Aron's girlfriend in East of Eden / FRI 7-10-15 / 11th-century conquerors / 1920 birthplace of NFL / Tycoon with middle name Socrates / German architect who spent 19 years in Spandau prison /
Friday, July 10, 2015
Constructor: Barry C. Silk
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: David GROH (43A: David of "Rhoda") —
David Lawrence Groh (May 21, 1939 – February 12, 2008) was an American actor best known for his portrayal of Joe Gerard in the 1970s television series Rhoda, opposite Valerie Harper. (wikipedia)
• • •
IEST (The Worst) and then immediately get BEER O'CLOCK (The Best). More than jarring. Neck-snapping. Much of the rest of the solve was like that, though not quite so dramatic. Cluing also felt like it was everywhere at once. Some clues were just transparent (50A: Shankar at Woodstock), some cleverly hid their answers (7D: It may be thrown around at a party), some were dated trivia (GROH?), some dealt in bizarre red herrings (FIBER OPTICS, general; [Laparoscopy technology], absurdly specific). Whole puzzle skewed slightly older, in its cultural references (GROH!) as well as its acceptance of some terrible crosswordese that used to be considered QUITE normal (i.e. ABRA, ARILS, AARE, BRIC, etc.). I mostly enjoyed solving this, I think. The red patches on my printed-out grid (I mark the puzzle's trouble spots before blogging) are dense and livid in a couple areas (NW, SE), but non-existent in others. PLUSes outweight the minuses today, I'd say.
[Please stop watching after the great Perot bit (with Phil Hartman as Larry King!!), 'cause it gets real racist real fast in the next segment]
Here's that opening gambit. BEER O'CLOCK (15A: When it's acceptable to start downing brews) totally rescues that corner, which was nearly fatally wounded right out of the gate by ABRA and -IEST. I haven't even put ABRA in at this point, mostly because I'm hoping I've misremembered it.
CHARM CITY and ORIOLE PARK (which I thought was "Camden Yards" ... full name = "ORIOLE PARK at Camden Yards," FYI). I got hung up badly in a few places. Weirdly, despite my early success in the NW, I couldn't get ARI ONASSIS to save my life. Was not looking for / expecting the shortened form of his first name, and having -RIO... had me looking for, I don't know, ORION somebody ... I certainly didn't imagine a break between the "I" and the "O." That "Socrates" part should've been a dead giveaway, but wasn't. Also had "I KNOW" (a thing people actually say) instead of "I KNEW" (less so), and that caused some trouble.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld