Author: Jonathan Gersch
Theme: Phrases that rhyme with a given pair of numbers
- 17a: 1988 Joe Keenan novel (2,7) (BLUE HEAVEN). I don't know this novel. I know the Fats Domino song "My Blue Heaven", and the Steve Martin film of the same name.
- 22a: Unethical campaign practices (30,6) (DIRTY TRICKS).
- 31a: Explore the ocean with one's breath held (3,5) (FREE DIVE). This phrase doesn't do much for me.
- 40a: He played an economics teacher in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (10,9) (BEN STEIN). I'm a big fan of Ben Stein. I especially liked "Win Ben Stein's Money", which also starred Jimmy Kimmel. Some funny stuff there.
- 46a: Lead a law-abiding life as a former criminal, in British slang (1,8) (RUN STRAIGHT).
- 58a: Enough for seconds all around (20,4) (PLENTY MORE). Also a great tune by the Squirrel Nut Zippers.
I've got to be honest. I didn't flip for this theme at all. It was okay, but it just seemed kind of... what is the word... arbitrary, I guess. Just didn't thrill me. Once the theme revealed itself, which wasn't very long, most of the clues were pretty easy.
- 1a: Wine holder (CASK). It's the only one I could think of in four letters. Bottle, carafe, vat, stomach, none of those fit.
- 5a: New England fisherman's catch (SCROD). Some people say SCROD means "young cod", but in many areas it just means what's cheap and fresh -- sometimes cod, but often pollack or hake or what have you.
- 10a: Neighbor of Sudan (CHAD). My African geography isn't that great, so "Name an African nation" would have worked too. I did know it was northern, but that doesn't narrow things down terribly. Ditto for 44d: Neighbor of Sudan (UGANDA).
- 14a: Aulos relative (OBOE). I've never heard of an aulos. Apparently, it's an ancient-Greek double-reed instrument. Leave it to Peter Gordon to spice up the common fills.
- 19a: "As I was going to St. ___ ..." (IVES). Kind of a Monday-esque clue for this, isn't it? How about "Holly Jolly Christmas" singer?
- 20a: Fed head (BERNANKE). I suppose upstanding citizens are supposed to know this. Oh, well.
- 21a: Its face has hands (CLOCK). Cute, in a corny-Boy-Scout-joke kind of way.
- 25a: Downtown New York area (TRIBECA). Stands for triangle below canal, which I only know from reading Lawrence Block novels.
- 29a: Êtes, across the English Channel (ARE). The second-person plural of "to be", not summers, which are "Etés".
- 30a: Puts through a certain kitchen press (RICES). I've seen more ricers in puzzles than in kitchens. Has this ever been clued "Anne and Jerry"? Not that I've seen.
- 36a: Hit product from Apple (IPOD). Don't fret, we get IMAC, too (53d: Jobs offering). Btw, that's Steve Jobs, the founder.
- 39a: "Earth's Last ___" (subtitle of the "Survivor: Gabon" season) (EDEN). Didn't know it. Wasn't hard to figure out.
- 57a: Trattoria fare (ZITI).
- 63a: Smart phone? (SHOE). Maxwell Smart, that is, who had a phone in his shoe. Not to be confused with 12d: Smart guy? (ALECK).
- 64a: Largest moon of Saturn (TITAN).
- 65a: Bounders (CADS).
- 1d: 11-time A.L. batting champion (Ty COBB).
- 2d: Communications code word for "A" (ABLE). Able, Baker, Charlie...
- 3d: Whiskey drink (SOUR). Booze tag!
- 4d: Biting (KEEN). As in a keen wit.
- 6d: Point of spiritual energy, in yoga (CHAKRA). Cool word.
- 7d: Hold firmly (RIVET). Literally and figuratively.
- 8d: Horatian creation (ODE).
- 11d: Destruction (HAVOC). Another cool word.
- 18d: Hot place (HADES).
- 21d: Language related to Massachusett (CREE).
- 26d: Stinking (RIPE). Ewwww.
- 27d: Trash can, for example (ICON). On your desktop.
- 31d: ___-tan (card game also known as sevens) (FAN). I've played a lot of card games in my life, but not this one.
- 32d: Hall offering (DEAL). Monty Hall, of "Let's Make a Deal".
- 45d: Quarantined person (SHUT IN). This doesn't sit quite right with me. If you're shut in, you can't leave because you are physically unable to (or you're snowed in or some such, which amounts to the same thing). Quarantining implies some third party preventing you from leaving, so that you don't spread whatever it is you have. Maybe I'm reading more into the words than I should, but that's how I interpret them.
- 47d: ___ Heep (British rock band) (URIAH). Also a character in Charles Dickens's "David Copperfield".
- 48d: Liquid used as a vasodilator, for short (NITRO). Nitroglycerin, used to prevent heart attacks.
- 56d: They're replayed (LETS). Tennis clue.
Despite my lukewarm interest in the theme, the puzzle as a whole wasn't bad at all. Enough interesting fill and clues with nothing reeking of unfairness makes for a pretty reasonable Wednesday.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.