Novelist Leverson / SAT 1-5-13 / City of 750,000 SW of Warsaw / Shrimp protrusion / 1998-2007 Lebanese president Lahoud / Self-titled debut album of 1991 / Writer Wilkinson of New Yorker / Constellation that looks like bent coat hanger / Graceful genie of myth / Where Wyatt Earp operated Dexter Saloon
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Constructor: Barry C. Silk
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: LODZ (30A: City of 750,000 SW of Warsaw) —
Łódź [...] is the third-largest city in Poland. Located in the central part of the country, it had a population of 742,387 in December 2009. It is the capital of Łódź Voivodeship, and is approximately 135 kilometres (84 mi) south-west of Warsaw. The city's coat of arms is an example of canting: depicting a boat, it alludes to the city's name which translates literally as "boat". (wikipedia)
• • •As is not unusual with a Silken Saturday, I tore this thing up. Took me only about a minute longer than yesterday's. Not complaining—it's a really well-made puzzle and it was very fun to solve and there were enough sticking points to keep it interesting. But yeah, I seem to have found Barry Silk's wavelength, finally, after years of trying. And I like it. Solid grid, cool fill, and smart, tricky cluing—everything a Saturday puzzle needs. I also think the central crossing is hilarious—I love the idea of a CRYPTOZOOLOGIST, tired of his fruitless search for Sasquatch, dedicating his skills to a new endeavor: the quest for WOODY WOODPECKER. The maniacal laughter is out there ...
There aren't many nits to pick. Would not have crossed DEL and DELCO. Unnecessary DEL repetition. Just change ORAL to OREM and bam, no double DEL. Also, this is the first time I've ever seen ADENI. I've grown accustomed to OMANI, but ADENI is gonna take some getting used to (10A: Certain Arabian Peninsula native). Other than that, I don't object to anything here. Any less-than-deal short stuff (and there's not much of it) is holding together some lovely long block of answers (the SE is particularly nice today). There were a whole host of names I did not know. Didn't know ALEXANDRA Pelosi (15A: Nancy Pelosi's Emmy-nominated daughter). No idea what her Emmy nom was for—let me see ... aha, six Emmy nominations for her documentary of Bush's 2000 campaign, called "Journeys with George" (which sounds more like a book in the Curious George series than a political documentary, frankly). ALEC Wilkinson? Er ... no, sorry. Not ringing bells. He seems quite accomplished, but I let my New Yorker subscription lapse over a decade ago,when they got rid of their cryptic (priorities). My literati credentials are further compromised by my failure to know the name of yet another writer in the grid: ADA Leverson (7D: Novelist Leverson). Forgot about LEW Hoad, though I did remember the L- part, for whatever reason (57D: Tennis's Hoad). EMILE Lahoud was also a mystery, which makes me sad (-ish), since his tenure wasn't that long ago (53A: 1998-2007 Lebanese president Lahoud).
I had to hunt down a typo when I was finished, and it ended up being in my misspelling of PAT BENATAR. Really want it to be BENETAR. But even though I didn't know that Wilkinson guy, I figured his name was unlikely to be ELEC, so: problem solved. The one nearly deadly area of the puzzle for me was the whole LLOYD / LODZ / ALDO nexus. Three names, none of which I was sure about. LLOYD Price could've been FLOYD Price, for all I knew. I think LODZ (30A: City of 750,000 SW of Warsaw) was BROZ at first—is that a place? Maybe I'm thinking of BRNO, which is most definitely a place. I wanted Wyatt Earp to be doing something in TAOS or WACO or some four-letter berg in the Old West, so NOME was something of a surprise (40A: Where Wyatt Earp operated the Dexter Saloon). Don't think I've seen "Monkey Business," so I needed a lot of help from crosses to get STOWAWAYS. Love the clue [Shrimp protrusion], which surely must have been a band name somewhere on the planet circa 1968. Also love the little Indian misdirection in 52D: Noted Indian burial site (AGRA). Finally, I'm a bit puzzled by the clue on LEO (54D: Constellation that looks like a bent coat hanger). What the hell does a "bent coat hanger" look like? You can make a bent coat hanger look like a Whole Lotta things. Why, I once saw someone turn a coat hanger into an uncanny profile of LEW Hoad ...
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld