Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Title: Rid Iron
Author: Justin Smith
Theme: Remove the first letter from NFL football team names.
  • 17a: Woes of an animal on the range? (BUFFALO ILLS).

  • 36a: Things that hear "All That Jazz" and "Cell Block Tango"? (CHICAGO EARS).

  • 58a: Charged items of a "Guys and Dolls" guy? (DETROIT IONS).

The title is a cute play on "grid iron", which plays to the football theme, but I was annoyed that the first two theme answers dropped a 'B' and the third one dropped an 'L'. It offends my sense of balance and consistency. When I read the title, I assumed we'd be dropping "FE"; then I got the first two and couldn't figure out what 'B' had to do with iron. Then I got the last one and was just hugely disappointed by the whole thing.

Sunny Spots:

  • 2d: "I Wanna ___" (Karen Kaufman Orloff children's book) (IGUANA).

  • 11d: Snellen charts can be used in them (EYE EXAMS).

  • 29d: In need of a shower? (SAHARAN). Good clue.

  • 38d: Orange Monopoly property (ST JAMES). Monopoly clues are fine by me. Classic game, that I haven't played in years.

  • 59d: Phrase that could end a single life (I DO). Cute.

  • 1a: Quinceañera celebration, e.g. (FIESTA).

  • 14a: Snow half-globes? (IGLOOS).

  • 15a: Dome light? (HALO).

  • 19a: Fashion model Herzigova (EVA).

  • 21a: Sweat spot (PORE). My first instinct was BROW.

  • 22a: Bridle strap (REIN). That's bridle, not bridal. Don't get any ideas!

  • 26a: Neutered (UNSEXED). This is horrible. DESEXED, sure. But UNSEXED??!!? Please!

  • 28a: Dashes in a code (DAHS). Morse Code - dits and dahs.

  • 30a: Pair of deuces? (PIPS). As in a pair that is found on deuces.

  • 33a: Jung's inner self (ANIMA).

  • 38a: Rawboned people (SCRAGS). New one on me.

  • 42a: C. in C. (PRES). Commander in Chief. I couldn't parse this until after I had the answer.

  • 43a: Tim Duncan, for one (SPUR). The no-longer-world-champion NBA San Antonio Spurs.

  • 47a: 1994 role for Winona Ryder (JO MARCH). From "Little Women".

  • 49a: T man? (REF). This is pushing it a bit. A technical foul in basketball is called a "T", which refs can give out. Ugh.

  • 52a: 1954 Heisman Trophy winner Ameche (ALAN). You've got enough sports references already; pick another ALAN.

  • 55a: Put down stakes (ANTED).

  • 61a: Bohr model depiction (ATOM).

  • 1d: Told a taradiddle (FIBBED).

  • 3d: Spritelike (ELFISH).

  • 5d: One who's doomed, in slang (TOAST).

  • 6d: It might be used by a manualist: Abbr. (ASL). A manualist is one who used sign language.

  • 8d: Large pinniped (WALRUS). Come on, there's GOT to be a more interesting way to clue WALRUS than this. This feels like a Eugene T. Maleska clue.

  • 10d: Song sung by Sam and Donna in "Mamma Mia!" (SOS). Name an Abba song in three letters.

  • 12d: Casino on the Vegas Strip (RIVIERA).

  • 13d: Cyclist's wear (SPANDEX).

  • 18d: Kia model (OPTIMA).

  • 27d: Bar food (SALAD). I.e., from a salad bar.

  • 31d: Motorola product (PAGER).

  • 34d: Neighbor of Benin (NIGER).

  • 36d: Ready for inurnment (CREMATED).

  • 39d: Polk's fatal affliction (CHOLERA).

  • 42d: Light quantum (PHOTON).

  • 44d: Cant (PATOIS).

  • 46d: Dahlak Archipelago surrounder (RED SEA).

  • 48d: Iráklion is its capital (CRETE).

  • 50d: Karmic (FATED).

  • [yawn]

Suns of Bitches:

  • 9d: Pompeo of "Grey's Anatomy" (ELLEN). Never saw the show.

You know, some puzzles just hit you right and some don't. This one didn't. My disappointment in the theme was exacerbated by clues that seemed to fall into two categories: overly cutesy or drudgingly dry. Sure, there were a few bright spots sprinkled in, but overall there's not too much to say. I'd just as soon forget about this one and move on to tomorrow. As a matter of fact, I think I will.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Joon said...

the not-quite-tightness of the theme caught me by surprise. two of them drop a B, and the third one doesn't. two of them are clued in reference to musicals, and the third isn't. two of the teams are in the NFC north, ... okay, that one didn't bother me. :) still, i spent some time afterward trying to figure out if there was anything more to the theme, and ... there wasn't.

having said that, it's not an easy theme to pull off. even setting aside the fact that very few NFL team names mean anything when you lop off the first letter (CAROLINA ANTHERS is the only other one, i think, unless you count OAKLAND AIDERS), you also have to be able to clue it without using the city name to mean the city name.

i liked UNSEXED. it reminded me of lady macbeth's famous soliloquy.

Anonymous said...

what on earth is EPICY--25 down--"they might have a lot of extras???

Pete M said...

EPICS - Large movies hire many "extras".