Fin de siècle writer Pierre * / SUN 8-15-10 / Mystery of Vep 1990s Off Broadway play / Blue pixie / Purveyor of nonstick cookware
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Constructor: Daniel C. Bryant
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Is There An Echo In Here?" — familiar phrases where last sound is repeated (usu. w/ respelling), creating wacky answers, clued "?"-style
Word of the Day: LOTI (5D: Fin de siècle writer Pierre ___) —
Pierre Loti (pseudonym of Julien Viaud), born 14 January 1850 in Rochefort, Charente-Maritime and died 10 June 1923 in Hendaye, was a French novelist and naval officer. //
Contemporary critic Edmund Gosse gave the following assessment of his work:
At his best Pierre Loti was unquestionably the finest descriptive writer of the day. In the delicate exactitude with which he reproduced the impression given to his own alert nerves by unfamiliar forms, colors, sounds and perfumes, he was without a rival. But he was not satisfied with this exterior charm; he desired to blend with it a moral sensibility of the extremest refinement, at once sensual and ethereal. Many of his best books are long sobs of remorseful memory, so personal, so intimate, that an English reader is amazed to find such depth of feeling compatible with the power of minutely and publicly recording what is felt. In spite of the beauty and melody and fragrance of Loti's books his mannerisms are apt to pall upon the reader, and his later books of pure description were rather empty. His greatest successes were gained in the species of confession, half-way between fact and fiction, which he essayed in his earlier books. When all his limitations, however, have been rehearsed, Pierre Loti remains, in the mechanism of style and cadence, one of the most original and most perfect French writers of the second half of the 19th century. (wikipedia)
One of my roommates was heard to remark: "... and the grid's not that ambitious. Just has 7 theme answers."
Further, SPINDLIER? Two ILENES? A NW corner that's a literary nightmare crossed with superxwordesey ODA and superweak partial ON IN? It was really hard to get into this one, because infelicities were abounding. There are more, but I don't really want to go on.
Lastly, we don't know what "The Man With the Hoe" is. We think it's a painting, maybe by Brueghel (well, we were half right—it's by Millet). We also don't know what MIMI and Rodolfo are from in that last theme answer. Turns out it's "La Bohème." OK. DICTS. STETS. OTE. ENTOM. TRY AS followed by OR ON. It just goes on and on. I feel bad, but beyond GAY PRIDE, I just couldn't find much to love about this one. I need to stop now. I have to get up earlyish and ENTRAIN so that I can get to Port Authority and get home.
As for Lollapuzzoola 3, the occasion of my being here in a hotel room in Queens, I'll try to give you a full write-up on Wednesday. This was easily the best tournament experience I've had to date. Almost 50% more attendees than last year. Mostly good puzzles. Just a fantastic time. Got to meet a lot of new people as well as hang out with old friends. Perhaps other people who were there will chime in with their experiences. At any rate, more on that later in the week.
- 23A: Underachiever's motto? ("MAY IT EVER BE SO-SO")
- 43A: Majorcan affirmation? (MEDITERRANEAN SI SI)
- 67A: Registering a poodle? (LICENSING FIFI)
- 92A: Guy holding a Hostess snack cake? (THE MAN WITH THE HO-HO)
- 113A: Words of caution from Rodolfo? ("DON'T TREAD ON MIMI")
- 16D: Reservation at a Johannesburg restaurant? (TABLE FOR TUTU)
- 60D: Landlord's ultimatum? (RENT OR BYE-BYE
- 1A: Writer of the short story "The Overcoat" (GOGOL) — familiar name, but not gettable from the clue, for me. This section, this tiny section, kind of brutalized me. LOTI!
- 6A: Sitcom with three stars ("M*A*S*H") — a great clue.
- 41A: "The Mystery of ___ Vep," 1990s Off Broadway play ("IRMA") — you're kidding, right? Right. Shouldn't "Off Broadway" be hyphenated?
- 56A: "The lowest form of humor," per Samuel Johnson (PUN) — I knew I liked that guy.
- 80A: Hulk Hogan or Andre the Giant, slangily (RASSLER) — has anyone ever called those guys that name?
- 95A: Canadian curling championship, with "the" (BRIER) — made as much sense to me as IRMA. Out of left field.
- 101A: Dom ___, "Inception" hero (COBB) — timely! Also, "hero?"
- 46D: Blue pixie (SMURF) — easy enough, but had No idea they were "pixies."
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