Showing posts with label Uhuru Park locale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Uhuru Park locale. Show all posts

Golfer nicknamed Supermex / FRI 7-9-10 / Peanuts surname / Yarn with rubber core / Losers of Battle of Meloria 1284 / Uhuru park locale / Minced oath

Friday, July 9, 2010

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: LASTEX (60A: Yarn with a rubber core) —

A core of latex (elasticized rubber) wrapped with another fiber. invented in 1919 and destined to revolutionize the underwear business by eliminating the need for hooks, buttons and ties. (, swear to god)

• • •

Typical Friday in terms of solving experience—ugly, slow start, and then a tipping point where the answers start to come together quickly. Wide open puzzle meant that it was possible to get that great cascading action that only American-style crosswords can provide. First five minutes—patchy, ugly grid. Next five minutes, done. Stuff that looks impossible turns out to be familiar. And so on. This puzzle was *not* typical, however, in terms of quality—it's superior. A 66-worder that it so smooth it ought to be illegal. There are exactly three entries in the whole grid that are even close to unseemly. Three. Out of 66. What? Yes. They are: LASTEX (which sounds like a combination boner pill/laxative) (60A: Yarn with a rubber core); BLYTH, which looks like a girl who didn't have enough room to write out her full name (25D: English city that's home to the Spartans football club); and SOPOR, the ugly younger brother of TORPOR (10D: Lethargy). There's other stuff in the grid I don't know—EFREM, for instance (51A: Roger's "77 Sunset Strip" co-star), or this PAULINE character (13A: Princess who was a sister of Napoleon Bonaparte)—but they seem like legitimate names. OK, so maybe you wouldn't take SELENIC home to meet your mum (12D: Containing element #34), but most constructors would (metaphorically) give their left corneas to achieve this kind of low-word-count smoothness. Parallel 15s glued together with 9s ... in both directions (Across and Down)!? This Patrick Berry person is to crosswords what that Red Bull-drinking, red-haired kid is to snowboarding.

LeBron's move to the Heat isn't very big news for crosswords, but I wonder when future teammate Chris BOSH will become a clue (right now all BOSH clues are [Nonsense], [Claptrap], and the like). And more importantly, when is *someone* gonna put the C-razily named DWYANE (yes, that's how it's spelled) Wade in a puzzle? He's one of the three best players in the NBA *and* his name is insane. Get the man in the puzzle.

Used a bunch of gimmes, scattered about the top part of the grid, to get started today. Love Nabokov and LOVE film NOIR, so ADA (22A: Literary title character with a palindromic name) and NOIR (26A: Genre of "The Set-Up," 1949) went in early. Put in GLEE right away, but with nothing to confirm it, retracted it. Got distracted by the two-part gimme 19A: With 21-Across, like many rivers in winter (ICED / OVER), which was very helpful in getting me into the NE, though I'm embarrassed I didn't get TREVINO (11D: Golfer nicknamed "Supermex") a Lot sooner than I did (had like 5 crosses before I tumbled to it, ugh). VAN PELT was the last of the true gimmes up there (17A: "Peanuts" surname), and once I had the NE, I was able to follow both the Across and the Down 15 out of there and on to other parts of the grid. With good tough clues on JOGGER (1A: Park ranger?) and GINSU (4D: Pitched blade?), and a nutso trivia clue on PISANS (13D: Losers of the Battle of Meloria), the NW put up a bit of a fight, but the bottom half of the puzzle went down with very little effort. One answer just spilled into the next. I didn't know PEI (48A: Big name in Modernism) was associated with Modernism (a movement I associate with the early 20th c.), but other than that, not much hesitation down below.

  • 18A: Sports champion with a palindromic name (SELES) — always good, from solver's perspective, to know something's palindromic. Doubles the value of your crosses (assuming your cross isn't the middle letter).
  • 25A: Feta maker's need (BRINE) — also SHEEP.
  • 34A: "Few can be induced to labor exclusively for ___": Abraham Lincoln (POSTERITY) — From his Temperance Address of 1842: "Few can be induced to labor exclusively for posterity; and none will do it enthusiastically. Posterity has done nothing for us; and theorize on it as we may, practically we shall do very little for it, unless we are made to think, we are, at the same time, doing something for ourselves."
  • 35A: Popular sea menaces of film (MAN-EATING SHARKS) — Well, there's "Jaws," and ... this?

  • 41A: Where I-15 meets I-86: Abbr. (IDA.) — I was just there, and remember neither of these roads.
  • 43A: Dickens heroine ___ Trent (NELL) — My brain just kept serving up "Little Dorritt," but NELL sounded Dickensian enough.
  • 46A: 1974 Best Picture nominee directed by Bob Fosse ("LENNY") — No idea Fosse directed that. I know him only from "All That Jazz."
  • 50A: ___ Emperor (Taoism figure) (JADE) — Had the -ADE, so, you know, reasonable guess. "J" was very helpful at getting otherwise invisible-to-me JESU (50D: "___, meine Freude" (Bach motet)).
  • 55A: Rope-ladder rung on a ship (RAT LINE) — pretty sure I learned this term from crosswords.
  • 57A: It's also called a "way car" (CABOOSE) — guessed off the -OSE. "Way car" is a supremely lame name for anything.
  • 5D: "The ___," next-to-last song on "Abbey Road," ironically ("END") — clue could have / should have lost "ironically." Makes the reveal funnier, not having it spelled out for you. The last song, of course, is "Her Majesty":

  • 7D: Army post unused since the 1950s (FIVE-STAR GENERAL) — And here I was like a sucker, imagining the clue was referring to some abandoned fort somewhere...
  • 8D: Minced oath (EGAD) — How is it "minced?" Is it said ... while mincing? With an effeminate voice? A lisp? What the hey?
  • 27D: Ready enough (RIPE) — Had RARE and loved it.
  • 37D: Uhuru Park locale (NAIROBI) — Uhura's first name was NYOTA. Did you know that? I did not.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


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