May 9, 2011
- 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).
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).
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).