Stalin defier / SAT 12-7-13 / Keel extension / Sportscaster Nathan with star on Hollywood Walk of Fame / Onetime pop star who hosted Pyramid
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Constructor: James Mulhern
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: SKEG (48A: Keel extension) —
A skeg (or skag) is a sternward extension of the keel of boats and ships which have a rudder mounted on the centre line. The term also applies to the lowest point on an outboard motor or the outdrive of an inboard/outboard. In more recent years, the name has been used for a fin on a surfboard which improves directional stability and to a moveable fin on a kayak which adjusts the boat's centre of lateral resistance. The term is also often used for the fin on water skis in the U.S.A. and for the tail bumpers of aircraft in the US Navy. (wikipedia)
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OGEES and you LEOIs when they are proximate to big banks of solid longer answers. I'm tepid on USER NAME, but every other 8+-letter answer in this thing is a winner. BUG ZAPPER, SANDAL TAN, and BOOK SMART stand out, but the most important thing about the longer answers is that even the weakest one is strong. What's the weakest one? HAS NO IDEA? I like that. So I'll take the multiple BAAS and multiple OBIS if the end result is a smooth, interesting, EASY-GOING puzzle like this.
AIRER (because, you know … it's AIRER). Had to change SO FAR AS to AS FAR AS. Had PU-SE and still couldn't see PULSE (16A: Take it as a sign) (cute clue). OLD GEEZER feels redundant but looks too good for me to mind much. ANAIS, KAL and BPOE were all the gimmes I really needed to get my claws into this thing. All in all, an enjoyable 7+ minutes.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
*cheater squares are black squares that do not add to the word count. They make the grid easier to fill. Today, see the black square after 1A or before 63A, for example.