Ramsey 1970s western / TUE 12-14-10 / English king crowned 1100 / Rapper's entourage / Dairy case bar / Swabbie's handful
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Constructor: Mark Feldman
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: EXERCISE ROOM (51A: Where one might 20-, 26- and 45-Across?) — phrases begin with what sounds like a kind of exercise (?) and end with a part of a room (??) ... with the possible exception of CLIMB THE WALLS, none of the theme answers can possibly be understood as an actual "EXERCISE," so ... I don't know, *you* decide what it all means.
Word of the Day: AURIST (22A: Ear doctor) —
n. (a̤"rĭst)[L. auris ear.]
One skilled in treating and curing disorders of the ear. (answers.com)
This will be short, mostly because I have very little nice to say about this one. I don't think I see how the theme ... works. Since you don't literally do any of the theme answers in an EXERCISE ROOM, I guess that simply the fact that they *sound* like EXERCISEs and involve room parts (figuratively) somehow makes it all work out. You know what else fits in EXERCISE ROOM's space? INSANE ASYLUM. Theme feels extremely convoluted and not the least bit cute to me. Throw in AURIST (yuck) and "HEC" (on a Tuesday?) (49A: "___ Ramsey" (1970s western)) and you've got a puzzle I have a hard time liking. Very easy overall, though AURIST held me up something awful. I think I tried AUTIST and AUDIST before hitting on AURIST. The [Catchall category] is usually OTHER, not OTHERS, so that was weird. Don't usually see STEROID in the singular in sports contexts (41D: Olympian's no-no), so that was interesting. Liked the contrasting intersecting answers ICES IN (46D: Strands during the winter, perhaps) and SUN STROKE. The double set of triple-7 Downs (in the north and south) is an interesting architectural feature—very unusual, as those wide-open banks are usually relegated to the corners. Otherwise, there's not much else to like here.
- 20A: Make a legislative speech, e.g. (HOLD THE FLOOR)
- 26A: Go ballistic (HIT THE CEILING)
- 45A: Be stir-crazy (CLIMB THE WALLS)
- 40A: Rapper's entourage (POSSE) — Before there was "Baby Got Back," there was...
- 2D: Dairy case bar (OLEO) — does OLEO still come in "bars?" I see tubs, but the bars I see are butter. Maybe I'm not looking closely enough.
- 30D: Swabbie's handful (MOP) — "Swabbie." There's a word you don't see that often.
- 52D: More, in adspeak (XTRA) — Also a site dedicated to "Canada's gay and lesbian news," it turns out.
- 53D: "Letting Go" novelist Philip (ROTH) — Never heard of this title, but no matter: [Novelist Philip] alone would've got me ROTH.
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