Add british style / FRI 4-21-17 / Jazz on sports tickers / Thin layer of foam at top of espresso / Shark-jumping sitcom character / Alternative nickname for Liz / Iconic part of Nancy Sinatra's early attire / toon who wears red hair bow
Friday, April 21, 2017
Constructor: Damon Gulczynski
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: TOTAL BASES (29D: A batter receives four for a grand slam) —
In baseball statistics, total bases (TBs) is the number of bases a player has gained with hits. It is a weighted sum for which the weight value is 1 for a single, 2 for a double, 3 for a triple and 4 for a home run. Only bases attained from hits count toward this total. Reaching base by other means (such as a base on balls) or advancing further after the hit (such as when a subsequent batter gets a hit) does not increase the player's total bases. // The total bases divided by the number of at bats is the player's slugging average. // Hank Aaron is the career leader in total bases with 6,856. Stan Musial (6,134) and Willie Mays (6,066) are the only other players with at least 6,000 career total bases. (wikipedia)
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INROAD section of the grid, I moved through this one without much hesitation. Grid is mostly sparkly, with a ton of mid-range to long answers of good to great quality. Things get a little rough, fill-wise, in the (surprise) aforementioned INROAD section of the puzzle, and the S/SW in general, but that assortment of cruddy short stuff down there does very little to affect the overall quality of the fill. Cluing felt *on* today. Low on "?" clues, high on squint / tilt head / ponder-the-multiple-possible-meanings clues. [Get down, in a way] for LIE, [Bull, essentially] for OPTIMIST, [Kennedy colleague] for ALITO—all clever misdirects. Got initial propulsion from CREMA (14A: Thin layer of foam at the top of an espresso)—my dad is verrrrrry precise in his espresso-making, as are the folks at my local cafe / roasteria, so CREMA is a phenomenon I know well. That answer gave me enough momentum to get most of the way through the first half of the grid. And then THE FONZ took it from there (30D: Shark-jumping sitcom character), hurtling me down into the bottom of the grid, and then, via the precious "Z," over into that pesky SW corner. Those two key gimmes were all I needed.
[Classified] for PEGGED was just hard. Accurate enough, but yikes. And I had PURSUE for 46D: Hound at first, so you can see why the SW was the roughest area for me. I don't really like the French answer at 61A: Café freebie (EAU). Cheap cluing move. Yes, "café" is a French word, but it's also an English one (was the accent supposed to indicate something to me?—it didn't). Also, I wanted DDE at 64A: Pres. whose given birth name was David but didn't write it in because I knew one of those "D"s *stood* for "David," and, well, the clue can't refer to an initial via the name it stands for ... :( ... but apparently it can. So the SW corner strikes yet again. "I'M BAD"!—yes you are, SW corner. Yes you are. I had ACES for 54D: Super (A-ONE) but beyond that no other significant missteps (that I haven't already mentioned). The GRAMMAR NAZI clue is cute (53A: Type for who this clue will be annoying?), though I'm honestly never that thrilled to see NAZI in my puzzle, in any context. Not nearly bygone enough for my taste.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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