Author: Peter J. Wentz
Theme: See below
- 17a: With 28-, 45-, and 62-Across, 62-Down (THE AVERAGE).
- 28a: See 17-Across (SCRABBLE SCORE OF).
- 45a: See 17-Across (ALL THE LETTERS IN).
- 62a: See 17-Across (THIS PUZZLE).
- 62d: See 17-Across (TWO).
This is one of those puzzles that is cool and/or a pain in the ass for a constructor to put together, but which doesn't translate to an increased enjoyment for the solver. From a solver's perspective, this is essentially a quote puzzle with a really boring quote. It's neither amusing nor profound. And let me ask you this: How many of you double-checked the math to see if the statement was actually true? I tend to be pretty anal about such things, and I know I didn't bother. Why? Because who cares, that's why. The average scrabble score of all the letters in the puzzle? Why is that interesting? I'm sure it was tough as hell to do, but the bang wasn't worth the buck if you ask me (and since you're reading this blog, that's exactly what you're asking).
So, let's take a look at the rest and see if this puzzle was salvageable, shall we?
- 4a: Luxury Hyundai sedans (AZERAS). This one might give the Olds ALERO a run for its money in the future.
- 15a: Gross parts (DOZENS). A gross is 144, or a dozen dozens. Good clue.
- 16a: Sarah Palin hairstyle (UPDO) goes well with 23a: Jheri curl alternative (AFRO). Add in 53a: Short cut (SNIP) and 54a: Stropped thing (RAZOR) and you've got a real salon mini-theme going.
- 19a: Homer gait (TROT). Baseball, not Simpsons. If Homer hit a homer, he would probably WADDLE. TROT Nixon, on the other hand, would SPRINT. And while we're on baseball, congratulations to Jim Rice for finally making it into the Hall of Fame! I'm guessing he doesn't read this blog, but you never know.
- 25a: Like e (REAL). It's math -- natural logarithm stuff. I'm not going into it here.
- 27a: Disorderly place (ZOO). Guessed STY at first, but I like this better.
- 32a: Short lines at the supermarket? (UPC). Clever clue.
- 35a: Artistic, unconventional community (BOHEMIA).
- 38a: "Sleuth" costar (JUDE LAW).
- 42a: O, e.g. (MAG). The Oprah magazine, I think. Or is that called Oprah and this is something different?
- 51a: Wether report? (BAA). A wether is a (usually castrated) male sheep. Very clever clue, but ouch!
- 52a: "ER" costar of Noah and Julianna (ERIQ). Please, Mr. LaSalle... star in something else soon!
- 64a: Designed with a projecting part for fitting into a corresponding recessed part (MALE). Like a plug.
- 67a: "Survey ___ ..." (SAYS). From "Family Feud".
- 3d: Person in a position of authority (HIERARCH). Unusual to see this form of the word, but easy enough to figure.
- 6d: Better Than ___ (band with the 1995 hit album "Deluxe") (EZRA).
- 8d: Catches some rays, perhaps (ANGLES). Do people fish for rays?
- 10d: London, e.g.: Abbr. (AUTH). I assume we're talking Jack London, the AUTHOR, here.
- 11d: Spaceflight award won in 2004 (X PRIZE).
- 24d: Accommodating person (OBLIGER). Yucky -ER word.
- 31d: Mentaiko's main ingredient (ROE).
- 37d: "Be More Cynical" comic (MAHER).
- 43d: Give in return (REQUITE).
- 45d: "Star Trek" director J.J. (ABRAMS).
- 50d: Simply Socials maker (RITZ).
- 55d: Lugs (OXES). Noun, not verb.
Suns of Bitches:
- 61a: Val's younger daughter in the comic strip "Stone Soup" (ALIX). Never heard of her, and don't ever recall seeing this spelling. But I like it's similarity to AXIL (10a: Space between a leaf and its supporting stem).
- 5d: Barrette-sporting Muppet (ZOE). I can name an awful lot of muppets, but I didn't know this one.
- 39d: Province in Italy's Liguria region (LA SPEZIA). Didn't know it.
- 46d: Playmate of Po (LAA-LAA). I had no idea. My kids were too old for the Teletubbies when they came out. Thank God.
Overall, this puzzle actually felt about right for a Wednesday. As noted, I wasn't overwhelmed by the theme, but it didn't hamper my enjoyment much. Even the hard ones weren't that hard to figure.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.