Volcano on Kyushu / WED 10-16-13 / Telephone system hacker / First to stab Caesar / Indy racer Luyendyk / Creator of Fearless Fosdick / Ranchero's hand
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
- 17A: Blow away singer Johnny? (FLOOR MATHIS)
- 23A: Boars? (BACON FATHERS)
- 48A: Sala? (HISPANIC ROOM)
- 56A: Toddler raIsed on chocolate? (HERSHEY BABY)
Word of the Day: NIDI (38D: Spiders' nests) —
NIDUS—n., pl., -dus·es, or -di (-dī).
- A nest, especially one for the eggs of insects, spiders, or small animals.
- A cavity where spores develop.
- Pathology. A central point or focus of bacterial growth in a living organism.
- A point or place at which something originates, accumulates, or develops, as the center around which salts of calcium, uric acid, or bile acid form calculi.[Latin nīdus.]
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/nidus#ixzz2hqbZloLh
• • •NIDI, a gruesome word not seen in the NYT in nearly a decade. Significantly pre-Rex Parker. And every prior occurrence of the word appears to have come in a Thursday or later puzzle, which makes sense becuase that word's slightly nuts—a Latin plural of a name for a spider's nest that I am quite certain very few people know. It's desperation fill, and it's especially rough crossing HSIA. If you aren't certain of your Chinese dynasties, you could easily blow that cross. Other rough stuff included perennial and perennially forgettable stuff like ASO (4D: Volcano on Kyushu) and ARIE (25D: Indy racer Luyendyk), plus multiple LEONAS, an awkward quatrain form, and SYL.
Never seen PHREAK before (5D: Telephone system hacker)—I doubt the majority of solvers will have any idea what that's about, but it's certainly phresh, so I can't hate on it too much. I CHOKED / I RAISE pairing is nice. Long Downs are solid but not scintillating. I had a few self-inflicted wounds today, like misreading 49D: First to stab Caesar as [First stab, to Caesar], and writing in OR TEA (!?) for 7D: End of a lame pickup line (you have to admit, it's pretty lame). Tough and entertaining overall. Thumbs up.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld