Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Constructor: Chris A. McGlothlin
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: AND... — Down answers intersect with Across answers to form common phrases when the word "and" is inserted betwixt the two (as it's clued). If you want to get FAST and LOOSE, you could potentially argue that they form a "+" symbol, but I wouldn't recommend it.
Word of the Day: ARA (4D - "Parseghian of Notre Dame") —
Ara Raoul Parseghian (born May 21, 1923) is a former American football player and coach of Armenian descent. He served as the head football coach at Miami University (1951–1955), Northwestern University (1956–1963), and the University of Notre Dame (1964–1974), compiling a career college football record of 170–58–6. During his 11 seasons as head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, known popularly as "the Era of Ara," Parseghian tallied a mark of 95–17–4 record for a .836 winning percentage. His teams of 1966 and 1973 won national titles. Parseghian was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1980.Maybe this wasn't the WATD for you, but for a guy who doesn't follow sports (much less college football) and who immediately thinks of bad jokes about "his face sure rings a bell"... this one got me good. I suppose it's better than the alternative clue: "a southern constellation situated between Scorpius and Triangulum Australe."
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It's been a week now, so I'm sure you all know the drill: Rex is in a magical land where it's technically tomorrow and the sheep outnumber people around 8:1, so a group of us have volunteered to fill in (no pun intended) for him until his return. I'm Brian Grosz, the guy on the right who dresses respectably and doesn't clutter his skin with tattoos. And while you've probably never heard the music I make, you've most likely heard my voice reading scripts on TV - which, obviously, qualifies me to write up today's puzzle.
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As with most early week puzzles, I was expecting the theme to appear in the longest answers in the grid, but that prejudice was immediately shattered by the trifecta of cluing in 13A, 14A and 15A. Yes, I grumbled - loud enough to rouse the attention of my better half who was grossly entrenched in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. Since I transitioned from paper to my iPad, all that scrolling bumps up my solving time and I was worried about what lay ahead.
Fortunately, things fell into place fairly quickly. Unfortunately, I had been hoping for some kind of pun, alliteration, spoonerism or a even a fleeting modicum of cleverness... but what can I expect from a Tuesday puzzle? A sweater?
- ON THE SPOT (2D and 13A) - THEN and THERE
- FAMILY (7D and 14A) - KITH and KIN
- GET-TO-KNOW-YOU GATHERING (11D and 15A) - MEET and GREET
- TWO OF LIFE'S CERTAINTIES (25D and 36A) - DEATH and TAXES
- SNACK OPTION (28D and 37A) - CHIPS and DIP
- MEAGER MEAL (31D and 38A) - BREAD and WATER
- LODGER'S FEE (48D and 59A) - ROOM and BOARD
- ALL AROUND (51D and 60A) - NEAR and FAR
- ONE WAY TO PLAY (54D and 61A) - FAST and LOOSE
(Also, I can't ever say the words "FAST and LOOSE" without think of the long-running Led Zeppelin fanzine, Tight But Loose - a fantastic way to describe Jimmy Page's guitar playing.)
That said, anyone who attempts to use the term AOLER [56A - Certain Netizen] from here on out will promptly be dragged into the street, covered in bacon grease and set upon by a pack of vicious, underfed Dobermans. My (legally blind) grandmother is the last person I know who uses AOL to access the internet and even she would never refer to herself in such a fashion. I'll let it slide today, but this faux-cabulary will not be tolerated in the future.
- ATLAS [1A - Rockefeller Center Statue] — I've been a New Yorker for most of my life and, as a result, I avoid tourist traps like Rockefeller Center. That said, ATLAS is not the first statue to come to mind; I immediately think of the Prometheus statue in the skating rink.
- LETT [3D - Riga Native] — "Riga... yeah... that's in Latvia. SLAV? Nope..."
- GIN [17D - Play stopping declaration] — This shouldn't have thrown me for a loop, but it did. I spent 12 years of my life in the theater studying Shakespeare and look where it got me: misled on a crossword puzzle, trying to fit EXEUNT into a three-letter space.
- HANEY [18A - "Green Acres" Con Man Mr. ____"] — Crosses are the only thing that saved me here. I can whistle you the theme song but I can also guarantee you that I've never seen a single episode. Should you care to learn more about The Hustler of Hooterville, you can click here.
- REED ORGAN [57A - Harmonium] — A friend of mine owns a hand-operated/portable harmonium, so I really wanted this to be PUMP ORGAN. It's a fascinating instrument to play (and isn't nearly as terrifying as an accordion with all of its buttons and associations to guys named Yankovic). If you want to get technical, a melodica could also be classified as a REED ORGAN.
Signed, Brian Grosz, Licensed Reverend and First-Class Misanthrope.