Classical name of Troy / THU 4-14-11 / David of infomercials / Commercial prefix with dyne / Gravlax ingredient / Wahhabi's belief
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Constructor: Pete Muller
Relative difficulty: Challenging [but, then again, I never saw the "note," which *might* have made things easier/clearer—the downloaded puzzle I used had *no* indication there even was a note. . . annoying]
THEME: UMBRELLA — "UMBRELLA" is the clue for four theme answers, only it's found not in the clues, but inside circled squares, which, when connected form an approximation of the shape of an UMBRELLA. All theme answers are clued only by empty brackets.
Puzzle note: (not visible unless hunted down under one of the toolbar menus in my software program): "Four answers in this puzzle are missing the same eight-letter clue - a single word that can be spelled from the eight circled letters. When the puzzle is done, connect the circled letters in order with a line, and you will get an outline of the object the word names."
Word of the Day: RADO (33A: Pricey Swiss watch brand) —
Rado is a Swiss manufacturer of watches, with headquarters in Lengnau, Switzerland. It is noted for its use of scratch-proof materials, a field in which it is considered a pioneer. Today the company produces about half a million watches a year with a staff of about 470 in total. [...] RADO watches vary in pricing according to model, age and materials but the core collection of RADO pieces will range from about US$700 to about US$28,000. Models that include pave dials of diamonds and baguette diamonds can cost approximately US $30,000 to $250,000. (wikipedia)
This took a while, and was not entirely pleasant. Creative and memorable, though, I'll give it that. The empty-set clues for the theme answers made the experience frustrating, which I guess was the point. Wasn't sure if TRAVELERSLOGO was TRAVELER'S LOGO or TRAVELERS LOGO, and in both cases the logos that were presenting themselves to my brain were wrong. Could think only of the haloed Good Samaritan guy you see on stickers on RVs, or else the bear from TRAVELODGE. SHADE PROVIDER = elm, of course. GENE KELLY PROP? Uh ... cane? Only with the HIT FOR RIHANNA did I realize what the puzzle was getting at. Never heard of RADO (33A: Pricey Swiss watch brand), did not know ORECK was associated with infomercials (29D: David of infomercials), forgot about ILION despite teaching Trojan War literature all the time (had ILIUM, which is also right) (12D: Classical name of Troy), never Ever heard of whatever TELEdyne is (40A: Commercial prefix with dyne), blanked on the Hebrew month NISAN (49D: Passover month), can't believe I had to deal with RANDR twice in one week (38D: Service break), and ... and then there's APISH! (10A: Imitative) Took me about 50% longer than my average Thursdays of late. But I got it, and mostly enjoyed the struggle. The UMBRELLA shape (created by the circles) doesn't look Terrible, except for the handle. What the hell? The distance between "U" and "M" is comical. That "U" should be where the second "E" in ELOPED is.
My favorite moment of the solve—wondering what the hell kind of temple features LAPDANCEs (40D: Temple performance). Turns out it's Shirley Temple, and actual answers is TAPDANCE. "Ohhhhhhh.... nevermind."
Cluing was tricky. Started out with clues about docks and pirates, and answers that had nothing to do with the ocean. I know ARIEL as a servant of Prospero and as a book of poetry by Sylvia Plath, not as a Durant (20A: One of the Durants who wrote "The Story of Civilization"). "Gumbo" comes from BANTU. Whu knu? ILLE Pu! (43A: Langauge from which "gumbo" comes) I know what a snow leopard is, but chamois? Isn't that what you use to clean your car? (66A: Where chamois and snow leopards live: Abbr.=>MTNS) Don't remember what gravlax is at all. Sounds like an OTC medicine: "For Serious Constipation: GRAVLAX." Twyla THARP is my homegirl (25D: "Movin' Out" choreographer) ... well, she attended my alma mater, and her last name is one letter (one step in the alphabet) off from my own (real) name, so ... good enough (yes, my real name is UHARP). Weird that I though TRAVELER'S LOGO was related to a halo and then got HALOS at 14D: Nickname for the Anaheim Angels. RADO / RADON intersection is at least mildly unfortunate (intersecting identical four-letter strings not being ideal). This puzzle is 16x15. The end.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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