Clobbered in British slang / SAT 11-26-16 / Facebook acquired it in 2014 for $19.3 billionn / Religious period dating from AD 622 / Snackable treat on stick / Ancient playwright who specialized in New Comedy
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Constructor: Paolo Pasco
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: NATAL (27A: Brazilian state capital) —
Natal (Brazilian Portuguese: [naˈtaw], Christmas) is the capital and largest city of Rio Grande do Norte state, located in northeastern Brazil. As of the IBGE July 2014, the city had a total population of 862,044 (1,485,505 in its Greater Natal). (wikipedia)
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NATAL must've been somewhere in the back of my brain, but yikes, that is not a great cross. Definite Natick territory there, as LAMPED is (as its clue says) "British slang," so not likely familiar to most solvers (incl. me). Just a rough, rough cross. Should've set off alarms. But oh well, I got it right. I liked this puzzle fine, though it is perhaps overfond of proper nouns (current, to their credit, but still...). I know WHAT'S APP solely because of the fact that [Facebook acquired it in 2014 for $19.3 billion]—I've literally never heard of it or seen it in any other context—so that answer is current but dull to me. I had no idea MUSLIM ERA was a thing (29A: Religious period dating from A.D. 622). PANERA, sure, but MUSLIM ERA? News to me. I don't believe in RURALIST. Like, I don't believe anyone uses that word or identifies with that word or anything. The clue uses "city slicker" as RURALIST's counterpart, but the thing is, "city slicker" is a term that has been used. By humans. Living humans. Who in the world calls people from rural areas RURALISTs? Sounds like a term that a time-traveling Victorian might use. "I say, where might one find suitable accommodations in Nebraska? I am unfamiliar with the ways of you RURALISTs." I also totally disbelieve in PRIED UP (!?!?!) (8D: Raised, as a trapdoor). Oh, and noir detectives (and their novels) are hard-boiled, not HARD-EDGED (40A: Like noir detective novels, typically). Come on.
On the other hand, I did like TINFOIL HAT, and (with a heaping dose of ironic nostalgia) ACE OF BASE (both of them gimmes). PUB GOLF was also, oddly, a gimme, in that I knew it had to be [something] GOLF, and since drinking was involved ... and the remaining bit was three letters ... PUB (33A: Drinking game where each bar that's visited is considered a hole). I guess it could've been "BAR," but I had that stupid trapdoor answer ending in "UP," hence the "P," hence PUB. "F" from GOLF made EGOSURF easy, so no trouble up there. I never saw "THE MARTIAN" (16A: Sci-fi hit whose tagline is "Bring him home"), but I'm Twitter-friends with one of the producers because a. we went to the same college, and b. he is a crossword solver. I have a feeling Paolo Pasco knows this, as I am Twitter-friends with him as well (he is my daughter's age, btw). Speaking of age, today is my birthday. I am older than today's constructor and younger than dirt. It's an OK age to be. That is all. I need to go see how my birthday cake turned out...
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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