Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bourbon enemy / FRI 1-20-12 / 1997 film with song Tupelo Honey / Head nurse on Scrubs / North American home 30,000 islands / What dickey simulates / Inventor given gold medal by Titanic survivors

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: BITT (5A: Mooring post on a ship)
A vertical post, usually one of a pair, set on the deck of a ship and used to secure ropes or cables. 
tr.v. bitt·ed, bitt·ing, bitts
To wind (a cable) around a bitt. (
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Deceptively simple. So clean and clear that it starts to border on ho-hum. Nothing here is gonna jump out and bite you, or make you jump up and cheer. It's all just ... creamy. No particularly grabby or contemporary answers, but all of it solid, which is remarkably hard to pull off when you have this much white space to fill. I found the puzzle extremely easy until I hit the NE, which stopped me cold. Couldn't come up with the latter parts of BUYS OUT (24A: Secures every share from) or RAN SHORT (28A: Had some inventory problems), and while I got LITHE OK, I put in both ABAFT and STERN before finally alighting on ABEAM (16A: Nautical direction). Thought maybe [Prompter] was a relative adjective, or else something akin to a cue card, so CATALYST was tough to come up with. I had no idea LAKE HURON had that many islands (12D: North American home of 30,000 islands). Astonishing. While I think the whole concept of RENT-TO-OWN is a terrible idea, I think that answer looks mighty nice in the grid (11D: Like some store furniture). Only other issue was putting in NATCH for NO DUH (1D: "Well, of course"). Otherwise, very smooth sailing.

  • 9A: Head nurse on "Scrubs" (CARLA) — not a show I ever watched, and yet I can picture the character clearly. Weird. "Scrubs" featured actor Donald FAISON. He has a name that could be useful in crosswords, but so far, no one's used it.
  • 19A: Highly rated 1997 film with the song "Tupelo Honey" ("ULEE'S GOLD") — ULEE is super-common in crosswords, of course, but, strangely, this marks the crossword debut of the full title "ULEE'S GOLD."
  • 37A: Inventor given a gold medal by Titanic survivors (MARCONI) — Something to do with radio, no doubt. He didn't invent the lifeboat, did he?
  • 52A: Colorful Amazon swimmer (NEON TETRA) — worked by inference here, and managed to get the whole thing off just the "N"
  • 41A: U.K. Triple Crown racecourse site (EPSOM) — standard xword fare. Very much worth knowing.  
  • 26D: Bourbon enemy (BONAPARTE) — me: "But ... how could anyone hate bourbon? It's sooooo good."
  • 3D: Mammy's son (ABNER) — something to do with the comic strip, no doubt. I was utterly stumped.
  • 13D: Tiramisu ingredient, often (AMARETTO) — wanted some kind of cheese, possibly ricotta. The actual cheese in tiramisu is mascarpone.
  • 38D: Leroux who created the Phantom (GASTON) — knew this without knowing how/why.
  • 30D: The Village ___ (musical group with the 1963 hit "Washington Square") (STOMPERS) — well, I guess that's as good a STOMPERS clue as you're going to see. Maybe [Tantrum throwers, at times]. Or these.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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