Friday, September 30, 2011

09.30 Fri

September 30, 2011
David Poole

Theme: Left to Right — Familiar phrases change an L to an R.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Halloween tricksters' route? (FRIGHT PATH).
  • 23A: Best place to watch "Animal House"? (FRAT SCREEN TV).
  • 45A: Feathers? (FROCK OF BIRDS).
  • 56A: Work the late shift at the diner? (FRY BY NIGHT).
  • 35A: How most reading is done, and this puzzle's title (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT).
Excuse me, but how the hell did it get to be September 30 already? Man! Time really does fly. Even when you're not having fun.

Closing out the month with a tough one. I had trouble here and there throughout the grid, but it ultimately felt more like a romp than a struggle. The theme is pretty cool. I wondered if the initial F on each theme answer was significant somehow, but didn't come up with a good answer. FRY BY NIGHT is clearly the marquee entry. Can't you just picture it?

I had the most trouble in Northern California where I plopped in AC/DC where AM/FM was supposed to go (25D: Like some switches). Many other factors contributed to the confusion there. First, I've never heard of this Kate person (29A: Kate of "Ironclad" (MARA)). Never heard of the movie either. Second, the clue for ACTRESS (25A: Close, for instance) was so deliciously deceptive that I had No Idea what was going on there. Even with the A in place, I was at a loss. I also thought MADEIRAS (39A: Sherry alternatives) might be CASSIRES (sp?) … something like that? … anyone? It was a big mess is what I'm saying.

Only one other place that really made me tear my hair out and that was at the cross of MACERATE and MTS. (30A: Soften by soaking /
30D: Summer escapes: Abbr.). I must have run the alphabet three times. I guess using an L in that square would have been too obvious.

  • 14A: "The Wolf and the Crane" author (AESOP). With the SO in place, I thought the name would be something-SON, but then it just clicked somehow that the title sounded like a fable.
  • 20A: Roy Halladay stat (ERA). Halladay is a pitcher for … the Phillies? … Yes, the Phillies.
  • 40A: Albany's father-in-law (LEAR). This is another one that just clicked in from nowhere. As you continue to solve puzzles, that will start happening more and more.
  • 58A: "__ no kick from Champagne": song lyric (I GET). Sure, we could listen to Frank Sinatra right here, but this lyric reminded me of a Keb' Mo' song, so let's listen to that instead. It'll be funkier, I promise.

  • 4D: Dress finely, with "out" (TOG). This word comes up occasionally in puzzles and I'm just about to the point where I can just accept it without wincing first.
  • 26D: Word spoken with amore (CARA).
  • 27D: Put one's foot down (TROD). In this clue, the word "put" is in the past tense. You always have to be looking out for that.
  • 49D: Two-time loser to McKinley (BRYAN). Could have been just about anybody here as far as I knew.
Crosswordese 101: There are a couple of ERNOs worth knowing for crossword purposes. There's a pianist/composer named Dohnanyi, a cosmetics maker named Laszlo and an architect named Goldfinger. By far the most popular ERNO in CrossWorld, though, is [37D: Cube creator Rubik]. And the clue for this particular ERNO is likely to include the words "Rubik" and "cube," so he should be pretty easy to spot.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 6A: 1940s-'50s Israeli UN ambassador (EBAN).
  • 21A: Sister of Calliope (ERATO).
  • 51A: Noted Beethoven interpreter (ARRAU).
  • 32D: "The African Queen" co-screenwriter (AGEE).
  • 34D: Raison d'__ (ÊTRE).
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Everything 1A: Shoots the breeze (CHATS); 6A: 1940s-'50s Israeli UN ambassador (EBAN); 10A: Game __ (PLAN); 14A: "The Wolf and the Crane" author (AESOP); 15A: Cross off (X OUT); 16A: Piece of one's mind? (LOBE); 17A: Halloween tricksters' route? (FRIGHT PATH); 19A: Awestruck (AGOG); 20A: Roy Halladay stat (ERA); 21A: Sister of Calliope (ERATO); 22A: It may be icy (STARE); 23A: Best place to watch "Animal House"? (FRAT SCREEN TV); 25A: Close, for instance (ACTRESS); 28A: Unburden (RID); 29A: Kate of "Ironclad" (MARA); 30A: Soften by soaking (MACERATE); 35A: How most reading is done, and this puzzle's title (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT); 39A: Sherry alternatives (MADEIRAS); 40A: Albany's father-in-law (LEAR); 41A: "Piers Morgan Tonight" channel (CNN); 42A: Eisenhower library site (ABILENE); 45A: Feathers? (FROCK OF BIRDS); 50A: Nigerian seaport (LAGOS); 51A: Noted Beethoven interpreter (ARRAU); 52A: CIA's ancestor (OSS); 55A: Cancel (UNDO); 56A: Work the late shift at the diner? (FRY BY NIGHT); 58A: "__ no kick from Champagne": song lyric (I GET); 59A: Steady (BEAU); 60A: Response to a skeptic (NO LIE); 61A: Gets into (DONS); 62A: Employee IDs (SSN'S); 63A: Third shift hr. (ONE A.M.); 1D: Champs …lysées feature (CAFE); 2D: Bach title? (HERR); 3D: Land east of the Urals (ASIA); 4D: Dress finely, with "out" (TOG); 5D: Field of influence (SPHERE); 6D: Americans in Paris, maybe (EXPATS); 7D: Tug and junk (BOATS); 8D: Overlord (AUTOCRAT); 9D: Ultimate (NTH); 10D: Home at the park? (PLATE); 11D: Airport whose code is BOS (LOGAN); 12D: Decide not to finish (ABORT); 13D: Desert bordering the Sinai Peninsula (NEGEV); 18D: Choral syllables (TRAS); 22D: Feast in the month of Nisan (SEDER); 23D: Position in a viewfinder (FRAME); 24D: Moneyed, in Monterrey (RICO); 25D: Like some switches (AM/FM); 26D: Word spoken with amore (CARA); 27D: Put one's foot down (TROD); 30D: Summer escapes: Abbr. (MTS.); 31D: Little streams (RILLS); 32D: "The African Queen" co-screenwriter (AGEE); 33D: Instead of (THAN); 34D: Raison d'__ (ÊTRE); 36D: Trounces (LICKS); 37D: Cube creator Rubik (ERNO); 38D: Royal introductions (FANFARES); 42D: France-based jet maker (AIRBUS); 43D: Sound from Eeyore (BRAY); 44D: "Beats me!" ("I DUNNO!"); 45D: Not fixed (FLUID); 46D: Title chameleon voiced by Johnny Depp in a 2011 animated film (RANGO); 47D: Osmonds' hometown (OGDEN); 48D: Codgers (COOTS); 49D: Two-time loser to McKinley (BRYAN); 52D: Look like a creep? (OGLE); 53D: Branch of Islam (SHIA); 54D: Check (STEM); 56D: NFL ball carriers (FB'S); 57D: Fluoride, for one (ION).