Carl's lifelong companion in Up / SUN 2-14-10 / Pioneering 1740 novel / Mecca trekker / Frequent Sgt. Friday rejoinder / 1993 dance hit
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Constructor: Matt Ginsburg and Peter Muller
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "THAT'S AMORE" — Question "WHAT IS LOVE? (23A: 1993 dance hit and a question answered seven times in this puzzle) is ... well, it's answered seven times, surprisingly — each time, according to a different famous person or character.
Word of the Day: "PAMELA" (96A: Pioneering 1740 novel subtitled "Virtue Rewarded") —
Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded is an epistolary novel by Samuel Richardson, first published in 1740. It tells the story of a maid named Pamela whose master, Mr. B, makes unwanted advances towards her. She rejects him continually, and her virtue is eventually rewarded when he shows his sincerity by proposing an equitable marriage to her. In the second part of the novel, Pamela attempts to accommodate herself to upper-class society and to build a successful relationship with him. The story was widely mocked at the time for its perceived licentiousness and it inspired Henry Fielding (among many others) to write two parodies: Shamela (1741), about Pamela's true identity; and Joseph Andrews (1742), about Pamela’s brother. (wikipedia)
Happy Valentine's Day. I got you ... a new blog design. Romantic, I know.
I really liked this puzzle — a Valentine's Day puzzle that isn't insipid or sappy, and that caused me to remember ridiculous bouncy dance music from my college years:
Grid is not thematically dense at all, which means that the non-theme fill can breathe. Breathing = vitality. I'm used to seeing Matt work with very demanding (and often impressive) themes and stunts that often compromise the quality of the material not related to the theme. Today, the non-theme stuff is across-the board fantastic, and the cluing is really lively and interesting. I had one WTF? moment right in the heart of the grid, where LUNTS (68A: Lynn Fontanne and her husband) meets TOPO (69D: Hiker's map, briefly). TOPO!? Really? I think TOPO Gigio is something I know of ... from Ed Sullivan? I guessed the "T" because of its (I assumed) derivation from "topography." Maps ... topography. Made sense. How can you be Lynn Fontanne and a LUNT? I mean, I know you're married to the guy, but if you don't take his name ...
I have been to Edinburgh three times, twice for extended stays (including the entirety of the fall semester of my junior year in college). I visited a WOOL SHOP (42D: Edinburgh tourist attraction) exactly no times. Of course I didn't see many TAMS either (28A: Kilt accompaniers) — doesn't mean they weren't there.
I sailed through this one with very little trouble, despite never having heard many of these "LOVE IS..." phrases. I'd heard of "Love is BLIND" (10A: 23-Across ... according to Shakespeare) and "Love is A MANY SPLENDORED THING" (102A: ... according to Frank Sinatra) and "Love is ALL YOU NEED" — aka "ALL YOU NEED is Love" (114A: ... according to the Beatles). The rest were new to me, including the Neil Young quote. I listened to Neil Young's first album earlier today (self-titled). Is that a coincidence? Sort of. I know it's not ironic.
Saigon Kick - Love Is On The Way
Enjoyed the quotey clues today. A fresh clue for NEHI (1A: It was once advertised as "Your favorite drink in your favorite flavor"), a witty zinger from C.S. Lewis (72A: One who's easier to pray for than to visit, according to C.S. Lewis — BORE), and the requisite daily Shakespeare quotation (12D: Teller of a tale "full of sound and fury," per Macbeth — IDIOT).
She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
John LOCKE wrote "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding" (11D). Locke believed that human nature was characterized by reason — and 300 years later, Norwegian supergroup a-ha extended his insights with their assertion that "Love is Reason"
Remaining theme answers:
- 32A: ... according to Joseph Campbell (friendship set to music)
- 52A: ... according to St. Augustine (the beauty of the soul)
- 78A: ... according to Charles Schulz (sharing your popcorn)
- 123A: ... according to Neil Young (a rose)
- 15A: Mecca trekker (haji) — I've said this before, but this word sounds like a racial slur to me now
- 36A: Secret dish in "Sweeney Todd" (meat pie) — thought for sure it would be something like HUMAN PIE. PETE PIE?
- 37A: One ___ (baseball variant) (o'cat) — I like O'CAT about as much as I like all "variants" in crosswords, i.e. not at all.
- 41A: Martin's partner in 1960s-'70s TV (Rowan) — why not just say "Laugh-In?"
- 73A: German region occupied by France and Belgium from 1923-25 — nice variation on the clue, which would normally contain the word "valley" and / or possibly "Essen."
- 83A: Sunfish or moonfish (opah) — sounds like an alternative to OLE, i.e. something one might shout at a soccer match.
- 121A: Early smartphone (Treo) — I don't own an early, middle, or late smartphone. When I see PuzzleGirl next weekend at the ACPT in Brooklyn, I will, as usual, covet hers.
- 8D: Old cruise missile (Navaho) — Didn't know it, then spelled it NAVAJO.
- 14A: The saddest key, supposedly (D minor) — really, really glad the cross was obvious on the "D".
- 51D: Blessing preceder? (ah-choo!) — an oldie but a ... well, an oldie.
- 60D: Chemicals banned by Congress in '76 (PCBs) — I like the way the abbrev. is cued by the shortened year in the clue.
- 62A: Butler's locale (Tara) — did not see that trick at ALL ... until it was all filled in. *Rhett* Butler's locale. Aha.
- 88D: Chief of staff under Obama (Emanuel) — in trouble recently because of his penchant for profanity. And for his use of the word "retards." I'll let Colbert fill you in.
- 96A: Animals with eye patches (pandas) — a habit they picked up from years of sailing with pirates.
- 99D: Frequent Sgt. Friday rejoinder ("No, ma'am") — his version of "No, you $%&!ing idiot."
- 106D: Carl's lifelong companion in "Up" — opening of this movie is rightly considered one of the greatest montages in the history of movies. Even better than that part in "Breakfast Club" where they dance on the library furniture.
- 115D: Hoped-for answer to "Will you be my Valentine?" (Yes) — a much better answer than "... what? What are you, 8 years old?"
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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