Designer McCartney / THU 12-23-10 / Reggae/dancehall artist Paul / Notorious 1999 computer virus / Jedi big forehead
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Constructor: Oliver Hill and Eliza Bagg
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: GHOTI (30D: "Fish") — George Bernard Shaw's alleged fanciful explanation of how to spell "Fish": 17A: What to use to spell 30-Down, according to George Bernard Shaw, reputedly, Part 1: THE 'GH' FROM 'ENOUGH' (36A: Part 2) THE 'O' FROM 'WOMEN' (Part 3) THE 'TI' FROM 'NATION'
Word of the Day: STELLA McCartney (3D: Designer McCartney) —
Stella Nina McCartney (born 13 September 1971) is an English fashion designer. She is the daughter of former Beatles member Sir Paul McCartney and the late photographer and animal rights activist, Linda McCartney. (wikipedia)
First off, thanks to Caleb Madison and Natan Last for doing the write-up yesterday, and thanks to many of you for the interesting and mostly kind comments (and emails) regarding my ALL IN puzzle.
Today's puzzle falls generally into that category of "Theme Answers as Instructions," though it's somewhat funny and thus somewhat more interesting than "Do this" or "Fold here" or whatever. I know of this "GHOTI" thing only from GHOTI's appearance in a crossword a while back. Appears to be a well known wordplay gag to many. As I was solving this, I couldn't remember the joke very well, and after getting GHO- wrote in GHOST at 30D (confusing this "Fish" thing with the game of "GHOST," which I also know only from crosswords). If you are familiar with the whole "GHOTI" trick, then there's no great reveal here, and if you're not, then ... maybe there is.
As for non-theme stuff, there are some weak spots, but they're mostly small and out-of-the-way (e.g. the little TERR/SEENO/ARR section in the west and the unlovable TEHEED in the NW—which I blew because I didn't check my crosses after filling in SAT at 14A: Lay (SET), thus ending up with TAHEED ... finding out it was really TEHEED didn't improve things much). Otherwise, much to enjoy, including "HELLO, MELISSA!" (20A: Shout into a canyon + 22A: Notorious 1999 computer virus) and "HERE WE GO!" (37D: Shout at the top of a rollercoaster) and "DETROIT!" (52A: Lion's home) (my losing but much improving football team—really hoping that after he inevitably wins Rookie of the Year, Ndamukong Suh starts to appear in puzzles). One thing I still don't get, even after asking another constructor—what is 39D: Good radio station for a bride? (WIFE) supposed to mean? Is that a famous radio station? In NYC? Constructor I asked is from NYC, so that would be weird.
- 4A: Originator of the phrase "rosy-fingered dawn" (HOMER) — translator originated the phrase, but still, Gimme.
- 32A: Books often read on Saturday (TORAH) — did not know the singular was the plural.
- 41A: Object of Andy's affection in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" (TRISH) — saw the movie, liked the movie, forgot the name—although figuring out her name probably doesn't start SR- helped me change GHOST to GHOTI.
- 61A: Zero, in slang (BAGEL) — I had AUGHT at first. Not really "slang," I guess.
- 1D: Panama and Suez (ISTHMI) — deliberate trickery. Of course I wrote in CANALS right away.
- 9D: One fighting urban sprawl, say (ZONER) — I was trying to explain to someone earlier tonight how low word-count puzzles tend to have lots of strange -ER words in them ...
- 38D: Who'll "talk 'til his voice is hoarse," in a 1960s sitcom (MR. ED) — First thought: MR. HANEY ... kidding.
- 55D: Jedi with a big forehead (YODA) — not a feature I'd single out, but OK.
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