East River novelist 1946 / SAT 11-20-10 / Fess Parker's TV co-star / Blue old Kerosene brand / Three of these make O / Group 1968 album Time Peace #1
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Nat Holman (October 19, 1896 in New York, NY – February 12, 1995 in Bronx, New York) was one of the early pro basketball players and one of the game's most important innovators. // Known for his exceptional ball-handling and his accurate shooting, Holman was a star player at New York University and an important part of the Original Celtics (no relation to the Boston Celtics). Also a gifted passer and excellent floor leader, Holman has been a prototype to later playmakers. Although he played pro basketball until 1930, he took over the head coaching position at the City College of New York in 1920. Known as Mr. Basketball, Holman guided CCNY to the so-called grand slam of college basketball, winning both the NCAA and NIT titles in 1950, a feat that has never been achieved since. Holman compiled a 421-190 record in 37 seasons at CCNY, retiring in 1960. In his later years, he lived and died at the Hebrew Home for the Aged in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. // Holman also founded Camp Scatico in 1921 and ran the camp until he sold it to his niece and her husband in 1964. (wikipedia)
The difficulty level felt oddly uneven, too. Clue on RAISA was Monday level (26D: Mrs. Gorbachev). Clue on CAL was Tuesday level at most (31A: ___ Poly, school nickname), as was clue on PSAS (52D: Free TV spots, for short) and EENY (53D: Start of a children's rhyme). But these were thrown in among much more vague and hard-to-get stuff. Not sure what kind of floor is made of ASPHALT TILE (42A: Flooring option). Garage floor? Hmm, looks like it's a pretty ordinary household tile. We have wood floors. And I've only ever lived with carpet, wood, or linoleum floors. That I can recall. That ASPHALT part took a while for me to get. Never heard of SEED PEARLS either (50A: Tiny, valuable beads). Do you use them to seed ... something? Something like a PEARL? Or is it just that they are seed-sized and valuable in their own right? Looks like it's just a size thing. I had no idea the CESTA attached to the wrist. I always thought it was gripped with the hand (47D: Item of sports equipment worn on the wrist). I remember ALLELE (44D: One may be dominant) from crosswords of a BYGONE ERA (2D: Time past) (that era being fairly recent, actually). It's a word I will forever associate with "foodie" (frequent commenter on my site; also, a neuroscientist—I'd never heard of the word; it was a gimme for her. Somehow she let me know this without making me feel like an idiot). Without a doubt, my favorite part of this puzzle is the DAD-BLASTED (28D: No-good) / GLASSY-EYED (60A: Expressionless) nexus. Otherwise, just a solid workout, with no real sour patches. Lots of black squares, though, for a Saturday (35). Word count is low, but lots of black space is carved out to make that happen, so there are an oddly high number of 3-4-letter words along with the long stacks that dominate the grid.
- 18A: Subject of 1987 Congressional hearings (IRAN-CONTRA) — "IRAN-CONTRA" doesn't feel like a "subject"; more like a moniker for the hearings themselves. I was thinking yesterday, when I didn't know BEBE Rebozo, that something from my era that I would've known just from being alive then was OLLIE NORTH ... only that's a bad comparison because OLLIE NORTH is actually historically important, and BEBE is just some guy who happened to be Nixon's friend. I still don't get why he was news.
- 21A: Bibliophile's suffix (-ANA) — a flat-out gimme. That clue, that answer, now and forever into the future. Know it.
- 4D: ___ Blue (old kerosene brand) (ESSO) — not a gimme, exactly, though once I got just one of those "S"s, I wrote in ESSO immediately. It's old, it's fuel, it's four letters in a crossword, it's ESSO. Speaking of fuel, had UCLA for USMA (57A: Classic football rival of Notre Dame: Abbr.) at first and so wondered why I hadn't heard of the part of the car called the something-PULPS (it's FUEL PUMPS, 33D: Tank-to-carburetor conduits).
- 6D: African capital of 1.5+ million (HARARE) — Capital of Zimbabwe. Been in a recent puzzle, I think.
- 32D: Highly seismic area off the Greek coast (IONIAN SEA) — AEGEAN SEA fits, but I have no idea about its relative seismicness.
- 51D: Three of these make on O (DAHS) — Aargh! Good clue. Morse code!!
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