Soap opera creator Phillips / SUN 3-27-11 / Bally enthusiasts / make.believe sloganeer / Pixar robot female voice / Citrusy cocktail mixer
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Constructor: Kevin G. Der
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: "Get Ready to Roll" — A bowling rebus puzzle, with PIN and BALL squares and circles that spell out the word GUTTER along both sides of the grid... plus three theme-related answers:
- UP ONE'S ALLEY (101D: Suited to a person's strengths)
- SPLIT DECISION (49D: 5-4 ruling, e.g.)
- SPARE MOMENTS (9D: Bit of free time)
Word of the Day: IRNA Phillips (30D: Soap opera creator Phillips) —
Irna Phillips (July 1, 1901 – December 22, 1973) was an American actress and most notably writer who created and scripted many of the first American soap operas. (wikipedia)
Getting a late start on this one, as I was over at friends' for most of the night, so write-up will have to be shorter than I'd normally like. I was a big fan of Kevin Der's last Sunday architectural marvel: the Chinese Zodiac puzzle. This one ... I'm less thrilled by, first because the exact thing being represented in the grid isn't entirely clear (and there's no key phrase uniting at all), and second because of the loopy fill that I had to wade through in order to finish. I know you have to make allowances for cruddy / strange / forced fill in a grid with so many architectural demands, but ... well, I picked up the theme at T-[BALL] GLOVE and immediately thought, "that's a thing? They have special gloves designed for T-BALL? Isn't the act of catching the ball exactly the same as in baseball?" [FYI they appear to be simply smallish baseball gloves] I then went on to fight off CREAMWARE and LIMECORDIAL (83A: Citrusy cocktail mixer) and NEOGENE (!) (53A: Period of the Cenozoic Era) and a ton of odd abbrevs. and IRNA and CA[BALL]ED and ALEMAN. Lack of a tight theme / clear visual made the awkward stuff more distracting than it ought to have been. I expect I'll be in the minority today. So be it. I was dutifully impressed by the construction, and I did have a genuine little AHA moment when the first "BALL" made me notice that the "U" and "T" in the circles were part of "GUTTER," but in the end this strikes (!) me more as an interesting oddity or curiosity than a brilliantly executed puzzle.
- 19A: Century in Amer. politics (U.S. SENATE) — "Century? Oh, *that* century ... ugh."
- 24A: Bally enthusiasts (PINBALLERS) — the marquee answer, in some ways. Two rebus squares + enigmatic clue (which Bally? The bra people? The fitness people? ...)
- 94A: Drink with tempura, maybe (ASAHI) — SAKE! Oh. No. OK.
- 144A: Pixar robot with a female voice (EVE) — I think this is from "Wall-E." Never saw it.
- 115A: "make.believe" sloganeer (SONY) — again, not on my radar, but easy to pick up.
- 77A: Red-haired film princess (FIONA) — from "Shrek." You get the feeling Mr. Der likes his animated movies ... (see also ASNER, 8D: Ed heard in "Up")
- 35D: Ambulance, slangily (MEAT WAGON) — nice answer, though surprisingly gruesome for a Sunday NYT...
- 993D: Highlands daggers (DIRKS) — considered SNEES. Reconsidered.
- 120D: Engage in a 1920s fad (POLESIT) — I liked this answer, and the entire bottom portion of the grid, actually.
- 134D: W. or Bam (PREZ) — I confess I have no idea what "Bam" means here ... huh. Obama. I have literally Never seen / heard him called that, though I can find all kinds of examples when I google. It's a stupid nickname, if only because (I presume) it's pronounced differently than the "bam" part of Obama's name. Like the sound effect "Bam!" Not at all equivalent to "W.," which is a widely known nickname, the title of a movie about Bush, etc.
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