Wonder-working biblical figure / FRI 3-4-11 / Last of Nordhoff Hall's Bounty Trilogy / City on Niagara Escarpment / ColorQube maker
Friday, March 4, 2011
adj.This was very hard when I was trying to do it while watching the end of "American Idol." I had most of the middle but only the wispiest bits of correctness in the top and bottom. Once the show was over, I concentrated on the puzzle, and it got a lot easier (though it remained tough). Once I got a long answer to fall, the bottom (and later the top) went down in reasonable time, but getting that first one to fall was Rough. Even with AAHS and FLAT going straight in the grid (i.e. even with the first two letters of every long Across down south in place), I didn't go anywhere. AFRICAN-AMERICAN *never* occurred to me, as I just assumed that was some general term, not a Jacksonism (46A: Term popularized by Jesse Jackson). Wanted something like RAINBOW COALITION (one letter too long). I think the first long answer I got was A LOT ON ONE'S PLATE (seen that one before). Tried to make 56A: City on the Niagara Escarpment "something, OHIO." Then considered NOVA SCOTIA... (I forget why), then gave up and came back and got HAMILTON, ONTARIO after more of the crosses were in place. I've been to HAMILTON. Presented my first professional paper there, actually. Good times (well, OK times). Anyway, the double ONE'S down there is ugly, and MESNE is possibly the ugliest answer I've seen this year (45D: Intervening, in law), but whatever: I was just glad to get out alive.
Carrying an unborn child; pregnant.
[French, from Old French, ultimately from Latin inciēns, pregnant.]
Up top, I had ENCEINTE but had no faith it was right since I know it only as a French word. Why in the world would English need it? It's just as long (syllable-wise) as "pregnant" and it reeks of Frenchitude. Had -LION at 5D: Casanova and considered LOVE LION and STUD LION before eventually hitting on STALLION. Strangely, the first long answer I got up there was PITCAIRN'S ISLAND (17A: Last of Nordhoff and Hall's "Bounty Trilogy")—this despite having no idea where PITCAIRN'S ISLAND is, or who Nordhoff and Hall are (!?), or what the "Bounty Trilogy" is. PI-C ... -ND just gave it to me. All kinds of trouble in the NW, where I had WITCH'S HAT for WIZARD HAT (23A: What may be put on before spelling?), ATM for HEN (20A: Source of collectible deposits), ALSO for ELSE (9D: Further) and HURT for NEAT (13D: Smart). Never heard of ELISHA (10D: Wonder-working biblical figure)—the phrase "wonder-working" is something I've only ever heard George W. Bush say, and whoever was discussing the clip in which he said it was talking about the way Bush's speeches were loaded with a kind of coded language of particular significance to evangelicals. Odd that that phrase evokes that memory so clearly. No idea how I remembered 3/4 of GERI's name (7D: "The Facts of Life" actress Jewell). I wanted TERI. I think Jewell has cerebral palsy. Hey, I'm right. Again, strange what my brain will retain. Thought GERI DON'T FEEL LIKE IT was I DON'T WANT TO DO IT at first. I'm guessing LOTT succeeded DOLE as Senate Majority leader, because he sure wasn't a senator from Kansas.
Gimmes were few, though, in retrospect, more than I'd imagined: ADIA (2D: #3 hit from 1997 album "Surfacing"), LOEW, TINE, STDS, A TIE, AAHS, FLAT, AVA, IVIES, WANDA, APSOS, NEOS, DOE, ANNO
- 36A: Philanthropist/art collector Broad (ELI) — Nope. No idea. But surrounding answers were easy so no problem. Broad (rhymes with "road") is a big figure in L.A., apparently.
- 37A: "Fabien ___ Franchi" (Oscar Wilde poem) ("DEI") — more obscurity. All crosses. Between this and the MESNE / MEA cross ... a little much, Latin-wise.
- 38A: ColorQube maker (XEROX) — had "FEAR Factor" at first instead of "THE X Factor," but once I fixed that, XEROX was easy. No idea what a ColorQube is. That is some gratuitous Q-action right there.
- 12D: Bond girl player in "The Girl With the Golden Gun" (EKLAND) — Britt. Heard of her, but can't picture her. Keep getting picture of Brett Somers from "Match Game" stuck in my head.
- 21D: They're straddled in pits (CELLI) — This reminds me: I did not like the clue on CAN I? There is nothing in "Please?" to suggest ungrammaticality or child-talk. If you're asking permission, it's MAY I?
- 51D: "Turnin ___" (2009 Keri Hilson hit) ("ME ON") — Now seems as good a time as any to remind you to remember the name Keri Hilson, because that KERI will come back to bite you, eventually.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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