Explorer born 6/11/1910 / FRI 6-11-10 / Classic Bob Marley song that was 1973 hit for Johnny Nash / Easu vis-a-vis Jacob / Pharmaceutical liquids
Friday, June 11, 2010
Constructor: John Dunn
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: JACQUES COUSTEAU (31A: Explorer born 6/11/1910) — He was a MARINE ECOLOGIST (8D: 31-Across, for one); today is his birthday.
Word of the Day: RATITE (39D: Kiwi, e.g.) —
A ratite is any of a diverse group of large, flightless birds of Gondwanan origin, most of them now extinct. Unlike other flightless birds, the ratites have no keel on their sternum—hence the name from the Latin ratis (for raft). Without this to anchor their wing muscles, they could not fly even if they were to develop suitable wings. // Most parts of the former Gondwana have ratites, or did have until the fairly recent past. Their closest living relatives are the tinamous of South America. (wikipedia) [at least the word in the puzzle wasn't GONDWANAN]
Not much to this one. Guy was born 100 years ago. His name goes one direction, his job (or one way of phrasing his job) goes in the other. They cross in the middle. I would have called him a MARINE BIOLOGIST, but what do I know? Not a lot of interest in the rest of the grid. My favorite moment (in retrospect) was the very beginning, where I figured out the "Secret" of 1A: Secret target right away ... but drew the wrong conclusion. I submit that the "target" is not the UNDER ARM, as the answer turned out to be. What are you "targeting" when you put on Secret? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? That's right: BODY ODOR. Bam! What a great clue! And what a genius solver I am for nailing it right off the bat! Wait, how can Esau be anything that starts with a "Y"? ... dang! (ESAU ended up being ELDER — 4D: Esau vis-à-vis Jacob) I had to abandon the NW and go elsewhere for a real foothold. NW was actually the place I finished up — with the "I" in UPHILL (1D: Like an arduous battle) and ISLES (19A: 1980-83 Stanley Cup champs, in brief) being the last letter to go in. Current Stanley Cup champs, as of a day or so ago, are the Chicago Blackhawks (I know this from watching ESPN and from following (on Twitter) longtime crossword tournament champ Tyler Hinman — seriously he would not shut up! I mean, congratulations, T .... I call you "T" now, btw)
I don't think intersecting ONEs is a good idea (ONE IS crossing ONE TENTH). I don't think I mind those two answers sharing the grid, but a little space between them would be nice. Don't highlight the fact that you repeated a word.
Too bad there are no other theme answers... unless you count SAIL TO (I don't) or ISLES (nope).
Hardest answer for me to get: ONE TENTH (34D: Part given by the pious?). Hardest and bestest, because it essentially refers to a word that isn't there: TITHING. Clever. Hey, DIMES (20A: They have torches on their backs) are ONE TENTH a dollar. Nice coincidence. I also liked the clue on THANK YOU (14D: Phrase an overseas traveler should know how to translate), mainly because it was mysterious, and then, when I got it, it seemed obvious. Part of the reason it may have seemed mysterious is that I had HURRAY instead of HURRAH at first (16A: Exclamation of joy), and thought the phrase for an overseas traveler was actually going to be in a foreign language: "TYAN..." "Hmm, not Maori. Not Hawaiian. WTHell?"
Then, of course, there's this:
[53A: Classic Bob Marley song that was a 1973 hit for Johnny Nash]
I think I will go to my grave confusing SARATOGA and SARASOTA (13D: Site of Florida's first golf course), despite the fact that I live in the state where one of them is (I already forget which one). Melvin MORA (47D: Third baseman and two-time All-Star Melvin ___) is one of a handful of MORAs (MORAE?) one might see in the grid — all of them sports-related (the other two I know of are both NFL coaches named Jim). Whoa, Melvin MORA is a Colorado ROCKIE (ROCKY?) now!? Wow, I missed that one. I've still got him playing third for the (lowly) O's. I also had AQUAS as AQUAE (seemed righter—29D: Pharmaceutical liquids). And finished the puzzle that way. Only in the process of marking it up did I notice the unfathomable answer (TIAE) that it created. Andalusian aunts are, of course, TIAS. And GLUEY is, of course, the fourth nephew of Scrooge McDuck—the one he killed in order to show the others he wasn't @#$&ing kidding when he said the Money Room was Off Limits.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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