Green-glazed Chinese porcelain / FRI 1-29-16 / Relative of Without doubt in Magic 8 Ball / 2008 R&B Grammy winner for Growing Pains / For-profit university with dozens of US campuses / Vehicle that's loaded in Harry Belafonte hit / Watt-second fraction
Friday, January 29, 2016
Constructor: David Phillips
Relative difficulty: Medium (maybe slightly harder than usual)
- Ned ROREM (5-letter composer of crossword fame; he'll bail you out of many spots)
Word of the Day: CELADON (34A: Green-glazed Chinese porcelain) —
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GENERAL ZOD and the odd-but-pleasingly-retro IT IS DECIDEDLY SO (7D: Relative of "Without a doubt" in a Magic 8 Ball). Hard to keep up that level of excitement and enthusiasm, though, with fill like CELADON and MACLEAN and TREELESS and MAUNA LOA and LEAVENED and WELL READ and TESH and BOREDOM — all fine answers, but nothing to make you really sit up and take notice. The one aspect of this puzzle that really does deserve credit—not just credit, but a medal of some sort—is the clue on CAKE PAN (10D: Battery container?). I had to work that answer letter by bleeping letter, and when I finally got it, I Got It, and it felt good. Worth it. When the struggle is worth the payoff, there's really no better feeling as a solver.
My biggest struggle today was definitely that NW corner. I got nothing on my first pass, and ended up having to back into it via the tail ends of SUNTANNING and "ONE, PLEASE" (I had "---, PLEASE" for the latter and just ... guessed. I bet on loneliness, and won big!). But those longer Acrosses didn't come easily, and without them, I was lost in the NW. The answer that got me started was BONET (5D: Lisa of "The Cosby Show"), and, as happens every time I get a toehold with a pop culture clue, I don't feel good about it. Feels like cheating. BONET OUTER LUNA ERG to (Mary J.) BLIGE. Then I dropped ZOD and went back to save the stranded answers in the NW. The rest of the puzzle just played like a normal Friday for me. I did have to send several longer answers across the grid before I got any real traction (always an issue when there's lots of white space), but once I got the basic latticework going ...
[note the LEMON error...]
... the surrounding answers started to fall into place. I ended on PAR VALUE, which is fitting, as the puzzle was roughly as exciting as that answer is.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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