She loved Endymion / SAT 6-19-10 / Peak on Pakistani-Chinese border / Moniker for ballplayer with bat named Wonderboy / Donkey in Dusseldorf
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours (24 June 1771 – 31 October 1834), known as Irénée du Pont, or E.I. du Pont, was a French-born Huguenot chemist and industrialist who immigrated to the United States in 1799 and founded the gunpowder manufacturer, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. His descendants, the Du Pont family, were one of America's richest and most prominent families in the 19th and 20th centuries.
• • •Whew. Soooooo much easier than yesterday's puzzle. A walk in the park by comparison. 8+ minutes faster today. I feel like my old self again. For how white this puzzle is (a mere 64 words), it's exceedingly well filled. Yes, I know, there's a clunker or two in there, but that's virtually unavoidable when you go this low (one of the reasons I don't always enjoy the low word count puzzles). And if IRÉNÉE and ESEL (25D: Donkey, in Düsseldorf) and BSED and REWON are the price I have to pay for 9- and 10-stacks this luscious, then so be it. I mean, look at the long entries. They're gorgeous. This is why crap fill exists — to buttress the good stuff. If the fill's not good, weak little fill becomes irksome. If it's this good, however, it's forgiven and forgotten. Objection? Not SUSTAINED! (32A: Like many objections)
To start this puzzle, I gingerly ENTERED IN (14D: Added to the database) the first Across answer—CRAPS TABLE (1A: Place to use a rake). Several Downs confirmed this answer right away, starting with LONER (9D: One not mixing well). CHERI and ROVER followed (1D: Precious, in Poitiers + 2D: Exploration vehicle), and were especially helpful, as they gave me the front ends of the rest of the Acrosses up there in the NW. Hit a snag coming into the center, as ESEL was unknown to me, and KULIK, while known, was forgotten (26D: Ilia ___, figure skater who won Olympic gold in 1998 — his full name is really worth knowing). Didn't have much more luck sidling over to the the NE at first and so had a look at the SE. Again, as with the NW stack, the top of this stack went in right away: 51A: Moniker for a ballplayer with a bat named Wonderboy (THE NATURAL). Never read the book or saw the movie, but I know this bit of trivia anyway (I am a fan of the baseball). And as with the NW, the short Downs confirmed my initial long answer, and the whole corner fell quickly. So now I had two completed but disconnected quadrants done — two to go, plus the middle.
Start in on the short stuff in the NE. Get AN IN easily (16A: Have ___ (be connected)), try something-S for 18A: Attends, and then plunk down the gimme SAVE (20A: Closer's triumph). Notice that 14D: Added to the database *must* be ENTER-something, so take out the errant "S" and put in the correct IS AT for 18A. That -IAV- sequence at 13D: Café de Paris setting looks all kinds of wrong, but somehow ... I think I put in NOT I (36A: Words said with a look of innocence), and that "T" plus the earlier "IAV" gave me VIA VENETO, though I might have misspelled it at first—VOLERO or something. That quadrant went down fast from there. In the SW, the -SAT part of PEERS AT was obvious (43A: Examines closely), which gave me Hi-RES ... only no — 37A: What an investor builds was Obviously (right?) PORTFOLIO! So change RES to FIS. Try ENTRANCES at 31D: Spellbinds, but no—it's gotta be BONA or MALA fide, so scratch that (eventually turned out to be ENTHRALLS). OD ON is obvious (34A: Use excessively, briefly). This reveals ODOR EATER (29D: Something good for the sole?), and it's all over but the shouting. Last letters I put in were the "EN" in POP-UP MENU (28D: Result of some hovering).
Wait: I left out the part where I thought JELLS (35A: Takes form) was spelled GELLS, but then got JONATHAN (35D: Swift, e.g. — really wanted SATIRIST at first), which confirmed that JELLS (née GELLS) was in fact right. This got me down to one little annoying letter—the SLO-/K-WO cross. SLOI and KIWO? KEWO? A few seconds later I had my "D'oh" moment and entered K-TWO (41A: Peak on the Pakastani-Chinese border). And 33D: 8:00-9:00, say = SLOT.
- 15A: Shrine dedicatee (HOLY PERSON) — HOLY was easy, PERSON less so. Seems a bit generic, but it flies. Love the contrast of HOLY over EVIL, and Loooooove HOLY under CRAP!
- 27A: She loved Endymion (SELENE) — didn't know this. Barely know who SELENE is, but it's a familiar name, gettable from crosses. Here's her story, in case you're interested.
- 3D: Dennis the Menace's mom (ALICE) — considered ADELE, since it's a nice, old-fashioned name, but EVIL INTENT gave me the "I" and so I settled on ALICE. She's very, very thin. And blond. Always wears an apron. At least in my mind. Little known fact: she was named after a lesbian murderer of the late 19th century.
- 23D: With 40-Across, meal for a wolf eel (SEA / URCHIN) — my reaction: "There's something called a 'wolf eel?' Cool." Though a werewolf eel would be cooler.
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