Bandmate of Johnny Rotten / WED 3-23-11 / Ancient land in modern Jordan / Onetime exam in British schools / Home to Da Vinci's L'Ultima Cena
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Constructor: Will Nediger
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: JULIUS CAESAR (54A: Speaker of the Latin quote hidden in the answers to the starred clues ... and the English language-quote hidden in the answers to the double-starred clues) — "VENI VIDI VICI" and "THE DIE IS CAST," respectively
Word of the Day: AKIO Morita (57D: Sony co-founder Morita) —
Akio Morita KBE (盛田 昭夫 Morita Akio, January 26, 1921, Tokoname, Aichi – October 3, 1999, Tokyo) was a Japanese businessman and co-founder of Sony Corporation along with Masaru Ibuka. (wikipedia)
- EVENINGDRESS VIVIDIMAGE SIDVICIOUS (Soiree attire / Indelible picture in the mind / Bandmate of Johnny Rotten)
- THEIR ADIEU VISIT CASTE ("His/her" alternative / Parting word / Sojourn / Social grouping)
Pencil-solving allows me to see quite vividly where I struggled. I rarely take the time to erase, choosing instead to scrawl new letters on top of old, leaving a strange palimpsest for the judges/computers to interpret (no problems so far). Today, the place de resistance was the NE, where failure to come up with the RX-8 carmaker (HONDA? ACURA? No, MAZDA) and failure to guess quickly what followed EVENING (DRESS, it turns out), meant that that corner gave me minor fits. I think I got TEES (12D: Concert souvenirs), and then DRESS, and then tried HONDA, and when that didn't work, MAZDA, and it went down from there. Tournament experience has taught me that in speed-solving, you are in your own world where time runs differently—what feels like epic struggle might only be 10-15 seconds. I thought I was really getting beaten up by Puzzle 5 as I was solving it at the tourney ... but I ended up with the 11th best score on that puzzle (out of 650 or so solvers). Of course on the easiest puzzle (Puzzle 1), I got so caught up in speed that I left a square blank—a horribly costly error (I'd have been close to the Top 20 overall if I'd simply filled that stupid little square in—it's not like the cross was tough; I just missed it).
Two other hiccups today: LIMO for SEMI (7D: Hard-to-park vehicle) and E'ER for O'ER (63D: Poetic contraction). Otherwise, pretty smooth sailing.
- 34A: Onetime exam in British schools (O LEVEL) — did not know the O LEVELs were "onetime." I've seen A LEVEL and O LEVEL several times in recent puzzles, after (or so it seems) never having seen them before. Weird.
- 50A: Ancient land in modern Jordan (EDOM) — one of many four-letter Mediterraneanish geographical clues I can't keep straight. See also ELEA, which I also confuse with ALEA, which, given today's theme, is interestingly coincidental.
- 11D: y= 3x + 5 representation, e.g. (LINE) — true enough, though I couldn't see it. Technically, y = x is a LINE, right?
- 23D: Home to da Vinci's "L'Ultima Cena" (MILANO) — I was just wondering what it was about this clue that indicated the Italian spelling, when I realized that the "L'Ultima Cena" is Italian for "The Last Supper." Aha.
- 33D: Danish city where Hans Christian Andersen was born (ODENSE) — vaguely rings a bell. Got most if not all of it from crosses.
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