2003 hip-hop hit by Fabolous / THU 3-4-10 / Fiesque composer / Eponymous scale developer / Villainous member of Serpent Society Marvel Comics
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Constructor: David J. Kahn
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: MIXED METAPHOR (14D: Answer to each of the six starred clues, literally) — six theme answers are anagrams ("mixes") of "METAPHOR"
Word of the Day: ASP (47A: Villainous member of the Serpent Society, in Marvel Comics) —
The Asp (Cleo Nefertiti) is a former supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe, most notably a member of the Serpent Society and B.A.D. Girls, Inc.. She was created by Mark Gruenwald and Paul Neary, and first appeared in Captain America vol. 1 #310. // Intelligent yet soft-spoken, Asp was born in Tanta, Egypt. It was there that she earned her reputation as an exotic dancer, being able to charm snakes with her sensual movements. Her ability to generate blasts of energy which cause paralysis intrigued the leader of the Serpent Society, Sidewinder, and he invited her to join the group. // Asp has the ability to generate an unique form of radiant bioelectricity that she can channel as lightning-like blasts. This energy does not affect inanimate matter, but upon striking a living being causes a rapid paralysis of the nervous system similar to the effect of the neurotoxic bite of certain venomous snakes. Her body constantly generates and stores this energy, but it can be temporarily expended after firing several "venom-bolts" in rapid succession, requiring her to recharge. Asp can accelerate the speed at which her body regenerates energy by engaging in physical activity that increases her heart rate and metabolism. (wikipedia)
I may be one of the few people on the planet who finished today's puzzle faster than he did yesterday's. Really enjoyed this one. I think I've seen the same theme concept somewhere before, but it probably wasn't executed this well, so it hardly matters. I was surprised to find the cluing so easy for a Thursday, especially since the gimmick wasn't that hard to uncover. I think the idea was that, since the theme answers aren't solid, self-standing phrases that one would normally find in a grid, they would be hard to get (this is somewhat true), so the crosses needed to be easy to uncover. Only the non-theme stuff was so easy that the central answer gave itself up right away, and then the theme answers weren't tough any more. In fact, once you know you are looking for an anagram of METAPHOR, things get real easy real quick.
The only place I can see someone's having trouble is in the SW, where non-football fans are not going to have a clue who Adam Vinatieri is — EX-PATRIOT (56A: Football's Adam Vinatieri, e.g.) is a tough answer to infer, and that section gets a whole lot tougher with the 2003 Fabolous song "IN TO YOU" in it (63A: 2003 hip-hop hit by Fabolous). I'm guessing there's *massive* overlap between "People who don't know much about football" and "People who don't know much about hip-hop." Throw in a bygone senator (EXON — 51D: Nebraska senator succeeded by Hagel), and some people are likely to have issues. Not me. My issues were in the SE, and they didn't last long. Didn't know LALO (though I'd heard of him) (55D: "Fiesque" composer), and had DRAMS (!?) for DOSES (64A: Pharmacy units). Also didn't read the NHL GOALIES (29D: Masked men with blades) clue very well and thought only of hockey players generally, not GOALIES in particular (overlooked the "masked" part of the clue, though ... those face guards players wear are *kind* of masks, aren't they?).
- 14A: *One who dislikes unruly hair? (MOP HATER)
- 21A: *Alternative way to get directions? (OTHER MAP)
- 34A: *Better, in hip-hop slang? (MORE PHAT)
- 38A: *Kitchen or living room? (HOME PART)
- 45A: *Via Veneto? (ROME PATH)
- 61A: *Be funnier than comedian Bill? (TOP MAHER)
- 15A: Spy satellite's acquisition (INTEL) — isn't that an abbrev.?
- 32A: "Molly ___," popular Irish song ("MALONE") — never heard of it. Apparently it's about a fishmonger who dies young, of fever. She may or may not have been a prostitute. Read more here.
- 35A: Spanish waves (OLAS) — whoa. Never seen that before. I thought maybe this had something to do with greeting "HOLA!" but ... it's literally the Spanish word for "waves."
- 4D: Retail giant founded by a 17-year-old (IKEA) — I had it at "Retail giant." 17?!
- 30D: Big blow? (GALE) — I had GUST.
- 36D: Devotional bench (PRIE-DIEU) — which gets a churchy vibe by crossing PEW (36A: Church perch), and an ironic vibe by crossing MAHER.
- 32D: Eponymous scale developer (MOHS) — I know everything I know about this guy and his scale from crosswords (he sometimes gets used in clues for TALC).
- 40D: 1972 treaty subj. (ABM) — I had IBM ... not because I thought the computer giant was involved, but because I thought I was abbreviating Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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