Rugby scuffle / MON 5-16-11 / Greece/Turkey separator / Kitschy gift with green fur / Skin-transferring operations / Former California NFLer St Louis
Monday, May 16, 2011
Constructor: Ian Livengood
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: HORSE PLAY (63A: Roughhousing ... or a hint to the ends of 17-, 21-, 26-, 33-, 40, 43-, 47- and 56-Across) — HORSE can follow the endings of every theme answer to make familiar phrases
Word of the Day: MARAT Safin (16A: Tennis's ___ Safin) —
Marat Mikhailovich Safin; (Russian: Марат Михайлович Сафин) (born January 27, 1980) is a former Russian tennis player. Safin won two majors and reached the world number 1 ranking during his career. He was also famous for his emotional outbursts and sometimes fiery temper on court. Safin also holds the record for most broken racquets in a year with 87. Safin is the older brother of former World No. 1 WTA player Dinara Safina (Dinara Mikhailovna Safina) (Russian: Динара Михайловна Сафина), born April 27, 1986 in Moscow. They are the first brother-sister tandem in tennis history to both achieve No. 1 rankings. (wikipedia)
Of course my feelings about this puzzle may be slightly affected by the fact that it was my fastest solving time of any (15x15) puzzle I've ever done ever in the history of me. Ever.
- 17A: Greece/Turkey separator (AEGEAN SEA)
- 21A: Lumberjack's tool (CHAIN SAW)
- 26A: Advocating "Bring the troops home now!," say (ANTI-WAR)
- 33A: In the evening (AFTER DARK)
- 40A: Daily nine-to-five struggle (RAT RACE)
- 43A: Really dimwitted (BRAIN DEAD)
- 47A: Like the best straight in poker (ACE HIGH)
- 56A: Lift weights (PUMP IRON) — could've been tied to GYM (25A: Place for barbells and treadmills)
I slowed down only once during this solve—trying to get from the AZTEC RAIN GOD down into the middle part of the grid. Couldn't see AFTER DARK on my first approach, so jumped *immediately* to the far west and rode ANTI-WAR down to BRAIN DEAD and then right back to the place that had given me trouble. After that, it seemed like all my first thoughts were the correct ones.
- 1A: Rugby scuffle (SCRUM) — saw this first and then instead of writing it down I went to Downs and just kept it in my head, dropping the S-word, C-word, R-word, U-word, and M-word, in order.
- 58A: Skin-transferring operations (GRAFTS) — I realize that this is a basic, literal, medical clue, but it has a creepy, horror-movie vibe to me.
- 12D: Former California N.F.L.'er now located in St. Louis (L.A. RAM) — old L.A. team is getting a lot of xword action lately. I will be located in St. Louis this September for a certain superstar crossword constructor's wedding.
- 45D: Kitschy gift with green "fur" (CHIA PET) — only answers I can think of that *might* have slowed folks down are this and MARAT.
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