Rabu, 15 Juni 2011

06.15 Wed

June 15, 2011
Jennifer Nutt

Theme:  Between a Rock and a Hard Place — A plethora of predicaments.

Theme Entries:
  • 17A: *Aid for loose-leaf filing (HOLE PUNCHER).
  • 10D: *Pay for a verdict (FIX THE JURY).
  • 14D: *Random sample (SPOT CHECK).
  • 29D: *Improvisational gig (JAM SESSION).
  • 32D: *Deli container (PICKLE JAR).
  • 61A: Trouble at the starts of the answers to starred clues (PREDICAMENT).
Hey, puzzle fans. Doug here on a Wednesday. Did you hear the big news yesterday? PuzzleGirl made her New York Times crossword puzzle debut! She's reached the top, the Holy Grail of crossworddom. Her next goal: replace Will Shortz as editor. I wouldn't put it past her. Anyway, she spent most of Tuesday reading congratulatory emails, tweets, and Facebook messages & was generally super-excited all day long. That'll wear you out. So she's asleep right now, and I'm the elf who gets to do the blog while she's zonked out.

I don't know anything about today's constructor, Jennifer Nutt. Hmmm, I see she once collaborated on a puzzle with Andrea Carla Michaels. That settles it. She's awesome. I enjoyed today's theme, and I really like the fact that some of the theme entries intersect. Those of you who've tried constructing puzzles know that it's hard enough to find a set of theme entries that are consistent and have matching lengths. Now imagine that they also have to intersect each other symmetrically. Yikes! So yeah, this grid is impressive. On the downside, I think 17-Across is more commonly known as a HOLE PUNCH (no -ER) and 10-Down, FIX THE JURY, isn't as "in the language" as the other phrases.

  • 10A: "The dog ate my homework," e.g. (FIB). I once tried telling PuzzleGirl "The dog deleted the blog," but she didn't believe me.
  • 38A: Former Fiesta Bowl site (TEMPE). It's officially the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and has been held in Glendale, Arizona, since 2007.
  • 46A: American realist who painted "The Gross Clinic" (1875) (EAKINS). Thomas Eakins. Huh? That's a tough entry for a Wednesday, or any day of the week. I read the Wikipedia article on  "The Gross Clinic" and it's pretty darn interesting. The painting depicts what a surgical theater looked like in the nineteenth century. The title is accurate: it's gross. One critic said that the painting is "one of the most powerful, horrible, yet fascinating pictures that has been painted anywhere in this century...but the more one praises it, the more one must condemn its admission to a gallery where men and women of weak nerves must be compelled to look at it, for not to look at it is impossible." I don't want to traumatize our weak-nerved readers, so please enjoy this basketful of kittens..
  • 61A: Trouble at the starts of the answers to starred clues (PREDICAMENT). Was the theme clear to everyone? Each of the starting words is a predicament. You can be "in a hole," "in a fix," "in a spot," etc. And none of them are where you wanna be.
  • 66A: He's got the life (RILEY). When I was a kid, one of our neighbors often said to me "You're living the life of Riley!" I never had a clue what the heck he was talking about. Sometimes he told me that when I was mowing the lawn, so I don't think he knew what he was talking about either.
  • 27D: "Beetle Bailey" dog (OTTO) / 36D: "Garfield" dog (ODIE). Two very common crossword dogs. You might also run into SNERT from "Hagar the Horrible" or DAWG from "Hi and Lois." I've yet to see the dog from "The Family Circus" in a puzzle. Good old BARFY.
  • 59D: Charon's river (STYX). "The Best of Times," by request.
    PuzzleGirl will be back tomorrow, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to blog. See you on Sunday.

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