Major quinoa exporter / FRI 1-15-16 / Lincoln signed it into law in 1862 / I forbid to Caesar / Der Judenstaat movement / Rockaria band briefly
Friday, January 15, 2016
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: HARROW (11D: School attended by Churchill) —
Harrow School //, commonly referred to as "Harrow", is an English independent school for boys situated in the town of Harrow, in north-west London. There is some evidence that there has been a school on the site since 1243, but the Harrow School of today was formally founded in 1572 by John Lyon under a Royal Charter of Elizabeth I. Harrow is one of the original ten public schools that were regulated by the Public Schools Act 1868. (wikipedia)
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SPECIAL MESSAGE for the week of January 10-January 17, 2016
Hello, solvers. Somehow, it is January again, which means it's time for my week-long, once-a-year pitch for financial contributions to the blog. The idea is very simple: if you read the blog regularly (or even semi-regularly), please consider what it's worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. In making this pitch, I'm pledging that the blog will continue to be here for you to read / enjoy / grimace at for at least another calendar year, with a new post up by 9:00am (usually by 12:01am) every day, as usual. This year is special, as it will mark the 10th anniversary of Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle, and despite my not-infrequent grumblings about less-than-stellar puzzles, I've actually never been so excited to be thinking and writing about crosswords. I have no way of knowing what's coming from the NYT, but the broader world of crosswords looks very bright, and that is sustaining. Whatever happens, this blog will remain an outpost of the Old Internet: no ads, no corporate sponsorship, no whistles and bells. Just the singular, personal voice of someone talking passionately about a topic he loves. As I have said in years past, I know that some people are opposed to paying for what they can get for free, and still others really don't have money to spare. Both kinds of people are welcome to continue reading my blog, with my compliments. It will always be free. I have no interest in cordoning it off, nor do I have any interest in taking advertising. I value my independence too much. Anyway, if you are so moved, there is a Paypal button in the sidebar, and a mailing address here:
℅ Michael Sharp
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Binghamton NY 13905
And here: I'll stick a PayPal button in here for the mobile users.
• • •ZIP CODE), because that clue is wicked. I somehow rendered the HOMESTEAD ACT as the COMSTEAD ACT—hmm, let's see ... there was the Comstock Law regulating the traffic in obscenity (which included contraception!). Maybe I was thinking of that. It passed in 1873, which is *close* to 1862, at any rate. But otherwise ... there was virtually no resistance today. Maybe I had a little trouble finishing off SISTERS-IN-LAW (wanted SISTER WIVES ??), and ONLINE POKER (wanted ONLINE ... nothing, actually). First thought for [Eight-footer?] involved octopuses, after which I Could Not Think Of Another 8-Footed Animal. Sigh. But crosses came quickly, so no big deal. The APENNINES clue was very tricky / clever (2D: Boot hills?) (get it? 'cause Italy is shaped like a "boot"?). But again, all surrounding material was so easy that I just waited it out.
First footing in the grid was PERU (1D: Major quinoa exporter). I've weirdly read a number of articles about quinoa, but even if I hadn't, there aren't that many four-letter South American countries. There's one. Is there another? I don't think so. After that, EPEE and RENO were transparent. UNCLOGS SWIG TANS, bang bang bang. I wish this sounded more heroic—it was really pretty rudimentary. The grid is gorgeous, if not exactly contemporary—which is to say, very very Berry. I almost went to college in WALLA WALLA. Well, I applied to college in WALLA WALLA. And got in. I think "almost went" is an exaggeration. But my family's from the NW and Whitman's a good regional liberal arts school. This is all to say that with WA- in place, WALLA WALLA was a gimme, onions or no onions. I'm about to relearn pre-NEOLATIN, i.e. classical Latin. My classicist friend has given me the textbooks. Seriously, I'm starting this week. Self-directed. I had Latin back in grad school, and loved it, but like my old concert t-shirts and my love for the podcast "Serial," it has faded. So I'm pretty excited to get back at it (the nerdiest version of a midlife crisis you're ever apt to see). The RAMS are headed back to L.A. as of this week, where they were located when they were [Merlin Olsen's team] (before he became a TV star on "Little House" and ... other things, I assume).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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