Temple of Artemis city / FRI 8-5-16 / Colorful swallow / Ottoman honorific / Compost heap bit / Resembling a heavy curtain / Eponym of annual Golden Globe award for lifetime achievement
Friday, August 5, 2016
Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley
Relative difficulty: Challenging
Word of the Day: EPHESUS (65A: Temple of Artemis city) —
//; Greek: Ἔφεσος Ephesos; Turkish: Efes; ultimately from Hittite Apasa) was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, three kilometres southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir Province, Turkey. It was built in the 10th century BC on the site of the former Arzawan capital by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. During the Classical Greek era it was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC. According to estimates, Ephesus had a population of 33,600 to 56,000 people in the Roman period, making it the third largest city of Roman Asia Minor after Sardis and Alexandria Troas. // The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In 268 AD, the Temple was destroyed or damaged in a raid by the Goths. It may have been rebuilt or repaired but this is uncertain, as its later history is not clear. Emperor Constantine the Great rebuilt much of the city and erected new public baths. Following the Edict of Thessalonica from Emperor Theodosius I, what remained of the temple was destroyed in 401 AD by a mob led by St. John Chrysostom. The town was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 AD. The city's importance as a commercial center declined as the harbor was slowly silted up by the Küçükmenderes River. (wikipedia)
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TEEN JEOPARDY" is an "event" (OK, I guess) "informally" (??)? Those two clue words made getting that answer incredibly hard, and without the "J," JELLO SHOT was well nigh impossible to see (great clue—20D: Colorful swallow?—but Saturday clue), and without JELLO SHOT, JIGGLED (43D: Moved like a 20-Down) ... no hope. Without JIGGLED, GAH is impossible (50A: Frustrated cry) ... so there was this domino effect that meant that not only was the puzzle hard, but it was annoyingly hard, not AHAingly hard. "TEEN JEOPARDY" and JELLO SHOT are both good answers—probably the puzzle's marquee answers—but whatever joy I might've gotten from them had evaporated by the time I actually solved them (very very late—that cross was one of the last things to fall).
FLAGRANT FOUL was the only excellent answer that was excellently clued (55A: Real hack?). It was also very helpful in making me realize neither OCCUR nor ENSUE was right at 51D: Come about (ARISE), and NUNCHUCKS was not a correct spelling (not here, anyway). And about that: NUNCHUCKS *is*, in fact, a legit spelling of that weapon (look it up), while NUNCHAKU appears to be plural all on its own (i.e. no final "S" needed). I'm just going from wikipedia, so maybe there is some specialized and / or variant usage; that's entirely possible. I just know that the spelling of NUNCHAKUS is a nightmare, even if you know (as I did) the weapon in question. And it's *especially* nightmarish dropping through EPHESUS (you could be forgiven for not knowing that last vowel) and the ridiculous RUGLIKE (60A: Resembling a heavy curtain, say). RUGLIKE is this puzzle's nadir. "Your curtains are RUGLIKE..." Who says that? STENOS? AIRACES, after coming home from HOT WARS? And if you don't know LUPE Fiasco (and I'm guessing many of you don't), then, man, things could get really rough down there. That SW corner is unlovely.
Things were just hard all over. [Italian dictators] are DUCES (I only know the term in the singular, applied exclusively to Mussolini) and not DOGES. [Put away] was neither EAT nor ATE but HID (?), we don't even get Eric HEIDEN's first name to help us with that clue (32D: U.S. athlete who won more gold medals at the 1980 Winter Olympics than all but two non-U.S. countries) (side note: weird to have "U.S." in the clue twice when the answer lies right next to USA, USA!). [Injured: Fr.] is not BLESSÉ, so .... no clue there (LÈSE). Despite a few glitzy answers, solving this was a bit of a drag. Wonky cluing + too much overfamiliar stuff (ARE TOO, SOLI, CAHN, OOH, ANI, ATAD, RIA, CTA, AGHA...). Misplaced on Friday, and just not edited with the style and personality and precision that I'm used to from BEQ's puzzles on his own site (new puzzles 2x/week—you should be on that).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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