Gyro inventor / THU 7-8-10 / Bygone pitching star Johnny / Tropical avians / Venice premiere 1853 / Employer of Clouseau
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Constructor: John Farmer
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: EVEN (49D: Like each answer in this puzzle — also each word in each clue — in length) — just what it says.
Word of the Day: Johnny SAIN (6D: Bygone pitching star Johnny) —
John Franklin Sain (September 25, 1917 – November 7, 2006) was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who was best known for teaming with left-hander Warren Spahn on the Boston Braves teams from 1946 to 1951. He was the runner-up for the National League's Most Valuable Player Award in the Braves' pennant-winning season of 1948, after leading the National League in wins, complete games and innings pitched. He later became further well-known as one of the top pitching coaches in the majors. (wikipedia)Technical achievement 1, solver's enjoyment 0. (Coincidentally, the score of yesterday's World Cup semifinal—tough luck, Germania). OK, maybe solver's enjoyment wasn't quite 0. Can I get a half point? Puzzle was not a total waste of time, but this theme-which-is-not-one left me shrugging. Knowing the theme does nothing for you. Zero. It's a curiosity. Nothing more. Take the grid on its own merits—It's a themeless. And yet it's too dull to be a proper Fri/Sat themeless. So it just sits here. 62 words (impressive), EVENness everywhere (impressiveish), but a big "so what?" in every other respect. In fact, the puzzle is essentially done once you get EVEN—there's just Nothing left to do but dutifully fill in the adequate grid. Hard to understand the appeal. If the grid were more sparkling, then maybe this exercise in counting by twos would be worth it. But it's not. So it's not.. . .
- There aren't any ... or, they're all theme answers. You decide.
- 16A: Bygone Chrysler (IMPERIAL) — my first tropical avians (ANIS) were AUKS, so I wanted this to be something having to do with the K-platform. KCARS ... something.
- 33A: "Who's Next?" singer/songwriter/satirist (LEHRER) — was sure this would have something to do with The Who, until I noticed the "satirist" part.
- 12D: Venice premiere of 1853 ("LA TRAVIATA") — Got this with just a couple crosses, and I know next to squat about opera. I did see Terence McNally's "Lisbon TRAVIATA" when I was in college, so the title must have stuck.
- 30D: Rudy Giuliani turf (BIG APPLE) — this is a good clue, with the slangy "turf" cuing the slangy answer. Not sure the "Rudy" is necessary, though maybe that's adding to the air of informality in the clue wording.
- 32D: Punk facial decoration (NOSE RING) — NOSE was easy, but for some reason I was thinking TATTOO (?). NOSETATS?
- 42D: Employer of Clouseau (SÛRETÉ) — detective branch of civil police force. I didn't know this, but I know enough French to know that SÛRETÉ is a word, so ... buttons.
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