Recurring metrical beat -SATURDAY, May 23 2009- D Tuller (Indian employed as British soldier / Antarctic dweller / Use one's zygomatic muscles)
Saturday, May 23, 2009
- An indigenous soldier serving in the army of a foreign conqueror, especially an Indian soldier serving under British command in India.
- The lowest enlisted rank in the British Indian army and its successors, equivalent to private.
- One holding this rank.
[Probably from Portuguese sipae, from Urdu sipāhī, from Persian, cavalryman, from sipāh, army.]
Easier and less entertaining than yesterday's puzzle - unlike in yesterday's puzzle, here, the difficulty is enhanced by a slew of obscure words rather than a pattern of clever and deceptive cluing. There were seven words I didn't know at all, most of which I'm fairly certain I've never seen or heard of before.
- SAMOA TIME (56A: Setting in Pago Pago) - it's got its own time???
- KHASI (32A: Language spoken in Assam, India) - no hope in hell there. Thank god for crosses.
- SEPOY - the most made-up-looking word of the bunch.
- IPA (24A: Pronunciation guide std.) - International Phonetic Alphabet
- IGUANODON (37A: Dinosaur with large thumb spikes) - this word looks like a mash-up of words I *have* actually heard of - IGUANA and UDON. The picture, however, looks like drunk Fonzie-saurus.
- ICTUS (see below)
- NOVA (see below)
But, as in any well constructed puzzle, all obscurities could be hammered out via gettable crosses. I have no idea how I got through this puzzle seven minutes faster than yesterday's when there were far more words in this one I didn't even know - but I did. Having 1A be a gimme helped - 1A: Squidward's neighbor on Nickelodeon (Spongebob). I actually had to think for a few seconds, as I assumed the answer (on a Saturday) would be some tertiary character. But no. The titular character. Everything in the NW after that was easy - though I forgot/didn't even know NOVA (4D: Cured and smoked salmon). Subsequent quadrants got less easy, and the final one (the SW), was something of a painful mess. RACIALISM? (31D: Bunker mentality?). I knew the clue must be going for Archie Bunker, and yet still ... I don't know when I've ever heard the word RACIALISM. Is that what they used to call RACISM? I had RA--ALIS- and only because I inferred the "ISM" ending did I ever solve 57A: Its motto in Eng. is "It grows as it goes". Read "Eng." as "England," and so was thinking there was some company (abbreviated) that had a different motto overseas. Ugh. ICTUS? Uh, no. There's a RICTUS, of sorts, in the north part of the grid (5D: Use one's zygomatic muscles), but ICTUS is a word I knew and forgot, or never knew. PIPS ... is the "Trey" in question on a gaming die? (39A: Trey trio). Filling out RACIALISM was a rather anticlimactic way to end this pretty typical, reasonably tough Saturday puzzle.
Not feeling well this a.m., in part because of lack of sleep brought on by dog we are dogsitting, who had considerable trouble getting to sleep last night. Lots of fretting and panting and pacing and oddly high-pitched and loud yelling (this is a giant lab we're talking about). My other dogs were like "what the Hell is going on?" Anyway, the dog settled, eventually. I, however, am wasted this morning, and can't bear looking at a computer screen much longer. So, here are your bullets:
- 16A: Sal Tessio's portrayer in "The Godfather" (Abe Vigoda) - great long answer. Spoiler alert: Sal dies.
- 25A: Home of Riding Mountain National Park (Manitoba) - had the "BA," so no problem.
- 30A: Furnish with battlements, as a castle (crenelate) - oddly, a gimme for me.
- 48A: Antarctic dweller (petrel) - a bird I likely learned of from crosswords - it flew quickly to my rescue today in the SE.
- 9D: Classic novel with a chapter titled "My Breaking In" ("Black Beauty") - "The Story of O" fits (although it turns out there's no "The" in the title)
- 10D: Holy Ark's location (shul) - thought this would be somewhere specific, not generic. But "UL" gave answer away.
- 11D: 1961 #1 hit for Bobby Lewis ("Tossin' and Turnin'") - I had TOSSING 'N' TURNING at one point.
- 26D: MacGyver's first name on "MacGyver" (Angus) - wow, who knew? And now ... 80's power keyboard theme song!
- 45D: "The Cat's Meow" actor, 2001 (Elwes) - I have no idea what "The Cat's Meow" is, and yet I guessed this off the "E". ELWES is what I would consider very, very high-end crosswordese. Unlike PROT, which is Grade D crosswordese sold only to our enemies overseas (48D: Like Luther: Abbr.).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld