Sclera neighbor / TUE 8-10-10 / Rapper born James Todd Smith / Dice roller's exclamation / Cooler to hip-hopper
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Constructor: Peter A. Collins
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: ALCHEMY (39A: Activity associated with the word ladder formed by 1-, 10-, 70- and 72-Across) — changing LEAD to GOLD via a word ladder: LEAD / LOAD / GOAD / GOLD; bonus theme answers include TRANSMUTATION (20A: Goal of 39-Across) and PSEUDO-SCIENCE (57A: 39-Across, for one)
Word of the Day: NUEVA Granada (15A: ___ Granada (old Spanish colony in the Americas)) —
The New Kingdom of Granada (Spanish: Nuevo Reino de Granada) was the name given to a group of 16th century Spanish colonial provinces in northern South America governed by the Audiencia of Bogotá, an area corresponding mainly to modern Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama. Originally part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, it became part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada first in 1717 and permanently in 1739. It ceased to exist altogether with the Viceroyalty's end in 1819 and the establishment of an independent Republic of Colombia. (wikipedia)
It's 12:44 a.m. and I just got back from Colorado. Not much left in the tank, but I'll see what I can do.
I feel like I've seen an "ALCHEMY" theme in puzzles in recent years, possibly involving a word ladder, but also possibly involving the elemental symbols PB and AU. Databases aren't helping me turn up what puzzle I'm thinking of, so it's possible jetlag is already setting in with dire consequences, i.e. I have some form of brain disorder where I misremember things. My cat is currently meow-howling, or meowling, on repeat (he Always does this when we return from a trip), so it's very ominous up in here, and I'm willing to believe anything. At any rate, the theme is nicely executed, but not terribly exciting. Pretty underwhelming word ladder. But the grid holds a lot of interest, with COME TO PAPA (28D: Dice roller's exclamation) being the real highlight. I also like OPEN STANCE (11D: Batting position), DOWN PAT (4D: Rehearsed perfectly), WAR CRY (46A: Battlefield shout), and, for reasons I really don't understand, DULUTH (6D: Lake Superior port). Lots of short stuff means lots of ugly and/or forgettable fill, but overall I think the puzzle's a thumbs-up. Took me Much longer than normal to finish, but I took travel fatigue into consideration, divided by my computer's continuing slowness problems, carried the 1, and got something slightly harder (i.e. more time-consuming) than normal.
- 1A: Male ballroom dancer, traditionally (LEAD)
- 10A: Laundry unit (LOAD)
- 70A: Incite (GOAD)
- 72A: Olympic prize (GOLD)
I googled [LL COOL J ILLER] and got this:
LL is now, like SONIA Braga, "of Hollywood."
Thankfully, YANNI (41D: Greek New Age musician) is not (yet) "of Hollywood," or within earshot, so I haven't had to think about him much since discovering in the mid-90s that a potential girlfriend had a bunch of his CDs. *Potential* girlfriend...
What else to say? CEES is ugly, but the "letteral" clue, transparent though it is, redeems it somewhat (19A: Broccoli centers?). Some kind of alliteration is going on in the clue for (the also not pretty) NAES (52A: Glasgow negations). "Negations" is likely accurate in some sense, but feels weird. I figured the sclera was near the ULNA. This ended up being anatomically, and every other way, inaccurate (8D: Sclera neighbor=>UVEA). Lastly, forgot IRENE Ryan (68A: Ryan of "The Beverly Hillbillies"), who played Granny. The only IRENEs I really know are crossword staples CARA and ADLER. Oh, and Dunne. There's an IRENE Dunne, right? Yes. None of these women have worked in ANIME (5D: Manga-like art form), as far as I know.
Many thanks to my fill-ins this past week: Zeke, Caleb Madison (and Natan Last), Michele Humes, Ben Bass, and, especially, PuzzleGirl—my safety net without whom splat.
See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]