I almost feel as though I'm on vacation today...what with only having to solve and blog one puzzle! I enjoyed my time guest blogging for Green Genius, but it seemed like more than twice the work to solve the New York Sun and the New York Times. I guess I'm not on the Sun wavelength yet...the Tuesday puzzle stumped me something fierce.
So, it's nice to have a fairly easy (for a Wednesday) puzzle to solve. Patrick Merrell's theme involved three sports of sorts. The three theme answers are:
20A: Sport played on the first word of its name (table tennis).
35A: Sport played in the first word of its name (arena football). I've never really heard of that, but it was easy to infer.
51A: Sport played on the first word of its name (field hockey).
The best answer in the grid is at 31D: Pitcher who says "Oh, yeaahh!" (Koolaid Man). Check this out...way too funny.
Some other long answers that are nice to see.
18A: Mature before being picked (vine ripen). That's the only way to pick anything. Our apricot tree is just loaded. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by for some vine-ripened apricots.
6D: They run rapids (river rafts). Living so close to the Colorado River, we've done this a number of times. The older I get, though, the less I want rapids...I like the slow, easy floats. More my speed.
54A: It may get stuck in a movie theater (bubble gum). I'm glad the clue didn't reference The Archies.
42A: The lion in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" (Aslan). That was in a puzzle I just did...if not a recent New York Times, then in one of my books.
Had THEM** for 46A (Organized crime) and was sure I'd done something wrong with the downs. A few more downs, though, and I knew I was on the right track with the mob.
I'm not sure about the clue for 22A: Ax user, e.g. (wielder). I mean, it works, but it conjures up images of Lizzie Borden.
I had to laugh at 62A: "Shucks!" (pshaw). I can't remember the last time I heard either of those words used, but they're still funny. And, in that same vein, 52D: "Yikes!" (egad).
I never saw any of the Austin Powers' movies, but it was easy to guess 26D: Dr. __ of "Austin Powers" films (Evil). I had already guessed 32A: Say "uncle" (give), and the V pretty much confirmed it.
I was just asking someone to explain 34D: Some hikers' targets, for short (QBs), when it came to me...32, 41, 15, hike! Or something like that. Do those numbers mean anything, or is it a random call?
I fell for it again! 6A: 50 Cent piece (rap). When will I learn? If cent is capitalized, it refers to Curtis James Jackson III.
Another clever clue at 15A: Voters liked him twice (Ike).
53D: Corker (lulu). Would have preferred to see it clued as the singer. I didn't know she did anything other than To Sir With Love, but it looks as though Lulu's stayed pretty busy.
Nice to see Eeyore in the puzzle. He's at 45D, clued as Pooh's mopey pal. But is anyone else getting tired of seeing bra? It reappears at 57D, clued as Strapped wear. I realize the letters lend themselves to inclusion in a grid, but would we ever see jock strap or athletic supporter in a puzzle? How about boxers or briefs? "Should that come to pass" (44D: if ever), I'd like to see them clued as men's undergarments.
There's a lot more good fill in this puzzle, but I'm calling it good for tonight. See you tomorrow.