Norwegian P.M. Stoltenberg / SUN 7-14-13 / Lacoste offering / Rock Roll Hall of Fame inductees from Texas / Bully's coercive comeback / Instruments played with mallets / Womb jocularly /Faunus's Greek counterpart
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Constructor: Daniel A. Finan
Relative difficulty: Medium
NOTE: I couldn't get AcrossLite to make a "¢"k symbol, so instead I have used ... a spider.
THEME: "Show Me the Money" — theme answers have dollar signs or cents signs in them, which means an "S" or "C" crosses an "I" (so the crossing letters form the dollar or cent symbol when letters are drawn together in same square). All theme answers are money-related. Theme revealer is DOLLAR$ AND ¢ENTS (65A: Money ... or a hint to how six crossings in this puzzle are to be represented, superimposing one letter over another)
- 23A: Investing in a growth company (GOING LONG) / 3D: Some liquid assets (CASH ON HAND)
- 25A: High-risk investments (PENNY STOCKS) / 16D: Spot on a demand curve (PRICE POINT)
- 62D: With 58-Down, financial topic of 2012-13 (FISCAL / CLIFF)
- 110A: Quotation sources, once (TICKER TAPES) / 70D: Key business figure (BOTTOM LINE)
- 112A: Unrecoverable investment expenses (SUNK COSTS) / 73D: AA or AAA (BOND RATING)
Word of the Day: JENS Stoltenberg (34A: Norwegian P.M. Stoltenberg) —
Jens Stoltenberg (help·info) (born 16 March 1959) is the Prime Minister of Norway and leader of the Norwegian Labour Party. Having assumed office on 17 October 2005, Stoltenberg was also Prime Minister from 2000 to 2001. (wikipedia)
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This is a home run. Says who? SAYS ME! (71A: Bully's coercive comeback) This thing just kept unfolding new and better layers of goodness. The I/S and I/C crossing thing, I've actually seen before. Somewhere ... some database hound out there will be able to tell me where [update: turns out Brendan Emmett Quigley did a very similar theme, two years ago, in a 15x15 grid]. Anyway, I floundered a bit in the NW and then finally got the "$" thing at GOINGLONG. Then thought "ho hum." I did not yet realize that ALL the answers involved in the symbol intersections (Across and Down) were financial terms—super impressive. I also had not yet encountered some tremendous fill, the highlights of which (for me) were FISCAL / CLIFF (split, themed, brilliant) and the self-abutting NYMPHO/MANIACS (standing ovation there) (88D: Crazies / 94D: Lead-in to 88-Down). There are only six "rebus" squares, but you could hardly call that a small number given the whole Across AND Down angle. I don't think the clue on the revealer needed to be sooooo explanatory. You should be able to figure that superimposition stuff out your own damned self. But that's a minor quibble. This puzzle is Stunning. I'm going to pretend I didn't see ASHINE (44D: Glowing) and give this one an A-plus.
I had some trouble getting started with this one, and then struggled a bit in other places because I didn't understand that the four non-central "rebus" squares would be at the intersection of long, themed answers—which is to say that I couldn't find the $ or ¢ squares down below for a bit. In fact, I didn't know there *was* a ¢ square for a while. I found a $ and figured all such squares would be $ squares. Thus TICKER TAPES took me forever (again, I wasn't thinking fiscal theme at all, so "quotation sources" was just not clicking for me). Also thought there was another ¢ in the SE, specifically in the "C" from the Down ONSPEC (86D: Without a contract). So sorting out that mess took some effort. Never heard of KICK as 95A: Beef. Not sure how that works. Also never heard of the Norwegian P.M. Otherwise, everything else was pretty familiar and neatly clued and just a whole lot of fun. Of course, I did solve it while listening to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" on repeat, so that may have primed me to have Very Good Feelings about this puzzle, but I think I'd've liked it anyway.
- 13A: Heckle or Jeckle of cartoons (MAGPIES) — Aargh. I could see their damn huge heads/beaks, but I could not figure out what the hell bird they were. They're black ... orange beaks ... bah! Needed many crosses.
- 81A: Request from a guest over an apartment intercom ("LET ME UP!") — a bit demanding as a "request," but as a creative bit of colloquial fill, I like this.
- 106A: Instruments played with mallets (MARIMBAS) — did not come quickly. Brain first wanted MARACAS :(
- 5D: Lacoste offering (POLO) — so confusing, as I grew up thinking of Lacoste's IZOD and Ralph Lauren's POLO brands as rivals. But the shirt style is indeed POLO, so clue is fine.
- 28D: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees from Texas (ZZ TOP) — running this answer through the similarly double-Z'd DIZZY is just another example of this puzzle's great sense of fun. A "Z" party, totally unforced! Great stuff.