Selasa, 10 Mei 2011

05.10 Tue

May 10, 2011
Doug Peterson & Angela Olson Halsted

Theme: The Runs — Two theme answers are clued "Good place for a run" and two theme answers are clued "Bad place for a run."

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Good place for a run (WRIGLEY FIELD).
  • 34A: Bad place for a run (NATIONAL BANK).
  • 41A: Good place for a run (VAIL, COLORADO).
  • 56A: Bad place for a run (SILK STOCKING).
Happy Diez de Mayo, everyone! Your friendly neighborhood PuzzleHunk is back, this time with a review of a crossword co-constructed by our regular hosts, Doug and PuzzleGirl. Yes, the most exciting tag team since Larry Owings and Dan Gable is back with another fun puzzle. I guess they're too modest to brag about their own creation (unlike certain crossword bloggers), so they trusted me to steer the ship for the day. Ooh, what's that block of ice floating in the horizon? Hmm, let's get closer and find out!

The contrast between "good" and "bad" places for runs provided a nice balance, and alternating the "good" and "bad" places from top to bottom was an elegant touch. Sure, I didn't have to dig deeply to discover the theme, but the fact that this wasn't the usual game of "what do these long entries have in common" made the solving experience feel more unique and, thus, enjoyable. Had the puzzle been four "good places" or four "bad places," it would have felt much more stale. Instead, this one was kicked up a notch.

The theme entries themselves are also better than what I would expect for a puzzle with this theme. A duller puzzle would have used BASEBALL PARK instead of WRIGLEY FIELD, for example. Sure, Wrigley's a good place for a run only if you're a Cubs fan (or a fan of the visiting team, when it scores), but the answer's much more interesting and fun to figure out. The same goes for VAIL, COLORADO, a much livelier entry than MOUNTAIN SIDE (or some other 12-letter entry that refers to skiing).

The overall difficulty struck me as the perfect Tuesday puzzle. Were it not for some errors early on, I might have been able to finish in a normal Monday time. A Tuesday puzzle should have a couple of write-overs, though, so no complaints here. Thanks, Doug and PuzzleGirl, for the fresh approach and an entertaining solve!

  • 5A: Dairy Queen treat (CONE). Ever try to make an eight-letter word (like, oh, say, maybe BLIZZARD) fit into four squares? It's not as easy as it looks.
  • 23A: "Doesn't bother me" (I'M COOL). And I'm a sucker for multiple-word phrases in my grids.
  • 29A: Lethargic (LOGY). Yogi was logy after eating a hoagie in the pic-a-nic basket he stole from an unsuspecting camper.
  • 47A: Sweet companion (SOUR). Anyone else try SOFT at first? You know, as in "soft and sweet?" Anyone? (Sigh.)
  • 2D: Provides with more heat? (RE-ARMS). Terrific clue (heat = guns).
  • 6D: Passe wedding vow word (OBEY). Today we use "submit."
  • 21D: Love interest in the song "Copacabana" (LOLA). Here's where my adoration of Barry Manilow works against me (well, here and at pickup bars). As any "Copacabana" fan knows, this could have just as easily been TONY or arguably even RICO. In fact, TONY is the better answer because the song is about Lola and Tony is her love interest.
  • 31D: Chuckleheads (YOYOS). I just like to say "chucklehead" aloud--it makes me smile every time.
  • 44D: Horn & Hardart eatery (AUTOMAT). I've heard of automats but never Horn & Hardart. Fortunately this was gettable from the crossings. This seems like the type of clue and entry that turns a Monday puzzle into a Tuesday puzzle.
  • 59D: Chestnut's stablemate, perhaps (BAY). I so wanted HAY for the answer to this. It didn't occur to me until just now that BAY, like chestnut, is not just a hair coat color on a horse but also a term used to describe horses of that color. In other words, it's perfectly normal for horse people to refer to horses as "chestnuts" or "bays." But I still want the answer to be HAY. If only there was a football play called a HLITZ.
Crosswordese 201 Round-up:
(a little harder than your normal 101 lesson, but you're ready for it)
  • 64A: Lofty abode (AERIE).
  • 66A: Oklahoma tribe (OTOE).
  • 22D: Sicilian volcano (ETNA).
  • 33D: River through Aragon (EBRO). Aragon is a purty state. It's the one jes' northa Califore-nye-ay.

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Everything Else-- 1A: Colorless (DRAB); 9A: 1972 Olympics star Mark (SPITZ); 14A: Get a better int. rate, perhaps (REFI); 15A: Genesis victim (ABEL); 16A: Hidden repository (CACHE); 17A: Qualify for (EARN); 18A: "Jeopardy!" creator Griffin (MERV); 19A: Clay who was the "Idol" runner-up to Ruben Studdard (AIKEN); 24A: Logo on many a Richard Petty race car (STP); 25A: Inventor Whitney (ELI); 28A: Bug-loving org. (NSA); 32A: Schindler portrayer (NEESON); 36A: Raced (TORE); 39A: Reuben bread (RYE); 40A: Hairpieces, slangily (RUGS); 46A: "Portnoy's Complaint" writer Roth (PHILIP); 48A: Aptly named Quaker cereal (OHS); 51A: Gloomy guy (GUS); 52A: Eastern philosophy (TAO); 54A: Danshui River capital (TAIPEI); 59A: It might end in a sack (BLITZ); 62A: Molecule part (ATOM); 63A: Singer with Crosby and Stills (NASH); 65A: Discipline with poses (YOGA); 67A: Long (for) (YEARN); 68A: Hostage-rescue acronym (SWAT); 69A: Travel (WEND); 1D: Attracted (DREWIN); 3D: #1 Toto song that mentions Kilimanjaro (AFRICA); 4D: Game played in a hall (BINGO); 5D: Arthur's castle (CAMELOT); 7D: Soft ball (NERF); 8D: Lisa Marie's dad (ELVIS); 9D: "Going under the knife" knife (SCALPEL); 10D: What dues need to be (PAID); 11D: "Gross!" (ICK); 12D: Pop __ question (THE); 13D: Meditative sect (ZEN); 25D: Biblical twin (ESAU); 26D: __ Island (LONG); 27D: Signs, as a deal (INKS); 30D: "The __ With the Dragon Tattoo" (GIRL); 34D: 1994 role for Jodie (NELL); 35D: Fiddling emperor (NERO); 36D: Common sitcom rating (TVPG); 37D: Honolulu's island (OAHU); 38D: Reformer Jacob (RIIS); 42D: Inhabitant (CITIZEN); 43D: Autumn birthstone (OPAL); 45D: Neck-biting nickname (DRAC); 48D: Morphine or codeine, e.g. (OPIATE); 49D: Muppet man (HENSON); 50D: Sounded relieved (SIGHED); 53D: Signs off on (OKAYS); 55D: "You don't have to remind me" (IKNOW); 56D: Cooking instruction (STIR); 57D: Pack away (STOW); 58D: Forum attire (TOGA); 60D: Wrangler competitor (LEE); 61D: 401(k) alternative, for short (IRA).

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