Object of Teddy Roosevelt's busting / TUE 1-26-10 / What bronzers simulate / Jill's portrayer Charlie's Angels
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Constructor: Paula Gamache
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "KEEP" (57D: Hang on to ... or a word that can precede either half of the answer to each starred clue)
Word of the Day: SALINAS Valley (10D: California's __ Valley, known as "America's salad bowl") —
The Salinas Valley is the Central Coast region of California, USA that lies along the Salinas River between the Gabilan Range and the Santa Lucia Range. It encompasses parts of Monterey County. [...] Agriculture dominates the economy of the valley. In particular, a large majority of the salad greens consumed in the U.S. are grown within this region. Strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, and spinach are the dominant crops in the valley. Other crops include broccoli, cauliflower, wine grapes, celery, and spinach. Due to the intensity of local agriculture the area has earned itself the nickname, "America's Salad Bowl." [...] The Salinas Valley was the home of the Native American people today known as the Ohlone (Rumsen and Chalon), Salinan, and Esselen. The City of Salinas was founded after Mexico seceded from Spain in 1822 and began granting rancho lands. Named for a nearby salt marsh, Salinas became the seat of Monterey County in 1872 and incorporated in 1874. The Salinas Valley is the setting for several John Steinbeck stories, including East of Eden, Of Mice and Men, and Grapes of Wrath. // Promoters call the Salinas Valley "The Salad Bowl of the World" for the production of lettuce, broccoli, peppers and numerous other crops. The climate is also ideal for the floral industry and grape vineyards planted by world-famous vintners. (wikipedia)
This was a palate cleanser. Fine, but bland. PACE OFF felt slightly wonky to me, but I can't really explain why. Maybe the fact that I can't imagine saying it, and that it sounds a lot like "FACE OFF," is throwing me ... off. Anyway, there are few points of interest today. Theme answers are mostly forgettable, apparently unrelated phrases whose thematic unity you discover once you get to the bottom right. As revelations go, it's not much of one. Stuff I enjoyed most in the grid = NEATNIK (56A: Slob's opposite) (a kooky word I got off the initial "N") and SALINAS, but only because I grew up in California, my parents live near there, and I can't remember seeing that name in puzzles before (though surely I have — those letters are just too common). This might have been my fastest Tuesday ever. Certainly my fastest of the new year (by a full minute). Told myself that (since I'm solving around 5 a.m.) I should just take it easy, don't try to rush. Just solve. It's too early to rush. And yet I was done in the low 3's. Hesitated once at DICE (41A: Backgammon pair) — had the "DI-" and thought "??" and put an "S" at the end and moved on — and again at "LARS" (63A: "___ and the Real Girl" (2007 film)), which I've never ever ever heard of. That hiccup was the only real resistance the puzzle offered, and it wasn't much. Clues were very straightforward. The end.
- 17A: *Mark the transition from an old year to the new, maybe (count down)
- 11D: *Period of contemplation (quiet time)
- 37A: *Measure with strides (pace off)
- 33D: *Reverse a position (back track)
- 60A: *New neighbors event (open house)
- 1A: This plus that (both) — OK, I hesitated here too. "... THOSE?"
- 19A: Restaurant owner in an Arlo Guthrie song (Alice) — saw "Alice's Restaurant" recently. Odd and depressing and kind of aimless. Hard to believe same guy directed "Bonnie and Clyde."
- 51A: Neighbor of Macedonia and Montenegro (Serbia) — part of the world where my geography is most hazy, but I had S...IA before ever seeing the clue, so no problem.
- 3D: Object of Teddy Roosevelt's "busting" (trust) — also, bronco, but that's another story...
- 4D: Millennium Falcon pilot in "Star Wars" (Han Solo) — his crossword cred is very high. His name, front and back, is very grid-friendly, and he can be used as a clue for LEIA (as he was ... Sunday, I think). Here's part 3 of the 7-part "Phantom Menace" review:
- 8D: What bronzers simulate (tans) — another hesitation I forgot about. "Bronzers" = ... people who bronze things? People who win bronze medals? Forgot "bronzer" was a skin application.
- 22D: Name widely avoided in Germany (Adolf) — as opposed to the rest of the world, where it remains tremendously popular.
- 26D: "Death Be Not Proud" poet (Donne) — New semester starts for me today. My17th-century literature class will eventually be reading this and a mountain of other DONNE poems. Because he is great.
- 39D: Jill's portrayer on "Charlie's Angels" (Farrah) — her (famous) poster hung on my step-brother's wall when I was growing up. That is how I picture her whenever I see her name. Not a bad way to be remembered, I guess.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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