Dinah 1958 hit / SAT 10-27-12 / Talking car on Knight Rider / Iconic Broadway role for Cobb / British sci-fi author Reynolds / She outwitted Sherlock / Ephemeral decorative structure / Spinner's spot
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Constructor: Joon Pahk
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: "DEDE Dinah" (10D: "___ Dinah" (1958 hit)) —
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Another not-up-to-speed day for me, and my residual root canal pain is much diminished, so I don't know what my deal is. Looking back over the puzzle, I don't see anything particularly vexing—except the DE DE / D FLAT cross, which was my very least favorite part of the whole grid. Thank god there were only seven possible letters that could go in that slot, and only the consonants really made sense. DE DE won out only because DECE and DEBE and DEFE and DEGE all looked somewhat less plausible. I feel like most other parts of the puzzle came together reasonably easily, but he clock says I was poky. Ah well.
DJ BOOTH in a puzzle once (35A: Spinner's spot), in virtually the same place, but I think that puzzle got rejected. I can't remember what I did with it. Good memories. Anyway, intersecting DJ- answers = impressive. What the hell are OPERA HATS (53A: Some magicians' gear)? That answer was the main reason I had trouble getting into the SW corner. Are they different from TOP HATS? The only other thing that looked weird to me was ICE CASTLE (17A: Ephemeral decorative structure), but only because my only frame of reference for that answer is the 1980 movie "ICE CASTLEs," about the ice skater who has an accident and goes blind and then trains and skates again and there's a big finale where she skates great and no one knows she's blind and they throw roses on the ice and maybe she trips or something and then the crowd realizes what's up and then maybe Robbie Benson is there to help her up and then cue the theme from "ICE CASTLEs" (which charted, and which we had to play in band) and ... triumphant ending??? Speaking of ice skating, Midori ITO (24A: First female skater to land a triple/triple jump combination in competition).
Overall, this is a very impressive 70-word grid. Whatever UGH there is gets dwarfed by larger, eye-catching fill. The two answers that really struck me as fresh were, coincidentally, symmetrical: "LET'S ROCK!" (14D: "It's showtime") and DJOKOVIC (35D: 2011 Wimbledon champion). I made some mistakes here and there, most notably with SLUGS for CHUGS (31A: Gets down quickly) and DEFERENCE for REVERENCE (15A: It may be shown to a superior). But that's a pretty low number of missteps, especially for a Saturday. Maybe I was more methodical, less rash in filling in the grid (and maybe this has something to do with solving it on paper instead of on-screen).
- 20A: "Out of Sync" autobiographer (LANCE BASS) — assuming you know who he is, this is a nice clue. I had no idea until LANCE came into view; then, all of a sudden, the "Sync" part made sense (he was a member of the boy band N*SYNC).
- 33A: ___ Diggory, rival of Harry Potter (CEDRIC) — big fat gimme to start off my solving experience. Other gimmes included ITO and KITT (47A: Talking car on "Knight Rider") (acronym of "Knight Industries Two Thousand"). I'll be showing the movie "Knightriders" to my Arthurian Lit students later this term. No talking cars. Just jousters on motorcycles.
- 13D: British sci-fi author Reynolds (ALASTAIR) — now that I see the covers of his books, I've definitely heard of him, but the clue didn't ring any bells while I was solving.
- 52D: Iconic Broadway role for Cobb (LOMAN) — as in Willy. From "Death of a Salesman." Cobb is LEE J. (a 4-letter piece of ancient crosswordese that, thank god, you rarely see any more).
- 38A: When repeated, a Las Vegas casino (NEW YORK) — baffled, mainly because I never would've expected a solid answer with infinite cluing possibilities to be wasted on a [When doubled] clue. Evil genius cluing.
Tomorrow's puzzle is by me and Caleb Madison, so if you normally skip Sundays, well, don't. Just don't. Please don't. Thank you.