Coastal Brazilian state / TUE 2-19-13 / Ottoman nabob / Sainted king who inspired carol / Old one in Austria / Elongated fruit from tree / Pertaining to Hindu scriptures / Furry allies of Luke Skywalker
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Constructor: Barry Franklin and Sara Kaplan
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: Interrogative-ish — first syllables of theme answers (mostly) sound like question words "who" "what" "when" "where" "how" and "why"
Word of the Day: BAHIA (6D: Coastal Brazilian state) —
Bahia (local pronunciation: [baˈi.ɐ] is one of the 26 states of Brazil, and is located in the northeastern part of the country on the Atlantic coast. It is the fourth most populous Brazilian state after São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, and the fifth-largest in size. Bahia's capital is the city of Salvador, or more properly, São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos, and is located at the junction of the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of All Saints,officially first seen by European sailors in 1501. The name "bahia" is an archaic spelling of the Portuguese word baía, meaning "bay". (wikipedia)
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BAHIA + BEV = wretched. The latter is especially wretched because *utterly* unnecessary. Who says "BEV"? That's a woman's nickname, at best. Change that "B" to "R" or "N" or something that makes -EV recognizable. Do waitresses say "BEV?" Who Says BEV?! With the exception of LET IT SNOW (3D: Phrase sung three times in a row in a holiday song) and KNEE SOCKS (4D: Shin coverers) (both nice), the fill is so-so, at best. With six theme answers, this is perhaps not surprising. Anyway, I didn't enjoy this, partly because of the BAHIA / BEV thing, partly because of the multiple Christmas songs out of season, and partly because I've apparently been pronouncing WATSON wrong all these years. It's WHAT-son, is it? Those vowel sounds are from different worlds when I say them, whereas the others are pretty close matches.
- HOOVER DAM (18A: Construction on the Colorado River)
- WATSON AND CRICK (23A: DNA modelers)
- WENCESLAUS (I do not like the carol and I do not like the ridiculous spelling of this guy's name) (29A: Sainted king who inspired a carol)
- WEREWOLVES (these, I like) (41A: Lycanthropes)
- HOUSING PROJECT (45A: Publicly funded residential complex)
- WYATT EARP (55A: Lawman at the O.K. Corral)
Crosswordese expertise came in handy today—for the first time ever, I got PAPAW right off the bat (or more accurately off the "P") (1D: Elongated fruit from a tree). Recent puzzle of mine had the theme answer BEY OF PIGS, so BEY was front-of-brain (58D: Ottoman nabob). Konrad Adenauer was known as "Der ALTE," or so crosswords tell me; at any rate, ALTE's a gimme for me now (59A: Old one, in Austria). And everyone knows the EWOKS, or should (37A: Furry allies of Luke Skywalker). I have to say that while I don't like EELY or ERINS or TERRI (10D: Country singer Gibbs) in that NE corner, I do like VEDIC (11D: Pertaining to Hindu scriptures). It just looks cool. Also, I like PLANK, esp. as clued (12D: Pirate ship feature). Took me several crosses to pick it up, and when I got it, I thought, "Yes. That's good." I'm in the middle of a great comic about pirates right now—"Cursed Pirate Girl" by Jeremy Bastian. No PLANKs yet, but I'm only about half done.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld