Mother of Valkyries / FRI 5-4-12 / Designer Gernreich / Goldeneye relative / Jazzman Montgomery / ESPN anchor Kolber / Holden Irving Bacheller novel / Follower of Help / Emergency extractor
Friday, May 4, 2012
Constructor: Barry C. Silk
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: TEXAS STAR (32A: Ferris wheel in Dallas that is the tallest in North America) —
Texas Star is the tallest Ferris wheel in North America. It is located at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas, and operates during the annual State Fair of Texas, where it is the most popular ride.The structure has an overall height of 212 feet (64.6 m) (approximately 21 stories) and can carry up to 264 passengers in its 44 gondolas. It will be superseded as the tallest Ferris wheel in North America if the proposed 286-foot (87 m) Pepsi Globe proposed for American Dream Meadowlands, in New Jersey, is constructed. (wikipedia)
• • •ERDA (14D: Mother of the Valkyries) / PENNA (21A: Only one of the 13 Colonies not touching the Atl. Ocean) is particularly unpretty (I'd change the "A" to an "E"—sure ERDE (German for "earth") is bad, but worse than "ERDA?" I doubt it. And PENNE beats PENNA hollow); the DEALER / DRY MOP (42A: Collector of dust bunnies) crossing—not knowing that single letter (even with -EALER in place) meant I was way slower getting into the SE than I would've liked; and the SW, where side-by-side obscure names really took the wind out of my sails. I just realized that if a solvers have never heard of ODER-NEISSE (54A: ___ Line (international boundary)), they are likely screwed in that corner, as RUDI (46D: Designer Gernreich) and EBEN (47D: "___ Holden" (Irving Bacheller novel)) are not exactly household names.
When I saw -EALER for 42D: Crack investigator's target?, I thought the answer might be SEALER. Because ... you seal cracks? It made a kind of sense at the time.
This puzzle lost me at 1A: Goldeneye relative (SMEW) (I got "goldeneye" confused with "goldenrod"—a SMEW is a duck), but then immediately got me back with the highly-made-up-yet-exciting SIXERSGAME (1D: Wells Fargo Center event, informally). Then I was permanently won over at JAWS OF LIFE (5A: Emergency extractor). Is that a NYT xword first? So good! Really really hate ODER-NEISSE as an answer (an old, not-loved grid denizen), but then along comes "RUBBER SOUL" to ease the pain (50A: Follower of "Help!"). MAELSTROM's a lovely word (37A: Very turbulent situation). I don't know ... with the exception of a few fill hiccups, this looks nice in retrospect.
- 17A: Jags of the 1960s and '70s (XKES) — a crossword gimme, though often the letters come back to me all out of sorts. "X ... J .. Ks?"
- 34A: Angle in botany (AXIL) — another crossword gimme; got it off the "I"
- 43A: ESPN anchor Kolber (SUZY) — she's pretty well known to ESPN-watchers. There's a popular NFL humor blog called "Kissing SUZY Kolber."
- 4D: Jazzman Montgomery (WES) — first word in the grid! This has become yet another crossword gimme for me.
- 20D: Three-time All-Star pitcher Pappas (MILT) — under the influence of the election season, I misremembered this guy as a MITT.
- 24D: Annual "Hot 100" publisher (MAXIM) — good clue, absurd magazine.
- 28D: Cardinal for 22 years (STAN MUSIAL) — I think I'd have gotten this with no crosses. He's The Cardinal.
- 51D: "Still Crazy" star, 1998 (REA) — wow, 1998 is a dark dark hole for me, movie-wise. Once I had -EA, I was fairly sure who I was dealing with, though.