Hip-hop devotee in old slang / THU 8-8-13 / Trypanosomiasis transmitters / Transvestite of song / Mughal Empire rulers / Another name for opportunity Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Constructor: Daniel A. Finan
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: things shaped like letters (?) — theme clues are letters, and answers are things shaped (very roughly) like those letters
- 17A: J (FISH HOOK)
- 11D: Y (WISHBONE)
- 37A: U (HORSESHOE)
- 37D: O (HULA HOOP)
- 62A: X (TIRE IRON)
Word of the Day: SYNfuel (61D: Prefix with fuel) —
Synthetic fuel or synfuel is a liquid fuel obtained from coal, natural gas, oil shale, or biomass. It may also refer to fuels derived from other solids such as plastics or rubber waste. It may also (less often) refer to gaseous fuels produced in a similar way. Common use of the term "synthetic fuel" is to describe fuels manufactured via Fischer Tropsch conversion,methanol to gasoline conversion, or direct coal liquefaction. (wikipedia)
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FISHHOOK before. So I thought the name/letter association was going to be close. And it is ... for three of them. TIRE IRON is from outerspace. Forced to name 10 things that look like an "X," I would not put TIRE IRON on the list. Forced to name 100 things, possibly. OK, I probably can't even name 10 things shaped like an X, but I know TIRE IRON would not have come to mind no matter what list I made. And HULA HOOP? A million things are shaped like an "O." The whole concept just didn't compute, or did, but dissatisfyingly. As for the rest of it, it seemed fine, mostly. ERASABLE and RIDABLE in same grid is horrible, I don't know what MENORCA is or why only "locals" call it that (oh, I see it's Minorca, just w/ Spanish spelling—huh), SYNfuel is only very vaguely familiar to me (this violates my "don't call attention to cruddy fill with tough cluing" rule). LESSEE and TSETSES in same corner, also far less than great.
SHR[A/U]NK and SEGO in place down there. Just sat. This is, unsurprisingly, the absurd HULA HOOP corner. Thought maybe some kind of HALO might be involved. Thought the letters on a stamp (USDA) might be ATTN or RECD or VISA or god knows what. Thought the Mughal Empire rulers were AGHAS. Never considered that Gettysburg Address was a EULOGY (though of course it is). SMUSHES? RIDABLE? Not words that occurred to me. I resent MAILS IN—since roughly the late 19th century, and certainly since WWI, we *phone* things in. Vague theme and obnoxious cluing made this an unpleasant experience all the way around. I mean, really, how many TONYAS are there?