Stock pantomime character / SAT 3-30-13 / Orangish gem / Inti worshipers / Privateer who captained Blessed William / Wall St manipulators / Symbol of elasticity in economics / Mikado weapon / 1968 #2 hit with lyric my love for you is way out of line
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Constructor: Gareth Bain
Relative difficulty: Easy (maybe Easy-Medium)
Word of the Day: MOW (60D: Part of a barn) —
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Mostly very easy, with a couple sticky places. The stickiest was the SE, where EYEWASH is [Nonsense] and MOW is [Part of a barn]. Rural + olde-timey = place I do not live. I ran the alphabet to get the "W," and knew it was right only because I had a vague memory of seeing EYEWASH used in this capacity before in crosswords (as with SARD [Orangish gem], I have never seen it anywhere outside puzzles). I'd've gone with EYELASH and actress Gretchen MOL, but that's just because I hate the figurative and literal meanings of EYEWASH so much. Just ... off-putting somehow. But the rest of this grid is pretty nice. I do Not understand building a puzzle around THE AGING PROCESS (37A: Gerontologist's study). The THE makes it weird, and the phrase itself just has no pop. You've got one 15 here: make it count! But I do love the mid-range stuff, like PROM KING (5D: Alpha senior?) and "OH, PLEASE" and the delightfully creepy "YOUNG GIRL" (21D: 1968 #2 hit with the lyric "My love for you is way out of line"). I even like "I HATE MEN," despite never having heard of it—it was easy enough to infer from knowing the plot of "Taming of the Shrew" (38D: "Kiss Me, Kate" song). In a 70-worder, I'd rather not see stuff like STLO and IRT and MIRY and SARD and SNEE and any number of other short dull/common stuff, especially with nothing *terribly* interesting in the corners to offset it. So I liked it, but with a lower-case "L."
Wrote SCRIPTS in immediately and was surprised it worked out (1A: In-box material for some agents)—a rare obvious Saturday 1A. I don't know where PIERROT lives in my brain, but he's in there somewhere—I'm guessing crosswords put him there. I felt lucky to be able to piece that together pretty quickly. Felt right, then crosses confirmed it. I got MIRY off the "I"—that's how used I am to seeing that absurd word. Once I got "YOUNG GIRL," I was able to fan out in all directions. NE and E were astonishingly easy—probably Tuesday/Wednesday easy. Had some trouble in the SW until "I HATE MEN" broke it open. Then there was the SE, where I finished with that damn MOW / EYEWASH cross. Had a few odd missteps. Wanted to write in OGDEN (?) at 32A: Writer of the lines "Pigeons on the grass alas. / Pigeons on the grass alas" (STEIN). Is that Gertrude STEIN? It must be ... yep. It is.
Not much else to say. Didn't know a few things, like 45D: Annie once played by Ethel Merman (OAKLEY) or 53D: Privateer who captained the Blessed William (KIDD), but crosses took care of them pretty quickly. I don't really know what "Inti" is, but INCAS came readily (28D: Inti worshipers). I thought [XX] was a pretty damned clever clue for FEMALE.
I'm going to go bask in the warm afterglow of Michigan's OT win over Kansas now. It's been a long time since UM was good at basketball—you gotta go back to my first years in grad school—I got there the same year as the Fab Five. Good times. OK, bye.