Author: Jim Leeds
Theme: Phrases which get -LY added to the first word to make silly adverbial phrases
- 17a: Avoid getting beaned in an inept manner? (LAMELY DUCK).
- 26a: Hike with great care? (GINGERLY SNAP). this was the last part of the puzzle i filled in, as i was thinking of the "walk outdoors" definition of hike.
- 45a: Gave very little support to? (BARELY BACKED). hmm. hmmmmm. it's a good thing i decided not to create that "sexual innuendo" tag i was considering last week.
- 58a: Use a bulletin board only once in a great while? (HARDLY TACK).
i didn't figure out the theme while i was solving this puzzle, and to be honest, it didn't do much for me when i did figure it out, since none of the theme answers really sparkled. LAMELY DUCK probably should have tipped me off, but i didn't really stop to think about it. probably would have helped me figure out GINGERLY SNAP.
- 3d: Depriving of virility (UNMANNING). who's the NFL's un-manning? i say brett favre.
- 32d: It's next to Luxury Tax on a Monopoly board (PARK PLACE). both the NW and SE corners had parallel 9s, and i liked these two the best. sure, it's nice to see full names in the grid, but i'm not a big fan of 33d: "Wag the Dog" costar (ANNE HECHE).
- 43d: One who plays hoops (B-BALLER). even BALLER would have been a good answer, but i like B-BALLER even better. hoop it up!
- 47d: Combo utensil (SPORK). love this word. SPORK SPORK SPORK SPORK SPORK.
- 5a: Hebrew for "my master" (RABBI). i thought it meant "teacher." i guess they could be the same thing.
- 19a: "Purple ___" (Jimi Hendrix song) (HAZE). this song contains one of the most famous mondegreens ever: "excuse me while i kiss this guy." good song, though.
- 31a: Former lefty, perhaps (NEOCON). i've never seen "lefty" used in a political context, but most lefty baseball players stay lefty (unlike, say, billy wagner, who was right-handed until he broke his arm in 9th grade and learned to throw with his left).
- 35a: Get Mad again, say (RENEW). it's not tricky if you don't hide the capital M of Mad.
- 38a: Liquid-Plumr alternative (DRANO). it'd be cool to see drano in the clue and LIQUID-PLUMR in the grid some time, wouldn't it?
- 51a: Ends of the earth? (POLES). i like this clue with a ?. i didn't like it without a ? (as in the NYT puzzle four weeks ago today), because ... well, the earth is round. it doesn't have actual ends.
- 34d: Excellent driver (WOOD). hmm. a driver is a WOOD—a 1-WOOD, to be specific. i'm not sure why a WOOD is an "excellent driver." still, the clue was tricky enough to be pretty fun.
- 39d: Marathon, e.g. (RACE). PERSIAN WAR BATTLE wouldn't fit.
- 48d: Pickup line? ("HOP IN"). loved this clue.
well, i didn't love the theme, but the puzzle overall had enough sparkle to make it an enjoyable solve. happy new year everybody!