Jumat, 15 April 2011

04.15 Fri

April 15, 2011
Matt Matera

Theme: A Different Kind of Add-a-Letter Theme — Each theme answer is the name of a person who is commonly known by two initials and last name. A third letter is added to the first two initials to create a well-known initialism. And then the clue is, of course, wacky.

Theme answers:

  • 1A: Fantasy author and forensic pathologist? (C.S.I. LEWIS).
  • 22A: Behaviorist and teen confidant? (B.F.F. SKINNER).
  • 33A: Huckster and school supporter? (P.T.A. BARNUM).
  • 49A: British novelist and medic? (E.M.T. FORSTER).
  • 63A: Children's author and roadside helper? (A.A.A. MILNE).
Again with the awesome theme! Really, really enjoyed this one. In fact, it was only after I had the whole puzzle solved and was going back through the entries in preparation for this write-up that I noticed all the little crappy fill. It honestly didn't bother me while I was solving because I was so intent on figuring out the theme answers, which I thought were really clever and amusing. The only answer that really made me scratch my head during the solve was PILAR, which apparently means [20A: Hairy]. Who knew? Well, I bet Gayle Dean knew. Dean used this clue/answer combo in a Sunday L.A. Times puzzle in August 2004. Since that time, according to the data base at cruciverb.com, it's been used three times in Sunday New York Times puzzles (2005, 2008, and 2010) and once in a Friday Wall Street Journal (2009). So. If the past is any predictor, chances are you won't see this word for another 6–7 years if you only solve the LAT. And I think that's a good thing. As for the rest of the three-letter fill in this grid, you'll be seeing all those entries a lot more often but, with any luck, not all in the same grid.

Did I mention how much I enjoyed this theme?

Highlights in the grid for me include:
  • 57A: University of Cincinnati team (BEARCATS).
  • 60A: Gangster's gun, in old-timey slang (ROSCOE).
  • 42D: Hoops embarrassment (AIRBALL).
  • 15A: Reason for a pass (LATENESS). I was thinking sports here, but this is about being late for school and needing a "late pass" from the office.
  • 19A: It merged with Kmart in 2005 (SEARS). I had a thing at work yesterday that involved Kmart and SEARS and a lot of anxiety. Not Fun to see this in the grid today!
  • 32A: Indeed (YEA). I think this clue needs a "slangily."
  • 41A: Inspiration for the Frisbee (PIE PLATE). HAha! "Here's the last piece of pie, honey. Hmm… Look at this pie plate. Doesn't it look like it would be fun to fling it across the room? Let's see if Fido will catch it!"
  • 62A: Most people (ASIANS). I've seen this clue before and I Love it.
  • 12D: Maura of "ER" (TIERNEY). She also played Lisa on "Newsradio," which I was just talking about yesterday!
  • 22D: Theda of silents (BARA). Theda BARA, Zasu Pitts … I think there's one more silent film star you need to know for puzzles. Anyone?
  • 24D: Run-down theater (FLEA PIT). Is this, like, lingo in the biz?
  • 40D: Fraternity founded at New York University in 1847 (ZETA PSI). Could have clued this as "Two random Greek letters" and I would have gotten it just as easily.
  • 53D: Boater's edge (BRIM). The boater in this clue is a hat.
  • 54D: When Tony sings "Maria" (ACT I). "West Side Story"? That's my guess.
  • 55D: Time often named (ERA). As in: The Steroid Era, The Big Band Era, The Crossword Blog Era. (Hey, a girl can dream.)
  • 58D: Spain's Queen Victoria Eugenia, familiarly (ENA). I was going to include this in the CW101 round-up, but it turns out when I originally talked about ENA, I only mentioned the "Bambi's aunt" clue, which is what you'll see 99% of the time. The other 1%, you'll see a Spanish queen clue like this one.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 5D: Tolkien's Skinbark and Leaflock, e.g. (ENTS).
  • 14D: Paris possessive (SES).
  • 25D: Before, in verse (ERE).
  • 29D: Babbling Addams character (ITT).
  • 48D: Brit. military award (DSO).
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Everything Else 9A: Jah worshipers (RASTAS); 16A: Strike caller (UMPIRE); 17A: German shepherd (ALSATIAN); 18A: Some special forces headgear (BERETS); 21A: High sch. VIPs (SRS.); 27A: At first blush (INITIALLY); 30A: Teen follower? (-AGERS); 31A: Infer (CONSTRUE); 38A: Toon dynamo, familiarly (TAZ); 45A: Lieu (STEAD); 48A: Time, for one (DIMENSION); 51A: CD-__ (ROM); 52A: Droid in every "Star Wars" film (ARTOO); 53A: Sweet cake that's an Easter tradition in Eastern Europe (BABKA); 55A: Spots (ESPIES); 61A: Permits (ENTITLES); 1D: Thing that endures (CLASSIC); 2D: Port of SW Italy (SALERNO); 3D: "That's just wrong" ("IT'S A SIN"); 4D: "That way madness lies" speaker (LEAR); 6D: China's Northern __ Dynasty, 386-534 AD (WEI); 7D: First of the Maj. Prophets (ISA.); 8D: Three-part fig. (SSN); 9D: Creator of a popular six-color puzzle (RUBIK); 10D: First name in aviation (AMELIA); 11D: Paid (for) (SPRANG); 13D: Lost __ (ART); 14D: Paris possessive (SES); 20D: Adler's subj. (PSY.); 23D: Bungle (FLUB); 26D: Where Mandela was pres. (RSA); 28D: Dosage abbr. (TSP.); 34D: Coleridge work (RIME); 35D: __-do-well (NE'ER); 36D: Network that merged with The WB (UPN); 37D: David Beckham's org. (MLS); 38D: Half a fly (TSE); 39D: Withdrawal aid, briefly (ATM); 43D: Caught one's breath (TOOK TEN); 44D: As one (EN MASSE); 46D: Lesotho's home (AFRICA); 47D: Spoil rotten (DOTE ON); 50D: Lover's gift (ROSES); 56D: Under-the-sink brand (SOS); 57D: Arthur of "All in the Family" (BEA); 59D: __ snail's pace (AT A).

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