Showing posts with label L'Enfant Prodigue composer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label L'Enfant Prodigue composer. Show all posts

L'Enfant Prodigue composer /SAT 9-25-10/ Masonry that requires little mortar / Two-time Grammy winner Jon / California city with statue of Jack Benny

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none


Word of the Day: ASHLAR (1A: Masonry that requires little mortar) —

Ashlar is prepared (or "dressed") stone work of any type of stone. Stone masonry utilizing dressed stones is known as ashlar masonry, whereas masonry using irregularly shaped stones is known as rubble masonry. Ashlar blocks are large rectangular cuboid blocks of masonry sculpted to have square edges and smooth faces. The blocks are generally about 35 centimeters in height. When shorter than 30 centimeters, they are usually called “small ashlar”. // Ashlar blocks were used in the construction of many old buildings as an alternative to brick. Generally the external face is smooth or polished; occasionally it can be decorated by small grooves achieved by the application of a metal comb. (This process is usually used only on a softer stone ashlar block. The decoration is known as mason's drag.) (wikipedia)

• • •

This was my fastest Saturday of the year and probably my fastest of the century. I think I did a Saturday in the NYT archive from the mid-90s one time and got in under 6. This one was a hair over 7, and (as usual on Saturdays) I really wasn't pushing it. I take a way more deliberate pace on late-week themeless puzzles than I do on the M-Th puzzles. I just find them more interesting and enjoyable that way. Still, I smoked this, despite never having heard of two answers: ASHLAR and RUGER (26A: Maker of rifles and revolvers). Considered ASHCAN and the far more improbable ASH HAT before letting the crosses eventually resolve the 1-Across issue for me (dicey moment: briefly thought 4D: Attractiveness (LOOKS) was HOOKS ... seemed plausible at the time). The only place I got slowed down in any meaningful way was in the RUGER area, where the PUMPS part of HEAT PUMPS (11D: Alternatives to furnaces) wasn't obvious to me, and I had WATER-something for 29D: Oasis sights (DATE PALMS), leaving me wondering how WEMONS could be 29A: Personal problems (DEMONS). But before and after that little section, it was almost perfectly smooth sailing.

A very, very musical puzzle today, so much so that very early on, I thought there was some oldies theme developing. Weird to get Al Green and the Dave Clark Five and the WAILERS (7D: 1960s-'70s group originally known as the Teenagers, with "the") all in such a small area like that. Lucky to have listened almost exclusively to Motown and Classic Rock stations in high school (and '70s soul music in grad school). Got "SHA LA LA" off just a couple crosses (2D: 1974 top 10 Al Green hit subtitled "Make Me Happy"). Got "I LIKE IT LIKE THAT" off the "I LIKE..." (19A: 1965 top 10 hit for the Dave Clark Five). Needed a bit more help to uncover WAILERS, but still, didn't take much. And then, of course, there's DEBUSSY (35D: "L'Enfant Prodigue" composer) crossing Charlie Parker (43A: Specialty of Charlie Parker=>BEBOP). All in all, a nice assortment of tunes.


Odd coincidence of the day: "I LIKE IT LIKE THAT" was a grid-spanning answer in another daily puzzle just yesterday.


Bullets:
  • 16A: ___ Shelly, writer/director/co-star of "Waitress," 2007 (ADRIENNE) — total guess, extrapolated from the "DR" alone.
  • 30A: Birds said to feed their young with elephants (ROCS) — good day to learn fun facts about flying things: see also SEVEN (39A: Common number of spots on a ladybug).
  • 40A: Crime novelist McDermid (VAL) — very familiar name, though I couldn't tell you a thing she has written. Describes her own work as "Tartan noir," which makes me want to read it. Wikipedia says she's known for "graphic depictions of violence and torture," which makes me not want to read her. Despite my love of crime fiction, I'm not a big fan of gory detail.
  • 45A: California city with a statue of Jack Benny (RANCHO CUCAMONGA) — Lived in inland southern California for a while, so this is a very familiar place name. And a very silly one.
  • 5D: James I's queen consort (ANNE) — May as well have read [Royal-sounding woman's name]
  • 39D: Two-time Grammy winner Jon (SECADA) — "Two-time?" I know him from some '90s pop song I can't even recall now. He seems to have won his Grammys in Latin Pop categories.
Today this blog turns four years old. Only one day (Jan. '07) in that whole time has a write-up not been posted. It's a lot of work writing this thing day in and day out, but mostly it's been my pleasure. I hope you are (still) enjoying it.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

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