Receptacle for Voldemort's soul in Harry Potter / WED 4-14-10 / Book that spans 2369 years / Carmaker name means arise out of Asia / Big busting tools
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Constructor: Jonah Kagan
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: EARTH Day? ... because that's when you turn your HEART to the EARTH? ... even though EARTH Day is Apr. 22? ... — circled squares in first theme answer spell out HEART, and in each subsequent answer the last letter in the string is moved to the front of the sequence, ending with circles spelling out EARTH. Circled letter strings are all symmetrical.
Word of the Day: ELIAS Canetti (14A: English novelist Canetti who wrote "Crowds and Power") —
Elias Canetti (Bulgarian: Елиас Канети; 25 July 1905–14 August 1994) was a Bulgarian-born novelist and non-fiction writer of Sephardi Jewish ancestry who wrote in German. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1981. // In 1981, Canetti won the Nobel Prize in Literature "for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power". He is known chiefly for his novel Auto-da-Fé (Die Blendung), and for Crowds and Power, a study of crowd behaviour as it manifests itself in human activities ranging from mob violence to religious congregations.(wikipedia)
Conceptually, this theme is kinda boring — moving common letters around inside circles blah blah blah — and I don't really understand what the hook is — you go HEART to EARTH, but why? And why are HEART and EARTH appearing as the actual words HEART and EARTH and not buried inside different words? Who knows? The good thing is, the theme answers are mostly cool, and the grid itself is solid and even lovely in parts. Well, the SW corner is kinda blah, but the SE is gorgeous, and the others are just fine. Good to see HORCRUX (an NYT first) (12D: Receptacle for Voldemort's soul in Harry Potter) come out to play. That'll be a cinch for some (me) and a *&#ch for others. I don't like the "in Harry Potter" part of the clue. "Harry Potter" is not a title, it's a character. "In the Harry Potter series" would have been more appropriate. Had a huge WTF moment with ELIAS, and really, really dislike PRED (58A: Sentence segment: Abbr.), but other than that, the puzzle was very doable, and mostly enjoyable.
- 17A: Dear (NEAR TO ONE'S HEART) — I think this was an answer in a very recent LAT puzzle. Some puzzle I just did, anyway. Weird.
- 23A: What children should be, so the saying goes (SEEN BUT NOT HEARD) — I had "SEEN AND NOT HEARD" at first.
- 35A: Home of the Ivy League (NORTHEAST)
- 52A: It's a relief in Athens (PARTHENON FRIEZE) — this is by far the weirdest answer. Feels very forced. But then again, it's got FRIEZE in it, which adds needed 'zazz to the grid.
- 59A: Likely to change everything (EARTH-SHATTERING)
- 22A: Rock band with a lightning bolt in its name (AC/DC) — AC/DC needs some new clues. These old ones are getting worn thin.
- 1D: Book that spans 2,369 years (GENESIS) — Dang, that's a lot of years. Just for GENESIS??? I guess more time passed between Eden and Abraham than I imagined.
- 44D: Place to see a flying camel (ICE RINK) — a nice antidote to yesterday's tired ICEAXE. Ice skating apparently has a "flying camel" and a "toe loop," but I wouldn't recommend combining them. If you google [flying camel], the first definition you get is from the Urban Dictionary and has *nothing* to do with skating.
- 46D: Big busting tools (SLEDGES) — this one took me a fair number of crosses to get. I thought maybe the clue was going after some kind of tool that narcs use.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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