Ghostbuster Spengler / SUN 5-19-13 / NASA spacewalks in brief / Taverna offering / One of three Canadian aboriginal groups / Ristorante menu suffix / Twiggy's look in 60s fashion / Like Nasser's vision
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Constructor: Jean O'Conor
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "Befitting" — V-sounds are changed to B-sounds in common phrases, resulting in wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style
- 23A: Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic? (TENNIS SERBS)
- 28A: Tour guide's comment at the primate house? (THAT'S A GIBBON) — Love
- 33A: Sign for tourists visiting the Bolshoi? (BALLET PARKING)
- 51A: Tropical paradise for Barbie and Ken? (BALI OF THE DOLLS) — "Bali" and "Valley" sound nothing alike to my ears, so this one feels off to me ...
- 65A: Let Justin take care of everything? (LEAVE IT TO BIEBER) — Great, except for the inconsistency of a. not changing that first "V" and b. having a "B" that is *not* the result of a change. You'll note that none of the other theme answers suffer from either a. or b.
- 84A: Passed security at the troubadours' convention? (SHOWED A BALLAD I.D.) — Insane, in a good way
- 97A: Prepare to go canoeing? (GET OUT THE BOAT)
- 107A: Stadium binge? (HOT DOG BENDER) — Love x 2
- 116A: Fortunetellers' protest demand? (SIBYL RIGHTS)
Word of the Day: BAO (117D: Chinese steamed bun) —
A bāozi or simply known as bao, bau, humbow, nunu, bausak, pow or pau is a type of steamed, filled bun or bread-like (i.e. made with yeast) item in various Chinese cuisines, as there is much variation as to the fillings and the preparations. In its bun-like aspect it is very similar to the traditional Chinese mantou. It can be filled with meat and/or vegetarian fillings. // Two types are found in most parts of China: Dabao, measuring about 10 cm across, served individually, and usually purchased for take-away. The other type, xiaobao, measure approximately 5 cm wide, and are most commonly eaten in restaurants. Each order consists of a steamer containing about 10 pieces. A small ceramic dish is provided for vinegar or soy sauce, both of which are available in bottles at the table, along with chilli paste. (wikipedia)
• • •
EMILIE (I'm supposed to know all the names of 79-year-old quintuplets?) (5D: One of the Dionne quints) and RITARD. (I'd give you RIT., but a six-letter "abbr." I will Not give you) (26D: Slowing down, musically: Abbr.). Found most of the puzzle very easy, but there was one little patch with a difficulty level All Out of Proportion to the rest of the grid—specifically, that 4x5 area in the south bounded on the west by ESSA (?) (109D: She, in Salerno). I had ELLA, so that didn't help. Had RIOT for 110D: Laughable (yeah, it doesn't work, part-of-speech-wise, but it was the best I could do at the time). Had no idea GYROs were associated with "Tavernas" (11D: Taverna offering). And totally forgot (because I barely ever knew) BAO. Oh, and then there's the two-word A HOOT (124A: Something hilarious). Not sure what I was looking for, but I know it didn't involve "A." And if I hadn't known the theme, SIBYL would've been Very hard to come up with. It was pretty hard to come up with as it was. So I spent probably two minutes or so fumbling around down there, and only 10 or so minutes on the entire rest of the grid.
- 31A: Twiggy's look in '60s fashion (WAIF) — do we need "in '60s fashion" here? Also, something about the "look" = WAIF equivalence feels ever-so off to me.
- 74A: Like Nasser's vision (PAN-ARAB) — Everything (and I mean everything) I know about NASSER I learned from crosswords. For instance, he was the president of UAR, an important territory on the "Crosswordese!" game board.
- 93A: One of three Canadian aboriginal groups (MÉTIS) — let it never be said that comic books (or, in this case, "graphic biographies") aren't educational. I learned about MÉTIS from the excellent graphic biography Louis Riel by Chester Brown. Gorgeous work. Highly recommended.
- 104A: Ghostbuster Spengler (EGON) — ha ha. How many other EGONS can you name? (I'm guessing two)
- 111A: Displayed an "Oh my God" reaction (GRIMACED) — first, "OMG" will do. Second, when I say "oh my God," I am rarely grimacing. More likely, I'm [Wide-eyed and open-mouthed] (AGOG).
- 39D: Ristorante menu suffix (-INI) — not great, but not a lot you can do when the theme answer placement is locking you into I-I.
- 114D: British mil. decorations (DSOS) — how many of these are there. I've seen this kind of clue a million times, and still it's all just alphabet soup to me.
Bridge Crosswords. If you are a fan of bridge and crosswords, or just crosswords (and want a challenge), pick it up now.