Kamis, 05 Mei 2011

05.05 Thu

May 5, 2011
Julian Lim

Theme: At the Drop of a Hat — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase with the word HAT "dropped" from the end.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: "Don't tell a soul!" (KEEP IT UNDER YOUR).
  • 31A: Spout nonsense (TALK THROUGH ONE'S).
  • 41A: Moonlight, say (WEAR MORE THAN ONE).
  • 60A: Instantly ... or how this puzzle's other three longest answers came about? (AT THE DROP OF A HAT).
Very nice theme today — I enjoyed this one a lot. I used the theme to help me piece the grid together, but even knowing what I was trying to do, I had a lot of trouble parsing WEAR MORE THAN ONE. I was stuck on the actual moon and just wasn't able to shift to the definition of "moonlight" I needed. Now that I'm thinking about it more closely, I think part of the problem is that I don't think of "moonlighting" as wearing more than one hat. I think of "moonlighting" as having more than one job. To me, wearing more than one hat is playing more than one role within a job (or relationship or family or whatever). I'm not saying this is wrong. I'm just saying that to me there's a subtlety that's lost here and that might have been part of my problem. I'm sure it won't be the last time that happens!

Not a lot of what I would call super sparkly fill today, probably because I'm usually drawn to the longer answers and this grid just doesn't have any — the longest answers other than the theme answers are seven letters. I guess the standout entry is HAN SOLO (43D: His co-pilot was a Wookiee). Maybe because I just noticed the spelling of "Wookiee" for the first time and maybe because it makes me think of this video, which cracks me up every time I watch it. (Just skip it if you're sick of it. I know I've posted it here more than once.)

The only thing I just flat-out didn't know and had to get completely from crosses was SILESIA (22A: Wroclaw's region). I figured it had to be Poland (Wroclaw just sounds Polish) but I pretty much don't know anything about Poland so didn't spend too much time fretting about it. I also didn't know that [38A: Carl's sweetheart, in "Up"] is named ELLIE, but that was easy enough to guess with a couple letters in place. Same for GERRY (50D: Elbridge __, governor famous for redistricting). I'm all "Seriously? A famous governor? I can think of a few, but none are named Elbridge. Oh wait, a minute … redistricting … hmm, gerrymandering …"

  • 15A: Of words (LEXICAL). This seems like a good word for a crossword puzzle, doesn't it?
  • 46A: "The Island of the Day Before" author (ECO). I know of Umberto ECO, but don't think I know this title.
  • 49A: Event with a queen (PAGEANT). This reminds me that it's been a while since I've watched my latest guilty pleasure, "Toddlers & Tiaras." Moving and working really does eat into the TV time, doesn't it?
  • 53A: Entre __ (NOUS). French! See also 5D: Here, in Haiti (ICI) and 46D: As a friend, in Marseilles (EN AMI).
  • 66A: "Listen to Your Heart" pop duo (ROXETTE). Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce … your earworm of the day.
  • 8D: Range along the Ring of Fire (ANDES). I thought about using a Johnny Cash video here (obviously), but honestly, the first thing I thought of was this kick-ass song that includes a reference to "Ring of Fire." Turn it up!

  • 12D: It barely gets beyond the infield (BLOOP). This is a baseball term (in case that wasn't obvious). I was trying to figure out how to describe it and it turns out I have a question: Is a BLOOP necessarily a pop-up? Joon?
  • 14D: __ con pollo (ARROZ). Spanish for "rice with chicken."
  • 26D: "The Handmaid's __": Atwood novel (TALE). Lo-o-ove this book. Read it in college and it might be time for a re-read, seeing as how that was a hundred years ago.
  • 56D: Far from titillating (TAME). Anyone else try LAME first?
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 18D: Science educator Bill (NYE).
  • 32D: Capek play (RUR).
  • 36D: Author Buchanan (EDNA).
  • 59D: Eyelid nuisance (STYE).
  • 61D: Japanese capital of yore (EDO).
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Everything Else 1A: Some graphic works (EROTICA); 8A: It often involves x's (ALGEBRA); 16A: One doing a lot of riding (NEEDLER); 19A: Phishing targets: Abbr. (SSN'S); 20A: Handbill (FLYER); 21A: Nothing special (SO-SO); 24A: Refillable candy (PEZ); 25A: Equilibrium (STASIS); 29A: 34-Down degree (NTH); 39A: Double-slash container (URL); 40A: Deteriorate slowly (ERODE); 44A: Black and __: two-beer drink (TAN); 45A: Pugilism venues (ARENAS); 55A: Tanager homes (NESTS); 56A: Impatient sounds (TSKS); 63A: Cape user (MATADOR); 64A: Ex claim (ALIMONY); 65A: Suffering terribly (IN AGONY); 1D: Horned game (ELKS); 2D: "Cheers" actor Roger (REES); 3D: Paddy animals (OXEN); 4D: Inside information (TIPS); 6D: Cajun entrée (CATFISH); 7D: __ in the conversation (A LULL); 9D: Wolf's activity (LEERING); 10D: Lux. neighbor (GER.); 11D: Breyers alternative (EDY'S); 13D: Conserve, in a way (REUSE); 22D: Display of links (SITE MAP); 23D: Really (AT HEART); 25D: Worry (STEW); 27D: __ puttanesca: with a spicy tomato sauce (ALLA); 28D: Avoid (SKIRT); 30D: Mezzo Marilyn (HORNE); 33D: Refinable rock (ORE); 34D: Like z: Abbr. (ULT.); 35D: When two hands meet? (NOON); 37D: Dates (SEES); 42D: With no end in sight (ON AND ON); 47D: Trig function (COTAN); 48D: "__ sight!" (OUTTA); 51D: Peruvian pronoun (ESO); 52D: How some stocks are sold (AT PAR); 54D: Woolly rug (SHAG); 57D: Recorded on film (SHOT); 58D: Key figure in epistemology (KANT); 62D: Quandary (FIX).

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