Hoopster Stoudemire / WED 8-22-12 / Wall St. stat / Humanoid of Jewish folklore / Babes in Toyland composer / Wings in zoology / Remainder in Rouen
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Constructor: Peter A. Collins
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: STURM / UND / DRANG (38A: With 40- and 41-Across, 18th-century literary and musical movement) — it's just this phrase across, and then its translation running down (7D: WIth 36- and 53-Down, translation of 38-/40-/41-Across => STORM / AND / STRESS), and then the author "associated" with the phrase: JOHANN / GOETHE (45A: With 47-Across, writer associated with 38-/40-/41-Across). Grid has mirror rather than rotational symmetry, and is 15x16, presumably to accommodate the theme answers.
Word of the Day: Rio DE ORO (41D: Río ___ (African region)) —
Río de Oro (Spanish for "Gold River", Arabic: وادي الذهب wādī-að-ðahab, often transliterated as Oued Edhahab), is, with Saguia el-Hamra, one of the two territories that formed the Spanish province ofSpanish Sahara after 1969; it was originally taken as a Spanish colonial possession in the late 19th century. Its name seems to come from an east-westriver which was supposed to have run through it formerly. The river was thought to have largely dried out - a wadi, as the name indicates - or have disappeared underground. (wikipedia)
• • •
ISAOS), which I think is, possibly, the most absurd plural name in crossword history. Breathtaking, in that way that getting punched in the stomach is breathtaking. And this was before I had any idea what the theme was. I am going to say that, conservatively, 90+% of crossword solvers could not name a second ISAO. Thus, while more than one surely exists in the world ... no. Just no. ISAO on its own is already the worst kind of crosswordese, the stuff you use only if you're desperate to hold something good together. More than one? I'm trying to imagine the answer ESAIS. And failing (here: you can try it yourself—just look at 65A: Morales of "Caprica" (ESAI) and then imagine an "S" on the end).
DRAUGHT BOARD (25D: Place for an English king?; nice clue!) and "IT HAD TO BE YOU" (27D: One of Sam's tunes in "Casablanca"). But, even if you give the ordinary crosswordese a pass (which seems reasonable), you've got the truly junky set of ANES, ISAOS, DEORO, OYER, RHOMB, MONDE/RESTE, ALAE and OEN to contend with. Which is to say that outside the long stuff, it's not a pretty grid. Oh, I liked TECATE (54D: Mexican beer brand), because it felt new and interesting. Also liked clue on MARCO (same reason) (62A: Sen. Rubio). So it's not all bad. Just not nearly enough good.
- 16A: Hoopster Stoudemire (AMAR'E) — sic
- 17A: Humanoid of Jewish folklore (GOLEM) — I've known this word for a while, but I don't think it really settled into my brain for the long haul until I read Michael Chabon's "Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay," where a GOLEM figures prominently.
- 30A: "Babes in Toyland" composer (HERBERT) — the one answer in the puzzle about which I truly had no idea at all. Couldn't tell you the guy's first name. (Well, now I can: it's Victor)
- 32A: Wall St. stat (P.E. RATIO) — another good answer; really threw me. I briefly thought the answer would be PER AGIO (!?) and I think I would've just called it a night at that point.
- 70A: Moor growth (MOSS) — briefly thought the clue might be going the "Othello" route ("... Did Othello have a beard ...?"), but no.
P.S. hey you guys, did you know that the NYT crossword had Dr. DRE in it the other day?!! It's ... big news! I mean "news": See for yourself.