Rabu, 08 Juni 2011

06.08 Wed

June 8, 2011
C. W. Stewart & J. K. Hummel

Theme: Six Pairs — Each theme answer is a made-up two-word phrase where both words can be members of the same category, but they're clued as a verb phrase ending with a person's name. Got it?

Theme answers:

  • 17A: *Persistently pester journalist Blitzer? (BADGER WOLF).
  • 23A: *Evade actor Harrison? (DODGE FORD).
  • 51A: *"Look out, Ichabod!"? (DUCK CRANE).
  • 11D: *Spotted rapper MC? (SAW HAMMER).
  • 32D: *"Step on it, Mrs. Cleaver!"? ("MARCH, JUNE!").
  • 62A: Biblical cargo, or what makes up the answers to starred clues (TWO OF A KIND).
What a fun puzzle to help us over hump day! It's really late right now so forgive me if I start dozing in the middle of this. Not the puzzle's fault! I have a friend who's going through a thing right now that's very distracting, so I've just spent a bunch of time on it and am trying to shift gears so I can talk about this puzzle before I go to bed. Okay, let's do it!

Super cute theme. I'm very happy to report that the phrases here all follow the pattern [verb] + [person's name]. If it hadn't been this consistent, it could really have been a mess I think. But it is consistent so … whew! Not much else to say about the theme except that there sure is a lot of it! Six theme answers seems to be more and more common these days, but it's still a lot. The fill suffers here and there because of the constraints created by the theme density (I'm looking at you FER), but I feel like there are pay-offs throughout the grid, so it all evens out. All in all, a very nice puzzle by two lovely and talented ladies.

  • 20A: Business opening? (I MEAN). In my mind, this clue is always looking for the prefix AGRI-. But not today.
  • 43A: Large departure (EXODUS).

  • 45A: Pirate's potent potable (RUM). Is "potent potable" really a phrase anywhere outside of "Jeopardy"? Serious question.
  • 48A: Take in (NAB). This was my trouble spot. I tried EAT and NET before finally coming around to NAB.
  • 66A: Zeno of __ (ELEA). If I had time to do a CW101 lesson today, I would probably bump it up to CW201 and talk about both this answer and SETT (69A: Paving stone). Both are words I learned from puzzles.
  • 3D: Like some wartime messages (CODED). Did you see that a bunch of spy stuff recently declassified included instructions on how to use artichoke juice as invisible ink? Some other crazy stuff too. If I had time, I'd find you a link. I heard about it on Rachel Maddow's show.
  • 7D: "Every wall is __": Emerson (A DOOR). I absolutely would not have gotten this one if it hadn't been for a recent New York Times puzzle that featured this quote prominently.
  • 53D: "Another Saturday Night" singer Sam (COOKE). The song that immediately came into my head is Cat Stevens. Let's see if I know this one too. Hold on …. Whoa! It's the same song! I didn't know the Cat Stevens version was a cover. I guess we really do learn something new every damn day.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 14A: University with a law school in Greensboro (ELON).
  • 37A: Fictional pirate (SMEE).
  • 42A: Taj Mahal site (AGRA).
  • 13D: Showy lily (SEGO).
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Everything Else 1A: Relay, say (RACE); 5A: Parasol purpose (SHADE); 10A: Nile biters (ASPS); 15A: Swiss Alps refrain (YODEL); 16A: Like a blue moon (RARE); 19A: Branch branch (TWIG); 21A: Ballerina's pivot point (TOE); 22A: Dodo (SCHMO); 25A: Carte start (ALA); 26A: Goof up (ERR); 27A: Office assortment (STAMPS); 30A: NCR product (ATM); 33A: Moronic (OAFISH); 38A: Crumbly soil (LOAM); 40A: Word with mouth or pool (MOTOR); 41A: Flu fighters (SERA); 46A: Like some cows (SACRED); 50A: "Let me think ..." ("HMM …"); 57A: Green-skinned pear (ANJOU); 59A: Blood system letters (ABO); 60A: Tease (RAG ON); 61A: Chef lead-in (SOUS); 64A: "Green Gables" girl (ANNE); 65A: Plumber's tool (SNAKE); 67A: Amanda of "Gulliver's Travels" (2010) (PEET); 68A: Fall flower (ASTER); 1D: Auction action (REBID); 2D: Avis rival (ALAMO); 4D: Captivate (ENGAGE); 5D: Turk. neighbor (SYR.); 6D: Instruction book (HOW TO); 8D: Edited out (DELED); 9D: North Pole resident, presumably (ELF); 10D: Place for a nude (ART CLASS); 12D: Proper partner? (PRIM); 18D: Cool time in Madrid (ENERO); 22D: Made a lap (SAT); 24D: Set up (FRAMED); 27D: Diminished (SHRUNK); 28D: Lima or llama land (PERU); 29D: Mine line (SEAM); 30D: "Woe is me!" ("ALAS!"); 31D: Frat party wrap (TOGA); 34D: Deceive (FOX); 35D: "What was __ do?" (I TO); 36D: Instant lawn (SOD); 39D: Small monkey (MARMOSET); 44D: Pelvic bones (SACRA); 47D: Down Under runner (EMU); 49D: Traffic stoppers? (BRAKES); 51D: Suddenly occurs to, with "on" (DAWNS); 52D: WWII German sub (U-BOAT); 54D: Nimble (AGILE); 55D: The Muses, e.g. (NONET).
  • 56D: Conclude by (END AT); 57D: PDQ relative (ASAP); 58D: Not a lick (NONE); 62D: Frisk-y govt. group? (TSA); 63D: Not agin (FER).
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