10 million rupees / SAT 10-9-10 / 1677 Racine tragedy / Willow variety / Actor Richmond singer Jackson / Tony Randall title role
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Constructor: Joe Krozel
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: ONE'S — this word appears three times ... probably not a theme, but I'm covering one's bases just the same ...
Word of the Day: CRORE (48D: 10 million rupees) —
A crore (Hindi: करोड़, Nepali: करोड, Urdu: کروڑ) (often abbreviated cr) is a unit in the Indian numbering system equal to ten million (10,000,000; 107), or 100 lakh. It is widely used in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. It was 500,000 in the now-obsolete Persian number system. // Large money amounts in India are often written in the form "Rs/ 23 cr", that is, 23,00,00,000 rupees (230,000,000 in Western notation). Although lakhs are used in Sri Lanka, most Sri Lankans do not use the term crore when referring to money. // The word is used in the Indian title of the popular Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? game show Kaun Banega Crorepati, literally Who will become the owner of ten million? (wikipedia)
Not my fastest Saturday ever, but within 30 seconds or so. Seems an easy puzzle, assuming you remember and can spell Banda ACEH (47A: Banda ___ (2004 tsunami site)), because if you can't, lord help you with that "C," because CRORE looks like a word someone magically willed into existence to get the grid to work (sorry, 1 billion Indian people, but come on) (48D: 10 million rupees). I was still in grad school the last time this word appeared in the NYT (1998). Anyway, dodged the bullet by being 95% sure that ACEH was spelled with a "C." The rest of the puzzle, especially the top and bottom, were a cakewalk. 15s always look daunting, and almost always aren't. Throw a few short answers across them, and they break like balsa. Now, some of those short answers were utterly unhelpful (ITEA? Do they sell kettles that you have to put together yourself?) (54D: Willow variety). But a lot of the others came without much effort, and all the 15s are familiar phrases (though OARS is not the word I'd put at the end of that expression if I had to say it—makes me want to say "Uh, I think you misheard. It's REST ON ONE'S LAURELS." But I'm sure OARS is valid) (18A: Stops striving).
Really love OCTOBER SURPRISE (49A: Bombshell revealed shortly before Election Day), and think the batch of 15s at the bottom is pretty lovely overall. Sadly, I am forced to believe that Olive OYL had a family of OYLS (52D: Olive kin), that CLARinet (50D: Woodwind instr.) is too long for someone to write out, and, yeah, ITEA and CRORE you've met. Sacrifices must be made. To be fair, I have only five answers singled out for "WTF?" status— ITEA, BHA (45A: Food preservative, briefly), CLAR, OYLS, and CRORE. Oh, I really should add DEONS (7D: Actor Richmond and singer Jackson), as I was convinced that no single human could have such a name. Two people? "Famous" people? DEION and DION and DIONNE want to know what their parents were smoking.
Got started with the easy ESTS. (3D: Rough figs.), and another gimme, ELROY (6D: Football Hall-of-Famer Hirsch) (I used him as a clue in a puzzle I made last year; his nickname is "Crazy Legs"). This meant 19A: With 12-Down, turns down had to be SAYS something ... but I didn't know what. Big break came when I put down AVIA (another gimme; 13D: Reebok rival) and ERNS (15D: Kite relatives) (three-letter raptor = only ERN, as far as I know). From the "V" and "R" I got HOSTILE TAKEOVER and was off to the races (16A: Merger alternative).
Had a moment of panic when I couldn't remember the consonant that started DNIESTER (27A: Ukraine/Moldova border river) and had no idea what 27D: Tony Randall title role could be getting at (DR. LAO). No idea how I know that latter answer, but it was lurking around the recesses of my brain somewhere. Managed to guess ARFED straight off (46D: Issued pound notes?), and with the "F" from ARFED and the "V" from (easy) Coq AU VIN, PLAYED FAVORITES (57A: Didn't judge a group fairly) couldn't hide for long. So the grid looks, from where I'm sitting, like a pretty easy romp with two possibly lethal intersections: ACEH/CRORE and DNIESTER/DR.LAO — odd names intersecting at not easily inferrable consonants.
- 39A: Pizza joint in "Do the Right Thing" (SAL'S) — gimme. Really important movie-going experience of my young adult life. Pretty sure the movie is responsible for my beginning to listen to rap, to think about movies as (potentially) art, etc.
- 24D: "___ your hearts faint": Deuteronomy 20:3 ("LET NOT") — partials are not normally more than five letters.
- 31D: Symbol of St. Barnabas, whose saint day comes at hay harvesting time (RAKE) — my first answer: BALE.
- 43D: 1677 Racine tragedy ("PHÈDRE") — read it in high school. Thanks, Mr. Cardella.
- 53D: Japanese Peace Nobelist of 1974 (SATO) — one of those 4-letter names it's Really useful to commit to memory, and yet somehow I never do.
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