Luftwaffe attack on British Midlands 1940-43 / WED 12-9-15 / Randomizing cube / Israeli PM before Ariel Sharon / Gutter blockage in winter / Woodwind descended from shawm
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Constructor: Jacob Stulberg
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: LIGHTNING (58A: What the ends of 16-, 26- and 42-Across mean)
- EHUD BARAK (16A: Israeli P.M. before Ariel Sharon)
- CHOCOLATE ECLAIR (26A: Custard-filled treat)
- BIRMINGHAM BLITZ (42A: Luftwaffe attack on the British Midlands, 1940-43)
The Birmingham Blitz was the heavy bombing by the Nazi German Luftwaffe of the city of Birmingham and surrounding towns in the United Kingdom, beginning on 9 August 1940 and ending on 23 April 1943. Situated in the Midlands, Birmingham, England's most populous British city outside London, is an important industrial and manufacturing location. In total around 1,852 tons of bombs were dropped on Birmingham, making it the third most heavily bombed city in the United Kingdom in World War II, behind only London and Liverpool. (wikipedia)Also, oddly
The Birmingham Blitz are a professional basketball team that plays in the American Basketball Association (ABA) based in Birmingham, Alabama. Founded in 2011, the team is owned by Birmingham Blitz LLC. The Blitz play their home games at Bill Harris Arena. (wikipedia)
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BIRMINGHAM BLITZ. It seemed that time and again, little bits of a longer answer were all I needed to land the whole thing. I SUPPOSE from "IS-". EHUD BARAK from "EHU-" (without even bothering to look at the clue). ET ALII from just the terminal "I". Virtually all answers seemed obvious at first clue-glance. This definitely needed at least a little toughening up. The theme is a trivia theme, and it's fine. I would've liked a snazzier / cleaner grid, given how scant the theme material is. But this one's not TRASH.
Speaking of TRASH, I had TOTAL there at first (28D: Totally destroy), which, now that I'm typing out the clue, I see was obviously wrong. I also wrote in NERD for WHIZ (1A: Brainiac), ROUSE for ROUST (50A: Awaken), TENS for PENS (!) (63A: Staples of bank counters), and, weirdly, TEAM UP for BEAM UP (42D: Bring back to the Enterprise). Also weird—the two cross-referenced clues seemed like they sped up rather than hindered my solve. I was able to get first parts of them (BOLO, EASE) from crosses, and then somehow kept in my mind what the second part of each answer was going to be (TIE, INTO), such that when I finally ran into those [See blah blah blah] clues, I was able to drop in TIE and INTO without hesitation. I didn't like MOSHED at first, but ... the more I think of it, the more it seems legit. Maybe I just don't like the scare quotes around "pit." [Danced in a pit] is correct. No need for scare quotes. it's a mosh pit. That's what it's called. Just because it's somewhat metaphorical doesn't mean you have to get all "" on it.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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