Old-time singer Julius — MONDAY, Dec. 7 2009 — 1970s Dodgers All-Star Ron / Modern locale ancient Sheba / Roebuck's partner in retailing
Monday, December 7, 2009
Constructor: Ed Sessa
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "(YO HO HO) AND A BOTTLE OF RUM" (56A: Words after the starting syllables of 17-, 29- and 43-Across) — three theme answers begin with syllables YO, HO, and HO, respectively
Word of the Day: MAGDA Gabor (3D: A Gabor sister) — Magdolna "Magda" Gabor (circa 1915 - June 6, 1997) was a Hungarian-born American entertainer and socialite. She was the elder sister of actresses Zsa Zsa Gabor and Eva Gabor, and known for her habitual marriages and divorces. (wikipedia)
Seems a very thin basis for a theme. Only six of the thirty-nine theme squares in those first three theme answers have any relevance. There must have been a million (or slightly fewer) possibilities for the "HO" answers alone. I like YOGURT SMOOTHIES ... or rather, I don't, in real life, but I do, as an answer. Seems fresh. The "HO" answers (much as I love HOMER SIMPSON) do not. With hardly any relevant theme squares and with no other rationale holding them together, I expected more zing. The non-theme fill is pretty dull, and dated. I'm beginning to understand Arthur GodFREY's frustration with Julius LAROSA. I would fire LAROSA on air, right now, if I could. Seen him three times this year alone, at least, which is three times more than I ever remember seeing him before this year.
- 17A: Blended fruit-flavored drinks (YOgurt smoothies)
- 29A: "Jumpin' Jehosaphat!" ("HOly Mackerel!")
- 43A: TV character who says "It's 1 a.m. Better go home and spend some quality time with the kids" (HOmer Simpson) — I do like this clue
- 49A: 1970s Dodgers All-Star Ron (Cey) — gimme for me (a Dodgers fan in the '70s), but pretty marginal for a Monday, I'd say. Btw, the Dodgers once had a player named Rick MONDAY.
By 1981, Monday was mostly a utility player when the second moment occurred. In the deciding Game 5 of the NLCS at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, he smashed a ninth-inning home run off the Expos' Steve Rogers that proved to be the difference in a 2-1 Dodgers victory. Monday's home run dashed what turned out to be the Expos' only chance at a pennant in their 36-year history in the National League. Even today, heartbroken Expos fans refer to the fifth game of the NLCS as "Blue Monday." Los Angeles went on to win the 1981 World Series, defeating the New York Yankees 4 games to 2. As would be expected he proudly wears that World Series ring and is honored to be one of the few to have bumped off the Yankees in the fall classic. (wikipedia)
- 19D: Squirter at an auto garage (oil can) — why is "auto" in this clue? Are we really likely to imagine some other kind of garage, and if so, is it a kind of garage that would not have an OILCAN? There was also once a pro baseball player named Dennis "OILCAN" Boyd (RHP, Red Sox)
- 51D: Modern locale of ancient Sheba (Yemen) — Did not know this. YEMEN is common fill, so no problem. Weird how the NW and SW feel like the clunkiest parts of the grid to me. They're so small and unOBTRUDEsive. You'd think EDUCE-ing good fill from them would be a cinch.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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