Alternative to ASCAP / TUE 1-23-13 / Kohl's competitor / Old Carl Sagan series / Whiskey distillery supply / Metal between osmium platinum on periodic table
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Constructor: Jay Kaskel
Relative difficulty: Challenging (a comical 8:17)
THEME: Byproducts of fat and moody dairy cows — ordinary dairy products (all two-word phrases, where first word is an adjective) are clued as if the adjectives in the products' names were indicative of the kinds of cows used to produce them, thus
- 17A: Byproduct of a sad dairy cow? (BLUE CHEESE)
- 25A: Byproduct of a homely dairy cow? (PLAIN YOGURT)
- 37A: Byproduct of an exhausted dairy cow? (WHIPPED BUTTER)
- 52A: Byproduct of an irate dairy cow? (STEAMED MILK)
- 61A: Byproduct of a portly dairy cow? (HEAVY CREAM)
Word of the Day: Willy LEY (54D: Science writer Willy) —
Willy Ley (October 2, 1906 - June 24, 1969) was a German-American science writer, spaceflight advocate, and historian of science who helped popularize rocketry, spaceflight, and natural history in both Germany and the United States. The crater Ley on the far side of the Moon is named in his honor. (wikipedia)
• • •
This is a cute theme, though STEAMED MILK is a bit of an outlier (all the others you purchase at the grocery store, whereas steaming is something you or a barista do to milk). Fill is solid, if mostly unremarkable (SOUR MASH is the big winner of the day—3D: Whiskey distillery supplier). But the only thing I will remember about this puzzle, if I remember anything, is the E-OD / TA-I crossing (38D: Gen. follower + 42A: Cry often made after a whistle), because it absolutely froze me. At first, I thought "oh you just have an answer wrong somewhere, keep moving," but then I got All the surrounding answers and nothing changed: still E-OD / TA-I. I kept checking the surrounding answers. Early on, I wasn't sure of IRIDIUM (how in the world do I know where it falls on the periodic table?) (26D: Metal between osmium and platinum on the periodic table), so I took out the -IU- only to have to put them back again. The Kia is an OPTIMA (33D: Kia model), the facial place is a SPA (34D: Place to get a facial), the suffix is clearly -OUS (49A: Suffix with cavern ... or gorge?), but Nothing Goes in the E-OD slot. That's just nonsense. And what kind of cry follows a whistle? TAVI? TAMI? I Ran The Alphabet In My Head. T.W.I.C.E. But I must've been doing it in that way where you know the end of the alphabet is going to be a bust so you don't really go all the way ... that's the only way I can explain not seeing TAXI. Eventually, I just though of all the possible words/answers that could possibly result from TA-I, and I hit it. And oh, yeah, good ole EXOD. Ugh. It's Really unfortunate that this failure on my part happened at precisely the ugliest part of the grid (EXOD. crossing -OUS = nobody's idea of a good time). But I can't blame the puzzle too much. I should've seen it, and didn't. And I mean *really* didn't. Faceplant City.
I'm not sure the times are going to come in "Challenging," but I'd bet they'll come in at least "Medium-Challenging," because this grid felt somewhat slow-going for a Tuesday even before I tanked it (a quick glance at some of the times at the NYT site seems to bear this out). I wrote in IRANI where FARSI belonged (45A: Tehran tongue). [Mercy!] could've meant a million things. Or at least two. GASP did not occur to me ... ever. Thought start of a cheer was HIP (it's SIS). Had SETS AT for GOES AT. DUMB for NUMB. But then there are other parts of the grid that I blew right through. Never even saw the clues for stuff like AIN'T and AGAS. Overall, just a weird, weird solve. EXOD. Dear lord, I'll be dreaming about that horrible abbrev. tonight.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld