German/Polish border river / MON 3-22-10 / TV show with many doors / Dashing actor Flynn / Richard's partner in Carpenters
Monday, March 22, 2010
Constructor: Andrea Carla Michaels
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: LADE (35D: Stow, as cargo ... or an anagram of the last word of 17-, 35- or 52-Across)
Word of the Day: REX Reed (14A: Film critic Reed) —
Rex Taylor Reed (born October 2, 1938) is an American film critic and former co-host of the syndicated television show At the Movies. He currently writes the column "On the Town with Rex Reed" for The New York Observer.
Well, this was easy, and though it pains me to say it, very unsatisfying. The theme is just D.O.A. LADE? That's your hook? Your pivot answer? A four-letter word with zero charisma that constructors use only when they have to? And there are anagrams ... why? I just don't get it. Further, the theme answers aren't very interesting. And with only three theme answers, and 78 words (the max) to work with, the non-theme fill should have been much, much, much better than it was. DIASPORA (11D: Scattering of an ethnic group) is about the only interesting thing in the grid. Otherwise, all the typical partials and abbreviations and tired names that you hope not to have to see much of in an early-week puzzle. IRMA (24D: "___ la Douce") *and* ELSA (30D: "Born Free" lioness)? Well, I guess it could have been worse. Could have been ERMA and ILSA. No joy in Rexville today.
- 17A: All around, as on a trip (OVER HILL AND DALE) — I read "all around" as "all-around," though I'm not sure it would have helped to have read it properly. This is a phrase I've only ever heard in one context: that "Caissons Go Rolling Along" song. I know "ALL OVER HELL AND GONE." And I know "CHIP AND DALE." And yet, time-wise, not blowing right through this one hardly seems to have mattered. Still came in under 3.
- 35A: TV show with many doors ("LET'S MAKE A DEAL")
- 52A: Move into first place in a race (TAKE OVER THE LEAD)
- 30A: Dashing actor Flynn (ERROL) — only just noticed that his name is the (last) name of another famous, crosswordesey actor, spelled backwards: Peter LORRE. Also, if you add an "S," it's an anagram of SORREL (33A: Horse color).
- 51A: Richard's partner in the Carpenters (KAREN) — her voice is truly beautiful. I could listen to her all day long. Also, many Carpenters hits were simply good songs. One of my favorite albums of the '90s was an anthology called "If I Were a Carpenter," with Carpenters songs covered by modern rock groups. There were a couple of duds on there, but most of it was hauntingly fantastic.
- 31D: Title before Rabbit or Fox (BRER) — Remember when Roger Rabbit and Samantha Fox teamed up to do that dance video? Or did I dream that? Or am I thinking of "Opposites Attract?"
- 34D: German/Polish border river (ODER) — ah, four-letter European rivers. Who doesn't like those?
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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