TV's Ramsey / SAT 1-9-10 / Canterbury Tales charlatan / Collectible card creatures / E.T. follower / Its logo is rubber band ball
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Constructor: Chuck Deodene
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: DEVI (56D: Supreme Hindu goddess) —
Devi (Devanagari: देवी) is the Sanskrit word for Goddess, used mostly in Hinduism. Devi is synonymous with Shakti, the female aspect of the divine, as conceptualized by the Shakta tradition of Hinduism. She is the female counterpart without whom the male aspect, which represents consciousness or discrimination, remains impotent and void. Goddess worship is an integral part of Hinduism. // Devi is, quintessentially, the core form of every Hindu Goddess. As the female manifestation of the supreme lord, she is also called Prakriti, as she balances out the male aspect of the divine addressed Purusha. (wikipedia)
Another easy puzzle. Weird to have such brutality on Wednesday and Thursday, and then such light playfulness the next two days. Actually, if you didn't know PIERRE DE RONSARD, then yesterday wasn't so light, but today, there really isn't any one answer that should have held anyone back. Clues were typically misdirective, but in ways that seemed very gettable. I started this puzzle in weird fashion — by going from top to bottom with interconnected answers inside the first couple of minutes. ANNE (4D: Last of the Stuarts) to LONER (19A: Antisocial type) to RETRO (5D: In once more) ... reboot ... TRE (25D: 26-Across and 26-Across and 26-Across) (via UNO — 26A: Not quite none, in Naples) to OPTICAL (23A: Like some thin fibers) to ARSON (29A: Reason for a lighter conviction?) to PARDONER to NAVEL (46A: Popular piercing site) to VIE FOR (47D: Try to win). I then stared at the grid, thinking "well, you don't see that very often on a Saturday."
With the middle largely taken care of, I had nice routes in to each corner ... one of which, I figured, would give me fits. But (after a few moments pondering) DIPLOMAT (20A: Type with finesse) went in and handed me the NE. HELIPAD (41A: Where some touchdowns are made) and TREE-LINED (64A: Like many avenues) took care of the SE. SWALLOW (37A: Get down) and THE FORCE (53A: It has a dark side, in sci-fi) got me into the SW, and (finally) MOUNTIE uncovered U.S. *M*ARSHAL (1A: Fugitive-hunting Fed) , and the NW fell. Actually, I think the last letter I put in was somewhere in the SW, so maybe things didn't happen in that order. But they happened. Quickly. I'd be surprised if today's puzzle wasn't significantly easier than yesterday's for most people.
I was helped by some old (old!) crossword friends. I once got punched in the face by HEC Ramsey, but he and I are cool now, so that answer was a gimme (41D: TV's "___ Ramsey"). I spent the better part of a decade (the '90s) studying Middle English literature, and Chaucer in particular, so I consider the PARDONER an old friend (24D: "The Canterbury Tales" charlatan). Though the only Stones answer that was coming to mind at first for 7D: With 63-Across, 1972 Rolling Stones "greatest hits" album was "Rocks Off" (opening song on "Exile on Main Street"), I eventually got from there to "HOT / ROCKS." I balked at it at first, since I knew it was the title a. of a Donald Westlake and subsequent movie ("The Hot Rock"), and b. of an album by the rock band Sleater-Kinney (also, "The Hot Rock"). Again, time in grad school made Derek WALCOTT no problem (40D: Literature Nobelist Derek). And, staying with the '90s, I listened to plenty of Cranberries songs in my day, so "ODE TO My Family" was a piece of cake (55A: "___ My Family" (Cranberries song)).
I think my favorite answers of the day is POKEMON, as as plural! (42D: Collectible card creatures). I believe they began as a '90s phenomenon as well. My abhorrence of that decade is well known, but apparently I remember it So well that if you build a puzzle out of the remains of that decade, I will be able to beat it into bloody submission, no problem. Familiarity breeds contempt, I guess.
- 15A: "E.T." follower ("phone home") — my favorite clue of the day. Thought maybe SETI, but too short.
- 18A: Plume hunter's prey (egret) — where was I reading about some island in the Atlantic that some president (Jackson?) made into a sanctuary because birds were being hunted for their plumage, which was being used in lady's hats???
- 30A: Like many smoothies (glib) — good misdirection. Couldn't get into the NE that way and had to go via DIPLOMAT. Had the "G" here and could think of "smoothies" only as drinks: "GOOD? GRAY?"
- 58A: Its logo is a rubber-band ball (Office Max) — didn't know it, but a few crosses up front made it obvious.
- 2D: Pennsylvania Dutch pie (shoo fly) — a molasses pie I've never had. I know a child's song, or part of one, that has "SHOO FLY, don't bother me" in it. Then there's this:
- 30D: Percival caught sight of it (grail) — gimme that. Very medieval puzzle today, with GRAIL and the PARDONER and AMADIS (8D: Knight of medieval literature) and THE FORCE ... the Jedi are knights, after all.
- 32D: Permian Basin yield (oil) — if it's a "basin" and it's "yielding" something ... come on.
- 38D: Bronze Star recipient (war hero) — too many war decorations for me to keep track of. Had most of the crosses by the time I saw this, so it was No Problem.
- 54D: 1972 A.L. Rookie of the Year (Fisk) — as in Carlton, the Doorman ... er, catcher. Hitter of one of the most famous home runs in MLB history.
- 60D: Memorable 2008 Gulf hurricane (Ike) — not memorable to me. Guess you had to be there. Still, easy to get with a "K" in place.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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