Picasso's private muse / SAT 5-1-10 / Populist power couple of 1940s-'50s / Ornamental pond fish / Wimbledon's borough / Adversary of Rocky
Saturday, May 1, 2010
The ide (also id) or orfe, Leuciscus idus, is a freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae found across northern Europe and Asia. It occurs in larger rivers, ponds, and lakes, typically in schools. The name is from Swedish id, originally referring to its bright color (compare the German dialect word aitel 'a kind of bright fish' and Old High German eit 'funeral pyre, fire'). (wikipedia)
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This puzzle seemed reasonably easy, except for the NE, which was a kind of nightmare. Not just tough for me, but annoying tough, in that it was overwhelming proper nouns. Just look at the Acrosses. Name over name over name over name over whatever ORFE is over really awkward airport name (Airport alternative to JFK or LGA => EWR) over name over name over name over RESOD (45A: Fix, as some bald spots). 3/5 of the Downs are names as well. I love names, but come on. Balance. Also, for reasons I'm having trouble articulating, MAN BREASTS really bothered me (12D: Unmacho features) — the cluing seemed kind of offensive. I'm just trying to think of a comparative clue for women and how that would go over. [Unfeminine features]=>SAGGING TITS. I don't think so. Cluing seems oddly mean. Also, "man boobs" outdraws "man breasts," Google-wise, by a Huge margin. I did not even know MAN BREASTS was a real phrase. Rest of the puzzle seemed fine. I had AMEN, SISTER for AMEN TO THAT (26D: Response of approval), but other than that, no serious hangups.
Started in the NW and got those little Downs easily enough, but didn't know what followed EMPTY in EMPTY SUIT (1A: Good-for-nothing), and couldn't see GUARANTEE at all with just GUA-A---- sitting there. GUACAMOLE? Still not sure I understand TARS (4D: Hold hands?). Is a hold a place on a ship, and TARS are hands, or sailors, as in "all hands on deck"? Definitely didn't know the 80-year-old Triple Crown winner Earl SANDE, but, besides ORFE, I think that's the only answer in the puzzle I flat out didn't know. I should say, however, that the *only* reason I know Pou STO (42A: Pou ___ (vantage point)) is crosswords. It's a godawful piece of crosswordese. But today, that sort of thing was a rarity, so no complaints.
- 15A: Light seeker's question ("GOT A MATCH?") — In what decade? "GOT A LIGHT?" seems the more common phrase, though I liked this answer fine.
- 16A: Eponym of an annual award for best left-handed pitcher (SPAHN) — I was lucky enough to get "P" and "H" as my crosses. Not sure I would have uncovered it easily otherwise.
- 32A: Code broken by Joe Valachi (OMERTA) — "Code" and "Valachi" told me OMERTA (code of silence among mafia, word I learned from crosswords)
- 34A: Picasso's "private muse" (DORA MAAR) — Again, learned from crosswords. Couldn't remember last name exactly, though (MAHR?), which added to my NE struggles.
- 38A: Adversary of Rocky (NATASHA)— the Squirrel, not the boxer.
- 41A: Wimbledon's borough (MERTON) — uh, ok, if you say so ...
- 43A: He said "Most editors are failed writers - but so are most writers" (ELIOT) — Wanted WILDE at first.
- 52A: Beggar in Sir Walter Scott's "The Antiquary" (EDIE) — uh, ok, if you say so. I don't even recognize that as a Scott title, so the character? No way.
- 2D: Sourpuss's look (MOUE) — word I never see outside of crosswords. 75% vowels = very useful.
- 9D: Its news network won a 2008 Peabody Award ("THE ONION") — they also have a great crossword puzzle, ed. Ben Tausig.
- 33d. Botanical casings (ARILS) — more mainstream crosswordese. I *still* get ARIL and ANIL confused (the latter being a blue dye)
- 47D: "South Park" parka wearer (KENNY) — "Oh my God, they killed KENNY!" "You bastards!" — he used to die in every episode.
- 55D: Ciliary body locale (UVEA) — for the last time today, I say ... uh, ok, if you say so. No idea.
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