Animal called stubbin by locals / SAT 10-5-13 / Dresden decimator of 1945 / El dia que me quieras others / 1 Infinite address of Apple's headquarters / Webby Award winner who accepted saying please don't recount this vote / nascar stat that rises under caution flags
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Constructor: Byron Walden
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: SKOPJE (13D: Macedonia's capital) —
Skopje [...] is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic center. It was known in the Roman period under the name Scupi. [...] Skopje is located on the upper course of the Vardar River, and is located on a major north-south Balkan route between Belgrade and Athens. It is a center for metal-processing, chemical, timber, textile, leather, and printing industries. Industrial development of the city has been accompanied by development of the trade, logistics, and banking sectors, as well as an emphasis on the fields of culture and sport. According to the last official count from 2002, Skopje has a population of 506,926 inhabitants (wikipedia)
• • •
ESPRIT DE CORPS, which gave me the "D" I needed to see KOMODO DRAGONS, and then, *then*, the puzzle started to feel about right. Saturday-esque. Made slow and steady progress the rest of the way until I was done. Finished up at AIM, ridiculously clued as [Second in command?]. Not even gonna tell me what kind of "command" is at issue here? No? OK then. (It's the AIM from "Ready, AIM, fire!" I assume).
Soooo much stuff I just didn't know in this one. I've probably heard "I'M YOURS" (54A: Jason Mraz song that spent a record 76 weeks on Billboard's Hot 100), but I couldn't hum it for you now if I wanted to, and I needed most of the crosses to get it (I do like that both Mraz and BRNO are in this puzzle). Also needed crosses to get the other song, "DO YOU WANNA DANCE," a song I *can* hum but I don't think I knew was a Beach Boys song. Sounds older and more generic than most of the songs I know of theirs. Not convinced "OH MY MY" is an actual expression, but we'll let that one go. A mob is apparently a group of kangaROOs (29A: Mob member, informally). Didn't know that. Didn't know SKOPJE, though I've heard of it. Frankly, I'm not even sure I could find Macedonia on a map. Balkan ... ish? I'm guessing. No idea who Teddy Roosevelt's VP was (15A: City named for Theodore Roosevelt's vice president = FAIRBANKS, ALASKA). Speaking of VPs, AL GORE. The "Webby" part of the clue threw me—really seems like I should've nailed that answer straight away (18A: Webby Award winner who accepted saying "Please don't recount this vote") ("accepted saying" seems like very, very poor clue phrasing). Names of TANGOS and titles of lesser ASIMOV works, likewise elusive.
Started with MOOR / MIND, only one of which was right (the bad thing to lose turned out to be MOJO). Then time passed. Eventually I guessed RAMP and RCMP, and that little center-right diagonal stretch from MOOR to SEWER came into view. Key to finally taking off was looking at -ECOR- and somehow realizing, after much time, that those letters weren't all part of one word (like "RECORD"), but broke in the middle somewhere (like "DE CORPS"). My only true gimme was DAHL. I started with MOOR, so I guess that counts too, but somehow that one didn't feel so certain. Oh, and ENS. I got that no problem (7D: Nissan bumpers?).
Yeah, so, I liked this. It ate me up a little, but it's Saturday, so disaster is not terribly out of the ordinary.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld