Bean on screen / TUE 9-14-10 / It's driven over ice between periods / Christine's lover in Phantom of Opera
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Constructor: Eshan Mitra
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: BREAKABLES (59A: Fragile articles or a hint to the things named by the circled letters) — words formed by circled letters are things you can break, and those words are visually "broken," with first part occurring at beginning of theme answer and second part at the end
Word of the Day: ORSON Bean (21A: Bean on the screen) —
Orson Bean (born July 22, 1928) is an American film, television, and stage actor. He appeared frequently on televised game shows in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, including being a long-time panelist on the television game show To Tell the Truth. [...] He was a regular on both Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and its spin-off, Fernwood 2Nite, and also played the shrewd businessman and storekeeper Loren Bray on the television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman throughout its six-year run on CBS in the 1990s. He played John Goodman's homophobic father on the sitcom Normal, Ohio. He played the main characters Bilbo and Frodo Baggins in the 1977 and 1980 Rankin/Bass animated adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, and The Return of the King. He also played Dr. Lester in Spike Jonze's 1999 film, Being John Malkovich. [...] Bean was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studios in the 1950s for attending two Communist Party meetings, but made numerous appearances on television and in the theater. A conservative Christian, he came out in support of the Proposition 8 ballot initiative in California. He is father-in-law to Andrew Breitbart and describes his own children, who are all married, as "little communists". He was once a proponent of Orgone therapy and published a book about it titled, Me and the Orgone.
Second day in a row of puzzles without very strong concepts. Difference today is that the theme feels much looser and weaker, and the grid, overall, isn't as snazzy. Didn't like the revealer on this one: BREAKABLES. Problem for me is that Lots of things can break. Lots and lots and lots. Why these? Three literal, one figurative. With exception of MIRROR, all very short words that could have been broken across lots and lots of possible theme answers. The concept just doesn't feel very tight, and the theme answers don't pop. Grid seems smooth and solid enough, and I love ZAMBONI (39D: It's driven over the ice between periods) and CHUTZPAH (4D: Cheekiness), but the rest of it was just OK for me.
- 17A: In consecutive order (SEQUENTIAL)
- 25A: Just barely legit (BORDERLINE)
- 36A: What a slow person may need (HEAD START)
- 50A: Slip-up (MINOR ERROR) — the "MINOR" part of this was not at all obvious to me from the clue.
Madonna - Borderline
- 54A: Sound accompanying a cloud of smoke (POOF) — this seems more like comic book sound effect than actual sound. Is the context a magic show?
- 22D: It's smelled when something's fishy (RAT) — love the animal switch in this one.
- 26D: ___ by chocolate (calorie-heavy dessert) (DEATH) — I knew this, but I don't know if I've ever actually seen it on a menu ... oh, I must have. But I couldn't describe to you what it actually consists of. Chocolate something, I'd imagine.
- 38D: Team that has a tankful of rays in the back of its ballpark (TAMPA BAY) — I don't like the city name as the "team." The team is the RAYS. TAMPA BAY is the home of many teams. The Rays will be in the playoffs this year, almost certainly. They're currently locked in a pretty close race for the A.L. East with the Yankees. Looks like the Rays beat them in extra innings today. That puts the Rays a half game up.
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