Many a Justin Bieber fan / WED 12-22-10 / Kirk's foe in a "Star Trek" sequel / General played by Fonda (in 1976), Peck (1977) and Olivier (1981)
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Constructor: Michael Sharp (a k a Rex Parker)
Relative difficulty: Medium-Difficult
Theme: Going All In — Six answers are phrases which usually include "All In" at the beginning with "All In" omitted. Theme revealer at 63-Across.
Word of the Day: VALOR (3D: Bravery) —
- Value; worth.
- Strength of mind in regard to danger; that quality which enables a person to encounter danger with firmness; personal bravery; courage; prowess; intrepidity.
We've decided to bury the hatchet, for Rex's sake. Fight indefinitely postponed. Bookies, calculate your odds. Michael Vick, place your bets. Screaming ladies, hold onto your underthings. For the course of this blog post, Caleb and Natan have merged into... Catan. Catan: like Brangelina, but cuter, and with fewer Cambodian children. It also saves us from having to use the personal pronoun "we" all the time.
On to the puzzle. As we solved this, in the same room, yelling obscenities at each other when we couldn’t get something ("*$^@!# TOOTS SHOR?!" "WAIT A SEC IS THIS A &$#!@*ING REBUS?!?"), we also commented on the solidness of the theme. It’s very clever, of course, and not only are the six phrases Rex has chosen all lively, but the omitted answer is also a tight phrase:
- 1A: Cry at the start of a vote [ALL IN] FAVOR
- 20A: "Soon enough, my friend" [ALL IN] GOOD TIME
- 36A: As a package [ALL IN] ONE
- 52A: Completely imagined [ALL IN] YOUR HEAD
- 11D: Top-rated TV series of 1971-76 [ALL IN] THE FAMILY
- 32D: To be expected [ALL IN] A DAY'S WORK
Interestingly, as I (Catan) write this, I'm in a house on Duane Street, a block away from Reade street, home to the original Duane READE store (14-A: Duane ___ (New York City pharmacy chain)). Coincidentally, I'm also playing PACMAN (6-D: Iconic chomper) (great clue, that), listening to OTIS (10-A: Soulful Redding), acting FERAL (48-D: Untamed), and swaying to and FRO (48-A: One way to sway). What can I say. We're just two TWEENs chilling out to some Bieber (51-A: Many a Justin Bieber fan).
The extra dose of Star Trek clues were all gimmes for Caleb, but Natan, who's more of a Star Wars kid, had trouble with 'em. Both of us were happy to see Eero Saarinen, with all his crazy vowels, not as an answer but as a clue (28-A: Eero Saarinen, for one). Similarly, cool to see PRO RATA (42-D: How some wages are calculated) in full as well.
An interesting facet of this puzzle, and the submission process in general, is the stuff that Will lets FLY (28-D: Pass muster), and the stuff that gets nixed. We have it on good information that 34-Across was, in a past life, I AM, which made (27-D: Block) DE MER (clued as "Mal ___, sea sickness") instead of DETER. Hard to say which is the lesser of the evils, but DE MER has, at least, appeared in crosswords before, though never in the Times; I AT (34-A: "Am ___ risk?"), for its meager part, has appeared nonce. Constructors ourselves (down, Screaming Ladies, down!), we woulda gone with IAJ (clued as "Am ___ Burnett?: Existential crisis from a Yankees pitcher") and DE JER (Mal ___ [sickness gotten from watching too much "Seinfeld").
- Go from site to site? (SURF) — Nice misdirective clue.
- Biggie _____ (rapper a k a Notorious B.I.G.) (SMALLS) — An example of something that could have gotten a lame plural clue (T-shirt sizes) but instead becomes lively and current. And awesome.
Teenagers that we are, our minds did not immediately go to the land of verbs when we saw Madden in the clue for 12-Down; needless to say, the actual answer was much less exciting: INFURIATE.
Also, our constructor seems to be a bit of projecting at 37-Across (Old Man: Ger.). Oh, Michael Sharpenschnitzel, you’ll always be young at heart.
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