Aquatic dragonfly larva / SAT 6-30-12 / Fuzz Flap in comics / Cousin of kinkajou / German granny / Jumping ability in hoops lingo / Spec of Dust singer 1982 / Toilet playwright Jones
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Constructor: Tim Croce
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: Talisa SOTO (32A: "Licence to Kill" Bond girl Talisa) —
Talisa Soto (born March 27, 1967) is an American model and actress. [...] [S]he auditioned and landed the role of "India" in her feature debut, Spike of Bensonhurst, a comedy which starred Sasha Mitchell and Ernest Borgnine. In 1989, she was cast as Lupe Lamora, in the James Bond film Licence to Killstarring Timothy Dalton and as Maria Rivera in The Mambo Kings.
Soto has participated in more than twenty films, among which are: Mortal Kombat (1995) as Kitana; Island of the Dead as Melissa O'Keefe;Piñero (2001) as Sugar, starring Benjamin Bratt; and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002) as Ryne alongside Lucy Liu and Antonio Banderas. Soto also made two guest appearances on the television series C-16: FBI. In 1995, she played the role of Doña Julia, one of Johnny Depp's many love interests in the tongue-in-cheek romantic comedy Don Juan DeMarco, Depp playing the title role. She also made an appearance in Marc Anthony's music video for "I Need to Know". In 1996, Soto played the title role in the campy film Vampirella based on the comic book character. (wikipedia)
ONE FINGER SALUTE (1A: Bird) is the most original thing here, and even that wasn't as entertaining as it thought it was. Seems both crass and old-fashioned. I mean, hurray for colloquialisms, but I just didn't find this one that exciting. CALIFORNIA GIRLS is the new SCARLET TANAGERS (which was the new A LOT ON ONE'S PLATE). That is, I've seen it a bunch (or so it seems). A FIGHTING CHANCE isn't bad (17A: What every honest competitor deserves). I might actually like that better than 1A (friend of mine does *not* like that indefinite article, but I think the phrase coheres best with the "A" attached). But everything down below is dull. The rest: well, some it's OK, but a lot of is it crosswordese dressed up like it's something special (see clues on LOA, OLAV, ONO, TEL, NAIAD, ESE, OMA, AAAS, OCALA, UPS, CSA, etc.). 15 stacks are old hat—if you're going that route, make sure they really sizzle. Otherwise, use your 70 words to make a grid where "great" trumps "15."
I'm out of here for a while. A long while. I'll pop in now and again, but otherwise, you will be getting a host of guest bloggers for the next three or so weeks. And by "a host," I mean ... well, a lot. Some have filled in before, but fully eleven (by my count) have not. So be nice. And I'll see you in mid-late July.
- 18A: Fuzz and Flap, in the comics: Abbr. (LTS) — no idea which "comics" ... ah, "Beetle Bailey," I see. I don't believe anyone's actually read it since 1970. It lives on due to some strange (and enormous) MOMENT OF INERTIA.
- 28A: Jumping ability, in hoops lingo (UPS) — true enough. Wanted HOPS. No fit.
- 45A: Johann ___ Koss, speed skater with four Olympic golds (OLAV) — nothing more exciting than semi-obscure Olympians' middle names.
- 60A: "Spec of Dust" singer, 1982 (ONO) — no idea, but seeing three letters, I dropped ONO right in.
- 1D: Southern city called the Horse Capital of the World (OCALA) — "the world?" You'd think if you were the capital, then you'd have to be one of the top 100 cities I think of when I think of horses. But no. Top 500? No again.
- 14D: "CrazySexyCool" R&B trio (TLC) — early into the grid. Total gimme. They were massive in the '90s. I still often find "No Scrubs" running through my head for no particular reason.
- 24D: Cousin of a kinkajou (COATI) — No idea what a kinkajou is (some kind of Pokemon?), but I got this off the C- nonethless. Behold the Power of Crosswordese!
- 36D: "The Toilet" playwright Jones (LEROI) — wanted INIGO, but he was more stage designer than playwright.
- 53D: Eight-time Best Opera Recording Grammy winner (SOLTI) — this guy and other conductors like OZAWA and ARTURO TOSCANINI (who was the old A LOT ON ONE'S PLATE), show up a lot in crosswords. Even if you aren't that into classical music, you learn them.
- 63D: German granny (OMA) — better than a suffix? If you're German, I guess.