Author: Peter J. Wentz
Theme: Four clues that cyclically refer to each other, as follows:
- 17a: What 25-Across has (FIVE VOWELS).
- 25a: What 43-Across has (NINE CONSONANTS).
- 43a: What 57-Across has (THREE SYLLABLES).
- 57a: What 17-Across has (TEN LETTERS).
Ok, that's kind of cool. Doesn't blow me away, but it's a decent enough midweek theme. The thing about this kind of "technical" theme, is that now you really have to spice up the surrounding fill or else the whole puzzle can feel a little, well... technical. So, let's see what we have.
- 21a: "How fancy!" (OOH LA LA). Somehow, this phrase makes me think of French maids. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
- 49a: Fool (AIRHEAD). I'd have preferred ditz to fool, but okay.
- 60a: With 7-Down, words on 1950s buttons (I LIKE / IKE). Nice nostalgic combination entry.
- 9d: Balkan Peninsula hot spot (KOSOVO). Topical, and with great Scrabbly letters.
- 45d: Drake's cakes (YODELS). Yodels, Ho-hos, Swiss Rolls -- they're all about the same and they're all good.
- 1a: Like a cream puff (WEAK). We'll give them credit for the food metaphor; goes well with the Yodels, above.
- 5a: Move furtively (SLINK). So, if you want to be furtive, make sure you wear a slinky outfit.
- 10a: Response to a come-on, maybe (SLAP). Ouch! Okay, I take back the slinky outfit comment.
- 15a: "Godzilla" setting (TOKYO). Gimme. But decent clue.
- 16a: Marilu Henner sitcom (TAXI). Not bad.
- 19a: Expectant times (EVES).
- 20a: Stressful type? (ITALICS). I feel like the italics clues are getting a little stale; we need a new angle on these.
- 23a: Press coverage (INK).
- 24a: Smith's block (ANVIL). To go with yesterday's SMITHIES.
- 31a: Pioneering video game (PONG). Remember it well. Space Invaders was the real breakthrough game, though. Then Asteroids.
- 41a: Cherokee, e.g. (SUV). Sport Utility Vehicle, by Jeep.
- 48a: Synchronous start? (GEO). Cryptic clue.
- 52a: Tourist's aid (AREA MAP).
- 56a: Patrick Ewing was one as a collegian (HOYA). Nice one, but again, it seems like we've been seeing the same words over and over lately.
- 62a: Soak up some rays (BASK). I like the word bask. Basking in glory is even better than basking in the sun.
- 63a: Cable channel since 1979 (C-SPAN). Name a cable channel that fits.
- 1d: Internet café convenience (WI-FI). Cool. Modern.
- 4d: Capsizing, with "over" (KEELING). Any term derived from sailing is okay by me. My all-time favorite is "three sheets to the wind", which I personally feel is one of the most awesomely descriptive phrases ever. If you've ever sailed, you may recall that the line that controls the mainsail is called the sheet. If you let go of the sheet, you lose all control of the sail as the wind just flaps it wherever. You've lost your sheet "to the wind". Now, picture a three-masted schooner with all three sheets to the wind, and you've got yourself a pretty vivid image.
- 5d: Daytona 500 vehicle (STOCK CAR). I'm sure driving around in circles really fast would be an absolute blast, but it's insanely boring to watch.
- 10d: Topnotch (STELLAR).
- 11d: Soap brand that contains pumice (LAVA).
- 12d: Spinning leap (AXEL). AXEL is the skating jump, AXLE is on a car, AXIL is the angle of a plant leaf or branch, and AXL was the lead singer of Guns 'N Roses.
- 13d: Tuscan city (PISA).
- 18d: Liana, for example (VINE). I never even saw this clue. I've never heard of Liana, but it wouldn't have been hard to figure out.
- 22d: Female deer (HINDS). I guess I've heard this before. Probably in puzzles.
- 26d: Rack up (INCUR). As in debt.
- 28d: Like many checking accounts (NO FEE).
- 29d: Nickelodeon offerings (TOONS).
- 35d: Gift after golden rings (GEESE). From the "Twelve Days of Christmas" -- six geese-a-laying.
- 37d: Daniel Craig's "Casino Royale" costar (EVA GREEN). I should have remembered this, but I needed several crossings.
- 40d: Qwest Field player (SEAHAWK). Seattle football.
- 41d: Camera with a WYSIWYG viewfinder (SLR). Single-lens reflex.
- 44d: Lacking vitality (STATIC). I had __A_I_ and went with PLACID. I like my answer better.
- 46d: Biennial vegetable (BEET).
- 49d: Literary character whose last words are "Thus, I give up the spear!" (AHAB).
- 54d: Sheik, e.g. (ARAB).
- 50d: College in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (IONA). I've heard of them through NCAA basketball pools.
- 51d: Some loaves (RYES). You know we like food here, but we're getting a little too much RYE of late.
- 52d: ___-Mints (Tums rival) (ALKA).
- 55d: Sibilant summons (PSST). I like the word sibilant (having a hissing sound), but PSST again? Are you kidding me?
- 58d: Small drink (NIP). Had SIP to start.
Suns of Bitches:
- 47a: Tango composer Piazzolla (ASTOR). New one on me, though I can't say I listen to that many tangos.
- 3d: 1982 Peace co-Nobelist Myrdal (ALVA). The only ALVA I know is Thomas Alva Edison.
- 25d: Ravi's daughter (NORAH). Who's Ravi?
- 36d: Winner of "Survivor: Cook Islands" (YUL). Yul Brynner was on "Survivor"? Cool.
Compared to yesterday, this fill was pretty boring. The theme was okay, and there was nothing fatally wrong with the puzzle. But it could have used a little more pizzazz in the fill.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.