Supermodel Wek / SAT 5-14-16 / Cutting edge device named for its versatility / Skipper whose #6 was retired in 2014 / Nahuatl for jaguar / Golf takeback
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Constructor: Jeff Chen
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: SAWZALL (30A: Cutting-edge device named for its versatility) —
A reciprocating saw is a type of saw in which the cutting action is achieved through a push and pull reciprocating motion of the blade. // The term reciprocating saw is commonly assigned to a type of saw used in construction and demolition work. This type of saw, also known as a recip saw, Sawzall (a trademark of the Milwaukee Electric Tool Company) has a large blade resembling that of a jigsaw and a handle oriented to allow the saw to be used comfortably on vertical surfaces. The typical style of this saw has a foot at the base of the blade, also similar to a jigsaw. The user rests this foot against the surface being cut so that the tendency of the blade to push away from or pull towards the cut as the blade travels through its cycle can be countered. (wikipedia)
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SAWZALL (a brand name?) and COWBANE and ROSEATE and TWEEDLES in the middle—all real things, surely, but ... not exciting. Slightly arcane or slightly antiquated (esp. TWEEDLES). But tough and clever cluing mostly make up for the blandness of many of the longer answers. Very smooth, but not very tasty, this grid.
Grid basically has five parts—the corners and the center. NW = Medium, NE = Easy, SE = Easy, center = tough, and SW = tough (toughest by far). It's mostly a foregone conclusion in a grid like this that the SW is going to be the toughest. You have to back into that corner, i.e. come at the corner from the back ends of words. This is much much much harder than coming in the front door (note how the NE and SE were much easier for me—this is because RW- got me RWANDAN, J- got me JOE TORRE, LAW- got me LAWFULLY, MA- got me MALL MAP, etc., whereas -ONE and -RE and -D (in the SW) got me squat.
Opening was pretty easy (again, thanks, Latin). "Gratia plena" means "full of grace," which is of course preceded by "Hail Mary," which in Latin is AVE MARIA. NORI, SEA and SLAG were all gimmes, and LOCAVORE was pretty obvious too, so no trouble getting out of there. It was getting into the middle that was the problem. I had TOOL SHED at 21A: Where many nuts are housed. I had no idea what SAWZALL was. These two problems tied me up for a bit. But I fought through. Cluewise, I liked 41D: Union jack? (DUES) ("jack," like "do re mi" and "cabbage" and "kale," is slang for "money") and I also liked 37A: Golf takeback, maybe (REPO) ("Golf" in this case is a make of Volkswagen) (I had REDO at one point; maybe you did too). Note that in addition to Latin's being useful in solving SOULS (Virgil!), BEE VENOM (bees = apes!), and AVE MARIA, it's also in the grid twice, once as OLD LATIN, and then again as GELATIN.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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