Criminal Minds agent with I.Q. of 187 / SAT 10-12-13 / Singer of #1 single Try Again 2000 / Treaty of Sycamore Shoals negotiator 1775 / Glenda Jackson Ben Kingsley film scripted by Harold Pinter / Musical with cow that's catapulted over castle / Morsel for guppy / Word spoken 90 times in Molly Bloom's soliloquy / 1986 Indy 500 champion
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Constructor: John Farmer
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: FRA Mauro (44A: Venetian mapmaker ___ Mauro) —
Fra Mauro, O.S.B. Cam., (died 1460) was a 15th-century Camaldolese monk who lived in the Republic of Venice. He was a monk of the Monastery of St. Michael, located on the island of Murano in the Venetian Lagoon. It was there that he maintained a cartography workshop.In his youth, Mauro had traveled extensively as a merchant and a soldier. He was familiar with the Middle East. He entered monastic life at a late stage in life. In the monastery, he became a mapmaker. Although he was no longer free to travel, due to his religious status, he would frequently consult with merchants of the city upon their return from overseas voyages. By 1450 he composed a great mappamundi (world map) of the Old Worldwith surprising accuracy, including extensive written comments reflecting the geographic knowledge of his time. The map is known today as the "Fra Mauro map". A critical edition of the map was edited by Piero Falchetta in 2006. (wikipedia)
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REID? People watch "Criminal Minds"? OK. Speaking of obscure, "TURTLE DIARY" (23D: Glenda Jackson/Ben Kingsley film scripted by Harold Pinter). You can put all the famous names you want in that clue—still won't make the movie famous. The rest of the puzzle is pretty inoffensive, but there's not much (if anything) I haven't seen before. I think I like CAMERASHY the best, largely because it was (for some reason) wickedly hard for me to parse. My last letter was that "C," which I originally had as an "N" (because of SNARF/SCARF confusion). I had been trying to think of what word ends in -RASHY (besides, say, "TRASHY"). So it was nice to get pleasantly fooled there at the end. And that "?" clue was a good one (34A: Not likely to be a "cheese" lover)—unlike 10D: Vacancy clause?, which makes no real sense for "NOBODY'S HOME" unless you put "clause" on the rack and stretch it til it screams.
ELENA (32D: John Paul's successor)—think Supreme Court Justice, not Pope. I thought "one" in German was EINS, and it is, but apparently it's also EINE (?) (13D: One in a Kindergarten?). I don't know from German. I think I would've struggled quite a bit with this one had there not been such a huge lot of gimmes. "SPAMALOT"! YES! TED! RED ZONE! STP! SDI! GEHRY! 'STRO! (my friend Robert is the play-by-play guy for the 'STROs—have I mentioned that? I like to mention that. He's a good guy, and a crossword solver). Major mistakes of the day were AS A RULE for USUALLY (29A: In the main), S-SHAPED for F-SHAPED (39A: Like the sound holes of a cello), and ... I think that's it. I enjoyed remembering the GOATEE on Duchamp's parody of "Mona Lisa." But otherwise the enjoyment level wasn't terribly high. Just not to my taste. That SE corner looks pretty nice, though, I will say that. Proof that your stacks don't have to be exceedingly long to be entertaining.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld