Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pompous pronoun / MON 10-3-11 / So-called white magic / Vacation resort policy perhaps / Two-front as Coast Guard rescue

Constructor: Stanley Newman

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (for a Monday)

THEME: DUBYA (66A: 43rd president's nickname) — theme answers all end in one-syllable "W" words; vowel sound in the "W" word changes (from "A" through to "U") with each successive theme answer

Word of the Day: HGTV (40D: "House Hunters" cable channel) —
HGTV (also referred to as Home & Garden Television), is a cable-television network operating in the United States and Canada, broadcasting a variety of home and garden improvement, maintenance, renovation, craft and remodeling shows. It is also a popular Home & Garden website ( (wikipedia)
• • •

Monday theme idea, Tuesday hard. Which is to say, not hard. Just semi-slow in patches. The connection between "Vacation resort" an NO TIPS is so tenuous as to be non-existent, to me (30D: Vacation resort policy, perhaps). I honestly thought it was NO TOPS at some point. Seemed plausible. Nudist beach resort, maybe? I don't know. Seemed as plausible as NO TIPS. TRIOXIDE is not a word I've ever seen, as far as I can remember (38D: Compound containing O3), though the "O3" part seems like a giveaway, in retrospect. I've never FITted anything UP. I've fixed things up. HGTV is not a network I think of often (40D: "House Hunters" cable channel). USAGE is something I think of only in relation to words—Practical application is vague. I had no idea WICCA was (so-called) "white magic." None. Never heard that. AIRSEA? (42A: Two-front, as a Coast Guard rescue) You know something is weird about your clue when it contains the phrase "as a Coast Guard rescue." That's a pretty specific example. Anyhoo, theme answers are lively—I really like THE ROYAL WE—and the fill is at least not boring. "I CAN'T TELL YOU WHY" should've been clued as an Eagles song, 'cause it's a little weird as just a random phrase someone might say. The main thing I learned today is that my wife has never heard the phrase "PITCHING WOO" in her life. She's from NZ, so maybe that has something to do with it. Maybe the fact that it's not the 1910s anymore also has something to do with it.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Wins a dispute (GETS ONE'S WAY)
  • 26A: Pompous pronoun (THE ROYAL WE)
  • 37A: "It's a mystery to me" ("I CAN'T TELL YOU WHY")
  • 50A: Sob stories (TALES OF WOE)
  • 59A: In romantic pursuit (PITCHING WOO)
I say the "WH" in "WHY" like the "WH" in "whether" (with a slight outrush of air ... as opposed to the way I say the "W" in "weather") making the pronunciation just *slightly* different than the "W" sounds in the other theme answers. Not different enough to matter, but different enough for me to mention the fact here. I thought 41D: Thumbs-up votes were AYES. They were YEAS. The equivalence of those bugs me no end. Surprisingly, I have no memory of ever having seen JESUS in a puzzle before, which is strange, since it's a perfectly good man's name, Hispanically speaking. NINJA JESUS is a particularly appealing image. I would totally watch that cartoon.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. for a strange flashback, check out my puzzle write-up from 5 years ago today...

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