Coulrophobe's bugaboo / THU 6-15-12 / Curly-haired toon / O'Connor of Xena / Composer/conductor Webern / Posta stamp on una carta / Nobelist name of 1922 1975 / Rank smoke / Zesty casserole with crust
Friday, June 15, 2012
Constructor: Mark Diehl
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: KEN'S (56A: Big name in salad dressing) —
Ken's Foods is privately held food manufacturing company located in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Ken's primary products are salad dressings, sauces and marinades. The company's commercial food manufacturing divisions produce products both for retail sale and food service, including contract manufacturing for companies such as Newman's Own. (wikipedia)
• • •STIFF and FETE and quickly colonized the whole NW (big thumbs up to "I WANT MY MTV"; 17A: Catchphrase of the '80s). Then I moved fairly easily into the SW corner. Got slightly held up, what with not knowing AEREO (39A: Postal stamp on una carta) or IOLA (51A: Joe Hardy's girlfriend in the Hardy Boys books) or KENS, but I took a flier on WRISTLET and it proved smart. Also helped that WARWICK was a full-on gimme (36D: "Walk on By" singer) (I love Bacharach). Couldn't get into the NE on the first pass, so I followed CHARTRES (a near gimme) into the SE, thinking that would help me make short work of that corner. Oh so wrong. Couldn't get any of the Downs except REDID. Oh, and VAN, but even that felt like a total guess, since a BUS seems more suitable to an entire baseball team (53D: Transportation for many a Little League team). Didn't (and still don't) understand that clue on STOGY. I know a STOGY is a cigar, but what does "Rank" in the clue mean? Does it just mean that the "smoke" (a noun, referring to the cigar) stinks? Wow. OK. I think that's it. Well, that hurt. Also hurting: TWIXT (something in the clue should've signaled quaint/archaic, ouch), ELENA (who?), TACO PIE (eventually guessed the PIE, but to my knowledge I've never even seen one of these) (37D: Zesty casserole with a crust), LOVE APPLE (guessed the APPLE much later, after I'd gone back and conquered the NE), and GHOULS (like you, I had GHOSTS at first). PCP could've been LSD, I thought (52D D.E.A. target drug). Lucky guess on BOHR (49D: Nobelist name of 1922 and 1975).
WOLFGANG (31A: Puck, for one) or MOTIVE (35A: Envy, anger or greed, maybe) from the initial letters, so had to piece everything together slowly from the meagre amount of stuff I did know: LEON (18A: Rock's Kings of ___) and (less certainly) VINES (38A: Napa Valley sight) and (later, after VINES got me CALLING IN) RICCI. Changing GHOSTS to GHOULS really turned things for me. Oh, and changing LSD to PCP. Then CHILLAXING (great answer / 55A: Taking a load off) came into view and all was right with the world. So, if you're playing at home, that's Easy in the NW, Easy-Medium in the SW, Medium to Medium-Challenging in the NE, and Challenging in the SE, with the last section being the big winner in terms of determining the overall feel of the thing.
- 21A: Coulrophobe's bugaboo (CLOWN) — wow, that has a name? Cool. No idea. Ailurophobes are afraid of cats.
- 27A: Composer/conductor Webern (ANTON) — After Chekhov, I'm pretty much out of ANTONs.
- 40A: Patrick of "Barry Lyndon" (MAGEE) — Got this off the "M"—no idea how. I think my brain just dipped into the "Patricks we've seen before" vat and came up with it.
- 49A: Curly-haired toon (BOOP) — Took me forever. She does have curly hair (Betty BOOP), but somehow that's not the first thing I think of. It seems more spit-curled than curly, but maybe I'm splitting hairs (ha).
- 4D: O'Connor of "Xena" (RENÉE) — pfft, nope. Sure I've seen her before, but still, nope.