Ab follower / SAT 6-16-12 / Brown drawer / New circulator in 2002 / Youngest member of 1990s girl group / About whom Obama said He is jackass But he's talented / Preprandial performance / Natural Bridges State park locale / Like anatomical anvils
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Constructor: Barry C. Silk
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (forgot to run the timer)
Word of the Day: ELUL (32A: Ab follower) —
Elul (Hebrew: אֱלוּל, Standard Elul Tiberian ʾĔlûl) is the twelfth month of the Jewish civil year and the sixth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. It is asummer month of 29 days. Elul usually occurs in August–September on the Gregorian calendar. [Ab (?) = Av = "Av (Hebrew: אָב, Standard Av Tiberian ʾĀḇ ; from Akkadian abu) is the eleventh month of the civil year and the fifth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. The name is Babylonian in origin and appeared in the Talmud around the 3rd century. This is the only month which is not named in the Bible. It is a summer month of 30 days. Av usually occurs in July–August on the Gregorian calendar.] (wikipedia)
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SANTA CRUZ, and they were the first college to accept me out of high school, and I've been there (6D: Natural Bridges State Beach locale) ... but my brain was automatically making the word end in "A" for no real good reason, and of course no famous city, or even moderately well known city, or any city that I know of, follows the SANTA C--A model. That should've been easy, and would've solved all my problems—the only real problems I had started there and ran down to PIP, my other stupid, stupid mistake. I had PIT (52D: Casino spot). And I mean I Had PIT and it wasn't going anywhere because it was obviously right, despite the fact that you cannot do Anything with ---TENSE. No, you can't. I tried. Looks reasonable, but Nothing will come of it. Only by revisiting [Casino spot] did I see how "spot" could be differently construed. So I died a slow ugly stupid death between PIP and SANTA CRUZ. Everything else was thorny but fun. Thorny and fun. Especially liked the KANYE WEST (31D: About whom Obama said "He is a jackass. But he's talented") / BABY SPICE (42A: Youngest member of a 1990s girl group) crossing. KANYE was tough to uncover, as I had -ANY- and knew the first letter was "C" or "K," but ... whose name is KAN? Or CAN? 'Cause surely that "Y" is the first letter of the second name ... right? No. Good thing I figured it out, as I had MASHER for WASHER (49A: AMANA product) and REDUCE for SEDUCE (55A: Try to get off the straight and narrow). Everything north and east of PUSSYCATS (26A: Unthreatening sorts) was a cake walk.
- 18A: Far Eastern marinade (TERIYAKI) — pretty easy, though my brain read this as "Middle Eastern" at first, so ... I've only had one glass of wine. I did have good friends over, though, so maybe wine + friends = softening of solving skills. That's what I get for being an ordinary social human being. Never again!
- 28A: Don Diego de la Vega, familiarly (ZORRO) — one of the few easy ones for me today. I used to read a ZORRO comic. Also, I had the -RRO before I ever saw the clue.
- 34A: Brown drawer (SCHULZ) — this is one of the Saturdayest clues I've ever seen, as both "Brown" and "drawer" have multiple possible meanings, making grasping the gist of the clue exceedingly tough. For "Brown" alone I went through color, university, and UPS ... didn't hit on name til late.
- 46A: Like anatomical anvils (OTIC) — just wanted to give a shout-out to one of the other gimmes in the puzzle. OTIC is an important four-letter word to have stocked in your crossword arsenal.
- 32D: New circulator of 2002 (EURO) — should've been a gimme, but I kept trying to think of magazine / newspaper names.
- 37D: Preprandial performance (MATINEE) — tough for me, as I don't associate MATINEEs with meals at all. MATINEE could be closer to lunch than dinner, right? Which would make it postprandial?