Former captial of Crete / THU 3-11-10 / * Savahl couture label / * Green 1987 LPGA Rookie of year / Rathskeller cooler
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Constructor: John Farmer
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Incantations — 3 theme answers are "Incantations" (i.e. "magic words") — then there's a note: "When this puzzle is finished, the six circled letters can be arranged to spell an answer to the catchphrase reading diagonally from upper left to lower right." Catchphrase = "SAY THE MAGIC WORD" / circled letters, rearranged, spell out "PLEASE"
Word of the Day: EMA Savahl (29D: ___ Savahl (couture label)) —
The Ema Savahl Couture was brought to life by owner/designer Ema Koja, who wanted to combine fashion and art without limitations. By utilizing a strong talent in color combination, patterns and fit, Ema has created a look that has been seen on fashionistas from coast to coast. Kelly Clarkson, Tyra Banks, Paris Hilton and Paula Abdul are just a few of the many Ema Savahl fans that have been spotted. // A former European professional volleyball player never could have expected that one day, she would win the break out award for best new fashion designer in Paris, 2000. Growing up in Albania, Ema was surrounded by her three aunts who worked as designers and tailors, instilling in her a love of fashion, and a keen sense of style. While living in Italy, Ema began to study pattern making and found that her talent for design could not be overlooked. After working with Blue Marina and PARAH, her instinctual talent propelled her to move to Miami where the idea to create the Ema Savahl Couture line became a reality. (from the "Bio" at the Official "Ema Savahl" website — honestly, I couldn't find any other source ...)
Hmmm. Honestly, I think the puzzle's trying to do too much, and half of it relates not at all to the solving experience — it's just a little extra message to find when you're done. I guess you could have used the note to help you get letters along the diagonal. I don't know — I didn't read the note. Anyway, circled letters (that aren't even in order) spelling out a word that needs the diagonal to be in any way relevant to the Actual Answers In The Grid (meat of any puzzle) ... it didn't wow me. I like the grid shape a lot, and I appreciate the construction in general, architecturally. But conceptually, it felt ragged. Like the puzzle was shouting "Look at me!" and when I did, it was twirling a baton while singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" and riding a bicycle, and doing all of it competently, which is something, but I kept thinking "I'd rather be watching reruns of 'Who's the Boss?' instead. Or maybe I could finish Season One of 'Mad Men,' finally. Or start 'The Wire.' Why haven't I even started 'The Wire' yet? Maybe if I put a Post-It on my computer I'll finally remember to Netflix it etc."
- 18A: Incantation #1 (HOCUS POCUS)
- 37A: Incantation #2 (ABRACADABRA)
- 57A: Incantation #3 (OPEN SESAME)
- 15A: ___ all-time high (AT AN) — wanted "ON AN" ... or "WE'RE AN" ...
- 43D: Rathskeller cooler (EIS) — German for "Ice"
- 47A: Carmaker since 1899 (OPEL) — along with OLIO and OTT and a few others, a very, very familiar answer.
- 48A: "Alphabet web," to Variety (ABC) — Few answers I dislike more than "Variety"-speak. Does anyone read "Variety" outside of L.A.?
- 51A: Former capital of Crete (CANEA) — pardon me if I've said this before in some puzzle I've forgotten, but "???" Wikipedia says — "Venetian" spelling!:
Chaniá (Greek: Χανιά, IPA: [xaˈɲa], also transliterated Chania, Hania, and Xania, older form Chanea and Venetian Canea, Ottoman Turkish خانيه Hanya) is the second largest city of Crete and the capital of the Chania Prefecture. It lies along the north coast of the island, about 70 km west of Rethymno and 145 km west of Heraklion.
- 64A: Dissertation defenses (ORALS) — ORALS come before your dissertation defense in my world. They are part of the field exams you have to pass before you go on to write your dissertation (passing them is what makes you "A.B.D.")
- 5D: Rejection interjection ("BAH!") — I had "D'OH!" D'OH!
- 8D: Coach Rockne (KNUTE) — just read a long, brilliant piece by William Gass on KNUT Hamsun in the latest ... one of those magazines I read. He briefly discusses "E" KNUTE v. non-"E" KNUT.
- 11D: Mrs. James A. Garfield (LUCRETIA) — had HMS Titanic, and thus LUCHETIA for a half second.
- 32D: Acronym associated with Oreos (NABISCO) — normally think of "acronyms" as *initials* spelling out a "word," but this counts too — short for National Biscuit Company.
- 41D: ___ dragon (largest living lizard) (KOMODO) — had KIMODO. It was all I could do not to write "KIMONO," frankly.
- 55D: Billet-doux writer (AMIE) — The puzzle is single-handedly keeping awareness of the word "billet-doux" alive. "When it's too late in the week for "love letter" ... try "billet-doux"!"
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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