Hey all - hope everyone enjoyed the interlude provided by Cece yesterday. I think it adds a lovely piquant flavor to the daily grind.
Speaking of which, I feel like it's been some time since Dr. Haight produced a puzzle for our enjoyment. I was very glad to meet him at the ACPT some years back. He has a great sense of humor, and comes up with fun themes for the puzzle.
Today's fits in an oversized 16 x 15 grid, allowing two 16-letter grid spanners. All four long answers are common sayings in the English language which have arisen from baseball. Ah, baseball. For some, it conjures up that all-American feeling, the green grass, the warm air, the smell of roasted peanuts and the crack of the bat. For others, I imagine it's just more sportsball.
Put me in the former school. I appreciated all the extra material Dr. Haight squeezed in, from 27A: "Kill the ump!," e.g. (CRY) to 6D: Kind of pitcher (RELIEF), to 29D: Like a team on a day off (IDLE), to 39D: An umpire's outstretched arms signified this (SAFE) to 48D: Certain worker in a stadium (USHER). Very cute that 65A: Pitchers (EWERS) breaks this trend at the end of the puzzle.
|Therese Malfatti, not ELISE|
Meanwhile, GRAMOPHONE is a lovely callback to the days when baseball was fresh and new, while an INSECTBITE would be an unwelcome souvenir of an afternoon in the bleachers.
On the other side, I'm not a huge fan of OWOW. I tried Ouch and OWie first, before submitting to the actual answer. EWW is one of those answers where the middle letter could conceivably go either way. But these are small concerns.
I'd be NUTSO to call foul on this puzzle.