Old Connecticut whaling town / WED 5-5-10 / 1930s-50s bandleader / Ancient city lent its name to fig / London Magazine essayist
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Myron of (Greek Μύρων) working circa 480-440 BC, was an Athenian sculptor from the mid-fifth century BC. He was born in Eleutherae on the borders of Boeotia and Attica. According to Pliny's Natural History, Ageladas of Argos was his teacher. [...] He worked almost exclusively in bronze: and though he made some statues of gods and heroes, his fame rested principally upon his representations of athletes, in which he made a revolution, according to commentators in Antiquity, by introducing greater boldness of pose and a more perfect rhythm, subordinating the parts to the whole. Pliny's remark that Myron's works were numerosior than those of Polycleitus and "more diligent" seem to suggest that they were considered more harmonious in proportions (numeri) and at the same time more convincing in their realism: diligentia connoted "attentive care to fine points", a quality that, in moderation, was characteristic of the best works of art, according to critics in Antiquity. // His most famous works according to Pliny's Natural History (34.57-59) were a heifer, a dog (canem, Cerberus?), a Perseus, a satyr— Marsyas— admiring the flute and Minerva (Athena), a Hercules, which was taken to the shrine dedicated by Pompey the Great at the Circus Maximus, Discobolus (the discus thrower), and an Apollo for Ephesus, "which Antony the triumvir took from the Ephesians, but the deified Augustus restored it again after being warned in a dream". The Early Imperial Roman writers consistently rated Myron among the greatest of Greek sculptors, a sign that his contemporaneous reputation had remained high. (wikipedia)
Did not get the chance to do this puzzle before having to judge it at the Crosswords L.A. tournament this past weekend, so I don't know exactly how difficult it would have been for me, but given that I was slightly-to-not-at-all familiar with SIX (6) of the "MY" answers, I'm going to say I would have found it challenging. In fact, there was a brief period where I *could* have solved it before the process of judging began, but when I found myself with [1930s-'50s bandleader] crossing [Old Connecticut whaling town] right off the bat, I just quit. No patience, other things to do. I wouldn't have known that cross in a NON-rebus puzzle (though I assume I would have figured it out eventually).
Not surprisingly, the places where people messed up the most on this one involved the rebus squares — mainly not having them where they should, although occasionally having them where they shouldn't (!?). Oddly, the biggest wreck site was at MY OH MY (36A: "Golly!"), as many solvers forgot one or both of the "MY"s. Got a few [MY] O MYs, and some other variations I can't recall. The (unknown by me) [1966 Mary Martin musical] ("I DO I DO") also threw people — as if that corner wasn't bad enough, with the bandleader and the whaling town. Much misspelling of SABIN, mainly in the "I" square (1D: Oral vaccine developer). I seem to recall some disastrous variations on OMEN II as well (62A: Subtitle of 1978's "Damien"). Despite some nice moments, the puzzle feels very rough to me — no sense of purpose (just a bunch of "MY"s), a lot of ugly abbrevs., two cross-referenced rebus-involved answers of only marginal fame (SAM[MY] / KAYE, TOM[MY] MOE) (50D: With 6-Down, 1994 Olympic gold medalist in downhill skiing). A clue for USES I still don't understand (46A: Makes a cat's paw of) — that "U" would have been a total guess, as I didn't know RAU (38D: Former German president Johannes). I do not think I would have enjoyed solving this, OLD SMOKEY THEATRICS notwithstanding (34D: Snowy peak of song / 11D: Courtroom antics, e.g.).
Remaining theme answers:
- 17A: Japan, to the U.S., once (BITTER ENE[MY]) — do not like. The "BITTER" seems unnecessary / tacked on / cliché. What other kind of ENEMY is there?
- 9D: One with yellow ribbons, maybe (AR[MY] MOM)
- 5D: Science of farmers (AGRONO[MY])
- 29A: ___ Martin (cognac brand) (RE[MY])
- 31D: Actor Mike ([MY]ERS)
- 32D: That you should feed a cold and starve a fever, and others ([MY]THS)
- 28D: Ancient city that lent its name to a fig (S[MY]RNA)
- 48A: "Baby Baby" singer, 1991 (A[MY] GRANT) — this one is waaaay more familiar to me than it should be. She had her period of biggest pop fame *just* as I was graduating college.
- 64A: 1976 Eric Carmen hit ("ALL BY [MY]SELF") — this answer caused at least one of the judges ... possibly me, definitely Tyler ... to break into song at various points during the judging.
- 49D: Popular social networking site, and this puzzle's theme ([MY]SPACE)
- 25A: Views that reality is a unitary whole (MONISMS) — a word only its mother could love. Pluralized. I wish EDOMONISMS or AGRONONISMS were words. I'm imagining they are, just to liven up that section.
- 42A: Brickyard 400 entrant (RACER) — true enough, though very general for such a specific clue. The Brickyard 400 is a NASCAR event held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
- 51A: Sushi-rolling accessories (MATS) — I like this clue! Fresh-feeling.
- 58A: Carbon 14 and uranium 235 (ISOTOPES) — also — and I feel you will need to know this some day — the name of Springfield's minor league baseball team on "The Simpsons" ("Springfield Isotopes" was among ESPN's most popular names for fantasy baseball teams).
- 63A: Shark on some menus (MAKO) — best wrong answer at the tournament: SOUP.
- 67A: Homeric sorceress (CIRCE) — made piggies out of O's men.
- 18D: Esau's descendants' land (EDOM) — very handy word to have in your arsenal. I never knew it before constant solving took over my life.
- 33D: Explorer John and actress Charlotte (RAES) — they liked to hang out together on the set of "Facts of Life." Remember the episode where John RAE had to explain to Tootie how the Franklin Expedition was forced to resort to cannibalism in order to survive? Must-see TV.
- 57D: Thomas Hardy's "___ Little Ironies" ("LIFE'S") — I am a Hardy fan. Never heard of this.
- 60D: London Magazine essayist (ELIA) — I am not an ELIA fan, but he's Crosswordese 101 — pen name of Charles Lamb — so no trouble.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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