Comintern creator / SAT 10-30-10 / Leandro's partner / Empathic counselor / William Herschel discovery 1787 / Treaty Fort McIntosh signer 1785
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Otto II (955 – December 7, 983), called the Red, was the third ruler of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty, the son of Otto the Great and Adelaide of Italy. (wikipedia)
• • •This was hard for me, especially in the bottom half. Sadly, most of the difficulty was due to my completely misreading a clue, and Continuing to misread multiple times, over the course of several minutes. The clue: 61A: Eponym of an Australian Open arena (ROD LAVER). What I read: 61A: Eponym of an Australian Open area. “There’s an Open Area in Australia? And ... it has an eponym??” I figured my geography just sucked and there was some large Open Area of Australia that I should just know. RED RIVER? That’s not an eponym. You’d think that between “arena” and the fact that “Open” was capitalized that I’d have figured it out. But no. Well, yes, eventually, but not for a while. Had BARN for BALE at 56D: “Oklahoma!” set piece, which didn’t help. At all. That whole (open) area down there in the SE is kind of ugly. Driving all those -ER answers into the SE corner like that! It’s not like this is a 60-worder. No need to cluster bomb -ERS like that.
There wasn’t much that I liked in this grid except B.J. THOMAS (34D: Singer with the 1966 hit “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”). Absurd proper nouns like EILAT (51A: Gulf of Aqaba city) and OTTO II (!?) (31D: Holy Roman emperor, 973-83) and CAPE CORAL (!?) (33D: Florida city on the Caloosahatchee) and WESER (?!) (7D: River to the North Sea), and the long, odd partial I QUOTE (3D: Lead-in to someone else’s words, after “and”) kept this from being terribly enjoyable. CHIPPEWA (1A: Treaty of Fort McIntosh signer, 1785) and ESCAROLE (58A: Common salad ingredient) and, to a lesser extent, EXTRA FINE (20A: Coin collector’s classification), are the only answers that really pop. POOR AT? OWES TO? MEAN TO? It’s all a bit awkward and lumbering, though I do kind of admire the aggressively 18th-century vibe of the puzzle, with both CHIPPEWA and OBERON (16A: William Herschel discovery of 1787) getting clues from 200+ years ago.
I’m writing this in northern Virginia—specifically, from the living room of PuzzleGirl, who is hosting me and my family this weekend. I’m writing in a Word document because she couldn’t figure out how to get me on to her wireless network ... only to find out that the problem was that she had given me the wrong password initially. Not that you need to know this, but I’m just saying: she just spent half an hour detectivizing the problem for me. She’s good people.
- 22A: De Gaulle's predecessor (COTY) — Did not know this. Know COTY only as the fragrance ... guy?
- 25A: 440 yards, for many runners (ONE LAP) — interesting. I always think of ONE LAP as a quarter mile ... which I guess that is. OK.
- 43A: Empathic counselor of sci-fi (TROI) — she's super-common in crosswords. Yesterday BOI, today TROI. Yesterday RESODS, today ... RESODS (44D: Covers over, in a way)
- 58A: Group 13 member, in chemistry (BORON) — The boron group consists of boron (B), aluminium (Al), gallium (Ga), indium (In), thallium (Tl), and ununtrium (Uut). (wikipedia)
- 2D: El Cid player (HESTON) — A gimme. Otherwise, this NW corner might have been a lot harder than it was.
- 5D: Marks in a casino (PIPS) — I had SAPS.
- 6D: Leandro's partner (ERO) — I know these folks from the Marlowe poem "Hero and Leander." Leander swims the Hellespont—that's pretty much all I remember from that poem.
- 47D: Stonemason's chisel (TOOLER) — Had to infer this one.
- 50D: Comintern creator (LENIN) — short for The Communist International, dedicated to the overthrow of the "international bourgeoisie," among other things.
- 52D: "The Frogs Who Desired a King" author (AESOP) — Not a tale I remember, but the animals made me think AESOP anyway.
- 59D: Year the Visigoths invaded Italy (CDI) — I do not care for "CSI," but I would totally watch a show called "CDI."
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