Fashion designer Posen / SAT 1-8-11 / Hamlet composer / 1981 best seller set in Castle Rock, Me. / Film composer Brion / Suffix with railway
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Mount Kosciuszko is a mountain located in the Snowy Mountains in Kosciuszko National Park. With a height of 2,228 metres (7,310 ft) above sea level, it is the highest mountain in Australia (not including its external territories). It was named by the Polish explorer Count Paul Edmund Strzelecki in 1840, in honour of the Polish-Lithuanian national hero and hero of the American Revolutionary War General Tadeusz Kościuszko, because of its perceived resemblance to the Kościuszko Mound in Krakow. // The name of the mountain was previously spelt "Mount Kosciusko", an Anglicisation, but the spelling "Mount Kosciuszko" was officially adopted in 1997 by the Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. [...] Various measurements of the peak originally called Kosciuszko showed it to be slightly lower than its neighbour, Mount Townsend. The names of the mountains were swapped by the New South Wales Lands Department, so that Mount Kosciuszko remains the name of the highest peak of Australia, and Mount Townsend ranks as second. [!?!?!?] (wikipedia)
Major objection to R.E.M. not being clued as an abbr. (2D: Post-retirement occurrence). It was the first answer I thought of, but I discarded it because of the non-abbr. cluing. If ELO is an abbr. (signified by "grp." in its clue, 45A: "Rocakaria!" grp.), then (non-band) R.E.M. sure as hell is.
Other danger of solving a Saturday first thing in the morning. No time for write-up. Straight to bullets.
- 10A: 1981 best seller set in Castle Rock, Me. (CUJO) — King's "On Writing" was the first book I read this new year (Great stuff) so this came easily. One of the few things that did (see also IRE, UTE, A LEG, MEME, WHA / ITCHY, MAT, ELO, YALIE (though I wavered on it a lot), EMO (22A: Dashboard Confessional's genre) ... I know that looks like a lot, but they are all small and well spread out.
- 14A: Midwest city in the middle of the I-70/I-71/I-75 triangle (XENIA, OHIO) — a favorite 9-letter answer of late-week constructors (or at least one I've seen before—see also ALAN ADALE, only moreso: 60A: 1902 Kentucky Derby winner that was named after a fictional character). Had RIAL for LIRA, but that "I" was enough to get me OHIO, and then I just guessed XENIA because "X" is a Roman numeral.
- 19A: Operculum (LID) — Oh, come on. No fan of the deliberately obtuse clue.
- 27A: Grammy-nominated film composer Brion (JON) — Google wants to know "Did you mean ... BRIAN?" I wish.
- 35A: Golfe setting (MER) — I guess Golfe (whatever that is) is on a sea somewhere. Huh.
- 52A: With 36-Across, school gathering equipment (TRAWL / NETS) — remedial cluing trick that fooled me for a shamefully long time.
- 62A: RadioShack stock (TAPE DECKS) — What year is it!?!? I had the "A" and "S" and plunked down BATTERIES.
- 10D: Virtuosic improvisation (CADENZA) — sounds like a piece of furniture to me, but I was able to guess it anyway.
- 23D: Its first word is "Congress" (AMENDMENT I) — doubted this one, as I've never heard it referred to this way, but figured it had to be right (what with that terminal "I").
- 21D: Place for a hanging piece (HOLSTER) — to show you how slow my brain was this morning—after considering art, I immediately thought of gun. I even imagined the gun hanging from someone's hip. . . nothing. Considered GUN RACK. Ugh.
- 47D: Measure associated with Leyden jars (FARAD) — If you say so. I think I had FERMI in here at one point.
- 29A: ___ buckle (eye surgery procedure) (SCLERAL) — Should have gotten this off the "SC-"—didn't. Needed LISZT to see CLIMAXES AT (30D: Doesn't get any higher than) to get SAX to get SCLERAL. Or SCLERAL to get SAX, I forget now.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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PS do you know about Patrick Berry's puzzle website, A-Frame Puzzles? You should. He's the best crossword constructor in the business. I almost never bother with non-crossword puzzles, but his Rows Gardens are a ton of (tough) fun. There are six of them available free from his website. Have at them! (oh, and if you are an aspiring crossword constructor, you should definitely read his "Crossword Puzzle Challenges for Dummies," but we'll talk about that some other time).