Mezzo-soprano Troyanos / FRI 8-23-13 / Young colleen across North Channel / Grammy-winning singer from Barbados
Friday, August 23, 2013
Constructor: Ian Livengood
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: TATIANA Troyanos (58A: Mezzo-soprano Troyanos) —
Tatiana Troyanos (September 12, 1938 – August 21, 1993) was an American mezzo-soprano of Greek and German descent, remembered as "one of the defining singers of her generation" (Boston Globe). Her voice, "a paradoxical voice—larger than life yet intensely human, brilliant yet warm, lyric yet dramatic"—"was the kind you recognize after one bar, and never forget," wrote Cori Ellison in Opera News. Troyanos led a distinguished international career and made a variety of admired operatic recordings, and beginning in 1976 was additionally known for her work with the Metropolitan Opera, with over 270 performances spanning twenty-two major roles. "She was extraordinarily intense, beautiful, and stylish in roles as diverse as Eboli, Santuzza, Geschwitz, Venus, Kundry, Jocasta, Carmen, and Giulietta, in addition to her great 'trouser' roles," said the Met's longtime Music Director, James Levine. (wikipedia)
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PAPA (1D: Quebec preceder, to pilots), which kept me from seeing PANARAB at first (17A: Like some Mideast ideology) and left me uncertain about whether ARIGATO was spelled with an "A" or "O" at the beginning. So the NW corner didn't come together until I'd left it and then built it back up from the middle, later. Center went pretty quickly. Knowing JUBA was a big plus. Didn't know WELSH (36A: It's known to locals as Cymraeg) but it hardly mattered, as I built the bulk of that one quickly from crosses. OK, so now we get to where I felt like I was tanking—the SE, which, for me, was far far harder than any other section. Medium-Challenging to everything else's Easy. I had WHOLE and no idea what followed. [Wastes] was too vague a clue for me to see RUBS OUT easily (I had RUNS OUT at one point). And EPIC WIN was practically invisible because nothing about that phrase says "improbable" to me. EPIC does not equal upset. It's just a major win—maybe it's an important game, maybe it's a blow-out, I don't know, but "improbability" doesn't make something EPIC. Not on its own. Also, TATIANA who??? Tough (but good) clue on IOWA. So, yeah, struggle down there. Once I gave in to the WIN part of EPIC WIN, I started making headway.
RWANDA / STRAWS helped reduce the square footage of white space and I managed to get through there w/o much trouble. Then, last stand, NE. Scary, but got RAISINS right away, and then it turns out all the proper nouns up there were gimmes (BERT, DUNST, RIHANNA). So ... done. Grid is clean and lovely and full of fresh answers, everywhere I look. My favorites are RIDE SHOT GUN and BOBBLE HEAD, which has a nice, tough clue (7D: Spring figure?).
- 45A: Fisherman's Wharf attraction (SEALS) — been there many, many times, still couldn't get this even after having SE-LS. Or, rather, that's how much I needed before I click click click "Oh!"
- 46A: Young colleen, across the North Channel (WEE LASS) — something about the homophonousness of "colleen" and "collie" has made me never like the lower-case "colleen" as a generic for "girl." Feels like calling an Italian guy a "guido." But it doesn't matter what I feel about it, as I am not Irish (much, probably).
- 39D: Fried tortilla dish (CHALUPA) — I swear I thought this was a made-up Taco Bellism.