2011 title role Chris Hemsworth / SAT 4-23-11 / President after Ten-Cent Jimmy / Cultural org with HQ Beverly Hills / Sulker's expression
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Howard Phillips "H. P." Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction. // Lovecraft's guiding literary principle was what he termed "cosmicism" or "cosmic horror", the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. As early as the 1940s, Lovecraft's work had developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a series of loosely interconnected fiction featuring a pantheon of humanity-nullifying entities, as well as the Necronomicon, a fictional grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore. His works were deeply pessimistic and cynical, challenging the values of the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Humanism and Christianity. Lovecraft's protagonists usually achieve the antithesis of traditional gnosis and mysticism by momentarily glimpsing the horror of ultimate reality and the abyss. // Although Lovecraft's readership was limited during his life, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century. According to Joyce Carol Oates, Lovecraft — as with Edgar Allan Poe in the 19th century — has exerted "an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction". Stephen King called Lovecraft "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale." King has even made it clear in his semi-autobiographical non-fiction book Danse Macabre that Lovecraft was responsible for his own fascination with horror and the macabre, and was the single largest figure to influence his fiction writing. (wikipedia)
My comment to a procrastinator (let's say, myself) would never be as encouraging as "IT'S NEVER TOO LATE" (55A: Comment to a procrastinator). It would be something more like "Hey *#&$#$, get off your ass!" But that's just me. Loved STOCKING STUFFER (which I got from -FFER) (58A: Little something in Santa's bag) and "DON'T MOVE A MUSCLE" (which I got from "DON'T M-") (17A: "Freeze!"). Lucked into a few answers. My aunt lives in MARIN County (53A: It's south of Sonoma). I have spent lots of time in comic books stores and around comic book people, many of whom know not just their Marvel superheroes (THOR!) (20A: 2011 title role for Chris Hemsworth) but their weird fiction as well (LOVECRAFT!) (31D: "The Call of Cthulhu" writer). I've got a book by Leigh Brackett called "something something Alpha Centauri," and I know a little Latin, so I pieced together PROXIMA CENTAURI that way (14A: Second-closest start to Earth). I watch a little football, so GIBBS was no problem (he owns a racing team now) (29D: Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Joe). I know and love ENSOR, whose work I once saw at the Getty in L.A. (46D: Expressionist James) The only answer in the puzzle that I had never seen before (besides AMPAS, which I'd probably seen before, somewhere), was ONE-SUITER, and I inferred that from just the ONE-S-, so, as I say, definitely breezy. And enjoyable.
Some of the clues were very clever, without being overly cute or terribly tricky. Had to think a few beats at 49A: A shark may carry one (CUE), and many more beats at 52A: Cubbie, e.g. (NL'ER), which was in that damned AMPAS section. 22D: Inclined to strike out (TESTY) could've gone any number of directions. First thoughts were that the clue was related to baseball or exploring. Wanted III for 33D: What may come after an heir? (-ESS). I don't think of ANVILs as particularly "rural," though I do think of them as pre-modern, so ... from a time when most of the world was "rural," so OK. Interesting clue (48D: Rural block).
Can't believe I only just now noticed the clue on STU (9D: Afro-sporting character on "The Simpsons"). A clue custom-made for me and I don't even see it.
- 22A: Difficulty increaser in diving (TWIST) — I was thinking deep-sea, not Olympic, so ... SHARK?
- 41A: Team that has won the World Series three times while based in three different cities (BRAVES) — Boston (1914), Milwaukee (1957), Atlanta (1995)
- 12D: 1950s sweater material (ORLON) — Congress having outlawed the use of ORLON in sweaters on ENERO 1, 1960
- 25D: Terra ___ (pulverized gypsum) (ALBA) — this was word of the day earlier this month, I think. Not that I remembered.
- 26D: Sch. that awarded the first civil engineering degree in the U.S. (RPI) — Do you need to abbreviate "school" in this clue if you've already got "U.S." in it, or is "U.S." simply too common an abbrev. to be a real abbrev.-tipper?
- 40D: Olympic even since '88 (SUPER G) — Kenny G, Ali G ... (this is what it looks like when brainstorming for a potential puzzle theme goes nowhere — I mean, maybe if you had one more ___ G, you could then make wacky phrases by merging them with phrases that start with "G", i.e. KENNY G FORCE, SUPER G RATED, ALI G-SUIT, etc... still, I'm not convinced that theme's going anywhere. See what you can do).
- 44D: View espoused in Thomas Paine's "The Age of Reason" (DEISM) — God as watchmaker. Lots of meditation on this idea in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's Watchmen (I told you I spent a lot of time around comics).
- 53D: Sulker's expression (MOUE) — a truly dumb word. I can barely look at it. It's like a mouse that lost its ESS.
- 57D: N.H.L. Senators, on scoreboards (OTT.) — any new clue for OTT is good.
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