Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Title: Out of Order
Author: Kelsey Blakley
Theme: Wordplay theme consisting of two-word phrases which get their first two letters switched

  • 16a: Bewitching fun? (POTION PLAY). the option play is a staple of college football offenses, and this year, NFL offenses too.

  • 19a: Forearm bone occultation? (ULNAR ECLIPSE). i liked this one.

  • 36a: Fleet quarters? (ARMADA INN).

  • 56a: Ambiguous influence? (UNCLEAR POWER). it's pronounced "un-kyoo-lar."

  • 61a: Sufficient cough medicine? (AMPLE SYRUP). this one made me smile, too.

this was a very nice theme--five rock-solid entries, several of which had some chuckle value. and definitely easy enough for a tuesday.

Sunny Spots:

  • 24a: "Desire Under the Elms" dramatist (eugene O'NEILL). usually we see O'NEAL (tatum, or shaquille), and occasionally buck O'NEIL, but rarely do we get treated to america's greatest playwright. this isn't my favorite of his plays, but long day's journey into night and especially the iceman cometh are excellent.


  • 1a: Knights' titles (SIRS) and 5a: Tale of adventure (GEST). a nice 1-2 punch to start off.

  • 26a: "Some Like It Hot" actress (marilyn MONROE). i'm pretty sure i've never seen any of her movies, including this one. does that make me a bad person? or just a young person?

  • 28a: Pass path (ARC). unless it's a bounce pass, i guess.

  • 29a: "Telephone Line" rock band (ELO). ERIE rule is definitely in effect for these guys.

  • 34a: Onetime rubber capital (AKRON). funny headline on the onion today: "u.s. senate drops lieberman, reid to make room for lebron james in 2010." why do i mention this? lebron is from AKRON, that's why. and somebody has to pay tribute to what this man is doing on the basketball court this year.

  • 39a: Capital of Ghana (ACCRA). i won't plug the sporcle geography quizzes here, but ... let's just say this was at the front of my brain.

  • 43a: "Around the Horn" cable channel (ESPN). ugh, i can't stand "around the horn." but i do like when ESPN shows, you know, sports.

  • 47a: Gp. that won the 1969 Nobel Peace Prize (ILO). the international labor organization. er, make that labour. (apparently it's too international to spell it the american way.)

  • 48a: Abbr. in some city names (HTS). cleveland heights, brooklyn heights, ...

  • 50a: 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon winner Mauresmo (AMÉLIE). since 2006, she's won only one minor tournament. she's a bit of an enigma to me.

  • 60a: Jon Arbuckle's pooch (ODIE). did you know that "garfield" is still an active comic strip? as in, jim davis is still writing it, and a new one comes out every day? it was my favorite comic when i was maybe 7. even by the time i was 10, though, it seemed impossibly dated.

  • 65a: Round whose losers compete in a consolation game (SEMIS). in some tournaments, sure.

  • 67a: Dodge City gunslinger (wyatt EARP).

  • 68a: Furtive summons (PSST). hey, it's the return of PSST. it seems like we haven't seen it in a little while. i like this clue, too. it's subtle, just like PSST itself.

  • 69a: Cut down, perhaps (EDIT). i wish they would stop EDITing so many trees out of the rainforest.

  • 5d: Become a paid athlete (GO PRO). when i was a college senior, i got annoyed of people asking me, "so what are you going to do after graduation?" i eventually started telling people i was planning to declare for the NBA draft. (for context, i'm about 5'9", 140, i have no stamina, and i'm hopeless going to my left.)

  • 7d: Musically detached: Abbr. (STAC). staccato. not sure why, but this is the first thing that comes to mind when i think staccato:

  • 8d: Mayberry sheriff (andy TAYLOR). i only dimly knew this. OPIE is usually the one who shows up in the grid.

  • 10d: Indiana native (HOOSIER). where does this word come from? i don't know, and apparently, neither does anybody else.

  • 11d: Trademarked version of reversi (OTHELLO). i played this game a lot when i was a kid, but ... give me a shakespeare clue any day.

  • 14d: Disneyland's setting (ANAHEIM). wait, you mean los angeles of anaheim, right?

  • 17d: Not taken in by (ONTO). apparently, it is so hard to clue a straight-up preposition that this word is never, ever clued as a straight-up preposition. of course, i can't think of a good clue for this, either, all though there are non-sucky FITB possibilities.

  • 32d: Broodmares, e.g. (DAMS). this one had me temporarily befuddled until i realized what kind of DAMS we were talking about. (the kind that bear foals.)

  • 35d: Cap locale (KNEE). i hope this is referring to the patella, and not some gruesome mafia-style violence.

  • 40d: Lady Bird Johnson's real first name (CLAUDIA). i'm not sure i would have remembered this without crossings.

  • 45d: X tenth? (PIN). er, okay. X is the symbol for a strike, which involves knocking down ten PINs. but what's with the clue? is it supposed to remind us of "extent"?

  • 49d: "Little Orphan Annie" henchman (THE ASP). this used to get me, but now this is like the fifth time i've seen it in a puzzle, and i am no longer gotten.

  • 57d: "Tonight Show" tomahawk tosser Ed (AMES). same goes for this guy.

  • 59d: Literary governess (jane EYRE). somehow i made it through high school and college without having read any austen, or anything by a brontë sister (this one's by charlotte). i'm still not quite sure how.

  • 63d: Spliff stuff (POT). drug reference!

Suns of Bitches:

  • 28d: King of comedy (ALAN). jewish comedian, 1927-2004, according to wikipedia. he seems like kind of an ur-seinfeld.

  • 51d: Street with converted stables, to a Brit (MEWS). huh? what?

i liked the theme a lot, but the fill and clues were a little short on pizzazz. overall, it was a workmanlike tuesday. see you next week. or maybe tomorrow.


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