Agave fiber / SAT 7-7-12 / 1982 Donald Fagen hit subtitled "What a Beautiful World" / insect pupa sold as turtle food
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Constructor: Tim Croce
Relative difficulty: Definitely Saturdayish for me but that young punk Caleb Madison slayed it so maybe Fridayish for others, but I could totally see it flirting with impossibility for others. IN SUM, medium-challenging.
Word of the Day: WUSHU (Chinese martial arts, collectively) —
Per Wikipedia, but not the entry on wushu, "Chinese martial arts, also referred to by the Mandarin Chinese term wushu and popularly as kung fu or gung fu, are a number of fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in China." Remember, karate and judo are Japanese, not Chinese, and they're the ones with senseis and dojos. Kung fu gives you Keith Carradine, implausibly.
Hello! It is I, Amy Reynaldo, formerly known as Orange, longtime crossword blogger. Rex and I used to talk about writing each other's posts and mimicking one another's style, but it just seemed too much like we would be savagely parodying each other rather than demonstrating our mastery of writing in another's voice. (Wait. Is there a difference?) Anyway, I have taken Jeffrey's instructions to heart. I was going to refuse to use the word "wacky" but did you see what happened? Croce done gone and put it in his puzzle! [Like the Three Stooges], they're WACKY all right, but I bet a lot of pencil-and-paper solvers will declare them WACKO today.
Mind you, there was a gimme that let me break into the grid. That was 16a: [Title bandit in a Verdi work], ERNANI. And I know this exclusively from crosswords, so it's less fun to fill it in. There may be those among you who think it is fun to have squares you can fill in right away because you've done so damn many crosswords already but that's just sick. And not the sort of "sick" the kids talk about these days, meaning "totally, like, rad and phat." I mean the sick sick.
Before I go all ranty, let me outline what I liked just fine in the Bullets:
- 1a. [If ya get what I mean...], WINK, WINK, nudge, nudge. Didn't quite read the clue and had trouble finding the answer, but when the crossings put it together for me, I liked seeing it.
- 27a. AS GOOD AS GOLD ... but not as good as platinum.
- 42a. [1980s gangster sobriquet], THE TEFLON DON. Not, as it appears in the grid, The Tef London. Love the word "sobriquet." As in "Kingsford is a charcoal sobriquet."
- 56a. OLD NORSE! I'm fond of English words with Old Norse roots. Here's a list of them. The sleuth went berserk and ransacked his client's house. Awkward!
- 61a. Cute clue. [Complement from the chef?] is a SIDE DISH. Whereas a compliment from the chef is "Hey, baby, you're looking fi-i-ine tonight."
- 30d. WUSHU! [Chinese martial arts, collectively] is what that means. Good, because I've been wondering every time I drive past that Chicago Wushu joint. See? Crosswords really are educational. Don't call them up and ask if they can deliver the wushu pork.
- 57d. DUD is [One not going out with a bang?], as in a firecracker that refuses to blow up. Really, isn't that a gift? Those yahoos in San Diego who ruined the fireworks show this week by igniting three barges' worth of pyrotechnics in a matter of seconds could have used a few DUDs to interrupt their big "oops."
Signed, Amy Reynaldo, All-Powerful Creator and Goddess of CrossWorld