Late Soviet diplomat Dobrynin / THU 12-9-10 / Kantian concern / Hillbillies put-down / Literally way of gods / 1975 Southern rock hit
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Constructors: Byron Walden & Caleb Madison
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: Where there's SMOKE there's FIRE — 58D: Word that can combine with the starts of the answers to the six starred clues (SMOKE) / 71A: Word that can combine with the ends of the answers to the six starred clues (FIRE)
Word of the Day: MERLE Oberon (43D: Oberon of "Wuthering Heights") —
Merle Oberon (18 or 19 February 1911– 23 November 1979) was an Indian-born British actress. // She began her film career in British films, and a prominent role, as Anne Boleyn in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), brought her attention. Leading roles in such films as The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) advanced her career, and she travelled to the United States to make films for Samuel Goldwyn. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Dark Angel (1935). A traffic collision in 1937 caused facial injuries that could have ended her career, but she soon followed this with her most renowned role, as "Cathy" in Wuthering Heights (1939). Her career continued until the end of the 1940s when it declined and her acting performances over the following years were relatively few. (wikipedia)
The grid is highly inventive. SPIRIT OF / TROY!? That is one crazy and imaginative cross-reference (44D: With 19-Across, U.S.C.'s marching band). MORAL DUTY was another, tougher creative answer. Impressive that six theme answers (four of them intersecting other theme answers) all work with this theme, although I have to say I don't get FIRE BOAT (is that like a FIRE TRUCK, but ... in BOAT form?) or WHITE SMOKE (is that a particular kind of smoke? I didn't know SMOKE came in flavors). Favorite answers of the day were COMB-OVERS (6D: Dos that are don'ts) and "FREE BIRD"! In the end, only ANATOLY lay completely beyond my ken. The rest I knew or at least have seen before. Playful and, for me, relatively easy. Good work.
- 11D: *Porch feature (SCREEN DOOR)
- 22A: *Dramatically expose (BLOW OPEN)
- 24A: *Home near a shore (HOUSE BOAT)
- 34D: *Hillbillies' put-down (WHITE TRASH)
- 54A: *Massachusetts college (HOLY CROSS)
- 59A: *1975 Southern rock hit stereotypically requested at concerts ("FREE BIRD")
- 44A: 1998 Roberto Clemente Award winner (SOSA) — had -OSA. Wrote in ROSA. As in Parks. Yes, I'm serious.
- 47A: Classification for some popular Spanish music (ORO) — Spanish-speaking countries classify their records by precious metals too? What's Spanish for "platinum?" (the internet tells me it's "platino")
- 65A: Tropical vegetable also known as elephant's-ear (TARO) — interesting trivia clue, which I never saw ... or never saw past "Tropical vegetable..."; whatever crosses I had in place made the answer easy to get from that part of the clue alone.
- 3D: Words to a kidder ("OH, YOU") — love this cute colloquialism. Also love the clue on the more common "HI, MOM" (61A: Words mouthed to a camera).
- 8D: Youngest Hall-of-Famer (at age 22) to hit 100 home runs (MEL OTT) — love when crosswordese folks get their full names into the grid. Also, this stat is amazing. To hit that many home runs, that young, in that era ... incredible. The dude was only 5'9" 170lbs.
- 30D: Italian poet who was the subject of a Goethe play and a Donizetti opera (TASSO) — wrote in TAZZO, conflating the poet and the Italian word for cup ("tazza").
- 50D: Literally, "way of the gods" (SHINTO) — this took some thinking, and if I hadn't come up with SHINTO (off the SHI-), I'd have been SHInTo-out-of-luck in the south (which, again, was tough as hell).
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