Selasa, 19 Juli 2011

07.19 Tue

July 19, 2011
Don Gagliardo

Theme: Inner Circle — Words that can describe circles are hidden in familiar phrases.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: St. Patrick's day shout (ERIN GO BRAGH).
  • 32A: Business that serves smokers (TOBACCO INDUSTRY).
  • 39A: With "leave," settle for the existing situation (WELL ENOUGH ALONE).
  • 60A: Privileged group, and an aptly highlighted feature of 17-, 32- and 39-Across (INNER CIRCLE).
Good morning, everyone, and happy Tuesday! I was a little disappointed with this puzzle. It just didn't hang together very well for me and Don has set the bar pretty high for himself, so I expected something much more solid. I like the theme concept well enough and did you notice that all three "circles" break across theme answer words? That's very nice. But the "circles" themselves seem kind of random to me. RING is perfect, I get that one. But COIN? If I stretch a little, I come up with, for example, a piece of candy being described as a "coin." And HALO, well, here's the thing. I want each "circle" word to be a thing that is quintessentially circular, not just an example of something that's a circle. I mean, what about these: FRISBEE, PLATE, JAR LID. Those are all circles, but they don't make very good theme answers. So that's all I'm saying.

My favorite entries today are ODD LOT (23A: Unconventional merchandise quantity) and the two baseball answers: STRIKE TWO and HANK AARON (11D: Ump's call / 12D: "Hammerin'" baseballer). I like that we have both of AARON's names in the grid and, for some reason, sports nicknames have always made me chuckle. There's just something inherently funny about them to me. I prefer the ones that come in between the athlete's names (e.g., Evander "The Real Deal" Holyfield). Those really crack me up.

  • 11A: Finger-to-lips syllable (SHH). Seems like kind of an awkward clue.
  • 21A: Linus awaits the Great Pumpkin in one (PATCH). As opposed to this clue, which is all kindsa awesome.
  • 27A: Lewinsky confidante Linda (TRIPP). It's hard for me to gauge how well-known people involved in political scandals are. I mean, sure, everybody knows who Monica Lewinsky is, but did people pay close enough attention to hear about Linda TRIPP?
  • 30A: Delinquency word more commonly heard in the plural (ARREAR). Yep. It's more commonly heard in the plural. That's for sure.
  • 37A: Contraire à la __: illegal, in Lyons (LOI). French!
  • 47A: Drum major's cap (SHAKO). I am glad to have learned this word today. Also, drum majors' hats are awesome.
  • 62A: Bachelor in personals, briefly (SWM). Well, some bachelors, sure ….
  • 65A: Half and half (ONE). Now this is the kind of math clue I can handle. It's a little tricky, but once I figured out what it was going for, I could actually do the math. (One-half and (i.e., plus) one-half = ONE.)
  • 8D: Sky surveillance acronym (AWACS). Airborne Warning and Control System.
  • 9D: Swollen ego (BIG HEAD).

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 7D: Lion player Lahr (BERT).
  • 24D: Dungeons & Dragons monster (ORC).
  • 26D: R&B's __ Hill (DRU).
  • 49D: Broadway matchmaker (YENTE).
  • 61D: UN workers' gp. (ILO).
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Everything Else 1A: "I'm clueless!" ("GOT ME!"); 6A: Half of Ethiopia's capital (ABABA); 14A: 1994 peace prize sharer Yitzhak (RABIN); 15A: C.S. who created Narnia (LEWIS); 16A: Chinese word of enlightenment (TAO); 19A: IV administrators (RN'S); 20A: 0, in Spain (CERO); 22A: Singer's aid (MIKE); 25A: "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" singer Neil (SEDAKA); 36A: Fifth in NYC, e.g. (AVE.); 38A: Finished first (WON); 46A: "M*A*S*H" system (TRIAGE); 48A: Heat rub product (BENGAY); 50A: Oysters-on-the-half-shell seller (RAW BAR); 54A: Menlo Park middle name (ALVA); 55A: Somewhat warm (TEPID); 58A: Wave radio maker (BOSE); 59A: Work the soil (HOE); 63A: Short explosive? (NITRO); 64A: It's not an express (LOCAL); 66A: Yarn unit (SKEIN); 67A: Buck of country music (OWENS); 1D: Artist El __ (GRECO); 2D: Rowed (OARED); 3D: Classic Ford (T-BIRD); 4D: Company that merged with Konica (MINOLTA); 5D: Stonehenge loc. (ENG.); 6D: Actress Jessica (ALBA); 10D: Smudge on Santa? (ASH); 13D: Watering aid (HOSE); 18D: Fiber-__ (OPTIC); 22D: Fourth planet (MARS); 28D: Casual shirt (POLO); 29D: Reverent (PIOUS); 31D: Sandberg with nine Gold Gloves (RYNE); 32D: "I __ I taw a puddy ..." (TAWT); 33D: Excessive (OVERBLOWN); 34D: "This is no lie" ("BELIEVE ME"); 35D: Expected soon (NIGH); 40D: Turner on screen (LANA); 41D: Poached fare (EGG); 42D: Slob's opposite (NEATNIK); 43D: Either of the first two consonants in "coccyx" (HARD C); 44D: Wanted poster abbr. (AKA); 45D: Unintellectual (LOWBROW); 51D: Italian ball game (BOCCE); 52D: Narnia lion (ASLAN); 53D: Fishing gear (REELS); 54D: Facetious "I see" ("AH SO"); 56D: Prefix with scope (PERI-); 57D: Crease remover (IRON); 60D: Access points (INS).

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