Kamis, 07 Juli 2011

07.07 Thu

July 7, 2011
Marti DuGuay-Carpenter

Theme: Legal puns? — Puns on familiar phrases that have something to do with law? (Is that right?)

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Fine print in Yogi's contract? (BEAR CLAUSE).
  • 25A: Court allegations requiring consideration? (ATTENTION PLEAS).
  • 42A: Product liability problems for Willy Wonka? (CHOCOLATE TORTS).
  • 57A: Vague religious law? (LOOSE CANON).
I have to admit, this theme confused me a little. I wasn't entirely sure what was holding it together as I was solving and now that I'm done, I don't feel like I'm much closer to understanding. Is it just that the resulting phrases have something to do with law? One is about contracts, the second is about a criminal trial, next is a reference to product liability, and the last one refers to religious law. And wait a minute, what is the clue for ATTENTION PLEAS? "Court allegations requiring consideration"? Is a PLEA a "court allegation"? Hey, I've seen every single episode of Law & Order and I'm pretty sure a PLEA and an allegation are two totally different things. CANON was the hardest one for me to get, partly because I didn't really understand what was going on and partly because the definition of CANON that I'm most familiar with is "a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works." I'm not blaming the puzzle for that one, because that little glitch was just a result of my life experience, not anything wrong with the clue. And yet.

Come to think of it, there seemed to be quite a bit of strange cluing in this one. Between the ugh-ily-pluraled INS (8D: Good tennis returns) and NILS (33A: A lot of nothing), the unwieldy partial IN AT (53D: __ the finish), and the for-some-reason-suffixized -ION (22A: Exempt attachment?) … well that's a lot of awkward cluing and at least half of it could have been easily avoided (NILS Lofgren, anyone?).

To be fair, there were several clues that I really liked too. I'm sure I'm not the only one whose first thought was CLINTON instead of TAFT at [1A: President known as "Big Bill"]. And [1D: Big band wind] is all kindsa tricky. First of all, I don't think most people think of a TUBA as a wind instrument (I know I don't) and, again, I can't be the only one who thought "Wait, big bands don't have TUBAs, do they?" not realizing that the "big" modified TUBA and not "band." Let's see … what else can we talk about?

  • 5A: Beat it (SPLIT). I love the phrase "Beat it." In my head it's said with an old-timey gangster movie sound to it: "Beat it, kid."
  • 20A: Body in a belt (ASTEROID). Another good, tricky clue.
  • 23A: Tab, for one (COLA). I get a little bit nauseous just thinking about it.
  • 56A: America's first spy (HALE). Apparently this is one of the few things PuzzleDaughter's Virginia history book got right, because I remembered it from a recent study session.
  • 60A: Sat rocking, say (IDLED). Hmm. I don't think I like this one. Is there a definition of "rocking" I'm not thinking of? I mean if you're rocking (like in a rocking chair), your … rocking, not IDLing.
  • 7D: More than just eye-catching, clotheswise (LOUD). I think I'm getting old because a lot of clothes I see these days seem pretty LOUD. I saw a magazine article recently that purported to explain how to mix and match different colors and patterns. I looked at what those models were wearing and all I could think was "Really?"
  • 28D: Firth or fjord (INLET). Yes, as a matter of fact I did enter COLIN before actually reading the whole clue. You wanna make something of it?
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 14A: Jamaican tangelo (UGLI).
  • 16A: Wheelset piece (AXLE).
  • 5D: Oater joint (SALOON).
  • 25D: Silly (APISH).
  • 55D: City west of Tulsa (ENID).
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Everything Else 10A: Shady growth (MOSS); 15A: Stag (ALONE); 19A: "Swell!" ("NEAT!"); 21A: Abby and Martha, to Mortimer, in "Arsenic and Old Lace" (AUNTS); 32A: Clip (SPEED); 34A: Many a '50s-'60s pop act (DUO); 35A: Fine cotton (PIMA); 36A: Moving aid (DOLLY); 38A: Douglas and Fraser (FIRS); 39A: Medium power? (ESP); 40A: Show enthusiasm (RAVE); 41A: Hershey's raw material (CACAO); 46A: Biblical middle child (ABEL); 47A: Jamaican spirits (RUM); 48A: Thin (SPARE); 51A: Get the most out of (MAXIMIZE); 59A: Elects (OPTS); 61A: Ivory Coast neighbor (MALI); 62A: New Mexico resort (TAOS); 63A: Spanish filmmaker Almodóvar (PEDRO); 64A: Hardly at all (A TAD); 2D: Gets along in years (AGES); 3D: Place to take 27-Down (FLAT); 4D: Turnpike roller (TIRE); 6D: Lament (PLAINT); 9D: Where to start playing a round (TEE); 10D: Guide (MANUAL); 11D: Team with a lot of pull? (OXEN); 12D: Blind section (SLAT); 13D: Directors' milieus (SETS); 18D: Exclaimed (CRIED); 21D: Range in seven countries (ALPS); 23D: DNA shape (COIL); 24D: Singular (ONLY); 26D: A conductor sets it (TEMPO); 27D: See 3-Down (TEA); 29D: Proclamation (EDICT); 30D: Subtle qualities (AURAS); 31D: Not too hot (SO-SO); 32D: What houses may be built on (SPEC); 36D: Valley (DALE); 37D: Like the lenses on some granny glasses (OVAL); 38D: Considerably (FAR); 40D: Courtroom cover-up (ROBE); 41D: Book with drawings (COMIC); 43D: Tender touch (CARESS); 44D: Test-taking tip? (ERASER); 45D: Prom dress (TUXEDO); 48D: Tavern measure (SHOT); 49D: Senior Smurf (PAPA); 50D: Chorus line (ALTO); 51D: Bread concern (MOLD); 52D: 49-Down's partner (MAMA); 54D: "J'accuse" author (ZOLA); 57D: Sass (LIP); 58D: Writing on an urn (ODE).

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