Longhorn's school informally / WED 10-12-11 / Eminem rap with lyric Guarantee I'll be greatest thing you ever had / Fruit related to cherry plums
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Constructor: Gary Cee
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Separate answers... — idiomatic expressions whose first words can also be synonyms of "divide" (though "CRACK" and "BUST" are drifting ... maybe the first are supposed to suggest simply MARRING in some way)
The Ipcress File is a 1965 British espionage film directed by Sidney J. Furie and starring Michael Caine, Guy Doleman, and Nigel Green. The screenplay by Bill Canaway and James Doran was based on Len Deighton's 1962 novel, The IPCRESS File. It has won critical acclaim and a BAFTA award for best British film. In 1999 it was included at number 59 on the BFI list of the 100 best British films of the twentieth century. (wikipedia)
Despite having déjà vu feelings, I enjoyed this puzzle. I like that the first words of the theme answers are relatable to one another only in ways different from the ones in which they are being used in the grid. Related literally, used idiomatically. Consistent ___ A ___ phrasing, also a plus. Only real problem is the fact that no one says "SPLIT A GUT." It's "BUST A GUT" (which outgoogles the former by a 5-to-1 margin), but you've already got BUST in the grid down there. I thought maybe you SPLIT A RIB (feels more natural to me, as a rib is a discrete entity of which you have many, which makes the indefinite article seem appropriate—I mean, how many GUTs do you have that you can split just one?). But I see that SPLIT A RIB is even rarer than SPLIT A GUT, and SPLIT A GUT appears to have dictionary backing, so it's legit, however irksome.
- 17A: Laugh uproariously (SPLIT A GUT)
- 25A: Perspire mildly (BREAK A SWEAT)
- 36A: Pay cashlessly (CUT A CHECK)
- 50A: Begin to grin (CRACK A SMILE)
- 62A: Boogie (BUST A MOVE)
Mistakes were predictable. Blanked on the Elvis song and wanted BABY instead of MAMA. Wanted ENSURE instead of INSURE. Other than that, no hangups except for a brief but ultimately uneventful struggle in the south. Couldn't figure out what a Tulsan was. Don't think of MOUSE as a [Computer option]. PC, MAC ... those are computer options. MOUSEs are peripheral devouses. Not sure how TEXAS is "informal"—it's a state name. UT is informal. "SO BAD" is off the relatively recent Eminem album "Recovery" and is by no stretch of the imagination a hit. It wasn't a single. It didn't chart. How it got to be crossworthy, I have no idea. ROTH, ELIOT, KEATS, and ZELDA give the grid a strongly literary feel, while Ringo STARR ... doesn't (5D: Fab Four name).
- 49A: TV show set at William McKinley High School ("GLEE") — we recently stopped watching this show. Too much out there to watch, and "mildly entertaining show that seems to have come off the rails" wasn't enough to keep us hooked. Unfriended!
- 64A: Fruit related to cherry plums (SLOES) — the crosswordesiest fruit there is. Plunked it down with only the "S"s in place.
- 68A: Laura of "Rambling Rose" (DERN) — she has a new HBO show called "Enlightened." Thanks for the info, Terry Gross.
- 1D: Punk rock concert activity (MOSHING) — is MOSHING still a thing? Sometimes MUZAK makes me want to mosh (31D: Elevator background).
- 55D: Onetime feminist cause (E.R.A.) — I'm going to re-recommend Ken Burns's new documentary "Prohibition," which is tangentially related to this answer in that the suffragist movement has very close ties to the early Prohibition movement.