Susan's family on Seinfeld / SAT 9-21-13 / Oo la la jeans informally / Areas next to bull's eyes / Spotted hybrid house pet / They adhere to brains / 1980s Olympic star with autobiography Breaking Surface / Preceder of John Sebastian at Woodstock
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Constructor: Tim Croce
Relative difficulty: Medium to Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: ALENÇON (43A: Delicate needlepoint lace) —
needle lace that originated in Alençon, France. It is sometimes called the "Queen of lace." Lace making began in Alençon during the 16th century and the local industry was rapidly expanded during the reign of Louis XIV by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, who established a Royal Workshop in the town to produce lace in the Venetian style in 1665. The purpose of establishing this workshop was to reduce the French court's dependence on expensive foreign imports. The local lacemakers soon modified the Venetian technique and Alençon emerged as a unique style around 1675. // Though the demand for lace went into sharp decline following the French Revolution, it recovered some of its popularity during the Second French Empire before entering terminal decline at the end of the 19th century with changes in fashion and the development of cheaper, machine-made lace. // Lace making survived on a small scale and the technique was preserved by Carmelite nuns in Alençon. In 1976 a National Lace Workshop was established in the town to ensure that this lace-making technique survives. There is a permanent exhibition of lace and a display showing how it is made in the Musée des Beaux Arts et de la Dentelle, located in the town centre and adjoining the Workshop. The workshops themselves are open to the public only on certain days of the year. // UNESCO recognised the unusual craftsmanship of this lace and added it to its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in November 2010. (wikipedia)
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RESEE and SONDE), but nothing particularly memorable or dazzling, either. I was headed toward a very normal time when I hit the last two squares, --ENÇON. Figured 37D: Shop keeper? was CLAMP (that's a Horribly forced clue, btw), and I wanted an "L" to make ALENÇON, but that left me with ROOLER, which made no sense. Only after I checked all the letters in ROOLER did I realize ROUGH ROAD could be TOUGH ROAD, and then TOOLER (not a winning answer, btw) fell into place, and Mr. Happy Pencil was achieved. Particularly galling to have to struggle with junky stuff like a foreign-named lace and whatever TOOLER is. Liked LOUGANIS (30D: 1980s Olympic star with the autobiography "Breaking the Surface") and SOLO HOMER (38A: Round trip for one?). The rest was OK at times, but mostly a chore to get through.
Forgot PIA MATERS was a thing (not sure I've ever seen it in the plural—see also AMNESTIES). Had KNEE and wanted BRACE. Totally guessed INNERS and was startled to find it right. Not pretty. I guess 39D: ___ Lucy" (old sitcom) is supposed to make you want "I LOVE," but if you bit on that one, you haven't been doing puzzles long. No way the puzzle would serve up that big a gimme on a Saturday. Never heard of "HERE'S Lucy," so that answer came entirely from crosses. Except the "S"—never heard of SONDE, so had to infer that "S" in "HERE'S" (not hard). Got an easy start in the NW with SASSONS (16A: "Oo la la!" jeans, informally), URBS, ADSORBS, and SPLITTERS, but then stalled trying to move out of there. Rebooted easily in the NE section with BCS (biggest gimme in the puzzle, probably—that, and ALMODOVAR). Not much else to say. How is a BENGAL CAT a hybrid? (29D: Spotted hybrid house pet) According to wikipedia, "Bengals result from crossing a domestic feline with an Asian leopard cat (ALC), Prionailurus bengalensis bengalensis." So there you go.
See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld