Basslike fish / WED 10-6-10 / Mischievous rural pastime / 1970 James Taylor hit / Valentine embellishment / Bygone warship
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Constructor: Ian Livengood
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: OPENING BELL (58A: Sound of capitalism? ... or a hint to the starts of 17-, 22-, 35- and 46-Across) — "openings" of four theme answers are all types of "bells"
Word of the Day: SNOOK (41A: Basslike fish) —
The common snook (Centropomus undecimalis) is a species of marine fish in the family Centropomidae of the order Perciformes. This species is native to the coastal waters of the western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, from southern Florida and Texas to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The oo can be pronounced as in either room or good. [...] Considered an excellent food fish, the common snook is fished commercially and raised in aquaculture although it is not available for sale in the United States. It is also prized as a game fish, being known for their great fighting capabilities. (wikipedia)
- 17A: 1970 James Taylor hit ("FIRE AND RAIN") — only three-word answer, but I still like it better than DINNER ETIQUETTE
- 22A: Mischievous rural pastime (COW TIPPING) — I have never found this amusing. Just seems cruel. (oh, it's a rural legend? Good)
- 35A: Keeping your elbows off the table, e.g. (DINNER ETIQUETTE)
- 46A: Classic Dana Carvey character, with "the" (CHURCH LADY)
Grid looks easy on review, but I had only an average time because of several small sticking points. Took me far too long to see OTIS / ESCALATOR (2D: Big name in the 20-Across business). I had ADD-ON for ADD TO (i.e. took "Supplement" as a noun). Blanked on SNOOK, which I know only very vaguely, and then (probably) only from xwords. Had real trouble prying open the whole SW corner, as THORAX was not anywhere near the top of my mind for the vague clue [Chest] and AUGUST was also tough to pick up, with its non-month clue. Really love the (weird) clue for HAS (60A: Orders at a restaurant). Lastly, as far as screw-ups go, I had LTCOL for LIEUT (47D: Capt.'s inferior). I don't think I'll ever get the military ranking system straight in my head. At this point, it's all intuitive for me (based on number of letters, crosses, and my sense of a potential answer's commonness).
- 1A: Red October detector (SONAR) — got it right away, and then thought there was some more specialized word that I was forgetting ... something with an "L" ... LORAN? Yep, that's it.
- 51A: Bygone warship (IRONSIDES) — keeping up the nautical subtheme ...
- 21D: Body organs associated with anger (SPLEENS) — my wife doesn't have one, and mine has been "enlarged" since I was a child (it's likely normal, the way my head size is normal, i.e. gigantic but not pathologically so). We both get angry, but it's true, I'm probably more inclined that way than she. Damn SPLEEN and its irksome humours!
- 28D: Singer honored on a 2008 U.S. postage stamp (SINATRA) — now that's a clue trying to be tough. I see they went with young hot SINATRA over old fat SINATRA.
- 49D: Valentine embellishment (DOILY) — I can picture this, vaguely, but don't think I've seen it in this century. If you could find a plausible rationale, you could make an I-for-L switch puzzle with the theme answer "HELLO, DOILY!" Get on it!
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