Relating to the calf / WED 8-21-13 / Sci-fi author Ellison / Flying Cloud of old autodom / Where Duff beer is served / Post-apartheid ruling org / Female mil unit created 5/15/42
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Constructor: Jonathan Gersch
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (though my time is current 35 seconds faster than the fastest time at the NYT applet, so I have no idea what's going on today)
THEME: TAN / LINES (61D: With 69-Across, beach markings ... 14 of which are hidden vertically and horizontally elsewhere in this puzzle) — word "TAN" can be found, easy word search-style, fourteen times in the grid.
Word of the Day: SURAL (35A: Relating to the calf) —
Of or relating to the calf of the leg.
[New Latin sūrālis, from Latin sūra, calf of the leg.]
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/sural#ixzz2cZ9wODcp
TANs isn't even interesting. Or maybe it just touches the lowest underbelly of "interesting" in the way that something might be curious or out-of-the-ordinary but in no way compelling. Also, can we talk about SURAL? The absurdity of that word in the middle of this otherwise drab and ordinarily-filled puzzle? I can't say this enough—you don't want ugsome fill, and you especially don't want ugsome outlier / obscure fill, and you double especially don't want it when it stands out in stark contrast to everything else around it. SURAL!? It's never been in a puzzle before. For A Reason. My fellow blogger, who is also a medical editor, has never seen that word. SURAL ... it's like ... Siri's uncle, whom no one ever asks for information because he still uses corded phones and is afraid of ATMs. See also FACTA, which I have never seen in a puzzle (25D: Statements in a legal case). Cruciverb tells me that it's back (ta) after a 19-year hiatus. Talk about your unwelcome returns. That is some rough-ass Latin. In sum: Fill should be good! This fill is not! In fact, it's WAAC! (16A: Female mil. unit created 5/15/42) The end.
I did like seeing HARLAN Ellison (33D: Sci-fi author Ellison). I own a bunch of his stuff. He's very entertaining. Speaking of entertaining writers, R.I.P. Elmore Leonard, who was the best popular crime writer of them all. Brilliant, funny, effortless. I think he made it seem *so* easy that he didn't get enough credit for his artistry. Anyway, I'm sad. As soon as I get this Rowling pseudonym thing out of the way (it's pretty good, actually), I'm gonna tear into "City Primeval" and any other Leonard my library happens to have lying around.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld