March 7, 2011
- 17A: Small-time (RINKY-DINK).
- 53A: Fortunate one (LUCKY DUCK).
- 10D: Wham-O footbag (HACKY SACK).
- 29D: Cheap dance hall (HONKY TONK).
These theme answers are really fabulous. And the rest of the fill is … not. Wow. Really not a fan of this one, which is unfortunate because, as I said, the theme answers are awesome. Everything seemed to be going along just fine until I got to HDS. (29A: Coin flip call: Abbr.). Why in the world would you abbreviate a coin flip call? Is there any situation you can think of where you would be writing about a coin flip and need to use the word HEADS but have to/want to/feel it would appropriate to abbreviate it? And, in general, it got worse from there. Lots of partials: TO AN, A CHAT, I BE. Gratuitous plurals: PUCKS, CHANNELS, CROCKS, PARKAS, just as an example (there are plenty more!). To round out the list we've got some random letter strings and non-words — R-S-T, AAHS, PPP — and the singularly awful TUSKERS (which also happens to be a gratuitous plural).
The theme answers are terrific and most of the longer fill ranges from fine to quite nice (like POIROT, COUSTEAU, ORTHODOX). But overall, just not feeling this one, dawg.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
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Everything Else — 1A: Pet adoption ctr. (SPCA); 5A: Like drive-thru orders (TO-GO); 9A: Cash alternative (CHECK); 14A: Come __ end: conclude (TO AN); 16A: Popular branch of yoga (HATHA); 19A: Have __ with: talk to (A CHAT); 20A: Like strictly religious Jews (ORTHODOX); 21A: Invite to enter (ASK IN); 22A: Fawn's mother (DOE); 23A: Family folk (KIN); 24A: Simple to apply, in adspeak (EASY-ON); 25A: Approx. leaving hour (ETD); 27A: Pass along softly, as a secret (WHISPER); 30A: Yuletide spiced ales (WASSAILS); 31A: Número after siete (OCHO); 34A: Fellows (MEN); 35A: Stage group (CAST); 36A: Occur together (COINCIDE); 39A: '60s atty. general who served under his brother (RFK); 42A: End of a giggle (HEE); 43A: Angel dust, briefly (PCP); 46A: Completely stump (STYMIE); 47A: "May __ excused?" (I BE); 48A: Significant period (ERA); 49A: Handy bags (TOTES); 50A: Rodin or Michelangelo (SCULPTOR); 52A: Evita's married name (PERON); 54A: Put on a coat? (PAINT); 55A: Color of suede shoes, in song (BLUE); 56A: __-Seltzer (ALKA); 57A: Hockey disks (PUCKS); 58A: Dines (SUPS); 59A: Mouth off to (SASS); 1D: Walked decisively (STRODE); 2D: Christie sleuth Hercule (POIROT); 3D: On a slant (CANTED); 4D: Pharaoh's cross (ANKH); 5D: Hot alcoholic drinks (TODDIES); 6D: Burger toppers (ONIONS); 7D: Group with thirtysomethings, briefly (GEN-X); 8D: "Mighty" tree (OAK); 9D: Vehicle's framework (CHASSIS); 11D: Addis Ababa's country (ETHIOPIA); 12D: Television watcher's choices (CHANNELS); 13D: Kit __ bar (KAT); 18D: Teamed, as oxen (YOKED); 24D: McGregor of "Moulin Rouge!" (EWAN); 30D: Like small laddies (WEE); 31D: Halloween mo. (OCT.); 32D: "Undersea World" explorer Jacques (COUSTEAU); 33D: Momentous (HISTORIC); 37D: Joins, as stones in a wall (CEMENTS); 38D: Colored part of the eye (IRIS); 39D: Expresses stern disapproval of (REBUKES); 40D: Touchy-__ (FEELY); 42D: Diaphragm spasm that may be cured by holding one's breath (HICCUP); 43D: "Downtown" singer Clark (PETULA); 44D: Onion soup holders (CROCKS); 45D: Hooded coats (PARKAS); 50D: "Star Trek" helmsman (SULU); 51D: Palmtop computers: Abbr. (PDA'S); 53D: Scale abbr. (LBS.).