Overseer of Scottish heraldry / FRI 1-28-11 / Washington Irving hero informally / Mythical mortal who helped raise Dionysus / On-demand flier
Friday, January 28, 2011
René Jules Gustave Coty (French pronunciation: [ʁəne kɔti]; 20 March 1882 – 22 November 1962) was President of France from 1954 to 1959. He was the second and last president under the French Fourth Republic. (wikipedia)
• • •A fine 72-worder from Mr. Der, but one I had trouble moving through, generally. Very herky-jerky progress: nothing, a little progress, slow, very fast, stopped, creeping, fast, slow, "people really called him 'RIP?'," and done (45A: Washington Irving hero, informally). Finished significantly over my average Friday time, but I have this weird feeling that if I'd simply looked at the easier parts first, or earlier, things might have been different. Dunno. I liked the puzzle fine, though nothing made me cheer, and several clues left me feeling like "... yeah, I guess that's right. [Shrug]." I thought a SABOT *was* a clog—no idea "French" had anything to do with it (41A: French for "clog"). I knew the MEDES but have no association of them with the "Iron Age" (18A: Iron Age people). COME for [Take place]? Yes, OK. "Whatever may COME." I suppose. "NE'ER" is [Aye's opposite, poetically]? "Yes" and "never" are opposites? I guess "Aye" means "always" here ...? Do people know that meaning of "aye?" Odd. Veterans "recall" IRAQ? In that any veteran might recall any war he/she was in ... sure. I think of (animated) cartoons as having FRAMES and comics as having PANELS (27A: Cartoon series), but people call "Peanuts" and the "Wizard of Id" et al. "cartoons" all the time, so ... I mean, it all works, but often the cluing just did not feel CRISP(ED) (38D: Like rice in some cereal treats). Fill is quite smooth, though, with only TAL and INO seeming at all subpar.
First letter in the grid was the "S" at the end of SEARS (8D: Brands ... or carrier of brands), which immediately got me RUSTY (24A: Out of top form). Last letter in the grid was the "I" in RIP. I ended up using the RUSTY / TETES / EMS nexus as my hub, striking first into the NE, then (fruitlessly at first) into the SE, then S, then NW and N, and finally SW. Toughest parts were, first, the chunk between and including LYON (5D: Lord ___ (overseer of Scottish heraldry)) and TAL up top, and second, AIR TAXI (was briefly mystified by the letter string "A-RTA-I") (39D: On-demand flier).
- GUN for UZI (4D: Magazine holder)
- ELIHU for ADIEU (7D: Literally, "to God")
- LYMON for WYMAN (21D: Longtime Rolling Stones bassist) — no idea what I was thinking there
- CRAZY TALK for CRAZY IDEA (15A: Nut's suggestion)
- SLURP for SLOSH (30D: Washing machine sound)
- GREAT MIND for QUICK MIND (49D: With 22-Across, genius's asset)
[Random three seconds of bikini-clad boobs in here ... No Idea why ...]
Proudest moment: getting BIENNIA with no crosses despite not knowing anything at all about the Ryder Cup except that it involves golf (42D: Stretches between Ryder Cups). Happiest moment: imagining a man who turns into toast when the moon is full (65A: Dead duck's cry).
- 10A: Savannah growth (COPSE) — didn't know COPSEs were more a feature of "savannahs" than anywhere else
- 19A: Mythical mortal who helped raise Dionysus (INO) — No clue. One of a handful of "No clue"s today. See also TAL (9D: ___ vez (Mexican "maybe")) and COTY.
- 31A: Frog-eating bird (ANI) — as with COPSE, I had no idea the clue information was particular to the answer.
- 47A: Vigil locale (SHRINE) — read "Virgil locale"; this probably would have happened even if I hadn't been currently teaching the Aeneid.
- 12D: Dish topped with crushed peanuts and lime (PAD THAI) — big, fat, tasty gimme.
- 36A: Herpetologist's supply (ANTI-VENOM) — briefly forgot what "herpetologist" meant. Somehow "HEPA filter" got in my head and I was thinking about air pollutants. . .
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