Classic mountain bikes / WED 10-10-12 / 1970 #1 hit with lyric Easy as / Tea-growing Indian state / Needle-nosed swimmers / Hotheaded Corleone / Elicitors of groans / Spirit of Islamic myth
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Constructor: Pete Muller
Relative difficulty: Easiest Wednesday of 2012, according to my admittedly spotty records
THEME: PAJAMAS (26D: Nightwear ... or a hidden feature of 17-, 21-, 33-, 41-, 54- and 59-Across?) — six theme entries are all two-word phrases (or compound words) where first words/parts end with "P" and second words/parts start with "J"
Word of the Day: STUMPJUMPERS (41A: Classic mountain bikes) —
The Specialized Stumpjumper is a mountain bike produced by Specialized Bicycle Components. When it was first produced in 1981, the Stumpjumper was the first mass-productionmountain bike. The Stumpjumper is still in production, although its design has changed significantly since it was first sold. Stumpjumpers have been raced professionally by riders including Christoph Sauser and Ned Overend. (wikipedia)
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STUMPJUMPERS, people would get slowed down somewhat. That didn't happen. Or rather, it did, but not nearly enough to make up for how phenomenally easy most of the rest of the puzzle was. Perhaps this puzzle played very differently for you if 1A: 1970 #1 hit with the lyric "Easy as ..." ("ABC") wasn't a flat-out gimme. Or perhaps you've never heard of a GUN PIT (30D: Defensive excavation). Wait, *I*'ve never heard of a GUN PIT, and I blew right through that section, high on crosses and inference. I don't know. I guess there are potential pitfalls here and there, but ... I mean, [Actress Jolie]??? There has to be a tougher or at least more clever way to clue ANGELINA. The one thing this puzzle has going for it is theme density. A solid six theme answers. Beyond that, it's exceedingly straightforward and highly forgettable. Fill isn't terrible—pretty good, all things considered (I'm choosing to forgive the proximate partials USE AS and ONE IS). My biggest struggle was with 22D: Action hero's underwater breathing aid (REED). It's a clever clue, but that's not why I struggled—I wrote in the "R" (in PROPJET) as a "P" so needed all the crosses and even then got PEED. I also couldn't figure out TICKER (47D: Bygone Wall Street device) because my "K" looked like an "H" and T-CHER wasn't ringing any bells. And yet, even with a theme answer from outer space and multiple self-inflicted spelling/handwriting wounds, I crossed the finish line 90 seconds below average and nearly 30 seconds below my previous low.
- 17A: Surgically replaceable body parts (HIP JOINTS)
- 21A: Many a corporate plane (PROP JET)
- 33A: On-the-spot appraisal (SNAP JUDGMENT)
- 41A: Classic mountain bikes (STUMPJUMPERS)
- 54A: Bar musicians may put them out (TIP JARS)
- 59A: Serving with syrup (FLAPJACKS)
- 24A: Supposed skill of some hotline operators (ESP) — this doesn't work great as a clue, first because "psychic hotlines" seem awfully '90s, and second because I don't recall the term "ESP" actually ever being used on ads for said hotlines.
- 40A: Tea-growing Indian state (ASSAM) — klassic krosswordese, like the GARS it grows out of (34D: Needle-nosed swimmers).
- 65A: The hotheaded Corleone (SONNY) — Took me a while to remember his name, even though I'm *teaching* "The Godfather" later in the semester. SONNY has one of the greatest death scenes in the history of film.
- 5D: Manhattan film festival locale (TRIBECA) — I know about this only because DeNiro was a cofounder.
- 50D: Spirit of Islamic myth (DJINN) — Got it off the "D"; daughter once read a series of books called "Children of the Lamp," and I think DJINN figured fairly prominently therein.
- 51D: Like a blowhard (touched for the very first time?)
- 57D: Handled the music at a rave (DJED) — no need for "at a rave" here. Clue works without it. The DJ at my stepbrother's wedding this past weekend "handled the music," though there was not a rave in sight. Kenny Loggins was giving a concert directly across the street, but that's neither here nor there.