September 16, 2011
Donna S. Levin
- 20A: Approval from a Càdiz resident (MEDITERRANEAN SI [SEA]).
- 29A: Approval from Louis XIV (THE ROYAL OUI [WE]).
- 40A: Approval from a shocked Scot (ELECTRIC AYE [EYE]).
- 50A: Approval from a sushi chef at the lunch counter?(TWELVE O'CLOCK HAI [HIGH]).
Today's puzzle is a Donna S. Levin. The last time I blogged here I also blogged one of her puzzles. That's not TOO surprising, she's one of the most prolific constructors for the LA Times! With good reason! She comes up with some really great creative puzzles like this one! I'll bet I wasn't the only constructor solving this thinking "What a neat idea! I wish I thought of that!"
In general we are more familiar with foreign European languages than other foreign languages, and this is borne out by the fact three entries are drawn from these; the final entry is Japanese, so there is some balance: thank you!
Not too sure Scottish is in fact a separate language like the others, but it does have its own Wikipedia, so there's that!
Lastly, I had no idea of the base phrase of TWELVE O'CLOCK HAI; I wasn't even sure if it was originally HI or HIGH. I googled to find it's the latter spelling, and that the base phrase is in fact the title of a 1949 film, a 1950's radio series, and a 1960's TV series. Shrug. Sure you old-timers will weigh in here to tell me how much of a classic it was!
- 1A: Last of three Catherines (PARR). Who else thought Russian tsars before wives of Henry VIII? The other two are "of Aragon" and "Howard."
- 18A: Word of thanks (MERCI). More French.
- 27A: Admission req. for 24-Across (GMAT), 28D: Sierra Club's first president (MUIR), 32D: Corp.-partnership hybrid (LLC) (Limited Liability Company?), 37A: Jack's UN ambassador (ADLAI). This was the last section of the puzzle to fall for me. My first guess for AD_A_ was ADDAM, but changed to ADLAI, a guess based on his being roughly in the right timeframe. ADDAM is... nobody! With ?UIR the only plausible letter was M but didn't know either of those two answers. Those US test thingies ending in __AT are always "wait for crossers" answers. I Don't know even know what the "Sierra Club" is either... Wikipedia sez he and the organization he founded were instrumental in starting the early National Parks like Yosemite, amongst other things. You can read more here. Interesting addition to my knowledge, thank you Donna S. Levin/Rich Norris!
- 42A: "Fake is as old as the __ tree": Welles (EDEN). Liked the clue for this oft-repeated entry. (Didn't know it).
- 56A: Indira's son (RAJIV). Indian PM from 1984-89, crossing 47D: Dead end, workwise (MC JOB) and 49D: Rootless sort (ROVER) makes for a cool little section even with 51D: Aforetime (ERST).
- 58A: Concerning (ASTO). Crosswording dilemma! Is it this or INRE?
- 4D: Sugar plant (REFINERY). Simple, elegant misdirection, but quite transparent with a couple of letters in place.
- 21D: "Africa" band (TOTO). Notable, for being written/sung by a band who've never been to Africa on instruments none of which originate from Africa. Rather listen to this:
- 26D: Rough waters (CHOP). Didn't know this meaning of CHOP, though I recognize it in the adjective CHOPPY.
- 38D: Support for a Salchow (ICE SKATE) Salchow??? Google says it's a figure-skating jump. It gets less crossword attention than the AXEL or the CAMEL!
- 46D: Chansons de __: medieval French poems (GESTE). Yet more French!
There were several candidates for this feature, but I settled on two:
37A: Jack's UN ambassador (ADLAI), which caught me out today. I hadn't heard of him bc (before crosswords.) Possibly he's more familiar to people a generation or two older and also to those from the USA as opposed to foreigners like myself. He's been tangentially referred to in two previous episodes wherein his initials AES were discussed and here where his running mate ESTES Kefauver is given the spotlight. Apart from today's factoid you mostly need to know he ran against DDE (twice, but they liked Ike!) in the 50's. His grandfather had the same name and initials, and was Grover Cleveland's veep.
8D: Conquistador's chest (ARCA). Creaaak! That's an old-time crossword answer that doesn't crop up as often any more, like ERS the bitter vetch! Keywords are Medieval/Spanish/Treasure chest/box - variations on that theme. There's not too much more to it than that! I'll try and find a picture of one: Here ya go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Arca_santa_de_Oviedo.JPG! (Having problems embedding the sucker...)
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
- 1A: Last of three Catherines (PARR).
- 15A: Last of the Oldsmobiles (ALERO).
- 16A: Old Persian poet (OMAR).
- 63A: Squeezed (out) (EKE).
- 2D: Like the northern Lesser Antilles, vis-à-vis the Windward Islands (ALEE)
- 31D: Yemen's chief port (ADEN).
- 42D: Sniggling gear (EELPOT).
- 51D: Aforetime (ERST).
Everything else — 5A: Plot (CABAL); 10A: Pathfinder org. (NASA); 14A: Natural balm (ALOE); 17A: Folio part (LEAF); 19A: Corn detritus (SILK); 23A: High-and-mighty (SNOOTY); 24A: Cambridge business school (SLOAN); 25A: Pair of barbershop groups (OCTET); 33A: Code on some NYC-bound luggage tags (OCTET); 36A: Cambridge Conservative (TORY); 38A: Markers (IOUs); 39A: They're sometimes special (OPS); 43A: It has some smart Alecs (MENSA); 44A: "Full House" co-star (SAGET). 47A: Place to get bogged down (MORASS); 55A: Rough talk (RASP). 57A: 50-and-up group (AARP). 59A: Encourage none too gently. 60A: Nursery rhyme tub assembly, e.g. (TRIO). 61A: Sharpen (WHET). 62A: Rutabaga, for one (TUBER). 1D: Chiromancer's reading material (PALM). 3D: Sporty two-seaters (ROADSTERS). 5D: Carved sardonyx (CAMEO). 6D: Bright-eyed (ALERT). 7D: Smoothie ingredient (BERRY). 9D: Tender cut (LOIN). 10D: Margarita choice (NO SALT). 11D: __ acid (AMINO). 12D: It might be caliente (SALSA). 13D: "Catch-22" actor (ARKIN). 22D: Morales in movies (ESAI). 25D: Name of four Holy Roman emperors (OTTO). 27D: Source of milk for chèvre (GOAT). 30D: Third-oldest U.S. university (YALE). 33D: One garnering lots of interest (LOANSHARK). 34D: Chaps (GUYS). 35D: Cruising (ASEA). 40D: Ron Howard send-up of reality shows (ED TV). 41D: Apple on a desk (IMAC). 44D: Frozen margarita insert (STRAW). 45D: Teeming (with) (AWASH). 48D: Drab color (OLIVE). 52D: Mount Ka'ala is its highest peak (OAHU). 53D: R&B singer India.__ (ARIE). 54D: Touch or shuffle (IPOD).