figure
See how today's 45D: Wall St. hedger follows the pattern? Well, that's pretty much what you need to know about ARB.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 24A: Old Great Lakes natives (ERIES).
  • 64A: Cold capital? (OSLO).
  • 6D: George W.'s first press secretary (ARI).
  • 27D: __ Spiegel: German magazine (DER).
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Everything Else 1A: Poker Flat chronicler Harte (BRET); 14A: Plane opening? (AERO-); 15A: Farsi-speaking republic (IRAN); 16A: Sports venue (ARENA); 20A: Mob enforcer (HITMAN); 21A: Gp. concerned with fluoride safety (ADA); 28A: Christmas mo. (DEC.); 29A: Water temperature gauge? (TOE); 31A: Pro vote (YEA); 32A: USPS carrier's assignment (RTE.); 33A: Words of sympathy (I CARE); 35A: Potato cutter (RICER); 40A: Flora eaters, perhaps (FAUNA); 43A: Pilot's no. (ALT.); 44A: Toothed tool (SAW); 47A: Unused (NEW); 48A: Rock guitarist's aid (AMP); 54A: Spring time (APRIL); 58A: Anatomical ring (AREOLA); 63A: Carrying a lot of weight (OBESE); 65A: Largest continent (ASIA); 66A: Used hip boots (WADED); 67A: Feat (DEED); 68A: Winemaking waste (LEES); 1D: Lambasted (BASHED); 2D: Put to work again (REHIRE); 3D: Titillating (EROTIC); 4D: Singer with the Mel-Tones (TORMÉ); 5D: Brick baker (KILN); 7D: Attacked with clubs and such (RAN AT); 8D: In the future (ONE DAY); 9D: Glum (SAD); 11D: Fact-finding process (RESEARCH); 12D: Understanding between nations (ENTENTE); 13D: Method (WAY); 18D: It stretches from Maine to Florida (EAST COAST); 22D: Make better, as cheddar (AGE); 25D: Lord's laborer (SERF); 26D: Falling object's direction (EARTHWARD); 30D: Stumblebum (OAF); 33D: Roadside rest stop (INN); 34D: Clairvoyance, briefly (ESP); 36D: Like many a slick road (ICY); 37D: Passé (OUTDATED); 38D: Lash flash? (WINK); 40D: Scale fourths (FAS); 41D: Fictional Arabic woodcutter (ALI BABA); 46D: Ares or Mars (WAR GOD); 48D: Stimulate (AROUSE); 49D: Uncle __: Berle nickname (MILTIE); 52D: How to turn something into nothing? (ERASE); 53D: Effect's partner (CAUSE); 55D: Go by bike (PEDAL); 58D: Youngest to reach 500 HRs (A-ROD); 59D: Auto club offering (TOW); 60D: What mad people see? (RED); 62D: Pint contents (ALE).

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