Congo feeder / SAT 6-13-15 / Mostly women Olympic sport familiarly / Foursome in Mahler's Symphony of Thousand / Ultra-environmental policy / Putting phone down for sec in textspeak / 1973 self-titled album / Bent for collecting curios / Singer who was coach on four seasons of Voice / Miniaturizing device in Fantastic Voyage / New York City theater where Cinemascope debuted
Saturday, June 13, 2015
Constructor: Brad Wilber and Doug Peterson
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: VIRTU (48D: Bent for collecting curios) —
• • •
TAXI SQUAD (17A: Group of practice-only N.F.L. players). So while I was able to put the SQUAD part together pretty easily, the TAXI part got a little dicey. Specifically, I didn't know the "T"; I guessed the "T"; I also don't know what a Riemann ZETA function in, but ZETA is a Greek letter, so I went with that. That Greek-letter fact was literally the only reason I chose "T." I could just as easily, perhaps more easily, chosen "M." So that freaked me out a little. I also didn't know a person could *be* a CORDON BLEU. I thought it was just a school or a way of preparing chicken. So that Julia Child clue knocked me around too.
Then there were the twin WTF answers down below: SYNCHRO (41D: Mostly-women Olympics sport, familiarly) and VIRTU (48D: Bent for collecting curios). The former … I have never heard, so when the clue says "familiarly," I have to take that to mean "if you actually participate in synchronized swimming or are a family member of someone who does or possibly a synchronized swimming commentator, in which case you probably participated in the sport at some point, so don't really need to be listed separately." I cannot imagine someone asking, "You gonna watch the SYNCHRO, dude?" And VIRTU … I thought that word had something to do with manliness, but that's just the (stupid useless) Latin root. Does collecting "curios" make you manly? Has anyone used that word in that sense in a century later than the 19th? The esoterica hurt a little today. As did the REGIFT / RERUNS crossing. Otherwise, the grid was both smooth and zesty, like a fine guacamole.
Here's how I got into the grid. You can see the MAXISQUAD error already in place, but I counterbalanced that muff by popping both FINERY and HYATT off just one letter each:
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P.S. YODA does not speak like Claudius in "Hamlet." I see where the clue's going, what with holding the verb til the end and all, but that clue is painfully forced.