Soapmaking stuff / TUE 2-2-10 / Weeper of mythology / * you noblest English Henry V / Skateboard trickster's track
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Constructor: Alex Fay
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: Cut in two — theme answers are familiar phrases whose first words indicate division, and whose second words can be found, divided into two parts, elsewhere in the grid
Word of the Day: Priory of SION (36D: Priory of ___ (group in "The Da Vinci Code") —
The Prieuré de Sion, translated from French as Priory of Sion, is a name given to multiple groups, both real and fictitious. The most notorious is a fringe fraternal organization, founded and dissolved in France in 1956 by Pierre Plantard. In the 1960s, Plantard created a fictitious history for that organization, describing it as a secret society founded in the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1099, which serves the interests of the Merovingian dynasty and its alleged bloodlines. This myth was expanded upon and popularized by the 1982 controversial book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, and later claimed as factual in the preface of the 2003 conspiracy fiction novel The Da Vinci Code. (wikipedia)
Busy day ahead, and late start, so short write-up. Did not like this one at all, for a number of reasons. First, the splitting / dividing / breaking is totally haphazard. "Exploding" would have been a more apt metaphor, as pieces are strewn all over hell and gone, with no rhyme, reason, pattern, method, etc. Second, who in their right mind wants to split DECISION in two. Look at the ugliness you get. A prefix and some dreadful-looking "Priory" (I could not be less interested in reading "The Da Vinci Code" or any of its spawn, but that's neither here nor there)? SION crossing ON, ON (48A: "___, you noblest English ...!": "Henry V") is pretty much the nadir of this already low-lying puzzle. POTASH (49D: Soapmaking stuff) crossing NHRA (71A: Drag racing org.) is down there too. That's an ugly SE corner for sure. Though this puzzle fell in normal time for me, I'd be surprised if there weren't some people who got hung up in the SION or POTASH region. I'll leave you to find all the other incredibly generic or groan-worthy fill. I've got too much to do today. I will point out that this grid features an EELER in an AERIE (see NW corner). Hey buddy, you're looking in the wrong place.
- 20A: Outcome of many a boxing match ... or 38- and 36-Down (split decision) (DECI and SION)
- 38A: Interstates ... or 60-Down and 65-Across (divided highways) (HIGH and WAYS) — that's some weak "division"; you get the word's most basic parts ... nothing new / unexpected. Just ... the words that the larger word is made out of
- 57A: Crushed by sorrow ... or 5-Across and 63-Down (broken-hearted) (HEAR and TED)
- 1A: Brainy Simpson (Lisa) — but she is a sucker for Malibu Stacy dolls and ponies.
- 55A: Weeper of mythology (Niobe) — went with NAOMI for some reason.
- 64A: Skateboard trickster's track (rail) — interesting clue.
- 9D: Fifth-century emperor remembered as the epitome of cruelty (Attila) — clue was so long I assumed it was going to be someone less common.
- 11D: "The West Wing" actor who played Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) — I think we just established (a few puzzles ago) that he won an Emmy for this role.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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