Champion cyclist Leipheimer / SAT 4-9-11 / Japanese folk music swing feel / Singer/songwriter Vienna / 1979 negotiation / Pied wader / TV angel Munroe
Saturday, April 9, 2011
is a type of Japanese folk music genre. (wikipedia—rest of the write-up is terribly written, with no cited sources, and I can't find anything useful elsewhere on the internet. Most ONDO defs. give it as a place name in Nigeria... there appear to be two main types of ONDO, Goshu and Kawachi; do (non-Japanese) people really know this???)
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I've had better times solving puzzles. This one felt very uneven—super-easy everywhere but the SW, which felt normal, and NE, which was nearly impossible for me. So many strange names I'd just never heard of. EDNA BEST is the one that killed me (26A: "The Man Who Knew Too Much" co-star); I stupidly had ALDERS instead of ALDENS at 10D: "The Courtship of Miles Standish" couple, and so figured I was dealing with ED somebody (not knowing anyone in "The Man Who Knew Too Much" besides Jimmy Stewart ... turns out EDNA BEST was in the earlier, 1934 version, with Peter Lorre ... ??? ... not the '56 Jimmy Stewart remake). ED RABEST? Yeesh. Some cyclist named LEVI? (18A: Champion cyclist Leipheimer) Somebody else named TENG? (40A: Singer/songwriter Vienna ___) And what's up with the clue for WORK? (11A: A bummer for bums) I see now which meaning of "bum" they were going for, but the clue really reads as if I'm supposed to see tramps or vagrants as people who are poor simply because they don't like to WORK. Anyway, that corner was awful. Much of the rest of the puzzle was lovely, though loopy stuff like ONDO and STANE (53D: ___ Street (road from London Bridge to Chichester)) and BONITO (1D: Mackerel family member) I could really have done without. Really unfortunate to have pretty stuff like MRS. ROBINSON (23D: "Here's to you" recipient) and WOLF BLITZER and NO MAN'S LAND (17A: Unclaimed stretch) offset by junky little names and obscurities.
Went BROTHS to THUMP to PEU and was off to the races. Slowed down somewhat by Yet Another actor's name—though luckily this was the most common actor in all of crossworld, so once I picked up enough crosses, he went down. Didn't know that meaning of SCAR (35A: Protruding rock). ONDO schmondo. But I got out of there and over to the SE, which went down like a Wednesday (STANE notwithstaneding). Then there was just the NE, where I spent well over half my solving time. Tried something-PULITZER (?) before realizing "Emmy" meant TV, and finally mentally rolodexing my way to WOLF BLITZER. Had OATH for 16A: Shakespeare's "temple-haunting martlet" is a good one (OMEN). Had OOH for AAH (27D: "That's nice"). If I hadn't serendipitously come up with SALT II (30A: 1979 negotiation), with just the S and L in place, I don't now what I would have done. Wish I'd remembered Madame Defarge, but I just drew a huge blank (decades since I read "A Tale of Two Cities") (14D: Madame Defarge's sinister craft=>KNITTING).
- 1A: Network since 1998 (BBC AMERICA) — looks pretty good in the grid. Easy to get once the second B and C were in there.
- 28A: Seattle sea hawks (OSPREYS) — clever, but not at all tricky.
- 38A: "War With the Newts" novelist, 1936 (CAPEK) — he of "R.U.R." fame.
- 58A: "___ Boys" (1886 sequel) ("JO'S") — nice fat gimme. Strangely, I wanted JOS. PULITZER where WOLF BLITZER ended up going.
- 48D: Highball with white rum (MOJITO) — popular drink. Never heard the word "highball" anywhere around it, but since a "highball" is just a drink with alcohol and a larger portion of non-alcoholic mixer, the label fits.
- 57D: Supermodel Benitez (ELSA) — nooo idea.
- 49D: Pied wader (AVOCET) — an important crossword bird.
- 52D: Apache topper (ROTOR) — the helicopter, not the native American.
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