Violent sandstorm / SAT 5-25-13 / German granny / Cylindrical menu item / Epsom's setting / Dynasty founded by Yu Great / Jezebel's lack / Old TV show hosted by Ed McMahon / Product named for its round clock protection
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Constructor: David Steinberg
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: HABOOB (11D: Violent sandstorm) —
Arabic: هَبوب "blasting/drafting") is a type of intense dust storm carried on an atmospheric gravity current. Haboobs occur regularly in arid regions throughout the world.They have been observed in the Sahara desert (typically Sudan, where they were named and described), as well as across the Arabian Peninsula, throughoutKuwait, and in the most arid regions of Iraq. African haboobs result from the northward summer shift of the inter-tropical front into North Africa, bringing moisture from the Gulf of Guinea. Haboob winds in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Kuwait, and North America are frequently created by the collapse of athunderstorm, while haboobs in Australia may be frequently associated with cold fronts. The deserts of Central Australia, especially near Alice Springs, are particularly prone to haboobs, with sand and debris reaching several kilometers into the sky and leaving up to a foot of sand in the haboob's path. (wikipedia)
Yesterday we got THE SAHARA DESERT, and today, the inevitable HABOOB. Fitting that my one moment of real struggle in this puzzle happened in the middle (literally, in the middle) of a blinding HABOOB. HABOOB HABOOB HABOOB. OK, I think I got that out of my system. My issue with HABOOB was the first "B"—a letter that felt like a guess, since I couldn't (can't) see how [Blacks out] gets you BANS. They seem only vaguely metaphorically related. But aside from that moment of awkwardness, the rest of the puzzle seemed both solid and delightful. Thorny, but in a way that allowed for consistent progress. Got a little worried in that SE corner, since I was not able to drop *any* answers down into it at first. Guessed RBIS, which allowed me to finally see that the EGG was in ROLL form (42D: Cylindrical menu item). I was imagining cylindrical omelets. Also, EGG creams. Got back ends of all the long Acrosses down there, and then PATSY CLINE slid into place and I had a clear path home from there (63A: "So Wrong" singer, 1962).
I find the whole self-referential thing (which constructors pull from time to time) a bit off-putting, and today is no exception, though I have to say, putting your *entire* name in the grid, all fourteen letters of it, is admirably ballsy, in a way (26A: Stand-up comic known for irreverent sermonettes = DAVID STEINBERG). Is Jeter really called "Mr. November"? (8D: Longtime teammate of Mr. November = A-ROD) Ugh. Stupid name. There's one Mr. [Month], and that's Reggie Jackson. Why would you want to be some kind of ersatz Reggie? I saw Reggie Jackson at a restaurant in Monterey last year. I probably told you. That was thrilling. Seeing Jeter ... wouldn't be. But I'm middle-aged, so this makes sense.
Took me what felt like ForEver to see PHRASE at 44D: What outer space is that cyberspace isn't? It's a great clue, but my first answer was [drum roll] — THREE D! Best wrong answer I've had in a while. Somehow the tune of "all in my brain" sprang up in my brain instantly, but it kept looping and not getting me to the words I needed (i.e. "PURPLE HAZE") (1A: What's "all in my brain," in a 1967 rock classic). What kept coming up instead? JUNGLE LOVE. Which is driving me mad, making me crazy, and fitting in the allotted space, but is not, sadly, all in my brain. Other screw-ups: SCAR for SLIT (40A: Operation creation). CRT for LCD (5D: Monitor option, briefly). OPA (?) for OMA (58D: German granny). I think that's it.
- 11A: Dynasty founded by Yu the Great (HSIA) — really glad I'd heard of this dynasty; otherwise, that HABOOB would've been way more destructive.
- 21A: Preakness, e.g. (HORSE) — I knew it was a HORSE *race* ... but not a HORSE. Really, really didn't trust that answer, even when all the letters fell right into place.
- 1D: Labor leader's cry? ("PUSH!") — nicely done. Probably my favorite clue of the day.
- 12D: Old TV show hosted by Ed McMahon ("STAR SEARCH") — ouch. Do *not* like it when staples of my youth are called "old," but I supposed I'd better just get used to it.