Kreplach cousin —SAT 5-8-10— Purina partner replaced by Nestle / Roadster debuted 1989 / Self-titled platinum album 1988 / Fuel derivable from biomass
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Butanol or butyl alcohol can refer to any of the four isomeric alcohols of formula C4H9OH // Butanol may be used as a fuel in an internal combustion engine. Because its longer hydrocarbon chain causes it to be fairly non-polar, it is more similar to gasoline than it is to ethanol. Butanol has been demonstrated to work in vehicles designed for use with gasoline without modification. It can be produced from biomass (as "biobutanol") as well as fossil fuels (as "petrobutanol"); but biobutanol and petrobutanol have the same chemical properties. (wikipedia)
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Pretty low word count, creating lots of open space, much of which was tough to get into. Long answers were kind of bland, but helpful, in that they were much easier to uncover than the shorter answers in the corners, and provided important access to said corners. I got stopped cold more than once in this puzzle, most profoundly in the NW, where CANNOLI for RAVIOLI (15A: Kreplach cousin) and, later, ALERO for MIATA (4D: Roadster that debuted in 1989) really held things up. Add to that my complete ignorance of LAHAINA (2D: Maui locale that was once the capital of the kingdom of Hawaii), and my complete underestimation of LITA Ford's popularity (23A: Self-titled platinum album of 1988), and I was toast. Worked way out of jam by tentatively guessing WARTY at 19A: Toadlike, and then using that to get CRAWLER (1D: Night ___). Went with AREAR OF (!?) instead of AHEAD OF at first (17A: Before), which resulted in something called BORY FAT as an answer to 5D: With 20-Across, natural energy source. I was almost willing to believe that, but then I caught LARAINA out of the corner of my eye, and *knew* that was wrong — no "R" in Hawaiian. Got to AHEAD OF shortly thereafter — giving me the BODY FAT I was looking for earlier. Though I'm talking about this section first, it was the next-to-last one I filled in.
Started this thing with SER. (50A: Words from M.L.K. Jr.), which led directly to AEROSPACE (21D: One industry above the rest?). Not sure why that was so obvious, but it was. AEROSPACE gave me LACED (46A: Like some punches), and from there I knew I was dealing with some kind of MATERIAL at 8D: Books and such. I opted for PRINTED MATERIAL, which worked OK until I started getting some nutty letter combos at 8A: Chuck Yeager, e.g., in brief. Is there any way that answer could start "PWI..." Probably not. Easy matter of changing PRINTED to the correct WRITTEN, and WWII ACE for the Yaeger clue. RALSTON (16A: Purina partner replaced by Nestlé) gave me access to the NE, which I finished off pretty quickly. ICELAND was supereasy once the "I" was in place (18A: Home of the Great Geysir).
Never heard of BUTANOL and did Not enjoy the clue on TRANSMUTE (34A: Make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, e.g.?), but I worked it out in the middle pretty easily anyway. From there I went into the SW, which was my fastest section by far. I might even have dropped all those longer Downs in with nothing more than their first letters in place. No idea who this EBB person is (53D: "Chicago" lyricist), but, weirdly, I'd heard the name, so actually wrote in EBB off just the first "B."
Went from SW to NW (see above), and then finished it off in the SE, where, despite having the letters from the 15s in the north and east parts of that section, and despite having HOYT (51D: Wilhelm of Cooperstown) and HAD IT (51A: "I've ___!") in the grid as gimmes, I struggled. Finally chose the right org. at 55D: Org. in "The Sting" (FBI) which started to open things up. The real bear down here is the deliberately vicious clue at 59A: Supply. It's an adverb, cluing LITHELY. That "Y" was, I think, the last thing I put in the grid.
- 24A: Red flannel hash ingredients (BEETS) — sounds good. I kept guessing and unguessing BEETS until it became undeniable.
- 28A: Like Miró's "The Tilled Field" (SURREAL) — wanted DADAIST, or something -IST, at any rate. Wrote in the -IST. Then wrote in TURKS at 29D: Neighbors of Belarusians (LETTS). TURKS turns out to be quite wrong — I was off by a factor of THE UKRAINE.
- 6D: Grp. with the 1977 album "Out of the Blue" (ELO) — I assume everyone just filled this in instantly. Even if you don't know the album, come on. Three letters ... right time period. It's a very good / safe bet. I guess it could have been BTO, but that seems rather unlikely.
- 7D: What food courts aim to satisfy (DIFFERING TASTES) — Usually not "differing" enough for my tastes. If all food courts had a Chipotle, I would be happy. Usually, I'm just hungry. I wanted some kind of APPETITE here.
- 38D: Colts' former home (RCA DOME) — jeez louise, when BALTIMORE wouldn't fit I had no idea what to do. I don't think I knew the RCA DOME was "former." Where the hell do they play now? Aha, Lucas Oil Stadium. As of Aug. 2008.
- 47D: Dame of whodunits (MARSH) — Wanted CHRISTIE. Then MARPLE (!?). Ngaio MARSH was a prolific and popular mystery writer of the mid-20th century. Kiwi by birth.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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[Look how ridiculously happy I am to be judging crossword tournament entries using those giant HP touchscreens. Tyler is tweeting / checking Braves score. Folks behind us are behaving like grown-ups.]