Moroccan city known as Athens of Africa / THU 8-22-13 / Singer known as La Divina / Ford last produced in 1986 / German wine made from fully ripe grapes / Site of WW II's first amphibious landing / O'Hara's choice novelist / Owner of Moviefone / Commercial figure holding six beer mugs / Suspended avian home
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Constructor: Stu Ockman
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: CALL BOX — one CALL in each corner, two non-symmetrically placed CALLs in central Across answer
Word of the Day: SPATLESE (24D: German wine made from fully ripe grapes) —
Spätlese (literal meaning: "late harvest"; plural form is Spätlesen) is a German wine term for a wine from fully ripe grapes, the lightest of the late harvest wines. Spätlese is a riper category than Kabinett in the Prädikatswein category of the German wine classification and is the lowest level of Prädikatswein in Austria, where Kabinett is classified in another way. In both cases, Spätlese is below Auslese in terms of ripeness. The grapes are picked at least 7 days after normal harvest, so they are riper and have a higher must weight. Because of the weather, waiting to pick the grapes later carries a risk of the crop being ruined by rain. However, in warm years and from good sites much of the harvest will reach Spätlese level.The wines may be either sweet or dry (trocken); it is a level of ripeness that particularly suits rich dry wines from Riesling,Weißer Burgunder and Grauer Burgunder grapes for example, as at Auslese levels the alcohol levels may become very high in a dry wine leaving the wine unbalanced, making wines with at least some residual sweetness preferable to most palates. However, most German wines are traditionally dry, and the amount of sugar is not the only factor balancing a wine. Dry German wines can be very balanced and usually get higher rates from German wine journalists than a comparable wine with more sugar.Many Spätlese wines will age well, especially those made from the Riesling grape. (wikipedia)
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DON'T [CALL] US, WE'LL [CALL] YOU," functions as some kind of marquee or banner answer, but ... there's just four more CALLs. I mean, that's all there is to this. Fact that they are in the corners made the last couple corners (for me, the bottom two), sooooooooo much easier to get than the top two. I'm generally opposed to symmetrical rebus squares for this reason. Big corners are kind of cool, though the fill in the Downs gets very dicey in places. Actually, fill gets very dicey all over. APSOS, MONGST, HADAC (!!!!) (if this were a "COW" rebus, maybe), AMARO (54D: Ruben ___, Phillies Gold Glove-winning shortstop), HAILE (3D: Two-time Olympic running gold medalist ___ Gebrselassie), UTO-, FES (!?!?!) (10D: Moroccan city known as the Athens of Africa). Too much collateral damage for an only so-so theme. Also, 14D [CALL] BOX should've been a revealer. That's clearly the hook. Why it's just buried in a random answer in the NE, I don't know.
- CALL THE DOGS OFF / CALLIOPE
- BACALL / CALLBOX
- DON'T CALL US WE'LL CALL YOU / RECALL / RAPSCALLION (that last one is the Very Best of the "CALL"-containing words)
- CATCALL / CALLAS (66A: Singer known as La Divina)
- TOO CLOSE TO CALL / ROLL CALL
- 39D: "O'Hara's Choice" novelist (URIS) — really wanted O'HARA here.
- 65A: Commercial figure holding six beer mugs (ST. PAUL GIRL) — I approve this clue and answer. Lovely.
- 15A: One's initial response to this clue, perhaps ("I HAVE NO IDEA") — I want to hate this, but can't. It's pretty clever.