Dweller in Pristina / THU 11-11-10 / West coast brew for short / Antimicrobial bit in mouthwashes / Iranian city of 1.2+ million / Like wizards caps
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Constructor: Andrew Zhou
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: TURN TURN TURN" (35A: #1 hit by the Byrds ... or directions for reading the answers to this puzzle's starred clues (always clockwise as indicated))— five theme answers must be rotated however many degrees are indicated in order for the correct answer to be visible ...
Word of the Day: Jim ZORN (23D: N.F.L. coach Jim) —
James Arthur "Jim" Zorn (born May 10, 1953 in Whittier, California) is a former American quarterback in the National Football League. He is currently the quarterbacks coach for the Baltimore Ravens. Zorn was a left-handed quarterback, and is best known as the youthful and charismatic leader of the (then-expansion) Seattle Seahawks of the NFL, for their first seven-and-a-half seasons. He was the quarterbacks coach for the Seattle Seahawks in the 2007 season. He was hired by the Redskins to be their head coach starting with the 2008 season and remained head coach until being fired in the early morning of January 4, 2010, the day after the final game of his second season as coach. Shortly thereafter, Zorn was hired as Quarterbacks Coach of the Baltimore Ravens. (wikipedia)
Very mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, I really like the theme concept, and the fact that it introduces so many "Z"s into the mix. On the other hand, the fill ... was not pleasant. ZINC ION, while a thing, is not great as a theme answer. But that's a minor issue. The bigger issue is the (poor) quality of (so much of) the short stuff. I'm also ambivalent about the mild loopiness of some of the mid-range stuff (SOZZLED, KOSOVAR (9D: Dweller in Pristina)), but I'll stick to the manifestly bad—like TWOHR and OMERS (!?)—and then the onslaught of mediocre—'ENRY (did 'e 'it the 'OMERS?), ATYA, TAWS, ORNO, NYES (19A: Actress Carrie and others) (Actress who?), TAIS, OEN, DOZERS, a SOZZLED TOPER, and a partridge in a pear tree. Oh, and OKD (that hurts even to look at).
The theme tricked me, as it led me to believe that the letters were to be rotated individually. That certainly worked for NHZUHOZ (ZINC ION) (20A: *Antimicrobial bit in mouthwashes [90 degrees]) and UOZHU (CONIC) (22A: *Like wizards' caps [90 degrees]). But then I could Not figure out why 43A: *Apollo 11 and 12 [180 degrees] (SNOISSIWNOOW) started with MISSION spelled backward (the upside-down part I got) ... had to rethink my entire concept of rotation. Frustrating, but in an enjoyable "aha" kind of way. Was really, really bad at imagining 270 degrees on the fly. Somehow fumbled my way to NO ONION (61A: *Specification in a burger order, maybe [270 degrees]=>ZOHZOOZ), but since I didn't know the answer to 59A: *Marriage, say [270 degrees], I couldn't even fumble. Wasn't til the puzzle was totally filled in that I realized that ZOHZC was UNION.
Nice Persian crossing in SHAH (44D: Bygone sovereign) and SHIRAZ (54A: Iranian city of 1.2+ million) (which I know only as an OEN-related product). Also enjoyed BRAZOS — a seldom-seen river that I know from some old western title I can't recall — and, especially, SHOUT-OUT, the freshest thing in the grid by a mile (11D: Public mention). AMANDA Bynes is the kind of pop culture knowledge that I keep on hand without having any real understanding of its meaning (1D: "She's the Man" actress Bynes). She's likely teen-famous for something, but I don't know what.
Did Jim THORPE swim!? (51D: Five-time Olympic gold-medal swimmer) ... nope, it's Australian swimmer Ian THORPE who's being referred to here. I have no memory of him whatsoever. I do, however, have memories of OLY, a bygone beer from outside Olympia, WA (7D: West coast brew, for short)
I assume everyone knows that "Game maker" in five letters is ATARI ATARI ATARI (17A: Game maker starting in 1972). Unless there's some boardgame maker I'm not considering.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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