Kamis, 12 Mei 2011

05.12 Thu

May 12, 2011
Mangesh Sakharam Ghogre

Theme: Figures of Speech — Each theme clue is a number the answer to which is a definition of a homophone of that number. Clear as mud?

Theme answers:

  • 17A: 8? (HAD DINNER). [ate]
  • 26A: 2? (EXCESSIVELY). [too]
  • 50A: 1? (TOOK THE GOLD). [won]
  • 62A: 4? (IN FAVOR OF). [for]
  • 39A: They're not literal, and this puzzle's title (FIGURES OF SPEECH).
Love this puzzle! And it's weird because I knew I was going to love it. I couldn't get enough crosses to decipher the first couple theme answers, so I just MEANDERED (36D: Wandered aimlessly) through the grid until I could. It finally happened when I got down to IN FAVOR OF and the theme was immediately apparent. The anticipation I felt while waiting to get to a theme answer that would break it open for me was very cool and was brought to an end by a real "aha" moment. (Which is much better than when it ends with a "wtf" moment.) But even then, there was still some puzzling to do with the remaining theme answers because at least two of the numbers have more than one homophone (I can't think of a homophone for "eight" other than "ate" but maybe I'm just blanking out here.)

Also, the reveal answer is awesome. FIGURES OF SPEECH. They're numbers (FIGURES) that sound like words (SPEECH). And in this puzzle, the numbers are literally transformed into words. Which is awesome on a whole 'nother level because a FIGURE OF SPEECH is, by definition, not literal. This is starting to blow my mind, man.

Ya know what I think I like about this? It feels like a Thursday puzzle to me. In the NYT, the Thursday puzzle often has something particularly tricky about it and that's what I really look forward to on Thursdays. The LAT doesn't use that convention though, so it took me a while to get used to a "straight" Thursday puzzle. And while this one isn't as creative/innovative/weird as some of the Thursdays over at the NYT, it's definitely leaning that way, so it was a nice surprise.

  • 14A: French darling (AMIE). Wait for it … French!
  • 15A: Reduce bit by bit (PARE). I tried WEAN first, which really messed things up in that section for a while. Also, embarrasing simply because it's so wrong.
  • 16A: Virginia political family (BYRDS). I was helping PuzzleDaughter study for a social studies test earlier this week and we talked about Harry Flood Byrd, Sr. I remember thinking to myself "Isn't that a West Virginia name?" But that's a whole different BYRD.
  • 19A: "Back Stabbers" group, with "The" (O'JAYS). I didn't think I was familiar with this song, but when I went to find the video, I realized I am. Check out these smooth moves.
  • 47A: Contrary retort (DOES NOT). I tried IT IS NOT first.
  • 57A: Its full name means "jumping flea" in Hawaiian (UKE). Who knew?
  • 68A: "Up in the Air" Oscar nominee Farmiga (VERA). How did I miss this movie? It looks pretty good. Anybody seen it?
  • 70A: Lake Michigan city (GARY).
  • 4D: Start to cure? (PEDI-). I would pretty much give my left arm for a mani-pedi right now. Hey, do you think I would get a discount …?
  • 25D: Newsman Roger (O'NEIL). I wanted it to be Roger MUDD. (Am I showing my age?)
  • 34D: One who brings out the inner child? (MOM). Now I don't know if I'm just in a good mood or what. I can imagine that at certain times I might not be quite so charitable with this clue/answer pair, but to be totally honest, it cracked me up today. In a groany kind of way.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 5A: "Battle Cry" author (URIS).
  • 58A: Raison d'__ (ÊTRE).
  • 1D: Morse character (DAH).
  • 41D: Yale of Yale University (ELIHU).
  • 42D: Printers' measures (EMS).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Not quite dry (DAMP); 9A: Yippie name (ABBIE); 20A: Ones with dark-spotted faces (DICE); 21A: Annual draft org. (NBA); 23A: 46th U.S. state (OKLA.); 24A: Nuevo __: Peruvian currency (SOL); 29A: Dig up (UNEARTH); 31A: "Ain't __ Sweet" (SHE); 32A: Pastures (LEAS); 33A: Protein building block, for short (AMINO); 36A: Animal's stomach (MAW); 43A: Happy hour order (ALE); 44A: Varnish resin (ELEMI); 45A: When doubled, a fish (MAHI); 46A: "Wheel of Fortune" purchase (AN I); 55A: Female rabbit (DOE); 56A: Business head? (AGRI-); 60A: Insipid (BLAND); 66A: It's slower than adagio (LENTO); 67A: Somber genre (NOIR); 69A: First noble gas discovered (ARGON); 71A: Noted sin scene (EDEN); 2D: Org. featuring seasonal flu information (AMA); 3D: Fifties, say (MIDDLE AGE); 5D: After the current act (UP NEXT); 6D: Operated (RAN); 7D: Goddess of peace (IRENE); 8D: Some Bosnians (SERBS); 9D: Donor classification letters (ABO); 10D: Exclamation from Colonel Pickering (BY JOVE); 11D: Start to stop (BRAKE); 12D: Pastoral poem (IDYLL); 13D: Common college admissions requirement (ESSAY); 18D: Cake finisher (ICER); 22D: Like-minded gps. (ASSNS.); 24D: Bacteria-fighting drug (SULFA); 27D: Try to catch (CHASE); 28D: Food chain (IHOP); 30D: Tempe sch. (ASU); 35D: "Don't mind __" (IF I DO); 37D: Blessing preceder (ACHOO); 38D: Snowy (WHITE); 40D: Monthly expense (RENT); 46D: A lot like (AKIN TO); 48D: Owner of a legendary lantern kicker (O'LEARY); 49D: 1999 movie about a reality show (EDTV); 50D: Indian drum (TABLA); 51D: Wolf, at times (OGLER); 52D: Long-armed ape (ORANG); 53D: Squeezing (out) (EKING); 54D: Columbus's birthplace (GENOA); 59D: Wander aimlessly (ROVE); 61D: Underworld bigwig (DON); 63D: Cedar kin (FIR); 64D: Valuable rock (ORE); 65D: Cheering crowd member (FAN).

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