Kamis, 19 Mei 2011

05.19 Thu

May 19, 2011
Peter A. Collins

Theme: Fish! — That's right, fish!

Theme answers:

  • 19A: Vast expanse (and a fitting setting for this puzzle) (DEEP BLUE SEA).
  • 38A: Somewhat suspect (and a hint to what can be found by connecting the circled letters in alphabetical order) (A LITTLE BIT FISHY).
  • 57A: Don Ho hit (and what the O's in this grid represent) (TINY BUBBLES).
Happy Thursday, everyone. This is the second Thursday in a row the LA Times has run a puzzle that I think of as relatively gimmicky. I think I mentioned last week that a gimmicky Thursday is standard fare over at the New York Times. Maybe the LAT is leaning that way now too.

My feelings about this puzzle are really all over the map. It's a cute idea, drawing a fish. Although I am repulsed by the thought of eating seafood, I've always enjoyed fish as decorative motif. So I like that. Also, I first thought that the O's in the clue for 57A referred to the circles in the puzzle, which seemed pretty lame. But now I see that it actually means the letter O's up there in the northwest corner. That's much more impressive. Especially because there aren't any other O's elsewhere in the grid. So that's two things I like. But then there's EEEE (45A: Very wide shoe). And TEDEUMS (40D: Latin hymns). And ESSES and REASSESSED (70A: 20% of seventy-six? / 10D: Like much real estate, annually). By the way, if you don't understand the clue for ESSES, please be sure to check out the Crosswordese 101 Round-up at the bottom of this post. Speaking of too many S's, you must agree with me that SPINAL TAP is awesome, but SPINAL TAPS is not. Also, the clue — 28D: Lumbar punctures — is icky.

So, yeah, I liked the chess reference — 12D: Way to relocate a king (CASTLE). And CADS clued as [72A: Bad lads] made me chuckle. But I'm not sure the good outweighed the bad/mediocre today. I'll be interested to hear what you think.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 17A: Scots Gaelic (ERSE).
  • 23A: __ Lanka (SRI).
  • 35A: Shrinking sea (ARAL).
  • 37A: Chicago commuter carriers (ELS).
  • 54A: Actor Wallach (ELI).
  • 63A: Gaming pioneer (ATARI).
  • 70A: 20% of seventy-six? (ESSES).
  • 2D: Seine feeder (OISE).
  • 50D: Priestly garb (ALB).
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Everything Else 1A: Ones minding their peas in queues? (PODS); 5A: __ band (PEP); 8A: Where the music stops? (HARD C); 13A: Uprising (RIOT); 14A: Consider judicially (HEAR); 15A: End of __ (AN ERA); 16A: Bony beginning (OSTE-); 18A: They might be executed by a judge (STAYS); 22A: York's title: Abbr. (SGT.); 24A: Fourth-cen. monastic (ST. BASIL); 26A: a.m. beverages (OJ'S); 29A: Citric __ (ACID); 32A: Finesse shampoo maker __ Curtis (HELENE); 33A: Shows inattention at a lecture, maybe (NAPS); 43A: Folksy negative (NAW); 44A: Identical (SAME); 46A: Lessens (ABATES); 49A: "Voilà!" cousin ("TA-DA!"); 51A: ENTs, e.g. (DRS.); 52A: Bonding capacity measure (VALENCE); 56A: Ideal conclusion? (-IST); 65A: Judge (DEEM); 66A: "Please allow me" ("MAY I?"); 67A: Old dwelling for 68-Across (TEPEE); 68A: Western natives (UTES); 69A: Ready for use (PREP); 71A: Gambling area (PIT); 1D: Urge (PROD); 3D: Heap affection (on) (DOTE); 4D: Self-help segments (STEPS); 5D: See 36-Down (PERU); 6D: Lessen (EASE); 7D: Basketball ploy (PRESS); 8D: Argues (with) (HAS A BEEF); 9D: Tiny crawler (ANT); 11D: Bombay product (DRY GIN); 14D: Like rotini (HELICAL); 20D: Support in a dresser drawer (BRA); 21D: Sudan neighbor: Abbr. (ETH.); 25D: Kate's sitcom pal (ALLIE); 26D: "Leaving __ Jet Plane" (ON A); 27D: Flier to Tokyo (JAL); 30D: Inflames (IRES); 31D: Pat (DAB AT); 34D: Declare (STATE); 36D: 5-Down's capital (LIMA); 39D: ATM output (TWENTIES); 41D: Slip floater, to its owner (HER); 42D: "Absolutely!" ("YES!"); 46D: Fly (AVIATE); 47D: Moistens with drippings (BASTES); 48D: Acoustics, e.g.: Abbr. (SCI.); 53D: Turn out to be (END UP); 55D: High-tech debut of 1981 (IBM PC); 58D: "__ do fear thy nature": Lady Macbeth (YET I); 59D: Epitome of redness (BEET); 60D: Pasternak heroine (LARA); 61D: Scrutinized (EYED); 62D: Uses a straw (SIPS); 64D: R&B artist Des'__ (REE).

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