Theme - THE WEARIN' O' THE GREEN. Nope - nothing to do with St. Pat - that was last month. In fact, this puzzle, for reasons that will soon become clear, is much more timely than that. I'm referring to the iconic item of apparel given to the winner of a sporting event which will be identified shortly.
17 A. Hold banned in amateur wrestling : FULL NELSON. This hold is more easily pictured than described.
Byron NELSON was the winner of the subject event in 1937 and 1942, the latter in a playoff with Ben Hogan - before my time.
24 A. Premier League athlete : SOCCER PLAYER. The English Premier League is where professionals play a sport known as "football" most everyplace except here in the U.S. Gary PLAYER, from South Africa was the winner in 1961, 1974 and 1978.
40 A. Innocents : BABES IN THE WOODS. This is the title of a gruesome traditional childrens' tale, first published in 1595, then passed into every-day speech to indicate any inexperienced or unwary persons thrust into hazardous situations. Tiger WOODS is perhaps more famous now for his adventurous personal life that his sporting feats; but he once dominated his sport, and won the subject event in 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2005. Looks like he will participate this year.
52. Influential teams : POWER COUPLES. From the Urban Dictionary: "A couple who seems to have a fairy tale romance. Also, both parties involved in the power couple have tremendous influence over people around them because of their devastating good looks* and seemingly perfect relationship with their significant other.
*the most common type of power couple is between a male athlete and an actress and/or singer."
Fred COUPLES, the only one-time winner in the puzzle, took the prize in 1992.
It should be obvious by now that the the sport is golf, and the unifier gives us the event. 65A. April golf tournament, four of whose winners appear in 17-, 24-, 40- and 52-Across : THE MASTERS tournament, an event held every April at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA. It is the first of golf's four major championships held in 2015. Each year the winner is awarded the iconic green blazer.
This year's MASTERS starts tomorrow, so the puzzle is right on time. And did you notice the constructors? Our own fearless leader and prolific puzzle maven C.C. along with Monday-Tuesday blogging stalwart, Santa Baby. More feathers in the corner cap. Yay team!
Let see if our friends have given us a rough time or treated us in a fair way.