TUESDAY, Jun. 2 2009 — Divine showbiz nickname / Arabesque actress 1966 / Italian archaeological locale / Glazier's sheet
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Constructor: Patrick Blindauer
Relative difficulty: Medium (I did it on paper in bed at 1 am after staring at a computer screen for hours, so I really don't know ... seemed Tuesdayish enough)
THEME: "SNL" (68A: TV staple for over 30 years (and a hint to 17-, 21-, 32-, 41-, 54- and 61-Across) - theme answers are two-word phrases where the first word starts with "S" and the second word starts with "L"
Word of the Day: INGEMAR Johansson (8D: Former heavyweight champion Johansson) - "Jens Ingemar Johansson (September 22, 1932 – January 30, 2009) was a Swedish boxer and former heavyweight champion of the world. He defeated Floyd Patterson by TKO in the third round, after flooring Patterson seven times in that round, to win the World Heavyweight Championship. As a result, Johansson won the Hickok Belt as top professional athlete of the year in 1959 and was named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year and Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year"." - Patterson would win a rematch a year later, thus becoming "the first man to recover the world's undisputed heavyweight title." (wikipedia)
I stayed up way too late last night and thus have next to no energy or focus this morning. My apologies. I'll keep this short and try to do the puzzle justice. My first thought was "there are such things as S&Ls ..." But then that petty thought floated away and I noticed the elegance and intricacy of the puzzle. All theme answers are familiar and snappy phrases or names, which is good, but what's impressive is a. there are six of them, and b. there are *four* Downs that have to cross *three* answers each (ODDS ARE, POMPEII, ROMANIA, AT A TILT). The grid has a lot of black squares (40) and thus looks like an easy grid to fill, but I doubt it was easy to construct the foundation - the basic arrangement of black squares that allows this theme to be pulled off at a Tuesday level. There's virtually no forced fill. A few odd rhyming patches (see STAB / TAB and the INGEMAR / OMAR / MAR trio), but those are kind of amusing. MESSRS (66A: Abbr. preceding multiple names) is the only answer that grates at all, and that's, what? ... one answer? And a real abbreviation. So fine. Good. Patrick Blindauer continues to show that he can make solid, entertaining puzzles at every level of difficulty. Given the historical iffiness of Tuesday puzzles, I'll take PB2 on a Tuesday any day (well, specifically Tuesday, I guess - MAN (38A: "Holy Toledo!"), I told you I was tired).
- 17A: Mountain shelter (ski lodge)
- 21A: Time off, to a sailor (shore leave)
- 32A: Endangered feline (snow leopard)
- 41A: "Arabesque" actress, 1966 (Sophia Loren)
- 54A: Highway posting (speed limit)
- 61A: Where rupees are spent (Sri Lanka)
- 1A: Recorder input: Abbr. (mic) - I just stared at this for a few seconds, trying to figure out what could be meant. Recorder? What kind? You can put a tape in a recorder. If you're playing a recorder, maybe you put in AIR. Needed crosses, is what I'm saying. Thankfully, the fabulous MISS M (1D: "Divine" showbiz nickname) was there to guide me through.
- 16A: Setting for C. S. Lewis's "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" (Narnia) - The Chronicles of NARNIA are among my wife's favorite books from childhood. Daughter liked them too a couple years back, when we read them together as a family. Back when the first movie came out. Back when this came out:
- 36A: Name before Cool or Camel (Joe) - great clue. Thankfully, no "The Plumber."
- 50A: 99 and 86, on "Get Smart" (agents) - another great clue. The "Get Smart" part makes it a Tuesday clue. Having just [99 and 86, e.g.] or [TV's 99 and 86, e.g.] would put the clue in different, tougher difficulty categories.
- 65D: Apostrophized preposition (o'er) - ugly clue. "Apostrophize" means "To address by or speak or write in apostrophe," a figure of speech whereby an actor addresses some abstract concept or absent person. Maybe "O'ER" appears in a famous instance of "apostrophe" somewhere... though I'm guessing that here it just means "having an apostrophe added between the O and E"
- 33: Alliance since '49 (NATO) - SEATO and NATO and OAS are the alliances I see most often. Or so it seems.
- 55D: Glazier's sheet (pane) - maybe I should have made "glazier" my Word of the Day, as I'm not sure I can define it. Someone who works with glass? A window-maker? Yes, "one who cuts and fits glass, as for doors and windows."
- 49D: Elusive Himalayan creature (Yeti) - "elusive" ... I guess that is one way of getting around something's non-existence. Nice.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld