Rabu, 06 Juli 2011

07.06 Wed

July 6, 2011
Gareth Bain

Theme: Snap, Crackle …. — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase that ends with something that can be "popped."

Theme answers:

  • 17A: "Will you marry me?" is one (YES-OR-NO QUESTION).
  • 32A: Steak au poivre flavoring (PEPPERCORN).
  • 41A: Administrative area on Ireland's south coast (COUNTY CORK).
  • 59A: Bit of wedding toast effervescence (CHAMPAGNE BUBBLE).
  • 45D: Asked, burst open, extracted, or broke, as the ends of this puzzle's four longest answers (POPPED).
This is the kind of theme that always throws me for a loop. And every time I see one of these, I think to myself "I should go look for the reveal first. That will help me." But then I ignore my own advice. So I kind of plod my way through it, not really understanding what's going on, but knowing it will all come together eventually. Wait, did I say plodding? That's not fair at all. This one didn't feel like plodding. I actually jumped around quite a bit because I kept getting stuck. Not stuck like, "Oh crap. I'm never going to be able to finish this puzzle." More like, "I don't know this answer and I'm kinda lazy, so I'm gonna go find one I do know." The cool thing about this theme is that each theme answer is "popped" in a different way, which I probably don't really need to point out because the clue for the reveal made that clear, but whatever. Just call me Captain Obvious.

I noticed quite a bit of crosswordese in this grid, but I had enough of those little "stuck" moments, that the foothold I would get from an easy one was welcome. This grid is also full of awesome though. Highlights for me include:
  • 20A: Play flawlessly on the green (ONE-PUTT). I love that this is a verb.
  • 53A: Bit of moral fiber (SCRUPLE). No, you never really see a reference to just one. That's what makes it so amusing.
  • 24D: Old English epic poem (BEOWULF). Just yesterday, I was thinking about some of the reading I did in college. Now that it's been a hundred years, I'm thinking some of that stuff probably deserves another look.
  • 1A: English horn, e.g. (REED). See now, this makes no sense. I see "English horn" and, like most reasonable people, assume it will look a lot like a French horn. But no! It's practically an oboe! Very confusing!
  • 21A: Gets ready for market, as livestock (FATTENS). I just started a very serious weight-loss program a couple weeks ago that's going really well so far. Let's just say I've felt ready for market for way too long.
  • 47A: __ anglais: English horn (COR). Hey look. Another thing that doesn't make any sense about this instrument. If it's an English horn, why does it have a French (French!) name? Huh?!? I demand answers!
  • 62A: Reason to warn boaters (GALE). Oh my God, too funny. I misread this clue as "Reason to WARM boaters," and was all, "Why would you need to warm up a pair of shoes?"
  • 66A: Wilson of "Drillbit Taylor" (OWEN). Thank goodness I knew OWEN Wilson because the "Drillbit Taylor" part of this clue was completely useless.
  • 8D: Bordeaux ball team? (NEUF). Interesting. I'd never really thought about how in general if a person says "ball," they mean "baseball." Obviously, that's not true for every person. Lebron James probably means something else when he says it, but in general our culture has plenty of well-known phrases where my theory holds: play ball, take me out to the ballgame … okay, I can't think of any more.
  • 29D: Po' boy relative (HERO). It is apparently sandwich week here at the LAT puzzle.
  • 36D: "Peanuts" fussbudget (LUCY). Fussbudget is an awesome word.
  • 41D: "Cheers" barmaid (CARLA). I can never remember if her name is spelled with a C or a K.
  • 54D: Mother of Chaz (CHER). Honestly had no idea who "Chaz" was until I had filled this out via crosses. He's CHER's son, who if you're around my age you remember as an adorable little girl.
I'm dropping the PuzzleKids off at camp kinda early this week so [10D: "I'm OUTTA here!": "Bye!"].

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 14A: Old apple treatment (ALAR).
  • 15A: Gaelic tongue (ERSE).
  • 27A: Big pitcher (EWER).
  • 39A: Orenburg's river (URAL).
  • 2D: 2010 tennis retiree Dementieva (ELENA).
  • 11D: Comic strip dog (ODIE).
  • 30D: Ice cream thickener (AGAR).
  • 58D: River to the Mediterranean (EBRO).
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Everything Else 5A: No Doubt lead singer Stefani (GWEN); 9A: Hard stuff (BOOZE); 16A: Part of A/V (AUDIO); 22A: "Stillmatic" rapper (NAS); 23A: Commoner (PLEB); 25A: 4:00 English drink (TEA); 26A: Levi's alternative (LEE); 29A: General Arnold of WWII (HAP); 36A: Danish toy brand (LEGO); 37A: Sacha Baron Cohen alter ego (ALI G); 38A: See red? (OWE); 40A: Elizabeth of "Jacob's Ladder" (PEÑA); 44A: Street sign abbr. (AVE.); 45A: Shroud of gloom (PALL); 46A: Much (WAY); 48A: Fall short (FAIL); 50A: GI entertainers (USO); 57A: Skateboarder's wear (KNEEPAD); 63A: Caramel candy brand (ROLO); 64A: Pollster's find (TREND); 65A: Sardine's cousin (SHAD); 1D: Lustrous synthetic (RAYON); 3D: Alleviates (EASES); 4D: Pearl __ earring (DROP); 5D: Less violent (GENTLER); 6D: Authored (WROTE); 7D: Lawyer's letters (ESQ.); 9D: Turkey-roasting tool (BASTER); 12D: Mount sacred to Judaism (ZION); 13D: Geologic periods (EONS); 18D: Indian capital (RUPEE); 19D: Unlike leftovers (EATEN); 26D: Org. for Paula Creamer (LPGA); 28D: Birdhouse songbird (WREN); 31D: Mexican War president (POLK); 32D: Bear with a hard bed (PAPA); 33D: Mountain sign no. (ELEV.); 34D: Turpentine source (PINE); 35D: Not nerdy (COOL); 42D: Hotel room choice (TWIN BED); 43D: New Eng. school since 1701 (YALE U.); 47D: Curry flavoring (CUMIN); 49D: "The Jungle Book" pack leader (AKELA); 50D: Violin stroke (UPBOW); 51D: Hótel room (SALLE); 52D: Cineplex name (ODEON); 53D: Gibberish singing style (SCAT); 55D: A bit beyond raw (RARE); 56D: Breakfast order (EGGS); 60D: Slangy dismissal (NAH).

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