Kamis, 28 Juli 2011

07.28 Thu

July 28, 2011
John Dunn

Theme: Right Down the Middle — Each theme answer begins with a word that can precede the words "in the middle" in a familiar phrase.

Theme answers:

  • 16A: Breakfast option (SOFT-BOILED EGGS).
  • 24A/51A: Presley hit with "glue" in the lyrics (STUCK / ON YOU).
  • 38A: "A Clockwork Orange" star (MALCOLM MCDOWELL).
  • 60A: End the chat room suspense, in a way (MEET FACE-TO-FACE).
  • 69A/1A: Spend time frivolously (MONKEY / AROUND).
  • 17D: Like this answer's position, and what can follow the starts of 16-, 24/51-, 38-, 60- and 69/1-Across (IN THE MIDDLE).
This is a great idea for a theme: Put IN THE MIDDLE right down the middle of the grid and build phrases around it that end with IN THE MIDDLE. Perfect. Not a thing wrong with it. And yet …. Holy Cow! This theme is all over the place! The cross-referenced theme answers were just too much for me. When I read the reveal clue (17D: Like this answer's position, and what can follow the starts of 16-, 24/51-, 38-, 60- and 69/1-Across) (!!!) I really just wanted to give up. Sure it all comes together in the end, but it's such a mess along the way! Too frustrating for me to enjoy it. If any of you are aspiring crossword constructors, I'm gonna give you a tip right now: Don't ever clue 1A as "See 69-Across." Just don't. You're welcome.

  • 19A: Slight winning margin (NOSE). I always think there's a chance this answer might be HAIR but it hardly ever is. I think because there are so many other great ways to clue HAIR. Of course there's the musical and then there's all kinds of wordplay you can do using words like part, locks, and even beehive. Every once in a while HAIR is clued as something like a "slight margin of victory," but not very often.
  • 33A: Uffizi display (ARTE). Let's see if I can get the country right on this art museum. I think last time I said the Prado was in Italy. Turns out it's actualy in Spain. Huh. Well, the Uffizi is actually in Italy. Florence to be exact. And ARTE is the Italian word for "art." (Just like in Spanish — so you can see how I might get confused!!)
  • 34A: "Big Love" actress Sevigny (CHLOE). See now, I thought "Big Love" was a reality show. There was a reality show about a polygamous family, right? .... Yep, "Sister Wives." No way I'll ever remember any of that.
  • 56A: Comedian Hartman (PHIL). I was desperately trying to remember his name the other day for some reason and couldn't do it. AARGH! (See what I did there?)
  • 67A: Boorish sorts (CHURLS). Try to use the word CHURL today if you can.
  • 6D: __ gratiam habeamus: Kentucky's Latin state motto (DEO). It means something about God and thanks and … bodies? No wait, it's the "corpus" in "habeas corpus" that means "body." You know what, I'm gonna look it up for you. "Let us be grateful to God." So now you know.
  • 10D: Got fed up? (ATE). Cute question-marky clue. See also 35D: Plot device? (HOE).
  • 40D: Lethargic (LOGY). I love this word. You know why? Because Doug put it in a grid we were working on one time and I had no idea what it meant but now I do. It will never thwart me again!
  • 46D: Not of the cloth (LAICAL). This is one of those words that I think has too many syllables. Like sometimes you'll hear someone stumbling around and say something like "comfortableness." Well, no. "Comfort" would do just fine there. In this case, isn't LAIC enough? Or am I missing something?
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 29A: Mediterranean smoker (ETNA).
  • 43A: Massey of "Rosalie" (ILONA).
  • 50D: "Avatar" extras (ET'S).
  • 62D: Coastal raptor (ERN).
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Everything1A: See 69-Across (AROUND); 7A: Catch-22 (PARADOX); 14A: Retro headgear (BEANIE); 15A: Quintessence (EPITOME); 16A: Breakfast option (SOFT-BOILED EGGS); 18A: Mountain Dew producer, informally (PEPSI); 19A: Slight winning margin (NOSE); 20A: Not divided (ONE); 21A: Easy melodies (LILTS); 24A: With 51-Across, Presley hit with "glue" in the lyrics (STUCK); 29A: Mediterranean smoker (ETNA); 31A: "__ Coy Mistress": Andrew Marvell poem (TO HIS); 33A: Uffizi display (ARTE); 34A: "Big Love" actress Sevigny (CHLOE); 36A: Asylum seeker (EMIGRÉ); 38A: "A Clockwork Orange" star (MALCOLM MCDOWELL); 42A: Gushed on stage (EMOTED); 43A: Massey of "Rosalie" (ILONA); 44A: Talk with one's hands (SIGN); 45A: Like days of yore (OLDEN); 47A: "Great shot!" ("NICE!"); 51A: See 24-Across (ON YOU); 53A: Professional pitcher? (ADMAN); 55A: Edit out (CUT); 56A: Comedian Hartman (PHIL); 58A: Excludes (OMITS); 60A: End the chat room suspense, in a way (MEET FACE-TO-FACE); 66A: Chaplin's tramp, e.g. (PERSONA); 67A: Boorish sorts (CHURLS); 68A: Non-specific (GENERAL); 69A: With 1-Across, spend time frivolously (MONKEY); 1D: Out of the picture (ABSENT); 2D: Start up after a fire, say (REOPEN); 3D: Dumbbells (OAFS); 4D: Before (UNTIL); 5D: Tip for a writer? (NIB); 6D: __ gratiam habeamus: Kentucky's Latin state motto (DEO); 7D: Boehner's predecessor (PELOSI); 8D: Plays Simon says with (APES); 9D: Harley outings (RIDES); 10D: Got fed up? (ATE); 11D: Follow (DOG); 12D: Texting exclamation (OMG); 13D: Cancels (out) (X'ES); 17D: Like this answer's position, and what can follow the starts of 16-, 24/51-, 38-, 60- and 69/1-Across (IN THE MIDDLE); 18D: Macabre master (POE); 22D: Tepid response to "How's this?" (IT'LL DO); 23D: Tower (over) (LOOM); 25D: Home of Nationals pitcher Chien-Ming Wang (TAIWAN); 26D: Try to convince (URGE); 27D: PC key (CTRL); 28D: Nautical spine (KEEL); 30D: Passbook ID (ACCT. NO.); 32D: Sonoran Desert resort city (SEDONA); 35D: Plot device? (HOE); 37D: Work wk. start (MON.); 38D: Prefix with -zoic (MESO); 39D: "The Last King of Scotland" tyrant (AMIN); 40D: Lethargic (LOGY); 41D: Skelton persona Kadiddlehopper (CLEM); 46D: Not of the cloth (LAICAL); 48D: Standoffish one (ICICLE); 49D: Like Care Bears (CUTESY); 50D: "Avatar" extras (ET'S); 52D: Ready and willing to do (UP FOR); 54D: Like a stick-in-the-mud (NO FUN); 57D: '80s tennis great Mandlikova (HANA); 59D: New Testament figure (MARK); 60D: Sticker stat (MPG); 61D: Shoe spec (EEE); 62D: Coastal raptor (ERN); 63D: Prufrock poet's monogram (TSE); 64D: Cable sta. for vintage films (TCM); 65D: "Gotcha!" ("OHO!").

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