Senin, 25 Juli 2011

07.25 Mon

July 25, 2011
Marti DuGuay-Carpenter

Theme: I'm Melting! — The first word of each theme answer describes size; from top to bottom, the sizes move from biggest to smallest.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Winter Olympics event with gates (GIANT SLALOM RACE).
  • 23A: One stalking lions or tigers (BIG-GAME HUNTER).
  • 38A: T-bone with a warm, red center (MEDIUM-RARE STEAK).
  • 48A: Lass awed by the big city, maybe (SMALL-TOWN GIRL).
  • 58A: He "runs through the town ... in his nightgown" (WEE WILLIE WINKIE).
Looks like we're starting off the week with a theme-heavy Monday offering! Three 15-letter theme entries seems like quite a lot, especially for an early-week puzzle. But the theme phrases are mostly solid; the only one I might have rethought a little is MEDIUM-RARE STEAK. That just doesn't seem like an in-the-language phrase all on its own to me. And the funny thing is, the theme would have worked fine without it — I don't think the MEDIUM really adds anything to the progression. But the rest of the theme answers are good. My favorite is SMALL-TOWN GIRL, which is something I have definitely been accused of being and to which I reply, "Are you kidding me? Fargo's the biggest town in the state!" So there.

There's usually not a lot to talk about on Mondays, but I see a couple things it might be worth going over. First, I want you to look at the abbreviations in the grid:
  • 20A: Invoice fig. (AMT.).
  • 28A: It.'s continent (EUR.).
  • 56A: IM offerer (AOL).
  • 30D: Sch. in Big D (SMU).
If you're new to puzzles and trying to improve your skills, these entries illustrate a basic concept you need to be familiar with. Clues with abbreviations in them generally are giving you a hint that the answer will be an abbreviation as well. Notice "fig.," "It.'s," and "IM" in the clues above. And in the last one, you even get two hints: "Sch.," and "Big D." There's one other abbreviated entry, but its clue isn't another abbreviation: ID'S is clued as "61D: Credit card users may be asked for them, briefly." In this case, it isn't that the credit card users are only being asked "briefly" for their ID'S, but that the entry is a "brief" way of stating the answer. In a late-week puzzle, you might not even get that hint for the answer ID'S — some abbreviations are so commonly used that it's almost like they're not abbreviations any more. I think ID'S falls into that category.

The other thing we'll look at today are the question-mark clues:
  • 13D: Flames that have cooled? (EXES).
  • 47D: Chilly powder? (SNOW).
  • 50D: Newspaper bye lines? (OBITS).
  • 59D: India Inc.? (LTD.).
These are relatively easy as question-mark clues go. In three of the four clues, the wordplay pretty much jumps out at you because of spelling changes: chilly-chili, bye-by, inc.-ink. Then there's the odd man out, "Flames that have cooled?" That's a play on the "beau" meaning of the word "flame." Later in the week, you'll see more wordplay like this, that isn't quite so obvious.

The last thing you'll want to do to build up your crossword skills, is check out today's Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 15A: Woody Guthrie's son (ARLO).
  • 1D: Nintendo competitor (SEGA).
  • 53D: Orléans's river (LOIRE).
  • 62D: Society page word (NÉE).
These are words that come up again and again (and again and again ...) in crossword puzzles and if you just know them, they can really help you get a foothold in a tough puzzle. Click on the word above and you'll be magically transported to a post where you can learn more about this bit of crosswordese that — with any luck — will help you recognize it in the future.

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Everything 1A: Burn badly (SCALD); 6A: The lightning bolt on Harry Potter's forehead, e.g. (SCAR); 10A: Squirrel away (SAVE); 14A: "__ World": ticklish Muppet's "Sesame Street" segment (ELMO'S); 15A: Woody Guthrie's son (ARLO); 16A: Candy that comes in twos (TWIX); 17A: Winter Olympics event with gates (GIANT SLALOM RACE); 20A: Invoice fig. (AMT.); 21A: Place for inks or oinks (PEN); 22A: Subtle vibes (AURAS); 23A: One stalking lions or tigers (BIG-GAME HUNTER); 28A: It.'s continent (EUR.); 29A: Raw rocks (ORES); 30A: "Octopus's Garden" singer Ringo (STARR); 33A: Talk show guest's blatant promotion (PLUG); 35A: Swelled head (EGO); 38A: T-bone with a warm, red center (MEDIUM-RARE STEAK); 42A: Colorful card game (UNO); 43A: Lends a hand to (AIDS); 44A: Lecture rooms (HALLS); 45A: Abel's assassin (CAIN); 47A: Jazzy horn (SAX); 48A: Lass awed by the big city, maybe (SMALL-TOWN GIRL); 54A: Bright (SMART); 55A: Sis's sib (BRO); 56A: IM offerer (AOL); 58A: He "runs through the town ... in his nightgown" (WEE WILLIE WINKIE); 63A: Thomas __ Edison (ALVA); 64A: Tater __: Ore-Ida product (TOTS); 65A: Big tractor name (DEERE); 66A: Movie house suffix (-PLEX); 67A: Allergy trigger, often (DUST); 68A: Passover dinner (SEDER); 1D: Nintendo competitor (SEGA); 2D: Start up the mountain (CLIMB); 3D: Italian violin maker (AMATI); 4D: Chaney of horror (LON); 5D: "Spring ahead" hrs. (DST); 6D: Witch trials town (SALEM); 7D: Whooping bird (CRANE); 8D: Entirely (ALL); 9D: Kanga's kid (ROO); 10D: Vain walks (STRUTS); 11D: In the loop (AWARE); 12D: Anglican parish priest (VICAR); 13D: Flames that have cooled? (EXES); 18D: Box for practice (SPAR); 19D: Horse's hair (MANE); 24D: Spice Girl Halliwell (GERI); 25D: Ashram authority (GURU); 26D: Store posting (HOURS); 27D: Craving (URGE); 30D: Sch. in Big D (SMU); 31D: Commandment count (TEN); 32D: Hubbub (ADO); 33D: Painting reproduction (PRINT); 34D: Schoolboy (LAD); 35D: Slippery fish (EEL); 36D: "For Me and My __" (GAL); 37D: Gives the nod (OKS); 39D: Postal sackful (MAIL); 40D: Layered haircut (SHAG); 41D: Crosstown bus alternative (TAXI); 45D: Auto finish protection (CAR WAX); 46D: Height: Pref. (ALTI-); 47D: Chilly powder? (SNOW); 48D: What the nose knows (SMELL); 49D: "Circle of Friends" writer Binchy (MAEVE); 50D: Newspaper bye lines? (OBITS); 51D: Seize (from) (WREST); 52D: Gathered, as fallen leaves (RAKED); 53D: Orléans's river (LOIRE); 54D: Exchange (SWAP); 57D: Ogle (LEER); 59D: India Inc.? (LTD.); 60D: Gehrig who played with Ruth (LOU); 61D: Credit card users may be asked for them, briefly (ID'S); 62D: Society page word (NÉE).

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