April 21, 2011
Neville L. Fogarty
Theme: OMG! One Masterful Grid — Three-letter "netspeak" abbreviations are used as the inspiration for theme entries that begin with the same three letters.
- 17A: Acquire incriminating info (on), as hinted by 19-Across (GET THE GOODS).
- 19A: "I'm heading out," in netspeak (GTG).
- 33A: Lament about a lost opportunity, as hinted by 32-Across (I MISSED OUT).
- 32A: "Here's how I see it," in netspeak (IMO).
- 38A: "Break time's over," as hinted by 41-Across (BACK TO WORK).
- 41A: "Oh, and did I mention ...," in netspeak (BTW).
- 56A: Charity for young alopecia sufferers, as hinted by 55-Across (LOCKS OF LOVE).
- 55A: "That's too funny!" in netspeak (LOL).
Fun puzzle from Neville Fogarty. The first thing I noticed was that the pattern of black squares in the grid was unusual. So I suspected that the theme was going to be out of the ordinary. Yep, Neville had to place a three-letter entry next to each of the long theme entries, and that explains the interesting grid design. I like the way it sort of looks like a whirlpool in the center.
As for the theme itself, I liked that too. These new-fangled chat/text abbreviations the kids are using have been a boon for crossword constructors. We love new three-letter entries! I don't know which constructor was the first to put LOL or OMG into a grid, but the floodgates have been opened and there's no going back. Fifty years from now, people are still going to see LOL in their crosswords and they'll wonder what the heck "Texter's titter" means. Anyway, Neville made clever use of four common texting abbreviations today. And I thought the theme answers got better as I moved down the puzzle. GET THE GOODS is a little clunky without "on," but not horrible. I MISSED OUT is good. BACK TO WORK & LOCKS OF LOVE are excellent. I read an article in a local newspaper yesterday about a seven-year old girl who donated her knee-length hair to Locks of Love, so that entry jumped out at me. I'd donate my hair if I had any left.
There's plenty of cool stuff in the rest of the grid, so let's get to it.
- 11A: Is for all? (ARE). "Are" is the plural form of "is." Hmmm, I'm not positive that "plural form" is the correct term, but you get the idea, right?
- 23A: Pearl weights (CARATS). I wasn't sure whether this was going to be CARATS or KARATS. Then I remembered that carats are units of weight, and karats are units of purity (24k gold, e.g.). PuzzleGirl probably has a good mnemonic to help you remember that.
- 25A: Stone's 14: Abbr. (LBS). A stone is equivalent to 14 pounds. They still use that measurement in the UK apparently. I heard that Kate Middleton weighs around eight stone (112 pounds) and she'd like to gain another stone before her big wedding. Sounds painful.
- 62A: Turn right? (ORIENT). Great clue. If you turn someone the right way, you orient them. I have a horrible sense of direction, so I need a lot of orienting.
- 65A: Large TV family (BRADYS). Nine of them, if you count Cousin Oliver.
- 5D: Greets the visitors (JEERS). Clue of the day. My first thought was "Wow, that's rude." Then I figured it out. When you're at the ballpark, how do you greet the visiting team? With boos and hisses and jeers.
- 23D: "Avatar" spec. effects (CGI). Short for computer-generated imagery.
- 41D: Robin's way down (BATPOLE). Holy awesome entry, Neville! I've seen the Batmobile and the Batcave in puzzles before, but never the Batpole. I love it.
- 44D: One taking a lot of notes (TELLER). Bank teller. Another super clue.
- 54D: "Ohio" folk-rock quartet, initially (CSNY). Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. I just noticed that if you put an "I" in the middle, you get the TV show "CSI: NY." Trippy.
- 43D: Bentley of "Ghost Rider" (WES). Ghost Rider might be my second favorite comic book character after Batman. Why? Because he's a flaming skeleton who rides a motorcycle. It doesn't get much cooler than that. I saw the "Ghost Rider" movie, and it....wasn't good. But it had scenes with a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle, so I feel I got my money's worth. Also, you could pretend that Nicolas Cage was actually on fire, and that was fun. All that said, I have no idea who Wes Bentley is.
- 59A: Soccer mom's need (VAN). You also need one if you're moving. I really wish I lived near PuzzleGirl so I could help her move some furniture. Too bad I'm on the other side of the country. I'm heartbroken.
PG has lined up some talented guest bloggers for Friday and Saturday. I'll see you all on Sunday. TTFN.