Competitor of Wisk / MON 5-1-2017 / Short race spec / Eagle's home / Blood components / Tristan's beloved / Fizzy headache remedy, informally
Monday, May 1, 2017
Constructor: ED SESSA
Relative difficulty: HARD
THEME: OFF WITH HER HEAD — Theme answers are related to Marie Antoinette. And also just beheading in general.
- LET THEM EAT CAKE (20A: Words attributed to 41-Across)
- OFF WITH HER HEAD (24A: Apt cry for 41-Across)
- ARIE ANTOINETTE (41A: Famous queen, depicted literally) (I'm not sure that I'd agree with "literally" as the word of choice here, but she's depicted without the first letter of her name, i.e. without her "head")
- CAPITAL OFFENSE (47A: Something committed by 41-Across ... or by this puzzle's creator?)
Word of the Day: ISOLDE (43D: Tristan's beloved) —
The Irish princess, Iseult of Ireland (also La Belle Iseult, Iseult "the Fair"), is the daughter of King Anguish of Ireland and Queen Iseult the Elder. She is a main character in the Tristan poems of Béroul, Thomas of Britain, and Gottfried von Strassburg and in the opera Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner.Iseult is first seen as a young princess who heals Tristan from wounds he received fighting her uncle, Morholt. When his identity is revealed, Tristan flees back to his own land. Later, Tristan returns to Ireland to gain Iseult's hand in marriage for his uncle, King Mark of Cornwall. She is betrothed to an evil steward who claims to have killed a dragon, but when Tristan proves he killed the dragon Iseult's parents agree to marry her to Mark. On the journey back to Cornwall, Iseult and Tristan accidentally drink a love potion prepared for her and Mark by Iseult the elder and guarded by Brangaine, Iseult's lady-in-waiting. The two fall hopelessly in love, and begin an affair that ends when Mark banishes Tristan from Cornwall.(Wikipedia)
• • •The good thing about this puzzle was that it was good preparation for finals week because it was so hard. Seriously, I thought Wisk was some kind of board game or something - it's a laundry detergent?! (I was thinking of Risk, apparently.) And I was tearing my OHAIR out trying to figure out if I'd gone horribly wrong somewhere with ARIE ANTOINETTE. As far as ONEK goes, perhaps a kind puzzler can fill me in on what that has to do with races, because when I Googled it to make it my word of the day all I got were riding helmets, information on stock in SPDR Russell 1000 (whatever that is), and a village in Slovenia. Vague clues and obscure answers don't seem much in l'ESPRIT de Monday to me. Oh well, you win some, you lose some, you take 45 minutes to solve some.
The theme was pretty cool though! Even though ARIE ANTOINETTE gave me so much trouble, once I got that taking the first letter off Marie's name was supposed to be the crossword equivalent to a beheading, I figured it was clever. Also liked that there were French words scattered throughout the puzzle to complete the theme.
I wonder if she ever really did say "Let them eat cake"? I know it's apocryphal but she still technically could have. In French.
- STU (45A: Early Beatle ___ Sutcliffe) — Another appropriate clue: "What do you call a guy in a cooking pot?" ........Wait, there was another Beatle? Weird.
- EMMA (53A: Jane Austen heroine) — Unquestionably the best Jane Austen book. Not just because "Clueless" was based on it (although that is an excellent reason to love it). Trust me, I'm an English major. That scene where Elton comes on to Emma and Emma realizes it's going to break Harriet's heart....*sniffle*
- ASTA (49D: "The Thin Man" canine) — This movie came out in 1934!! And the clue was in a difficult section, how the heck was anyone supposed to...Oh, never mind, I'll just end up REHASHing my criticism from earlier about how this one was difficult for me. But seriously. It would have made a great Wednesday or Thursday. :P
- SPATS (59A: Minor fights) — I just realized that the Young Frankenstein version of "Puttin' on the Ritz" doesn't actually include the word "spats." But I'm still going to post it.
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]