Kamis, 14 Juli 2011

07.15 Fri

July 15, 2011
Bruce Sutphin

Theme: Kilroy Was Here — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase with the letter string TAG inserted into it, creating a new wacky phrase, clued wackily.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Gnome held against his will? (GARDEN HOSTAGE).
  • 27A: Meteorologist's view? (WEATHER VANTAGE).
  • 43A: Team equipment manager's snafu? (JERSEY SHORTAGE).
  • 51A: Stamps with nudes? (EROTIC POSTAGE).
  • 66A: Some graffiti signatures (which were used to form this puzzle's four longest answers) (TAGS).
I believe this is Bruce's debut puzzle and I think he did a great job with it. I'm pretty sure I've met Bruce before and I have this vague idea that last year at ACPT I saw him a couple times and he was wearing a t-shirt that had something to do with coffee. Am I making that up? Anyway. The theme concept is simple and well-executed. I kinda wish the TAG hadn't been at the end of the word before an E on every single theme answer, but ya know what? It's hard for me to dwell too long on any nits I might have with this puzzle when I've got JERSEY SHORTAGE staring me in the face. That's pure gold there. Literally made me LOL. I also think GARDEN HOSTAGE is pretty good. The other two? Unfortunately, meh. But any boredom they cause is totally outweighed by JERSEY SHORTAGE which, I should note, also has an outstanding clue. That's just an all-around great entry is what I'm saying.

Par for the course on a Friday, there were several entries that I just flat-out didn't know:
  • 15A: "Breaking Bad" actor __ Paul (AARON). Never heard of "Breaking Bad" or AARON Paul. I'm guessing this is something hip and current.
  • 32A: Faris of "Scary Movie" films et al. (ANNAS). Oh look! Another beautiful actress I've never heard of. I think that's three this week.
  • 3D: Arcturus, for one (RED GIANT). This was a complete mystery to me.
  • 7D: Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael (OREN). Guess I'm not an expert on ambassadors. I don't think I'll lose any sleep over it.
  • 14A: Head start? (IDEA). I'm not sure I fully understand this clue/answer pair.
  • 35A: Pasty (WAXEN). I tried ASHEN first.
  • 42A: Debonair neckwear (ASCOT). What's the guy's name on Scooby-Doo who wears the ascot? Freddy. I honestly can't even see the word ASCOT without immediately picturing Freddy. Wait, is that even an ASCOT he's wearing?
  • 1D: Operation Neptune Spear org. (CIA). This is the name of the mission that concluded in May with Osama bin Laden's death. Like everyone else in the world, I was paying a lot of attention to the news that day, but for some reason this code name apparently got by me. I remember hearing some discussion about the code name "Geronimo" that was involved in the operation, but not the name of the operation itself. Maybe I don't pay quite as close attention as I think I do.
  • 8D: First matchmaker? (NOAH). Cute clue!
  • 10D: Part of e.g. (GRATIA). "E.g." stands for exempli GRATIA ("for example"). What's the most important thing to know about this particular abbreviation? That it's not interchangable with "i.e." They mean two totally different things. You heard it here first.
  • 30D: Beauty antecedent? (AGE). As in the phrase "age before beauty." Another great clue.
  • 37D: Eureka hrs. (PST). Eureka is a city in California that therefore observes Pacific Standard Time.
  • 42D: Two-dimensional analogue of volume (AREA). Wow. I have no idea what the words in this clue mean.
  • 53D: Whiten (PALE). Interesting. I was about to say that I didn't know PALE could be a verb, but somewhere waaay back in the cobwebs, it sounds familiar. What do you think?
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 12D: Zenith (APOGEE).
  • 22D: Grounded big birds? (SST'S).
  • 41D: Piedmont wine region (ASTI).
  • 54D: Comics dog (OTTO).
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Everything Else 1A: It's covered in silk (CORN); 5A: British bakery buy (SCONE); 10A: Mass measure (GRAM); 16A: Result of getting too far behind, briefly (REPO); 17A: Extends, with "to" (ADDS); 18A: Serious alarm (DREAD); 19A: Skip and jump lead-in (A HOP); 23A: Runner on snow (SKI); 25A: Drink in a yard (ALE); 26A: Math ratios (SINES); 33A: They may shrink if they aren't fed (EGOS); 34A: Visit (GO TO); 37A: Light touches (PATS); 41A: Unrivaled (A-ONE); 48A: "12 Angry Men" director (LUMET); 49A: "No thanks, I just __" (ATE); 50A: Stop up (DAM); 56A: Jackson 5 brother (TITO); 57A: Coffeehouse order (LATTE); 58A: Tony relative (EMMY); 61A: Doesn't waste (USES); 62A: Take in, maybe (ALTER); 63A: Short evening? (NITE); 64A: Benchmarks: Abbr. (STDS.); 65A: Lowly workers (PEONS); 2D: Curious (ODD); 4D: Galileo's patron (NASA); 5D: It might be Western or English (SADDLE); 6D: Professional pursuit (CAREER); 9D: Prefix with morph (ENDO-); 11D: Put back up (REHANG); 13D: Acts gloomily (MOPES); 21D: Sounds from stands (RAHS); 23D: Booty (SWAG); 24D: Game with 80 balls (KENO); 28D: "The __ of Steve": 2000 comedy (TAO); 29D: Bugs (VEXES); 31D: Reims rejection (NON); 35D: Tribulation (WOE); 36D: "__ takers?" (ANY); 38D: Dean's domain (ACADEMIA); 39D: Draped attire (TOGA); 40D: A snifter has a short one (STEM); 43D: Legal scholar (JURIST); 44D: Frustrated the director, perhaps (EMOTED); 45D: Second flip (RETOSS); 46D: Expedite (HASTEN); 47D: Furry frolickers (OTTERS); 48D: "__ go then, you and I": Eliot (LET US); 52D: Show support (CLAP); 55D: Mannerly man (GENT); 59D: Short session? (MTG.); 60D: Word said with a fist pump (YES).

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