Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Title: Skip It
Author: Patrick Blindauer and Tony Orbach
Theme: ROPE can be find "skipping" through the theme entries (i.e. alternating letters).
  • 20a: It may power a nail gun (AIR COMPRESSOR). Have you seen "No Country for Old Men"? If you have, you'll know why I'm asking.

  • 32a: Costume dramas, e.g. (PERIOD PIECES).

  • 41a: Ornament symbolizing abundance (HORN OF PLENTY). Also know as the cornucopia, which is one of my favorite words.

  • 57a: "Hi Infidelity" band (REO SPEEDWAGON). I am embarrassed to have contributed to this album's being one of the top sellers of its time. If I could "un-buy" it, believe me I would.

  • 63a: Skipped thing (and a hint to 20-, 32-, 41-, and 57-Across) (ROPE).

Due to the facts that:
a) This puzzle has two authors; and
b) One of them is Patrick Blindauer
I'm going to start my commentary with a caveat. Assuming there's not more to the theme than I am currently seeing, I find this theme both a bit underwhelming and a bit strange for a Monday. Monday themes are usually pretty straight-ahead and obvious. In this case, I finished the puzzle with no idea what linked the theme entries. It took a while to notice the alternating letters -- you have to admit it's pretty subtle. I'm willing to bet there's a lot of people heading to the blogs to find out what they missed. As noted, I'm not 100% comfortable that there's not more to it. But even if there is (or maybe especially if), it doesn't feel like a Monday theme to me.

On the bright side, I loved all the theme entries.

Sunny Spots:

  • 5d: Eatery that sells steamers (CLAM BAR). Mmmmm.

  • 38d: Benefit obtained without cost (FREE RIDE).

  • 44d: Pesky folks (NOODGES).

  • 1a: Redondilla rhyme scheme (ABBA). I would have expected a "Mama Mia" reference. Redondilla? On a Monday? Of course, you know it's going to start with A -- all rhyme schemes do.

  • 16a: Pitcher Ryan with a record 5,714 strikeouts (NOLAN). Pitcher Ryan would have been enough.

  • 24a: Wind often made from granadilla wood (OBOE). What is this, the "All -dilla" puzzle?

  • 36a: Michelle, to Barack Obama (WIFE). I was expecting some sort of pet name. Somehow I doubt he calls, "Hey, wife!". He'd have some visible bruises.

  • 39a: Cheer leader? (SIS). "Sis boom bah!"

  • 51a: Deem appropriate (SEE FIT).

  • 55a: Stripe (ILK). Nice clue. Tricky for early week.

  • 66a: Apple thrower in "The Wizard of Oz" (TREE). Very nice way to clue a common word. You'll have to skip ahead to about 8:15 in the following clip to get the scene in question.

  • 67a: Noodle concoctions? (IDEAS).

  • 6d: Safari sighting, for short (HIPPO). Guessed RHINO at first, but it didn't last long.

  • 7d: "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie" emotion (AMORE). This song was in my head already, from a recent FAZOOL reference (Friday NYT, I believe).

  • 10d: Cardinal or canary, e.g. (COLOR). Cardinal red and canary yellow.

  • 12d: Loch Lomond locks topper (TAM). Alliteration and consonance.

  • 26d: Paas products (DYES).

  • 30d: Dept. store inventory (MDSE). Merchandise.

  • 34d: Skillet seasoner (OIL). Oik seasons the skillet itself, not the food being cooked in it.

  • 35d: "The Celts" singer (ENYA). ERIE rule.

  • 45d: Increase in friendliness (THAW).

  • 49d: Hardships (RIGORS). Good word.

  • 50d: Running mate? (ELOPER). ELOPE and its derivatives produce some of the most clever clues in crosswords. This is a good example.

  • 52d: "The Most Happy ___" (Frank Loesser musical) (FELLA).

  • 53d: Consider carefully (WEIGH).

  • 58d: Christening spot (PROW). Christening a boat.

  • 61d: Was down with (HAD). I'm not sure I get this. I thought being "down with" something was being okay with it. Oh wait! We're talking illness here, aren't we. Like I was down with the flu. Okay, I'm down with that.

Suns of Bitches:

  • 28a: Japanese dumpling (GYOZA). I eat a lot of different foods in a lot of different styles, but I've never heard of a GYOZA. They look awesome, though. It is Monday, right?

  • 9d: Pueblo Indian ancestors (ANASAZI). Ditto. Except for the eating and delicious parts.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.

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