Shetland sweater style / FRI 1-23-15 / Tonic for tired blood / Phishing fodder / Onetime dwellers along Big Blue River / Starting point of train trip to Timbuktu in song / Hill historic home of Theodore Roosevelt / Filaments in wrought iron / Shepherd of old movies
Friday, January 23, 2015
Constructor: Ed Sessa
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: FAIR ISLE (40D: Shetland sweater style) —
Fair Isle is a traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colours. It is named after Fair Isle, a tiny island in the north of Scotland, that forms part of the Shetlandislands. Fair Isle knitting gained a considerable popularity when the Prince of Wales (later to become Edward VIII) wore Fair Isle tank tops in public in 1921. Traditional Fair Isle patterns have a limited palette of five or so colours, use only two colours per row, are worked in the round, and limit the length of a run of any particular colour.Some people use the term "Fair Isle" to refer to any colourwork knitting where stitches are knit alternately in various colours, with the unused colours stranded across the back of the work. Others use the term "stranded colourwork" for the generic technique, and reserve the term "Fair Isle" for the characteristic patterns of the Shetland Islands.
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FACE PALM, KILOHERTZ or (toughly, nicely clued) GEOCACHING (9D: Coordinated activity?) til very late, and what I got early … wasn't pretty. This isn't terribly surprising, as I tend to need to hack at the short stuff (more likely to be ugly) before I can uncover the long stuff. It's just that I went a considerable amount of time today with virtually no long stuff. ONA. NON and ICI. EFILE OLEO MEWL ROM TERI. EMTS. And I was missing old stuff that was way out of my wheelhouse. A song about Timbuktu … a partial about Teddy Roosevelt (really mad at myself there, as I watched all that damned Ken Burns documentary and apparently it did me virtually no good) … a sweater type (which, it turns out, was popularized by a Prince of Wales from a century ago…?). I actually developed open antipathy for this puzzle just reading the clue at 12D: Joe of "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman", which only increased when I realized that could've had a "Star Wars"-related clue (LANDO). GERITOL, indeed.
But as I say, the ship righted itself somewhat in the latter half of the solve, as more interesting fill started to show up. I had some early-morning gunk in my head, apparently, as I not only had SILL for SLAT (2D: Blind spot?) (right idea, wrong answer), but had -OBS and just stared, too lazy even to run the alphabet properly. COBS, of course. Ears of corn. Also had MI-ER at 18A: One likely to take an elevator to work and wondered why a MISER wouldn't want to take the stairs … but of course, MINERs take an elevator to and (if they're lucky) from work.
There are some things that shouldn't be plurals, and EEKS and (especially!) CIAOS are among those things. [Inuit companion] should be "qimmiq" (aka the Canadian ESKIMO DOG). Also, they aren't Inuit "companions" much any more since the breed is virtually extinct. The American ESKIMO DOG originated in Germany (go figure) and as a breed is very much alive and well, thank you.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld