Rabu, 04 Mei 2011

05.04 Wed

May 4, 2011
Don Gagliardo

Theme: I can haz skillz? — Theme answers are examples of things cats are really good at.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: *Checking, as books (BALANCING).
  • 20A: *Like some ovens (SELF-CLEANING).
  • 35A: *Field action (HIGH-JUMPING).
  • 53A: *Part of many a magic act (DISAPPEARING).
  • 58A: New York resort area, and what the answers to starred clues are (CATSKILLS).
This is an awesome theme. I mean awesome. CATSKILLS! CAT SKILLS! Totally love it. The only two resort areas I thought of off the top of my head were the Poconos and the Hamptons. And neither of those seemed like they could be the basis of a theme. There are also some great clues and great words in the grid. SIGHT UNSEEN (24D: Trusting way to purchase) is a particularly fresh phrase. And you know I always love it when we get to see both first and last names of a crossword regular like ANG LEE (8D: "Hulk" director). I had to read [28A: Activist with Raiders] a couple times before I even understood it was trying to get me to remember Ralph NADER and "NADER's Raiders." (Me: "One of the Oakland Raiders is an activist?") And yet …

Several entries just really jarred me. Like 31A: 1987 Masters champ Larry MIZE? Um, who? Why cross an obscure athlete with an abbreviation (MON.) in a grid already full of abbreviations when you just really don't have to? Think about it. That's an easy fix.

I do always appreciate when NAAN (15A: Indian flatbread) is spelled with two As (in crosswords, sometimes it's not), but then I realized that NAN (49A: Bert Bobbsey's twin) is also in the grid. Then we've got CANC. as an abbreviation for [7D: Call off an appt.]. Ugh. And MOIL (MOIL?), which I guess is similar to TOIL (27A: Hard work) and seems, I don't know, kinda mean for a Wednesday.

One more complaint and I'll stop. The clue for EAR is [21D: Poor listener's in-and-out organ]. That's an awkward, bizarre clue. There's really no reason for that, is there?

I did appreciate the trickiness of 1A: Work on, as a part (COMB). And for some reason UNCLENCH (5D: Relax, as one's fist) seemed kinda cool to me. I tried LORD where PORT was supposed to go (41A: Boston or Baltimore). Anyone else do that? And my write-overs for UMP (22D: One wearing black at home) are pretty funny. First I tried NUN, then when I got the U and thought MOIL should be TOIL giving me a T, I thought to myself "The UTEs of the University of Utah must wear black at their home games." Now that is just dumb. HAha! Sometimes the convoluted rationalizations I come up with for my stupid guesses really make me laugh.

And that's about all I have time for today. Remember, the Crosswords L.A. puzzles are available over on Alex Boisvert's website. It's an incredible deal for a bunch of puzzles that I'm sure are fantastic (I haven't done them yet but I hope to get to them today!).

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 65A: Ferber and a Dame (EDNAS).
  • 2D: Ooplasm containers (OVA).
  • 8D: "Hulk" director (ANG LEE).
  • 23D: Island dish (POI).
  • 54D: Songwriter Paul (ANKA).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 5A: Donald, to his nephews (UNCA); 9A: Polite title (MADAM); 14A: [Turn the page] (OVER); 16A: Monterrey girlfriend (AMIGA); 19A: Plymouth's county (DEVON); 22A: Expand operations (UPSIZE); 25A: Expand one's belly (EAT); 26A: Goose egg (NIL); 32A: 61-Down resident (PIG); 33A: Versatile, powerwise (AC/DC); 34A: Subdivided (ZONED); 39A: Flat-topped formation (BUTTE); 42A: Blame, slangily (RAP); 45A: Blame (ONUS); 46A: Flower girl's path (AISLE); 48A: Geologic procession (EONS); 50A: Little devil (IMP); 51A: Lunch time (MIDDAY); 57A: Place to play (ARENA); 62A: Best Buy squad members (GEEKS); 63A: Busy as __ (A BEE); 64A: Toned-down "Awesome!" ("NEAT!"); 65A: Ferber and a Dame (EDNAS); 66A: Mama __ (CASS); 67A: Plucky (GAMY); 1D: Cheap pipe material (COB); 2D: Ooplasm containers (OVA); 3D: Blanc who voiced Bugs (MEL); 4D: Sergio Mendes & __ '66 (BRASIL); 6D: Greenhorn (NAIF); 9D: Ticked off by (MAD AT); 10D: Word of agreement (AMEN); 11D: Water shower? (DIVINING ROD); 12D: Fret (over) (AGONIZE); 13D: Really botched up (MANGLED); 18D: Pince-__ (NEZ); 29D: Descriptive wd. (ADJ.); 30D: Bra choices (D-CUPS); 31D: Day for the fair-of-face child: Abbr. (MON.); 33D: Some do it gracefully (AGE); 34D: Teen omen (ZIT); 36D: "__ for me to know ..." (IT'S); 37D: Kind of biol. (MOL.); 38D: Bases for arguments (PREMISES); 39D: "Of Human __" (BONDAGE); 40D: Like some TV pilots (UNAIRED); 43D: Nostalgist's suffix (-ANA); 44D: Future therapist's maj. (PSY.); 46D: Band booster (AMP); 47D: Medicinal syrup (IPECAC); 48D: Garden container? (EDGING); 50D: "None for me, thank you" ("I PASS"); 52D: Publicity (INK); 55D: Rhyme scheme in Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" (AABA); 56D: Hwys. with nos. (RTES.); 59D: Thompson of "Back to the Future" (LEA); 60D: Flee (LAM); 61D: 32-Across home (STY).

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