Athenian colonnade / MON 4-11-16 / Unfiltered unpasteurized brew / Poetic paeans / Hairy Halloween rentals / Double-decker checker
Monday, April 11, 2016
Constructor: Ron Toth and Zhouqin Burnikel
Relative difficulty: Slightly easier than usual for a Monday
THEME: POCKETS (53A: Keeps for oneself ... or features of the answers to all the starred CLUEs) — things that have ... them.
- CARGO / PANTS (1A: *With 9-Across, loose-fitting bottoms)
- BOWLING LANE (24A: *Where you can hear a pin drop) (the "lane"??? ... I'd've thought the pocket was in the PINS ... which are in the lane ... which are in the alley ... which is on a street in a town on earth, presumably; the answer just seems odd / off / imprecise; that is, it's odd to say that pockets are a "feature of" bowling *lanes* ...)
- POOL TABLE (31D: *Where you might be behind the eight ball)
- PITA BREAD (34D: *Falafel holder)
- The 1-3 for right-handers and 1-2 for lefties. (The Bowler's Bowling Dictionary) (For Bowlers Who Bowl) (I made that last part up) (but not the first part)
• • •
WORLD CUP and ENCHILADAS and SOUR GRAPES and APE SUITS really steal the show here. The theme is not really NYT-worthy, and would never have made the grade without this cool-looking grid. It's just ... things with POCKETS. Random things. I got a little thrown off, because I assume SKI BAGS (whatever those are?) have POCKETS, but it's not a themer. I also got a little thrown off by the shorter fill, which is pretty rough for a 77-worder. If I were making this, the answers I would have RUED are: STOA, RHOMB (ugh), KEMO, CRU, ALLS, THUR, ATAB, CANTI, and ESTE. I'm not that thrilled with NUDIE either, since it's ultra-dated, but it's at least racy, so I probably wouldn't actually regret putting it in a grid.
A couple of weird coincidences are adding a small amount of delight to this solve, namely the crossing of the wine word CRU with the answer SOUR GRAPES, as well as the proximity of BRA to the CUP in WORLD CUP. BRAs don't have POCKETS. Well, some probably do. I always liked, in old movies, when women would just put things into / pull things out of their BRAs (usually money). It's a makeshift pocket. Of sorts. Wait, I'm just now seeing the answer REAL ALE and wondering WTF? That is, uh, something I've never seen before. And I drink. I drink ale. I like to think it's real. Wow. On a Monday, that answer? Well, it clearly didn't matter what day of the week it appeared on, as I never even saw it. Odd. My only hold-up in this puzzle came right off the bat, when, faced with SL- at 17A: Incline, I confidently wrote in SLANT. Nope. SLOPE. Otherwise, no problem.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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