European blackbird / THU 5-7-15 / Insect's resinous secretion / Rishi in Hinduism / Perelman prolific Russian science writer / 1932 Ford featured in american graffiti / AA rival / Miami area informally / Slapstick trio member / Pulitzer-winning critic Richard / Toon foil
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Constructor: Tracy Gray
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: GOING GREEN (59A: Reducing one's carbon footprint … or a hint to this puzzle's theme)— the … prefix? … ECO is squished into tiny boxes seven times in this grid.
Word of the Day: YAKOV Perelman (13A: ___ Perelman, prolific Russian science writer) —
Yakov Isidorovich Perelman (Russian: Яков Исидорович Перельман; December 4, 1882 – March 16, 1942) was a Russian and Soviet science writer and author of many popular science books, including Physics Can Be Fun and Mathematics Can Be Fun (both translated from Russian into English).Perelman was born in 1882 in the town of Białystok, Congress Poland. He obtained the diploma of forester from the Imperial Forestry Institute in Saint Petersburg, in 1909. After the success of "Physics for Entertainment", Perelman set out to produce other books, in which he showed himself to be an imaginative populariser of science. Especially popular were "Arithmetic for entertainment", "Mechanics for entertainment", "Geometry for Entertainment", "Astronomy for entertainment", "Lively Mathematics", " Physics Everywhere", and "Tricks and Amusements". (wikipedia)
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GOING GREEN. Just seven ECOs. Since ECO- is just a prefix, the whole concept is a bit odd. Would've made a nice Umberto ECO tribute, maybe. The puzzle certainly isn't terrible as is. It's straight-over-the-plate rebus. Vanilla rebus. Adequately done. Actually, in the longer ECO-containing answers, perhaps better than adequately done. Definitely got some joy out of uncovering / discovering WILE E. COYOTE and PENTECOSTAL.
Less pleasure in the short stuff, which is somewhat subpar today, sadly. UAL and NSC are never good fill, and somehow crossing them with LAC and EOLIC (!), respectively, made them harder to take. EDER's back … wait … I think I'm confusing EDER and EDEL again. Since neither is good, maybe it doesn't matter. ERLE EDIE SKEE EOLIC NSC is By Far the roughest patch, there in the SE. Rest of the grid comes out around average, I guess. Why do I associate ENGRAM with some kind of cult? Is there some Scientology crap that involves a something-GRAM? Anyway, didn't know ENGRAM was a legitimate thing, so that took time, as did the somehow not-YAKOV-Smirnoff YAKOV. That Perelman dude is old and obscure. Is there any reason a modern US reader should know him? Seems a long way to go for YAKOV. Also, seems horribly forced. We all know there's just one YAKOV. It's Smirnoff. Contriving a "new" clue for YAKOV only makes people think harder about YAKOV Smirnoff (and when has that ever been a plus?). Right now, a million solvers are thinking "But I only know *one* YAKOV…" I hear you, Million Solvers! In Soviet Russia … crossword solve you. Here's how I know there's just one YAKOV:
When your YAKOV is less searched-for than Stalin's eldest son (whom I only just learned existed), then your YAKOV is probably not crossworthy. Seriously, Yakov Yurovsky and Yakov Sverdlov google better than YAKOV Perelman. What? You don't know who the YAKOVs Yurovsky and Sverdlov are?! I can't believe etc.! Outrageous. (Trivia: Yurovsky was chief executioner of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia (aka The Tsar), and Sverdlov was a Bolshevik party leader).