Senin, 12 September 2011

09.12 Mon

September 12, 2011
James Sajdak

Theme: School Days — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase that starts with a word that can mean a specific year in high school or college.

Theme answers:

  • 16A: Newcomer to Capitol Hill (FRESHMAN SENATOR).
  • 25A: Promising rookies' doses of reality (SOPHOMORE SLUMPS).
  • 41A: Young company supervisor (JUNIOR EXECUTIVE).
  • 56A: Breaks for AARP members (SENIOR DISCOUNTS).
Cute, simple theme today. The only thing that's a little disappointing is that in the first two theme answers the school-based word in the resulting phrase means the same thing as it does in the school context. A FRESHMAN SENATOR is a first-year senator, just like a freshman student is a first-year student. And SOPHOMORE SLUMPS refer not necessarily to a second year, but to a second … something. On the other hand, JUNIOR EXECUTIVE doesn't necessarily have anything to do with a third year and SENIOR DISCOUNTS doesn't mean discounts you get on your fourth try (or whatever). Now that I've been doing puzzles for a while, I'm always looking for that alternative meaning in these kinds of themes. And today it just wasn't there. "AH ME" (35A: "Whatever shall I do?").

BIOG. is kind of an ugly abbreviation (15A: Bookstore sect.), but at least it gives me a chance to remind you that when you see an abbreviation in the clue, that means the answer will also be an abbreviation or a short form. Also not thrilled with the gratuitous plurals on ARKS and ALFS (20A: Vessels like Noah's / 1D: TV E.T. and namesakes), although at least they don't cross another plural at the S the way SSN'S and HALOS do (24D: Federal IDs / 34A: Heavenly head covers).

Nice colloquial phrases in today's grid incluce HAS A SHOT and "UP HERE!" (4D: Just might pull it off / 42D: "Psst!" from above). A shout-out to the late great Arthur ASHE is nice here on the last day of this year's U.S. Open. And ADD UP as clued (61A: Make sense, to a detective) made me picture Columbo, which always makes me chuckle. So that's good.

Other than that, I'd say OINK is a great entry (7D: Sound from a snout) and, with college wrestling season just around the corner, I loved seeing PIN in the grid (27D: Wrestler's objective). It also offers me the perfect opportunity to share this video with you. I'm pretty sure none of you will come away from it feeling like you could watch it All Day Long (which is what I did), but if you like country music and/or sports, I think you'll get a kick out of it.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 59A: Quod __ demonstrandum (ERAT).
  • 63A: Arthur of tennis (ASHE).
  • 2D: Former coin of Italy (LIRA).
  • 5D: "Bah," in Bavaria ("ACH").
  • 38D: Août's season (ÉTÉ).
  • 57D: Stephen of "V for Vendetta" (REA).
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Everything 1A: Hawaiian greeting (ALOHA); 6A: Recital highlight (SOLO); 10A: Fr. religious figure (STE.); 13A: Fragrant purple flower (LILAC); 14A: Stadium level (TIER); 15A: Bookstore sect. (BIOG.); 16A: Newcomer to Capitol Hill (FRESHMAN SENATOR); 19A: Long story (SAGA); 20A: Vessels like Noah's (ARKS); 21A: Frère du père (ONCLE); 22A: Massage facility (SPA); 24A: Begin a trip (SET OUT); 25A: Promising rookies' doses of reality (SOPHOMORE SLUMPS); 31A: Nitwit (IDIOT); 32A: They may be locked in battle (HORNS); 33A: Flexed (BENT); 34A: Heavenly head covers (HALOS); 35A: "Whatever shall I do?" ("AH ME"); 39A: Writer Diamond or actor Leto (JARED); 40A: Overfill (BLOAT); 41A: Young company supervisor (JUNIOR EXECUTIVE); 46A: Amerigo Vespucci, vis-à-vis America (EPONYM); 47A: Score-raising stat (RBI); 48A: Whoop (SHOUT); 49A: Home of the Buckeyes (OHIO); 52A: VCR insert (TAPE); 56A: Breaks for AARP members (SENIOR DISCOUNTS); 59A: Quod __ demonstrandum (ERAT); 60A: "The Razor's __": Maugham novel (EDGE); 61A: Make sense, to a detective (ADD UP); 62A: China's Sun Yat-__ (SEN); 63A: Arthur of tennis (ASHE); 64A: Varnish component (RESIN); 1D: TV E.T. and namesakes (ALFS); 2D: Former coin of Italy (LIRA); 3D: Designer Cassini (OLEG); 4D: Just might pull it off (HAS A SHOT); 5D: "Bah," in Bavaria ("ACH"); 6D: Hollywood Walk of Fame feature (STAR); 7D: Sound from a snout (OINK); 8D: A smaller amount (LESS); 9D: Salem is its cap. (ORE); 10D: "Scrubs," for one (SITCOM); 11D: Get ready for production (TOOL UP); 12D: White wading birds (EGRETS); 15D: African language group (BANTU); 17D: Hat-tipping address (MA'AM); 18D: Yuletide carols (NOELS); 23D: Stovetop item (POT); 24D: Federal IDs (SSN'S); 25D: One of the fam (SIB); 26D: Shelley tribute (ODE); 27D: Wrestler's objective (PIN); 28D: Windy City airport (O'HARE); 29D: Pricey timepiece (ROLEX); 30D: Wash away slowly (ERODE); 34D: Injure (HARM); 35D: Cockpit reading (ALTITUDE); 36D: __ polloi (HOI); 37D: Dallas NBAer (MAV); 38D: Août's season (ÉTÉ); 39D: "__ the World" (JOY TO); 40D: Fella (BUB); 41D: James and Owens (JESSES); 42D: "Psst!" from above ("UP HERE!"); 43D: Political columnist Peggy (NOONAN); 44D: Alaskan native (INUIT); 45D: Gator's cousin (CROC); 49D: __ and ends (ODDS); 50D: A bit tipsy (HIGH); 51D: "Makes sense to me" ("I SEE"); 53D: Common conjunctions (ANDS); 54D: Seed-spitter's sound (PTUI); 55D: "Baseball Tonight" channel (ESPN); 57D: Stephen of "V for Vendetta" (REA); 58D: Rowing need (OAR).

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