Bone cavities / SAT 10-20-12 / Epic featuring Nero / Errant to Burns / Slender brooch / Carnival Tony winner Alberghetti
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Constructor: Ned White
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: BAR PIN (31D: Slender brooch) —
a long, slender, decorative pin or brooch. (dictionary.com)
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ANTRA. I couldn't have defined ANTRA to save my life (7D: Bone cavities), but once I saw the clue, my brain gremlins went back into their labyrinth of caves and shortly came back with ANTRA. So clearly I've seen it. It's stored in my brain with stuff like ANSA and ANSE and other things that don't look like words but are. I weirdly think about "QUO VADIS" a lot (32A: Epic featuring Nero), not because I know anything about it, but because every time I drive by nearby Davis College, I anagram "Davis" in as many ways as I can to form valid crossword answers (DIVAS, VADIS ... *maybe* VIDAS if you are willing to accept prose biographies of medieval troubadours or [Pitcher Blue and others]). Not sure why I would do this more than once, let alone every time I drive past, but I do. I've even imagined what SAVID would mean if it were, in fact, a word (somewhere near the regions of "smart" and "tasty"). Got NUOVA off the "N" without ever having heard of the place in question (47D: Milan's Porta ___), amended my UNC guess to UNH very quickly (53A: Durham sch.), without even waiting for confirmation from the cross ... crossword gremlins, man. They Work.
MYOPE, MDS, BAH (really YAH) and BYOB going in one after the other. Had MORNS for a while before the right answer dawned on me (rimshot!). Had to decide between ARE SO and AM TOO. Somehow got ST. LEO off just the -EO. Didn't know ANNA MARIA (11D: "Carnival!" Tony winner Alberghetti) but got ANNA and then figured the rest had to be MARIE or MARIA. Didn't know MICROWATT, but pieced together the MICRO part from the "small" in the clue and then got WATT from the "W" in BAWL. I know the phrase as GO JUMP IN A LAKE (the idea that the utterer of this phrase would have a specific lake in mind seems weird to me), but "THE" out-googles "A," so that's fine. Only just now figured out that the "Berlin" in 36A: Hit from Berlin ("PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ") is Irving Berlin. I just imagined someone singing it in a Caberet in Germany. Like ... maybe that was where it became famous? Doesn't matter. I got the whole thing off -ITZ. Also needed post-game cogitation to figure out what a ROOTER was vis-a-vis a FAN. I'd heard of a rotating fan, or oscillating fan, but never heard one called a ROOTER. But of course the FAN in question is the one that sits in the stands (or, if it's a Yankees FAN, goes home before the playoff game is over, leaving an embarrassing number of empty seats for all to see). No idea what a BAR PIN is until I looked it up, but almost everything else was at least reasonably familiar.
- 1A: Aid in football tackling drills (DUMMY BAG) — good answer, though it took a while to see. I couldn't remember what you called those damned things.
- 27A: Feathered 500-pounder of old (MOA) — first though: "BIG BIRD"
- 38A: The Chi-___ ("Oh Girl" group) (LITES) — musical interlude
- 42A: Designer of D.C.'s L'Enfant Plaza (PEI) — three letters, pretty easy guess.
- 62A: Port called the Cinderella of the Pacific (ENSENADA) — had the first "E" and "-ADA," so no problem. Pretty sure I've seen this clue before.
- 61A: Errant, to Burns (AGLEY) — yeah, I misspelled that. I thought that the best laid plans gang aft AGLAY. Silly me.