St. Eligius in his goldsmith workshop, Petrus Christus, 1449 ----------------- Sunday, December 14, 2008 NAME THAT PHRASE, Puzzle by Trip Payne, edited by Will Shortz Acronyms of twelve phrases are the wan feature of this Sunday plodder -- RITA, VIC, LES, MAE, THOM, ALAN, PETE, CAL, TED, OTIS, LIAM and NAN for, respectively -- ROLLING IN THE AISLES (25A. Like Rudner’s audiences after a good joke?); VANILLA ICE CREAM (33A. Treat for Damone); LOWER EAST SIDE (52A. Where Paul stays when performing in New York?); MAKES AN ENTRANCE (69A. Comes in dramatically, like West?); THE HOUSE OF MIRTH (95A. McAn’s favorite novel?); AS LIKELY AS NOT (106A. Odds of Alda winning an Oscar?); PLACING END TO END (129A. Putting in a row, like Sampras’s rackets?); CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT (139A. Court case where Ripken is one of many plaintiffs?); THE EVIL DEAD (3D. Horror film enjoyed by Turner?); OF THEE I SING (12D. Musical that inspired Redding?); LOVE IN A MIST (87D. Flower typically given to Neeson?); NECK AND NECK (92D. How Goldin and her rivals finish in photography competition?). Of virtually no use to the solver, the gimmick is merely an overwrought afterthought to the puzzle -- something The Times crossword authors have been hawking a lot of lately. The result is an empty so-what at the end of the solve, and the gimmick just gets in the way of solving. Not once throughout the entire puzzle was I able to recognize the inclusion of initialism (or alphabetism) in the construction -- the clues seem ludicrous and unrelated. Of course, at the end, one does look back and see that they make sense -- but to what end? The plodding clues continue throughout the puzzle, especially in the lower third from ELOI (115A. Patron saint of goldsmiths) to the bitter finish, with the majority of the entries throughout the puzzle being particularly small and numerous, resulting in exhausting fragmentation and mind-numbing tedium. Across: 1. Small amount of power, WATT; 5. Where opposite sides meet, DEBATE; 11. Fireplace tool, TONGS; 16. Be bold enough, DARE; 20. Eponym of a North Carolina “-ville”, ASHE; 21. Skeptical response; DREAMON; 22. Use TurboTax, perhaps, EFILE; 23. Particular, ITEM; 24. Mother of Cronus, GAEA; 28. “Stormy” seabird, PETREL; 30. Zool. Or ecol., SCI; 31. Drama that uses masks, NOH; 32. Supremely macho, ALLMAN; 39. Drool catchers, BIBS; 40. Volkswagen coupe convertible, EOS; 41. Runners may round them, BASES; 42. Like fries, typically, SALTED; 43. Sunlit ledge, SILL; 44. Google search result, URL; 45. Delhi-to-Madras dir., SSE; 47. Author Dinesen, ISAK; 50. Attack vigorously, WADEIN; 58. Carol ending?, INE; 59. Hindu honorific, SRI; 60. Once known as, NEE; 62. “Heroes” actress Larter, ALI; 63. It’s said for stress, IREPEAT; 67. Chewed out, SCATHED; 72. Baghdad’s SADR City; 73. More furtive, SLIER; 75. Threshold, VERGE; 76. Needing air freshener, MUSTY; 77. Better-suited, APTER; 79. Funny frame, CEL; 80. Largest U.S. movie theater chain, REGAL; 83. “MARCO Millions” (Eugene O’Neill play); 86. The rite place?, ALTAR; 89. Black, in a way, SOOTY; 91. “The Neverending Story” author, ENDE; 99. Astronomical collision results, CRATERS; 101. Tyrrhenian Sea port, SALERNO; 102. Dict. Tag on “tzar”, VAR; 103. It may be radical, ION; 104. Duped, HAD; 105. Op. CIT; 110. Take on, TACKLE; 112. Piece of software, for short, APP; 115. Patron saint of goldsmiths, ELOI; 116. Sign of a champ; VEE; 117. Unwrap, in verse, OPE; 119. Sound, HALE; 120. Knave, VARLET; 123. ONETO a customer; 126. Gilbert and Sullivan princess, IDA; 127. Tinnitus causes, DINS; 128. Kiss on the cheek, perhaps, GREET; 133. More affordable, ONSALE; 135. Conductance unit, MHO; 136. Suffix with fail, URE; 137. Person of learning, SAVANT; 143. Trickle, SEEP; 145. DEMO tape; 146. Don’t fold or call, RAISE; 147. Banishes to Elba, e.g., ENISLES; 148. Light brown, ECRU; 149. Spotted, SEEN; 150. Nautical measure, KNOTS; 151. Recipients, DONEES; 152. Having similar genetics, AKIN. Down: 1. Boxer’s approval, WAG; 2. “Quickly,” quickly, ASAP; 4. It holds a service, TEATABLE; 5. More whimsical, DROLLER; 6. Fish with toxic blood, EEL; 7. Trees with soft wood, BALSA; 8. AMICI curiae (friends of the court); 9. Mixer, TONIC; 10. Official lang. of Mauritius, ENG; 11. Roy Orbison and Marvin Gaye, e.g., TENORS; 13. Agcy. With the Office of Disease Prevention, NIH; 14. Scintillate, GLEAM; 15. It’s on the back of the $1 bill, SEAL; 15. Bleak, DISMAL; 17 Home of the world’s largest aquarium, ATLANTA; 18. What a stamped hand may allow you to do, REENTER; 19. Typography units;, EMS; 21. Cologne trio, DREI; 26. Viracocha worshiper, INCA; 27. Rick’s love, in film, ILSA; 29. Bedside workers, often: Abbr., RNS; 34. Relax, LOLL; 35. Hairstylist José, EBER; 36. P.D.A. part, ASST; 38. Humorist George, ADE; 39. Woman in “Othello”, BIANCA; 42. Sidestep, SKIRT; 43. Cheese with eyes, SWISS; 44. Turmoil, UNREST; 45. Say #@%!, SWEAR; 46. Try to unearth, SEEK; 48. Spelling clarification, ASIN; 51. -like, alternatively, ISH; 53. “Take a Chance ONME” (Abba song); 54. Tripod, sometimes, EASEL; 55. Banned chemical ALAR; 56. Skin layer, DERMA; 57. Shoulder frill, EPAULET; 60. Going nowhere, IDLE; 64. Half 19-Down, ENS; 65. Fill in (for), ACT; 66. “The Daughter of Time” author, TEY; 68. Choking spot, TRACHEA; 70. “ … if EVERI saw one!”; 71. Tulip chair designer Saarinen, EERO; 74. “Dies IRAE”; 78. Standard partner, POORS; 79. Accord rival, CAMRY; 81. Clearly impress, ETCH; 82. Take turns?, GYRATE; 83. Parts of a range: Abbr., MTS; 84. “The light has dawned!”, AHA; 85. Seminary subj., REL; 88. Brand of nonstick cookware, TFAL; 89. “W.” director, STONE; 90. “This can’t be!”, OHNO; 93. Boring things, DRILLS; 94. Cosmetics magnate Lauder, ESTEE; 96. Available, in a way, UNLET; 97. Dirty, SOIL; 98. Levitate, RISE; 100. Mathematician Lovelace, ADA; 107. The Gang’s leader, KOOL; 108. AVON lady; 109. Sara Palin’s husband, TODD; 11. Taiwan’s setting, CHINASEA; 112. Mean: Abbr., AVG; 113. One just out, PAROLEE; 114. Georgia or Virginia, e.g., PRENAME; 118. Dupes, PATSIES; 121. Teacher’s teaching, LESSON; 122. Airport monitor info, for short, ETAS; 124. Comes back the same, ECHOES; 125. Common noun ending, TION; 126. Really existing, INESSE; 127. Part of R&D: Abbr., DEV; 129. State tree of Texas, PECAN; 130. Organic fertilizer, GUANO; 131. Physicist Schrödinger; ERWIN; 132. Trotter fodder, OATS; 134. Brownish songbird, LARK; 138. Actress Polo, TERI; 139. Contents of jewel cases, CDS; 140. Uncle, in Uruguay, TIO; 141. Played a heart, say, LED; 142. Little: Suffix, ULE; 144. 86-Across, e.g., PUN. As St. Eligius (aka Eloi) might remark -- "Pure pyrite!" ----------------- For today’s cartoon, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated. Click on image to enlarge. Puzzle available on the internet at THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games
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