Intervening, at law / SAT 8-19-17 / Method of fishing / Some fruit pastries / Feature of Namibia and Libya / Root used in perfumery / Noodle soup noodle / 1990-94 New Jersey governor

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Constructor: Mark Diehl

Relative difficulty: Medium-Hard

THEME: none

Word of the Day: ORRIS (24A: Root used in perfumery) —
Orris root (rhizoma iridis) is a term used for the roots Iris germanica and Iris pallida. Once important in western herbal medicine, it is now used mainly as a fixative and base note in perfumery, the most widely used fixative for potpourri. Orris is also an ingredient in many brands of gin.

Fabienne Pavia, in her book L'univers des Parfums (1995, ed. Solar), states that in the manufacturing of perfumes using orris, the scent of the iris root differs from that of the flower. After preparation the scent is reminiscent of the smell of violets. (Wikipedia)

• • •
Greetings, CrossWorld! It's Lollapuzzoola 10 in NYC this weekend, so you've got me, Tyler Clark, for the Saturday and Sunday puzzles while Rex is off solving and snacking.

This went relatively slowly for me, how about you? I started in the NE, then rather worked my way around clockwise, finishing in the middle. Or, at least, I thought I was finished. As I was trying to speed through the opening Downs, I got to (4A: Shows the way) and felt pretty confident with LEADS ON. When I finally finished, I had ORROS crossing it (see Word of the Day, above). Botany is not a strong suit, so being fairly confident with my crosses, I didn't give it the skeptical review it deserved until ruling out nearly everything else. (So, LEADS IN / ORRIS is the correct cross there.)

My other stumbling block was geography. Not sure why I haven't filed this away under four-letter French river or, for that matter, spent any time learning the 102 departments of France ... except maybe that there are 102 of them. Anyhoo, I had _ISE RIVER for (29D: Waterway that lent its name to two French departments) and since at that time I only had __IS_NRI_T for the cross, somehow I convinced myself I should start with F. Only once I realized the "Joint" in (27A: Joint flare-up?) was PRISON did RIOT replace RIFT, completing OISE RIVER.

I found plenty to like, including TRESPASSES (34A: Goes over the line?), IMITATIVE (28D: Like store brands vis-à-vis name brands, typically), TRANSFERS (30D: Students arriving late?), DOWSES (21A: Looks forward to the next spring?), APERITIFS (44A: Dubonnet or Campari), and CONNIVER (49A: Lowdown sneak).

Others slowing me down included (22A: Feature of Namibia and Libya) which I filled in with ARIDNESS on faith, because I had only previously been aware of ARIDITY, (32A: Method of fishing) which might as well be the Word of the Day –Alternate: SEINING
Seine fishing (or seine-haul fishing) is a method of fishing that employs a seine or dragnet. A seine is a fishing net that hangs vertically in the water with its bottom edge held down by weights and its top edge buoyed by floats. Seine nets can be deployed from the shore as a beach seine, or from a boat.

Boats deploying seine nets are known as seiners. There are two main types of seine net deployed from seiners: purse seines and Danish seines. (Wikipedia)

Anyone else start (8D: It covers bridges, typically) with DENTAL APPLIANCE instead of DENTAL INSURANCE? And how many of you knew MESNE (42D: Intervening, at law) without Every Single Cross?

See you Sunday!
Signed, Tyler Clark, Fan of CrossWorld

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Internet meme of star of Matrix looking sullen / FRI 8-18-17 / Birthplace of philosopher Parmenides / Fragrant prom present / So effective you can skip day sloganeer once / Frequent designation for Elizabeth Taylor / Jazz/samba fusion poularized in 1960s / Level connectors in Donkey Kong / Toy consisting of spool on string

Friday, August 18, 2017

Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: TAMARA Taylor (46D: Actress Taylor of "Bones") —
Tamara Taylor (born September 27, 1970) is a Canadian actress. Her most notable role is that of Dr. Camille Saroyan, head of the Forensic Division, in the forensic crime drama Bones. [...] Taylor has made guest appearances on NCIS, Numb3rs, Lost, CSI: Miami, Without a Trace, Party of Five and Dawson's Creek. In her feature film debut, Senseless, she played Marlon Wayan's love interest. She portrayed Debrah Simmons in the 2005 romantic-comedy Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Halle Berry's best friend in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and had a brief role in Serenity, the movie conclusion of the TV series Firefly by Joss Whedon. Through her part in Serenity, Taylor was able to audition for a show with actor David Boreanaz, who had previously worked with Whedon in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. She also appeared in the TV series Lost, as the former girlfriend of Michael and mother of Walt.(wikipedia)
• • •

A very pleasant experience. I have learned a lot about coffee from my local roasters, so the major coffee-producing islands are well known to me (they're mostly Indonesian, though coffee's grown all over the tropics from the Caribbean to Madagascar). First thought: JAVA. Obviously, far too short. Second thought: SUMATRA. You tend to find SUMATRA coffees as dark roasts. Anyway, having some sense of coffee terroir put the 1-Across Rule into effect. Maybe it's not a "rule." I just like the snappiness of the phrase "1-Across Rule." I finished well under 6, and while that's nowhere near a record, it is faster-than-normal for me. I didn't necessarily Love the fill in this one, but I definitely Liked it, and the wide-ranging frame of reference (from Donkey Kong to "Hamilton" to SAD KEANU) kept me entertained.

People are telling me the E and NE were the trouble spots. I can see how LADED (not my favorite word), with its ambiguous-verb-tense clue, might've thrown folks (it threw at least one of my friends). And the NE is slightly tough in that you have to remember a deodorant sloganeer (8A: "So effective you can skip a day" sloganeer, once). I don't know how anyone can have MITCHUM in their grid and not link it in some way to Robert. Seems like a huge waste. But the real trouble spot *for me* was the SW, where THE over THE seemed so improbable that I couldn't commit to it. Also, YINYANG took me a while to accept. To be clear, I do now accept it, but it's odd as a single unit clued 63A: Joined forces?. Also, 59D: Often-misused irregular verb (LAY) could easily have been LIE (since the very existence of LIE is the reason LAY is so "often misused." And ITTY is baloney since it's obviously ITSY (and both are baloney, tbh, without BITTY / BITSY). Proper noun arcana like "RIO RITA" wasn't that welcome (17A: 1942 Abbott and Costello musical comedy), and proper noun ??? like TAMARA was tough (for me), but even when I got stuck, there was always an amusing answer right around the corner to pick me back up and get me going again. Good fun.

Next three days I will be blogging from NYC, where I'm attending Lollapuzzoola 10, NYC's best (and now only) crossword tournament, on Saturday. Expect brief and weird write-ups until things return to normal on Tuesday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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