Female charmer of myth / FRI 11-11-11 / Norse equivalent of Mars / Layer of green eggs / Denigrates British slang
Friday, November 11, 2011
Constructor: Alex Vratsanos
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: 11 — not a theme, really; just an arrangement of black squares
Word of the Day: O.P.A. (48A: W.W. II rationing org.) —
The Office of Price Administration (OPA) was established within the Office for Emergency Management of the United States government by Executive Order 8875 on August 28, 1941. The functions of the OPA was originally to control money (price controls) and rents after the outbreak of World War II. // President Franklin D. Roosevelt revived the Advisory Commission to World War I Council on National Defense on May 29, 1940, to include Price Stabilization and Consumer Protection Divisions. Both divisions merged to become the Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply (OPACS) within the Office for Emergency Management by Executive Order 8734, April 11, 1941. Civil supply functions were transferred to the Office of Production Management. // It became an independent agency under the Emergency Price Control Act, January 30, 1942. The OPA had the power to place ceilings on all prices except agricultural commodities, and to ration scarce supplies of other items, including tires, automobiles, shoes, nylon, sugar, gasoline, fuel oil, coffee, meats and processed foods. At the peak, almost 90% of retail food prices were frozen. It could also authorize subsidies for production of some of those commodities. (wikipedia)
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This was a little disappointing, only because I knew an "11" tribute puzzle was coming, and I expected something thematic, not just a black square arrangement. As themeless puzzles go, this one is OK. Long answers are nice, short answers are ... not so nice, often. Is all the 3-to-5-letter muck worth three decent 15s? Maybe. I really like IN FITS AND STARTS, CRIMINALIZATION, and SPRINKLER SYSTEM. I'm less keen on NATES and ENTOM. and OPA, as well as the slew of less irksome but still overly common stuff. This includes a rather large gathering of names from the Pantheon of Crosswordese: ARIE, DINA, CALE, ESAI. But I read that this is actually a much more polished version of the grid that was originally submitted, so let's just admire that damn "11" and be glad that the puzzle hangs together fairly well, without any particularly horrible patches.
Weird revelation of the day: I have no idea what "Concentration" is (old game show). Had -WE for 34D: "Concentration" pronoun (EWE) and wrote in I/WE.
- 4A: Media inits. since 1927 (BBC) — I think I wanted UPI. I wrote in RPI (which is a school).
- 7A: Music genre of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones (SKA) — They're from Bos-ton. Get it?
- 36A: Denigrates, in British slang (SLAGS) — first guess correct! I usually tank British slang clues.
- 39A: Things gotten with a credit card, often (MILES) — me: DEBTS.
- 41A: Atlanta sch. with 30,000+ students (GSU) — Flat-out guess. It's big, it's in Georgia, it's abbrev'd. ... bingo.
- 44A: Carrie Chapman ___, founder of the League of Women Voters (CATT) — Took me a while to accept this answer, as I get my suffragists mixed up with my teetotalers (for good reason), and thus couldn't get Carrie Nation out of my head.
- 49A: Norse equivalent of Mars (TYR) — not the best known of the Norse gods. I learned about him from crosswords.
- 51A: Female charmer of myth (LORELEI) — as 7-letter answers go, this one is pretty common. Always good to store away words and names made up mostly of vowels.
- 2D: 1940 Crosby/Lamour/Hope comedy ("ROAD TO SINGAPORE") — I knew it was "ROAD TO..." something. From there, I let ESAI and GSU guide me to the right destination.
- 10D: Carnegie Hall debut of 1928, with "An" ("AMERICAN IN PARIS") — Gershwin.
- 31D: Layer of green eggs (EMU) — Considered briefly whether ROE was indeed green. Then got the joke.