Seinfeld's eccentric relative / WED 11-3-10 / 1545-63 council site / Philbin of live TV / P.U. inducer
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Constructor: Tracy Gray
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: CUT IT OUT (62A: "Stop that!" ... and a hint to the answers to 17-, 23-, 39- and 52-Across) — familiar phrases have "IT" removed, creating wacky phrases, clued "?"-style
Word of the Day: TABOR (23D: Drum accompanying a fife) —
A small drum, often having a snare, played by a fifer to accompany the fife.
[Middle English tabur, from Old French, alteration of tambur. See tambour.]
Monday easy. In fact, I was just 15 seconds slower than I was on Monday, and a full 36 seconds faster than I was yesterday. There's just no resistance here—not for me, anyway. The idea for the puzzle is cute, though it's the kind of thing that might have yielded many more (read: Sunday-sized) results. There must be a universe of potential IT-less phrases out there. These four answers aren't particularly scintillating—although LEARNER SPERMS is kind of memorable, however accidentally. I think I paused slightly in the SW as I tried to enter that corner and put down STY instead of PEN at 61D: Porker's pad. Otherwise, even the odd stuff was right over the plate for me. I wanted TAMBOR (and etymologically it seems I have some cause to want it), but it didn't take too long to get from there to TABOR. And though I'm not a big fan of "Seinfeld," UNCLE LEO is very familiar to me, and an admittedly great pop culture answer (68A: Seinfeld's eccentric relative). LOW PITCH seemed off to me (42D: Fastball in the dirt, say), if only because the phrase isn't very baseball lingo-ish. "I'm going to throw a LOW PITCH now" ... I don't know. Type of pitch is at least as important as location. I know I'm splitting hairs, but the phrase just doesn't gel for me. No matter, rest of the grid seems fine, if a little tired-fill-heavy.
- 17A: Online university staff? (NET PROFS)
- 23A: What Nashville sunbathers acquire? (TENNESSEE TANS)
- 39A: Sign prohibiting sunshades? (NO VISORS ALLOWED)
- 52A: Salon jobs from apprentice stylists? (LEARNER'S PERMS)
- 46A: Bailed-out insurance co. (AIG) — AIG stands for something? Hmm. American International Group. I learned something.
- 5D: Former Big Apple mayor La Guardia (FIORELLO) — I have a vintage paperback (ca. late 50s) of "Life With FIORELLO," which is the only reason I know the guy's name so well. There was a Broadway musical based on this book: Fiorello!
- 15D: 1545-63 council site (TRENT) — response to Protestant "heresies"
- 36D: Bar closing time (TWO A.M.) — a sign of how old I'm getting—my first instinct was TEN P.M.
- 37D: Philbin of live TV (REGIS) — The "live" part, while true enough, seems weird to me. [Philbin of TV] would've been just as easy to get.
- 38D: "P.U.!" inducer (ODOR) — I didn't know that exclamation was spelled out in letters like that. Looks like a university abbrev.
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