Self-assembly retail chain / WED 4-28-10 / Foot to zoologist / Holders of some pipe joints / Cardholder's woe
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Constructor: Andrea Carla Michaels and Peter L. Stein
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: SPOUT (66A: Teapot part ... or a two-word hint to 16-, 25-, 43- and 59-Across) — "SP" is taken "OUT" of familiar phrases, leaving wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style
Word of the Day: KATO (28D: Green Hornet's sidekick) —
Kato is a fictional character from The Green Hornet series. This character has also appeared with the Green Hornet in film, television, book and comic book versions. Kato was the Hornet's assistant and has been played by a number of actors. On radio, Kato was initially played by Raymond Hayashi, then Roland Parker who had the role for most of the run, and in the later years Mickey Tolan. Keye Luke took the role in the movie serials, and in the television series he was portrayed by Bruce Lee. // Kato was Britt Reid's valet, who doubled as The Green Hornet's unnamed, masked driver and sidekick to help him in his vigilante adventures, disguised as the activities of a racketeer and his chauffeur/bodyguard/enforcer. According to the storyline, years before the events depicted in the series, Britt Reid had saved Kato's life while travelling in the Far East. Depending on the version of the story, this prompted Kato to become Reid's assistant or friend. [...] On June 4, 2008 Sony Pictures announced plans that they are going ahead with plans for a feature film of the superhero. Set to be released on December 17, 2010, the film is to star Seth Rogen, who will take on writing duties along with Superbad co-writer Evan Goldberg. Stephen Chow had originally signed on to play Kato, but then dropped out. Taiwanese actor Jay Chou replaced Chow as Kato for the film. (wikipedia)
A type of theme we've seen many times before and will undoubtedly see again. Even as we speak, aspiring constructors are scrawling down all the -OUT (and -IN) words they can think of. TROUT, FLOUT, STOUT, GRIN, CHIN, TRAIN, etc. I feel like Andrea Michaels herself did the SPIN version of this theme not too long ago ... and I am correct. I liked the puzzle OK, but only RING CHICKEN seemed sufficiently funny for this kind of theme. IN THE BOTTLE, on the other hand, does absolutely nothing. Just lies there. Not surprisingly, that section (the west) took the longest for me to uncover. I was looking for something more lively in the theme answer — and then MASSLESS just wouldn't come (40A: Like a photon), and I didn't (and still don't) think MOST could be a "kind" of anything (33D: Kind of votes a candidate wants). I can't think of any situation where "MOST" would be the answer to a "what kind of ...?" question. ELON (36A: North Carolina's ___ University) and ELAN (32D: Zip) just need ELIN (Woods) to show up, and they could have a nice little party. Hey, ELIN — there's the basis for your next puzzle theme right there!
- 16A: Attila, for one? (ACE INVADER) — I guess this means he's good at invading?
- 25A: Cowardly boxer? (RING CHICKEN)
- 43A: Where to find a genie? (IN THE BOTTLE)
- 59A: Holders of some pipe joints? (ELL BINDERS) — no idea why this answer wasn't ELL-BINDING, a play on the more common, all-purpose word "spell-binding," and one that gets rid of the pointless plural
Here various kinds, by various fortunes led,
Commence acquaintance underneath a shed.
Triumphant Tories and desponding Whigs
Forget their feuds, and join to save their wigs. (39-42)
So in my mind, at least for yesterday, WHIGs were a purely London phenomenon. I was actually considering whether I knew anyone named Tyler WHIG.
- 1A: Appetite arouser (AROMA) — Looking for an AMUSE-BOUCHE or the like. I never get AROMA when clued this way, or as a "lure" of some kind.
- 37A: Jefferson's religious belief (DEISM) — Why some contemporary Christians believe he was one of them, I just don't know. He took a razor to his bible to extract the "supernatural" stuff (you know, the Resurrection and all that).
- 47A: Polite reply that may be accompanied by eye-rolling (YES, DEAR) — Yeah, your wife *is* a bitch. (i.e. I do not like this clue)
- 4D: Like towelettes, typically (MOIST) — there's a word I'd be happy never to see again. [Shudder]
- 28D: Green Hornet's sidekick (KATO) — With the movie coming out later this year, Dynamite Comics has launched a *ridiculous* number of "Green Hornet" titles. Five of them, I think. I am reading only Matt Wagner's "Green Hornet: Year One." Wait, maybe I'm reading the Kevin Smith-penned series as well. It's a little alarming that I don't even know what's being pulled for me at the comic book store each week any more.
- 37D: Cardholder's woe (DEBT) — was thinking of a different kind of card (playing).
- 42D: Foot, to a zoologist (PES) — yay, Latin.
- 45D: First pope with the title "The Great" (LEO I) — boo, random pope who's here only 'cause he's 75% vowels.
- 54A: Self-assembly retail chain (IKEA) — "Self-assembly" sounds weird — like a robot that somehow builds itself.
- 60D: "If I Ruled the World" rapper (NAS) — Here you go:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]