Saturday, April 1, 2023
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Materials in some china / SAT 7-9-22 / Louis predecessor of the franc / Hub for Nollywood motion pictures / Indoor rowing machine briefly / Max couture label / Zeljko 2008 Emmy winner for Damages

Constructor: Kevin G. Der

Phrase of the Day: Zeljko IVANEK (40D: Zeljko ___, 2008 Emmy winner for “Damages”) —

Željko Ivanek (; Slovene: [ˈʒɛːlkɔ iˈʋaːnək]; born August 15, 1957) is an American actor of Slovenian-Croatian origin, identified for his function as Ray Fiske on Damages, for which he gained a Primetime Emmy Award. Ivanek can be identified for his function of Ed Danvers on Murder: Life on the Road and Murder: The FilmGovernor James Devlin on Oz, Andre Drazen on 24, Blake Sterling on the short-lived collection The Occasion, and Emile “The Hunter” Danko in Heroes. From 2014 till 2019, he starred as Russell Jackson within the drama Madam Secretary. He additionally had a recurring function as FBIParticular Agent Jim Racine within the collection Banshee

For his energetic stage profession, he has been awarded a Drama Desk Award and has been nominated for 3 Tony Awards. (wikipedia) 

• • •

Wow, they do not make ’em like this any extra. Or they do, I suppose, simply not often. This was a correct Saturday, a more durable, higher model of yesterday’s 4-corner kind of problem. Numerous white house, a lot of obscure or difficult cluing, a lot of technical phrases and trivia, a lot of alternative to fall in your face. Repeatedly. However as a result of each nook had *two* methods in, not only one, it had a lot better movement than these kind of extremely segmented grids usually have, and what’s actually spectacular is how clear this comparatively low word-count grid ended up being. And never simply clear, however usually contemporary. Sure, the “freshness” regularly comes through names of recentish fame, but it surely’s additionally there within the cluing (on LAGOS, for example (15A: Hub for Nollywood motion pictures)). “Freshness” would not solely must imply “recentness,” it might imply thoughtfulness and originality and cleverness as properly. As a result of if the puzzle have been totally and aggressively up-to-the-minute it will really feel slim and faddish, whereas this one tempered its current popular culture trivia with wide-ranging subject material. You may really feel some predilections, reminiscent of the way in which the grid leans into motion pictures and tv, and particularly music (CLARINET, RUBATOS, ARIETTAS). This offers the puzzle character. It was undoubtedly a tough resolve for me in locations, however in the end I felt just like the puzzle prioritized solver enjoyment simply as a lot as Saturday gruelingness. As Saturday puzzles go, it’s one thing near mannequin.

Wanting on the clean grid, one may think that probably the most troublesome spots have been going to be the enormous lakes of white house within the NE and SW, however these have been truly the simpler components of the puzzle for me. Tougher for me have been the opposite, narrower corners, and more durable nonetheless was the connective tissue. I foundered on either side of that heart diagonal line of black squares, the place the 3- and 4-letter solutions kind little staircases of a form, from the decrease to higher half of the puzzle. This made zooming from one nook to the subsequent, for me, not possible. And but I did not really feel trapped. That’s … it was like being misplaced in a hallway fairly than cornered in a room. I by no means ended up anyplace the place I felt there was no escape. I simply acquired caught, however I knew assist was ultimately going to come back from another a part of the puzzle to rescue me. So popping out of the NW, for example, I acquired “TOOTSIE” simple (30A: 1982 movie with the tagline “Behind each nice man, there’s a girl!”), however had solely obscure recollections of “Catcher within the Rye” (final learn age 13), so ALLIE was a bust (weirdly, I keep in mind Holden’s sister was PHOEBE, however ALLIE, gone … in all probability, partially, as a result of he is useless earlier than the novel begins) (22D: Holden’s brother in “The Catcher within the Rye”). Then I believed all these presidents was once ELIS (not ELKS) (as you’ll be able to see, above, ELKS was my final reply) (28A: Group that counts Harding, Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy as former members). LAOS was a guess, however not an knowledgeable one (25A: House of the Plain of Jars, a UNESCO World Heritage website). I needed INTERACTED however I additionally knew it could possibly be INTERFACED or INTER-godknowswhat, and I’ve by no means seen a CLAM CAKE in my life (clam bake, crab cake) (6D: Specialty of Rhode Island delicacies), so I needed to slide right down to the SW as a way to preserve momentum, and there, regardless of having no clue as to any a part of IVANEK, I blew by the nook (LOL I’ve watched a number of reveals that includes IVANEK, together with “Damages,” so I do know his face properly, however he is simply “that man in that factor” so far as my mind is worried). 

Popping out of the SW, I used to be excited to see the “Atlanta” clue (certainly one of my very favourite reveals, one of many biggest TV reveals of this century), and was super-excited to see the title I’ve been ready to see in crosswords. “It is ZAZIE …! ZAZIE …!” And right here my mind froze (45A: Actress with an Emmy nomination for FX’s “Atlanta”). I blame ZADIE SMITH. I even tried SMITH right here. Which weirdly acquired me SINEW (improper), which much more weirdly acquired me INTRO and EVADE (each proper!). However I am getting forward of myself. Blanked on the BEETZ, however fortunately Cameron DIAZ gave me the “Z” that made me keep in mind the odd little bit of municipal slang HIZZONER (35D: Casual title in metropolis authorities), and I acquired going once more … solely to get slowed down as soon as extra attempting to get out of that nook and as much as the NE (my final nook). BONEASH!!? Woof, that one broke me (32A: Materials in some china). Made me query ARIETTAS (“is it ORIETTAS? … or are you considering of OPERETTAS and ORATORIOS? … rattling it!”) (33D: Mozart’s “Voi, che sapete” and others) After which once more *all* of the short-answer clues that made up the connective tissue main out of the SE have been killing me. Kinda needed BADE however wasn’t certain. DONEE clue was too obscure. No thought re: GONG (one other music clue!) (37A: Topic of a smash hit?), needed each ECU and SOU earlier than D’OR (29A: Louis ___ (predecessor of the franc)), had FOUL earlier than LONG. Ultimately needed to dip into the (empty) NE nook itself and (fortunately) get EATING and REAGAN, which helped me get LUNGS (ugh) (26A: Pair of pants?) (as a result of they’re a pair … that pants?), and I managed to work my method again by the quick stuff from there. Torched the NE nook and ended up ending up again at my first actual bother spot, which I am calling ELKS Junction. The top. A magical, mystical journey, stuffed with peril and marvel. However I survived the ordeal of BONEASH Pit, maneuvered previous the grotesque ship WRECKS (14D: Settings for some scuba dives), powered-up with a magic CLAM CAKE (!), and accomplished my quest ultimately. Good occasions.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[UPDATE: since people seem to have questions … 39D: Pool side = SOLIDS because the “pool” in question is the cue sport that you play on a felt-covered table with six pockets (one “side” is SOLIDS, the other stripes)]

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