Accompaniment for oysters / FRI 7-2-10 / Thimble Theatre surname / Cook's final setting / Symbol of pork / Phiz on five / Suffix with adipo
Friday, July 2, 2010
n(Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Anatomy) Slang chiefly Brit the face or a facial expression an ugly phiz Also called phizog [ˈfɪzɒg fɪˈzɒg][colloquial shortening of physiognomy]
Browne, Hablot Knight (hăb'lō), pseud. Phiz, 1815-82, English illustrator. At 21 he was chosen by Charles Dickens to illustrate Pickwick Papers. His success was immediate, and in due course he illustrated many of Dickens's novels as well as works of Harrison Ainsworth and Charles Lever. Browne also contributed popular cartoons to Punch and painted numerous watercolors and several oils.
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Main attractions here are the eight interlocking 15s — an impressive feat in and of itself, but one that does not provide (today) for much sizzle. Phrases are either plain (HAWAIIAN ISLANDS => 17A: Cook's final setting), tired (BRIDGE TO NOWHERE => 8D: Symbol of pork; 3rd time this year—officially retiring after this appearance, I hope), disappointing (MIND YOUR MANNERS => 11D: Social admonition; really wanted, and in fact wrote in, MIND YOUR PS AND QS), or from outer space (MIGNONETTE SAUCE!? => 33A: Accompaniment for oysters). That last one was a total mystery to me — I know the French word "mignon," which kinda sorta helped, but ugh — and so the west was by far the toughest part of the grid for me, and where I finished. Had to run the alphabet at SIRED / ARI (36A: Actress Graynor, someone I've never heard of, likely because she's the star of nothing — whoa, turns out I've seen her many times: as the younger sister of Agent Dunham on "Fringe"). After the 15s, you've just got a Lot of short fill. Lots of threes. Not much to see there.
Puttered around for what felt like a long time before really getting a strong footing in the grid. Wrong DAIS to start gave me right AMAT and then A MOI. Got my first long answer after taking care of the easy fill-in-the-blanks in the NE and then putting down MIND YOUR PS AND QS (changed to correct answer after ERNE became clear answer at 62A: Kite's kin). I mainly fiddled around the periphery until enough of a long answer came into view that I could get it. Stopped the clock midway through just to confirm that PEARY was really a thing (61A: "Northward Over the Great Ice" writer). Wasn't too sure about HAI (59D: Asian affirmative). Only other answer I wasn't sure of was adipoCYTE (63A: Suffix with adipo-). Fat-killer? [no, wait, that's -CIDE I'm thinking of...] Oh, and MSEC (51D: How long it takes light to travel 186 mi.). I just wrote in -SEC and waited. Oh, oh, and I didn't know what "phiz" meant, but since the phrase "on a five" was in the clue, I figured ABE was involved.
- 10A: One trying to eliminate bad notes (T-MAN) — fantastic clue; really had me fooled for several seconds, even with T-AN in place.
- 23A: Graffitist's trademark (TAG) — tagging around here is sparse and weak, but sometimes trains come through with astonishingly good work on them.
- 51A: Dovetail part (MORTISE) — Would expect "tenon" to go with MORTISE. But not today.
- 5D: Honeybee genus (APIS) — yay for my brief but intense study of Latin. Virgil liked to talk about APES (bees).
- 7D: Suffix with Mozart (-EAN) — he really deserves an -ESQUE.
- 19D: City in the Plain of Sharon (LOD) — most of what I know about Israel, I learned from crosswords.
- 34D: "Thimble Theatre" surname (OYL) — as in Olive. "Thimble Theatre" was the E.C. Segar strip that spawned "Popeye."
- 35D: Something with many arms (SEA) — every SEA? Is every nook and cranny of the shoreline an "arm?"
- 41D: Source of an essential oil with medicinal properties (TEA TREE) — faddish ingredient in beauty products. That's how I know it, anyway.
- 48D: Setting for Hitchcock's "Notorious" (RIO) — knew it was South America somewhere. In three letters, RIO was a good bet.
- 60D: Pianist Pogorelich (IVO) — Whoops, forgot about this guy. Cover his phiz in MIGNONETTE SAUCE, because I didn''t know him either.
- 57D: Women with auréoles: Abbr. (STES.) — hey-o! Me: "What's the French word for 'All Of Them?'" I was getting halos and nipples confused. It happens.
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