French river department / FRI 10-4-13 / Theodore Roosevelt Island setting / Zero times in Zwickau / Mediums for dummies / Subject of 2003 book Power Failure / Hudsucker Proxy director 1994 / Very long European link
Friday, October 4, 2013
Constructor: Bruce Sutphin
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: EURE (52A: French river or department) —
Eure (French pronunciation: [œʁ]) is a department in the north of France named after the river Eure. // Eure is part of the current region of Upper Normandy and is surrounded by the departments of Seine-Maritime, Oise,Val-d'Oise, Yvelines, Eure-et-Loir, Orne, and Calvados.
The department is a largely wooded plateau intersected by the valleys of the Seine River and its tributaries.The altitude varies from sea level in the north to 248 metres above it in the south. (wikipedia)
• • •Quick, painless, and not terribly remarkable. Scattershot Xs across the top and right, scattershot Zs across the right—these give the grid a kind of interesting look. But the fill is just OK. No great marquee answers, not much in the way of original or arresting words or phrases. TOO SOON and DAY LILY stand out. The rest, shrug. The cluing is where all the interest lies, but even that is mostly straightforward and perhaps a bit too easy. [Tablet banner, say, briefly] is a nice puzzler—never would've gotten FDA from that, though in retrospect it makes sense ("banner" is "entity that bans," not a flag). [Subsist on field rations?] is a cute, but not tough, clue for GRAZE. But there's rather too much short junk, and not enough toughness or cleverness. Not bad, but not great either.
ALIMONY was set up on a tee (7D: Ex amount?), which "?" clues rarely are. That one just seemed transparent, and (later) made DIVORCE *very* easy to get (40D: Event occasioning 7-Down). From ALIMONY, I was able to spread easily over into the NE (where only OXIDANT-for-OXIDATE slowed me down), and then back into the NW, where everything I didn't get at first glance all of a sudden became easy. The only hindrance to steady progress for the rest of my solve was EURE (never can remember my French departments—a rather lowly class of fill), the BATH part of ICE BATH (41D: Cryotherapy choice), and ATMO, which I had down as AERO. I thought Frankenstein was the doctor, not the MONSTER, but I haven't read that novel in a couple decades, so perhaps I'm misremembering something (57A: Frankenstein, e.g.).
One interesting thing about this grid is that it basically has *all* the symmetries. Otherwise it's a lot of adequate fill, a lot of past tense verbs (SCALDED, XEROXED, SPLAYED, E-TAILED (ouch)), and not a lot else.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld