Quaint lodging / MON 4-30-12 / Group that includes North South East West / Chesapeake Bay delicacy / Cheese popular with crackers / Bygone Italian coins
Monday, April 30, 2012
Constructor: Susan L. Stanislawski
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: B AND B (28D: Quaint lodging hinted at by the outsides of 18-, 20-, 28-, 42-, 51- or 55-Across) — theme answers are two-word phrases where first word begins with "B" and second word ends with "B"
Word of the Day: BLUE CRAB (28A: Chesapeake Bay delicacy) —
Callinectes sapidus (from the Greek calli- = "beautiful", nectes = "swimmer", and Latin sapidus = "savory"), the Chesapeake or Atlantic blue crab, is a crustacean found in the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific coast of Central America and the Gulf of Mexico. On the Pacific coast of Central America it is largely ignored as a food source as picking the meat is considered too difficult. It is the Maryland state crustacean and the subject of an extensive fishery. (wikipedia)
BELLY RUBs (42A: Activity a puppy loves). As do dogs. As do some people. I flew through this, with one notable sticking point—see, I got BILLY BOB (20A: Actor Thornton of "Sling Blade"), and then got B AND B, and so (not having read the B AND B clue thoroughly) I assumed that each word in the phrase would *start* with "B." (I must've gone through BELLY RUB by that point, but somehow that didn't disabuse me of my incorrect assumption). Anyway, imagining the Bs would start both words in the phrase meant that when I got to 18A: Group that includes North, South, East and West, I had double-trouble. First, I'd made an incorrect assumption about the theme, and second, bridge??? I know nothing about bridge. I honestly don't even know what a BRIDGE CLUB is. I know a game of bridge has ESNW positions, but I don't know how "club" fits in. Is it the normal meaning of club? And if so, isn't saying a BRIDGE CLUB includes NSEW a bit like saying a book club includes words? As you can see, I'm out of my depth with bridge. Anyway, I had BRIDGE (easy) but then put in a B for the next letter and promptly got stuck. Also, imagined answer could be BRIDGE BETS. Eventually just solved the short stuff in that NE corner and everything worked itself out. Rest of the grid was a snap.
Other theme answers:
- 51A: Service provided at Meineke and Pep Boys (BRAKE JOB)
- 55A: Sparring injury, perhaps (BRUISED RIB)
Please understand that I'm not faulting this puzzle for containing ENNE. *Lots* of puzzles have contained ENNE, some of them quite fine, I'm sure. I'm just saying that if I had a magic wand, ENNE would disappear. Forever.
Clue-wise, 10D: Something always sold in mint condition? (TIC TAC) is the big winner by far (despite the fact that there are non-mint TIC TACs; I like the orange).
Oh, also, [Cheese popular with crackers]? That's pretty racist.
[emoticon indicating lack of seriousness]
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld