Theologian Johann / THU 8-4-11 / Kitty 1940 movie romance / Musical with song Be Italian / Beyond Peace author's monogram
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Constructor: David J. Kahn
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: WENT / BAR-HOPPING (50A: Painted the town red, in a way ... or successfully completed this puzzle?) — 5 theme answers "hop" across "bars" (i.e. banks of black squares) [WHOOPS: I missed the part where the words that "hop" the "bar" can precede "bar" in a common phrase, e.g. SINGLES [bar], CANDY [bar] ... I'm now far more impressed with the puzzle than I was when I did the write-up; I just wonder how many solvers are going to miss that aspect of the theme ... thanks to joon for pointing out my blind spot]
Word of the Day: GALT MacDermot (37A: "Hair" composer MacDermot) —
Galt MacDermot (born December 18, 1928) is a Canadian composer, pianist and writer of musical theatre. He won a Grammy Award for the song African Waltz in 1960. His most successful musicals have been Hair (1967; its cast album also won a Grammy) and Two Gentlemen of Verona (1971). MacDermot has also written music for film soundtracks, jazz and funk albums, and classical music, and his music has been sampled in hit hip-hop songs and albums. (wikipedia)
This was a bit anti-climactic, considering we'd seen a similar bar-hopping type theme just this past Sunday. BAR-HOPPING would have been a great revealer, but the WENT part feels weird; also, that answer violates the general principle of the theme, as all the others "hop" mid-word, but that answer doesn't. I enjoyed doing the puzzle—there's some interesting fill in there, and the clues were often thoughtful and tough—but I wasn't wowed the way I might've been had the reveal been more spectacular, or had I not seen a word-breaking theme just four days ago. Also, what's with the weird names? NOELLE (25D: Girl with a festive-sounding name) isn't even ... anybody. Just a name a woman might have??? Yuck. I knew Kitty FOYLE from my collection of old paperbacks, but I think that's pretty damned hard / obscure (40A: "Kitty ___" (1940 movie romance)). Ditto GALT. ECK, I knew (38A: Theologian Johann). He has some crossword currency. Theme answers are interesting enough, but as they have nothing in common, it's hard to be too excited about them.
- 17A: Some ballpark hits (INFIELD SIN / GLES)
- 22A: Provider of some outdoor entertainment (STREET PI / ANO) — what the hell? They have pianos on streets now?
- 44A: "Star Wars" and "Battlestar Galactica" (SPA / CE OPERAS)
- 11D: Youthful time (SAL / AD DAYS)
- 29D: Sugar in large crystals (ROCK CA / NDY)
An innocent NYT crossword clue I wrote for ROCK CANDY: Something hard to suck on? Test-solver Frank caught it before it ran. [Whew!]
Pretty funny. But it also acted as a very minor spoiler, since the tweet leapt immediately to mind once I'd gotten the first part of that answer.
- 7D: KLM alternative (SAS) — every time I see "KLM," I want to say "uh huh, uh huh." Only 90s music fans / victims will understand this.
- 48D: Musical with the song "Be Italian" ("NINE") — this reminds me of my mom, and I have No Idea Why. Maybe there was a production of this in the late 70s / early 80s and she saw it??? Just a weird association I can't account for. We lived in Fresno, CA for god's sake. "NINE" couldn't have been further from our everyday lives.
- 53D: "Beyond Peace" author's monogram (RMN) — wow, needed all the crosses for this. It's Nixon, in case you somehow didn't pick up the monogram.