Salsa singer Cruz / 1-1-13 / Rickover known as Father of Nuclear Navy / Knit fabric in lingerie swimwear / Comment from kvetcher / Jetsam locale / Role for diminutive Verne Troyer in Austin Powers films / Dacha villa
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Constructor: John Farmer
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: 150th anniversary of the signing of the EMANCIPATION / PROCLAMATION by ABRAHAM / LINCOLN, which brought about the ABOLITION / OF SLAVERY in the U.S.
Word of the Day: HYMAN Rickover (68A: Rickover known as the Father of the Nuclear Navy) —
Hyman George Rickover (January 27, 1900 – July 8, 1986) was a four-star admiral of the United States Navy who directed the original development of naval nuclear propulsion and controlled its operations for three decades as director of Naval Reactors. In addition, he oversaw the development of the Shippingport Atomic Power Station, the world's first commercial pressurized water reactor used for generating electricity.Rickover is known as the "Father of the Nuclear Navy", which as of July 2007 had produced 200 nuclear-powered submarines, and 23 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and cruisers, though many of these U.S. vessels are now decommissioned and others under construction.On 16 November 1973 Rickover was promoted to four-star admiral after 51 years of commissioned service. With his unique personality, political connections, responsibilities, and depth of knowledge regarding naval nuclear propulsion, Rickover became the longest-serving naval officer in U.S. history with 63 years active duty.
• • •It's an important historical date to commemorate, and the symmetry of all the answers is indeed fortuitous. Still, this was not very interesting to solve. I don't think I actually read one theme clue. They all just seemed to fill themselves in. Once you got the gist of who / what was involved, the theme became obvious and the only resistance was provided by the fill. I had trouble with the NW as I confidently wrote in BUSTY for 2D: Big-bosomed (BUXOM). If I'd bothered to check a couple of those crosses, I'd've seen the error earlier, but with easy / early-week puzzles, I'm typically flying around the grid, and sometimes overlook these matters (however briefly). Got sloppy again in the SE when I wrote in singular IOWAN where plural IOWAS belonged (53D: Early Great Plains residents). And then in the far south I had no idea about HYMAN and got a little concerned when I couldn't remember the exact name of the [Canopy tree]. Specifically, I couldn't remember the last letter: M? N? R? I wasn't 100% sure. But then I got HYMA- and figured that "N" was the only plausible answer—correct. Most everything else felt pretty easy to me, but somehow, even with the ÜBER-easy theme and a mostly piece-of-cake grid, I still ended up w/ a pretty average Tuesday time. Maybe it's all the time I took to finally get ROBINS (49A: Signs of spring) that really did me in. Who knows? Moreover, who cares?
- 23A: With 51-Across, presidential order signed on January 1, 1863 (EMANCIPATION / PROCLAMATION)
- 37A: With 39-Across, signer of the 23-/51-Across (ABRAHAM / LINCOLN)
- 18A: With 61-Across, goal of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman (ABOLITION / OF SLAVERY) — ABOLITION on its own would've been a perfectly appropriate answer to this clue, but, you know, symmetry
First thought for 1A: Dacha or villa (ABODE) was HOUSE. But ARETE was a gimme (1D: Mountain ridge), and so ABODE was the obvious next choice for 1A, and I got all the Downs in order from there (except BUXOM, which I botched, as I say...). The south was a proper noun death trap—potentially. I wouldn't call any of the names—ORBACH (48D: Jerry of stage and screen), CELIA (65A: Salsa singer Cruz), HYMAN—obscure, but any time you get a cluster of non-universally-known names like that, gaps in knowledge can sneak up and bite you. I nearly got bitten by HYMAN (under the BANYAN tree, as I say...). I don't think I could pick TRICOT out of a fabric line-up (10D: Knit fabric in lingerie and swimwear), but it's got that frenchy ending like "haricots (verts)," and I'm sure I've seen it before, so I pieced it together, no problem. Misread 35D: Role for diminutive Verne Troyer in "Austin Powers" films (MINI-ME) at first and was left pondering (briefly) what short people Jules Verne ever wrote about. OY VEY! (52D: Comment from a kvetcher)
Thanks to all who read and support this blog for another enjoyable year. I'll have a big charity project to announce in the very near future. Also, I'll probably redesign the site sometime soonish—it's about time for a conceptual and stylistic makeover, frankly. But the core of what I do should, like the domestication of the dog, continue unabated.
Happy New Year,
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld