Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sunday January 5, 2020, Will Nediger

STRESSED OUT

Today being stressed is fun! Seven theme answers play with stress by cluing common expressions to force a change in pronunciation. Take PROJECTGUTENBERG, for example. It is the oldest digital collection of freely available digitized books. But when given the clue "'We can't hear you in the back, Johannes!'?" it is necessary to move the stress on "project" from the first to the second syllable to make the answer correct for the clue.

FREDDYADU

My favorite of the theme answers is PERFECTSCORES (What composers do when they add the finishing touches?). CONTRACTTERMS (Shorten words like "forecastle" and "boatswain"?) and DISCOUNTSTORES (Ignore what you have in reserve while taking inventory?) are both a little forced, and I must be missing something with CONVERSEALLSTARS (Encouragement at an N.B.A. mixer?), because I don't know the "encouragement" meaning of "conVERSE."

In non-theme material, I loved the NE corner. The stacked Downs - NOHELP, APOSTATE, SEASONAL, and ACRONYMS (Nascar and FIFA, e.g.) are all strong, and the top four crosses were all clued well, I thought. There's the clever "Mission-driven org." for NASA, the interesting trivia in "Intl. group founded in 1960 with five members" (OPEC), the tricky "Winter leaf covering" (HOAR) (I first tried "rime," but is that only when it's on the ground? I should probably look that up, but I'm in a car at the moment, so I'll do it later), and finally, "Place to fill up in Canada" which, I thought, was at least trying to put an interesting spin on the old crosswordese, ESSO. And under those is the first of a fun pairing: "Brown in a Food Network kitchen" (ALTON). It's mate, "Brown in the kitchen" (SEAR), appears a little further down on that side.

DOJO (Martial arts center) and DUMA (Russian assembly) made another pair - of foreign four-letter words starting with D. :) And "Samoa salesperson" (GIRLSCOUT) had me worrying for a bit - "What do I know about commerce in Samoa?" thought I...

It was fine. I like playing with language, but I wish I understood the last one better. Or at all, really.

- Horace




3 comments:

  1. I enjoyed it very much...and oddly enough, the last themer the most! I read it as someone -- maybe the overly-peppy Activities Director at the Retired N.B.A. Home -- encouraging the Mixer Participants to Socialize! "C'mon, guys! Chat each other up, here!" :-)

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  2. 33:12
    Definitely a fun Sunday, excellent theme, and it landed right where I like for time. I agree with Horace about the best of the themers. The one that I really didn't love too much was PRODUCELABELS, but it was fine. I tried cONGA where TONGA goes, but the cross fixed that up pretty quickly. Of course I realize that it's the Congo, but in the heat of the solve I just dropped in the "c." And I enjoyed the clue for GENE (74A Code part). The clue for TVS seemed a little strange, though (28A Fixtures at most airport lounges nowadays). So what? Where isn't there a TV? I didn't love starting out with LARDS, but I guess we'll have to take it.

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