Preceder of bravo in radio alphabet - THURSDAY Apr. 30 2009- G Kaiser/S Ginzburg (Food whose name comes from a language of West Africa)
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "CAPITAL OFFENSES" (36A: Pun-crimes committed by the answers to the six starred clues?) - theme answers are world capitals clued via puns on their names
Word of the Day: LUNA moth - n.
A large, pale-green North American moth (Actias luna) having elongated, taillike hind wings.Here is a LUNA moth:
And here is a LUNA moth shawl I found at (no foolin') ELANN.com (40D: Personal flair):
I winced inwardly when I saw the phrase "pun-crimes" (the phrase being a redundancy in my book), but mercifully there are no punny tortured phrases in the grid itself, which is masterfully, beautifully, colorfully filled. Honestly, I think this puzzle is beautiful, from the RUMINANT (18A: Cow or goat) in KHARTOUM to the SPACE BAR (57A: Long key) in NEW DELHI. The grid is super-geographical, with six world capitals plus IDAHO (50D: Home of the sawtooth range), SIBERIA (14D: Home of the 2,700-mile-long Lena River), and the UBANGI (17A: Congo tributary) ... plus SARONG (43A: Island attire) and PAN-ARAB (46A: Like Gamal Abdel Nasser's movement), both of which suggest more and different parts of the globe (different parts of ASIA, to be precise - 56A: _____-Pacific). I had a little trouble getting into the NE - I knew RIDGE (16D: First secretary of homeland security), but the other 4+ Downs were adequately disguised enough that I had to crawl into that tiny 3x4 space in the puzzle's attic and work on those 3-letter answers. Poor initial success (didn't know, wrong answer (NTH), right answer, didn't know) ended up being enough, as the "G" from GUN (11D: Rev) tipped me to MTGE (9A: You can get one on the house: Abbr.), and everything fell from there.
Oh, and I "finished" the puzzle and then realized I hadn't checked my crosses and had NUTTY where BATTY was supposed to go (67A: Crackers), resulting in the plausible cross of NIN (for NIB - 62D: Penpoint) and the implausible cross of ABRU (for ABRA - 56D: Start of a magic incantation).
- 2D: *Multiplyin' by 2? (Dublin) - HA ha. Love that one.
- 48D: *Base of a fragrant tree? (Beirut)
- 15A: *Final resting place for old autos? (Khartoum)
- 24A: *Father of the Ziploc? (Baghdad)
- 49A: *Wide shoe specification? (Tripoli)
- 63A: *Recently opened sandwich shop? (New Delhi)
- 19A: Preceder of bravo in a radio alphabet (alfa) - thought Bravo would be capitalized in this context. Also thought ALFA was spelled "alpha." Live and learn.
- 29A: Extreme Atkins diet credo ("No carbs!") - so extreme that if you followed it, I believe you would die. Then you'd *really* lose weight.
- 33A: Author Fallaci (Oriana) - had it as ARIANA, but then the wonderful COIN-OP came into view and set things straight (30D: Pinball machine, e.g.)
- 64A: It's white and fleecy (cirrus) - another beautiful word for the grid
- 5D: REM researcher's tool (EEG) - new clue on old fill. Nice.
- 6D: Food whose name comes from a language of West Africa (okra) - I had no idea - part of the reason getting into the NE was harder than it might have been, what with OKRA's providing the first letters for those long Acrosses.
- 23D: It has feathers and flies (dart) - a bit too much like a riddle for my tastes
- 59D: "How cute!" (aww) - ah, the arbitrary, rarely-seen double-W. If you're lengthening the vowel, why isn't the "A" the letter that's repeated?
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld