Kamis, 14 Juli 2011

07.14 Thu

July 14, 2011
Jeff Chen

Theme: Conspiracy Theory — UFOs are hidden in the theme answers — just like at Area 51!

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Continental alliance's intl. strategy (E.U. FOREIGN POLICY).
  • 25A: Treat thicker than the original (DOUBLE STUF OREO).
  • 43A: Toyota RAV4 competitor (SUBARU FORESTER).
  • 57A: Complaint after a reluctant act (YOU FORCED MY HAND).
  • 64A: You can find one in the four longest puzzle answers, even if you don't believe (UFO).
First of all, I just need to get this out of the way: JEFF CHEN IS MY HERO. I've been trying for several years now to lobby any number of well-known puzzle constructors to put Iowa wrestling legend DAN GABLE in a grid. The most common response I get to that request is, "Um … who?" So I haven't exactly accomplished my goal there, but today … TODAY — look what we have at 50-Down: Midwest university with 23 team wrestling championships. That's right: IOWA. Go Hawks! Now I'm not going to sit here and pretend that the Hawkeyes' 23 titles is a record. It's not. Oklahoma State actually has 34. They clearly dominated college wrestling right up until 1975, when Iowa won its very first national championship. Since then, the Cowboys have won nine national tournaments to the Hawkeyes' 23. It's just a matter of time is what I'm saying. (Yes, that picture is the actual shirt I was wearing when I solved this puzzle.)

I could go on and on (just ask my friends), but I won't put you through that. Just know that I am so so delighted to see Iowa's wrestling team in a mainstream puzzle. Thank you, Jeff and Rich!

So, is there anything else in the puzzle worth talking about? Hmmmm. This is a cute idea for a theme, but I'll tell you what I don't like about it (because that's just how I am). It's not just the letter string UFO that's hidden in each theme answer. Every single one of the phrases contains UFORE. I actually noticed that at some point and wondered what the heck the theme could be. So points off for that. Adding points for the letters UFO breaking across two words. And a couple more for three lively theme answers (I'll leave it to you to decide which one could use some work). And then, well, about a gazillion points for including IOWA wrestling! (Did I mention that I'm super psyched about that?!?)

  • 6A: Tarboosh : Arabic :: __ : Turkish (FEZ). Tarboosh and FEZ are both really cool names for hats. (The point of that sentence was to let you know that I think the words are cool — not that I didn't think you knew they were hats.)
  • 9A: When bulls crow? (BOOMS). I typically like tricky clues but I think this one is just over-the-top. I can appreciate that some people will like it, but for me? Too too. (It's a stock market reference, for those of you still struggling to figure it out. Took me a while too.)
  • 21A: Drops a pop (ERRS). Not like a soda pop, but a pop-up ball. That's in a baseball game, for you sports-challenged folks.
  • 24A: E or G, e.g. (NOTE). See now this tricky clue I like.
  • 38A: Covered in goo (GUNKY). It's been kind of a GUNKY, goopy, oozy kind of week here at the LAT, hasn't it? See also 62A: Moved like goo (OOZED).
  • 61A: Canada's smallest prov. (P.E.I.). That's Prince Edward Island.
  • 3D: Player's piano? (SOFT). The word "piano" on a music score means "soft." I believe the piano (the instrument) was originally called the pianoforte — "piano" meaning "soft" and "forte" meaning "loud." The fact that it could be played softly and loudly was a new thing. Up to that point, people were playing harpsichords which stayed at the same volume no matter how hard they tried. (If I got any of that wrong, please feel free to jump in. That was just off the top of my head.)
  • 35D: Batik artist (DYER). I think this was included just to reinforce what you learned yesterday about batik.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 2D: __ lily (ARUM).
  • 18D: Beach bird (ERNE).
  • 26D: Great Plains natives (OTOES).
  • 30D: Dadaist Max (ERNST).
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Everything Else 1A: Medea's husband (JASON); 14A: Utah County seat (PROVO); 15A: Obit number (AGE); 16A: Hamilton of "The Terminator" (LINDA); 20A: Prime meridian hrs. (GMT); 22A: Otolaryngologist's diagnosis (OTITIS); 23A: "Richard III" star McKellen (IAN); 32A: Bluesy Waters (ETHEL); 33A: Resistance units (OHMS); 34A: "Outstanding!" ("RAD!"); 36A: Looking displeased (POUTY); 37A: 50-50, say (TIE); 40A: Allotment word (PER); 41A: Rabbit's title (BR'ER); 42A: Actor Davis (OSSIE); 47A: Two-time Indy 500 champ Luyendyk (ARIE); 48A: Old boat-steering tool (OAR); 49A: Yes or no follower (SIRREE); 52A: Askew view (BIAS); 54A: Storm of the '90s (GEO); 60A: Slop (SWILL); 63A: Country's Tucker (TANYA); 65A: Draws closer (NEARS); 1D: File format for pics (JPEG); 4D: Ab __: from the start (OVO); 5D: "Seriously!" ("NO REALLY!"); 6D: Not foul (FAIR); 7D: Clutch contents (EGGS); 8D: Path to enlightenment (ZEN); 9D: Smashed (BLOTTO); 10D: Slicker (OILIER); 11D: Taking care of business (ON IT); 12D: Year when "Hamlet" is believed to have been completed (MDCI); 13D: Remarks (SAYS); 19D: Vanishing sounds (POOFS); 23D: "Doubtful" ("I BET"); 24D: Dígito (NUMERO); 25D: He played Dillinger in "Public Enemies" (2009) (DEPP); 27D: Swahili for "freedom" (UHURU); 28D: "Got that right!" ("SO TRUE!"); 29D: One taking things wrong? (THIEF); 31D: Jack of "The Great Dictator" (OAKIE); 38D: Show leniency toward (GO EASY ON); 39D: Red letters? (USSR); 41D: Prickly shrub (BRIER); 44D: Person sometimes 9-Down (BARFLY); 45D: Biological ring (AREOLA); 46D: Gallivant (ROAM); 49D: Part of DOS: Abbr. (SYST.); 51D: Bollix up (RUIN); 52D: Grievance (BEEF); 53D: Peculiar: Pref. (IDIO-); 54D: Strip under duress? (GAZA); 55D: Cabinet dept. since 1977 (ENER.); 56D: Numbers on horses (ODDS); 58D: PC core (CPU); 59D: Soil-moving tool (HOE).

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