Berry touted as superfood / MON 1-17-11 / Fully extended ballerina / Westernmost of Aleutians / Traveling show of 1970s 2000s originated in Cairo
Monday, January 17, 2011
Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY — the first words of the theme answers are, respectively, MARTIN, LUTHER, KING and DAY
Word of the Day: LATH (1A: Plaster backing) —
Lath and plaster is a building process used mainly for interior walls in Canada and the United States until the late 1950s. After the 1950s, drywall began to replace the lath and plaster process in the United States. In the United Kingdom, lath and plaster was used for some interior partition walls, but was mostly used in the construction of ceilings. In the UK, plasterboard became a more common ceiling construction from 1945 onwards. (wikipedia)
This one definitely played tough. I had perhaps my most disastrous Monday opening ever, starting with not knowing LATH (the word still looks strange to me), and then throwing down FLASKS instead of FIFTHS (14D: Bottles of liquor). North was worse, in that I couldn't come up with ON TOE (15A: Fully extended, as a ballerina) or INHD (an ugly answer, 6D: How many TV shows are now shown)—I think I had TIVO, which I knew was Wrong on many levels. Just stared at 5A: Bigger than big. Could come up with only LARGE and ENORM (yes, really). GIANT is an appropriate answer, of course, but with ON TOE and INHD not coming, I wasn't getting much help. Wanted GO BAD, not GO SOUR (5D: Spoil, as milk), never heard of the "VALSE Triste" (28D: Sibelius's "___ Triste"), wrote in ROMP for ROUT (which I do routinely, btw) (35D: Easy win), and still have very little clue how [Embodied] is a good clue for SUBSUMED. That's quite a literal understanding of [Embodied], I think. I managed to get my bearings after the horrible start, and ended with something like a normal Tuesday time. Seems like a fine, simple tribute puzzle. Fill seems about average, though probably somewhat below Ms. Gorski's normally exacting standards. ATTU, Liz? :) (23A: Westernmost of the Aleutians). Favorite answer of the day: UNIONCARDS (27D: Things in the wallets of many laborers).
- 17A: "S.N.L." alum who co-starred in "Three Amigos!" (MARTIN SHORT) — ugh, the MARTIN just reminded me of Steve Martin (also in "Three Amigos!"), which only blocked MARTIN SHORT's name further...
- 26A: His "Dance With My Father" won the 2003 Grammy for Song of the Year (LUTHER VANDROSS)
- 41A: Traveling show of the 1970s and 2000s that originated in Cairo (KING TUT EXHIBIT) — the Steve Martin subtheme continues...
- 54A: They're in la-la land (DAY DREAMERS)
- 34A: Social reformer Jacob (RIIS) — I feel as if his crossword star is rising. This is likely complete coincidence, i.e. I've probably just seen him a few times this week (I do a lot of puzzles).
- 61A: Names hidden in Hirschfeld sketches (NINAS) — I remember learning about this hidden NINA thing in a puzzle a few years back, and it baffled me because I had no idea who "Hirschfeld" was, let alone what hidden NINAs were.
- 2D: Berry touted as a superfood (AÇAI) — I don't know. I'm always skeptical about stuff like this, though I confess that I do enjoy this AÇAI Berry Granola cereal I have every morning with my oatmeal (to give it crunch). You can't really taste the berries.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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