Starchy substance found in some plant roots / TUE 8-23-16 / Soda brand introduced in 1924 / Bond player after Brosnan / Duchess of Goya subject / Many flower children these days / Aaron Burr Hamilton song with rhyming title
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Constructor: Joel Fagliano
Relative difficulty: Medium, leaning easy
THEME: SWIRL (60A: Ice cream feature represented four times in this puzzle) — four flavors of ice cream are "swirled" inside nine-letter blocks in the grid; from L to R, top to bottom: CHOCOLATE, RUM RAISIN, BUBBLE GUM, PISTACHIO
Inulins are a group of naturally occurring polysaccharides produced by many types of plants, industrially most often extracted from chicory. The inulins belong to a class of dietary fibers known as fructans. Inulin is used by some plants as a means of storing energy and is typically found in roots or rhizomes. Most plants that synthesize and store inulin do not store other forms of carbohydrate such as starch. Using inulin to measure renal function is the "gold standard" for comparison with other means of estimating creatinine clearance. (wikipedia)
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INULIN. That is some outlying outlierness, that is. Otherwise, things stayed on the easy side of Tuesday, which is impressive considering how big those NW / SE corners are. When I see that much white space in a themed puzzle, I expect a tougher-than-average experience. Not so today. I don't particularly like or even fully get the theme. CHOCOLATE swirl is a thing, but the other swirls are not, as far as a I know, so ... I guess it's just nine-letter ice cream flavors that are spinning. With no theme answers (besides SWIRL), this one just felt conceptually wobbly. As an exercise in easy themlessness, though, it was pretty enjoyable, with fill roughly 100x better than yesterday's. Leaving INULIN aside, there are only a smattering of ugly answers—well below my tolerance level. I really wish LOW-ENERGY had gotten the timely political clue it deserves, even if it would've meant mentioning a certain [choose one: a. DUMBO; b. SLUG; c. BEELZEBUB; d. HOSE] by name.
- 39A: Gift in a relationship that's getting serious, maybe (KEY) — I have no idea what this means. What year is this from? Did you give him / her your house key? As a "gift"? I don't understand people.
- 10A: Verbally attach (BASH) — had LASH
- 58D: Seven Dwarfs' workplace (MINE) — recently watched "Snow White" as part of our ongoing "Watch All The Allegedly Great Movies" campaign. Have any of you seen it recently? It is so fantastically insipid, so intolerably boring, that we just shut it off half-way through. I'm sure the animation was a stunning achievement for its time, but as *movie*? Man, it does Not hold up. Her voice alone made me want to shut the whole thing down immediately. As I said elsewhere, it was like listening to Betty Boop's terribly boring cousin. Don't even get me started on the stupid MINE, where fully cut and polished gems just ... lie about. Intolerable. "Overrated" doesn't even begin to describe this movie.
- 45D: Drug kingpin on "The Wire" (MARLO) — still haven't gotten around to this show. If it's a "Wire" clue and the answer isn't OMAR, I'm out.
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