May 25, 2011
Don Gagliardo & C.C. Burnikel
- 19A: "Afraid you can't have your money back" ("SORRY NO REFUND").
- 22A: Progresso or Lipton (SOUP BRAND).
- 32A: Refuse to budge (STAND ONE'S GROUND).
- 46A: Home of Notre Dame (SOUTH BEND).
- 50A: Home theater feature, and a hint to the puzzle theme in 19-, 22-, 32-, 46-Across and the first word of this answer (SURROUND SOUND).
Another nice puzzle from Don and C.C. today. As I've mentioned in the past, C.C. and her team offers another daily L.A. Times puzzle blog. It's got a little different feel than this place and it also has an active group of regular commenters. Check it out if you're so inclined. And now, on to the puzzle ….
This puzzle pretty much had me at the first three acrosses. [1A: Winter break?] is a great clue for THAW, SLURP is an awesome word all by itself (5A: Drink noisily), and who knew there was an [10A: Agcy. that established rules for kite flying]?? That would be the FAA, of course, and that made me chuckle for sure. Theme answers are cute. Nothing super sparkly, but definitely nothing to complain about either. I tried NAME BRAND first where SOUP BRAND was supposed to go because I overthought it. I was all "Oh, that's tricky, using two soup brands to clue the generic NAME BRAND." Um … no. I think the only other write-over I had was when I tried HEM for NET (29D: Bottom line). I'm sure I'm not the only one who did that.
The only reason I didn't have write-overs for LENYA and PETR (6D: Actress Lotte / 9D: Sykora of the NHL), is because I really had no idea. I don't recall ever hearing of either of them. But they were filled in easily through crosses, so no worries there.
- 16A: The Dixie Chicks, e.g. (TRIO).
- 18A: Strip light (NEON). I'm not gonna lie to you. This clue gave me pause.
- 38A: Young in films (LORETTA). I always think LORETTA Young is a singer, but that's LORETTA Lynn.
- 43A: Chinese, e.g. (ASIAN). If, like me, you know that C.C. is from China, you might have gotten a little chuckle from this one. I have to say that it also reminded me of a bit Stephen Colbert did not too long ago when China's president, Hu Jintao, visited the United States. Apparently, Rush Limbaugh was disturbed by the fact that Mr. Hu was allowed to speak Chinese for quite some time before having his words translated, arguing that "the translator could be making it all up," adding that when he hears Chinese and Japanese "it sounds like all the same word," and he "can't comprehend anybody understanding it." To which Colbert responded, "Off the top of my head, I can only think of 1.5 billion people."
- 58A: Ragú rival (PREGO). Have you ever heard Will Shortz share some of his mail? He once received a complaint from a solver about this clue because either Ragú or PREGO (I don't remember which) was so far superior to the other that they couldn't accurately be described as rivals. I can only imagine the mail he gets.
- 60A: Food additive (DYE). This D was the last letter I entered into the grid. And I have to admit my first thought was LYE. Which is, of course, … not a food additive.
- 3D: Customarily (AS IS USUAL). I'm not crazy about this answer because it sounds awkward to me. Of course, people say things that sound awkward to me all the time, so that doesn't necessarily mean anything.
- 5D: Best successor of 1962 (STARR). Pete Best was the Beatles' drummer before Ringo STARR took over.
- 20D: NFL ball carriers (RB'S). On these football answers, you know the first letters is going to be R or L and the second letter is going to be B or G, right? Anything else that second letter can be?
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Everything Else — 13A: Poet known for inventing words (NASH); 14A: Prairie home (TEPEE); 17A: "__ of robins in her hair": Kilmer (A NEST); 24A: Climber's toehold (LEDGE); 25A: Fertile desert spot (OASIS); 26A: New Deal inits. (FDR); 27A: Sch. with a Spokane campus (WSU); 28A: Like the Parthenon (ANCIENT); 41A: Rapids transit (CANOE); 52A: Cement piece (SLAB); 53A: Auto buyer's choice (SEDAN); 54A: Ages and ages (EONS); 57A: Hgts. (ALTS.); 59A: Hurry (RUSH); 61A: Scatter (STREW); 62A: Hang around (STAY); 1D: "We know drama" channel (TNT); 2D: Guffaw syllable (HAR); 4D: Moderator of a panel including Joy, Elisabeth and Sherri (WHOOPI); 7D: Wharton's sch. (U. PENN.); 8D: Fix, as a green (RESOD); 10D: "The Ego and the Id" author (FREUD); 11D: Included in (AMONG); 12D: "Dog the Bounty Hunter" airer (A AND E); 15D: Oven, so to speak (INFERNO); 21D: Revered figure (ELDER); 22D: Plants (SOWS); 26D: Newton fruit (FIG); 28D: Farm denizen (ANT); 30D: Rebs' gp. (CSA); 31D: Ended up (TURNED OUT); 33D: Feature of some extreme diets (NO CARBS); 34D: Pipe cleaner (DRANO); 35D: Atop, poetically (O'ER); 36D: High time? (NOON); 37D: Safe document (DEED); 40A: Lincoln or Ford (CAR); 41D: Obama's secretary of energy (CHU).