Internet in your pocket sloganeer / WED 8-14-13 / Oscar winner Jannings / Electronically scored duel / Youngest 600-homer man / Norwegian import in dairy case / Beatnik's percussion / Aussie rockers with knickers-clad lead guitarist / Rotgut buyer perhaps / To whom Brabantio says Thou art villain
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Constructor: Sarah Keller
Relative difficulty: Easy for me, but looks like more Medium for others ...
THEME: THINGS WITH HOLES (56A: What 20-, 28-, 36- and 45-Across are) — pretty self-explanatory.
- 20A: Norwegian import in the dairy case (JARLSBERG CHEESE)
- 28A: Links (GOLF COURSE)
- 36A: You can hardly believe it (FLIMSY ALIBI)
- 45A: Bit of equipment for an outdoor kids' game (WIFFLE BALL)
Fra Diavolo (Italian for "Brother Devil") is the name given to a spicy sauce for pasta or seafood. Most versions are tomato-based and use chili peppers for spice, but the term is also used for sauces that include no tomato, or that use cayenne or other forms of pepper. According to chef Mario Batali, the spicy sauce is an Italian-American creation and is rarely served in Italy. (wikipedia)
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JARLSBERG CHEESE is? Not sure what else could be holding people back here. I did balk at FLIMSY ALIBI, which feels mildly arbitrary in its adjective, and I stumbled around a bit in the vicinity of HEXAD / DISH (the latter was oddly slippery). SEISMS didn't leap straight to mind. Couldn't remember LEPPS or LAPPS (70A: Northern Scandinavians). Wrote FEINTS for FEIGNS. But these were all very minor setbacks. Would've liked some more colorful answers in the themes (e.g. ROTTEN TEETH)—seems like the kind of theme that could go on and on, with enough answers for a Sunday, but no way it's interesting enough for a Sunday (unless you did something quirky with the grid structure, or had some extra dimension to the "hole" concept). Fill on this is not that good. Bit too heavy on the abbr. and xwordese, nothing particularly dashing (outside the themers) besides maybe IN A SLUMP.
Discussed the various spellings of "LAYLA" (LEILA, LEELA, LAILA) while walking home from dinner in Manhattan the other night, so "LAYLA" was even more of a gimme than usual. Four variations are, in order: Clapton song, character in "The Pearl Fishers," one-eyed character on "Futurama," boxer Ali.
My favorite part of the puzzle is Will's nice update to the clue on ALIAS.