MONDAY, Nov. 16 2009 — 1945 conference site / Military strategy during 2003 invasion of Iraq / Marijuana slangily
Monday, November 16, 2009
Constructors: James Mulhern and Ashton Anderson
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: -OCK AND something — three-word phrases where second word is AND and first word rhymes with SOCK
Word of the Day: YALTA (55A: 1945 conference site) — The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, was the wartime meeting from 4 February 1945 to 11 February 1945 among the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union—President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and General Secretary Josef Stalin, respectively—for the purpose of discussing Europe's postwar reorganization. Mainly, it was intended to discuss the re-establishment of the nations of war-torn Europe. (wikipedia)
Pretty flimsy excuse for a theme, but the grid is super-non-crappy (except PREXY — 39A: Veep's superior — go back into hiding, PREXY!) despite having a raft of 3- and 4-letter words, and that in itself is a kind of accomplishment. BLACKLIST (34D: Secretly ban from employment) and LIFESAVER (11D: Candy with a hole in the middle) are nice as Long Downs go. ANALOG is also interesting (46D: Like a clock with hands), and its symmetrical counterpart NELSON (10D: Mandela of South Africa) would have been a lot more so if it had been clued as ["Simpsons" bully] or [Lisa Simpson's ex] or [Pal of Jimbo and Kearney] or ["HA ha" exclaimer] or the like. Not a ton to say about the puzzle overall, as I was in and out in under three (very fast, for me, for a Monday).
- 17A: Like a story that can't be believed (cock and bull) — tried COCKAMAMIE here at first. Didn't fit.
- 27A: Military strategy during the 2003 invasion of Iraq (Shock and Awe)
- 45A: Subject of a 1950s "revolution" (rock and roll) — clue seems odd to me. Very gettable, but the clue did not point clearly to "ROCK-AND-ROLL" for me. "Rock-and-Roll Revolution" isn't a very familiar phrase. Poor Google action, too. Lots of hits for some metal song by a band called "Saliva." Maybe the phrase was famouser (!?) when it was happening.
- 61A: Prepare to use a rifle (lock and load)
Thought 1A: _____ wool (soft material) (lamb's) was a really awkward way to start things off. My brain went scrolling through possible words and came up only with STEEL (opposite of "soft"). Worked the Downs in succession up there and honestly didn't get LAMB'S until I had the "B." Even with LAM- in place I was thinking "LAM ... LAMÉ? LAMÉE?!" But LUCKY (1D: Like a rabbit's foot or four-leaf clover) for me those Downs went down fast, each one on the first guess with no crosses, so I got out of the NW in a hurry and never really slowed down. Wrote in two wrong answers along the way: I'M OUT for I FOLD (52D: "Too rich for my blood") and BLACKBALL for BLACKLIST. Other than that, I shocked and awed this puzzle. Sent it into ORBIT (65A: Spacecraft's path). Made it say "YES, DEAR" (24A: Spouse's servile words). Etc.
- 37A: Currier's partner in lithography (Ives) — stock clue. See June 15, 2009. Mix it up!
- 8D: France before it was France (Gaul) — Caesar conquered GAUL, despite the best efforts of Asterix and Obelix, if I remember my high school history correctly.
- 30D: Marijuana, slangily (weed) — recent article at "The Daily Beast" all about which stars smoke WEED, if you're interested in that kind of thing.
Gotta go. I've been told that my daughter is downstairs doing the (syndicated) LAT crossword. This is a first. She's 9, so I can't wait to see what she's decided are right answers. "Mom, I think you have a wrong answer." And she's off ...
See you tomorrow
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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