Eddie's partner in musical comedy / SAT 3-2-13 / Cannery Row brothel owner / 1958 spy novel set in Jamaica / Jellyfish krill / Texting counterpart of TY / Clarkson College locale / Toxicodendron diversilobum
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Constructor: Barry C. Silk
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: FLO and Eddie (23A: Eddie's partner in musical comedy) —
Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman, "Flo" aka "Phlorescent Leech", and Howard Kaylan, "Eddie") are a comedic musical duo.The two were the original founding members of the Top 40 rock group The Turtles. After the Turtles dissolved, Volman and Kaylan first joined The Mothers of Invention as "Phlorescent Leech & Eddie". Due to contractual restrictions made early in their career, Mark and Howard were prevented from using the name "The Turtles", as well as their own names in a musical context. "The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie" were originally nicknames of two of the Mothers of Invention road crew that the pair appropriated. (wikipedia)
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Lovely stuff all over, with just one pocket of ickiness there in the east. I started out very fast in the NW and even threw down FDR MEMORIAL very early (off just the "D"!) (23D: It features a statue of a Scottie next to his master), but shortly thereafter I came to a terrible halt. And then another. Felt like there was a lot of free-falling once I hit the middle of the grid. In retrospect, if I had *any* clue at all who FLO and Eddie were, I would've probably shaved several minutes off my time. With that route into the NW completely blocked (doubly blocked, as I also had WRY for SLY at 21D: Arch), I had only one other path in to that section, and that path started at the icky place, so ... I had to save the NE for last. Clues were slightly ruthless today—22A: People pick pockets in it was genius, but I had -OOL and still had no idea what was going on. [Blast alternative?] for DRAT!? Again, brilliant and virtually impossible. Lots of little names I'd never heard of, like DORA (48D: "Cannery Row" brothel owner) and GIL (4D: Drug czar Kerlikowske) and ALEC (11D: "I'll Be Around" songwriter Wilder). Love the answer ZOOPLANKTON, though I've never heard of it (7D: Jellyfish and krill). Thought it would be an "S"-plural, which of course made CAN impossible to see. Don't think I know this CESAR dog food (43D: Alpo alternative). Don't know how the Ducks are or what the Atlantic League is, but I had LONG so the ISLAND add-on wasn't too hard to figure out (27D: Home of the Ducks of baseball's Atlantic League). In general, I went NW, SE, SW, NE, with the difficulty being Easy, Medium, Easy, Hard, respectively. Last letter in was the "P" in PLS, which was, again, virtually impossible to get. I know that PLS means "please," but the only "thank you" I've ever seen in text-speak is "thx." "TY" looks bleeping ridiculous. More typo than abbreviation (33D: Texting counterpart of "TY"). That whole eastern area was by far the roughest of the grid. Did not get PETIT for a long time (33A: Minor, legally), thought 34D: Sno-___ (winter blower brand) was TORO (that's a snow blower brand, Right!?), and [Mr. T's real last name]???? Uh, no. No hope in hell. Only way I got the THRO / TERO cross was by imagining a snow blower THROwing snow.
I did some good guessing today. No idea what 10A: Symbol of Einstein's gravitational constant was, but I figured it had to end in "A," and that got me ADORN, and the traction I needed to finally get going up there in the NE. No idea what 58A: Grocery product with green leaves in its logo was, but but had "S-L-" and so just wrote in SALAD, with no idea what could come next. Just that little headway helped me confirm EAST ASIA (36D: Orwellian superstate). There were a decent number of gimmes for a Saturday. First answer in the grid was LAHR (2D: Player of a big scaredy-cat?). I'm not sure I knew OTIS dealt in escalators, but still [44A: Escalator pioneer] in four letters fairly shouted his name. Another answer whose four-letterness helped matters along was "DR. NO" (47D: 1958 spy novel set in Jamaica). First thought was Fleming, and then when I saw that the answer was a four, I knew what it was. I thought Clarkson was in NY (42D: Clarkson College locale => OMAHA), but that must be a different Clarkson (yes; a university in Potsdam, NY). Former ACPT champion Tyler Hinman went to RPI and likes to talk hockey smack about Clarkson on Twitter. A lot. Let's see, what else? Oh, yeah—this:
P.S. Just got the most recent update for my Puzzazz app (iPhone) and damned if "American Red Crosswords" isn't up and running!! Go here http://www.puzzazz.com/ and download the free app for iPhone or iPad (or just search "Puzzazz" in the App store). Then get the book. There's a "Donate" button right in the app, so you can give to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund before getting down to solving business. I'm solving the puzzles on my phone right now and the whole thing just looks great. Kindly spread the word that "American Red Crosswords" has gone digital. Thank you.