09.12 Mon

September 12, 2011
James Sajdak

Theme: School Days — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase that starts with a word that can mean a specific year in high school or college.

Theme answers:

  • 16A: Newcomer to Capitol Hill (FRESHMAN SENATOR).
  • 25A: Promising rookies' doses of reality (SOPHOMORE SLUMPS).
  • 41A: Young company supervisor (JUNIOR EXECUTIVE).
  • 56A: Breaks for AARP members (SENIOR DISCOUNTS).
Cute, simple theme today. The only thing that's a little disappointing is that in the first two theme answers the school-based word in the resulting phrase means the same thing as it does in the school context. A FRESHMAN SENATOR is a first-year senator, just like a freshman student is a first-year student. And SOPHOMORE SLUMPS refer not necessarily to a second year, but to a second … something. On the other hand, JUNIOR EXECUTIVE doesn't necessarily have anything to do with a third year and SENIOR DISCOUNTS doesn't mean discounts you get on your fourth try (or whatever). Now that I've been doing puzzles for a while, I'm always looking for that alternative meaning in these kinds of themes. And today it just wasn't there. "AH ME" (35A: "Whatever shall I do?").

BIOG. is kind of an ugly abbreviation (15A: Bookstore sect.), but at least it gives me a chance to remind you that when you see an abbreviation in the clue, that means the answer will also be an abbreviation or a short form. Also not thrilled with the gratuitous plurals on ARKS and ALFS (20A: Vessels like Noah's / 1D: TV E.T. and namesakes), although at least they don't cross another plural at the S the way SSN'S and HALOS do (24D: Federal IDs / 34A: Heavenly head covers).

Nice colloquial phrases in today's grid incluce HAS A SHOT and "UP HERE!" (4D: Just might pull it off / 42D: "Psst!" from above). A shout-out to the late great Arthur ASHE is nice here on the last day of this year's U.S. Open. And ADD UP as clued (61A: Make sense, to a detective) made me picture Columbo, which always makes me chuckle. So that's good.

Other than that, I'd say OINK is a great entry (7D: Sound from a snout) and, with college wrestling season just around the corner, I loved seeing PIN in the grid (27D: Wrestler's objective). It also offers me the perfect opportunity to share this video with you. I'm pretty sure none of you will come away from it feeling like you could watch it All Day Long (which is what I did), but if you like country music and/or sports, I think you'll get a kick out of it.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 59A: Quod __ demonstrandum (ERAT).
  • 63A: Arthur of tennis (ASHE).
  • 2D: Former coin of Italy (LIRA).
  • 5D: "Bah," in Bavaria ("ACH").
  • 38D: Août's season (ÉTÉ).
  • 57D: Stephen of "V for Vendetta" (REA).
Follow PuzzleGirl65 on Twitter

Everything 1A: Hawaiian greeting (ALOHA); 6A: Recital highlight (SOLO); 10A: Fr. religious figure (STE.); 13A: Fragrant purple flower (LILAC); 14A: Stadium level (TIER); 15A: Bookstore sect. (BIOG.); 16A: Newcomer to Capitol Hill (FRESHMAN SENATOR); 19A: Long story (SAGA); 20A: Vessels like Noah's (ARKS); 21A: Frère du père (ONCLE); 22A: Massage facility (SPA); 24A: Begin a trip (SET OUT); 25A: Promising rookies' doses of reality (SOPHOMORE SLUMPS); 31A: Nitwit (IDIOT); 32A: They may be locked in battle (HORNS); 33A: Flexed (BENT); 34A: Heavenly head covers (HALOS); 35A: "Whatever shall I do?" ("AH ME"); 39A: Writer Diamond or actor Leto (JARED); 40A: Overfill (BLOAT); 41A: Young company supervisor (JUNIOR EXECUTIVE); 46A: Amerigo Vespucci, vis-à-vis America (EPONYM); 47A: Score-raising stat (RBI); 48A: Whoop (SHOUT); 49A: Home of the Buckeyes (OHIO); 52A: VCR insert (TAPE); 56A: Breaks for AARP members (SENIOR DISCOUNTS); 59A: Quod __ demonstrandum (ERAT); 60A: "The Razor's __": Maugham novel (EDGE); 61A: Make sense, to a detective (ADD UP); 62A: China's Sun Yat-__ (SEN); 63A: Arthur of tennis (ASHE); 64A: Varnish component (RESIN); 1D: TV E.T. and namesakes (ALFS); 2D: Former coin of Italy (LIRA); 3D: Designer Cassini (OLEG); 4D: Just might pull it off (HAS A SHOT); 5D: "Bah," in Bavaria ("ACH"); 6D: Hollywood Walk of Fame feature (STAR); 7D: Sound from a snout (OINK); 8D: A smaller amount (LESS); 9D: Salem is its cap. (ORE); 10D: "Scrubs," for one (SITCOM); 11D: Get ready for production (TOOL UP); 12D: White wading birds (EGRETS); 15D: African language group (BANTU); 17D: Hat-tipping address (MA'AM); 18D: Yuletide carols (NOELS); 23D: Stovetop item (POT); 24D: Federal IDs (SSN'S); 25D: One of the fam (SIB); 26D: Shelley tribute (ODE); 27D: Wrestler's objective (PIN); 28D: Windy City airport (O'HARE); 29D: Pricey timepiece (ROLEX); 30D: Wash away slowly (ERODE); 34D: Injure (HARM); 35D: Cockpit reading (ALTITUDE); 36D: __ polloi (HOI); 37D: Dallas NBAer (MAV); 38D: Août's season (ÉTÉ); 39D: "__ the World" (JOY TO); 40D: Fella (BUB); 41D: James and Owens (JESSES); 42D: "Psst!" from above ("UP HERE!"); 43D: Political columnist Peggy (NOONAN); 44D: Alaskan native (INUIT); 45D: Gator's cousin (CROC); 49D: __ and ends (ODDS); 50D: A bit tipsy (HIGH); 51D: "Makes sense to me" ("I SEE"); 53D: Common conjunctions (ANDS); 54D: Seed-spitter's sound (PTUI); 55D: "Baseball Tonight" channel (ESPN); 57D: Stephen of "V for Vendetta" (REA); 58D: Rowing need (OAR).


Sfingi said...

Easy, cute.

Agree too many plurals. But more bothered that SITCOM not clued as an abbrev. The other 6 abbrevs., including the dreaded SSN, were.

Had SIs before SIB, but sENT didn't work.

Nice to see full 15 letters on a Mon. UPHERE was something new. LILAC - a reason to want to live another year.

Virginia C said...

I really wish I could find a way to do these puzzles on my iPad. Cruciverb doesn't work. Anyone have any suggestions?

PuzzleGirl said...

@Virginia C: The app you're looking for is called "Crosswords" (clever, right?). Just search for "crosswords" in the app store, or check out their website.

Anoa Bob said...

Speaking of gratuitous plurals, this looks like a two 15-letter and two 14-letter theme puzzle that was amped up to a four 15-letter puzzle by pluralizing the two 14-ers. I'm wondering if 2 15's and 2 14's don't work for some reason. Is it many magnitudes more difficult to create a grid design for 2 15's, 2 14's than for 4 15's?

Loved 46A EPONYM. And what a great clue, "Amerigo Vespucci, vis-a-vis America". Mini history lesson there. Like PG, thought 42D UP HERE and its smooth, grin-inducing clue "'Psst!', from above" was good stuff.

Anonymous said...

@Anoa Bob - In this case, yes, pretty much. Remember that the puzzle has to have rotational symmetry. Say you wanted to take the trailing S out of the last theme answer. To do so you would need to eliminate 55D in its entirety. To maintain symmetry you would have had to make FRESHMANSENATOR a 14 letter entry. Is there a good FRESHMAN.... entry, enough better than FRESHMANSENATOR to make up for the plural in SENIOR...?

mac said...

Nice puzzle, agree with most of what was said before. Sophomore slumps is a new term for me. Good clue for eponym. And here is ptui again!

rrh said...

"Sophomore slumps" take place in baseball a lot. Other sports: not so much

CoffeeLvr said...

I finished with one error I could not see - I was trying to solve quick and switched to the Down clues when I got to 25A. I entered my own family nickname SIs at 25D, and never even read the clue for BENT. Since sENT is a word, it looked okay to me.

Same focus on the Downs gave me BUd before BUB, but I saw that bum entry and fixed it, so it doesn't bug me.

Nice puzzle. Like the progression in the long 15's. I especially like SENIOR DISCOUNTS, though I only qualify for some of them so far.

Sun Yat-SEN is not only unknown to me, but it echoes the SENATOR at the top of the grid. BIO, okay, BIOG is ugly.

@PG, I liked listening to your music video, but wrestling is lost on me. The wrestling coach was one of the best teachers at the HS, social science. My son took an Psychology elective with him after FRESHMAN history. He incorporated a lot of positive motivational material.

CoffeeLvr said...

Oops, of course it is "solve quickly" in my first sentence.

Steve said...

I had HARM before HURT and that led me down a fun path - I looked at _O_TO (the world) and decided that must be WOE, which gave me WORED (funny name, never heard of that) and then EPONET.

OK, thinks me, that's all wrong. Fixed HARM, then JOY, then EPONYM. Nice.

Funny I thought there could be a hymn "Woe to the World" - not exactly uplifting.

CrazyCat said...

I never even noticed that I had SEND instead of BEND. Other than that, it was a very quick solve.

As far as PIN and wrestling go. I've never been able to get past the scene from "Women in Love" where Oliver Reed and Alan Bates wrestle in front of the fire.

I was kind of glad my son chose to play baseball and tennis.

Speaking of tennis - that was an amazing match today between Nadal and Djokovitc.

Anonymous said...

My goodness! I haven't thought about that friendly (homosocial? homoerotic?) tussle between Gerald Crich and Rupert Birkin in D. H. Lawrence's "Women in Love" in more than a decade! Go wrestling!