Jumat, 27 Mei 2011

05.27 Fri

May 27, 2011
Julian Lim

Theme: Put a Lid On It — Theme answers are familiar phrases with a type of "lid" added to the beginning, creating wacky phrases clued wackily.

Theme answers:

  • 4D: Surpassing a classic arcade game? (TOPPING PONG).
  • 9D: Boxed pasta that's different every time you open it? (CAPRICE-A-RONI).
  • 21D: Wheels for a spy? (COVERT MOBILE).
  • 27D: "Hush!" (and hint to how 4-, 9- and 21-Down are formed) ("PUT A LID ON IT!").
If you're anything like me, the first thing you probably noticed about this puzzle is that the theme answers are vertical, which is pretty unusual. It actually sort of makes me feel all discombobulated for some reason. Not really sure how to explain it. As you might remember, the first puzzle I ever had published (a collaboration with Rex Parker that appeared in the L.A. Times back in February) also had vertical theme answers. And we structured the puzzle that way for the same reason Julian did on this one. The theme of today's puzzle is about putting lids on, and lids go on top. Having the lids actually sitting atop a vertical answer (instead of to the left of an across answer) makes more sense visually. So hats off to Julian for adding that nice touch. (See what I did there?)

There's an awful lot of crosswordese in this puzzle. Make sure to check out the CW101 Round-up at the bottom of this post for a list of words it's really helpful to know if you plan to solve a lot of crossword puzzles. I just know that someone is going to ask for an explanation of CEE (63D: Company opening?). If that person is you, just head on down to the CW101 list, click on the link, and you'll find your answer.

Speaking of answers, did you all know this blog has a FAQ? It sure does. It's probably time for me to update it — there are a couple more questions I get asked on a semi-regular basis — but the number one most frequently asked question is definitely there. (If you want to know the significance of the highlighted entry in the grid at the top of this post, you're not alone.) But I digress.

Because it's the end of the week there were, of course, a few answers that I just flat-out didn't know, and today they're all people:
  • 6A: Dramatist Connelly (MARC).
  • 67A: "Prison Break" role (LINC).
  • 44D: "High Sierra" director Walsh (RAOUL).
ARS NOVA (28A: 14th-century European musical style) almost made the list, but it seems to be lurking way back there in the cobwebs somewhere.

  • 18A: Hard time (BUMPY RIDE). My favorite answer in the grid. Great clue, too.
  • 24A: Immunity __: "Survivor" prop (IDOL). Did you all watch the "American Idol" finale last night? My kids were watching in the other room and I popped out there every once in a while when it sounded like something interesting was going on. I didn't really follow it this year, but Scotty seems like a good kid.
  • 49A: You can't see beyond it (HORIZON).

  • 51A: Permanently (FOR GOOD). Love this colloquial phrase.
  • 54A: Without width or depth (ONE-D). I know this is going to bother someone. It's not pretty, but I guess I've just resigned myself to it. (It means "one-dimensional").
  • 68A: Young girl (MISSY). As some of you know, I work as a secretary and one of the people I support is a woman several years younger than me. I always try to act like a crotchety old woman with her and, therefore, call her "MISSY" a lot.
  • 6D: Shelley queen (MAB). The only reason I got this right away is because it was in a recent New York Times puzzle and I remember Rex complaining about it. Speaking of crotchety. Heh.
  • 29D: Scheme (RUSE). Your homework is to use this word in casual conversation today. Let me know how it goes.
  • 61D: IM sign-off (TTYL). IM = Instant Message. TTYL = Talk To You Later. The abbreviation in the clue is your hint that the answer will also be an abbreviation.
  • 64D: Keeps apprised, briefly (CC'S). I know some people still say CC stands for "Carbon Copy," but I've been using the updated "Courtesy Copy" for the last, oh, I don't know, 25 years or so.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 1A: Brewery fixtures (OASTS).
  • 10A: One standing out in a field? (CZAR).
  • 33A: One-tenth of a microjoule (ERG).
  • 55A: Organic dye (AZO).
  • 66A: Port on its own lake (ERIE).
  • 69A: __-Ball (SKEE).
  • 70A: Med. tests using leads (ECG'S).
  • 1D: Akershus Castle site (OSLO).
  • 7D: Jack-in-the-pulpit family (ARUM).
  • 37D: "__, Sing America": Hughes poem (I TOO).
  • 63D: Company opening? (CEE).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 14A: Not see eye to eye? (STOOP); 15A: Specialty (AREA); 16A: Like some ale (PALE); 17A: Flaw-spotting aid (LOUPE); 20A: Uncommissioned (ON SPEC); 22A: Colt producer (MARE); 23A: Officiate (REF); 26A: Nursery needs (DIAPERS); 31A: Neutral color (ECRU); 32A: Dream analysis pioneer (JUNG); 35A: Need (ENTAIL); 39A: "Now! (ASAP); 40A: Mikhail's wife (RAISA); 42A: Court fig. (ATTY.); 43A: Potential creditor's request (REPORT); 45A: 1-Down's land: Abbr. (NOR.); 46A: Nut (LOON); 47A: Identify (NAME); 56A: Very: Pref. (UBER-); 58A: Solver's cry (I GOT IT); 62A: Community service often associated with a law school (TAX CLINIC); 65A: Oafish (INEPT); 71A: Lucy's neighbor (ETHEL); 2D: Oceans (A TON); 3D: __-chef (SOUS); 5D: Phelps sponsor (SPEEDO); 8D: Like "Psycho" (REMADE); 10D: Pressing activity? (CPR); 11D: Congo, once (ZAIRE); 12D: Electric guitar wood (ALDER); 13D: Snorkeling spots (REEFS); 19D: Hanker (YEARN); 25D: Croft of video games (LARA); 28D: Allowing a little light (AJAR); 30D: Go ape (SNAP); 34D: Singapore Sling ingredient (GIN); 36D: Complete (A TO Z); 38D: NFL Hall of Famer-turned-politician Swann (LYNN); 41D: Trendy London district (SOHO); 48D: Unspoiled (EDENIC); 50D: Dieting and exercise, say (REGIME); 51D: "Thread of life" goddesses (FATES); 52D: Arkansas city (OZARK); 53D: Client of Billy in "Chicago" (ROXIE); 57D: Encircle (RING); 59D: Radio host John (TESH); 60D: __ dixit (IPSE).

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