Unyielding Dr Seuss character / TUE 3-19-13 / Comic who sang I love to laugh in Mary Poppins / Multiple-company building to Brits / Eric who played villain in 2009's Star Trek / Ship with Mighty Stinger / Repeated Wayne's World cry / Vintage Jags
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Constructor: Mike Buckley
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "PARTY ON" (40A: Repeated "Wayne's World" cry ... or a hint to each half of 17-, 26-, 51- and 63-Across) — Each half of two-word phrases can preced the word "PARTY" in a familiar phrase. So the PARTY is attached ON to the answer parts, I guess.
Word of the Day: CANAL ZONE (36D: Former U.S. territory) —
The Panama Canal Zone (Spanish: Zona del Canal de Panamá) is a 553-square-mile (1,430 km2) former unorganized US territory located within the Republic of Panama, consisting of the Panama Canal and an area generally extending five miles (8.0 km) on each side of the centerline, but excluding Panama City and Colón, which otherwise would have been partly within the limits of the Canal Zone. Its border spanned two of Panama's provinces and was created on November 18, 1903, with the signing of the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty. When reservoirs were created to assure a steady supply of water for the locks, those lakes were included within the Zone. (wikipedia)
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The perils of solving bleary-eyed, first thing in the morning—I've never heard of ZAX (59A: Unyielding Dr. Seuss character). Like, ever. I had SAM there. MKES sounded like plausible Jaguars, but CANALSONE was clearly wrong. And I wanted it to be ZONE. I really did. But SAM seemed indisputable (to my newly awakened brain). So we just sat there for a while. Anyway: ZAX. There you go.
This is not a theme type I enjoy that much because it's essentially a themeless, with utterly unlinked and dullish theme answers. Then you get the revealer and (maybe) you see that they were linked after all. It's a good revealer, in that I enjoy remembering "Wayne's World." Also, I'm really loving USS WASP (even though I've never heard of it) (28A: It's known as the Ship With the Mighty Stinger) and the lovely GERSHWIN (coincidentally, I was looking at an old grid of mine last night that had SCHWINN in that exact spot) (10D: "They All Laughed" composer). My big triumph of the day was managing to remember that stupid NIM game—which I have never ever seen outside crosswords (39A: Game with matchsticks). If I''d clued this puzzle, MARGE, ABE and ITCHY would've all had "Simpsons" clues. ITCHY seems at least as famous as ZAX. To anyone born after 1970, anyway.
- 17A: Kind of mint (AFTER DINNER)
- 26A: Chicken coop (HEN HOUSE)
- 51A: Traditional Chinese beverage (GREEN TEA)
- 63A: Multiple-company building, to Brits (OFFICE BLOCK)