LBJ biographer Robert / FRI 9-6-13 / Hit from 1978 disco album Cruisin / Coppelia attire / Port where Camus set Plague / Old Hollywood low-budget studios collectively / Wine bottle contents in Hitchcock's Notorious / Map inits created in wake of Suez Crisis
Friday, September 6, 2013
Constructor: Brad Wilber and Doug Peterson
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: TREE GUARDS (28D: Barriers used in urban renewal projects) —
Tree guards are fences around the perimeter of a tree pit that provide a physical barrier between a tree and our sometimes harsh urban environment. These tree guards reduce soil compaction, shield the trunk from physical damage, and prevent pet waste from entering the tree pit. Tree guards have been proven to extend the longevity of trees, reduce mortality rates, and can also provide a small protected planting bed for gardening. (nycgovparks.org)
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PUCE straight off. Also ENYA(19A: Singer born Eithne Ní Bhraonáin). And ORAN (2D: Port where Camus set "The Plague"). And VARY. So, first three letters of *all* the long Acrosses aaaand ... none of them make sense to me. A few seconds later I got CARROT CAKE, and eventually I got URANIUM ORE and figuratively smacked myself in the head—I know "Notorious" well but was conflating it with "North by Northwest," the where there is microfilm, not URANIUM ORE, involved (15A: Wine bottle contents in Hitchcock's "Notorious"). POVERTY ROW I've never heard of (1A: Old Hollywood low-budget studios, collectively), so when I saw POV- I thought "oh, clue specifically doesn't use word "movie," so that must be in the answer: 'MOV-... something'." Oh, poor, naive, 10 minutes-ago me.
Also, I didn't know some of these terms, like TREE GUARDS and SANTA CLARA (27D: Site of the last battle in the Cuban Revolution) (wanted SANTIAGO, which is in Chile *and* doesn't fit).
After I got out of there, things sped up a bit, though I didn't know WEEDEATERs functioned as edgers, i.e. I didn't know one used them for precision work. I might have tried WEED EDGER in there at some point. Also, I thought GELATOS were colorful desserts. GELATIN to me is the horse hoof stuff that Junior Mints thankfully doesn't use any more. So unsure of spelling of STEADI-CAM (29A: Director's alternative to a dolly) that I almost let GELATYN stand. Yipes. Tore up the bottom of the puzzle thanks Entirely to the MENDOZA Line (42D: Baseball's ___ Line (.200 batting average)). I collected baseball cards at the right time for that answer to be deeply meaningful to me. I can still see poor Mario in his (also poor) Seattle Mariners uniform. At least he got to be an eponym. Most big leaguers never get anything close to that.