Deviate from Hoyle / FRI 1-9-15 / Footwear brand since 1916 / Blessed 1971 Joan Baez album / What we pay for civilized society / Maker of Pixie Crinkles / Resin-yielding tree whose name comes from bible / Angular acceleration symbol / James so-called king of slide guitar / 1978 arcade classic from Japan /
Friday, January 9, 2015
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: ELMORE James (18A: ___ James, the so-called "King of the Slide Guitar") —
Elmore James (January 27, 1918 – May 24, 1963) was an American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and band leader. He was known as King of the Slide Guitar, but he was also noted for his use of loud amplification and his stirring voice. (wikipedia)
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ELMORE, for instance), coupled again with some small but consequential errors on my part, meant that this played Way harder than most Fridays for me. Good thing SPACE INVADERS was a gimme, or I might never have gotten unstuck. I spent a Lot of time with this puzzle before I had what I would call legitimate traction. For many, many minutes, I had a horrid, patchy grid. This turned out to be largely the result of early, horribly debilitating errors. First, OAFS for SAPS (5D: Lunkheads) (I still don't like that clue for SAPS, since SAPS are taken advantage of (not necessarily stupid, per se), whereas Lunkheads are just generally stupid, but nevermind that for now…). That one wrong answer was probably the difference between a normal time and a terrible time for me. Ugh. Lesson: if a section's not coming together, Pull Stuff Out. I had a lot of that corner done, but still couldn't see FLOTSAM, INEXPERT, or (ugh) TAXES (which seems so obvious in retrospect). Without that NW momentum, I had no help at the top of the long Downs, and so essentially all wind went out of my solving sails.
Then there was the sucker move, which of course I made: UNSER for RAHAL (20A: Indy 500 winner Bobby). Both Bobbies won the Indy 500 (note the deliberate exclusion of date from the clue). As if the starts of those long Downs weren't jacked enough from my sucky start in the NW, now I got a wrong answer in one of the early crosses? Dang. That one little answer also messed up my turn into the NE. So, yeah, I was all over the map on this one until I threw SPACE INVADERS across and started squeezing the middle from both sides. Had some trouble with PANIC BAR (?) and STORY ARC (nice clue—31D: Thread in a series), but the SE was a cakewalk (you walk in there with the front ends of your long Acrosses—huge advantage). Not sure how I know BALM OF GILEAD, but I was really glad I did (not sure I knew it was a tree, to be honest—I just inferred it from a handful of letters). I just watched "Maleficent" last month, so that was all I could think of for 7D: 2012 film adaptation of "Snow White." There are so many damned fairy tale-based movies and comic books and TV shows now, I can't really keep track. The infantilization of the world is upon us! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go read my comic books.