Big bass in fishing lingo / FRI 5-16-14 / Admiral who bombarded Tahiti in 1914 / Writer of 644-line poem Ibis / Pistol packer in 1943 #1 hit / Grey alter ego Marvel's X Man / Actress Kazan Kravitz
Friday, May 16, 2014
Constructor: Martin Ashwood-Smith
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: NATE Grey, alter ego of Marvel's X-Man —
Nathaniel "Nate" Grey (X-Man) is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in books published by Marvel Comics, in particular those related to the X-Men franchise. Created by writerJeph Loeb and artist Steve Skroce, he first appeared in X-Man #1 (March 1995).
X-Man is an alternate version of the regular Marvel Universe hero Cable, hailing from the "Age of Apocalypse" (Earth-295) reality. He is the biological son of his dimension’s Scott Summers andJean Grey, born of genetic tampering by Mr. Sinister. His first name is derived from his creator; Mr Sinister's real name: Nathaniel Essex, and his last name from his genetic mother Jean Grey. Due to not being infected by a techno-organic virus as Cable was, X-Man achieved vasttelepathic and telekinetic powers and was one of the most powerful mutants in existence during his lifetime.X-Man was originally a four-issue mini-series replacing Cable during 1995’s “Age of Apocalypse”alternate reality storyline. However, Marvel transported Nate Grey to its regular shared universe after the storyline ended. Although derided by some for a concept perplexing to anyone not a diehard X-Men fan, the series ran until 2001, during which Nate struggled with being the most powerful person in a strange world. The series ended with his seemingly sacrificial death.Despite his name, X-Man was only briefly a member of the X-Men, both in the Age of Apocalypse reality and in the regular reality. Initially, the character was referred to only by his real name, both in the Age of Apocalypse and the primary Marvel universe. Shortly before the Onslaught crossover event, Nate began to be sporadically referred to as X-Man, without explanation for the in-universe origin of the code name. (wikipedia)
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HAWG, there's nothing really dire here (and even HAWG has its weird charm) (30D: Big bass, in fishing lingo). NCAAS is borderline, but it's definitely in-the-language for college basketball fans (47A: March Madness, with "the"). None of the long answers are terribly interesting, but three of the longer answers (up top, down below) are pretty nice. Especially liked LAST HURRAH and "LET IT BLEED" (18A: 1969 Rolling Stones album). Cluing seemed tougher than usual. Lots of ambiguity, trickiness, and "?"-ery. Is ZACH a character in "A Chorus Line"? (1A: Director in "A Chorus Line") That answer meant nothing to me. Ditto NATE, who appears to be a pretty damned obscure character from the Marvel universe. I have a fair familiarity with the major Marvel characters, and he might've been big in the late '90s, but I don't think NATE's so well known now (to non-fanboys).
Also obscure: "Ibis" (15A: Writer of the 644-line poem "Ibis"). I thought I could name virtually the entire Ovidian corpus. Apparently not! ZOEs Kazan and Kravitz? Couldn't pick 'em out of a line-up (but guessed ZOE off the easy Z). TERI Jon fashion label? Nope. No idea. The "O" in F.A.O. is OTTO? Whoops. Went with OTIS there for a bit. Why make all the short proper nouns so obscure? Besides simply to add difficulty? Had "Who IS IT?" instead of "Who ISN'T?" for a bit, so that created some weirdness in the SE. Otherwise, my biggest hang-up was probably the tail end of KITTEN CHOW, a phrase I never hear (though I'm sure it's quote-unquote real). With OTIS as my "O" and WHIR as my [Sound heard during a heat wave], the end of KITTEN CHOW remained invisible to me right up to the very end. Honestly stared at KITTEN CH- and then KITTEN CHO- wondering what was up. Briefly pondered what a "KITTEN CHOP" might be. It's a good clue (36D: Product for young string players?). Just not a familiar answer.
Off to brave my own heat wave. It's an oddly rainy heat wave, but also an oddly sweaty rain. See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld