Italian P.M. nicknamed Divo Giulio / WED 10-17-12 / Larklike songbird / August meteor shower / Trademark of 1899 that's no longer protected / Floor model caveat / Asgard ruler / Chantey subject
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Constructor: Peter Koetters
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: SQUARE / ROOTS (1D: With 55-Across, what the circled letters, reading clockwise, form) — circled letters form squares and contain the names of root vegetables.
Word of the Day: Giulio ANDREOTTI (60A: Italian P.M. nicknamed Divo Giulio) —
Giulio Andreotti (Italian pronunciation: [ˈʤuːljo andreˈɔtti]; born January 14, 1919) is an Italian politician of the now dissolved centrist Christian Democracy party. He served as the41st Prime Minister of Italy from 1972 to 1973, from 1976 to 1979 and from 1989 to 1992. He also served as Minister of the Interior (1954 and 1978), Defense Minister (1959–1966 and 1974) and Foreign Minister (1983–1989) and he has been a senator for life since 1991. He is also a journalist and author.
• • •
I had a ROOT canal today, so #$&% this puzzle for real.
ANDREOTTI (who? ... not many "EOT" words, I guess) and the much-hated PSEUD (52D: Pretentious sort) and a lot of just OK stuff. Considering the way the theme limits the fill, the fill is actually just fine. About as good as could be expected. I still didn't much enjoy solving it. I didn't even notice / need the squares, except in the SE, where I needed them but they were useless. Actually, the SE was light years harder than the rest of the grid. I was dead-stopped for a while, with only ISPS (a guess), OSU (a guess), DUELS (a near-certainty) and ARA (a certainty) in place. Never heard of ANDREOTTI, so royally screwed there. Couldn't see STATUE or PORTAL at all given their clues. Clue on USUAL meant nothing to me. Not sure why I didn't get SNAILS more quickly—all I could think of was SLUGS. Anyway, that was horribly rough, and everything else was medium to easy.
Liked DEEP SPACE. Had GROUP SETS (?!) for GROUPINGS. Couldn't spell PERSEIDS to save my life. Misremembered EPPIE (ugh) as ESSIE. Tried DEBUG for DEFOG. Went THOR before ODIN. No funlet seeing RUNLET, whatever the hell that is. Forgot that PIPIT was a thing. The whole puzzle is filled with very adequate, very crosswordy answers. Not crosswordesey, exactly, because that stuff rankles, but still very familiar in a see-it-in-crosswords-alot kind of way.
- 16A: Word on a lawn sign (ELECT) — Clever. Timely. Stumped me.
- 37A: Trademark of 1899 that's no longer protected (ASPIRIN) — dang, that's a Fri-Sat. clue. A good one, but tough. Needed many crosses.
- 4D: Greek capital, to airlines (ATH) — I hate ATH, as fill, but as ATH clues go, I'll take this one.
- 59D: Chantey subject (SEA) — never saw this clue. "Chantey" always looks to me like it's spelled wrong. I always expect "Shanty," which is a ramshackle hut, I think. Yes, I'm correct, but it turns out "shanty" is also an acceptable spelling of "chantey."
- 29D: Normandy vessels of '44 (LSTS) — now that *is* crosswordese (a little of which never hurt anyone).