Alpine skier Julia who won Olympic gold in 2006 / FRI 11-15-13 / Novel title character with brief wondrous life / Rough limestone regions with sinkholes caverns / Whose eyes Puck squeezes magical juice on / Good hand holding in Omaha Hi-Lo / Powerful Hindu deities
Friday, November 15, 2013
Constructor: David Woolf
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: KARSTS (9A: Rough limestone regions with sinkholes and caverns) —
Karst topography is a geological formation shaped by the dissolution of a layer or layers of soluble bedrock, usuallycarbonate rock such as limestone or dolomite, but also in gypsum. It has also been documented for weathering-resistant rocks, such as quartzite, given the right conditions.Subterranean drainage may limit surface water with few to no rivers or lakes. Many karst regions display distinctive surface features, with cenotes and sinkholes (also called dolines) being the most common. However, distinctive karst surface features may be completely absent where the soluble rock is mantled, such as by glacial debris, or confined by one or more superimposed non-soluble rock strata. Some karst regions include thousands of caves, although evidence of caves large enough for human exploration is not a required characteristic of karst.
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CASH BARS (1A: Their drinks are not on the house) and OSCAR WAO (15A: Novel title character with a "brief, wondrous life") went in right away, no hesitation. But once I got out of that corner, things settled down into a more Friday-like groove. Still felt pretty easy overall until the SW corner, where I spent over a minute … without, somehow, even looking at the clue for 50A: Olive ___ (OYL). How is it that I have been solving multiple crosswords every day for seven years (and occasionally solving for fifteen years before that) and can still forget to check a short answer in a corner I'm struggling with. Reading all the clues! Remedial! Ugh. Turns out all the answers I kept doubting were right (ON IT, THE TRUTH …, HOPE SO). It's just that COURTS was hidden in a vague clue and HOOTCH was hidden in a clever clue and HAPS was absurdly clued ("Unlucky accidents, old-style"?? Those are *mis*haps; HAPS just happen). Anyhoo… it all worked out once I decided to read all the clues. OYL solved everything. No problems anywhere else except for minor trepidation in the NE, where I knew neither KARSTS nor NIIHAU (16A: Hawaii's Forbidden Isle). They still both look like made-up words to me. But the crosses checked, so that was that.
Is TATARY (13D: Vast historical region controlled by the Mongols) different from Tartary? No. No it is not. Pretty sure the latter is preferred ("TATARY" will redirect you to "Tartary" at wikipedia). Seems like a "variant." See also PANGEA, which I know as "Pangaea," because that's what it is (45A: It broke up in the age of dinosaurs). Not that either TATARY or PANGEA slowed me down much. I spelled PENTOTHAL wrong the first time around (it's getting red-underlined by my computer even now, so perhaps the misspelling was understandable). I had PENTATHOL … which is *not* getting red-underlined. Wow. Confusing. MANCUSO was a ridiculous-name outlier (39D: Alpine skier Julia who won Olympic gold in 2006), but everything else felt at least reasonable. Enjoyable Friday fare.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld