Kamis, 26 Mei 2011

05.26 Thu

May 26, 2011
Jack McInturff

Theme: And this little pig …. — Theme answers are definitions of "we" homophones.

Theme answers:
  • 33A: Oui (FRENCH YES).
When I went back to work yesterday, I found out that I'm not quite back to 100% yet. I made it almost all the way through the day though, and then came home and slept for a couple hours. I did find the energy to solve this puzzle though, so let's talk about it.

I really like this type of theme. I don't think I'd care for it every day, but I think it's a fun change on occasion. In this type of puzzle, the theme answers aren't really stand-alone phrases. The only reason they work is because they're unified by the clues. You couldn't, for example, have a theme with the entries: GOLFER MICHELLE (Wie) and RUNNER JACKIE (Joyner-Kersey). That just doesn't work all by itself. But the homophones are enough to give you a general idea of what you're looking for and then the crosses help you fill in the rest. At least that's how it works for me and, as I said, I enjoy the change.

The only problem with this specific puzzle, though, is that a lot of the fill is pretty ugly. Namely: CXIX, ROOTLET, ENISLE, TBSPS., ON HIRE (again!), and EIS. BELL LAP (44D: Last track circuit) looks like it's probably legit, but it's not something I've ever heard of and it sure doesn't get many Google hits. As usual when I'm talking about subpar fill, I would likely be willing to give any one of those answers a pass if the rest of the grid was stellar, but taken together … it's just not doing it for me is what I'm saying.

There is some pretty stuff too, though. I particularly liked STENGEL (2D: Baseball's "Old Perfessor"), CRUELLA (12D: Fur-loving villain de Vil), and I MEAN IT (38D: Mom's tough emphasis).

  • 16A: Half a fictional detecting pair (NORA). This would be NORA of Nick and NORA fame. And I know you all know their dog's name.
  • 21A: Limoges liver (FOIE). I thought maybe "limoges" was French for "geese," but it's actually just a city in France.
  • 28A: Cycle start (TRI-). For some reason I always want to try UNI first. What is my deal with UNIcycles?
  • 30A: Amateur golfer's score, perhaps (LIE). I don't get this. I thought a LIE was, like, where the ball ends up after it's hit. I don't understand what it has to do with scoring. But I know there are enough of you golfers out there that someone will 'splain it to me!
  • 38A: First woman to land a triple axel in competition (ITO). And if you'd like to know what that looks like:

  • 53A: Win by __ (A HAIR). Tried A NOSE first.
  • 61A: Seller of FÖRNUFT flatware (IKEA). I heart IKEA. You do too. Admit it.
  • 65A: Chipmunks creator Bagdasarian (ROSS). Did anybody know this? I know I didn't.
  • 1D: Five-time Art Ross Trophy winner, for short (ESPO). I only know the Art Ross Trophy is a hockey award from crossword puzzles. Hockey, four letters? That's ESPO.
  • 4D: Frozen Wasser (EIS). German!
  • 26D: Supercomputer name (CRAY). Again, I do not know what this means.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 1A: Bass-baritone Simon (ESTES).
  • 41A: Nyctophobic fictional race (ELOI).
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Everything Else 6A: Second-century date (CXIX); 10A: Welding sparks (ARCS); 14A: Hard to stir (STOIC); 15A: Old __, Connecticut (LYME); 20A: Prov. bordering four Great Lakes (ONT.); 22A: Saltpeter (NITER); 27A: Maroon (ENISLE); 29A: Common street name (ELM); 31A: Lasting impression (SCAR); 32A: Confucian path (TAO); 42A: Fed. fiscal agency (OMB); 45A: Cheese partner (MAC); 46A: Moving aid (VAN); 47A: "Obviously" ("SO I SEE"); 54A: Words before many words? (IN SO); 55A: Canadian attorney's deg. (LLB); 62A: Phnom __ (PENH); 63A: Corn Belt native (IOWAN); 64A: Tracy's Trueheart (TESS); 66A: Recipe amts. (TBSPS.); 3D: Ristorante dessert (TORTONI); 5D: Mocks (SCOFFS); 6D: Eau __, Wisconsin (CLAIRE); 7D: Water-carrying plant tissue (XYLEM); 8D: Sitter's handful (IMP); 9D: Thirtysomething, e.g. (X'ER); 10D: Hall of fame (ANNIE); 11D: Small plant support (ROOTLET); 13D: Riviera resort (SAN REMO); 18D: Carol (NOEL); 19D: Available for service (ON HIRE); 24D: Gladly (LIEF); 25D: Burning desire (ITCH); 31D: Fi front (SCI-); 34D: Admire greatly (REVERE); 35D: Ancient rival of Assyria (ELAM); 36D: Zilch (NONE); 37D: Slugger Sammy (SOSA); 39D: It makes one's net smaller (TAX HIKE); 40D: Pump ratings (OCTANES); 43D: Veges (out) (MELLOWS); 47D: Meshes (SYNCHS); 48D: __ buco (OSSO); 49D: Music to the boss's ears (I'M ON IT); 51D: Coolidge and Moreno (RITAS); 52D: Ford Field team (LIONS); 56D: Uncle __ (BEN'S); 58D: "Fresh Air" airer (NPR); 59D: __ gratias (DEO); 60D: Sound after a breakup, maybe (SOB).

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