Senin, 09 Mei 2011

05.09 Mon

May 9, 2011
Marti DuGuay-Carpenter

Theme: What's new? — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase that begins with a synonym for "new."

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Good reason to reopen a closed case (FRESH EVIDENCE).
  • 25A: Broad genre that began in Van Gogh's time (MODERN ART).
  • 49A: Original thought (NOVEL IDEA).
  • 54A: Title of Obama's 2009 Cairo speech, and what 20-, 25- and 49-Across have in common (A NEW BEGINNING).
Simple — very simple — theme, straightforward clues, nothing too flashy … Yep, it's definitely Monday, folks. Here's the thing about the theme. It's kinda boring. Each of the theme answers starts with a synonym for "new," right? This particular theme would be more elegant if that synonym for "new" meant something else entirely in the context of the theme answer. That's what we typically see in the A-list puzzles and there's a reason for that. It's more interesting that way.

For example, instead of using FRESH in a phrase where "fresh" means "new" — FRESH EVIDENCE (which, to me anyway, is kind of a clunker of a theme answer; my first thought was "new evidence") — a better choice would have been a phrase where the word FRESH means "sassy." Now I can't think of a phrase like that. I also can't think of phrases where MODERN and NOVEL have different meanings. So if I were working on this theme, at this point I would add it to my list of ideas waiting to happen and hold out until better theme entries presented themselves.

I can see, though, where the fill was spiced up a little, possibly to make up for the lackluster theme. Highlights in the fill for me include TWEET, POSEUR, BRAHMA and, of course, the best answer in the grid by far: THWACK (14A: Twitter message / 10D: One who puts on airs / 6D: Rodeo bull / 48D: Hitting sound).

I actually had two write-overs. I tried SERB where SLAV was supposed to go (8D: Pole or Czech) (I can never remember the difference between those two), and I had RANTED for VENTED (50D: Blew off steam). Other than that, smooth solve all the way around.

I'll leave you with a picture from my wedding that demonstrates why my first thought for 31A — Important purchase for a bride — was not DRESS, but rather BIRKS.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 16A: Shimmery sushi fish (OPAH).
  • 35A: "__ Fideles": Christmas carol (ADESTE).
  • 53A: Joule fraction (ERG).
  • 71A: Eyelid woes (STYES).
  • 59D: Hair removal brand (NEET).
  • 65D: Letters after els (EMS).
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Everything Else 1A: Edible bow ties (PASTA); 6A: Largemouth fish (BASS); 10A: Places (PUTS); 15A: Provoke (RILE); 17A: God of Islam (ALLAH); 18A: "Happy Gilmore" actor Sandler (ADAM); 19A: Song sung alone (SOLO); 23A: Intent (AIM); 24A: Former franc fraction (SOU); 36A: Miami University state (OHIO); 38A: "Figured it out!" ("AHA!"); 39A: Emeralds and diamonds (GEMS); 40A: Enlarge, as a road (WIDEN); 42A: Elvis __ Presley (ARON); 43A: "Who am __ judge?" (I TO); 44A: Unit of force (DYNE); 45A: Natural ability (TALENT); 51A: LAX or JFK, for American Airlines (HUB); 61A: Festive party (GALA); 62A: Tree house? (NEST); 63A: Spine-chilling (EERIE); 66A: Like Homer's "Iliad" (EPIC); 67A: Hudson Bay native (CREE); 68A: Furnish with more weapons (REARM); 69A: Eraser crumb site (DESK); 70A: Pay attention to (HEED); 2D: Hole-making tool (AWL); 3D: Ego (SELF); 4D: Rip (TEAR); 5D: Deep down inside (AT HEART); 7D: White House staffer (AIDE); 9D: Big rigs (SEMIS); 11D: Atop (UPON); 12D: Soft rock (TALC); 13D: Horse's footwear (SHOE); 21D: Muscular (SINEWY); 22D: Birdbrain, or extinct bird (DODO); 25D: Hocus-pocus (MAGIC); 26D: Words that start many Keats titles (ODE TO); 27D: Band samples (DEMOS); 28D: Twisty road curve (ESS); 29D: Beverly Hills's __ Drive (RODEO); 30D: Alexander-Great link (THE); 32D: Like some seals (EARED); 33D: Glistened (SHONE); 34D: Rudolph's boss (SANTA); 37D: Apprentice (INTERN); 41D: B&B (INN); 42D: Baba who tangled with thieves (ALI); 44D: Slap on, as paint (DAUB); 46D: Casbah city (ALGIERS); 52D: Where second stringers sit (BENCH); 54D: Like fine wine (AGED); 55D: Scruff (NAPE); 56D: Yale alumni (ELIS); 57D: Richard of "Chicago" (GERE); 58D: Words of understanding (I SEE); 64D: Anger (IRE).

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