Architect Louis / THU 5-5-11 / Only bird with nostrils on tip beak / Theme for Julio Iglesias / Nonrectangular part of skyline / Series grisly cases
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Constructor: Joel Fagliano
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: JR. — four long Down answers are all names that should end in "JR.," which appears to be omitted from each answer, but which is supplied by the "JR." formed by the black squares in the central portion of the grid
Word of the Day: Louis KAHN (24D: Architect Louis) —
Louis Isadore Kahn (born Itze-Leib Schmuilowsky) (February 20, 1901 or 1902 – March 17, 1974) was a world-renowned American architect of Estonian Jewish origin, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. After working in various capacities for several firms in Philadelphia, he founded his own atelier in 1935. While continuing his private practice, he served as a design critic and professor of architecture at Yale School of Architecture from 1947 to 1957. From 1957 until his death, he was a professor of architecture at the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. Influenced by ancient ruins, Kahn's style tends to the monumental and monolithic; his heavy buildings do not hide their weight, their materials, or the way they are assembled. Louis Kahn's works are considered as monumental beyond modernism. (wikipedia)
My only complaint is that this was a full minute easier than yesterday's puzzle, which is more a complaint about yesterday's (misplaced) puzzle than it is about this one. Again, as with yesterday's puzzle, we have a memorable, unusual grid, with a clever manipulation of the black squares into letters, adding a new visual dimension to the puzzle. I have to say I found the theme here pretty ingenious. On the one hand, theme-wise, it's just four guys' names. On the other hand the structure of the puzzle allows for a true "AHA" moment when the gimmick reveals itself. I got HARRY CONNICK early and thought "isn't he a JR.?" and then I got ROBERT ... DENIRO. Only after I fumbled a bit with the SE and realized that DENIRO was wrong did I ditch it and pick up DOWNEY. That answer, of course, led me to another "isn't he a JR.?" moment, followed by a "what the...?" and an "Oh ... wow, cool," once I finally noticed the "JR." spelled out in plain sight, right across the center of the grid.
- 4D: Baseball star (KEN GRIFFEY) — prettiest swing I've ever seen
- 5D: Jazz/pop singer (HARRY CONNICK)
- 20D: Actor (ROBERT DOWNEY)
- 29D: Singer/dancer/actor (SAMMY DAVIS)
- 1A: It's bisected by the Missouri R. (S. DAK.) — really? "R." is an abbrev. for "river?" I got it easily, but I've never seen that abbrev. before.
- 24A: Only bird with nostrils on the tip of its beak (KIWI) — My wife is a KIWI. The beakless kind.
- 58A: Figure in a 5-4 Supreme Court decision (SWING VOTE) — my favorite answer in the puzzle. Lovely.
- 45A: Series of grisly cases ("C.S.I.") — *TV* "series"...
- 3D: Theme for Julio Iglesias (AMOR) — at first I thought this meant he had a theme *song* ... in four letters? Uh ... "FAME"? ... "LADY?"
- 11D: T.A., someday? (PROF.) — I love that this has a "?" at the end? HA Ha. There's no real reason for it. No wordplay. No cleverness. Just ... sad economic / professional reality. Without the "?" off, the answer would be "Adjunct."
- 31D: City known as the Big Guava (TAMPA) — that is one stupid name. And a rightfully well-hidden one (never heard that name in my life).
- 59D: Actor Wheaton (WIL) — the "Star Trek" geekery of this puzzle is kind of adorable. Had no idea who ODO was, but know very well that WIL Wheaton played Ensign Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: TNG."
- 2D: Nonrectangular part of a skyline (DOME) — could've been lots of things, but not lots of things in four letters.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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