Ice-T Ice Cube persona / SAT 9-24-11 / Warszawa instrumentalist / Disallowed FedEx destination / Museu do Indio site / Aarnio innovative furniture designer
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Constructor: Jeremy Horwitz
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: ELLEN Ochoa (13D: Astronaut Ochoa) —
Ellen Lauri Ochoa (born May 10, 1958) is a former astronaut and engineer, and current Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center. (wikipedia)
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Ha. More, please. I loved this puzzle, in part because I Smoked it, but in greater part because it's all-around fun, and [Bum rap?], in particular, is up there with the greatest clues of all time ("BABY GOT BACK").
I don't know what the record for "?" clues is, but this one has a ton: ten, to be exact. I tend to get annoyed around the half dozen mark, and today was no exception on that count, but today there was always some new revelation or joy to take away that annoyance almost as soon as it arose. The trickiest part of the whole puzzle for me was the NE, which wasn't really hard except I couldn't figure out what RESED meant or what it had to do with fixing ribs. Turns out the "Put" in 26A: Put on cloud nine is past tense, which means SENT, not SEND, which means the ribs are RESET, not RESED. Figuring out PREFER (9A: Go for first) and settling that RESED business took more time than anything else in the puzzle, and still I came in under 8 (Fast for me, for a Saturday).
I dropped in HEADLAMP instantly (1A: Bit of miner's gear), and had HEADLAMP, HEP, POSITIVE, and MOVIE THEATER (7D: Place to witness a big scene?) without even beginning to break a sweat. That NE corner put a little resistance into the puzzle (only know one Ochoa, and her name's LORENA), as did EVAS (not familiar to me) (27A: Spacewalks and moonwalks, briefly) and ARLEN (I always forget him—I know ARLEN better as the home of Hank and Peggy Hill) (45D: Composer nominated for an Oscar for "Blues in the Night"). Had MACRO for MS/DOS (34D: Kind of PC command), so that needed undoing. SIT UNDER is a weird expression (53A: Attend the lectures of), but it was inferrable. No idea who Wallis Simpson is, but there are only so many "titles" and with a few crosses, HER GRACE came up easily (49A: Title for Wallis Simpson). The biggest baffler of the day was [Bum rap?] ... "something about BABY ... GOATS? What the hell?" Always good to work up a high level of annoyance toward a clue and then, upon solution, have that annoyance change to an equally high level of admiration.
I had some vague memory of DEIMOS (4D: Martian moon) but let the crosses fill it in nonetheless. My Saturn moon knowledge is shaky, but I knew about FedEx and P.O. BOXes (22A: Disallowed FedEx destination) (and I had the "X" from LATEX), so I was able to polish of DEIMOS and move into the western portion of the grid. Not sure what I was looking for before AERIALS (37A: Once-common urban skyline sights), but I'm sure it was something Much more antiquated than the actual answer. I've almost completely forgotten high school trigonometry, so SECANT (57A: Curve-cutting line) needed some nudging from crosses, but wasn't too tough. TEA LEONI is a constructor's best friend if said constructor needs some eight-letter fill (58A: She played Jane in "Fun With Dick and Jane," 2005). Really wish she was in more stuff, so she didn't seem like eight-letter crosswordese. I thought "bloomers" in 59A: Where traditional bloomers gather were flowers, so ANKLES was a (pleasant) surprise. Never heard of "Warszawa," but three letters, starts with "E," instrumentalist—yeah, that's ENO (2D: "Warszawa" instrumentalist), just like "Fictional creature blah blah blah," three letters, starts with "E"—that's ENT. Also, a three-letter site for something Portuguese-sounding? Probably RIO (56D: Museu do Indio site).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld