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Mar 26, 2011

Saturday March 26, 2011 Julian Lim

Theme: None

Total words: 70

Total blocks: 32

Congrats to Julian Lim on his first themeless!

Plenty of lively entries today. Very ambitious grid: triple stacks of 9s in the upper left corner and lower right corner, then one 15 in the middle crossing four Down 10s which in turn intersect another pair of 9s. Nice interlock. The marquee answers are:

36A. Roll with the punches : TAKE IT AS IT COMES

11D. Not at all like rocket science : IDIOT-PROOF. So simple in retrospect.

12D. Fight fiercely : GO TO THE MAT

27D. It was blamed for reduced pasta sales in 2003 : ATKIN'S DIET. Filled this in with authority. I occasionally rock!

28D. Relax : FEEL AT EASE

My favorite today is OBAMACARE (15A. 2010 health statute, informally). Has to be one of the seed entries.

Quite a few head-banging moments for me. Did you think of deck of cards when seeing ACE (6D. Valuable diamond)? Did you want GEM?

Across:

1. Its first mascot was a toque-wearer named Speedee : McDONALDS. Here is Speedee, McDonald's mascot til 1961.

10. Father in the comic strip "Bringing Up Father" : JIGGS. Well, maybe eddyB & JD knows. I've got no idea.

16. Deify : ADORE. Not the same to me.

17. Beastly place? : MENAGERIE

18. Protest tactic : SIT-IN

19. Galway Bay's __ Islands : ARAN. West coast of Ireland.

20. Groupings affected by natural selection : GENE POOLS

22. Asked for a ticket? : SPED. Nailed it.

24. Pluck : METTLE

25. Leisure wear : LOAFER

29. Werewolves do it : MORPH. And ISO (32D. Prefix with 29-Across). Isomorph is a new word to me. Wikipedia says it's "an organism that does not change in shape during growth". I am not one then.

30. Among other things, in Latin : INTER ALIA

33. Iranian-born TV director Badiyi : REZA. Total stranger to me. Reza seems to be a popular Iranian name.

39. Shrub yielding an indigo dye : ANIL

40. Dollars for quarters? : HOME LOANS. Awesome clue.

41. 2008 runner : NADER (Ralph)

44. Still running : LEFT ON. Oh, left the water on. .

45. Beer named for a river : AMSTEL. Was unaware of the river connection.

47. Ham relative : SHEM. Both Noah's sons. Got me.

49. Ruined the family photo, maybe : MADE A FACE

51. Cooling treats : ICES

55. Like a baseball bat's symmetry : AXIAL

56. Potter's concern : VOLDEMORT. A sweet clue for all you "Harry Potter" fans. I was stumped.

59. Piece maker? : REESE. Oh, Reese's Pieces.

60. Bizet's "Habanera," for one : OPERA ARIA

61. Ethyl butyrate, e.g. : ESTER

62. Folded : WENT UNDER

Down:

1. Home of V. Van Gogh's "Starry Night" : MoMA. Here is Don McLean's "Starry Starry Night". Always makes me want to cry.

2. Handle user : CBer

3. "SNL" cast member with Phil and Kevin : DANA (Carvey)

4. Majlis al Jinn cave site : OMAN. I've never heard of the cave before.

5. Shrew : NAG

7. Coffeehouse option : LARGE

8. Like some flowers : DRIED

9. Detected : SEEN

10. "The Eyre Affair" author Fforde : JASPER. Another stumper. I faintly recall Melissa or Clear Aye mentioned this book before.

13. Cook, in a way : GRILL

14. Meaning : SENSE

21. Dashboard Confessional music genre : EMO. What?

22. Brunei's capital Bandar __ Begawan : SERI. Silly, but I really don't know this.

23. Fall lead-in? : PRAT. Pratfall.

25. "Kiss Me Deadly" singer Ford : LITA. Alright, here's a clip.

26. "... __ open fire" : ON AN

29. Seriously injure : MAIM

31. Memorable movie lion : LAHR (Bert). "The Wizard of Oz".

34. Greek known for paradoxes : ZENO

35. The "A" in many org. names : ASSN

37. Beginning to cast? : TELE. Beginning of the word Telecast.

38. Skelton's Kadiddlehopper : CLEM

42. One in a pit : DEALER. Casino pit.

43. Wrap artist? : ELF. Cute clue.

45. Six-time NBA All-Star Stoudemire : AMAR'E. Sorry, man, don't know you.

46. Plateaus, with "out" : MAXES

47. Sniper's aid : SCOPE

48. Annie's student : HELEN (Keller). Anne Sullivan.

50. Make no bones about : AVOW

51. Supermodel with a Global Chic collection : IMAN. I wanted EMME.

52. Line with juice? : CORD. Power "juice".

53. Ohio tribe : ERIE

54. Rock or tin follower : STAR

57. "The 5000 Fingers of __": Seuss film : DR T. Yet another unknown.

58. Feu extinguisher : EAU. Feu = "fire". Hey, Splynter, only one French today.

Answer grid.

C.C.

PS: Regarding yesterday's "Pu-Pu platter", in Cantonese, Pu = Jewel/Treasure,  which is spelled as Bao in Mandarin.  Babies are often called "Bao Bao". I've never heard of Pu-Pu platter until I came to the US.