Showing posts with label Clothier in Cambridge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clothier in Cambridge. Show all posts

Pacific atoll in 1943 fighting / SUN 5-23-10 / Wine city north of Lisbon / Job legislation estab 1973 / Husband of Pompeia

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Constructor: Yaakov Bendavid

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "FLIP-FLOPS" — Familiar phrases wherein a compound word has its component parts inverted, creating wacky phrases, clued "?"-style

Word of the Day: TARAWA (57A: Pacific atoll in 1943 fighting) —

Tarawa is an atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, previously the capital of the former British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. It is the location of the capital of the Republic of Kiribati, South Tarawa. The island is best known by outsiders as the site of the Battle of Tarawa during World War II. (wikipedia)
• • •
Loved the theme, though the fact that the word inversion came at the fronts of theme answers 3 and 4 and the backs of the rest threw me, and detracted a bit from the puzzle's structural elegance. I think the grid plays a little fast and loose with exotica today. I say this only *in part* because I was done in by TARAWA — before I *knew* I'd been done in, I thought to myself, "That MT. APO (34D: Philippines' highest peak: Abbr.)/ OPORTO (56A: Wine city north of Lisbon) crossing is gonna kick someone in the groin today ..." I don't think of either of those places as very well known (in the U.S.) outside of crosswords. Longtime readers of this blog will know MT. APO as "The Answer Rex Screwed Up at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament a Couple Years Back" — I wrote in MOAPO. Long story. Anyhoo, I'm not sure how inferrable that "P" is here. Maybe very. Still, it struck me as potentially unfair. I had no way of knowing that TORAWA was wrong until I decided to make it the Word of the Day and Google said "Do you mean tarawa?" Yes, dammit, apparently I do. But HEMO is so so so so right, and way better than stupid HEMA as an answer to 38D: Blood: Prefix. Yuck. I also wasn't that thrilled with the SERO / RHEOSTAT / HEMA / STET mash-up. Aesthetically displeasing.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Where ETs do knitting and art? (ALIEN CRAFT SPACE)
  • 34A: Thug living next to humorist Will? (MR. ROGERS HOOD NEIGHBOR) — big thumbs up for that one
  • 46A: "Get that first down ... and don't fumble"? (HANDOFF REMARK)
  • 67A: Watching over Warsaw's national emblem? (POLE FLAG SITTING)
  • 88A: Waiting in line for hooch? (AT A STILL STAND)
  • 97A: Competition among shrinks? (PSYCHOLOGICAL FARE WAR)
  • 119A: Visitors' fair warning? (WE SHALL COME OVER)
My main struggle points were the above-mentioned OPORTO and TARAWA areas near the puzzle center, and then the CETA area down south (101D: Job legislation estab. in 1973). Yeesh, that is one ugly (and, to me, completely unheard of) acronym. Dullards like me will be happy (or not) to find out that CETA stands for "Comprehensive Employment and Training Act," which is "a United States federal law enacted in 1973 to train workers and provide them with jobs in the public service" (wikipedia). Happily, the area immediately adjacent to CETA is lovely, with GOOSES (99D: Spurs) and IT'S HOT (100D: "Boy, am I shvitzing!") descending into WIZ ZEST (119D: Guru + 126A: Relish). Love it.

  • 1A: Frozen dessert in France (GLACE) — Wasn't sure, but GLACE came tentatively to mind, and the crosses all confirmed it, bang bang bang.
  • 75A: Biennial golf competition (RYDER CUP) — that's a nice longer answer. Team competition, Europe vs. U.S.
  • 124A: Start of the French Lord's Prayer (NOTRE) — "NOTRE père qui es aux cieux" ... used to be "qui êtes aux cieux," but I guess folks have gotten chummier with God since then.
  • 4D: Husband of Pompeia (CAESAR) — by which I assume they mean *Julius* CAESAR. There are many, many CAESARs.
  • 10D: Plato's "tenth Muse" (SAPPHO) — poet of Lesbos.
  • 16D: "___ No Woman," 1973 hit for the Four Tops ("AIN'T") — Ooh, is this "AIN'T No Woman like the one I got!?" I know that song — but I needed most of the crosses to get this answer.

  • 40D: Colleague of Lane and Kent (OLSEN) — always the OLSEN/OLSON issue, but SORBET made that choice clear.
  • 47D: Clothier, in Cambridge (DRAPER) — My favorite is Don DRAPER. God I love that man. Almost as much as I love Ron Swanson.

  • 68D: Pumice source (LAVA) — I had MICA.
  • 78D: Sci-fi escape vehicles (PODS) — Mr. Burns had one of these built in case of nuclear meltdown. He had to use it once, but I think it just shot him into the power plant parking lot.
  • 83D: Small-runway aircraft, briefly (STOL) — "Short Takeoff and Landing" — learned this one the hard way (in a crossword).
  • 98D: Dr. Seuss title animal (HORTON) — He's a title elephant. Come on, just say "elephant."
  • 109D: Kiev-born Israeli P.M. (MEIR) — Kiev, eh? I did not know that. I had fantastic Chicken Kiev at the Russian Tea Room once when I was 13. Have I mentioned that experience? Changed my life. "How ... how did the butter get in there...?" Then, on the way out of the restaurant, my mom said "there's the potted plant your father threw up in once." Then there was this crazy guy in the street out front, slamming the handle of a small axe into his palm while yelling at passers-by. No one paid him any mind. 1983!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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