Sport similar to paintball / SAT 2-25-17 / Corrupt in British slang / Number of bacteria living on surface that has not been sterilized / Sociopathic role for Alain Delon Matt Damon John Malkovich / Vegas hotel with name from English legend / Giovanni Verrazano discovery of 1524
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Constructor: Mark Diehl
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: AIRSOFT (26D: Sport similar to paintball) —
spherical non-metallic pellets launched via replica weapons called airsoft guns. // Airsoft guns are replica weapons used in airsoft sports. They are essentially a special type of low-power smoothbore air guns designed to pressurize air within an internal chamber to shoot non-metallic spherical projectiles (often incorrectly referred to as BBs) typically made of (but not limited to) plastic or biodegradable resin materials. Airsoft guns and pellets have significantly less penetrative and stopping powers than conventional air guns, and are generally safe for competitive sporting and recreational purposes if proper protective gear is worn. // Depending on the mechanism for propelling the pellet, an airsoft gun can be operated manually with a spring-loaded air pump, or on an automatic cycling basis which is implemented either pneumatically with prefilled bottled gas (such as compressed green gas or CO2), or mechanically driven by an electric motor gearbox. // As toy weapons, airsoft guns can often be designed to realistically resemble genuine firearms in appearance, and it can be very difficult to distinguish from one. It is notable that despite their appearance, airsoft guns cannot be adapted to use deadly ammunitions. (wikipedia)
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SWIPE LEFT). I just didn't know a bunch of this stuff. Like ... half a dozen answers, I'd either flat-out never heard of (AIRSOFT? ALMADEN?), or only sort of barely know exist (CAPE COD BAY ... I know the cape, but the bay ... is not something I ever think about). BIOBURDEN was totally unknown to me, but I kind of liked figuring it out. The same cannot be said of REDBONE. I used to obsess over dog-breed books (I love dogs, of all and no breeds), so I was slightly stunned to have no recollection of ever seeing that particular [Hunting dog breed]. The NW corner was pretty tight, but after that, the puzzle was just OK. Nothing special. Adequate. Friday's puzzle was clearly the big winner this week, with Thursday a close second.
How did you get into this thing? I did what I typically do—go straight to the short answers and hope they give me enough information to net one of the longer crosses. Good strategy for biggish corners like NW and SE. Today, I started at COE (28A: Iowa college) and ITSY (25A: Wee, informally) (both gimmes). That led me to IMMERSE and TOM RIPLEY (which was also a gimme, but, as I say, I never look at clues to longer answers until I have had at the short stuff). Despite the gruesomeness of the faux-quaint clue and answer at 22A: "Cheese and rice!" ("NERTS!"), I thought that corner came together pretty nicely. But coming out of there proved both tough and less interesting. Couldn't spell Linda ELLERBEE's name (last letter was "Y" for a while). And then AIRSOFT (total mystery) kept me from having any hope of getting into SW. NE was fairly tractable, despite REDBONE. Needed APED / CAPISCE to get started again in the SW. Finished in the SE. Didn't know BIOBURDEN, as I said, and had a few seconds of bewilderment trying to figure out what answer could possibly start DST- at 55A: 60s sorts (D STUDENTS). Finished at CAMPS, which gave me my final letter—the "M" in ALMADEN. I was born and raised in California. Never heard of ALMADEN. I'll have to try some. Perhaps one of their chardonnays would pair nicely with some DEWED NERTS. Good night.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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