Joe * weed herbal remedy / FRI 1-15-10 / Japanese code word meaning tiger / Singer of Leoncavallo aria Vesti la giubba
Friday, January 15, 2010
Orogeny (Greek for "mountain generating") refers to natural mountain building, and may be studied as (a) a tectonic structural event, (b) as a geographical event, and (c) a chronological event. Orogenic events (a) cause distinctive structural phenomena and related tectonic activity, (b) affect certain regions of rocks and crust, and (c) happen within a specific period of time. // Orogenic events occur solely as a result of plate tectonics; the problems which were investigated and resolved by the study of orogenesis contributed greatly to the theory of plate tectonics, coupled with study of flora and fauna, geography and mid ocean ridges in the 1950s and 1960s. (wikipedia)
A late-week toughie that felt slightly shaky and awfully dull. What were the seed answers here? I'm trying to imagine someone's starting this puzzle and thinking "man, I've really got to put this answer in there?" "OK I'LL BITE" (50A: "You're probably going to get me but go ahead") and BAT CLEANUP (43A: Be fourth in an order) are the only longish answers worth a hoot. Meanwhile, DIPS BACK is an abomination (11D: Returns, as from a high level). I assume this is supposed to refer to the Dow Jones or the price of gold or something, but ugh. Clunky. Really hard to imagine the phrase not followed by "below" or "into" — doesn't stand well on its own at all. The Downs in the SW are a bit better, but still rickety. NEW TAKE (33D: Fresh angle) and KNEAD IN (34D: Add gradually, as to dough) ... they pass, but they're just so lackluster. That's the word I want for 90+% of this puzzle. Very little that's terrible, but lots that feels marginal and make-shift, and almost nothing that sizzles. IN ARMOR (2D: Well-suited?)? Really? That's about as fresh as IN CLOTHES.
Had some trouble in the NW as I didn't know what "protists" were (19A: Microscopic protists). Got the GREEN part and then really *wanted* ALGAE, but couldn't get anything to confirm it. Also made a rookie mistake — wrote in ORS at 27A: Organ repair sites, for short (ERs), and then struggled to think of any school that began with "C" and ended with "O" (1D: School in Patriot League => COLGATE). Also didn't know TORA (24A: Japanese code word meaning "tiger"). First major sticking point was trying to move from NW to NE. Couldn't get the top halves of Any of those Downs, and so had to go the other direction, down counterclockwise to the SW and around from there. NE was the last to fall, and I eventually got it by guessing LAKES (9D: Great ___) (not the most creative clue), and then getting ROCK OPERA off the -KO- (18A: The Who's "Quadrophenia," e.g.). RATTLE for NETTLE (29D: Irk) caused a snag as I tried (near the end) to sneak into the NE from the bottom. Despite having seen it before, blanked on CANIO (high-end opera crosswordese) (26A: Singer of the Leoncavallo aria "Vesti la giubba"). Finally, I would call a Natick Principle violation on the PENHOLD (36D: Certain table tennis grip) / PYE (36A: Joe-___ weed (herbal remedy)) crossing, except I guessed correctly, so there must have been something inferrable about it ("you hold the paddle like a PEN ... maybe?"). Pretty bad.
- 16A: Constellation once called the Dragon's Wing (Ursa Minor) — when was that? Before Latin? Wikipedia claims: "In earliest times, Ursa Minor was named the Dragon's wing, and was considered a part of Draco. The dragon's wing as an asterism is now long forgotten." "Long forgotten" by everyone except whoever clued this, I guess.
- 6D: Bicep builders' accessories (curl bars) — aargh. Some kind of BARS. Once I went with ALGAE, I was able to guess CURL.
- 10D: Post-punk genre (emo) — for a while, the only answer I had in the NE.
- 14D: Stereotypical college drinker (frat boy) — normally, I think of "stereotypes" as at least slight inaccurate ...
- 31D: Food item once used as currency in Mongolia (black tea) — if nothing else, I get this interesting tidbit of trivia to take away today.
I was really hoping TKO would be in the puzzle today — a sentence you will likely never hear me utter again — so that I could play "Love TKO" as a tribute to the late, great Teddy Pendergrass, who died yesterday. But no TKO, so I'll play this, for no other reason than that it just makes me so damned happy.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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