Second Punic War general / FRI 10-19-12 / Old English spa town / Bygone computer brand / He went down in Valley of Elah / 1997 title role for Depp / Patriarch who died at age 950 / Former attorney general in Iraq Study Group / Purple territory on some maps / Director of Evil Dead trilogy
Friday, October 19, 2012
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: LANCIA (45D: Italian automaker) —
Lancia Automobiles S.p.A. (Italian pronunciation: [ˈlantʃa]) is an Italian automobile manufacturer founded in 1906 by Vincenzo Lancia and which became part of the Fiat Group in 1969. The company has a long history of producing distinctive cars and also has a strong rally heritage. Some modern Lancias are seen as presenting a more luxurious alternative to the models in the Fiat range upon which they are based. One of the firm's trademarks is the use of letters of the Greek alphabet as the names of its models.
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ISMS got me SURE and MOBILE, and the whole NW went down from there. Only place I had even a minor struggle was in trying to get into the SW via the answers that ended up being GOLIATH (39D: He went down in the Valley of Elah) and MUNCIE (43D: Indiana city nicknamed "Middletown, U.S.A."). Eventually just got into that section via the tail ends of WALNUT SHELLS and STILETTO HEELS. Oh, and I couldn't figure out what ---S AROUND was for a while (27D: Ponders the possibilities of). And I wanted Don Juan DE MARCO where I ended up getting Donnie BRASCO (9D: 1997 Title role for Depp). I wonder if there are any absolute non-cinephiles out there who got Naticked by the SAM RAIMI / BRASCO cross (15A: Director of the "Evil Dead" trilogy).
Not much to say about this one, big picture-wise. Fill is (mostly) ultra-smooth, which is impressive given how much damned white space there is. I'm gonna go straight to Bullets and then to Bed because after back-to-back root canals, followed by a full teaching day, I need rest. And Vicodin. But mostly rest.
- 14A: Second Punic War general (SCIPIO) — I know this guy via a very circuitous, medievalist's route. Chaucer to Boethius to Macrobius to Cicero. Macrobius wrote a famous commentary on Cicero's Somnium Scipionis, or "Dream of SCIPIO," which was important in conveying classical ideas of Stoicism to a later Christian audience.
- 23A: Territory returned to France by the Treaty of Versailles (ALSACE) — not sure I *knew* this, but with a few crosses (and a lot of crossword experience), this answer bubbled up pretty fast.
- 42A: Old English spa town (EPSOM) — Eponym of the salts.
- 44A: Tom Jones hit written by Paul Anka ("SHE'S A LADY") — musical interlude
- 50D: Hill with a "slip face" (DUNE) — Absolutely stumped on this one. I thought maybe Hill was a person. ANITA? FAITH? HANK?
- 25D: Springfield bar (MOE'S) — too easy.
- 11D: Phoebe portrayer on "Friends" (LISA) — as in Kudrow. She has a new(ish) show "Web Therapy," which I've been meaning to check out.
- 3D: Quiet demanders (LIBRARIANS) — At first I thought "quiet" was an adjective here, and I was imagining some very soft-spoken kidnappers.