Sabtu, 10 September 2011

09.10 Sat

September 10, 2011
Brad Wilber

Theme: None

Sorry I'm posting so late today, but [24D: "My alarm didn't go off," e.g.]. A lame EXCUSE, I know. The fact is, I didn't even set an alarm. And I would have woken up at my usual super early time except that PuzzleDaughter had a friend sleep over last night and let's just say there was some drama in the middle of the night. Ugh. In any case, there's always a lot to talk about on Saturdays, so let's get to it.

First of all, I just want to get this out of the way. Brad, you know I love you, but OVERWEENING? Really? I've Ne-Ever heard this word before and it caused me all kindsa trouble up in the northeast corner. That second E (well, technically the third E) was the last letter I filled in and I spent a good five minutes running the alphabet a couple times to make sure that was my best guess. Obviously didn't help that I've also never heard of WEIL (10D: "Gravity and Grace" writer Simone). At one point, I was sure the correct answer was OVERBEARING, but every other cross looked totally solid, so I eventually had to scrap that idea. I finally gave up — decided I either had it right or had it wrong and there wasn't anything else I could do about it. And I had it right. Yay.

Other entries I've never heard of? Why, yes, there are a few. Can't say that I've ever heard of SHELL STEAK, though it was relatively easy to figure out (64A: Cut with the tenderloin removed). That second L was a sticking point, though. As you may know, science isn't exactly my forte so HCL (59D: Strong acid, chemically) was a total guess and that last letter could have been anything. In the end, it seemed like L was the best guess. Again, I guessed right. Whew.

The other things I flat-out didn't know are all names:

  • 26A: Dean's reality TV partner (TORI).
  • 27A: Hall of Fame NFL owner Wellington __ (MARA).
  • 46A: Cymbeline's daughter, in Shakespeare (IMOGEN).
  • 57D: Two-time Tony-winning playwright Yasmina __ (REZA).
I felt like I should have known the Shakespeare reference, but … I didn't. I also thought the reality TV duo might ring a bell somewhere. I don't watch much reality TV, but it's hard to avoid some of the more popular names as you just go through life (I'm looking at you, Snookie). But Dean and TORI mean nothing to me.

Stand-out entries today include BARBED WIRE and MYSTIC PIZZA (4A: Range barrier / 62A: 1988 film set in a New England pie maker's shop). Didn't I just post a picture of Lili Taylor this week?!

Not too many write-overs today. The two that caused me the most trouble are both related to French (French!). I had NÉE where AKA was supposed to go (17A: Link between handles?), and MAI for MAY, thinking we needed the French spelling (45A: When the French Open starts). But I sure am chatty today. Let's get to the bullets so I can wrap this thing up.

  • 31A: Divided country (USA). I don't understand this clue. Is it because it's divided into 50 states? Does it have something to do with use of the initials? My first thought put this clue in a political light, but we really don't see that in mainstream puzzles, so I'm sure it can't be that.
  • 37A: Sch. whose students have won more than 200 Olympic medals (UCLA). Nice bit of trivia here.
  • 41A: Steamy container (SOUP POT). Oh, another write-over. I tried STEW POT first.
  • 53A: Mystery middle name (ALLAN). The middle name of Edgar ALLAN Poe.
  • 61A: Yegg's haul (ICE). Yegg, which we've covered in CW101 before, is a slang word for safecracker, which I learned from crosswords. ICE is a slang word for diamonds. So there you go.
  • 3D: Shipping inquiries (TRACERS). Hmmm. I would just call these TRACES. TRACERS have a more drug-related meaning to me. Did I say drugs? I meant fireworks. Yes, that's what I meant! Fireworks! (Hi, Mom!)
  • 30D: Sci-fi character named for an Asian sea (SULU). Some more good trivia. My first though: "There's a sci-fi character named Aral?"
Crosswordese 101: The [43D: Baseball-like game with two bases] known as ONE O' CAT typically appears in puzzles as a partial — either ONEO or OCAT). The first time I saw it I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard. By which I mean, of course, that I had never heard of the stupid game and couldn't believe someone would put it in a puzzle grid. But there it was. And then there it was again. And again. And finally I got used to it. All you need to know about ONE O' CAT for crossword purposes is that it's a ball game, a kids' game, a baseball variant, and a sandlot game. What you need to know about it for other purposes in your life, I have no idea. Probably nothing.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 22A: Some Olympians' tools (ÉPÉES).
  • 51A: Palindromic Altar (ARA).
  • 33D: Mine, in Metz (À MOI).
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Everything 1A: Charade (ACT); 4A: Range barrier (BARBED WIRE); 14A: Roller coaster part (CAR); 15A: Pompous (OVER-WEENING); 17A: Link between handles? (AKA); 18A: Risky telecast (LIVE EPISODE); 19A: Reduced in status (DECLASSE); 21A: Gave away (LET ON); 22A: Some Olympians' tools (ÉPÉES); 23A: Movement traced to an ancient flower sermon (ZEN); 26A: Dean's reality TV partner (TORI); 27A: Hall of Fame NFL owner Wellington __ (MARA); 28A: Natural history museum attractions (T-REXES); 31A: Divided country (USA); 32A: Sucker (ENSNARE); 34A: Court address (COUNSEL); 36A: 1998 Apple rollout (IMAC); 37A: Sch. whose students have won more than 200 Olympic medals (UCLA); 38A: Reach equilibrium (EVEN OUT); 41A: Steamy container (SOUP POT); 45A: When the French Open starts (MAY); 46A: Cymbeline's daughter, in Shakespeare (IMOGEN); 48A: Japanese script (KANA); 49A: Botched (BLEW); 51A: Palindromic Altar (ARA); 52A: 2008 Palin counterpart (BIDEN); 53A: Mystery middle name (ALLAN); 55A: "Dead Man Walking" Oscar winner (SARANDON); 58A: Tenant, say (LEASEHOLDER); 61A: Yegg's haul (ICE); 62A: 1988 film set in a New England pie maker's shop (MYSTIC PIZZA); 63A: Hammer site (EAR); 64A: Cut with the tenderloin removed (SHELL STEAK); 65A: Oink spot (STY); 1D: Egghead's environs (ACADEME); 2D: Where the batter goes (CAKE PAN); 3D: Shipping inquiries (TRACERS); 4D: Corded weapons (BOLAS); 5D: Alamo rival (AVIS); 6D: Tach count (REVS); 7D: Succeed without difficulty, with "in" (BREEZE); 8D: Romano source, usually (EWE); 9D: ATM transaction (DEP.); 10D: "Gravity and Grace" writer Simone (WEIL); 11D: Cartographic closeup (INSET); 12D: Uninhibited (RIOTOUS); 13D: Stand behind (ENDORSE); 16D: Good-natured (GENIAL); 20D: Sit angularly, as a wall (LEAN IN); 24D: "My alarm didn't go off," e.g. (EXCUSE); 25D: One who's now right-brained? (NEO-CON); 28D: Therapist's concern (TRAUMA); 29D: Parish leader (RECTOR); 30D: Sci-fi character named for an Asian sea (SULU); 33D: Mine, in Metz (À MOI); 35D: You'll need more than one in a rib joint (NAPKIN); 38D: Insulate from change (EMBALM); 39D: Big dips (VALLEYS); 40D: Very slim margin (EYELASH); 42D: Rice fields (PADDIES); 43D: Baseball-like game with two bases (ONE O' CAT); 44D: Leather maker (TANNERY); 47D: Like many Sherlock Holmes settings (GASLIT); 50D: Profligacy (WASTE); 52D: 2000 Camp David summit attendee (BARAK); 54D: Diamond in music (NEIL); 56D: Bladed tool (ADZE); 57D: Two-time Tony-winning playwright Yasmina __ (REZA); 59D: Strong acid, chemically (HCL); 60D: Black __: spy doings (OPS).

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