Eponymous Dr. Asperger / SAT 8-3-13 / Poor Little Fool hit maker 1958 / Baker's dozen for Beatles for short / Ersatz blazer / Copier giant absorbed / Tree also known as sugar apple / Conan O'Brien's employer 88 to 91 / Sex is emotion in motion speaker / Empire State tech school
Saturday, August 3, 2013
Constructor: Brad Wilber and Doug Peterson
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: Danny ELFMAN (19A: Danny who composed the theme music for "The Simpsons") —
Daniel Robert "Danny" Elfman (born May 29, 1953) is an American composer, known as the lead singer and songwriter for the rock band Oingo Boingo, from 1976 to 1995 and later for scoring music for television and film and creating The Simpsons main title theme as well as the 1989 Batman movie theme. He has scored the majority of the films for his long-time friend Tim Burton. (wikipedia)
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TO A FARE-THEE-WELL (!?!) really wrecked me in the SW, where I spent as much time as I did on the rest of the puzzle (or close to it). That answer, and my mistakenly writing in MALL RAT for 38D: Banana Republic defender, maybe (MALL COP), kept all those long Acrosses in the SW hidden from me for far too long. Aargh. SWEET SOP (1D: Tree also known as a sugar apple) didn't do me any favors either (never heard of it; seems like the kind of tree one might sit under while using the expression "TO A FARE-THEE-WELL" and wearing a straw hat and wooing fair Mildred, prettiest girl in all Topeka). I also don't know what GOLDEN SPIKE is (56A: Image on Utah's state quarter). So now that I'm talking this out, I see it really was Not up my alley, which is exceedingly rare in a Wilber or Peterson or Wilber/Peterson production. I still thought it was a wonderful, entertaining, well-constructed puzzle. Just challenging (to me) in ways that highlighted my ignorance rather than challenged my clue-interpreting skills—although the puzzle did that too, I guess. Just not in the hardest parts.
ENORME, ADES, ANIN), but the overall effect up there is still pretty lovely. The stacks are gorgeous, and there's so much attractive material thrown into the joints and sinews of the grid that I never got bored—great clues and unexpected answers kept turning up all over. With the exception of the few answers I listed above, it really is a remarkably clean and crisp puzzle. HIS MASTER'S VOICE (12D: 1899 painting used to promote gramophones) was weirdly easy for me because of all the 1923 newspapers I've been looking at—Victor has ads for new records in the paper every week, and they all feature that damn dog next to that damn phonograph (gramophone?). I stumbled a bit in places. RAMA for KAMA (25A: Hindu god often depicted with a bow and arrow). LAB MICE for PET MICE. HID for DID—a deadly clue (51D: Got out of the way). Oh, another disaster in the SW—I had the "O" and instantly wrote in OBERON for 41D: Speaker of Shakespeare's "If music be the food of love, play on" (ORSINO). Aargh, again, I say. Oh, also I had RIT for RPI at first (39A: Empire State tech school).
Doug says TO A FARE-THEE-WELL was all Brad's idea, so assign praise, blame or indifference where it is due.
- 18A: "Poor Little Fool" hitmaker, 1958 (RICKY NELSON) — I could sing it to myself, but could Not remember the singer (until I did). I was just thinking lately how weird it is that I've published only a dozen or so puzzles, but two of them have contained Ricky Nelson songs as answers ("IT'S LATE" and "TRAVELIN' MAN"). And I'm not particularly into him. Those answers just happened.
- 57A: Baker's dozen for the Beatles, for short (EPS) — I had no idea they had so many. No idea. This clue was gibberish to me for a while.
- 9D: Dominick who wrote "A Season in Purgatory" (DUNNE) — never read him. Know him as that guy who commented on the O.J. trial a lot back in the day. But all I had to do was see "Dominick" to know the answer here. I've also never read WOUK (49D: "Marjorie Morningstar" novelist), but got him off the "W" because ... four-letter novelists starting with "W"? Who else is there? (Nathanael WEST ... )
- 33D: Copier giant absorbed by the Kyocera Corporation (MITA) — wanted MICA, though I knew that had to be wrong. And it was.
- 40D: Ersatz blazer (GAS LOG) — this is perfect Saturday cluing. Terse, enigmatic, exceedingly misdirective, playful. Great stuff.