Heroine in Bizet's Pearl Fishers / WED 11-10-10 / L' d'amore Donizetti opera / Fountain of Youth site it's said / Manassas fighters / Jezebel's god
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: First two initials the same — eight theme answers are people whose official names start with two identical initials
Word of the Day: W.W. JACOBS (46A: "The Monkey's Paw" author) —
William Wymark Jacobs (8 September 1863 – 1 September 1943), was an English author of short stories and novels. // Jacobs is now best remembered for his macabre tales "The Monkey's Paw" (published 1902 in the collection of short stories The Lady of the Barge) and "The Toll House" (published 1909 in the collection of short stories Sailors' Knots). However, the majority of his output was humorous in tone. His favourite subjects were marine life: "men who go down to the sea in ships of moderate tonnage" said Punch, reviewing his first collection of stories, Many Cargoes, which achieved great popular success on its publication in 1896. (wikipedia)
Cute idea, but for several reasons, I didn't care for this one. First, W.W. JACOBS just isn't anywhere close to as big a name as the other folks. Most people will have heard of "The Monkey's Paw," but I doubt most people could tell you who wrote it. I sure couldn't. I'm far more familiar with publisher W.W. NORTON than I am with this JACOBS guy, who feels forced in here to make the theme denser / to achieve symmetry. The thing that irked me most about the puzzle, though, was that SW corner. It's a Disaster, mostly because of the abomination that is ELISIR (!?!?) (45D: "L'___ d'Amore" (Donizetti opera)), which I'm guessing is Italian for "elixir." Six letters is Long for an unusual foreign word from a not terribly famous opera title. That answer wouldn't have been as galling if it hadn't crossed Another Opera Clue. Heroine in Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers" (LEILA), are you kidding me? I completely guessed the "L" at that crossing, because it was the only letter than made any sense, but that is not a great way to end a puzzle: with a shrug and an "I guess" rather than an "aha" or the like. Wasn't too crazy about BIMINI (44D: Fountain of Youth site, it's said) down there to begin with, and then the Italian opera mess sealed the deal. Long odd plurals ESCROWS (25D: Third-party accounts) and (esp.) RICOTTAS (36D: Ravioli fillings) didn't do much for me either.
- 17A: "anyone lived in a pretty how town" poet (E.E. CUMMINGS)
- 21A: Author better known as Saki (H.H. MUNRO)
- 27A: "Star Trek" director, 2009 (J.J. ABRAMS)
- 30A: "The Thrill is Gone" bluesman (B.B. KING)
- 42A: Big name in mail order (L.L. BEAN)
- 46A: "The Monkey's Paw" author (W.W. JACOBS)
- 50A: Creator of Eeyore (A.A. MILNE)
- 57A: 2007 A.L. Cy Young winner (C.C. SABATHIA) — always want his name to have a double-B in it...
- 14A: "Thirteen" actress ___ Rachel Wood (EVAN) — no idea what "Thirteen" is or who this actress is, but the name was familiar enough that I got it instantly.
- 9D: Brit's "Baloney!" ("TOSH!") — If I'm cluing this, I'm going with Peter. (If I were younger and liked unfunny things, I might go with "TOSH.0")
- 11D: Subtitle of 1978's "Damien" (OMEN II) — "OMEN" part was easy, and then ... well I figured they didn't make IV of them (did they?)
- 12D: Former Cavalier James (LEBRON) — not a fan.
- 24D: Hurdles for M.B.A. hopefuls (GMATS) — never met anyone who took these (to my knowledge).
- 27D: "Selena" star, familiarly (J-LO) / 28D: Aniston, in tabloids (JEN) — nice 1-2 tabloid punch.
- 30D: "Incidentally," to texters (BTW) — "By the way..."
- 40D: Jezebel's god (BA'AL) — there's an apostrophe in there right. Somehow seems more unGodly that way...
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