Musician who was trailblazing Rastafarian / FRI 1-22-10 / Nickname pioneering jazz piano / Class record label for Bee Gees Cream
Friday, January 22, 2010
Constructor: Natan Last
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: Vint CERF (51D: Vint ___, the Father [not to be confused with FATHA (43A: Nickname in pioneering jazz piano)] of the Internet) —
Vinton Gray "Vint" Cerf (pronounced /ˈsɜrf/; born June 23, 1943) is an American computer scientist who is the "person most often called 'the father of the Internet'." His contributions have been recognized repeatedly, with honorary degrees, and awards that include the National Medal of Technology, the Turing Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.// In the early days, Cerf was a program manager for the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funding various groups to develop TCP/IP technology. When the Internet began to transition to a commercial opportunity, Cerf moved to MCI where he was instrumental in the development of the first commercial email system (MCI Mail) connected to the Internet. [...] Cerf has worked for Google as its Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist since September 2005. In this function he has become well known for his predictions on how technology will affect future society, encompassing such areas as artificial intelligence, environmentalism, the advent of IPv6 and the transformation of the television industry and its delivery model.
A FRUITy (3 answers), Italian (6 answers!) puzzle that I enjoyed very much. There are as many "O"s in this puzzle as there are "E"s. I don't think you see that very often, though it's probably not very often you see OODLES OF NOODLES (36A: Ramen brand), FOOTLOOSE (39A: Free), and SOTTO VOCE (49A: Hushed) in the same grid. Overall, this was fresh and entertaining. A tad on the light side, difficulty-wise, but maybe if FATHA weren't a familiar face by now, that wouldn't have been true. At any rate, when NED FLANDERS is your exclamation point answer (60A: Well-known TV evangelical), you'd have to trash the rest of your puzzle for me not to like it. That short stack in the SE is really elegant, and its counterpart in the NW ain't bad either.
Cluing in the NW felt hard, but I put in the "S" from WATTS (1D: There are 746 in a single horsepower), which gave me SRS. (22A: Matching ring recipients), which gave me ABHOR, then TOSH, then WATTS, then ABRACADABRA ... and that go things rolling. Managed to throw ASTI, ITALY (which looks insane) across to the east coast (20A: European wine center), and worked that area, but didn't trust DONATELLO and couldn't get OPALESCES at first (13D: Is like a moonstone), so abandoned things for the west, where I'd already scrawled in a sad, lonely pair of answers: -ERN (26A: Follower of directions) and ELLIOTT (26D: E.T.'s pal). From there I got FRUIT (38A: It's sometimes forbidden) — a key cross-referenced answer in this puzzle — and SOFA (31D: Common crash site?). Noodled around in the east again until I had NOODLES, but still couldn't see the answer until I got BEFOG (27D: Opposite of clarify), which gave me the "F" in what I assumed was "OF," so "... OF NOODLES" ... ONE CUP OF NOODLES? No, OODLES OF NOODLES! Now it was all downhill.
As I said above, I might have crashed and burned a bit if I hadn't seen FATHA several times before (a very high-end piece of crosswordese — the nickname of pianist Earl Hines) (43A: Nickname in pioneering jazz piano), because I sure couldn't remember the "H" cross HOGAN (44D: Navajo home), though I'm sure I've seen it before. Once through there, I got to the SW, which is really custom-made for me — a member of GENERATION X (54A: So-called "baby busters") who listened to "AMERICAN PIE" (58A: Song that mentions "the Father [not the FATHA] Son and the Holy Ghost") a ton as a kid (and watched the unrelated movie as an adult) and can tell you more about NED FLANDERS than you'd ever want to know.
- 1A: Pad producers (water lilies) — started thinking of ... well, different pads, including but not limited to, maxi pads, apartments, notepads, and possibly tablet-like computers like the Newton only from this century.
- 35A: Longtime name in auto parts (Delco) — why do I think DELCO should be preceded by "AC?" Ah, because that's its current name: ACDelco: "The "AC" often seen in front of the name are the initials of Albert Champion, a pioneer in the development of the spark plug. He made the change during his tenure at General Motors, after they took over Delco." (wikipedia)
- 40A: Classic record label for the Bee Gees and Cream (Atco) — Feel like I've been stumped by this before. Founded in 1955 as a division of (surprise) Atlantic Records.
- 41A: M. in Milan (Sig.) — i.e. "SIGnor"
- 46A: "Grey's Anatomy" hookups (IVs) — never seen an episode, and have absolutely no desire to start. Looks like someone crossbred early "E.R." with one of your lesser soap operas. Pass.
- 10D: Work that marked the start of musical Romanticism ("Eroica") — Beethoven's Third, a very common (because 2/3 vowels) bit of crossword fill.
- 21D: Finely tempered blades (toledos) — not sure how / why I know this, but I got it with just a few crosses.
- 28D: The Ponte alle Grazie spans it (Arno) — one of six Italian answers: ARNO, SIG., DONATELLO, ASTI ITALY, SOTTO VOCE, MIO.
- 34D: First name in international diplomacy (Kofi) — This is a very un-Scrabbly puzzle, except, conspicuously, in the center, where K, F, and G are huddled together at the puzzle's core.
- 48D: Instruments in Ravel's "Boléro" (Saxes) — I don't remember these. Shouldn't there be something cuing the abbreviated form of SAXophonES?
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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