Solving this puzzle was the opposite of ACAN of corn for me. Judging by its clues and answers, I think I can safely say that the overlap between Ms. Burnikel's world and mine is miniscule. I can perhaps cover it in two words: twinsets and candy bars. 57A. CARDIGANS and 23A. KITKAT were about the only two answers in this puzzle I dropped in. I also knew 29A. right away, but unfortunately, I forgot how Mr. TEBOW spells his last name. Sorry, dude.
On my personal WTW? list:
- Mike & Mike / ESPNRADIO - this answer has a one:one WTW? ratio with ESPN & radio making it very difficult for me to grade. Maybe our esteemed reader Mr. Amory can help me out here.
- Gods with green skin / OSIRIS
- The smart phone (?) market: Samsung Galaxy ; Lumia / WINDOWSPHONE & NOKIA
- All Nippon Airways hub / NARITA
- Fajita options / STEAK
- Panini breads / CIABATTA
- OTTAWANian sports teams / Senators
- The many actresses with the last name Polo / TERIS
Anywhoo, I don't want to EMOTE too much, but let's just say it wasn't just ONIONS I was crying over this afternoon.
The cross of ESTADO/DIAN got me, since I entered a "t" there. I wasn't fooled for a second with Tabasco, but I entered my answer thinking "state" and hence, the aforementioned "t." I didn't consider the cross, which of course refers to DIAN Fossey, with whom I'm familiar. The REST was quite nice, I thought. Great clues for STATIC and ACHOO, not to mention TOMB. ILLBITE is quite nice, and KIMONO and NARITA (you'd land there if you visited Tokyo, probably hopping right onto one of their excellent trains to get into the city). I tried to fit applesiPHONE where WINDOWSPHONE belongs, but it was quickly corrected with crosses. LARD: gross. We'll be seeing the most important Beach Boy on Sunday (speaking of RHONDA) performing the entire "Pet Sounds" album. TORME went right in, and I loved BEETSALAD and ASSAIL. I didn't know that OSIRIS had green skin, or that ASHE wrote that book. Favorite, you ask? 39D Person, e.g. (PRIMATE). IMHO, ESPNRADIO gets a D. Who cares about sports?
ESPNRADIO, it seems to me, is a rather mixed bag, although certainly it does better than a D. First, it was a gimme for me and, thus, my first entry. I think the fact that it was not for you is somewhat indicative of its polarizing you-either-know-it-or-you-don't quality and that, I would think, is less ideal and might push the grade lower. But sorry, Huygens, your contention that sports are irrelevant doesn't hold water. It seems to me that broad cultural awareness is a critical skill in puzzle solving and understanding sports at least at a basic level is part of that. Admittedly, Mike & Mike is a little deeper than a basic level, but ESPN itself is quite basic and it's absolutely reasonable to expect any solver could at least work that out. And from there, working out ESPNRADIO might require a couple of crosses for some, yet it has been around for almost a quarter century and does broadcast local college sporting events in many places. So, while you could also lower the grade due to an overt commercialism, I think you'd have to raise it again for its solid, if under the surface, place in American sports, and thus popular, culture. And, the SPNR string of consonants looks pretty nice in the grid and that might push the grade higher. What does that sound like, a B?