FRIDAY, Mar. 13, 2009 - J Pahk (Piltdown man locale / Chiwere dialect / "Revolution 9" collaborator / Saloonkeeper of note)
Friday, March 13, 2009
- A discerning perception; an insight: “Her schmoozy but magisterial aperçus inspired widespread emulation among the young” (Roy Blount, Jr.).
- A short outline or summary; a synopsis. (answers.com)
The rest of the puzzle didn't thrill me as much. There are great answers here and there - VESPUCCI (9D: He demonstrated that what Columbus had discovered was not 6-Down) over DE SOTO (48D: He joined Pizarro in the conquest of the Inca Empire) is nice, X FACTOR (45D: Hard-to-define influence) is always good, and the clue on PLACE MAT (37D: Put-down in a restaurant?) was pretty original-seeming - but by the end (and here I mean specifically the SW), the whole thing had begun to feel a little ... precious. Something about the (super-) collision of JAPE (46A: Make fun of) and JOCOSE (46D: Sportive) and APERCUS (40D: Quick impressions) and even SAUTE (63A: Start to prepare, as 49-Across) made me think of some horribly pretentious (and garrulous) guy at a Renaissance Faire, playing his LUTE (55D: It's featured in two Vivaldi concertos) around a set of PYRES (51D: Funeral arrangements) and hurling SAT words at you while overpronouncing his ESSES (65A: A lot of assessments?). OK, so I've never been to a Renaissance Faire. Still, there's something high-falutin', Frenchy, and pretentious about that corner. Precious and old-fashioned - that was my final impression. Further, the clue on OCCUR makes me a bit nauseous (59A: Become part of history). That's a pretty broad definition of "history" you got there. That SW corner is likely coloring my impression of the rest of the grid, and unfairly so. Maybe if I hadn't had to endure PPPS (57D: Afterthought #3: Abbr.), I'd be feeling more generous. I have "disgusting" written in the margin next to that clue.
Grad school helped out with a few gimmes today, though strangely it did Not help with the one gaudy literary clue in the middle of the puzzle - 26D: _____ the Destroyer (rabble-rouser in Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man") (Ras). The only RAS I know is RA'S Al GHUL, a Batman foe. I did, however, get AQUINAS (3D: "Summa Contra Gentiles" theologian), CARLYLE (54A: "Sartor Resartus" essayist Thomas), and NERUDA (25A: "Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair" writer), all without even looking at the grid. Bam bam bam. This made up a bit for The Trouble With SPICA (10D: Virgo's alpha star), SPICA being a racist-sounding star I've never heard of, or one I heard of once and then forgot. The only other real WTF answer was VIC (58A: 1951 A.L. strikeout leader Raschi). Maybe I've seen him in a puzzle before, but I have no recollection of such an event. Oh, and I don't know what RAND is supposed to refer to in this cluing context - 47A: 100 cents, in East London. Is there an East London in South Africa? Oh look, there is. What a whimsical JAPE. Precious.
I can never remember how to spell ANTIPASTO (64A: Italian meal starter). I always want to change one or the other of the middle vowels to Es. I had two "malapops" today (you know, where you want a word that's wrong, only to find that same word lurking somewhere else in the grid). I wanted NOT IT at 4D: Tag cry (out) and then found it at 52D: Tag cry. I also had the "ES" in VESPUCCI and really wanted DE SOTO to fit ... and then bam. DE SOTO, right underneath it. Very weird.
- 30A: It may concern arms or contain legs (race) - Not a fan of riddles
- 36A: Finno-Ugric tongue (Lapp) - had LATT here ... not sure what I was thinking.
- 42A: Piltdown man locale (Sussex) - a complete guess. Is "Piltdown man" a prehistoric apeman? Aha, it was a famous ape-man hoax from 1912. Took 40 years to discover the fraud. Read more here.
- 49A: Dish cooked in seasoned broth (pilaf) - was looking for something soupier.
- 51A: Wildcats and Cougars play in it (Pac Ten) - had the TEN and without thinking wrote in BIG TEN.
- 5D: Tofu specification (firm) - yes, firm good. Soft bad (unless you are incorporating it into a soup or something, I suppose)
- 13D: March preceder, periodically (leap day) - I never think of Feb. 29 as having its own special name.
- 39D: City due south of San Juan (Caracas) - one of the coolest-sounding world capitals. It is the capital of Venezuela, which belongs to the OAS (62D: Intl. group with 35 members).
- 61D: "Revolution 9" collaborator (Ono) - ONO, OTO ... OTO, ONO. ONO is part of the great OOT sandwich in the south, created by MOOT POINT (60A: It's open to debate) over TOOTS SHOR (66A: Saloonkeeper of note). I hate "Revolution 9" - the worst thing about the White Album. So let's hear one of the best things about the White Album:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld