Cartoonist Foster / FRI 1-25-13 / Game with forks pins / Mid 13th-century pope / Dynasty after Qin / Cote call
Friday, January 25, 2013
Constructor: Joe DiPietro
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: SEVE Trophy (44A: ___ Trophy (golf tourney)) —
The Seve Trophy is a biennial golf tournament between teams of professional male golfers representing Great Britain & Ireland and Continental Europe. It is named after five times major winner Seve Ballesteros, the most successful golfer ever from Continental Europe who was one of the key instigators of the tournament. He made an exceptional contribution to the European Ryder Cup successes of the 1980s and 1990s, and came to be regarded as an exceptionally keen team man in a usually individualistic sport. A sponsorship deal with the French media conglomerate Vivendi meant that the 2009 was known as The Vivendi Trophy with Seve Ballesteros and the 2011 event was the Vivendi Seve Trophy.
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Had one of a seemingly unending but hopefully now ended series of dental appointments today, and while I didn't feel that stressed about it all, my body is now acting like I ran a marathon earlier today, i.e. I'm exhausted. I took the puzzle to bed with me and solved on paper, so I have no idea what my time was, but it all felt quite normal. Tough but doable. I'd say it leaned a little tough, maybe, but who knows? I keep wrestling with Fridays and breezing through Saturdays, so I'm loath to trust my judgment on Fridays at the moment. I like the shape of this grid—makes for an interesting distribution of long answers—but I thought the fill just so-so. Stuff like STEALS BASES and THREE-FOR-ONE, while valid, just doesn't pop. Also not a big ONESELF fan. STRUCK A NOTE? Where I'm from, we usually strike the whole chord, not just a note. Loved MORTAL SIN across the middle, and POWER OUTAGE and RAINBOW ROOM (17A: Former New York City attraction with a revolving dance floor) are awesomely dark and bright, respectively. Overall, SORTA liked it, SORTA didn't.
First answer: SCOT (1A: Automaker David Dunbar Buick, by birth). Last answer: THERAPY. I initially thought THERAPY was TOURNEY (35D: Couples may be in it), because I was thinking of Fred Couples, who is a golfer. But then I noticed that "tourney" was actually in the clue for SEVE, and while clue / fill dupes sometimes occur in the NYX, "tourney" seemed rather unlikely to have escaped notice. Speaking of SEVE, that SEVE / URBAN IV crossing is at least mildly brutal, in that the only way I got it was by knowing that SEVE Ballesteros was a golfer. Never heard of the eponymous trophy. Also, SEIE Trophy and (especially) SEXE Trophy seemed highly unlikely. I'm guessing < 5 percent of solvers could've told you when URBAN IV (24D: Mid 13th-century pope) was pope (even +/- 50 years). I have a Ph.D. in medieval literature, and I sure couldn't.
Had no idea CHESS had forks and pins (40A: Game with forks and pins). I don't even care enough to look up what those are. Part of my slowness on trigger with URBAN IV was I thought he was something like OTHO III because I had first letter "O" with ROSS instead of RUSS at 23A: Football Hall-of-Famer Grimm. I managed to guess dead on with HAN, though (50A: Dynasty after the Qin). Sadly had to think a bit to remember which animal went in a cote (7D: Cote call). Had the "C" and thought "...CAW?...no, crows aren't domesticated ... wait, are they? ... noooo..." Doves are, or can be, and they COO. I went through a P.J. O'ROURKE phase in college—encountered his essay "Among the Euro-Weenies" while I was studying in Europe, and it resonated. My college yearbook quote is from O'ROURKE. This is to say, I got 11D: "Parliament of Whores" humorist easily. Didn't get HAL Foster fast, which is embarrassing, as he is responsible for one of the crosswordiest of comic strips: "Prince Valiant."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld