Breezing Up Fair Wind artist 1876 / FRI 4-20-12 / Part of intro to piece of Champagne Music / Old game co that made D&D / Advertiser with computer-generated mascot / Passage to Marseille actor 1944
Friday, April 20, 2012
Constructor: Mike Nothnagel
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: Winslow HOMER (50D: "Breezing Up (A Fair Wind)" artist, 1876) —
Winslow Homer (February 24, 1836 – September 29, 1910) was an American landscape painter andprintmaker, best known for his marine subjects. He is considered one of the foremost painters in 19th century America and a preeminent figure in American art.Largely self-taught, Homer began his career working as a commercial illustrator. He subsequently took up oil painting and produced major studio works characterized by the weight and density he exploited from the medium. He also worked extensively in watercolor, creating a fluid and prolific oeuvre, primarily chronicling his working vacations. (wikipedia)
• • •SLOANE (9D: ___ Crosley, author of the 2008 best seller "I Was Told There'd Be Cake"). Luckily, I knew the name, not because I've read her, but because I remember being in Barnes & Noble and picking up her book and thinking "who is this writer I've never heard of who has these good blurbs" and "huh, SLOANE is a cool name for a girl." I know *of* books more than I know books, sadly. Kind of embarrassing for someone with a Ph.D. in English, but I'm working on it. Anyway, everything else in the grid is common / famous. This didn't have the overall sizzle that I've come to expect from Nothnagel puzzles, but it did have LIKE HERDING CATS (36A: Frustratingly difficult), which (given the otherwise clean grid) is enough for me. Got started with Fred's iconic ASCOT and mostly roared forward from there.
ONE EGG). Then I remembered the last OMELET I had and thought "... light?" Was able to fix it when I realized that short people were probably not very well assisted by LOAMS (2D: Assistance for short people? = LOANS). If you say SLOANE's LOANS over and over you get this crazy infinite LOANS loop. Where was I? Oh, right, second hangup. Happened at the end, in the NE corner, where I Could Not get either BLEED (16A: Run) or COPAY (18A: Figure in a doctor's office) (esp. the latter) until I had all four of the first letters for each, and even then I had to think a bit. What, exactly, makes a cross-country trip an ODYSSEY? I mean, what's the magic ingredient that separates an ODYSSEY from a mere cross-country trip? Getting lost in rural Wisconsin? Getting caught in an epic, God's-Vengeance thunderstorm in Montana? (I've done both). Just curious.
- 23A: Old game co. that made D&D (TSR) — one of those crosswordy answers that I never quite feel I have a grasp on. "T ... something?" Today, I guessed and got it right on the first try.
- 24A: Tree with catkins (ALDER) — off the "A." I don't think I even knew that an ALDER *was* a kind of tree until I started doing crosswords.
- 46A: Part of the intro to a piece of "Champagne Music" (A-TWO) — proudest solving moment of the night. Got it off the "W." Something about the cluing just shouted out "Lawrence Welk! "A-One and A-TWO and ..."; I've watched a complete episode of "The Lawrence Welk Show" exactly never. It Still Airs On My Local PBS Station, in all its creepily soulless glory.
- 47A: Area in front of a basketball net, informally (PAINT) — first thought: CREASE (wrong sport).
- 61A: Advertiser with a computer-generated mascot (GEICO) — way to ruin the illusion, Mike!
- 63A: Thomas Cromwell's earldom (ESSEX) — through a path too circuitous to retrace, I learned just now that "The role of Anne of Cleves was played by actress and singer Joss Stone in the Showtime cable television series The Tudors." (wikipedia)
- 7D: Intl. soccer powerhouse (ARG.) — I went with ENG. at first. That's not ... laughably wrong, is it?
- 8D: Original airer of "The Jetsons" (ABC) — had the "A" so ... yeah.
- 15D: N.F.L. All-Pro player Chris (SNEE) — Played alongside Mike Snick. Quite a team, those two.
- 25D: "Passage to Marseille" actor, 1944 (LORRE) — Had "L---E" and struggled to come up with the name LOREN only to realize that's ridiculous for many reasons. LORNE Greene? Also ridiculous. Then hit on Peter LORRE. Of course.
- 60D: "___ Yu" (collection also known as "The Analects of Confucius") (LUN) — OK, so there's not *no* junk in this puzzle. Just very little. (side note: my Tigers are currently getting whipped by *Yu* Darvish—who will visit your puzzle one day, trust me—and the rest of the currently indestructible Texas Rangers)