Bride in Gondoliers / SUN 7-31-11 / Sally teacakes / Noted diamond family / Huntee in game / 2003 Affleck/Lopez flick / Switzerland/France separator
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Constructor: Pamela Klawitter
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: "Separate Checks" — theme answers are common phrases that, when taken literally, describe words that are "separated" (i.e. in two parts, separated by a black square) in different parts of the grid. "Separated" words are in circled squares for easy identification.
Word of the Day: "IL RE Pastore" (42D: "___ Pastore" (Mozart opera)) —
Il re pastore (The Shepherd King) is an opera, K. 208, written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to an Italian libretto by Metastasio, edited by Gianbattista Varesco. It is an opera seria. The opera was first performed on April 23 1775 in Salzburg, at the Palace of the Archbishop Count Hieronymus von Colloredo. (wikipedia)
I found this more difficult than your average Sunday puzzle, due largely to the fact that you had to pick up some of those circles before you could begin to have any hope of filling in the theme answers. Also, perhaps because the theme was so ambitious, many of the answers were nuts, e.g. IL RE (it's the king, alright—King of the Uglies), PIS (which I still don't get) (oh, it's P.I.s, OK; 47D: Some tails, for short), ANA'S (!?) (18A: "___ Story: A Journey of Hope" (Jenna Bush best seller)), LUNNS (99D: Sally ___ (teacakes)), etc. That ENDE / LUNNS crossing was potentially *lethal*. Never heard of either ... except I had, in fact, seen ENDE in puzzles before (doesn't mean I remembered him) (113A: "The Neverending Story" writer), which allowed me to educatedly guess the "N"; otherwise, puzzle death. Multiple ALDAS, multiple RNAS (?), someplace called LEMAN (46D: Lake ___, Switzerland/France separator) (I want to go to there, just so I can point at it and shout, "You LEMAN!"). Lots and lots of slightly creaky stuff. I admire the theme's complexity, though I'm (once again) 90% certain I've seen this theme, or one like it, in the not-too-distant past. I've definitely seen words split by black squares before. Still, for apparent level-of-difficulty alone, this one gets a mild thumbs-up, though I do have to say that BEAR PIT pretty much ruins the whole happy vibe of the puzzle (59A: Place for some animal baiting). You can put all the sex and dirty words and body parts you want in my Sunday puzzle, but animal torture just does not pass my personal breakfast test.
- DIVIDED HIGHWAY
- FALLEN APART
- TORN ASUNDER (this one confused me at first—wondered how ASUNDER was going to fit in just those four squares ...)
- BANANA SPLIT
- FRACTURED SKULL
- CRACKED WINDOW
- BROKEN PROMISE
- 24A: Bride in "The Gondoliers" (TESSA) — ??? Probably seen it before, but still, ??? Crossing NISI (7D: Not yet final, at law) was a bit scarifying. Seriously, that's three dicey crosses in this thing, at least.
- 25A: "What the Butler Saw" playwright, 1969 (ORTON) — wanted ODETS. Saw this in Ashland, OR circa 1982. I remember it being some kind of sex farce where people were on stage in their underwear. But I was 12, so my memory could've been quite skewed by a single scene, for all I know.
- 26A: Noted diamond family (ALOU) — they are mostly "noted," these days, in crosswords.
- 32A: Title character in a 2009 Sandra Bullock crossword film (STEVE) — hey, it's terrible movie day in Puzzle World. "All About STEVE" in a twin bill with "GIGLI" — suddenly BEAR PIT doesn't seem quite so bad ...
- 52A: Panamanians and Peruvians (LATINS) — took me forever. I would never refer to them as LATINS (I'd say "LATIN AMERICANS," if anything), but it's valid.
- 76A: Huntee in a game (HIDER) — "Huntee" is a pretty dumb-looking word, but I got this instantly, so can't grouse too much.
- 94A: French CD holder (ETUI) — wait, I have a picture here somewhere, hang on ... yeah, here we go:
- 98A: Techie's hangout (PC LAB) — I have antipathy toward PCLAB as an answer. It's not entirely rational. No one calls the computer labs this, possibly because there are Macs there. A techie would, presumably, hang out anywhere there was a computer, or energy drinks and Cheetos.
- 40D: Definitely not Felix Unger types (SLOVENS) — wow, you can be a sloven? I knew you could be slovenly, and I knew you could be a SLOVAK, or SLOVENE, but a SLOVEN—that, I did not know.
- 57D: Pulitzer-winning Sheehan (SUSAN) — no idea. Wanted GAYLE, but that's "Sheehy," and her name's spelled "GAIL" anyway.