Sacred Buddhist mountain / FRI 4-2-10 / 1905 revolt setting / Periods added to harmonize lunar solar calendars / Teetotaler's order
Friday, April 2, 2010
Mount Emei (Chinese: 峨嵋山; pinyin: Éméi Shān; Wade-Giles: O2-mei2 Shan1, literally towering Eyebrow Mountain) is a mountain in Sichuan province of Western China. Mount Emei is often written as 峨眉山 and occasionally 峩嵋山 or 峩眉山 but all three are translated as Mount Emei or Mount Emeishan. // This is the location of the first Buddhist temple built in China in the 1st century CE. The site has seventy-six Buddhist monasteries of the Ming and Qing period, most of them located near the mountain top. The monasteries demonstrate a flexible architectural style that adapts to the landscape. Some, such as the halls of Baoguosi, are built on terraces of varying levels, while others, including the structures of Leiyinsi, are on raised stilts. Here the fixed plans of Buddhist monasteries of earlier periods are modified or ignored in order to made full use of the natural scenery. // The Leshan Giant Buddha (simplified Chinese: 乐山大佛; traditional Chinese: 樂山大佛; pinyin: Lèshān Dàfó) was built during the Tang Dynasty (618–907). It is carved out of a cliff face that lies at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in the southern part of Sichuan province in China, near the city of Leshan. The stone sculpture faces Mount Emei, with the rivers flowing below his feet. It is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world and at the time of its construction was the tallest statue in the world. // The Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. It was not damaged by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. (wikipedia)
This started out easy and then turned. NW, piece of cake, helped along by intersecting longish crosswordese, ADAM'S ALE (15A: Teetotaler's order) and ODESSA (2D: 1905 revolt setting). The NE, however, did not want to play ball. I got HIE and then ... nothing. Came at it from underneath, but getting north of MOVES INTO proved tricky. OMEI!? Eeks. If I've seen this before, it's been a while. As you can see from the "Word of the Day" write-up, above, Mount EMEI appears to be the more accepted spelling, though I wouldn't have gotten that either. Finally came up with MIAMI as an "I"-ending city (11D: Home to Seaquarium and MetroZoo), which gave me the cleverly clued HUMANS (9A: Around-the-world race) and the OK IS IT OK? (16A: "Would you mind...?").
The SE was the real bear, though. RNASE is about the ugliest combo of letters I've ever seen in the grid. I sort of guessed it from the clue (33D: Biochemical enzyme, briefly), but only tentatively. Bigger problems with the mysterious BETTE Greene (49D: Greene who wrote "Summer of My German Soldier") and the out-of-my-knowledge-base EPACTS (43D: Periods added to harmonize the lunar and solar calendars). Scary. [Online treaties], that's how I would have clued EPACTS before today. Since I thought 49A: Cherry alternative was going for soda and not wood, BEECH was slow going. Might have put PEACH in there at some point. I had -ESTRIDE and still didn't know what to do at 59A: Spin out on wheels?. That clue is trying awfully hard to be cute. Makes me GNAR a little (34D: Growl). Speaking of GNAR ... KNORR (39D: Campbell's competitor). Don't see those together too often. Is that how you spell the possessive of "Campbell's?" Hmm (mmm, mmm), it seems that technically the name of the company is "Campbell." TV ads have been misleading me for decades.
It's hard to see what the seed answers were for this puzzle. Can't believe they were AEROPERU (35D: 1970s-'90s international carrier based in Lima) and USPOSTAGE (10D: It increased to 4 cents per oz. in 1958). Would have been nice if the difficulty level had been a little more consistent throughout the puzzle. I had very easy in the NW, easy in the SW, toughish in the NE, and quite tough in the SE. Easily half my time was spent in the region south of RNASE and east of EPACTS. I enjoyed it in parts, and I always like fighting through stuff I just don't know and ending up with a perfect grid anyway — confidence-booster. But without any real gold, the puzzle falls into the category of Just OK for me.
- 32A: King-high games (ECARTES) — more longish crosswordese for you. Learned this game from crosswords.
- 38A: One picking up a lot (NEATNIK) — this clue got me. I figured "lot" would be a parcel of land. I felt like every guy who has ever been on the other end of an Allen Iverson double crossover. I anticipate the zig but the zig was a feint and turns seamlessly into a zag. I fall on my ass. Clue hits a short jumper and laughs.
- 42A: Where la Croix-Rouge is headquartered (GENÈVE) — French in clue = French answer. Here, the French form of GENEVA.
- 47A: Rumble in the Jungle strategy (ROPE-A-DOPE) — a complete gimme. Also, the best thing in the grid by a mile.
- 52A: Important Indian (RANEE) — I had CHIEF :(
- 3D: Virgin Blue rival (QANTAS) — just what the grid needs: another airline.
- 7D: Big Italian daily (IL TEMPO) — confused it with the big French daily and wrote in IL MUNDO.
- 18D: Spillover stopper (LEVEE) — ideally, yes.
- 55D: MP3 player maker (RCA) — uh ... what? Really? What's it called? Aha, the LYRA. Well, there's a crossword answer for you. I guess someone had to compete with the ZUNE for distant second place in the MP3 player market.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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