June 15, 2011
Theme: Between a Rock and a Hard Place — A plethora of predicaments.
- 17A: *Aid for loose-leaf filing (HOLE PUNCHER).
- 10D: *Pay for a verdict (FIX THE JURY).
- 14D: *Random sample (SPOT CHECK).
- 29D: *Improvisational gig (JAM SESSION).
- 32D: *Deli container (PICKLE JAR).
- 61A: Trouble at the starts of the answers to starred clues (PREDICAMENT).
HOLE PUNCH (no -ER) and 10-Down, FIX THE JURY, isn't as "in the language" as the other phrases.
- 10A: "The dog ate my homework," e.g. (FIB). I once tried telling PuzzleGirl "The dog deleted the blog," but she didn't believe me.
- 38A: Former Fiesta Bowl site (TEMPE). It's officially the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and has been held in Glendale, Arizona, since 2007.
- 46A: American realist who painted "The Gross Clinic" (1875) (EAKINS). Thomas Eakins. Huh? That's a tough entry for a Wednesday, or any day of the week. I read the Wikipedia article on "The Gross Clinic" and it's pretty darn interesting. The painting depicts what a surgical theater looked like in the nineteenth century. The title is accurate: it's gross. One critic said that the painting is "one of the most powerful, horrible, yet fascinating pictures that has been painted anywhere in this century...but the more one praises it, the more one must condemn its admission to a gallery where men and women of weak nerves must be compelled to look at it, for not to look at it is impossible." I don't want to traumatize our weak-nerved readers, so please enjoy this basketful of kittens..
- 61A: Trouble at the starts of the answers to starred clues (PREDICAMENT). Was the theme clear to everyone? Each of the starting words is a predicament. You can be "in a hole," "in a fix," "in a spot," etc. And none of them are where you wanna be.
- 66A: He's got the life (RILEY). When I was a kid, one of our neighbors often said to me "You're living the life of Riley!" I never had a clue what the heck he was talking about. Sometimes he told me that when I was mowing the lawn, so I don't think he knew what he was talking about either.
- 27D: "Beetle Bailey" dog (OTTO) / 36D: "Garfield" dog (ODIE). Two very common crossword dogs. You might also run into SNERT from "Hagar the Horrible" or DAWG from "Hi and Lois." I've yet to see the dog from "The Family Circus" in a puzzle. Good old BARFY.
- 59D: Charon's river (STYX). "The Best of Times," by request.