Pinhead-size spy photo / TUE 9-11-12 / Red-skinned food / Rope for Ricardo / Fawning females / Val d Alpine skiing destination / Fleabag hotel for short / Medical hardening / Memorable 2011 hurricane
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Constructor: Kenneth Leeser
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: Capital homophones — wacky phrases: world capital followed by phrase that sounds like that capital.
Word of the Day: MICRODOT (10D: Pinhead-size spy photo) —
A microdot is text or an image substantially reduced in size onto a 1mm disc to prevent detection by unintended recipients. Microdots are normally circular around one millimetre in diameter but can be made into different shapes and sizes and made from various materials such as polyester. The name comes from the fact that the microdots have often been about the size and shape of atypographical dot, such as a period or the tittle of a lowercase i or j. It is, fundamentally, asteganographic approach to message protection. (wikipedia)
• • •EMINENCES? (36D: Popes and the like) SODA BATHS? (what are those?) SONNETIZE!? (35D: Write Shakespearean poetry) (I'm sure it's a word, but I teach Shakespeare on a regular basis and never see it) (further, while the sonnet was popularized in the Renaissance, it is not exclusively "Shakespearean"; plenty of writers in other ages wrote sonnets). The theme idea is cute enough. I wonder if it could be extended to other capitals (and even as I'm wondering this, I'm guessing the constructor already thought of this). It's certainly a serviceable puzzle, but likely not a memorable one.
- 24A: Lebanese water passage? (BEIRUT BAY ROUTE)
- 38A: Sudanese junkyard? (KHARTOUM CAR TOMB)
- 50A: Big shoe specification in Libya? (TRIPOLI TRIPLE E)
- 17A: Red-skinned food (EDAM) — nice, slightly oblique clue for this common answer.
- 29A: Nord's opposite (SUD) — north and south, in French.
- 31A: Fawning females (DOES) — I did not know that giving birth to a fawn was called "fawning," though ... it makes sense. Nice, tricky clue.
- 8D: Rope, for Ricardo (REATA) — I'm thinking Ricky, Lucy, light bondage.
- 13D: Val d'___ (Alpine skiing destination) (ISERE) — if you gotta use this Supercrosswordesey answer, I guess this is as good a clue as any.
- 21D: Fleabag hotel, for short (SRO) — single-room occupancy. I learned this term from crosswords, as I did the other SRO: standing room only.
- 53D: Memorable 2011 hurricane (IRENE) — I wonder if this was clued in 2011, because IRENE ... I don't remember her. But then again, I've never lived anywhere affected by hurricanes, so unless her name's Katrina, I'm not likely to remember her.