Company whose name roughly means leave luck to heaven / THU 3-21-13 / Rose's guy on Broadway / McJob holder / First name in horror / Kutcher's character on That 70s Show
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Constructor: Jeff Chen
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: anagrams — two-word phrases where second word contains different arrangements of letters I, S, R, E, and F
- 51A: Certain lap dog (BICHON FRISÉ)
- 17A: Undecorated type? (SANS SERIF)
- 24A: Subjects of some park sign warnings (FOREST FIRES)
- 34A: Some homeowner transactions when interest rates fall, informally (MORTGAGE REFIS)
- 59A: Wok dishes (STIR FRIES) [I'm told this answer is the "revealer"]
Word of the Day: BICHON FRISÉ (51A: Certain lap dog) —
A Bichon Frisé (/ / or / /; French, meaning curly lap dog), is a small breed of dog of the Bichon type. They are popular pets, similar in appearance to but larger than the Maltese. (wikipedia)
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A rather mediocre performance from me today. I probably shouldn't have done two puzzles right before this one. I think I was flagging. My main problem was I kept getting jammed by wrong answer. All over the place, starting at 1A: Side effect of steroid use (ACNE), where I had RAGE. I then got ENS and SHIN, but nothing else, so I stumbled around a bit and then moved on to the next section over, where I put in *another* wrong answer: TENSOR instead of FLEXOR (5D: Bending muscle). This wrong answer *also* got me a correct answer in the crosses, namely ERA, but again, no progress. Got ELF and nothing else. Why I never saw 7D: Oscar winner for "A Fish Called Wanda" (KLINE) on my first pass through this section, I have no idea. Would've been a gimme, and would've gotten me on the right track in a hurry. But no. So I rebooted again, this time in the NE. Now by this point, I think something tricky is going on: a rebus, perhaps, or something that would explain my traction failure. But then I get AHI, OTHER, and then used KELSO (16D: Kutcher's character on "That '70s Show") to change OH HECK to OH HELL (22A: "Crud!"). All of a sudden that section was done and I was baffled as to what the theme was. I would remain baffled until After I Had Finished The Puzzle. Anyway, more bad answers held me up. WES for LON (26A: First name in horror). OVATE for TERSE (40A: Elliptical, in a way), which made me put in IT IS to say..." (?), which yet again got me a correct answer in the cross: this time, NUI (46A: Rapa ___ (Easter Island)). Also, OPED instead of SPEC (41A: An article may be written on it). Stared at E-S for 33D: Bad marks and had absolutely no idea what that could be. God I hate written out letters (in this case, EFS). I've also never seen REFIS in plural form, and didn't know the theme, so ... yeah, it just wasn't a pleasant time. Puzzle seems fine—remedial theme (totally unexpected on a Thursday), but very smooth grid. Eight "?" clues is really my outer limit, a step or two beyond the point I start to find them grating. But none were bad in and of themselves (though I don't know why the idiom [Lays it on the line?] for BETS needed a "?" tacked on.
- 5A: Handoff that isn't (FAKE) — I want to like this clue, but technically *anything* "that isn't" is a FAKE.
- 56A: Rose's guy, on Broadway (ABIE) — this makes me appreciate how much the NYX has largely eliminated old school crosswordese. I can't hate ABIE anymore because I so rarely see him. He and ASTA just don't get as much work these days.
- 64A: Richard with the 1989 #1 hit "Right Here Waiting" (MARX) — Have I told you my theory of how pop music's nadir completely coincided with my time in college (1987-91). I once compiled a Lot of stats to prove it. There are some exceptions, but overall: a wasteland.
- 3D: Company whose name roughly means "leave luck to heaven" (NINTENDO) — with no indication of *what kind* of "company" was at issue, this clue was tough.
- 36D: McJob holder (GRUNT) — also tough. I think of GRUNT first and foremost as a verb. If I think of it as a noun, it's in relation to the Army. Since this answer intersected TERSE (which, as I say I had as OVATE, ugh), things were pretty rough in here for a bit.