Variation of rummy that was 1950s fad / MON 1-3-11 / Miss America band / Old cop show starring Telly Savalas / Take someone's wheels from at gunpoint
Monday, January 3, 2011
Constructor: Ian Livengood
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (foraMondayforaMondayforaMonday)
THEME: ACK Attack — theme answers are seven two-word phrases (or two-syllable compound words) that end in -ACK
Word of the Day: CANASTA (4D: Variation of rummy that was a 1950s fad) —
Canasta (Spanish for "basket"; pronounced /kəˈnæstə/ in English) is a card game of the rummy family of games believed to be a variant of 500 Rum. Although many variations exist for 2, 3, 5 or 6 players, it is most commonly played by four in two partnerships with two standard decks of cards. Players attempt to make melds of 7 cards of the same rank and "go out" by playing all cards in their hand. It is the only partnership member of the family of Rummy games to achieve the status of a classic. // The game of Canasta was devised by attorney Segundo Santos and architect Alberto Serrato in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1939. In the 1940s the game quickly spread in a myriad of variations to Chile, Peru, Brazil and Argentina, where its rules were further refined before being introduced to the United States in 1948, where it was then referred to as the Argentine Rummy game by Ottilie H. Reilly in 1949 and Michael Scully of Coronet Magazine in 1953. The game quickly became a card-craze boom in the 1950s providing a sales avalanche of card sets, card trays and books about the subject. (wikipedia)
Ian Livengood ... so here you are. I was wondering what happened to you when you Failed To Submit Your Picks for the final week of our NFL pool. I could only surmise that after taunting me around week five for how poorly I was doing, you were too despondent this past week when you realized that you were hopelessly behind me (12 weeks in a row picking 50-50 or better, thank you very much) and could do no better than ... well, who cares, you were behind me. But it's possible you were CARJACKed. I hope not, but who knows? At any rate, I see you are alive and well and constructing, so that's something.
PS I didn't win the pool (stupid SethG and his stupid impossible 15-1 week a while back put an end to that dream), but I did come in second, and the Lions did end the season on a four-game winning streak by beating stupid over-exposed (!) Brett Favre, so I'm mostly fairly pleased anyway. It's not like money was at stake (was it? Seth?).
Today's is a *very* loose theme that gains tightness (and NYT-worthiness) through several factors:
- Density — 7 theme answers of 8+ letters on a Monday is a Lot
- Relative liveliness — "THAT'S WACK" alone puts the puzzle well into Fresh and Lively territory
- The two-syllable thing — Every theme answer = two syllables, giving another dimension of unity to the theme, as well as adding a fabulous jackhammer rhythm (if you read the theme answers aloud in quick succession)
- 17A: "Don't get too close!" ("STAND BACK!") — here is where I got held up and ended up with a mistake I had to fix. I started out with STAY-something. STAY-blank. And then when I got the BACK end through crosses, I forgot to go back and fix STAY, so ended up with the nonsensical STAYDBACK, which gave me CAYASTA (!?!?!) instead of CANASTA (4D: Variation of rummy that was a 1950s fad). One simple letter fix and perhaps this puzzle would have been a normal Medium Monday after all. We'll never know.
- 21A: "Wow, totally crazy!" ('THAT'S WACK!")
- 26A: Stars of "The Breakfast Club" and "St. Elmo's Fire," collectively (BRAT PACK)
- 40A: Take someone's wheels from at gunpoint (CARJACK)
- 49A: Hiker's bag (KNAPSACK)
- 54A: Place for parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (SPICE RACK)
- 64A: Bulletin board fastener (THUMB TACK)
Never did understand what "the tropic of Sir Galahad" was all about... explanations wanted. Fictional explanations preferred.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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