She hid Zeus from Cronus / FRI 6-3-11 / Literally barley / Biblical 912-year-old / Misanthrope We are all born mad / Principal player Grease
Friday, June 3, 2011
Wallace Maynard Cox (December 6, 1924 – February 15, 1973) was an American comedian and actor, particularly associated with the early years of television in the United States. He appeared in the U.S. TV series Mr. Peepers (1952–55), plus several other popular shows, and as a character actor in over 20 films. Wally Cox was the voice of the popular animated cartoon character Underdog. Although often cast as a meek milquetoast, he was actually strong and athletic. He married three times and was a close friend of Marlon Brando. (wikipedia)
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I got demolished by this puzzle. In fact, I was borderline certain that I would not Ever get the NW corner, which was empty save SIRS (23A: Generic addressees) for something close to ever. I often tease puzzles for feeling "old," which is generational bias on my part, I realize, but holy moly this puzzle reeks of mothballs. Is there anything post-1965 in the whole thing? Jeez louise, check out this litany:
- WALLY COX
- AL OERTER (3D: Winner of gold in four consecutive Olympics, 1956-68)
- EVE ARDEN (37D: Principal player in "Grease") (I guess "Grease" is 1978 in this case, but EVE ARDEN's career has its center of gravity way, way earlier. She was 70 when "Grease" came out; "Grease 2," starring Michelle Pfeiffer, was her last movie (1982). In case it's not clear from the clue, EVE ARDEN played the school principal, not the principal (i.e. main) role.
- Peter O'TOOLE (who gets a "Ratatouille" clue, but come on...) (16A: Voicer of Ego in "Ratatouille")
- RICH (bleeping) LITTLE (!?) (51A: Great ape?)
- Nina SIMONE (I do love her) (47D: She had a 1959 hit with "I Loves You, Porgy")
- BATES MOTEL (I do love "Psycho") (24A: Chilly shower setting?)
Spent close to half my (long) solving time in the NW, as I say. The worst part was that I had EXERTED, and that "X" should have been Gold; but it gave me nothing. In the end, I guess I've vaguely heard of WALLY COX, but not such that I could plunk him down without significant help from crosses, which was Not forthcoming. Ironically, the only reason I was able (eventually) to make a dent in that corner At All was AL OERTER, someone I've never seen or heard of outside of crosswords. I learned his name because I had to (it's very vowely, and thus shows up from time to time). This allowed me to get OAT (??? come on!) milk. I must have put UTE in and taken UTE out a million times. A single UTE warrants an entire museum? Interesting. She must be quite impressive. (30A: Subject of a museum in eastern Colorado)
Stupidest thing I did was fail to get HUES (28D: They can be saturated). I looked at HU-S, and then actually ran the alphabet and still only came up with HUTS ("wow, that is lame," I rightly thought). This kept TERSE well hidden for a long time (33A: Without any embroidery). No hope on "ALOUETTE" (17A: Children's song that's based on an old work song melody). Had SWAPS OUT as an early guess (1D: Exchanges), but it yielded little until I got AL OERTER in there. Wanted PLEBS to be the much nicer-looking/sounding PEONS (19A: The unwashed). People juggle CLUBS? (4D: Set for juggling) BALLS, yes. Bowling pins, sure. CLUBS? OK ... looks like those things I thought were bowling pins were actually just CLUBS. Hmm. ACT was brutally clued (6D: More than talk). Figured GAB or YAK would be the answer. GOT was also nearly impossible without crosses (7D: Confounded). And despite knowing what PALLIATE means (2D: Ease), it took me Forever to get there.
Grid as a whole seems just fine, but this one was Way out of both my comfort and pleasure zone. Best part of the puzzle by far, for me, was the clue on BATES MOTEL (24A: Chilly shower setting?).
- 46A: Alternative to being tapped ("PSST!") — again, Saturday-tough. No idea why anyone thought this was a Friday.
- 55A: Literally, "barley" (ORZO) — got this easily, but have no idea why. Four letters, small and grain-like ...
- 14D: They might provide coverage for racecars (DECALS) — clever, but again, quite tough.
- 36D: Spinning device giving the illusion of motion (ZOETROPE) — I know this only as the name of Francis Ford Coppola's studio (American ZOETROPE, actually). Now owned entirely by Coppola's children, Roman and Sofia.
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