Folk rock singer Straw / SAT 11-27-10 / Moose Drool Trout Slayer / Old China essayist / Old dirk / Bond girl player Green / Tony winner Caldwell
Saturday, November 27, 2010
intr.v., -tered, -ter·ing, -ters.
- A confused mass; a jumble: a welter of papers and magazines.
- Confusion; turmoil.
- To wallow, roll, or toss about, as in mud or high seas.
- To lie soaked in a liquid.
- To roll and surge, as the sea.
[From Middle English welteren, to toss about, as in high seas, from Middle Low German or Middle Dutch, to roll.] (wikipedia)
• • •This started out very rough, but it turns out I was just looking at bad starting answers. Once I finally stumbled into a couple little easy pockets, this thing opened right up and I was done in better-than-average time. Today's puzzle feels balanced—not overly contemporary, not overly old-fashioned. This is possibly because Mr. Vongsathorn is quite young, but more likely because Mr. Vongsathorn is just good. Feels very up-to-date, language-wise, in a way that most people of all ages can appreciate. While I don't care for the show itself, "THE BIGGEST LOSER" is a fresh answer (32A: Show in which many pots disappear?), and though the intersecting 15 doesn't do much for me (FIRST ONE TO BLINK feels slightly jury-rigged—7D: Defeated contestant in a face-off), I really like the Acrosses in the NE and SW, plus SENIORITIS (22A: High-class affliction?) and BOBBLEHEAD (47A: Bounce in a sports stadium?). STEEL JAWS is too gruesome for me (31D: Features of some bear traps), but I kind of like how animal cruelty is offset symmetrically by the more animal-friendly FREE-RANGE (6D: Like some chickens).
Started with SLUES (9D: Turns sharply) / SNEE. Anyone else? Anyone? [Old dirk] just screamed SNEE, and terminal -ES on 9D screamed SLUES. Please note that you can hear these screams *only* if you do a *lot* of crosswords. Other screams: four-letter Nabokov title (PNIN). Four-letter British institution (ETON; 26A: Historic institution near Slough). Four-letter District in southern Kazakhstan (ARAL). Three-letter constellation (ARA; 53D: Neighbor of Scorpius). Four-letter essayist (ELIA; 36D: "Old China" essayist). These are all answers that a constant solver is going to be able to suss out fairly readily. I had some other gimmes, but they were accidents of knowledge (e.g. JERI Ryan (51A: Ryan of "Star Trek: Voyager"), SYD Straw). Had some name trouble with and ZOE (21A: Tony winner Caldwell) and EVA (49A: Bond girl player Green) (whom I now realize I've seen before), as well as DRE (whom I *know* I've never seen before), but I worked it out via crosses. Got my first real bit of traction from ETON / SEPT / ETCH. From there I eventually got SENIORITIS, and the grid opened up in all directions from there.
- 40A: Moose Drool or Trout Slayer (ALE) — never heard of either, but educatedly guessed it once I had the "L" from ELIA in there.
- 4D: "Quickest way to Harlem," in song (A-TRAIN) — Ella's version is the one I know best.
- 12D: Alternatives to Triscuits (RITZES) — I submit that no one calls them this. "Do you want some Triscuits? Do you want some Ritz? ... somehow, colloquially, that "Z" does double duty as a plural ending (grammar be damned)
- 34D: Dinar earner (SERB) — I think there are many countries that have the dinar as currency, yet somehow I got this quickly, off just the "S"
- 42D: Adjective-less language (NAVAHO) — Very easy to get when you have -AHO already in place before you even see the clue.
- 50D: Setting of Mozart's only clarinet concerto: Abbr. (A MAJ.) — I listened to Mozart's Clarinet Quintet only yesterday—a birthday treat.
- 56D: Folk rock singer Straw (SYD) — far less famous than she should be. I own two of her albums. Love her style. Here's a cut from an album I played all throughout my college years.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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