Early capital of Alaska / WED 4-19-17 / 1917 dethronee / Salutation among Winnie Pooh friends / Log painted deceptively to look like cannon / Fly spurn thee Shelley
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Constructor: Emanuel Ax and Brad Wilber
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
- MONSTER MASH (20A: Classic song with the lyric "Whatever happened to my Transylvania twist?")
- SAWED IN HALF (54A: Like some magicians' assistants, apparently)
- RUNNER'S HIGH (26D: Exercise-induced euphoria)
- WHISKEY SOUR (4D: Drink often garnished with a cherry)
The vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) or vicugna (both //) is one of two wild South American camelids which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes, the other being the guanaco. It is a relative of the llama, and is now believed to be the wild ancestor of domesticated alpacas, which are raised for their coats. Vicuñas produce small amounts of extremely fine wool, which is very expensive because the animal can only be shorn every three years, and has to be caught from the wild. When knitted together, the product of the vicuña's wool is very soft and warm. The Inca valued vicuñas highly for their wool, and it was against the law for anyone but royalty to wear vicuña garments; today the vicuña is the national animal of Peru and appears in the Peruvian coat of arms. (wikipedia)
• • •
PLAY AREA gets a jokey piano clue (32A: What the keys are to a pianist?), but there's not much else. Then there's the strange grid—caused by the "note" structure—which is not-at-all-symmetrical (not a fault, just a feature).
["classic" ... but completely unknown to me]
A CENT" (?) x/w "ERE I" (!?!?) is an automatic DQ, sorry, thanks for playing. I can handle a French king and a bygone Alaskan capital, but not not not when they're (monster) mashed together with ACENT and EREI. The SE is less bad (it would almost have to be) but still rough, with yet Another partial (A FATE—at least that one was easily gettable) and the partial N.CAR. and the semi-ridiculous HALLO. If either the theme or the fill in other places had been stronger, the corners wouldn't have stood out so badly.
I did love the longer Downs. I love WHISKEY SOURs and remember and hope to re-achieve soon RUNNER'S HIGH. I've been to a conference in ABERDEEN (lovely) and, I mean, GRETA GARBO is GRETA GARBO, so no problem there. Do you curtsy with "TADA"?! (21D: Cry before curtsying or taking a bow). Seems like there are at least two intervening things between the cry and the curtsy, so "before" is technically accurate but leaves out a lot. That threw me badly. The use of "feud" to describe SHIA / Sunni relations ... I don't know. Seems flippant. They're not the Hatfields and McCoys or Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. DAYMARE is a preposterous concept. Inferrable, but preposterous. Just try telling someone you had a DAYMARE and see how seriously they take you.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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