Coordinated gene cluster / SUN 12-7-14 / Operatic baritone Pasquale / Bartiromo of Fox Business / Engineers competition set in ring / Warren who wrote war of roses / Sci-fi shooter / Superfood used in smoothies / Godfather enforcer who sleeps with fishes /
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Constructor: Jeff Chen
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (with chewy Medium-Challenging center)
THEME: "Holdup Man" — puzzle is about ATLAS (102D: Mythological figure hinted at by the answers to the eight starred clues as well as this puzzle's design); ATLAS is (in the grid) positioned directly beneath and thus visually sort of "holding up" "the world" (that floating ball of squares in the middle of the grid). Theme answers are common phrases that you can kind of punnily associate with the whole ATLAS situation…
- SUPPORTING ACTOR (23A: *One who's not leading)
- BRACE YOURSELF (29A: *"I have some bad news…")
- PILLAR OF STRENGTH (16D: *Comfort provider during difficult times)
- WEIGHT OF THE WORLD (37D: *Crushing burden)
- UPPER BACK PAIN (100A: *What a massage may relieve)
- SHOULDER THE LOAD (114A: *Not shirk a difficult task)
- HEAVY DUTY (69A: *Very durable)
- MR. OLYMPIA (45D: *Arnold Schwarzenegger, once)
• • •
DEEP WEB, ROBOT SUMO). The "earth" part of this grid was both the most impressive and the most enjoyable part of the solve, largely because it was the only part of the solve with any teeth. I really had to fight to conquer that damned orb, whereas I went through the rest of the puzzle like it wasn't there. If I hadn't hit the chewy center, I'd've had a record Sunday time, easy. As it was, I still finished under 10 (fast for me). Impressive that the "earth" part has two additional theme answers, as well as one very creative abbr. I've never seen before (P.O. BOX NO.). I don't know what native WIT is, or who Pasquale AMATO is, and if I've seen Warren ADLER before, I don't recall, but otherwise the extraterrestrial parts of the puzzle put up virtually no resistance. Toughest part was probably the far SE, where [Forte] (LOUD) and [Break] (TAME) were terse and enigmatic enough for me to need all the crosses—including SUMO, which I had to infer.
OK, good Sunday. Onward. Oh, a reminder (to myself as well as you): my regular first-Monday-of-every-month guest blogger will be back for tomorrow's write-up, even though it's the second Monday of the month (I screwed up and spaced out last week, doing the whole write-up before realizing it wasn't my turn). So do return for that. Bye then.