Like non-oyster months / WED 1-13-10 / Unit of cultural information / James Bond antagonist * Largo / Noted mother of nine
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Constructor: Kevan Choset
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: FLOWER GIRLS (62A: Certain wedding participants ... or a hint to 17-, 28- and 46-Across?) — three women whose first names are flowers. That's it.
Word of the Day: EMILIO Largo (47D: James Bond antagonist ___ Largo) —
Emilio Largo is a fictional character and the main antagonist from the James Bond novel Thunderball. In the novel he is depicted, according to the British stereotypes about Italians, as a large, heavyset, olive-skinned, powerful man exuding animal charm, with the profile of a Roman emperor, and hairy hands which are likened to crawling tarantulas. He also appears in the 1965 film adaptation,again as the main antagonist, with Italian actor Adolfo Celi filling the role. Although Celi strongly resembles his literary counterpart, his white hair contrasts with the pomaded black hair that Fleming specified in the novel, and he wears a black eye patch. Celi's voice was dubbed by Robert Rietty (who previously dubbed the voice of John Strangways in Dr. No and later a man resembling Ernst Stavro Blofeld, in For Your Eyes Only). // Moreover, Largo is also the main antagonist in the 1983 unofficial James Bond movie Never Say Never Again, a remake of Thunderball. In Never Say Never Again, the character's name, however, was changed to Maximillian Largo and he was portrayed by the Austrian actor Klaus Maria Brandauer.
Hmmm. This seems pretty weak, conceptually. There's the cute change-of-meaning in the theme-revealer, but ... women with names that are flowers? Not too ambitious. Maybe if you could have crammed another, obvious woman's flower-name — LILY — into the grid, I might have thought more of it. Grid seems fine, otherwise. DLI in the middle is unfortunate, as is OTOS over OTS. All in all, fine, if underwhelming.
- 17A: Author of "The Sea, the Sea" (IRIS Murdoch)
- 28A Henry James heroine (DAISY Miller)
- 46A: Noted mother of nine (ROSE Kennedy) — wonder if there was any way you could have gone for the literary trifecta. ROSE of Sharon is a letter too long, ROSE Red is short, ROSE Nylund is a letter short and a Golden Girl (thus not technically "literary") ...
Best / trickiest clue of the day was 15A: Cigarette additive? (sin tax) — me: "What the hell has SYNTAX got to do with cigarettes?" Odd gimmes for me today: OILERS (65A: Gretzky's team from 1979 to 1988) and (for reasons unknown) LYSINE (24D: Certain amino acid). Picked my new book club book yesterday — went with E.M. Forster's "Howard's End" based on the completely arbitrary fact that it's the first book I found in the bookstore that was published in 1910 (i.e. 100 years ago). I mention this because wife and I had long conversation before that about Louisa May Alcott and the Brontës and she asked if I'd read ELIOT and I thought she meant T.S. ... hilarity ensued, I'm sure. Anyhoo, weirdly, I blanked utterly at 32D: "Silas Marner" author (Eliot) just now, all the while thinking "Well, this is obvious, it's ... the woman ... you Just had a Conversation about her, you idiot ... your sister took an entire class on her ... come on!" Had to rely on stupid OTOS and OTS to help me out, because ARNIE was a complete mystery (41A: Morton who founded Morton's steakhouses).
- 21A: Harvard and Yale, e.g. (rivals) — had the RI- and wrote in ... RIVERS. Why?
- 26D: Gibson's "Ransom" co-star, 1996 (Russo) — had the R--SO and without even looking at the clue (note: bad idea) wrote in RATSO.
- 63D: Suffix with Victr- (-ola) — well that's terrible.
- 24A: Friction fighter (lube) — call me prudish, but ... no.
- 53A: Francis' home (Assisi) — despite my being a medievalist, my first thought was "Francis who?"
- 33D: Like non-oyster months (R-less) — hey, you know who else's name is R-less? LaDainian Tomlinson! (from, and for, BEQ):
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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