Sunday, February 5, 2012

Old-fashioned music hall / MON 2-6-12 / Ruble Russia * Poland / Leave drawers in drawer say / Mannerly man briefly / Kind of day, grooming-wise

Constructor: Tom Pepper

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: GO ahead — five theme answers are two-word verb phrases that start with the word "GO"

Word of the Day: BAHA Men (1A: ___ Men ("Who Let the Dogs Out" group)) —
The Baha Men are the American singers in a Bahamian band. They play a modernised style of Bahamian music called Junkanoo. [...] "Who Let the Dogs Out?" also earned the band several awards: a Grammy Award in 2000 for Best Dance Recording; Billboard Music Awards for World Music Artist of the Year and World Music Album of the Year; and a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award for Favorite Song. In 2002, they won another Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Band. (wikipedia)
• • •

Things looked bad after 1-Across, but thankfully they picked up from there. 3/5 of the theme answers are fantastic, and the others are fine, and I don't know what more I can expect from a Monday. I haven't heard the phrase "GO COMMANDO" since a late-'90s episode of "Friends," but it still feels contemporary. Certainly more contemporary than most of the slang you're apt to see in the NYT ("Nerts!"). "GO BELLY-UP" and "GO HALFSIES" are likely somewhat older, but both have a kind of timeless, shiny, colloquial quality that I can't help but admire. The other longer theme answers are solid, though BAD HAIR (45D: Kind of day, grooming-wise) is pushing tolerance limits. It's barely more of an answer than HAIR DAY. I'm not quite sure what "GO OP!" and "GO LF!" mean. Maybe "Go, Hammett protagonist!" and "Go play left field!" respectively. At any rate, good show.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Split a bill evenly with someone (GO HALFSIES)
  • 11D: Malfunction (GO HAYWIRE)
  • 39A: Flip out (GO CRAZY)
  • 35D: Fail financially (GO BELLY-UP)
  • 62A: Leave the drawers in the drawer, say (GO COMMANDO) — nice clue, too, btw

I'm writing this during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. The Giants just intercepted Brady, if my Twitter feed isn't lying. As you can probably gather, I'm not terribly invested in the game, but people in this area certainly are. The diner this morning featured the typical mass of churchgoers, but today they were festooned in Giants gear. Entire families. Didn't see much of said gear back when the Giants were 7-7, but nothing breeds fandom like winning. As for the puzzle—blew through it (well under 3 minutes), which is mildly surprising given the sassy unexpectedness of many of the theme answer. My only hesitation was an odd 5-second paralysis at 51A: Natural barriers between yards (HEDGES). Something about the coincidence of "yards" and Super Bowl Sunday threw me off at first, and then when I realized the type of yards in question, my mind patiently reconstructed the topography of a typical yard. HEDGES! I don't think MOS Def's name is MOS Def anymore. I think I remember that he gave that name to Stephen Colbert because he had taken some new name ... "In September 2011, Mos Def announced that he planned to use the name Yasiin instead of Mos Def beginning in 2012" (wikipedia). No idea what that's about, but YASIIN looks very promising, crosswordwise.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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