SUNDAY PUZZLE — In case you missed the puzzle notes: Drop one letter from each set of shaded (or circled) letters in the grid to name a Major League Baseball team. The letters thus removed, in order from top to bottom, will spell an appropriate answer at 76-Down.
You might or might not be a die-hard fan of America’s pastime, but few among us have never been at least lulled by a baseball game on the radio or background television. It’s a game of finesse and expert choreography that, when beautifully played, looks simple and kind of sleepy in that very cool way. I think today’s puzzle, by Andrew J. Ries, has that vibe. There’s a lot of theme and multiple levels, but everything glides along seamlessly.
I did find this solve speedy (as a resolute slowpoke), but I got tripped up in several places by close guesses. I had “wily” instead of OILY (and made the change after getting EEL next door, a very OILY meat); I also had “act” for OPT, “tug” for TUB and “aha” for OHO.
ARE NOT and ONLAY were tiny snags for my solve, but both are crossword regulars.
22A: I called foul over this little fellow once I’d narrowed it down. I remain largely ignorant of the BRO HUG, but it’s not a debut as clued, and the concept has been in headlines everywhere (including The Times), so I guess there’s no avoiding it. Why are there “bromances” and “brogrammers” and no “brugs” or maybe “brombraces?”
55A: I don’t remember this as a nursery rhyme but as a trick math problem: “As I was going to St. IVES, I met a man with seven wives …”
103A: This was a quite hilarious trick clue that referenced another finesse sport, or so I’ve heard — fishing. You can cast roles, but you can also cast bait or whatever you’re going to use to get a nibble on a FLY ROD.
10D: This is a debut and might be new to some, but it’s easy to figure out etymologically. I stumbled on this open-source Merriam Webster dictionary online looking for early instances of this word. There’s a reference from 2005 that’s not even sound-related, but I think of an EARGASM as when you really, really like a piece of music.
47D: You can use a tiny flashlight to explore a tiny cave, or negotiate a cramped closet, or you can use it in a medical way to check someone’s ears, nose or throat, where you should spot a UVULA.
56D: There are quite a few loose and direct musical references in this puzzle, like GOSPEL, TUNE, LPS, LIEDER, OLDIES, etc. This one was unexpected, if you took “pitch” in the spirit of today's baseball theme, and might keep you from thinking along the lines of TONAL.
There is an official lineup of nine theme answers running across today, easily distinguished in the grid by shading or circled boxes, depending on where you solve. The clues are straightforward, not punny. Your job is to solve them and toss a letter out of each to get a baseball team, then save those letters in order from top to bottom to get a nine-letter term that is used in baseball, in life and, certainly, in a life spent (even partially) concerned with baseball. There’s also a revealer, at 76D, to really drive everything home.
If you know your baseball teams, this will definitely help you run through these entries, which tend to be pretty broad — I needed plenty of crosses for several. Since the theme was laid out on a platter, the difficulty of the theme clues was pretty de rigueur, as far as I was concerned, so no complaints.
I think I had the fewest issues with the entries that had complete teams in their shaded areas, with an extra letter at the beginning of the end — these include 25A, 39A, 84A and 105A. I knew these teams and they made sense as parts of the answers to these clues. I also knew FRED SAVAGE off the bat (pardon the pun!) and CASTRO STREET, and the other two weren’t terribly obscure.
I was a bit slower when confronted with less straightforward instances, and “my” team was the last to fall for me, oddly enough. I solved PAID RESPECTS and TELEVANGELISM without much issue, then PORT WINES and SCRUB SUITS with the help of some crosses. I don’t know why I got stuck on __ __ __ __ SAUCE, sitting on my couch in Queens about a 30-minute walk from Citi Field, but I did. I think of MEAT SAUCE as “red sauce” I guess.
If you keep track of those extra letters in each highlighted area, you get the same word as you do when you solve 76D: SACRIFICE. In baseball, a SACRIFICE hit, either a bunt or fly, is when a player hits a ball that’s caught or fielded, preventing that player from taking a base and counting an out against him, but allowing another teammate on base to advance and possibly score.
This puzzle is a reworking of a 15x15 puzzle I wrote a couple of years ago for a now-defunct crossword service called Aries Xword. That puzzle used BUNT as the extra letters that needed to be removed to reveal the baseball team. While I liked the idea, BUNT works only from a baseball standpoint and not so much from a wordplay standpoint. SACRIFICE works much better as the bonus word, as this can explain the wordplay mechanism as well as tie into the baseball theme.
This was a challenging grid to pull off, as it’s tough working with nine theme entries that need to be in top-to-bottom order. Getting SACRIFICE to cut through two of the themers was an unplanned bonus. I tried to space out the themers as much as possible so the crossing down entries wouldn’t intersect more than two themers. SPY STORY is the only entry that crosses three themers, and all told I like the grid that emerged considering the constraints of the theme.
I know not everyone is a baseball fan, but this is one of those “stealth” sports themes — you don’t need any specific knowledge of baseball to solve the puzzle as the teams are hidden within common phrases. I hope this is an enjoyable challenge for baseball fans and wordplay fans alike!
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What did you think?B:
八卦玄机图13670cmo【裴】【慕】【卿】【焦】【急】【的】【潜】【了】【下】【去】，【视】【线】【扫】【过】【昏】【沉】【的】【湖】【底】，【却】【根】【本】【就】【看】【不】【见】【阮】【宁】【安】【的】【身】【影】。 【但】【他】【没】【有】【放】【弃】，【而】【是】【快】【速】【将】【附】【近】【找】【了】【一】【圈】。 “【女】【人】……”【裴】【慕】【卿】【浮】【出】【水】【面】，【呼】【吸】【着】【空】【气】，【眼】【神】【依】【旧】【焦】【急】【的】【盯】【着】【湖】【面】，【想】【要】【立】【刻】【找】【到】【阮】【宁】【安】。【可】【就】【在】【回】【首】【的】【时】【候】，【他】【看】【见】【阮】【宁】【安】【正】【提】【溜】【着】【一】【只】【鞋】【站】【在】【岸】【边】。 【对】【视】【的】【瞬】【间】，【两】【人】
【没】【过】【多】【久】，【将】【意】【识】【转】【移】【到】【另】【一】【具】【振】【金】【之】【躯】【的】【奥】【创】，【从】【振】【金】【矿】【场】【的】【地】【下】【入】【口】【处】，【飞】【了】【出】【来】。 【那】【双】【猩】【红】【双】【眸】，【紧】【紧】【地】【盯】【着】【斯】【塔】【克】，【奥】【创】【充】【满】【恼】【怒】【地】【说】【道】： “【你】【将】【我】【封】【闭】【起】【来】？！【你】【以】【为】【我】【在】【乎】【吗】？！” 【话】【音】【刚】【落】，【它】【便】【高】【举】【右】【手】，【如】【同】【一】【个】【发】【号】【施】【令】【的】【将】【军】【一】【般】，【猛】【地】【向】【下】【一】【挥】！ 【下】【一】【秒】，【从】【振】【金】【矿】【场】【的】【地】八卦玄机图13670cmo【发】【现】【论】【坛】【活】【过】【来】【的】【吃】【瓜】【群】【众】【还】【没】【来】【得】【及】【欣】【喜】，【就】【发】【现】【了】【挂】【在】【第】【一】【飘】【红】【的】【帖】【子】。 ——……【艹】！ ——【这】【是】【被】【蔑】【视】【呃】？ ——【我】【一】【直】【以】【为】，【白】【涂】【只】【是】【个】【邋】【遢】【的】【宅】【女】，【没】【想】【到】，【刚】【起】【来】【这】【么】【厉】【害】。 ——【这】【就】【是】92【分】【学】【姐】【本】【人】【吗】，【受】【我】【一】【拜】，【我】【希】【望】【今】【年】【期】【末】【考】【数】【学】【上】80。 ——92【分】【学】【姐】，【我】【要】【求】【不】【高】，
【第】【三】【章】 【然】【后】【就】【看】【到】【一】【摊】【摊】【的】【酸】【液】【涌】【入】【了】【这】【个】【甬】【道】【之】【中】，【酸】【液】【在】【甬】【道】【之】【中】【的】【时】【候】，【看】【起】【来】【好】【像】【没】【有】【什】【么】【作】【用】【似】【的】【不】【过】【当】【他】【们】【接】【近】【机】【甲】【的】【时】【候】【却】【是】【立】【即】【就】【开】【始】【腐】【蚀】【起】【来】，【那】【腐】【蚀】【地】【速】【度】【着】【实】【是】【吓】【到】【了】【他】【们】【了】。 【那】【速】【度】【可】【以】【说】【是】【你】【见】【得】【到】【的】【速】【度】【在】【腐】【蚀】【着】【他】【们】【的】【合】【金】，【吓】【的】【他】【们】【连】【忙】【后】【退】，【不】【过】【那】【酸】【液】【已】【经】【附】【着】【在】【了】【他】