1966 Tony winner for "Marat/Sade" - FRIDAY, Mar. 6, 2009 - C Rubin (Sender of the Calydonian boar / 1980s-90s action/adventure series)
Friday, March 6, 2009
- The view in metaphysics that reality is a unified whole and that all existing things can be ascribed to or described by a single concept or system.
- The doctrine that mind and matter are formed from, or reducible to, the same ultimate substance or principle of being.
I gotta believe that this puzzle started, in the constructors mind with the inspired CLEANLINESS (9D: It's next to 10-Down, both in an adage and literally in this puzzle) next to GODLINESS (10D: See 9-Down) bit, with "MACGYVER" (7A: 1980s-90s action/adventure series) anchoring the two words in place at the tricky "CG" letter string. I like how he repeats the dueling answers tactic in the SW with the equally easy DO AS I SAY / NOT AS I DO (57A: With 60-Across, hypocrite's mantra). It's clear that the clues were amped up considerably to offset the ease with which those two sets of answers could be solved.
I was a little taken aback by how much pop culture is in this puzzle - I don't mind, but it's the kind of thing that bugs some people. The real coup here was somehow getting a 2008 Morrissey song into the clues (47A: "All You Need _____" (2008 Morrissey song) ("Is Me")). Critics seem to like his most recent album (the one with the cover where he looks like he's in the early stages of a "How To Carry A Baby" class), and I've flirted with getting it, as I loved the Smiths a whole bunch in high school / college. No songwriter anywhere ever made morbid despair seem so incredibly beautiful. You can have all your modern EMO bands. I will take the Smiths (here's the great Neil Finn singing the Smiths, accompanied by Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr):
Other pop culture answers include ... well, we've seen "MACGYVER" and "ENEMY MINE" and "IS ME" ... then there's Patrick MAGEE (5D: 1966 Tony winner for "Marat/Sade"), and EDNA (51D: Mom in "Hairspray"), an Dr. DOLITTLE (40A: Doctor who's friends with Matthew Mugg), and some guy named David BIRNEY (63A: "St. Elsewhere" actor David), and the oddly-clued PARAMUS (45A: New Jersey setting of "Coneheads"), and the wickedly-clued HEATH (48D: Ledger with lines). More highbrow culture clues include A.A. MILNE (27A: "The Great Broxopp" playwright, 1921), ARTEMIS (22A: Sender of the Calydonian boar) and SAL (58D: Paradise in literature), all of which are clued with appropriate late-week malice.
Little heavy on the foreign words today, with ICI / ET LA (28D: With 13-Down, here and there, to Henri), ETE (51A: Annual stretch of trois mois), and EN AMI (50D: As a friend, to Frederic) on the French side, and ESO (36A: "Como es _____?" ("How come?" in Cadiz)), OLA (37D: Brazilian greeting), and ANO (!) (39A: It includes mayo) on the Iberian side. By the way, if your ANO "includes mayo," you may want to see a doctor. Like, now. I like the French words only if I imagine that they tell the story of a summer romance between Henri and Frédéric, who traveled ICI ET LA until a wicked fight over the relative quality of a performance of Bellini's "NORMA" (55A: Noted role for Maria Callas) drove them apart. Yes, that narrative makes those words almost bearable.
The NW has four different "STA" letter strings. Weird. I wasn't too thrilled with all the phrases ending in prepositions, e.g. ON LOAN TO, TILT AT, START ON, but that's just a matter of aesthetics. The answers are all valid and adequately clued.
- 17A: The world, per the Bard (a stage) - It's "ALL the world," right? Holding back the "ALL" is an attempt to Friday up the clue, I guess.
- 35A: Name tag? (III) - yikes. Toughie. Also tough were the hidden plurals at 1A: Tetanus symptom (spasms) and 38A: Follower of drop or shut (ins).
- 62A: Forward and back, e.g. (athletes) - more wicked cluing. Looked like the SW was going to be a breeze until I hit this.
- 7D: Philosophies that regard reality as one organic whole (monisms) - got this easily, though I don't know that I could name one. Seems decidedly unwestern.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld