THURSDAY, Apr. 23, 2009 - S Dobis (Documentarian Morris / Financial writer Marshall / One of Isabella I's kingdoms / Word with mountain or fly)
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: BROWN (71A: Shade that defines 17-, 27-, 49- and 65-Across)
First BROWN - GODFATHER OF SOUL (17A)
Second BROWN - FEDEX COMPETITOR (27A)
Third BROWN - CLEVELAND PLAYER (49A)
Fourth BROWN - IVY LEAGUE SCHOOL (65A)
Word of the Day: IVOR Novello - David Ivor Davies (15 January 1893 – 6 March 1951), better known as Ivor Novello, was a Welsh composer, singer and actor who became one of the most popular British entertainers of the early 20th century. [...] After World War I, Novello pursued a film career until the 1930s. He starred in two silent films directed by Alfred Hitchcock, The Lodger and Downhill, both in 1927. (wikipedia)
Not much to say about this one. Solid. Non-theme fill is pretty blah, but the theme is nice, tight, and the BROWNs are wonderfully varied - a name, a company, a football player, a school. The only thing that provided any difficulty in the puzzle, aside from some odd names here and there, was the fact that in a puzzle like this, your answers are really definitions and so are not apt to spring readily to mind because they don't tend to hold together as stand-alone phrases. The one big exception here is GODFATHER OF SOUL, which would be a fine entry in any puzzle (hard to think of any puzzle, or anything at all, that wouldn't be improved by a little James BROWN).
I had no trouble with the puzzle, though the first two theme answers were slower in coming than I would have liked. Much as I love James BROWN, I was not looking for him (didn't know the theme was "BROWN" yet, and I had GODFATHER -F SOU- and my mind went "GODFATHER OF SOUP?" and about a millisecond later I realized the right answer. Also had most of FEDEX COMPETITOR before I was able to get it. My FEDEX read -E-EX, and I thought "TELEX COMPETITOR?" Forgot, for a moment, that "BROWN" was what UPS has been calling itself lately. The other two theme answers were much easier for me to uncover.
Heavy on the proper nouns today. ROMER (34D: Former Colorado governor Roy) and LOEB (63D: Financial writer Marshall) and (oddly) LINC (51D: "The Mod Squad" role) were the only ones that gave me any trouble, but IVOR (56D: Songwriter Novello) might have been tough if you've never seen it before. AOKI (62D: Golfer Isao), ERROL (28D: Documentarian Morris), and OLSEN (19D: Merlin of football and TV) are standard crossword fare, and GIBB (55D: 1970s-'80s singer Andy), while not exactly common, is pretty damned famous (or was, in the late 70s). He was Teen Beat heartthrob of epic proportions.
- 9A: Certain sultan's subject (Omani) - one of many vague clues. Got it easily 'cause I had the "O" in place.
- 21A: Midcentury year (MDL) - see. Vagueness.
- 37A: Language that contains no adjectives (Navaho) - wow ... how does that work. No BROWN?
- 54A: Alternative to "roll the dice" ("spin") - I wanted STAY or STOP or something that meant "I choose NOT to continue in this game."
- 55A: Band lineup (gigs) - I know that you "line up" GIGS, but would you call your GIGS a "lineup?"
- 69A: Def Leppard hit "Pour Some Sugar _____" ("On Me") - don't mind if I do.
- 72A: Title grp. in an ABC drama (NYPD) - "old" would have helped here
- 6D: Word with mountain or fly (ash) - I don't know what mountain ASH or fly ASH is. They sound familiar, but I couldn't define them or draw you a picture. The former is apparently a tree.
- 50D: One of Isabella I's kingdoms (Aragon) - a place more often associated with Catharine. Still, pretty easy with the "AR" in place.
Interview with me over at Crossword Corner today - you've probably heard it all before, but why not hear it all again!?