Author: Daniel A. Finan
Theme: Two squares are 'X' for the down clue and 'SPOT' for the across clue.
- 18a: Is unjustifiably critical (TAKES POTSHOTS).
- 9d: Smoked salmon (LOX).
- 62a: Character voiced by Estelle Harris in "Toy Story 2" (MRS POTATO HEAD).
- 48d: Deficiency of element #8 (ANOXIA).
- 25d: Lush (TOSSPOT).
- 39a: Rule for finding buried treasure ... and a hint to making sense of this puzzle (X MARKS THE SPOT).
I'll be honest, I got the middle theme hint right away and wasn't sure what was going on. Then I hit the "Toy Story" clue and thought it was "MR POTATO HEAD". "Ah!" I said to myself. "The buried treasure is a POT! (Perhaps of gold?)". I was then disappointed when I got TAKE POTSHOTS AT, as it the tense didn't fit the clue. Finally I looked at the center clue again and realized that X doesn't mark the POT, it marks the SPOT. And all was well in PeteLand.
- 3d: Castle in the air (DAYDREAM). Great clue and fill, plus it reminds me of one my favorite Don McLean songs. Actually, one of my favorite songs, period.
- 1a: Color similar to robin's-egg blue (JADE).
- 5a: Pitch (SPIEL). Pitch can mean so many different things, it's impossible to guess without some crossing help.
- 10a: They might have underwires (BRAS). Very easy clue for a Friday. Does anything besides a bra have an underwire? Here's one that may not have an underwire. It certainly sends a mixed message, but it is an EYE CATCHER (8d: It attracts attention).
- 14a: Tapas bar dessert (FLAN).
- 15a: Zenith alternative (SANYO).
- 16a: Move like molasses (OOZE). Another really easy clue for a Friday.
- 17a: Legends (KEYS). As in the parts of charts or maps that tell what the symbols mean.
- 23a: "Full House" dog (COMET). Never watched the show, but it sounds like a dog's name.
- 30a: "Lenore" writer (POE).
- 31a: Crepuscular (DIM). Relating to twilight.
- 33a: Superlatively stylish (TONIEST). This one makes me cringe a little. Toniest? Really?
- 37a: Lixiviates (LEACHES). Tough verb, but nice.
- 46a: Personal possession (CHATTEL).
- 55a: One who whimpers (SOBBER). I'm not crazy about forced -ER words.
- 57a: "Dead Ringers" star (IRONS). I'm assuming Jeremy here, but I don't care enough to actually go look it up.
- 61a: Dawg (BRO). If you've ever seen Randy Jackson on "American Idol", you know what they're talking about.
- 65a/42d: Sequoia, e.g. (AUTO, TREE). I have no problem with cluing two words the same. In fact, sometimes it can really spice up a puzzle. But, at least one answer needs to be interesting. AUTO and TREE? Not so much.
- 68a: El ___ (Spanish newspaper) (PAIS). I'm assuming this means "The Country", since it's close to the French "pays".
- 69a: Under-21 request, sometimes (HIT ME). FAKE ID didn't fit. Of course, we're talking about blackjack here, not someone's age.
- 1d: Idlewild, today (JFK). The airport.
- 2d: It might be tapped out (ALE). Hmmm. I'm not sure about this one. If they mean that ale is tapped out of a keg (i.e., drawn from), then that feels like a bit of a stretch in usage. "Tapped out" tends to mean there's nothing left, but the term is applied to the keg itself, not the no-longer-contained-within ale.
- 7d: Graphic novel artist (INKER). I'll forgive the -ER in this case, because it gives me an excuse to post the following very funny piece.
- 10d: ___-chic (fashion style) (BOHO).
- 11d: One who helps with the rent (ROOMIE).
- 12d: Tenochtitlán citizens (AZTECS).
- 24d: Room in the game Clue (SPA). I don't recall a spa anywhere in Clue. A quick check reveals that the rooms are the study, kitchen, dining room, ballroom, library, billiard room, conservatory, lounge, and hall. What gives?
- 26d: They might give you 2% (MILKMEN). Cool clue, but pretty obvious, I thought. Still, it does evoke this great commercial.
- 32d: Characteristic of a transitional period in the Stone Age (MESOLITHIC). As long fill goes, words like MESOLITHIC are kind of meh.
- 34d: 2002 Owen Wilson movie (I SPY).
- 36d: Lead, e.g. (PART). As in lead role.
- 41d: Away from the city, say (OUTBOUND).
- 50d: Try for an apple (BOB). An apropos clue, as it is finally apple season around here.
- 58d: Two-time NBA MVP Steve (NASH). Not my favorite Nash, but okay.
- 63d: Honey Graham ___ (Quaker cereal) (OHS). See, now here's a place where you could have had fun with the clues. 58d: Graham ___, 63d: Honey Graham ___. That would have rocked!
- 64d: Hollywood ending? (DEE). Cryptic letter clue. Could have gone with "Start to drive?" here and "Prepare to drive" at 66d: Wood in a golf bag? (TEE). Sometimes they're plastic, but most are still wood.
See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!
Come! let the burial rite be read -the funeral song be sung! -
An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young -
A dirge for her, the doubly dead in that she died so young.
Suns of Bitches:
Overall, not terribly hard for a Friday, but a decent workout. Would have been a bit harder if the central theme entry hadn't been so obvious. A nice puzzle.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.