Wrath of Titans antagonist / FRI 2-12-16 / Naval hero with five US counties named for him / Baby one is called cria / Cetacean's closest relative / Presenter of many listicles / Bega with hit Mambo No 5 / scholarly Everst / Conservation org with panda logo / sci-fi fole for Zoe Saldana / Region around star just right for habitable planets
Friday, February 12, 2016
Constructor: Brandon Hensley
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: Anita O'DAY (6D: Jazz singer whose surname came from pig Latin) —
Anita O'Day (October 18, 1919 – November 23, 2006) was an American jazz singer.
Born Anita Belle Colton, O'Day was admired for her sense of rhythm and dynamics, and her early big band appearances shattered the traditional image of the "girl singer". Refusing to pander to any female stereotype, O'Day presented herself as a "hip" jazz musician, wearing a band jacket and skirt as opposed to an evening gown. She changed her surname from Colton to O'Day, pig Latin for "dough," slang for money. (wikipedia)
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GOLDILOCKS ZONE would make a nice crossword answer the first time I heard it, five years or so ago (25A: Region around a star "just right" for habitable planets). It's a 14, and you don't see 14s very often (they are pains in the ass to construct grids around unless you really plan for them, for reasons I won't get into here; just trust me). I think 14s should be the new 15—constructors should hoard them and bring them out more often as marquee answers. They're really under-utilized. *Any*way, this puzzle might've been easier for me than it was for others because GOLDILOCKS ZONE came so readily. I have no idea how commonly known that phrase is. Of course everyone today is obsessed with this gravitational waves news (look for LIGO—Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory—coming to a grid near you, soon ... or not). But as for GOLDILOCKS ZONE, I'm not sure where I first heard it—probably from Neil deGrasse Tyson on "NOVA Science Now," which my daughter used to watch a lot. At any rate, it's the star (!) answer in this grid. CRY YOUR EYES OUT, also pretty wonderful. Most everything else is solid but unremarkable. Have we had BUZZFEED in a grid before? (64A: Presenter of many listicles) Feels ... not new, but that may just be because I solve the BUZZFEED crossword regularly and so the name has lost all 'zazz and novelty for me. Still looks nice in the grid. (PS, you should probably do today's BUZZFEED crossword—I haven't actually solved it yet, and I don't know what time of day it'll be up, but I know it's by Doug Peterson and Neville Fogarty, who are reliably fantastic) (Update: here it is)
This puzzle was very close to "Easy," but I got slowed down considerably in the final (SW) quadrant, and so while I still ended up on the easy side of things, I wasn't close to breaking any personal records. Always helpful when 1-Across is both long and a total gimme, as it was today (1A: One inclined to patronize a farmer's market => LOCAVORE).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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