Controversial fish catcher / THU 10-6-16 / Sweet plant of mustard family / Letter embellishment / River that's home to black spot piranha
Thursday, October 6, 2016
Constructor: Timothy Polin
Relative difficulty: Medium (entirely because of the NE quadrant—else Easy)
- CLIP CYCLOPS (17A: Give an "Odyssey" character a trim?)
- PET PSYCHO (30A: Favorite whack job?)
- BILL SINAI (45A: Invoice a whole Mideast peninsula?)
- SEMPER SCIFI (57A: Motto of a huge "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" fan?)
nounnoun: alyssum; plural noun: alyssums; noun: sweet alyssum; plural noun: sweet alyssums
- a herbaceous Eurasian plant that bears small flowers in a range of colors, typically white or yellow. Several kinds are widely cultivated in gardens. (google)
• • •GILL NET? (7D: Controversial fish catcher) What is ALYSSUM? (23D: "Sweet" plant of the mustard family) I got DON JOHN only from crosses and a vague memory of that being somebody's name in something I read once (12D: "Much Ado About Nothing" villain). Those three answers (esp. the first two) were weird outliers, familiarity-wise. I love how the clue writer thought quotation-marking "Sweet" would somehow tip me off to ALYSSUM. What the what? Oy, there's an answer where I needed literally every cross, and had to really think about ALYSSUM v. ADYSSUM, because the cross was at least mildly ambiguous (27A: Threaten => LOOM, not DOOM). I also thought the revealer might be ONE-SIZE. It fits.
- 16A: Children's author Asquith (ROS) — high-order crosswordese. Totally blanked on it. Get her confused with EDA LeShan tbh.
- 26D: ___ gun (SPEAR) — Had ---AR and went with RADAR...
- 38D: Barbecuer's supply (RIB MEAT) — ew. What? Your supply is ribs. Presumably, yes, they have meat on them, but you call them ribs. Or (and this fits) RIB TIPS. Can you barbecue ribeyes, 'cause that also fits.
- 10D: Charge (TASK) — Had TASE at one point. Because a taser ... provides a charge ... of sorts.
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