Brewmaster's science / SAT 9-3-11 / German fantasy writer Michael / Photographer who once collaborated with Capote / Term for some morning deejays
Saturday, September 3, 2011
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Most of the puzzle didn't trouble me that much. Well, let me rephrase that. I made headway everywhere, but only the NE went down without any trouble at all. Guessed VOLTA (23A: Inventor of the battery in 1800) and was able to spread N and E from there pretty effectively. Eventually worked down and dropped in KINFOLK and LANES (50D: They're added in some infrastructure upgrades) more on gut feeling than certainty. Was sure one or both were wrong because they gave me FAP- as start of answer for 55A: Ninnies. This is because I had the infinitely reasonable SOP for 47D: Sponge. Not the stupid slang-no-one-uses SOT (actually, I mean that no one uses "sponge" to mean SOT ... and also no one uses SOT unless one does a lot of crosswords and is being facetious). I don't mind misleading clues, but that one rankled because "sponge" is such a reach for SOT. Probably rankled more because it was another glitch in the damned ERIC DANE corner. Somehow managed to get MORITA (46D: Actor Pat), which instantly clued MR. MIYAGI (which took effort to spell). And then I just crawled toward the end, piecing together the west (CHASEZ and its environs) block by block. Once I went with my gut on some of those little answers in the SW (the ugly ENDE (57D: German fantasy writer Michael), the ugly ADENO), then I finished that corner. Noticed FAPHEADS wasn't a word. Changed it. Last letter into the grid was either the "E" or the "Z" in CHASEZ. It's a shame the celeb names sucked the joy right out of this puzzle, because it had its moments. Loved ZOO CREW, VITAMIN D, TIZZY, and "SEZ WHO?" in particular.
- 6A: Broken thing in "Gimme a break" (KIT KAT BAR) — If that ad jingle weren't seared in my brain, this clue would make no sense. No reference to ads, or jingles. Looks like "Gimme a break" is a song or movie or something.
- 3D: Bibliolater (BOOKWORM) — at least I knew what "biblio" meant ...
- 26A: Extinct wingless bird (MOA) — Yay, N.Z. I know a little something about extinct birds from N.Z.
- 21A: Nobel-winning economist James (MEADE) — nope, never heard of him. Also, HARUM? Never heard of him either, which is not surprising, as I've never (or almost never) heard of David Noyes Westcott (52A: "David ___," Edward Noyes Westcott novel). I assume that if I have heard of him, it was bec. of a crossword that thought NOYES would be a good entry. And then there's Azerbaijani president Heydar Aliyev. Thumbs down to overreliance on names.
- 12D: Cleanser with the logo of a chick emerging from an egg (BON AMI) — gimme. Part of the reason the NE was so easy (comparatively).
- 13D: Photographer who once collaborated with Capote (AVEDON) — with -ON in place, easy to get.
- 34D: "The Tinker's Wedding" playwright (SYNGE) — yet another name I know *only* from crosswords.
- 28D: Ninth successor of St. Peter (PIUS I) — of course I don't have my popes memorized, but what's weird is—this is the name I wanted from the get go. I didn't write it in, of course, because how would I know the 10th pope? Also, I didn't write it in because I was convinced for a time that Mother Teresa was born in SKOKIE.