Plumeria creation / SAT 2-4-17 / Sitcom set in Lanford Ill / Best-selling celebrity tell-all book of 1978 / Spica's constellation / Item worn by count on sesame street / They're known as viennese bread in scandinavia / Medieval invader of Spain / Final car built in buick city before its shutdown
Saturday, February 4, 2017
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Medium-Easy (hard to start, then super-easy)
Word of the Day: Plumeria (5D: Plumeria creation => LEI) —
nounnoun: plumeria; plural noun: plumerias
- a fragrant flowering tropical tree of a genus that includes frangipani. (google)
• • •
SMALL (3D: Minor) was right and YENS (7D: Wants) was right, and I figured the 1D: "___ vobiscum" ("the Lord be with you") would start "D" (I could think only of "Deus"), so I stuck that in there too. But I didn't get started in earnest til GALS (26A: Ben-___ (N.F.L. cheerleading squad)) over OLE (28A: Estadio cheer) (both gimmes), then VIRGO. Worked my way up to the long Acrosses from there. Once I finally figured out the Count wore a MONOCLE, "MOMMIE, DEAREST" became obvious, and instantly fixed all my wrong initial guesses on the short Downs (13A: Best-selling celebrity tell-all book of 1978). COMPANION PIECE (14A: Something work-related) was very very hard because the clue has "Work" in it and starts COMPAN- so naturally I wanted COMPANY something. Not knowing what "Plumeria" was meant that COMPANY stayed COMPANY too long. Not knowing CAP'N (by any stretch, at all, at all), also made uncovering COMPANION PIECE super-hard. But once I got out of the top, the puzzle opened up and suddenly became more like a Tuesday. Monday in the middle, Wednesday down below. Ended up finishing in very average time, despite terrible beginning.
"ROSEANNE" (yay!) was the turning point (22A: Sitcom set in Lanford, Ill.). Got it easy (right in my wheelhouse), and then everything underneath it just fell away. After that, I only had minor trouble: writing in SENTRA instead of XTERRA (37D: Nissan model discontinued in 2015); not knowing Hebrew letters (43D: Hebrew letter on a dreidel => SHIN); forgetting the manner in which PEAS were processed for babies (brain just kept going "smashed? smashed? are they smashed?"). But that's it. Puzzle is both easier and less interesting down below—very heavy on the RLSTNE, especially in the SE (!) with ESTEE on the SETTEE eating PASTRIES with her BESTIES. But overall the grid is really lovely, and the clues were suitably tough. I can tolerate a fantastic obscurity like CAP'N Bill Weedles (!?) (8D: ___ Bill Weedles (Land of Oz character)) if surrounding material is fair, and it was. Nice job.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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