Johnny who used to cry Come On Down / TUE 4-27-10 / Penny-pincher slangily / Seoul-based automaker / Means of staying toasty at night
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Constructor: Oliver Hill
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: SWITCHBLADE (62A: Street weapon ... or a hint to the circled letters in this puzzle) — consecutive circled letters in each theme answers are made up of the rearranged ("switched"?) letters of BLADE
Word of the Day: SAE (55A: Major coll. fraternity) —
Sigma Alpha Epsilon (ΣΑΕ, also SAE) is a North American Greek-letter social college fraternity founded at the University of Alabama on March 9, 1856. Of all existing national social fraternities today, Sigma Alpha Epsilon is the only one founded in the Antebellum South. Its national headquarters, the Levere Memorial Temple, was established on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois in 1929. // Sigma Alpha Epsilon is the largest college fraternity by total initiates, with more than 300,000 initiated members and more than 11,000 undergraduates at 300 chapters in 49 states and provinces at present. The creed of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, The True Gentleman, must be memorized and recited by all prospective members. New members receive a copy of The Phoenix, the manual of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, for educational development.
Amazingly easy for a puzzle with a whopping seven (7!) theme answers. Easiness is probably largely attributable to the fact that the grid is something close to 40% three-letter words. Not sure I counted properly, but I've got 30/78 words at 3 letters. And with none of the clues particularly tough today (exc. SAE, what the hell? I never saw the clue and figured it was simply the "self-addressed envelope" abbreviation I've come to know and ... tolerate), I methodically chomped through this one from NW to SW with hardly a hesitation. The puzzle is all theme ... and it's a good theme. Nice use of circles (contiguous, useful in solving). BED LAMP and HEATED BLANKET both seem like basic phrases, but I don't think I'd say either. I'd probably throw "SIDE" into the "BED LAMP" answer, and all the HEATED BLANKETs I've known have been heated by electricity, making them ELECTRIC BLANKETS. Maybe folks are heating blankets other ways these days (or on the prairie in olden tymes).
- 17A: Genesis duo (CAIN AND ABEL)
- 21A: It's found on a nightstand (BED LAMP)
- 29A: Certain mustache shape (HANDLEBAR)
- 38A: Means of staying toasty at night (HEATED BLANKET)
- 50A: American symbol (BALD EAGLE)
- 57A: Made possible (ENABLED)
- 11A: MP3 holders (CDS) — this is pretty cheap cluing. People listen to MP3s on iPods and iPod-like devices, not CDS. You can record MP3s to CDS, it's true, but ... :(
- 73A: Darcy's Pemberley, e.g., in "Pride and Prejudice" (ESTATE) — Hesitated here trying to untangle the grammar of the clue. Had a brief moment where I imagined Pemberley was a person. Then thought, "wait, I've actually read this novel. Several times." And brain said "Oh yeah. That's right. Here you go: it's ESTATE."
- 69A: Bond girl Kurylenko (OLGA) — Apparently being a Bond girl is like winning a gold medal — automatic puzzle eligibility. The only Bond girl I know is Ursula Andress. And I like it that way.
- 11D: Penny-pincher, slangily (CHEAPO) — that would be a good name for a disposable lighter. Zippo is for the elites — try CHEAPO, the working man's lighter!
- 37D: Snick's partner (SNEE) — These guys need an animated show, like Tom and Jerry or Chip and Dale.
- 53D: Johnny who used to cry "Come on down!" (OLSON) — me: "Uh ... CARSON didn't say that, it was Ed McMahon! Oh wait, wrong show."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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