Start of thought by British journalist Miles Kington / WED 12-19-12 / Calculus familiarly / Conquistador's booty / Poet whose work inspired Cats / Onetime Dodge / JAG spinoff with Mark Harmon / Flower-shaped decoration / Falstaff's princely friend / Bamboo muncher
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Constructor: Mike Buckley
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: 17A: Start of a thought by British journalist Miles Kington — "KNOWLEDGE IS / KNOWING A TOMATO / IS A FRUIT / WISDOM IS / NOT PUTTING IT IN / A FRUIT SALAD"
Word of the Day: FELIPE Alou (31D: One of baseball's Alous) —
Felipe Rojas Alou (born May 12, 1935), is a former Major League Baseball outfielder, first baseman, and manager. He managed theMontreal Expos (1992–2001) and the San Francisco Giants (2003–06). The first Dominican to play regularly in the major leagues, he is the most prominent member of one of the sport's most notable families of the late 20th century: he was the oldest of the trio of baseball-playing brothers that included Matty and Jesús, who were both primarily outfielders, and his son Moisés was also primarily an outfielder; all but Jesús have been named All-Stars at least twice. The family name in the Dominican is Rojas, but Felipe Alou and his brothers became known by the name Alou when the Giants' scout who signed Felipe mistakenly thought his matronymic was his father's name.During his 17-year career spent with the Giants, Milwaukee & Atlanta Braves, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, Montreal Expos, andMilwaukee Brewers, Alou played all three outfield positions regularly (736 games in right field, 483 in center, 433 in left), and led the National League in hits twice and runs once. Batting regularly in the leadoff spot, he hit a home run to begin a game on 20 occasions. He later became the most successful manager in Expos history, leading the team from 1992 to 2001 before rejoining the Giants in 2003. (wikipedia)
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Started *very* fast on this one and then slowed down a bit because, well, you know,it's a quote puzzle, so you really gotta work the crosses to figure out the theme material. At least you do at first—with this one, I figured out the punch line once I hit "WISDOM." My main problem is the highly inelegant phrasing on the quotation. I lost most of my time on this puzzle not with any one or two hard answers, but with my brain's absolute refusal to believe that any quotation worth commemorating would begin with the painfully redundant phrase "Knowledge is knowing..." I had -OWING and my brain just dug in its heels: "No Way that word is KNOWING, buddy, so we are not gonna let you write it in." Alas, eventually, my brain had to concede that the puzzle was what it was, ugly or not. Otherwise, not a lot to say. It's a very solid grid, overall, with only -KIST giving me any cause for wincing (23D: Commercial ending for Sun or Star).
As I said, very fast opening, with PANDA being a gimme at 1A: Bamboo muncher, and all the crosses falling in quick succession. AKELA is a word / concept I've only ever seen in crosswords—so much that it's become a gimme for me (15A: Scout pack leader). Just did a puzzle in the past couple of days with ROSETTE in it (21A: Flower-shaped decoration), which I think made this answer come to mind faster than it might have otherwise. Took one look at 56A: Conquistador's booty, wondered briefly what the Spanish word was for "ass," then wrote in the far more likely (and correct) Spanish word for "gold": ORO. I have never understood the connection between ELIOT and "Cats," and I have never tried, for trying would mean spending time thinking about "Cats," which I have no desire to do (9D: Poet whose work inspired "Cats"). Clue for AKA seemed slightly off (61D: Rap sheet entry). Turns AKA into a noun. An "alias" might be an "entry" on your rap sheet, but an "AKA?" Maybe "entry" is being stretched to mean something I don't quite get. I see today's anonymous JANE is a ROE (54A: Anonymous one, in court). I feel like she was DOE in a recent puzzle, so I left the letter in question blank on first pass. First thought on reading 37D: Spirit of Islamic myth was JINI ("what an odd spelling," I thought). Then I remembered JINN (which, it turns out, can be spelled a lot of different ways). I think of "calculus" as a small stone, but I guess TARTAR (11D: Calculus, familiarly) is also called "calculus" ... by dentists? Alrighty. Good to know.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld