Given orally at law / SAT 1-26-13 / Maxwell rival / 1919-33 in German history / Repeated cry from Mercutio / Butler who played Grace Kelly / Standard sudoku groupings / It's between Laredo Nuevo Laredo / Monkey launched into space 1958 / Pianist Gilels / Butler who played Grace Kelly /
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Constructor: Raymond C. Young
Relative difficulty: Challenging
Word of the Day: KANSA (57A: American tribe that lent its name to a state) —
The Kaw Nation (or Kanza) are a federally recognized American Indian tribe in Oklahoma. They come from the central Midwestern United States. The tribe known as Kaw have also been known as the "People of the South wind", "People of water", Kansa, Kaza, Kosa, and Kasa. Their tribal language is Kansa, classified as a Siouan language.
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Crash and burn, first because the SE was just brutal for me, and second because of a technical issue—Safari browser, for whatever reason, makes the letters in the NYT applet all wispy thin (see grid). Really annoying. But especially annoying today, when I kept reading the "Q" (from QUIVERY) as an "O" ... I spent forever trying to figure out what kind of [Military hut] started OU- ... I did not notice my misreading until I'd spent a good ten minutes just staring at (mostly) blankness in the SW. Oh, I also had RIGHT ON and not (the absurd) RIGHT OH (is that really the spelling? Not RIGHTO?) (36A: "Indeed, mate"), so the Mae West quote was never ever gonna come (37D: Mae West reputedly said this "is good to find" => HARD MAN ... not a thing!). Wanted SEARLE, but couldn't confirm a thing and so didn't trust it. MRS. TEE VEE? (54A: She told Willy Wonka "Loompaland? There's no such place") Talk about your tertiary ... or whatever's below tertiary ... characters. Ridiculous. SAD AS is an idiotic partial that doesn't even make sense in the poem it's from. I read poetry all the time and can't even figure out what is *literally* meant by the Wordsworth quote, "The strain seemed doubly dear, / Yet SAD AS sweet"; I wanted, I don't know, HALF AS, TWICE AS, JUST AS ... tried WAS AS. I have no idea what CTRL-C is. I'm guessing it's a computer key sequence. If that's true, why not CTRL-anything? Horrible clue. So I hated that corner, but mainly hated myself for reading "Q" as "O"—I would've got QUONSET instantly, and that *probably* would've made the SE corner doable. Ugh, ALERT MIND. That's Not A Thing. SOUND MIND, yes. ALERT MIND, no. Also no—>plural AHEMS. Dear lord (46D: Sounds that make frogs disappear?). What is this Maxwell whose rival is REO? I have no idea what that's about. I thought it was tape and the rival was TDK. But ... It's a car? Yes. Ugh. Yes. This car.
GAY PARADE? Come on. It's called a "Pride Parade," or maybe a "Gay Pride Parade" (both of which significantly out-google GAY PARADE). GORDO? (1D: Monkey launched into space in 1958) "A SAIL" (!?!?!?!) (2D: Repeated cry from Mercutio in "Romeo and Juliet"). Criminy. That corner's not much prettier than the SE (though I did it about ten times faster). PAROL?? (10A: Given orally, at law) Yuck. IRINA, yuck (16A: Russian princess who was Nicholas II's only niece). The SW is probably the most solid. If RIGHT OH had been RIGHT ON, then I'd be very happy with that corner. But when you go for a low word count (and lots of white space), fill tends to suffer. Most people shouldn't be down at 64. Just too hard to fill well. As 64s go, this is passable, but not very likable. 3/4 Easy-Medium, 1/4 Total Mess.
I refuse to spend any more time thinking about this puzzle. From now on, if I solve against the clock, it's in Firefox (which produces nice, fat, black letters in the applet).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld