Fernando * painter of plump figures — TUESDAY, Oct. 27 2009 — High muck a muck / 1958 sci-fi classic with The / Post W.W. II demographic, informally
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Constructor: Chuck Deodene
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: CHEERLEADER's cheer (57A: Shouter of this puzzle's circled sounds) — circled letters spell out the cheer "RAH RAH SIS BOOM BAH"
Word of the Day: Fernando BOTERO (47D: Fernando _____, painter of plump figures) — Fernando Botero Angulo (born April 19,1932) is a Colombian figurative artist, self-titled "the most Colombian of Colombian artists" early on, coming to prominence when he won the first prize at the Salón de Artistas Colombianos in 1959. [...] Botero's work includes still-lifes and landscapes, but Botero tends to primarily focus on situational portraiture. His paintings and sculptures are, on first examination, noted for their exaggerated proportions and the corpulence of the human and animal figures. (wikipedia)
If the reveal answer here had been "1920s YALE CHEERLEADER" or "CHEERLEADER WHEN MR. BURNS WAS IN COLLEGE," I might have liked this better. Placement of the circles seems to have a kind of structure, but not a consistent one, and the circles don't do anything fancy like run across two words in an answer or anything. So theme feels dated and technically unimpressive. On the other hand, the first two theme answers — TETRAHEDRON (17A: Solid with four triangular faces) and RAHM EMANUEL (25A: Chief of staff in the Obama White House) — are fabulous (in the sense of feeling fresh and original). Rest of the grid is solidly filled — not as lively as yesterday's, but pretty good nonetheless. LOWBALL (34D: Like an offer that's under actual value) should have been clued as a verb — I've been explaining importance of active verbs in the margins of papers lately so I want to turn everything into an active verb. But LOWBALL in any form is a nice answer, as is DEEP END (29D: Part of a pool for diving), though that could have used a more vivid clue too. BOTERO and SAN MATEO are proper nouns that I don't expect a lot of people to know right off the bat. I knew both, but I a. like modern art and b. grew up in California, so both names are familiar. BOTERO's work is very distinctive. I can't show you a good deal of it (nudity and other allegedly family-unfriendly things), so in lieu of some of his more edgy work, here's some Loretta LYNN (54A: Loretta who sang "Don't Come Home A' Drinkin' (With Lovin' on your Mind)"):
- 17A: Solid with four triangular faces (tetRAHedron)
- 25A: Chief of staff in the Obama White House (RAHm Emanuel)
- 35A: Start of the Bible (GeneSIS)
- 37A: Post-W.W. II demographic (BOOMers)
- 49A: High muck-a-muck (Grand PooBAH) — I always knew this expression as "high muckety-muck," but there may be some WB cartoon influence in there...
- 6A: "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" has five of these (iambs) — IAMBic pentameter = five IAMBS. Unstressed/stressed x 5. I start teaching Renaissance poetry today (Medieval is done and done!)
- 47A: 1958 sci-fi classic with "The" ("Blob") — I especially like this crossing BOOB (37D: Idiot). Say BOOB BLOB five times fast. That could be your scary Halloween voice.
- 66A: Bird of prey's dip (salsa)
- 18D: First thing usually hit by a bowling ball (head pin) — Could only think ONE PIN. Need to bowl more. I probably don't mean that.
- 42D: Driver's caution to reduce speed (Slo) — I guess the "driver's" part is supposed to tip us to the abbrev., because nothing else in the clue does. SLO is a horrible abbrev. You shed one letter? You need to shed at least half your weight to be a proper abbrev., I say. "CA" — now that's an abbrev.! "Goodbye, LIFORNIA. Don't need you any more."
- 58D: Popular music style (emo) / 59D: Popular music style (rap) — EMO is crossword famous all out of proportion to its actual fame. If you asked me to name RAP acts, I could go on and on and on. Ask me to name EMO acts ... I don't really know. Wikipedia tells me Jimmy Eat World, Dashboard Confessional, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco ... all names I recognize, but not well. No matter. EMO is here to stay, relieving Comedian Phillips of his long-held, burdensome cluing duties.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]