Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Title: Attention to Details
Author: Patrick Blindauer
Theme: Wordplay theme in which D is added to the end of two-word phrases

  • 17a: Site of a hospital auction? (BIDDING WARD).

  • 28a: Gradual curve in the road? (GENTLE BEND). my favorite of the theme answers. nice base phrase, and a good clue-answer pairing for the modified version.

  • 48a: Perform some physical therapy? (MUSCLE MEND).

  • 61a: Tiny greeting from Hallmark? (COMPACT CARD).

  • 11d: Work for the military police? (BASE TEND).

  • 38d: Group that plays during finals week? (TEST BAND).

not the world's most exciting theme, but well-executed with six rock-solid theme answers. the only thing i didn't like about it was having the two vertical entries which weren't longer than the other down answers—indeed, they're each in 3x8 stacks. the stacks are nice, but i actually had some difficulty determining that they were part of the theme, especially since the puzzle is fairly loaded with ? clues in the fill.

i was kind of expecting this puzzle to have something to do with the inauguration, but maybe that's because i expect everything to have something to do with the inauguration. i can't remember an inauguration this anticipated.

Sunny Spots:

  • 34d: Plant tissue (XYLEM). i've always loved this word. i mean... it starts with X, and then goes later in the alphabet from there. good stuff. it gets much more crossword play than its counterpart, PHLOEM.


  • 1a: What some people do to enter united states? (ELOPE). okay, that's a tortured clue. i did figure it out, and almost smiled. i think i'll give it the "clever but tortured" tag.

  • 6a: Storybook elephant (BABAR). also a major particle physics experiment at SLAC.

  • 14a: 2008 French Open and Wimbledon champ (NADAL). NADAL is great, but i was pretty bummed that he took out roger federer at wimbledon. but it was the greatest tennis match i've ever seen, so there's that consolation.

  • 15a: Hoopster Danny (AINGE). he's now the GM of the boston celtics.

  • 16a: Ex of Mickey, Artie, and Frank (AVA gardner). i don't know who any of those guys are, but i recognize this clue from having seen it in many forms before.

  • 19a: Where to find a father-to-be: Abbr. (SEM). seminary. tricky clue. it seems cruel to combine misdirection with a not-very-common abbreviation on a tuesday.

  • 22a: Caterpillar competitor (DEERE). i guess caterpillar makes farm equipment? or maybe lawnmowers?

  • 24a: 1970 John Wayne film (RIO LOBO). there are at least three RIO ___ john wayne movies. i needed the B to figure the rest of this one out.

  • 27a: ___ Beach, South Carolina (MYRTLE). i've been there, and yet i didn't get this even after i had MYR_L_. why? because i was misreading it as "southern california." duh.

  • 33a: Novartis product (GAS-X). wasn't this one of the central answers in PB2's "big ten" friday puzzle from last october? i liked that one a lot.

  • 35a: "Winter of Artifice" writer (anais NIN). not a work i'm familiar with, but there are only so many ways to clue NIN.

  • 40a: Blah? (YADDA). in the sense that YADDA YADDA YADDA is roughly synonymous with "blah blah blah." this is a stretch, but i guess with the ? it's okay.

  • 46a: Comic strip character who loves Dick (TESS). that's TESS trueheart and dick tracy, but this clue is definitely getting the "sexual innuendo" tag.

  • 57a: "It's ___ real!" (BEEN). i liked this a lot: it's a fun way of cluing a boring word.

  • 66a: Dry (UNWET). yuck.

  • 68a: With 69-Across, Valentine's Day gift (RED/ROSES). don't get me started.

  • 1d: Sportscaster with the catchphrase "Oh, my!" (dick ENBERG). i got this instantly, but is it really a catchphrase? it's so... uncatchy. ENBERG is perfectly inoffensive, but he's not exactly memorable.

  • 2d: Actress Kazan (LAINIE). no relation to director elia. i think.

  • 3d: Like some favorites (ODDS-ON). not sure i've ever seen this fill. it looks like ODD SON in the grid.

  • 5d: Member of the Whiffenpoofs (ELI). the poofs are yale's premier all-male a cappella group. i wish i didn't know that, but i do.

  • 6d: Bug planter's break-in (BAG JOB). i didn't know whether to sort this into "sunny spots" or "suns of bitches," so i split the difference. cool-looking phrase, but i've never heard of it.

  • 9d: The A of A&M (AGR). yuck.

  • 13d: Cross-dressing star of "The Royal Tour" on Broadway (DAME EDNA). the clue says "star," but apparently she's a fictional character. i did not know that.

  • 18d: Prize that Sartre declined (NOBEL). i wonder if sartre gets jealous that his lover NIN is in crosswords so much more often than he is. i mean, she never did anything as cool as declining the NOBEL prize.

  • 25d: About 9.46 trillion km (LTYR). i still hate this answer. the standard way of abbreviating "light-year" is just ly. at the very least, it should get a "Var." tag.

  • 41d: Many people bank on them (ATMS). i've noticed that when the clue refers to the answer using a pronoun ("it" or "them") and contains a figure of speech, it's usually supposed to be interpreted literally rather than figuratively.

  • 45d: His epitaph says "That's all folks" (mel BLANC). the guy who voiced bugs bunny, among thousands of other characters. interesting trivia.

  • 52d: "Annus Mirabilis" poet (john DRYDEN). the "annus mirabilis" is 1666, the year of the great london fire. i'm not sure why they thought that year was so great.

  • 62d: Gibraltar bride of 1969 (yoko ONO). i had no idea. gibraltar? really?

Suns of Bitches:

  • 43a: "American ___" (Benjamin Nugent book) (NERD). i can't imagine a less helpful clue. there's probably a book called american ___ that i've never heard of for any value of ___.

  • 26d: Mrs. ___ of Folgers fame (OLSON). not enough fame, if you ask me, but i've been known not to recognize characters from decades-old commercials. just ask madge, who's soaking in it.

  • 39d: "___ Calling" (short-lived Fox series) (TRU). i had trouble with the T here, because the crossing 39a: Glover's specialty (TAP) wasn't doing me any favors. is that danny glover? gary glover? i'm guessing no, but i don't know who it is.

nice puzzle for a tuesday. it's not one of the PB2 outside-the-box specials, but a well-executed puzzle and an enjoyable solve nonetheless.


1 comment:

MM said...

TAP gave me issues, too. Did Danny Glover have a rap album? They're going for Savion Glover.