Soul's 1970s TV co-star / SAT 4-2-11 / Start of dogwatch / New York find 10/16/1869 / 1980s TV private eye / Pee-wee's Playhouse mail lady
Saturday, April 2, 2011
A rake, short for rakehell, is a historic term applied to a man who is habituated to immoral conduct, frequently a heartless womaniser. Often a rake was a man who wasted his (usually inherited) fortune on gambling, wine, women and song, incurring lavish debts in the process. The rake was also frequently a man who seduced a young woman and impregnated her before leaving, often to her social or financial ruin. // The Restoration rake was a carefree, witty, sexually irresistible aristocrat whose heyday was during the English Restoration period (1660–1688), at the court of Charles II. They were typified by the "Merry gang" of courtiers, who included as prominent members the Earl of Rochester, George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and the Earl of Dorset, who combined riotous living with intellectual pursuits and patronage of the arts. At this time the rake featured as a stock character in Restoration comedy. // After the reign of Charles II, and especially after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the cultural perception of the rake took a dive into squalor. The rake became the butt of moralistic tales in which his typical fate was debtor's prison, venereal disease, or, in the case of William Hogarth's A Rake's Progress, insanity in Bedlam.
No trouble at all in any of the corners. Little bit of mucking around in the SW when I put in ENGIRD (!) for ENCASE (42D: Surround). Proudest / most embarrassing moment (I can't decide)—knowing instantly that 19A: Soul's 1970s TV co-star was going for the brown-haired guy from "Starsky & Hutch." I knew that if I just got a cross or two, his name would come to me. And it did (GLASER). Also, in the same TV-of-my-youth vein, I nailed STEELE with hardly any effort at all (44D: 1980s TV private eye). And though I never played it, "Legend of ZELDA" feels like a gimme handed to me from my youth (or maybe young adulthood) as well (40A: "The Legend of ___").
VHS forced me to change NOONIONS to NOCHEESE (38D: Whopper request). TEENER came far too easily for being such a dated / weird word (45D: "American Bandstand" viewer). My crossword instincts / memory must be getting pretty well developed, because NITER came eerily easily too, despite my not really knowing what it is (48: Atacama Desert export). I had to look up Atacama very recently (what, two days ago?), so at least I knew what part of the world we were dealing with—not that that helped with NITER. Had to run the alphabet at DI-O to remember DIDO (23A: "Thank You" singer, 2001). DI-D'OH! Should've been easier, as she was a major pop star when I was in grad school.
First answer in the grid: "ADAM'S RIB" (7A: 1949 comedy about husband-and-wife lawyers on opposing sides of a murder case). As with Mr. Soul, I don't really know how I know this. I just do. I must have watched, or tried to watch, the movie at one point. My aunt lives in San RAFAEL, which didn't help until I had the "AE" part (lots of SANs in CA). Despite knowing about the "CHE" biopic of 1969 (from crosswords, naturally), I didn't pick up SHARIF until the "F" (11D: Guevara portrayer). It's just so weird what your brain will and won't do for you when you're in the middle of solving. The brain giveth, the brain taketh away, the brain getteth distracted by thoughts like "a TWO-SPEED bike? Really?" (39D: Like some Schwinns)
- 31A: Voice of Fredricksen in "Up" (ASNER) — big fat gimme. ASNER is super common in crosswords, and he's also the most famous voice actor in that movie.
- 49A: Wallis and Futuna (ILES) — whoa. This one was hard. Gibberish hard. Turns out they are (combined) a French territory in French Polynesia
- 55A: "Doubt" co-star, 2008 (STREEP) — knew it ended in "P" before I ever saw the clue, so no problem (never saw the movie, but seem to remember that STREEP plays a nun, along with the Lovely Amy Adams)
- 9D: Sharing common alleles (AKIN) — "alleles" is yet another word I learned from crosswords. Pretty shmancy way of getting to AKIN.
- 56D: "Pee-wee's Playhouse" mail lady (REBA) — what a great REBA clue. Wish I'd seen it. Got REBA entirely from crosses before I ever had a chance to see the clue; figured it must be about the country / sitcom star.
- 54D: Destructive 1966 hurricane (INEZ) — "Destructive" is weird. Redundant, I'd think. I mean, if it's a hurricane we might be expected to remember, then I'm guessing it was probably pretty "destructive."
- 1A: Start of a dogwatch (FOUR PM) — is this related to "bells," i.e. metaphors for telling time in the Navy? Turns out, yes, sort of. "Dogwatch" = work shift, half the length of a regular watch (2 as opp. to 4 hours). Interesting info about etymology (related to Sirius? evolved from "dodging the watch?") here.
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