Kudos in street slang / WED 4-3-13 / Tamboura player's music / Nut with cupule / 1981 Burt Reynolds movie / Cabinet department until 1947 / Mechanical bandit feature
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Constructor: Gary Cee
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: baseball — final words in theme answers form a kind of baseball verb progression:
- MOOD SWING (17A: Sign of bipolar disorder)
- TOP TEN HIT (26A: Tune in a D.J.'s rotation)
- CANNONBALL RUN (37A: 1981 Burt Reynolds movie, with "The")
- LANDSLIDE (53A: Electoral college blowout)
- FOUR SCORE (62A: Start of a Lincoln address)
Word of the Day: BIG UPS (8D: Kudos, in street slang) —
Nounbig up (plural big ups)
• • •
Very easy. Only reason I tacked "Medium" on there was the slang, particularly BIG UPS, which I can't recall ever seeing in a puzzle, but which I know well from '90s rap. I'm also not terribly sure how well known GROK is (59D: Totally get, in slang), but I figure it's gotta be better known than BIG UPS (esp. among the NYT-solving crowd). At any rate, those were the only answers I could see causing anyone a problem today. Maybe SNOOKI, I guess, but she's been around long enough that she already feels dated (48D: "Jersey Shore" nickname). My main problem (and it wasn't much of one) was DOM (42A: One of the DiMaggios) (really, "CANNONBALL RUN" is in your grid and *that's* the DOM you go with???), whom I know only from crosswords and whom I put down as DON, which made seeing ANOMALY very very hard (30D: Deviation from the norm). DON pretty much stopped me from coming straight down the west side of the gird, so I had to come at that SW corner from the east, and not being able to get EYER (58A: Leering sort) from the -R or LIE FOR (49D: Help by confirming an alibi, say) from the -FOR, I just couldn't flow right in there. Had to leap in cold and get R.E.M. (61D: Michael Stipe's band) and ACORN (60A: Nut with a cupule) in order to get the traction I needed to finish things off. If not for those hiccups, I'd've been under 4 today. As it was, just over.
Flew out of the gate with AMEN and got all the Downs in quick succession. Glanced back to make sure RAGA was correct for its clue (14A: Tamboura player's music) and then moved on. Wrote in EGOTISM at 3D: Prima donna's problem but it didn't stretch—easily corrected. I'm been known to have "Morning Joe" on briefly in the mornings from time to time, so I am familiar with co-host MIKA Brzezinski (whose father ZBIGNIEW was National Security Adviser to President Carter) (side note: Dear Santa, please give me a puzzle ZBIGNIEW in it) (side note 2: actually, I think I recently saw ZBIGgie in one of BEQ's puzzles). I guessed WAR off the W- despite fearing that answer would be some old-time acronym (29A: Cabinet department until 1947). Managed to get both mountain ranges with little problems, though I did put in ALTA before ALAI at 15A: Asia's Trans ___ Range). I think O SAY is terrible fill, but I love the clue it got today: [Key opener?]. Baffled me—needed all the crosses.