Showing posts with label Overseas fabric spun from flax. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Overseas fabric spun from flax. Show all posts

Dom Pedro's ill-fated wife / FRI 1-7-11 / Indus outlet / Overseas fabric spun from flax / Ice cream eponym / Subject 2002 Senate authorization

Friday, January 7, 2011

Constructor: Joe DiPietro

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none


Word of the Day: CENTAVO (56A: Bit of change in Cuba) —

Centavo is a Spanish and Portuguese word, derived from the Latin centum, meaning "one hundred", and the suffix -avo, meaning "portion" or "fraction". Centavo means, strictly, "one-hundredth". // It is a fractional monetary unit, used to represent one hundredth of a basic monetary unit in many countries around the world [...]. (wikipedia)

• • •

The grid is solid, with impressive wide-open spaces in the NW and SE. But there's nothing remarkable, nothing memorable—at least not in the way of fill. Here's what I don't get: why would anyone bother making a themeless At All if the grid didn't *start* with at least a couple killer, original entries. Feels like the grid *shape* was driving this one more than anything (it does look cool). Some of these entries are probably original, but none of them *feels* original, current, interesting. They're fine words and phrases all around, and there's nothing particularly unattractive about this grid. But there's not much to love, either, and precious little to comment on ... which I guess makes my job easy tonight. Perhaps I should be grateful.

I was slowish on this one because of a bad start in the NW. Got ISERE (5D: French department or a river that runs through it) and EDY (7D: Ice cream eponym) and then CREASED (15A: Iron-deficient?), but went nowhere after that. Lots of tentative entries, all of them retracted. Got going for real near the grid's center, where the wrong answer, CAP, seemed right after I got RASTA. DEBI (20A: Actress Mazar of HBO's "Entourage") was a gimme (though not from "Entourage," which I've never seen), and she got me SILENT ... something, but I couldn't tell which "part" of "carriage" was supposed to be SILENT. The "I" or the "A?" Or the "E?" Thankfully, the cross told me the answer instantly—I just (finally) ordered my books for Spring semester today, and at the top of the list was "INFERNO" (33A: Source of the line "Midway upon the road of our life I found myself within a dark wood..."). Very famous opening lines. Anyway, SLAP ON (instead of SLAM ON36A: Apply with force) really killed my chances of seeing ARMORED CAR for a while (28D: Robber's target), but other than that, SE was comparatively easy.

Had a rough go of it in the SW, where 38D: Spade mashie (SIX IRON) was gibberish to me ... only "mashie" rattled some golf/crossword memory in my head. "Spade," however, is a detective to me, so I had no idea what was going on, and though I wanted KLAXON at 45A: Loud horn, I had no idea how that "X" could factor into the "mashie" clue so I wavered there. Very proud of plonking down CENTIVO (56A: Bit of change in Cuba)! OK , so it's CENTAVO—that's still some pretty good (if wrong) guessing. DUET was the real problem down there in the far SW (49D: Puccini's "O Mimi, tu più non torni" e.g.). I wanted ARIA (of course), and then had AVA as the [Palindromic girl] (ADA). Once I accepted that STOUTEN was a word (58A: Bulk up), I figured everything else out. The "K" in KLAXON was enough to get me TAKEN TO TASK (4D: Censured), and from there the NW was not nearly as tough as it initially seemed. SECTION ONE seems weak and arbitrary (3D: Prime seating area at sporting events, maybe), but I really like RICKETY (17A: Unstable). The "W" in SCREWS (1D: Pressure, metaphorically) / WHINE (22A: Complaint) was the last letter that went into the grid.


Bullets:
  • 16A: Subject of 2002 Senate authorization (IRAQ WAR) — might have been a lot harder if HQS hadn't been so easy (11D: Command ctrs.).
  • 40A: Dom Pedro's ill-fated wife (INÉS) — I got this by remembering Don Juan's mother, who is INÉZ (which is also my grandmother's name). No idea who Dom Pedro is. . . 14th-century Portuguese prince. His dad had INÉS killed because he didn't like her influence on Pedro. Does not appear that INÉS was actually his wife at the time of her murder (though Pedro claimed they were secretly married). According to wikipedia, "Legend has it that [Pedro] had Inês's body exhumed from her grave and forced the entire court to swear allegiance to their new queen by kissing the corpse's hand. She was later buried at the Monastery of Alcobaça where her coffin can still be seen, opposite Peter's so that, according to the legend, at the Last Judgment Peter and Inês can look at each other as they rise from their graves." Morbid.
  • 2D: Overseas fabric spun from flax (IRISH LINEN) — just pieced this together from crosses. --N-N gave me the "fabric" and IRI-- gave me the "overseas" part.
  • 9D: Indus outlet (ARABIAN SEA) — like the "in"/"out" opposition in the clue.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

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