Imager of the earth's surface / TUE 11-26-13 / Transitional zone between plant communities / Modern home of ancient Zapotec civilization / Extinct ostrichlike bird / Hawaii five-o nickname / Friend of Porky Spanky
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Constructor: Don Gagliardo and Zhouqin Burnikel
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
- 17A: Hiker's snack (GRANOLA BAR) — these are such a popular, everyday food that I hardly think of them as having any association with hikers. Gorp is super hikery. Kids have GRANOLA BARs in their lunch boxes.
- 21A: What's being discussed in the National Enquirer or Globe (TABLOID BUZZ) —ugh (see below)
- 39A: Provision in many a construction contract (ESCALATOR CLAUSE) — no idea what this is. Sounds vaguely familiar. Very vaguely.
- 57A: Poor weight-loss practice (YO-YO DIETING) — far and away the best answer in this grid.
Word of the Day: LANDSAT (18D: Imager of the earth's surface) —
The Landsat program is the longest running enterprise for acquisition of satellite imagery of Earth. On July 23, 1972 the Earth Resources Technology Satellite was launched. This was eventually renamed to Landsat. The most recent, Landsat 8, was launched on February 11, 2013. The instruments on the Landsat satellites have acquired millions of images. The images, archived in the United States and at Landsat receiving stations around the world, are a unique resource for global change research and applications in agriculture, cartography,geology, forestry, regional planning, surveillance and education. Landsat 7 data has eight spectral bands withspatial resolutions ranging from 15 to 60 meters; the temporal resolution is 16 days. (wikipedia)
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TRADEMARKS. That is a fact, not a revealer. There's no playfulness, no real revelation. Nothing. Also, there's not consistency. Usually with this type of theme, you use the theme words in non-theme contexts—see for example YO-YO DIETING and ESCALATOR CLAUSE, where the initial words don't refer to the same thing referred to by the revealer (i.e. words are used metaphorically in the theme answers). But with the other two theme answers, those initial words are simply literal. GRANOLA BARs are made from granola. No metaphor. No change of context. Just … granola. So, the theme is a snore, and an inconsistent one at that. Further, TABLOID BUZZ is decidedly not a thing. Not a phrase. It googles so terribly that I can't believe it passed editorial scrutiny. Put it in quotation marks and google it. 9,000. That is a godawful number. By contrast, RESTAURANT BUZZ yields over 25,000 hits, and that is *definitely* not a coherent, self-standing phrase. TABLOID FARE gets you 16,300. Also terrible, but as you can see, less terrible (viability-wise) than BUZZ. Your Zs are worthless when they are forced like this.
Never heard of LANDSAT. Middle of puzzle was thus way more difficulty for me than any patch of puzzle normally is on a Tuesday. ECOTONE! Ugh (37D: Transitional zone between plant communities). Sorry, but that's just long crosswordese. Never encountered it outside a grid. Half as many long Downs today, and they are less than half as good. Crosswordese is more plentiful and more grating. Multiple CIAOS? A few people complained about yesterday's INKS, which is a stupid complaint if you know anything about comics or tattoos. Also, if INKS is a bad plural (and it isn't), then what about CIAOS? Are we just going to accept CIAOS? Are we just going to accept ASSNS ATEIN ATA ADREP *all in the same corner*? Looks like Kevin's puzzle yesterday was less a new trend and more an exception that proves the rule—the quality of the product here is slowly diminishing.
The fact that it is my birthday makes this puzzle especially disappointing. Oh well, at least There Will Be Cake.
See you tomorrow.