THEME: State City — four theme answers contain a city name used as a noun and modified by its state's name
Hey, everybody. Thanks for stopping by to check out our brand spankin' new blog. Rex and Orange are old pros at this blogging thing, but you might have to bear with me from time to time as I figure out how to do this on a consistent basis without being carted off to the loony bin. I'm sure I'll adjust. Oh, and PuzzleHusband wanted me to greet you from him. What he actually wanted me to say was "What up, money?" but then I reminded him that he's the Whitest Guy In America. Also, I don't think people use "money" like that any more. But whatever. Let's talk about the puzzle.
Crosswordese 101: Crosswordese, you'll remember, is what we call the three- and four-letter words that come up time and time again in crossword puzzles. They do not, however, come up so much in real life. So they're just words (or names) that you should try to remember even though you Never Ever need them except when you're solving a puzzle. Several great crosswordese words in today's puzzle, but I think we'll focus on ARA Parseghian, Notre Dame's head football coach from 1964 to 1974. Parseghian is one of many sports figures with three-letter names who pop up frequently in crosswords. In later-week puzzles (which are traditionally more difficult), ARA might be clued as the constellation whose name is Latin for altar. The biggest problem I have with Parseghian is that I can never remember if his name is ASA. Which it's not. Obviously. What I need to remember is that the letter combination ASA is generally clued as a partial meaning "as a" (e.g., [Cool _____ cucumber]), because guess what. There really aren't that many people named Asa.
- 17A: Centennial State rock? (Colorado boulder)
- 22A: Wolverine State fire starter? (Michigan flint)
- 35A: Peach State wide open spaces? (Georgia plains)
- 47A: Cotton State sculpture? (Alabama mobile)
- 54A: Cornhusker State Town Car? (Nebraska Lincoln)
Like Rex talked about yesterday, I also enjoy when an unexpected or interesting word pops up. For some reason the symmetrical MOLECULES (3D: Minute particles) and UNANIMOUS (33D: Like a 12-0 verdict) caught my eye today. The almost symmetrical pairs of REBUFF / ABUSER (8D: Blunt rejection / 43D: Privilege loser, often) and TOOTLE / TACKLE (9D: Play the piccolo / 44D: Bring down on the gridiron) also tickled me. But not as much as "LORDY!" (48D: "Mercy me!") crossing "EGAD!" (59A: Quaint "Holy moly!"). Heavens to Betsy that's exclamatory!
Other Good Stuff:
- 14A: Object of worship (idol)
- 20A: Pilot's announcement, briefly (ETA): Estimated Time of Arrival. On occasion, a pilot will announce an ETD (Estimated Time of Departure). You can argue about it if you want, but it's already been decided.
- 26A: It'll never fly (emu): Cute clue!
- 27A: Bud's buddy (Lou): That's Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
- 32A: _____ generis: unique (sui): There are several Latin phrases that will come in handy as you continue to solve crossword puzzles. Off the top of my head: res judicata; ipso facto; nolo contendere (nolo for short), veni, vidi, vici; and "Et tu, Brute?" No, I don't know what most of them mean.
- 46A: Without precedent (new): My first thought was original? unique? Only three letters? Oh, okay.
- 60A: John of England (Elton): Remember this one! You will see it again because it's so tricky! I was going to insert an Elton John video here, but you know what? Just go back up and watch David Archuleta again!
- 62A: Disney dog (Lady): With only the "L" in place I thought, "Lilo? Is Lilo a dog?" ... Oh this is embarrassing. Lilo is actually the girl. Stitch is the ... whatever Stitch is.
- 4D: One of the deadly sins (sloth): I must say this is my favorite deadly sin.
- 10D: Synthetic fabric (orlon): I always have to wait for some crosses with this clue. Could also be nylon or rayon.
- 12D: "Rhyme Pays" rapper (Ice-T): Ice-T and Dr. Dre are your go-to rappers of CrossWorld.
- 13D: Old salts (tars): Both salt and tar are synonyms for sailor. Sometimes the clue for tar will have something to do with a boat and you might be faked into thinking that the correct answer is oar. Especially if the cross is some volcano you've never heard of. I'm sure that's never happened to anyone here though. (*cough* Rex *cough*)
- 19D: Words before smoke or flames (up in).
- 22D: Copy cats? (mew): Okay, here's the thing with the question marks. Usually the term "copy cat" means a person who copies someone else. In CrossWorld, that person might even be called an "aper." An exceedingly ugly word that you will nevertheless be forced to deal with on a regular basis if you want to solve crossword puzzles. But this particular clue ends in a question mark. That means that instead of a reference to the obvious interpretation, you should look at the words literally. In this case, the question is not "What is another word for copy cat?" but "What is another word for the noise you would make if you were to copy a cat?" Get it? Hang in there. We'll continue to talk about the whole question mark thing as we go along.
- 42D: Derivatives of it are used in sunscreen (PABA): Para-aminobenzoic acid. Apparently, PABA itself has been found to increase the risk of skin cancer, so safer and more effective derivatives are more commonly used now. Which is good because I think for a lot of people when they apply sunscreen they're thinking that they'll be less likely to get skin cancer. Glad the sunscreen people figured that out.
- 50D: Italian lawn game (bocce): I have no idea what this game entails. But I do know that bocce ball is fun to say. Go ahead. Say it right now. Fun, right?
- 58D: Rob Roy's refusal (nae): This is the Scottish word for no. Rob Roy is, of course, a colloquial name for Scottish hero Robert Roy MacGregor (also known as the Scottish Robin Hood). Roy Rogers? Totally different guy.
The one-L lama, he's a priestI'll be back in a couple days. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you in the comments. And have fun with Orange tomorrow!
The two-L llama, he's a beast
And I would bet a silk pyjama
There isn't any three-L lllama
Everything Else — 1A: Overactors (HAMS); 5A: In pieces (APART); 10A: Forget about (OMIT); 15A: Ladies' man (ROMEO); 16A: Costa __ (RICA); 21A: Frontier bases (OUTPOSTS); 28A: Wetland (FEN); 29A: One in a "Flying" circus act (WALLENDA); 39A: Sixth sense (ESP); 40A: Baggage claim item (SUITCASE); 42A: Firm way to stand (PAT); 45A: Guy (MAN); 51A: Italian veal dish (OSSO BUCO); 53A: Pah preceder (OOM-); 61A: Bay of Pigs locale (CUBA); 63A: Catches one's breath (RESTS); 64A: To be, in old Rome (ESSE); 1D: Juice drink with a hyphenated name (HI-C); 2D: Big fuss (ADO); 5D: Coach Parseghian (ARA); 6D: Pea's place (POD); 7D: O'Neill's "__ for the Misbegotten" (A MOON); 11D: "A living faith will last in the __ of the blackest storm": Gandhi (MIDST); 18D: Bitter complainer (RAILER); 23D: Reflection (IMAGE); 24D: Bell hit with a padded hammer (GONG); 25D: Auto with a four-ring logo (AUDI); 30D: Cut off, as branches (LOP); 31D: Remote batteries (AAS); 32D: [error left as is] ([SIC]); 34D: Basketball Hall of Famer Dan (ISSEL); 36D: Mountain lion (PUMA); 37D: Neeson of "Taken" (LIAM); 38D: When many go to lunch (AT NOON); 41D: Dolly, the clone, was one (EWE); 47D: Equally yucky (AS BAD); 49D: Watery trenches under drawbridges (MOATS); 51D: Like Ogden Nash's lama, in a poem (ONE-L); 52D: Big name in video games (SEGA); 55D: Place to park (LOT); 56D: Connections (INS); 57D: Barbell abbr. (LBS.).