Unit of currency in Harry Potter books / WED 9-4-13 / One of two acting brothers / Rapper with #1 hit Money Maker / Org with its HQ in Fort Meade / Noted groom of 10/20/1968 / Daytime host starting in 2012 / Fresh Tex Mex restaurant chain / King of gods in Egyptian myth
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Constructor: Joel Fagliano
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (4:29)
- 17A: "Laugh-In" comic (RT JOHNSON)
- 21A: "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" author (EN FLEMING)
- 36A: Daytime host starting in 2012 (KT COURIC)
- 46A: Punk rock icon (DD RAMONE)
- 56A: One of two acting brothers (KC AFFLECK AND THE SUNSHINE BAND)
- 66A: Noted groom of 10/20/1968 (RE ONASSIS)
Word of the Day: KNUT (56D: Unit of currency in the Harry Potter books) —
Currency in the wizarding Britain consists of three different coins. In decreasing order of value, they are: Galleon, Sickle and Knut. They are gold, silver, and bronze, respectively. According to Rubeus Hagrid, there are 17 Sickles in a Galleon, and 29 Knuts in a Sickle, meaning there are 493 Knuts to a Galleon. Around the edge of each coin is a series of numerals which represent a serial number belonging to the Goblin that cast the coin. (harrypotter.wikia.com)
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OATH immediately at 2D: It can be a curse, and (since we don't have them anywhere I've ever lived) had no clue about BAJA Fresh (though I feel I must have seen one in my travels at some point). Not until AFLAC did I have a secure entry. Once I picked up the theme, things went considerably faster, but the theme was joyless, and the fill is just OK (with LUDACRIS, PARASAIL and TWO-FACE being big exceptions) (22D: Rapper with the #1 hit "Money Maker" + 24D: Fly over the water + 45D: Batman villain who makes decisions by flipping a coin). I've read all the Harry Potter books and had zero clue about KNUT. Crossing that with the Lesser Affleck seems kind of mean, but I guess the "K" is inferrable, although lord help you if you don't know that CATE Blanchett spells her name with a "C." Overall, cluing seemed slightly harder than usual, which I don't mind at all. It's just the lack of a great payoff in terms of theme or fill that's the problem.
Examples of hard cluing: ["Is Shakespeare Dead?" writer] for TWAIN. That's a Saturday clue. Cool deep cut from the TWAIN archive, but still, yikes. Lots of folks will have struggled to come up with LUDACRIS, and some will still be wondering if that can possibly be right ("Did you mean 'ludicrous'?" No, I didn't). Never can tell how a puzzle is going to want to spell AMON (AMUN? AMEN?). The aforementioned BAJA and KNUT, both (potentially, depending on who you are) toughly clued. Some solvers just flat-out won't have heard of Dee Dee Ramone or Casey Affleck. Doesn't make those answer unfair, just means that a good chunk of solvers will be slowed down, if not stopped. More observation than complaint. Nothing else to say about this one. Just didn't do much for me.