Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Title: Stick Pin Swords
Author: Alan Arbesfeld
Theme: Stick 'P' in S-Words.

  • 17a: Reason to stop filming "Star Trek"? (SPOCKS AWAY).

  • 20a: First comment from a certain doctor? (ORIGINAL SPIN). A spin doctor.

  • 39a: Insecure vet's admission? (IT'S HARD TO SPAY). Ouch.

  • 57a: Bee winners, usually? (BEST SPELLERS). My instinct was that bestseller was a b-word, but I guess it's common as two words as well.

  • 62a: Cash for methamphetamines? (SPEED MONEY). Drug reference tag.

This is a great example of how a fantastic title turns a ho-hum concept into a beautiful theme. Plus, all the base and modified phrases are excellent.

Sunny Spots:

  • 6d: Casino game for egomaniacs?: Abbr. (ANAG). Toughest and coolest clue of the day. "Casino game" and "egomaniacs" are anagrams of each other. Very nice.

  • 16a: "Blue Suede Shoes" songwriter Perkins (CARL).

  • 19a: 1975 Hot Chocolate hit (EMMA). I don't remember this one at all. I remember "I Believe in Miracles (You Sexy Thing)", which I think was one of the songs they danced to in "The Full Monty", wasn't it?

  • 22a: San ___ (department of Paraguay) (PEDRO). Oh, please. How about a "Vote For Pedro" clue?

  • 25a: Springfield Elementary School teacher Krabappel (EDNA). I don't watch "The Simpsons" enough to know the peripheral names, but that's my own fault. After all, they've been on now for 45 seasons.

  • 27a: Pakistani president Asif ___ Zardari (ALI).

  • 28a: Rotation player's need (CUE). Rotation is a billiards game.

  • 33a: Cartoon girl with a pink T-shirt and orange shorts (DORA). Never seen it, but all I needed was "Cartoon girl" and I was pretty sure where this one was going.

  • 42a: "I bet" (YEAH SURE).

  • 43a: Belt (SLUG). I started with SOCK, changed it to SWIG when I got the G, and then finally to SLUG.

  • 45a: Tennis gold medalist at the 2008 Olympics (NADAL).

  • 47a: What you must know how to do to solve a kakuro puzzle (ADD). One of the many Japanese pencil and paper games trying to ride the Sudoku wave.

  • 50a: Sex starter (UNI). I went with ESS first, but it's a cryptic prefix, not a cryptic letter clue.

  • 61a: "As I see it," in chat room shorthand (IMHO). In my humble opinion. Which is funny, because it's almost never a humble opinion.

  • 68a: Mostest-loved thing (FAVE).

  • 69a: What often does it? (EASY). Cute.

  • 2d: Royal headwear? (CAP). As in a Kansas City Royal baseball player.

  • 7d: "Holy smokes!" (ZOWIE).

  • 9d: "Diary of the Sinai Campaign" author (Moshe DAYAN).

  • 10d: Winners when led in no-trump (ACES). Bridge clue.

  • 11d: Where to find designer discounts (SAMPLE SALES).

  • 21d: Blue gemstone (LAPIS).

  • 24d: Dinner leftovers? (DIRTY DISHES).

  • 41d: Tent for nomads (YURT). I just saw this again recently.

  • 45d: Sexually attractive (NUBILE). Comes from the Latin for "to marry".

  • 53d: Comeback (REPLY). Went RALLY first.

  • 56d: You might celebrate its independence with a BBQ (USOFA). I never noticed SOFA was part of U.S. of A. That's kind of appropriate, don't you think?

  • 58d: "Copacabana" bartender (TONY).

  • 59d: Blocks at a daycare center (LEGO). I'd be happier if the answer were plural.

  • 65d: Jones (YEN).
  • This may have started as a drug reference as well.

Suns of Bitches:

None to speak of.

Nice puzzle. Not much else to 47a (ADD).

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.

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