Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Title: Buried Treasure
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.

Sunny Spots:

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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: Tenochtitl├ín 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.

Suns of Bitches:
  • 44a: Tentlike dwelling (YURT). You know it's Friday when you get YURT in a spot that could have been YURI with only minor tweaks.

  • 6d: "3 on a Toothbrush" author (PAAR). News to me.

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.

1 comment:

ruy said...

WRT the boardgame Clue, well, it's been updated, including new weapons and new room (a spa being one of them). An NPR story on the topic at: