Pedestal support / SAT 6-25-16 / Detractors epithet for Putin regime / IHOP topping option / Municipal mainstays / Setting of so-called seven islands of Greence / 13th century bc king with namesakes / European race place / Good to Galba / butterlike product of beef fat / Winner of NBC's America's Toughest Bouncer 1980
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Constructor: Kameron Austin Collins
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: THEME — DESCRIPTION
Word of the Day: SOCLE (37A: Pedestal support) —
Architecturenoun: socle; plural noun: socles
- a plain low block or plinth serving as a support for a column, urn, statue, etc., or as the foundation of a wall. (google)
• • •SOCLE. You failed at SOCLE. On the rocky shores of SOCLE, your bark was shattered and sank. Other places certainly had their tough moments, but I don't see any other puzzle-destroying sections. SOCLE is a genuine obscurity, and SEKO ... you should probably know him, but even though I've seen his name in puzzles many times, even I wrote in that "S" tentatively. And POS!? I was totally happy, for a number of seconds > 1, with P.I.S as my [Municipal mainstays: Abbr.]. I read a lot of hardboiled crime fiction, so it made sense to me. I was going to go down with SICLE when some part of my brain (the working part) said "P.I.S ain't right." I tested the "O" and had a brief moment of how "how does P.O.S work?" but then got it: post offiices. Makes much more sense for the clue than private investigators. Still, I was not at all sure about SOCLE, and was very happy when I dropped UPDO (last thing in the grid) and the Happy Pencil came up. But hoo boy ... SOCLE. Yeah. Could've done without that scare.
I've been reading David Thomson's "How to Watch a Movie" (which weirdly makes me think of today's constructor, who writes about movies for The Ringer) and he mentions "Un Chien Andalou" at least once, so 1A: Co-writer of the Surrealist silent film "Un Chien Andalou," 1929 (DALI) was a gimme, and that whole NW corner ended up playing like a Tuesday or Wednesday for me. More mid-week level difficulty right down the west side of the grid, despite blanking on JUNO (whose actors and movie poster I could visualize clearly) (29A: Title teen in a 2007 hit indie film) and not entirely believing that SHOE ADDICTS was a thing. But then I got into the middle—the SOCLE—area, and things tightened up considerably. Just getting into the SE and NE proved tricky, and that half probably took me twice as long as the first half. DARIO? (30A: Literature Nobelist ___ Fo) DARI-no. N-ROTC!? Yikes. PILAR? Didn't know at all. Then I had CIA instead of NSA, and that tiny little error was really crucial. It was a gateway; once I fixed it, I shot right up into the NE corner and took it out. Game over.
Overall, the puzzle is this odd combo of old-fashioned and ultra-modern. Lots of good longer stuff, of which KREMLIN, INC. (12D: Detractors' epithet for the Putin regime) was easily my favorite (SCREENER DVD was a solid second). Great bite, great fun. If you failed to survive SOCLE, though, I can see how you might have very different opinions.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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