Kudlow Report airer / SAT 4-20-13 / Naturalist who coined term invertebrate / Its highest rank is Wonsu / Battle with Slum writer / Small meat-stuffed pastries / Thief star 1981
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Constructor: David Steinberg
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: PIROZHKI (35D: Small meat-stuffed pastries) —
Pirozhki (plural form of pirozhok, Russian: пирожок, пирожки, which means a little pirog), sometimes transliterated as pyrizhky from Ukrainian: пиріжки, is a generic word for individual-sized baked or fried buns stuffed with a variety of fillings. The stress in pirozhki is properly placed on the last syllable: [pʲiroʂˈkʲi]. Pirozhok (Russian: пирожок, singular) is the diminutive form of the Russian cognate pirog (Russian: пирог), which refers to a full-sized pie. The Russian plural of this word, pirogi (Russian: пироги, with the stress on the last syllable [pʲiroˈɡʲi][dubious ]), is not to be confused with pierogi (stress on "o" in English and Polish) in Polish cuisine, which are similar to the Russian pelmeni or Ukrainian vareniki. (wikipedia)
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SARD (48D: Reddish-brown quartz) and AH ME (34A: Wistful plaint) and BARI (50D: Adriatic seaport) and RIIS (29D: "The Battle With the Slum" writer) and RETE gets me so much leverage. GOIN' and RETE were enough to get me NEEDLENOSE (19A: Like some pliers), which started me rolling in the NW. I have "Thief" in my Netflix queue, so CAAN was a sweet gift from the gods today (24D: "Thief" star, 1981). CAAN got me CAJUNS, which instantly got me JAMBA JUICE (26D: California-based smoothie chain). Once the NW and SW were polished off—grinding halt. Total guess at CNBC (11A: "The Kudlow Report" airer). Tried XENO at 18A: Prefix with phobia before semi-stumbling onto RIAL (16A: Currency whose name can become its counry's name by changing its last letter to an N and scrambling). Then realized that 12D: Singer with the platinum album "Pink Friday" (NICKI MINAJ) was a gimme—a big, fat gimme. But I still couldn't get into the SE. Not from the west (I had no idea about LAMARCK (40A: Naturalist who coined the term "invertebrate") and I couldn't spell PIROZHKI to save my life) and not from the north (RANTAN is not in my vocabulary, and ... well I have no excuse for not getting CALZONE; I had the CA- and the -E. Should've been enough [39D: Trattoria selection]). ETAS and BARI, and then eventually RIMA, were *huge* in my being able to finish this thing off. Finished with the awkward HEAD TO TAIL (the gamut I know goes to the TOE, not the TAIL). I think the kids' book would be more likely to have the phrasing Z IS FOR ZEBRA. Z AS IN ZEBRA (46A: Children's book ending) doesn't make much sense in a children's book context—you're not trying to spell something else, you're showing a zebra. But anyway, that's a minor issue. I mostly really liked this. Perfect Saturday difficulty, lots of interesting longer answers, fine work.
Perhaps the biggest gimme in the whole puzzle was INDONESIAN (58A: Like Barack Obama's early schoolmates). Many of you were surely able to throw that down without any crosses, as I was. Still took me a lot of work to put that SE corner together, but INDONESIAN definitely helped. Much tougher to uncover KOREAN ARMY (56A: Its highest rank is Wonsu), which I wanted to be some kind of martial art. When BARNEY started to come into view at 13D: Five-time Emmy-winning role, my only thought was MILLER. Which didn't fit. Which puzzled me. I don't think I think of the Emmys as existing back during "The Andy Griffith Show." Odd. NICKI MINAJ and BARNEY FIFE make *awesome* grid companions. That's a couple I'd like to see on the red carpet.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld