Hoppy drink / SUN 5-15-16 / Stomach stuff / Hand makeup / Head locks / Wild and wooly? / Internal pump
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Exhibit A — Wacky clues for wacky homophones of real phrases/things, made wacky by pulling out and highlighting (exhibiting) the letter A to create new nouns, new meanings.
- AGGRAVATED A SALT [assault] (23A: Repeatedly cried "Land ho!" with no land in sight, maybe?)
- RESISTING A REST [arrest] (28A: Fighting off drowsiness?)
- THATS A MORAY [amore] (46A: "Conger eel? Au contraire!")
- UNDER A TACK [attack] (50A: Stuck to the corkboard?)
- A PATCHY [Apache] HELICOPTER (65A: Whirlybird whose paint job is flaking off?)
- A RIVAL [arrival] DATE (85A: Adversary who shows up at romantic dinners?)
- A LOAN [alone] AT LAST (87A: "Finally, I can buy that house!")
- CHANGE OF A DRESS [address] (107A: What Carrie needed after the prom?)
- YOU CANT WIN A MALL ['em all] (114: "Major shopping centers aren't among the prizes!")
Word of the Day: EUDORA (37A: "Peanuts" girl) —
Eudora is a female character in the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. She was the last major character to join the Peanuts world. She has long, straight black hair and usually wears a knitted hat. Eudora moved to Charlie Brown's neighborhood from another state, though which state was never specified. (wikipedia)
• • •Lena here, covering a big old Sunday puzz for Rex. So far it's worked out that I've mainly covered Saturdays, sacrificing my Friday nights doing... exactly what I would be doing anyway: drinking and solving the puzzle. Anyway, the idea of writing up a themed puzzle, THE themed puzzle, had me a little worried. What if the theme was nutso, inconsistent, lost-on-me, impossible to describe? Well I lucked out with this one-- a nice smooth Berry delight. There's really almost nothing to harp on, fillwise. TESTEE (95D: Experimental subject) is not great and SABER SAWS (80D: Tools used for cutting curves) is pretty dull as far as longer fill goes, but overwhelmingly it's just so clean.
THATS A MORAY was the first theme answer I got, and it wasn't immediately obvious to me what the "Exhibit A" deal was because of the eel's tail AY. In the end I'm not the biggest fan of the title in relation to the theme mechanics, but I ultimately ignored it and enjoyed the easy ride.
Though [Tired runner?] (CAR) is a pretty devilish clue for 1A, and was actually the last thing I filled in. Also in the "ooooo" clue category I have [Colonial home, you might say] for HIVE (108D) and [Take heat from?] for DISARM (86D). I got a laugh out of MAUNA as fill, clued [Start of several Hawaiian place names]. It's pretty much always KEA and LOA in the grid and "Mauna" in the clue. It's the little things.
When the theme is as straight-forward as this, weak spots become more apparent-- CHANGE OF A DRESS now sounds awkward to me. "Carrie needed a change of a dress." I feel like "change of dress" is more natural-- British-sounding, maybe-- but of course that doesn't work with the theme. Remember: YOU CANT WIN A MALL.
Always happy to see a little next-level nucleic acid trivia make its way in, with RNA (43A: Codon carrier). I had to memorize which amino acids the codons called for and how to draw their chemical structures, but I've forgotten now thank goodness. I also once knew RAMEN only as [Food sometimes sold with a flavor packet] and not the oft-instagrammed steamy bowlfuls of my adulthood. But you will only find me drinking coke in the context of a Cuba LIBRE-- it tastes so much better when you call it that instead of a Rum & Coke.
And that's all I've got-- this was a fun puzzle, and the most enjoyable Sunday for me in a while.
Oh, I believe Rex has brought this up here before, but BEATON (63A: Pound) needs to start being clued in reference to the smart, talented and hilarious Kate Beaton, STAT. ASAP. NSEC. ETC.
Signed, Lena Webb, Court Jester of CrossWorld
[Follow Lena on Twitter]