Kilim Kirman / THU 5-21-15 / Blue Moon of 60s 70s baseball / Hill by loch / Art Deco icon / Velvet add-on / Darrin Stephens' co-workers on Bewitched / Dada pioneer Max
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Constructor: Peter A. Collins
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: RAISED THE BAR (52A: Elevated expectations ... or what this puzzle's maker did to five answers in this puzzle?) — initial letter string "BAR" in theme answers is "raised," i.e. placed atop the first three letters of the remaining letters in the answer. "BAR" thus becomes part of the Across answer above the themer:
- RELOFMONKEYS (20A: Metaphor for fun)
- OQUE (16A: Scarlatti's style)
- RIERREEF (36A: Shoreline protector)
- TSIMPSON (42A: Perpetual 10-year-old of TV)
- BIES (64A: Line of Mattel dolls)
Johnny Lee "Blue Moon" Odom (born May 29, 1945) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who won three consecutive World Series championships with the Oakland Athletics in 1972, 1973 and 1974. [...] Odom had a 3-1 career record in the post-season with a 1.13 ERA and 27 strikeouts. (wikipedia)
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Had one of those fall-asleep-hard nights last night. Out at 9—missed Letterman's finale :( So it's morning solving for me today, like most of the rest of you normals. My initial experience with this puzzle was not good. Comically so. My first two answers were:
I encountered one tough spot: the NE. But that's only because I did *not* expect to see theme material way the hell and gone up there. You expect the long Across (here, EARTH SIGN) to be involved, but no—fake out! It's the two answers above EARTH SIGN that are in on the game. I didn't realize that Air Quality Index (AQI) was the ABBR. I wanted up there and so ended up with A-I / O-UE. After a few seconds, I was like "Oh, right, the BAR thing." I had a little trouble also with the west, which was where I finished. Couldn't get in from the top or bottom of that section, but then (BAR)T SIMPSON came to my rescue and that section fell immediately thereafter.
- 5D: A place of prominence (THE FORE) — normally not big on "THE ___" answers, and I probably shouldn't like this one, but I do. I had trouble figuring it out. But then I moved the C-section from the ER to the OR, and there it was: THE FORE. I also like MRS. DASH, a "seasoning brand" I haven't seen advertised since the early '90s. I genuinely like it, despite / because of its retro-ness (which may be only in my mind, but that's the only place it needs to be). MRS. DASH starts with four consonants and is 7/8 consonants. Cool.
- 51D: Darrin Stephens's co-workers on "Bewitched" (ADMEN) — Love this. Everyone's all "Don Draper this" and "Don Draper that," but what about "Darrin Stephens this" and "Endora that." The puzzle needs more "Bewitched," is what I'm saying.
- 45D: Business end of a chopper (AXE HEAD) — first, I just like the phrase "business end." Second, I enjoyed figuring out what followed AXE. I could think only of BLADE (not a fit). You could do a whole theme, say, "corporate mergers," where ordinary phrases are clued as if they were a mash-up of two different brands—in this case, a body spray (AXE) / tennis equipment (HEAD) merger. Etc. I need breakfast.
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