1996 Rhett Akins country hit / SAT 4-5-14 / Cro-Magnon orphan of literature / Debut Peter Tosh album rallying cry for pot smokers / Internet traffic statistics company / Fictional home five miles from Jonesboro / Singer with 1996 triple-platinum album Tidal / Historical figure aka Marse Robert / Lodging portmanteau / While all artists are not chess players all chess players are artists
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Constructor: Ashton Anderson and James Mulhern
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (also possibly anywhere from Medium to Challenging, depending on possible pop culture potholes)
Word of the Day: ALEXA (9D: Internet traffic statistics company) —
Alexa Internet, Inc. is a California-based subsidiary company of Amazon.com which provides commercial web traffic data. Founded as an independent company in 1996, Alexa was acquired by Amazon in 1999. Its toolbar collects data on browsing behavior and transmits it to the Alexa website, where it is stored and analyzed, forming the basis for the company's web traffic reporting. As of 2013, Alexa provides traffic data, global rankings and other information on 30 million websites, and its website is visited by over 8.8 million people monthly. (wikipedia)
Taught a lot of sonnets this semester, so at 17A: Scheme for the start of a sonnet, I was like "Well, it's ABBA or ABAB … AB-something, so just write in AB-." And I did. And that was enough for me to get HABANERO (2D: Certain chili), and off I went. I have a Gay TALESE book on the shelf right behind me (I once directed a thesis on the New Journalism), so no problem there. I wanted 32A: U.S. Open champion whose last name is a toy to be one name. One last name. Also, a tennis player. But KITS was a gimme, and TOM KITE came soon after. Got stuck at the exact halfway point (with everything north of the central diagonal filled in, up and around to ROTH / LORNE). Looked at timer and it said 4-something. High 4s. But I couldn't get any crosses, so I was faced with jumping into the abyss. Figured I wouldn't break 10. But then I got AEROBE straight off. Then ORR and ENRICH, and then I was off again. Biggest problem toward the end was unpacking "LUCKY ME," which seemed to take forever. Getting PATTY CAKE (great clue—44A: It involves hand-to-hand coordination) made getting into SE easy, despite my having no idea what CONEYS are (besides rabbits) (45D: Carnival items served with chili). Finished in the mid-8s, without even seeing the clue for PEELINGS (37D: Some kitchen detritus).
CONEYS or "SHE SAID YES," and despite half-forgetting AYLA, I fared pretty well. No need to know or even be familiar with all the pop culture in a puzzle in order to take it down. If people had trouble with this one, I'm guessing it was in and around FIONA APPLE, or in and around PRIMAL URGE (which had a hard/ambiguous clue—5A: Drive to drink, e.g.). Lastly, big ups to the clue on DOOFUS (41D: Tool). I don't think of those words as precisely synonymous ("DOOFUS" implies a kind of affable idiocy, where "Tool" implies at least a soupçon of dickishness), but still, discovering that "Tool" was idiomatic made me laugh.
Check you later.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld