Rabu, 13 April 2011

04.13 Wed

April 13, 2011
Michael Blake

Theme: Check, please! — The beginning of each theme answer can be a synonym for "check" (the kind you get in a restaurant).

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Unable to reach a human, no matter which buttons one presses (IN VOICEMAIL JAIL).
  • 25A: Word processor setting (TAB ALIGNMENT).
  • 42A: 1791 legislation (BILL OF RIGHTS).
  • 48A: Verify ahead of time, and a hint to what 20-, 25- and 42-Across have in common (CHECK BEFOREHAND).
Please tell me I'm not the only one who confidently entered IN VOICEMAIL HELL for the first theme answer. Except for that one mistake, this was a smooth, smooth puzzle. I started in the northwest and made my way around the grid counter-clockwise with maybe a hiccup or two along the way, but nothing major. Until I got back up to the northeast corner. The funny thing is that I literally thought to myself, "It's so funny how I can never remember which spelling of ALTAR/ALTER is the one I need," before plopping in ALTER. Which was, ya know, wrong. But with ALTER and SCOLD in place (which sure seemed right for 13D: Bawl out), the rest of that corner might as well have been Japanese (I learned back in college that's how Greek people describe something incomprehensible to them -- true story!). Good old ST.-LÔ seemed like a reasonable answer for 19A: "Battle for __": Peter Yates WWII book, it being a WWII battle site and all. That left me with *ELLE for 12D: Prove false and *ASHET for 10D: Stove nozzle. With the letters I had in place, 10A: Blabbers could have been JAWS, YAPS, and probably a few other things (GABS, maybe?). It occurred to me that 10D: Stove nozzle might be GASKET (what the hell do I know?) and that was my first inkling that I had the theme answer wrong. Erased HELL, saw my spelling mistake, finally saw BELIE and then we were in business. Whew! Tought little corner there for me today!

  • 5A: Political channel (C-SPAN). Ever watch "Newsradio"? I remember an episode where Lisa was talking about not having a TV because TV is so stupid, etc., and then she learned about C-SPAN and was completely rapt. Yay, nerd girl!
  • 17A: Titanic bane (BERG). See, this is why blogging sometime takes so long. I thought I might include a picture of the actor/director Peter BERG here. I went to college with him one year — I wasn't great friends with him or anything, but since I did know him I'm always kind of interested when I hear about his career. Anyway. I thought to myself, "Hm, I wonder if he's on Facebook. Probably not." So I went to look and found a fan page for him, spent a little time wandering around there and then saw where people had posted pictures of themselves with Peter. Of course, a few people posted pictures from college and, this is pretty funny: One of the pictures includes one of the Greek guys that taught me the whole "it's Japanese to me" thing. But my point is, the whole time I was doing that I should have been writing. And now I'm behind schedule. Oh the trials and tribulations of a crossword blogger.
  • 41A: Bed that can be stored during the day (FUTON). Or not.
  • 61A: Without (SANS). This is French (French!), but I guess it's used widely enough in English that the clue doesn't need to hint at its Frenchness.
  • 63A: White man's makeup? (SNOW). Ooh. I was once pejoratively referred to as a "snow person." Not like when I was a kid and people called me Casper because I was really really blonde and really really light-skinned. In this case it was just because I'm white. That was the first and last time I ever heard the term "snow person" used like that so I'm not saying this clue/answer pair is offensive, I'm just saying it triggered an icky memory for me.
  • 3D: Wonderful, in slang (MARV). Who says this?
  • 5D: Affectedly elegant (CHICHI).
  • 7D: Fellow suspect of Mustard (PLUM). Clue!
  • 8D: 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit (ADIA). The way I remember the Sarah McLachlan song is that I know it's like AIDA only different.
  • 33D: Sister of Meg, Jo and Amy (BETH). Little Women.
  • 45D: Birch of "American Beauty" (THORA). The only THORA I've ever heard of is the grandma on that PBS Kids show, "Arthur." It seems like an awesome name for a grandma, um, what is Arthur again? Some type of rodent. I don't remember. Anyway, it's a good name for a rodent grandma. Not so much for a beautiful young starlet. Just my opinion.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 14A: Actor Sharif (OMAR).
  • 16A: Brother of Daniel, William and Stephen (ALEC).
  • 19A: "Battle for __": Peter Yates WWII book (ST.-LÔ).
  • 55A: Skye of film (IONE).
  • 49D: Galway's land (EIRE).
  • 51D: Bassoon kin (OBOE).
  • 52D: Server's edge, in tennis (AD IN).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Explorer Vasco da __ (GAMA); 15A: Broom rider of comics (HILDA); 18A: Alaskan native (INUIT); 23A: Highest ordinal number? (NTH); 24A: Changed course (VEERED); 31A: Ryder rival (U-HAUL); 32A: Screech owls don't make them (HOOTS); 33A: 'Hood pal (BRO); 36A: It may be put in a washer (BOLT); 37A: Bingo relative (LOTTO); 38A: Pet plaint (MEOW); 39A: Observe (EYE); 40A: First of 12 popes (PIUS I); 44A: Prison in 1971 headlines (ATTICA); 47A: Some pop-ups (ADS); 56A: Mythical weeper (NIOBE); 57A: Baking soda target (ODOR); 58A: Let go (DROP); 59A: Swashbuckling Flynn (ERROL); 60A: Mosaic piece (TILE); 62A: Type in again (REKEY); 1D: Mongolian desert (GOBI); 2D: Congregational yes (AMEN); 4D: Mythical sailor (ARGONAUT); 6D: Trig function (SINE); 9D: Hailing from (NATIVE TO); 11D: Hitching post? (ALTAR); 21D: "__ have to do" (IT'LL); 22D: Camera eye (LENS); 25D: Poster mailer (TUBE); 26D: Greeting from a deck (AHOY); 27D: Hayride seat (BALE); 28D: Grave robber (GHOUL); 29D: False (NOT SO); 30D: Theme (MOTIF); 34D: Carrot or cassava (ROOT); 35D: Has title to (OWNS); 37D: Tiny Yokum's big brother (LI'L ABNER); 38D: Pictures of perps (MUGSHOTS); 40D: Elect (PICK); 41D: Bona __ (FIDE); 42D: Curl beneficiary (BICEPS); 43D: Hardly ever (RARELY); 44D: Etching supplies (ACIDS); 46D: Mortise's mate (TENON); 50D: Driver's decision point (FORK); 53D: Court plea, for short (NOLO); 54D: Depicted (DREW).

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