Old Navy libation / MON 2-8-10 / Mass market fragrance maker / Prefix with iliac / Outerwear for operagoer
Monday, February 8, 2010
Constructor: Paula Gamache
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: HOT (38A: Word describing the answer to each of the starred clues) — five HOT things, with HOT having a different meaning in each instance.
Word of the Day: PALOMAR Observatory (49A: Mount ___, California observatory site) —
Palomar Observatory, at approximately 5,570 ft elevation, is a privately owned observatory located in San Diego County, California, 90 miles (145 km) southeast of Pasadena's Mount Wilson Observatory, in the Palomar Mountain Range. It is owned and operated by the California Institute of Technology. (wikipedia)
Quick write-up. I've got the Super Bowl on pause downstairs. Colts were up 10-0 last I checked. Manning looks ruthless. Figured I could finish the puzzle and the write-up before the Saints had a chance to come back (I accomplished this, but now it's late in the game, and the Saints actually are up ... and now they're way up ... and now they've won). I came out of this puzzle with a solid Tuesday time. Some missteps, and some generally tougher-than-normal cluing slowed me down. Quick scan of the first times in to the NYT website show below avg. times there as well. Main problem was trying to sneak down into the W from the NW. No way. Didn't really look at the BOILING WATER clue, but tried the clue at 32A: Accepted, as a proposal), and didn't get anything right away, even with the -ED TO in place. Went into the W then to build from scratch (always a bad idea), and just fumbled around. Came out w/ only GROG in place (37A: Old Navy libation) — first thought: "they serve drinks at Old Navy now?"
Went back to the NNE and immediately dropped in COCO where COTY was supposed to go (21D: Mass-market fragrance maker). That really held things up. Wanted FANTA where FRESCA was (26D: Citrus soft drink introduced in the 1960s). Later on I had to deal with my weak musical term knowledge (LEGATO — 30D: Smooth, in music) and my contemptuous disbelief that LGTH was an acceptable answer (24D: Width's opposite: Abbr.). See also the icky ISLED (46D: Stranded in the middle of the ocean, say). Last but not least, DEAR ME just didn't register at all (56A: "But what to do!?"). So, a very clunky solving experience. Felt lucky to come in only 30 seconds off my normal Monday time. Theme is clever. Not that fond of the rest of it.
- 9A: *With 68-Across, lingerie model's asset (sexy / body)
- 16A: *It may end up in a chop shop (stolen car)
- 27A: *What you drop uncooked spaghetti or a tea bag into (boiling water)
- 47A: *Bloody Mary seasoner (Tabasco sauce)
- 63A: *Supplier of electricity to subway trains (third rail)
I forgot to mention LONDRES as part of the slowage today (45D: Capital of England, to Parisians). Now, I should have known this, but I think I got a bit stunned that this was deemed Monday material. Then I went and mysteriously put in STL for 52A: Where the Blues Brothers got their start, familiarly (SNL), which put a "T" where the "N" in LONDRES should have been.
- 15A: Prefix with iliac (sacro-) – because the base of your spine is sacred.
- 18A: Outerwear for an operagoer (cloak) — yes, for thin-mustached operagoer in 1930s London, sure. He'll be with the dowager in the stole and lorgnettes.
- 59D: Cursor movers (mice) — in a sure sign that my brain had given up, it took til well after I had -ICE for me to see this. Having already seen DICE in the grid (20A: Equipment in craps) made my brain just stick on that word like a broken record.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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