Saturday, August 22, 2009 -- Muffed on the green / Russian oblast or its capital / Fractions of a gourde
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Constructor: Karen M. Tracey
Relative difficulty: Medium-challenging
Word of the Day: Sentime (18A Fractions of a gourde => SENTIME) —
The gourde (French), goud (Creole) is the currency of Haiti. Its ISO 4217 code is HTG and it is divided into 100 centimes (French) or santim (Creole).
[update: just learned in the comments that I got this wrong--it's CBC/CENTIMES. No wonder I had to go through "gourde" to find it --treedweller]
Hi, all. treedweller here, filling in for Rex while he tries to improve his world puzzle ranking. I so wanted to say, "Ha, just kidding about not being able to finish, this was a breeze," but here you have the sum total of my efforts before I resorted to google. Not quite "two right answers and a couple of bad guesses," but almost. I didn't even know how to choose a Word of the Day, since it seems like half the grid was unfamiliar to me. I went with the currency, since we may as well all resign ourselves to learning All The Currencies Of The World (Past And Present). As is often the case, once things started to fall, I realized I should have known a few things and could have figured out a few more, but I'm on a deadline here. Regardless, I have doubts as to whether I could have finished this on my own, no matter how many days I carried it around with me to waiting rooms and bank lines. I chose to rate it Medium-challenging because it was extremely challenging to me, but that's a normal Saturday, so I figure it's maybe medium for those who routinely finish the hard ones. I just hope not to hear "Easy, Easy, Easy" in the comments today.
Google got me the NE, since I was able to find ROSSETTI (14D: "Beata Beatrix" painter) and SENTIMES. The former revealed our old friend, BRIAN ENO (16A: Co-composer of the "Prophecy Theme" in "Dune"), who usually just gets his last name into the grid. He was well disguised today, but when I saw that terminal "O" I had him. I still needed the obscure (to me) currency to finish the corner, but things were starting to roll and I was feeling pretty good. And . . . nothing. Back to google, where I learned about 27D: Home of the annual Gathering of the Nations powwow, the world's largest celebration of Native American Culture, ALBUQUERQUE. Man, just typing out that clue was an ordeal. Is there anyone who didn't get the answer from the first half, but knew it once they got past the comma? I think not. Hello, King Olaf.
Then I immersed myself for the first time in Dancing With the Stars, where I learned there were not one, not two, but three possible answers to 37A: Olympic Gold Medalist who was a "Dancing With the Stars" champion. First hit was Shawn Johnson, who didn't fit. A little farther down was Anton Apolo Ohno, who seemed very puzzleworthy but also did not fit. I went to the Official Site, where you should not go if you don't like auto-playing ads and videos to blare out of your computer unexpectedly. I learned that a new season is upon us, but still could not find KRISTI YAMAGUCHI. She finally turned up when I clicked through google to a site by a fan of the show.
Even with two Q's and a K, I still didn't gain much traction. I was up to this:
Thank God for Orange, who already had the solution and her obscenely fast time posted by the time I finally learned to spell ROSSETTI. Here's the correct answer:
I'll spare you the play-by-play of my stealing of answers, but here's a few
- 19A: Muffed on the green (foozled) -- I almost made this one Word of the Day, but decided I was not willing to admit it even is a word.
- 66A: Was close to failure (tottered) -- Teetered gave me a little traction in the SW, but I had to steal the OT to finish that corner.
- 1A: Spook's break-in (bag job) -- Okay, this a nice phrase that sounds real, I just Did Not Know It.
- 12D: One who may get dispossessed? (demoniac) -- who knew? Not me.
- 63A: Plumlike fruit (loquat) -- I can't pass a chance to mention the tree. I got it easily once I googled ALBUQUERQUE.
- 4D: Swingers' get-together? (jazz session) -- As you can see above, I had SESSION pretty early, and considered JAZZ, but I couldn't figure out any crosses to work with the Z's. Okay, I've resisted it long enough, FOOZLED??!! That sounds like what Ms. Tracy did to me with this puzzle. I never had a chance in the NE. It didn't help that I had "enmire" (which I assume I just made up, since google returns no definitions) instead of
- 1D: Cause to be Stuck (baffle) -- Come to think of it, that's really what Ms. Tracy did to me today. But it was a really nice grid, with only MTGES (40D: You can get them on the house: Abbr.) making me wince.
treedweller (writing from San Diego)