The Theme!Seena thisa typa puzz before. Best practice is to solve the numbered clues then solve the twelvers and figure out how to lattice them in. But if you're working the numbereds and the twelves and they're just not coming, then you might do what we do, which is to solve a stack of the sixes and sevens and then just blindly enter them into the grid, making it work until it doesn't work. This is not the most obviously methodically logical approach, but sometimes it's important to boost morale in order to see progress. Alternatively, sometimes just seeing letters in the grid can unlock insights to previously opaque clues.
- 11A) I feel pain in back and hips (4)
I ((feel pain + AIL) back = LIA) = ILIA
Below: Neolithic art from Cucuteni, Romania (they were super into hips):
- 28A) Leaning over, it's said to end two letters earlier (4)
(SAID end (i.e. “D”) two letters earlier (i.e. B) = SAIB) * over = BIAS
- 29A) Manages without a male presence, but gets on (4)
MANAGES without a (male presence = MAN) = AGES
- 7D) A trick that goes in an unexpected direction? Cool! (5)
A ((trick = FOOL) goes in an unexpected direction = LOOF) = ALOOF
- 24D) It's back: German dynamo (5)
(IT back = TI) + (German = GER) = TIGER
- 26D) Organization with space for working, like one upwardly mobile (4)
(like one = AS AN) upwardly mobile = NASA
A common urban legend states that NASA spent a large amount of money to develop a pen that would write in space (the result purportedly being the Fisher Space Pen), while the Soviets just used pencils. There is a grain of truth: NASA began to develop a space pen, but when development costs skyrocketed the project was abandoned and astronauts went back to using pencils, along with the Soviets. However, the claim that NASA spent millions on the Space Pen is incorrect, as the Fisher pen was developed using private capital, not government funding. NASA - and the Soviets - eventually began purchasing such pens.
NASA programs previously used pencils (for example a 1965 order of mechanical pencils) but because of the substantial dangers that broken pencil tips and graphite dust pose to electronics in zero gravity, the flammable nature of wood present in pencils, and the inadequate quality documentation produced by non-permanent or smeared recordkeeping, a better solution was needed.
We've long repeated the punchline, “the Soviets just used a pencil haha stupid Americans!!” Woops. Ugh! Nothing more irritating than recognizing one's own shallow smugness! And a reminder to check citations.
- 6a) Knock back in one dire display
back in (onE DIRE Display) = DERIDE
- 6d) Homeopathy drastically limits problems that won't go away
HomeopatHY DRAStically = HYDRAS
- 6e) In front of a gym, Georgia airport for Hollywood stars
(Georgia = GA) (airport for Hollywood = LAX) in front of (a gym = Y) = GALAXY
- 6f) Tevya's good fortune tossed in ash can
ASH CAN * anagram = NACHAS
- 6k) Wages war with no instigation, a sly catastrophe for the environment
((WAR with no instigation = AR) A SLY) * anagram = SALARY
- 6l) Sticks guys in harness together on left side, initially
(harness together = YOKE) + (left side initially = LS) = YOKELS
- 7a) Revolutionary tsarist writers, painters, and composers
TSARIST * anagram = ARTISTS
- 7b) I screen for working in earnest
I SCREEN * anagram = SINCERE
- 7c) Wheels gone, I'm totally seedy!
(Wheels = CAR) + (gone = AWAY) = CARAWAY
- 7g) Ah, piano pieces that reveal dumbness?
AH PIANO * anagram = APHONIA
Anyway also claimed in this clickbait list of historical figures we'd never‑believe‑were‑black was Beethoven, the piano grandmaster who was deaf but not dumb.
The Wikipedia talk page on the subject cites quotes from Beethoven's contemporaries about his dark complexion and possibly Moorish phenotype, altho such citations come from the perhaps dubious “J.A. Roger's work 100 AMAZING FACTS ABOUT THE NEGRO WITH COMPLETE PROOF, written in 1957,” which reads to us as a first order clickbait title, yea a generation before clickbait existed.
In conclusion: Beethoven was a dark lord of clavicord who was so strong in the Force that he didn't need hearing to write or conduct music. Was he black? Moor evidence requested.
- 7j) It's a lie: money with no sign of excellence anywhere produces a splitting headache!
A (LIE MONEY with no sign of excellent = LI MONY) = ALIMONY
If you ain't no punk
holla want want pre‑nupt
We Want Pre‑Nupt!
Aynd nyow we arrive at the twelvers. Much nicer!
- 12a) This blows my cool: strict person living high on the hog!
MY COOL STRICT = MOTORCYCLIST
- 12b) Rare accident that can get you canned?
RARE ACCIDENT * anagram = INCARCERATED
- 12c) A twerp thrashing around, covered up, protected when swimming
(A TWERP * anagram) + (covered up = ROOFED) = WATERPROOFED
- 12d) Develop loquacity (including, separately, nine Latin elements), as any mad romantic would
LOQUACITY (nine Latin = IX) (elements = E) * anagram = QUIXOTICALLY
- 2D) Music box? First stock sale died (4)
(First stock sale = IPO) + (died = D) = IPOD
The answer key's logic specifies IPOD, but the answer grid shows IPOP. Brothers! Are you in need of some assistance from your sister‑wife at Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues? Our schedule is very free.
- 9D) Day he got shot, mowed down (5)
DAY HE * anagram = HAYED
- 23D) Nomad, resettled entity (5)
NOMAD * anagram = MONAD
- 6b) Critic's reassessment of a lemon?
CRITIC * anagram = CITRIC
- 6c) Relied on rearranging songs
RELIED * anagram = LIEDER
noun, plural lieder [lee-der; German lee-duh r]
1. a typically 19th-century German art song characterized by the setting of a poetic text in either strophic or through-composed style and the treatment of the piano and voice in equal artistic partnership
- 7f) Where some Washingtonians land employment, finally, is ultimately boring
(Where some Washingtonians land = DULLES) + (employment finally = T) = DULLEST
- 7i) Teacher fired, i.e., for nonconforming
FIRED IE * anagram = EDIFIER
- 6i) Goners: possibly Gina from porn!
GONERS * anagram = GERSON
Or, as Dear Reader Jeremy wondered, is Gena Gerson a reference to a barely‑known but apparently actual porn star, Gina Gerson?
If this clue was in error, such error was unremarked upon in the answer key. Unlike May 2015's heinous Ruth Bader Ginsburg misspelling which at least got a mention and whispered apology in 8‑point font.
Why are we even being quizzed on our fluency with porn stars. Why is that even.