Janis's comics husband - WEDNESDAY, Nov. 12, 2008 - Peter A. Collins (Fezzes's lack / Shannon Airport's county / Mule team?)
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: THE RAT PACK (56A: Group with members hidden in 17-, 24- and 46-Across) - DAVIS, MARTIN, and SINATRA are embedded, respectively, in three successive theme answers
I would have rated this one easy had it not been for the proper name pile-up I ended up slamming into at full speed somewhere around Medford, OR - in other words, where MOIRA and ARMY meet MARY. The ARMY clue (37A: Mule team?) was oddly tough for me - I could not figure out (immediately) the "R" and "Y" crosses. I don't think anyone's "picked" at ORE (31D: It may be picked) since 1849, but that clue is still very valid and I should have known. As for the MARY clue - 25D: Miraculous Medal figure - I have no idea what that refers to. Some 19th-century Catholic saint lady had a vision of the Virgin and made a medal (!) out of it. OK. Good to know. As for MOIRA (30A: Kelly of "One Tree Hill"), I could not pick her out in a crowd - not even a "crowd" of two random women (unless one of those women was, say, Bea Arthur, or my sister, in which case, process of elimination ...). And yet the name MOIRA came to me rather easily. Either the crosses really narrowed the field, or some pop culture god (whom I please with my writing on a regular basis) whispered it in my ear - a miracle! I think I'll go make a medal now.
As for the theme, it's cute. I feel like I've seen it before, but I'm probably wrong. The only thing that seems off about it is the lack of a "JR" after DAVIS in a PAIDAVISIT. Of course his name is DAVIS, but I've only ever heard him called Sammy DAVIS, Jr. I guess that "JR" would be pretty hard to embed in a phrase. Hmmm ... "MolDAVI S.J. Reynolds?" Yes, perfect.
- 17A: Stopped by (pai DAVIS it)
- 24A: Market-savvy sort (s MARTIN vestor)
- 46A: Hypnotizes (put SINATRA nce)
- 15A: Janis's comics husband (Arlo) - despite the fact that this is crosswordese by now, people still have trouble with it. FYI, Arlo and Janis's last name is Flagstone. Their dog is named DAWG. [I was kidding and/or drunk when I wrote this note - "Hi and Lois" are the Flagstones, and they own DAWG]
- 28A: Grammy winner Winehouse (Amy) - also my sister's name. My sister has never been in rehab, as far as I know.
- 38A: Shannon Airport's county (Clare) - County CLARE. Why do Irish say "County blank" and we say "Blank County?"
- 43A: Flattened at the poles (oblate) - also, in the Middle Ages, a child given to a monastic house (Benedictine, in particular) by his parents.
- 61A: Bygone Dodge (Omni) - OMNI and ARLO are friends
- 1D: Corrida wear (cape) - bullfighting
- 3D: Fezzes's lack (brims) - I just like saying "Fezzeseseseseses..."
- 10D: "Honor Thy Father" author (Talese) - Gay TALESE has been on my "You Should Read That" list for far too long.
- 11D: Something the U.S. government keeps an eye on (Great Seal) - clever clue of the day
- 33D: Oro y _____ (motto of Montana) (plata) - PLATA and OMNI and ARLO are all friends.
- 38D: Lamont _____, a k a the Shadow (Cranston) - no wonder he became "The Shadow." No one but no one is gonna be scared of a dude name Lamont CRANSTON.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS Michigan Pete (a k a Peter Collins, our constructor) has the syndicated puzzle today, too. I love when that happens.