Sweet white wine from Bordeaux / WED 12-16-15 / Big brand of sports equipment / Aussie hoppers / Central Park's boathouse
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Constructor: Paula Gamache
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: DEAD END (34A: Cul-de-sac ... or what either part of the answer to each starred clue is?) — two-word phrases (or compound words) where both the first and last parts can follow "Dead" in a familiar phrase:
- WOOD DUCK (17A: *Colorful North American waterfowl)
- AIRLINE (21A: *Fleet operator)
- BODY WEIGHT (22A: *Class determinant in boxing)
- LETTERHEAD (48A: *Top on official stationery)
- EYEBALL (50A: *Observe closely)
- SEAHORSE (54A: *Swimmer with a prehensile tail)
Sauternes is a French sweet wine from the Sauternais region of the Graves section in Bordeaux. Sauternes is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. This causes the grapes to become partially raisined, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavored wines. Due to its climate, Sauternes is one of the few wine regions where infection with noble rot is a frequent occurrence. Even so, production is a hit-or-miss proposition, with widely varying harvests from vintage to vintage. Wines from Sauternes, especially the Premier Cru Supérieur estate Château d'Yquem, can be very expensive, due largely to the very high cost of production. Barsac lies within Sauternes, and is entitled to use either name. Somewhat similar but less expensive and typically less-distinguished wines are produced in the neighboring regions of Monbazillac, Cérons, Loupiac and Cadillac. In the United States, there is a semi-generic label for sweet white dessert wines known as sauterne without the "s" at the end and uncapitalized. (wikipedia)
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AIM, TREE). So you pair them up to make other phrases. OK. There's no real solver joy involved in this kind of puzzle. It's an interesting idea. Superficially clever. But ultimately kind of dull. Also, I don't think "dead horse" really holds up on its own. You have to beat it to make it work, and that's just cruel.
I like ON THE MAKE, though I generally think of that is much more sexually charged than this clue (32D: Ambitious and unscrupulous) suggests. CAB IT and LOEB Boathouse are absurd NYC provincialisms. ALKA is terrible on its face. See also ANTH and ENTO. I have no idea what a WOOD DUCK is, but that's probably on me. Sounds like a decoy, but I'm guessing it's not a decoy. Unless it is. LIENOR (ugh) crossing VOIT (?) is a big NONONO. Otherwise, fill just seems normal. The whole puzzle radiates normal. ENYA, ESME, ELO and the ROOS. All sadly, profoundly normal. I thought 43D: New Orleans university (LOYOLA) was TULANE, but that was my only real slip-up with this thing.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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