Early Wagner opera / SUN 4-1-12 / Disappearance of 7/2/1937 / University of Miami mascot / Old-time actress Talbot Naldi / Cassim's brother in classic tale / Terrestrial decapod / Botanical holder / Insect named for Virgin Mary
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Constructor: Patrick Merrell
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Of Course!" — common expressions with golf-related clues
Word of the Day: UNK. (91D: Anonymous: Abbr.) —
Anthony Platt (born March 28, 1982) commonly known as Unk, is a DJ/rapper. He began spinning records in 1998. After meeting DJ Jelly and DJ Montay, he joined their DJ entourage, the Southern Style DJs. They performed for high school parties, proms, pep rallies, and other events around the state of Georgia. In 2000 Big Oomp signed Unk to his label, Big Oomp Records. Some of his recent work has been featured on the 2K Sports NBA 2K9 game. He is known for his smash-hit Walk It Out. (wikipedia)
• • •Golf. Not my thing. Terms are familiar enough, and the grid (ugsome UNK, aside) seems solid. It's just that cute little golf puns aren't that cute to me. Probably a very satisfying puzzle for golf-lovers or people who like this kind of innocuous wordplay. I'm not this puzzle's ideal audience.
- 22A: Golf club repositioning? (CHANGE OF ADDRESS)
- 14D: Duffer's shots? (FOREPLAY)
- 40A: Hole in one? (STROKE OF LUCK)
- 49A: Comment after hitting a tee shot out of bounds? (BYE BYE, BIRDIE)
- 69A: Wedge shot from a worn-out practice range? (A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK)
- 90A: Use one club for all 18 holes? (PUTTER AROUND)
- 101A: Course not listed in guidebooks? (MISSING LINKS)
- 88D: Club thrown in disgust? (CAST IRON)
- 122A: Woods stowed in the rear of a golf cart? (BACK-SEAT DRIVERS)
Bottom of the grid was way, way harder than the top for me. This is largely the fault of RIENZI (93D: Early Wagner opera), which may as well have been any random series of six letters. Never heard of it. Never ever. Rough. But there was other roughness in the bottom half of the grid: ALL CASH had a kind of arbitrary clue on it (97D: Like a real-estate deal that doesn't involve a mortgage)—I was expecting something much more real-estate-specific. Robert Frost's middle name? &$^% if I know (LEE). Miami University's mascot is an IBIS? (112D: University of Miami mascot) They're the Hurricane, right? The Miami Hurricane? What the bleep? That's not Miami University OF OHIO is it? Nope (trivia: their mascot is "Swoop the Redhawk"). Even DSCS / ERIC gave me grief. No idea that ERIC was any Danish king's name, let alone the name of a whole lot of 'em (128A: Any of seven Danish kings). And DSCS could be DSOS ... thankfully I realized that ERIO was not a likely Danish name. Top half was largely a cinch, except for AMF (7D: Inits. in bowling lanes). Again, I ask, What the !@#? Stands for "American Machine and Foundry," and according to Wikipedia, "American Machine and Foundry or AMF was founded in 1900 and was once one of the largest recreational equipment companies in the United States." Trying to figure out why this wasn't ALF (a much more reasonable, and cluable, answer). At first I thought it was because the resulting cross, HOLE, was somewhere else in the grid, in a golf answer. But no. Oh, wait—HOLE is in the clue for STROKE OF LUCK. Maybe that's it. Anyway, the point is, ALF / HOLE beats, nay, destroys AMF / HOME.
- 26A: Botanical holder (TENDRIL) — that's a pretty difficult clue. Took many crosses to uncover the answer.
- 37A: Jennifer of tennis (CAPRIATI) — you have to be a tennis fan *and* (probably) of a certain age (certainly over 30) for this to be easy (as it was for me).
- 53A: Insect named for the Virgin Mary (LADYBUG) — I had no idea. Cool trivia. I filled this answer in without ever looking at the clue. Same thing with BYE BYE BIRDIE, come to think of it.
- 77A: Disappearance of 7/2/1937 (EARHART) — I was just reading a Nat'l Geographic cover story on The Titanic. Speaking of disappearances, I mean.
- 99A: Old-time actress Talbot or Naldi (NITA) — I forgot about Talbot. Naldi is a gimme.
- 4D: Terrestrial decapod (LAND CRAB) — didn't know that was a species. Sounds as real as "land shark."
- 35D: Sport named for a British boarding school (RUGBY) — more cool trivia. News to me.
- 54D: Cassim's brother in a classic tale (ALI BABA) — clue was meaningless to me, but with a few crosses, ALI BABA came into view. I was thinking "man, this dude better be famous..." And lo ...