Monday, November 19, 2012

Another day, another gold (Solution No. 3,261)

Three trips to Wilmington, three gold medals!  Bangle won again on Saturday in the compulsories, while The Other Dr. Mitchell did her part Sunday, skating a very nice program including her new camel spin to win her adult pre-bronze event.

Did you triumph over this week's puzzle?  We've got the answers and explanations here for you.

Degree of difficulty (by standards of this weekly puzzle): fairly hard.  It took a while to work out some of the wordplay, but I got the most unique clue, 22a, right away.

Political content: 7d: I suspect Ed Asner subscribes to The Nation.

Composer reference: I was hoping for a performer in 12a, but can't complain about Picasso.
solution and annotation below the fold


Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed; "( )" letters inserted; "_" or lower case: letters deleted; "" explicit in the clue, “^” first letter or letters, “{“ relocated letter or letters

Across
1a, 28a
MASS NOUN
Pun
3a
*DAY I(N C)OURT
*AUDITORY (anagram indicated by “realignment”) containing (“outside of”) NC (“North Carolina”)
10a
*T(W)OFERS
W (“with”) contained by (“on the exterior”) *SOFTER (anagram indicated by “lunatic”)
11a
DEN | MARK
MARK (“evangelist”: St. Mark)  following (“pursues”) DEN (“hiding place”)
12a
<_VIRTUOSOS_<
<picasSOS OUTRIValed< (hidden word indicated by “in”, reversal indicated by “retrospective”)
Wonder if we could have had a musician here.
13a
~TITAN
~TIGHTEN (“clamp”, homophone indicated by “on the tongue”)
14a
HOT | ELS
HOT (“smoking”) + ELS (the center of “pillow” is LL or ELS)
16a
B + R(*ETHRE)N
B (“3.0”-grade point average) + *THREE (anagram indicated by “crackers”) contained in (“held by”) RN (“nurse”)
18a
MOUSS_ | AKA
MOUSSe (“chilled dessert”, omission of last letter indicated by “for the most part”) + AKA (“sometimes referred to”)
19a
<STU(DI)O<
<OUTS< (“parts of an inning”, reversal indicated by “rewind”) containing ID (†)
22a
LATIN
“porcus” is Latin for pig, so “orcuspay” is Pig Latin for “pig” in Latin.
23a
PLUTO | (C)RAT
PLUTO (“underworld figure”) + RAT (“stoolie”—stool pigeon) containing (“hold”) C (“$100”—‘C-note’)
25a
CRU}CIA{L
CRU{E}L (“inflicting pain”) with CIA (“group of spies”) replacing (“supplanting”) E^ (“Egypt”, first letter indicated by “leader”)
26a
O | RATE
O (“zero”) + RATE (“grade”)
27a
WED | G^ | E^ | ISSUE
WED (“married”) + G_ays (†, first letter indicated by “initially”) + E^ducate (†, first letter indicated by “beginning”) + ISSUE (“children”)
Exclamation point since “married gays” is also the definition.  That’s enough fun to justify a four-piece assembly.
28a

See 1a


Down
1d
*MITZVAH
*VIZ MATH (anagram indicated by “confusing”)
2d
S | POOR
S (“satisfactory”) + POOR (“unsatisfactory”)
I knew this word from the train trips I took on a couple of visits to The Netherlands.
4d
_ASSIST
b_ASSIST (“musician”, omission of first letter indicated by “lacking first”)
5d
INDUS | TRY
TRY (“attempt”) following (“at the foot of”) INDUS (“Asian river”)
6d
CONSTITUIONAL
Double definition. 

7d
*UNALTER | ED
*NEUTRAL (anagram indicated by “otherwise”) + ED (“Asner”, actor)
8d
*TAKEN IN
*NEATNIK (anagram indicated by “after tidying up”)
9d
*TEQUILA SUNRISE
*IN ASSET LIQUEUR (anagram indicated by “mixed”)
Another instance of the interplay between wordplay and definition turning an otherwise weak clue into an amusement.
15d
TRUST FUND
Pun on “trust fun would”
17d
SKI P | OLES
SKIP (“pass over”) + OLES (“shouts of encouragement”)
18d
MILK COW
Double double definition
20d
*OCTAGON
*GO ON ACT (anagram indicated by “crazy”)
21d
~SUDOKU
~PSEUDO-COUP (“false takeover”, homonym indicated by “speaker’s”)
24d
*RH(I)NO
I (“one”) contained in (“sporting”) *HORN (anagram indicated by “frightful”)
Exclamation point for the wordplay encompassing the whole clue.

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