Caesar's first wife / SUN 3-25-12 / Old Soviet naval base site / Kentucky Derby Epsom Oaks for two / Interrupter of Dagwood's naps / Bud schoolgirl in Mystery Edwin Drood
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Two-For-One Special" — phrases made up of two words wherein a letter appearing twice in the first word and then another letter appearing once are flipped to make the second word, e.g. TRIVIAL TRAVAIL, where the two Is and one A in TRIVIAL become the two As and one I in TRAVAIL
Word of the Day: FLAT RACES (75D: Kentucky Derby and Epsom Oaks, for two) —
Flat racing is a form of Thoroughbred horse racing which is run over a level track at a predetermined distance. It differs from steeplechase racing which is run over hurdles. The race is a test of speed, stamina, and the skill of the jockey in determining when to restrain the horse or to impel it. (wikipedia)
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DOMED MODEM, where none of the switched letters are contiguous with one another. Exasperating. Maybe interesting conceptually, but no great fun to solve. Fill seems fine, though FLAT RACES is an utterly new phrase to me, and CORNELIA (64D: Caesar's first wife) only ever wanted to be CORDELIA (truly maddening, given how many damn letters they have in common). Thank you for letting me UNBOSOM all of that (47D: ___ oneself (share private thoughts)). . . I think I'm using that correctly. (I know I will never use it again)
- 23A: Ordeal that's no big deal? (TRIVIAL TRAVAIL)
- 27A: Large cloth sign with nothing on it? (BARREN BANNER)
- 29A: Toy hammer? (MATTEL MALLET) — OK, I'm at least a little impressed that theme answers here are stacked *3* high
- 50A: Soft yet easily breakable "Star Trek" creature? (BRITTLE TRIBBLE)
- 66A: Hemispherical computer add-on? (DOMED MODEM)
- 68A: "Ride 'em, cowboy," e.g.? (RODEO ORDER)
- 79A: Big house that's not as big? (SMALLER SLAMMER) CLUEANSWER
- 99A: Goddess of gas? (ETHANE ATHENA)
- 102A: Get part of one's shirt under control? (CORRAL COLLAR)
- 108A: What the Gorgon Stheno does in Greek myth? (PURSUES PERSEUS)
- 19A: Hitchcock thriller set in Brazil ("NOTORIOUS") — I own this and still couldn't come up with the answer straight away.
- 22A: Nation bordering Svizzera (ITALIA) — took a few beats for me to get that "Svizzera" was just Italian for "Switzerland."
- 34A: Ending with sex or symbol (-ISM) — nearly ended with an error because I had -IST here. Thankfully, I was thorough enough to check on 14D: The Andrea Doria, for one, and I was pretty sure STEAT SHIP was wrong ...
- 46A: Gulf of Oman port (MUSCAT) — MUSCAT sounds like a person. Took me a few seconds to accept that it was a place.
- 116A: Old Soviet naval base site (ODESSA) — one of those answers I can just throw across based on just a cross or two (in this case, the A). Supercommon crossword place name, esp. as 6-ltr. answers go.
- 49D: Phoebe of "Drop Dead Fred" (CATES) — I saw her very briefly rushing down the stairs of the subway station at Union Square just last week. Also saw NYT reporter David Carr (whom I recognized from the documentary "Page One"), right outside the NYT building, and NY Knicks point guard Baron Davis, who was filming something on the east side of Union Square.
- 2D: ___ Bud, schoolgirl in "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" (ROSA) — I had ROSE. Too spot-on, I guess.