Shipyard worker fired in 1976 / FRI 12-3-10 / Angel Cheryl / Powerful scent of real clean sloganeer / Oxymonoric chances / Game played dotted ball
Friday, December 3, 2010
Constructor: Matt Ginsberg
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: ALCHEMY (8D: 13-, 20-, 49- and 57-Across, commonly?) — word ladder going from LEAD to GOLD
Word of the Day: GOURDE (36D: Haitian currency) —
The gourde (French: [ɡuʁd]) or goud (Haitian Creole: [ɡud]) is the currency of Haiti. Its ISO 4217 code is HTG and it is divided into 100 centimes (French) or santim (Creole). (wikipedia)
- 13A: Sleuth's quest (LEAD)
- 20A: Weight or freight (LOAD)
- 49A: Pointed encouragement (GOAD)
- 57A: What some hearts are made of (GOLD)
Just a few things I truly didn't know today. The A-TWO? Nope, not up on my Americanized spellings of German superhighways (1A: German superhighway connecting the Ruhr with Berlin). "GYPSY"? Heard of it, but know nothing about it: not its date, not any of its songs (36A: 1959 Broadway hit with the song "All I Need Is the Girl"). Had no idea a SQUASH ball was dotted (39D: Game played with a dotted ball). Otherwise, everything else in the grid is at least somewhat familiar to me (including GOURDE and HANSOM (43D: Victorian taxi), both learned from ghosts of crosswords past).
The clue on HARLEY (21A: Road hog?) gives us a nice "hog" mini-theme (along with clue on SHOAT, and then QUAHOG: 42A: Edible clam).
- 26A: Endangered Arctic presence (SEA ICE) — "presence" is bugging me. It's a defensible use of the word, but ... I might have gone with "entity," for the alliterative clue if nothing else.
- 38A: "The powerful scent of real clean" sloganeer (PINESOL) — Powerful is right. Headache-inducingly powerful.
- 55A: Angel Cheryl (LADD) — Mmmm, softball. "Charlie's Angels" is one of my earliest TV memories (after "Electric Company" and "Mr. Rogers," of course).
- 3D: Shipyard worker fired in 1976 (WALESA) — honestly wanted ROCKY here. Was he a shipyard worker? Was he fired? I know "Rocky" was 1976. Kind of funny when SLY showed up later in the grid (28D: Rocky, really).
- 14D: Walking the dog and others (CHORES) — wanted (yo-yo) TRICKS.
- 34D: Oxymoronic chances (EVEN ODDS) — Had ODDS. Put in EVEN, but because I had TIME NOR TIDE (?), EVEN looked wrong, so I took it out. Put it in. Took it out. Eventually changed NOR to AND (24D: They won't wait, in a phrase).
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