Actor Martin of 1960s-'70s TV / THU 10-17-13 / Capital whose main street is Nezavisimosti / Dada pioneer / Noted Ohio conservatory / Locale of 1956 fight for independence / Hindu life lesson / Onetime NFL star nicknamed Joe Willie
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Constructor: Gary J. Whitehead
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: APPENDAGE — see, you "append" AGE to regular phrases, and then those phrases are wacky, and trust me it's awesome.
- 17A: Distance at St. Andrews golf course (SCOTLAND YARDAGE)
- 23A: Base figs. (NEW YORK POSTAGE)
- 49A: First-aid supply for Springsteen (E STREET BANDAGE)
- 56A: Top-secret proverb (CLASSIFIED ADAGE)
Word of the Day: Jake GARN (37D: Only U.S. senator with a unit of measure named after him) —
Edwin Jacob "Jake" Garn (born October 12, 1932) is an American politician, a member of the Republican Party, and served as a U.S. Senator representing Utah from 1974 to 1993. Garn became the first sitting member of the United States Congress to fly in space when he flew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as a Payload Specialist during NASA missionSTS-51-D (April 12–19, 1985). (wikipedia)
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MY K-STARS this was easy. And super-basic. Like ... a remedial Thursday puzzle. The gimmick is transparent—doesn't take a genius to crack "APPENDAGE"—and then uncovering the theme answers was child's play. I mean, you could simply go ahead and write -AGE at the end of every theme answers without even looking at the clue. And then, looking at the clues, you could pretty much guess the theme answers straight away. Puzzle tries to make up for this staggering straightforwardness with a host of weird names (GARN, MILNER, ISIDRO, and, let's say, ANSA), but they provide about as much resistance as a cloud does a plane. The only hang-ups I had involved absurd little answers like THO (29A: "___ Nature, red in tooth and claw ...": Tennyson) and BSA (20A: Org. of which 18 U.S. presidents have been members) and TRY TO (8D: "___ Remember"), which I had as DAY TO.
I'm having trouble understanding the inclusion of ANSA ... I mean ... wow (64A: Vase handle). You could just make OCTA into ACT I and then make ANSA into INST. That way ORT goes to ART (win), OCTA goes to ACT I (win), ANSA goes to INST. (win) and SEA goes to SET (push). That took me no seconds to come up with. I'm sure there are better options. But screw fill, right? Yes, right. Apparently. Too much of a hassle, I guess.
In independent puzzle news—Matt Gaffney has a great new website, "Gaffney on Crosswords," that covers the world of crosswords from lots of different angles (this is in addition to his longstanding Crossword Contest website). Very much worth bookmarking and checking regularly. Also, Caleb Madison's crossword collaboration with actor/comedian Patton Oswalt is out now from American Values Crossword Club (get it here). And if you still crave more crossword puzzle action, I highly recommend this informative video ... enjoy: