Composer of Microsoft Sound / THU 5-12-11 / He killed Chuck Norris in Return of Dragon / Brit's teapot cover / Slave who died in Temple of Vulcan
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Constructor: Patrick John Duggan
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: IDENTITY THEFT (37A: Crime of which 17-, 26-, 51- and 59-Across are victims?) — theme answers have ID, EN, TI, and TY removed from them (respectively), creating wacky phrases, which are clued wackily.
Word of the Day: ANA Ortiz (2D: "Ugly Betty" actress Ortiz) —
Ana Ortíz (born January 25, 1971) is an American actress and singer. She is a native of Manhattan, New York but was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was a regular cast-member on the ABC comedy-drama series Ugly Betty, in which she plays the title character's older sister, Hilda Suarez. The role earned her the ALMA Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2007. (wikipedia)
This one was frustrating, and not in a good way. I have a problem with the theme concept. So I figure out that "ID" is missing from CASUAL FR(ID)AY, which then allows me to understand what that IDE- was getting at at the beginning of the central Across: IDENTITY THEFT. "Aha," I thought, "ID, which stands for IDENTITY, has been "stolen" from familiar phrases ... cute." But then I got GLOCK- and kept plugging "ID" into different parts of the word to make it mean something, and it didn't. Then I realized it was GLOCK SPIEL, and that other letters besides "ID" were missing. Quickly realized those letters were the next two letters in "IDENTITY," and instead of thinking "wow, really clever," I thought, "well that makes no sense." Only one of these theme answers can, in any way, claim to the be victim of identity theft: the first one, the one missing "ID." The other ones are victims of ... something else. I get that the clue is trying to suggest that the answers *collectively* are victims, but that's not how it's worded. The fact that none of the theme answers were that funny or interesting didn't help matters. There's some good fill in here, like BRUCE LEE (4D: He killed Chuck Norris in "Return of the Dragon") and TEND BAR (30D: Conjure up spirits?), but the theme clunked for me.
- 17A: Sparring session? (CASUAL FRAY)
- 26A: Pitch for a pistol? (GLOCK SPIEL)
- 51A: Suffering from chicken pox? (SICK AND RED)
- 59A: Jail cells? (PENAL BOXES)
- 15A: Slave who dies in the Temple of Vulcan (AIDA) — slave in four letters = AIDA. No hesitation.
- 10A: Figurehead's place (SHIP) — I'm only barely familiar with this meaning of "figurehead." It's that bare-chested lady out on the prow, right?
- 62D: Sports org. that lasted only one season (XFL) — wasn't sure this clue needed the "org." to signal abbreviation since the "X" stands for nothing, and the league was only ever referred to as the XFL, never in any longer, unabbreviated form.
- 44D: Blue ball (TWO) — this made me laugh. And this is why. The reason the ball in this clue is blue is because it's a billiard ball.
- 54A: Late-night wars participant (LENO) — He took his time slot back. I mean, I don't think the guy is funny, but the fact that NBC gave him his time slot back hardly makes him a "war"-monger.
- 29A: Geraldo Rivera opened one in 1986 (VAULT) — clue should read "opened Al Capone's in 1986." Big, dumb TV event of my high school years (VAULT was empty, as I recall).
- 19A: Place name before and after "Oh" in a Thomas Moore title (ERIN) — never heard of this title, or of Thomas Moore, for that matter. Didn't he write "The Night Before Christmas?" Nope, that's Clement Clarke Moore. Nevermind.
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