Confused situations / MON 5-31-10 / It protects tympanic cavity / Perennial presidential candidate Ralph / Ordinary fellow
Monday, May 31, 2010
Constructor: Oliver Hill
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium [amended ... 3:08 appears to be somewhat on the fast side after all. Hard to tell when the margins are so small]
THEME: DEEJAYS (25D: Record spinners ... or a hint to 17-, 25-, 38-, 48- and 61-Across) — five theme answers are two-word phrases where first word starts with "D" and second word starts with "J"
Word of the Day: IMBROGLIOS (11D: Confused situations) —
n., pl., -glios.
- A difficult or intricate situation; an entanglement.
- A confused or complicated disagreement.
- A confused heap; a tangle.
- 17A: Blue things that make some people turn red? (DIRTY JOKES) — this clue threw me, bec. normally you don't have "?" clues in theme answers unless they are ALL "?" clues (i.e. signifying wacky answers). So I went looking for wackines and got none. Other theme clues are straight. Which does not make this clue GAY. Necessarily.
- 25A: Nine-to-five gigs, often (DESK JOBS) — see also 18D: Ordinary fellow (JOE BLOW) and then titter when you realize that "BLOW" and "JOBS" are both in the grid.
- 38A: Womanizer (DON JUAN)
- 48A: Company with an industrial average (DOW JONES)
- 61A: Wrangler product (DENIM JEANS)
My wife thought the whole puzzle felt old-fashioned — "the whole thing seems like it was written in 1920." By an AGING person, perhaps (1A: Growing older). I think it was the phrase DENIM JEANS, which feels a bit like the phrase WORLD WIDE WEB, i.e. legit, but kind of dated. We call DENIM JEANS "jeans" now. I see the phrase is still in use in various commercial contexts, but ... I can't really imagine "jeans" that are *not* denim. There appears to be some support for "corduroy jeans," though I'd call those "pants." Or "cords." OFT, O'ER, CADS, ERST, IN RE, and GAYER (5D: More festive) also aged up the feel of the fill a bit. GAYER appears to be (chiefly British, chiefly derogatory) slang for a gay person. Non-sexual GAY is, like DENIM JEANS, correct, but quaint. Did I tell you the story about my little sister happily traipsing around our apartment complex telling everyone she met that "my mom and Agatha (her doll) and I are gay!" She meant "happy." Adorable. There's a better story about my sister's hilarious big mouth, but it involves the word "vagina," so I'll just hold onto that one.
- 35A: As one (EN BLOC) — interesting phrase. Wife hadn't heard it before. We mostly use EN MASSE, I think, but this phrase looks much cooler. GAYER, even.
- 35D: It protects the tympanic cavity (EAR DRUM) — Nice clue. I was writing in EAR DRUM before I ever looked at the clue (the magic of crosses), and it's a good thing, because, despite the tympani's being a familiar variety of "DRUM," I'm not sure I could have identified the location of the "tympanic cavity" before today.
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P.S. Happy birthday, Clint Eastwood, you 80-year-old badass.