THURSDAY, Jul. 30 2009 — Jiltee of myth / Voltaic cell meas / Royal son of comics / Kowtower / Actress Williams of the 1960s-'70s
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Constructor: Ashish Vengsarkar
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: FOUR-LETTER WORDS (16A: Profanities (and a hint to this puzzle's anomalies)) — 8 theme answers are represented in the grid by a strings of identical letters; those strings, when read aloud as plural letters, are homophones of the desired answers, e.g. 1A: Facility = EEEE (i.e. Es, or "ease")
Word of the Day: EDY Williams (55D: Actress Williams of the 1960s-'70s) —
Throughout the 1960s, Williams appeared in several television series and film including roles in The Beverly Hillbillies, Batman, Adam-12, Lost in Space, The Naked Kiss, and the Sonny & Cher film, Good Times.
In 1970, she appeared as Ashley St. Ives in Russ Meyer's first mainstream film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, followed by his second mainstream film The Seven Minutes (1971). Meyers and Williams married in 1970, shortly after the release of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. (wikipedia)
Short write-up this morning as I have a dentist appointment to get to.
Fantastically inventive puzzle this morning from Ashish Vengsarkar. Perfect Thursday fare: wordplay gimmick plus double thematic layer (letter string answers and two regular, grid-spanning 15-ltr answers). I was going to rate this puzzle "Medium," but then I watched my wife get Nowhere on it last night and figured that it might be hard for some to find / understand the gimmick. Once you get the trick, the puzzle is very tractable — all those letter-string answers (since they're symmetrical) go down very easy. I picked the gimmick up pretty early, after trying EASE at 1A. This gave me EERIEST (4D: Like H.P. Lovecraft among all popular writers?), but the other stuff wasn't working, and I was pretty sure 2D: Abbr. in a help-wanted ad was EEO (or EOE or something like that). Then I saw the 12A clue, [Jiltee of myth], and knew immediately that it was MEDEA (I feel like this exact clue was used very recently ...). This made EDU easy (3D: E-mail ending), and there I had a ridiculous number of Es in 1A. Es ... EASE. Of course. And I was off. Got IIII (19A: Peer group?) without understanding how it was right ("Am 'I' my own peer???? Oh, 'peer' as in look with your EYES ... got it"). The rest were less befuddling.
- 1A: Facility (EEEE) — "ease"
- 8A: Signals (QQQQ) — "cues" (consecutive Qs, wow)
- 19A: Peer group? (IIII) — "eyes"
- 20A: Razz (TTTT) - "tease"
- 47A: Garden sights (BBBB) — "bees"
- 49A: Is behind (OOOO) — "owes"
- 61A: "Man oh man!" (GGGG) — "jeez!"
- 63A: Hip (YYYY) — "wise"
- 51A: Record holders? (and a punny hint to this puzzle's anomalies) (repeat offenders) — you can have a "record" after only one offense, so I didn't like this clue so much)
Last letter I filled in was the "A" in ABT (45D: Dance grp. at the Met). Never seen that in the puzzle, though I could infer its meaning, I think. Let me guess: American Ballet Theater? ... well, yes, but ugh, they spell THEATRE the stupid British way ("stupid" only when used in America by Americans). Never see today's ALI clue, but that was inferrable as well (13D: Iranian supreme leader _____ Khamenei). EDY and RUY (neighbors!) were both new to me. Chess names, again? Is this a trend? If so, reverse it, please (56D: _____ Lopez (chess opening)). Or at least counterbalance it with things only a comic book fan would know. Seems only fair ... to me. Though, come to think of it, there is probably a lot of nerd overlap with chess players and comic book fans. Hang on, I'll draw a Venn diagram...
- 14A: Yamaha offering, in brief (ATV) — all-terrain vehicle
- 34A: Alley of Moo (Oop) — "of Moo"? Did not know that.
- 40A: Blood, e.g. (gangster) — edgy! It's strange how GANGSTER does not evoke Crips and Bloods or any of the street gangs in "The Warriors" for me (those are "gang members"). It evokes the mob. Or Dillinger. But of course gang members are GANGSTERS. Not sure why the disconnect.
- 1D: Voltaic cell meas. (EMF) — Can never remember what EMF stands for -> electromotive force.
- 6D: Part of a 2005 SBC merger (ATT) — that's AT ampersand T.
- 24D: Royal son of comics (Arn) — good ol' ARN. Where's your mom, ALETA? Haven't seen her much these days.
- 29D: Kowtower (toady) — love the word TOADY. The word "kowtower" ... looks alien.
- 36D: Starts of some sporting events (face-offs) — loved it. Also loved the inventive ONE TO TEN (32A: Scale range) and the bouncy JIGGLE (33A: Do what Jell-O does).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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