July 9, 2011
Good Saturday morning, everyone! PuzzleHusband was out of town on business all week and just got back last night. I'm posting a little late today because I decided when he got home that I would pay some attention to him instead of writing the blog. I hope that doesn't hurt your feelings. Fun puzzle today, right? ….
This is a super solid themeless from the inimitable Doug Peterson (a/k/a my Fake Crossword Boyfriend, so don't expect a lot of griping today). Two corners of this grid are really outstanding. Who's not gonna love a triple stack of 10s that looks like BASS GUITAR / ACTION HERO / CHOCOHOLIC (1A: It may be picked / 15A: Sly role, as a rule / 17A: One who might steal kisses). I'm picturing a Rambo-lookin' dude with his ax in one hand and a brownie in the other. I guess he's ready to, I don't know, play a wedding reception? Hey, you never know. I can totally picture an action movie wedding reception scene with guys in tuxes mowing everyone down with machine guns. Luckily, Rambo Bassman has some grenades stashed in his amp. Or something. So, yeah, that's the first awesome corner. The other one is the double 10s in the southeast of BANGLADESH and OZYMANDIAS (26D: East Pakistan, today / 27D: Sonnet likely inspired by Ramses the Great). I've heard the word OZYMANDIAS before but had no idea what it meant. Apparently, it's another name for Ramses the Great who is featured in a sonnet by Percy Shelley that is actually kind of depressing, being about the inevitable decline of empires and all.
The parts of the grid that correspond symmetrically to those awesome corners are just okay. THE BEE GEES (52A: "You Should Be Dancing" group) is a fun entry and looks wild with all those Es, but ESTIMATING and STATEMENTS just kind of sit there (56A: Trying to get close to / 58A: Cops often take them at crime scenes). The two 11s going across the middle of the grid — RAZOR BLADES (30A: Shadow removers) and HULA DANCERS (38A: Sinuous storytellers) — are pretty sparkly, though. Just as an aside, "sinuous" is a weird word, isn't it?
- 23A: Certain surfer's power source (KITE). I admit it. I do not know what this means.
- 40A: One of the noble metals (PLATINUM). So when you come across some PLATINUM don't forget to curtsy.
- 42A: Champion, for one (HORSE). Hmmmm. Whose horse is Champion? I'm gonna guess Roy Rogers. To the Internet! … Oh man, Gene Autry. So close!
- 43A: Absinthe flavorings (ANISES). This is an ugly plural. Especially because it crosses with the another ugly plural: LULUS (32D: Corkers). Sorry, Doug. I calls 'em as I sees 'em.
- 5D: More likely to ooze (GOOPIER). Now this, on the other hand, is all kindsa awesome. GOOPIER was the first word that came to my mind when I read this clue.
- 6D: Like a pitch that's taken, ironically (UNHIT). Great clue. When a batter "takes a pitch," it means he purposely doesn't swing at it. It's a strategic move that's used for a couple different reasons. I think the most common one is to give an on-base runner a chance to steal.
- 8D: Tubby leader? (TELE-). So funny. I was thinking the answer would be the name of one of the TELEtubbies. And, yes, it only took me about two seconds to run through all their names and realize none of them would fit. Pretty sad.
- 10D: Pink Floyd's "The Wall," e.g. (ROCK OPERA). Quick, what other ROCK OPERAs can you name? I can think of … one. There must be more though.
- 12D: Chewed on (MULLED OVER). I am a big fan of MULLing stuff OVER. I really hate making quick decisions. And, honestly, I think I started seeing the benefit of MULLing from doing lots of crossword puzzles. You know how you get to a point where the puzzle looks impossible but when you put it down and come back to it later it practically fills itself in? I figure that has something to do with how the brain works, so I like to give my brain a chance to do that same kind of work on other kinds of problems. And this concludes the life coaching section of the blog today.
- 45D: "I'm yours to command" ("USE ME"). Doug thought I would use a BEE GEES clip in today's post, but that would be a little too obvious, wouldn't it? Let's enjoy this awesome jam instead. If you have something against the funky, for God's sake don't click the play button.
- 18A: Protected from buffeting (ALEE).
- 33A: Treasure State motto word (ORO).
- 9D: 1968 newlywed, familiarly (ARI).
- 46D: Vigeland Sculpture Park city (OSLO).
- 53D: Fair Deal initials (HST).
Everything Else — 11A: Revival figs. (EMT'S); 16A: Fly on the river, perhaps (LURE); 19A: Shorten, in a way (HEW); 20A: Smoking choice (PIPE); 21A: Big name in test preparation (KAPLAN); 24A: Stands in a field? (COPSES); 25A: Choice cut (T-BONE); 28A: Dealt with loose ends (MOPPED UP); 34A: Intaglio stone (ONYX); 35A: Not as refined (RUDER); 36A: Times to get ready (EVES); 37A: "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." producer (MGM); 44A: Chicago's __ House (HULL); 46A: Out there to the max (ODDEST); 47A: Tightly (FAST); 48A: NASCAR no. (RPM); 51A: Doce halved (SEIS); 55A: Pre-bar letters (LSAT); 57A: Extremely (OH SO); 1D: "Little Organ Book" composer (BACH); 2D: Not quite smart? (ACHE); 3D: Put away (STOW); 4D: Disclaimer in a quote (SIC); 7D: "My wish is ..." ("I HOPE …"); 11D: Slip by (ELAPSE); 13D: Balancing pros (TREASURERS); 14D: Caught, in a way (SEEN); 22D: Useful downloads (APPS); 23D: First U.S. secretary of war (for whom a fort was named) (KNOX); 24D: Put into bars, say (CODED); 25D: Defeat badly (TROMP); 28D: Chair's title, at times (MADAM); 29D: Sheriff's outfit (POSSE); 31D: Gentlemen's second choices? (BRUNETTES); 36D: Sierra Club subj. (ECOL.); 38D: Sign of an escape? (HISS); 39D: Devils, e.g. (NHL TEAM); 41D: Words with organized crime (TIES TO); 44D: Order clothes (HABIT); 47D: Crumbly topping (FETA); 48D: Arabian checker (REIN); 49D: Shut (up) (PENT); 50D: In-box queue: Abbr. (MSGS.); 54D: Former comm. giant (GTE).