Mother of Helios / WED 2-29-12 / Siege site of AD 72 / Subj of space-to-earth experiment on Apollo 14 / Sesame Street supporter in brief / Tony-winning role for Mandy Patinkin / regime pre-1789 French government / Greek peak SE of Olympus / Walt Disney had 26 of them
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Constructor: Kevan Choset
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: ANCIEN régime (67A: ___ régime (pre-1789 French government)) —
The Ancien Régime ([...] Old Regime) refers primarily to the aristocratic, social and political system established in France from (roughly) the 15th century to the 18th century under the late Valois and Bourbon dynasties. The administrative and social structures of the Ancien Régime were the result of years of state-building, legislative acts (like the Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts), internal conflicts and civil wars, but they remained a confusing patchwork of local privilege and historic differences until the French Revolution ended the system. (wikipedia)
• • •Pretty standard fare, about which I have no strong feelings. Right-over-the-plate "First Words"-type puzzle, with the "Broadway" cluing in lieu of a "Broadway" revealer. So far this week has been textbook, difficulty-wise. Monday in the 2s, Tuesday in the 3s, Wednesday in the 4s. Thematically, this is the best puzzle of the week so far, but sadly that's not saying much. Outside the theme answers, the fill was pretty ragged. AAHS next to PSAT. EPA RLS NAS in the middle. INIS XTRA. SEEPY? I could go on (and on). Lots and lots and lots of ick. This lack of attention to the overall quality of fill has been a real problem of late—something that many of my constructor friends remark on regularly. I don't know why standards seem so low for non-theme fill. I get that there is a "theme-above-all" attitude that prevails, but overall fill quality should have a slightly higher bar to clear than it currently seems to have.
- 17A: Security desk at a Broaeway theater? (RENT CONTROL) — security desks are called "controls?" News to me.
- 23A: Simian on a Broadway set? (GREASE MONKEY)
- 37A: Understudy in a Broadway show? (HAIR REPLACEMENT)
- 48A: Pessimistic Broadway investors? (CHICAGO BEARS) — somehow never noticed until today that Chicago has both BULLS and BEARS
- 59A: Nighttime Broadway wardrobe? (CATS PAJAMAS)
There were a few tricky places in the grid today. Had GAEA and then RHEA as the [Mother of Helios] (THEA), which meant TITUS took some time to come into view (7D: Emperor who completed the Colosseum). I thought the ["Sesame Street" supporter, in brief] was going to be a single human being, like a PBS donor or something, so NEA needed crosses. I will never ever remember whatever it is that MASADA is, despite seeing it several times now (46D: Siege site of A.D. 72), and it took some scrambling to put it together today because I had ODESSA at first at 46A: Greek peak SE of Olympus (MT. OSSA). I guess you can tell what letters I had in place when I made that (bad, unthinking) guess. Clue on ESP was interesting. Normally I'm against elaborate clues for junk fill, but that some trivia I don't mind knowing (52D: Subj. of a space-to-earth experiment on Apollo 14). Did not get the pleasure of encountering the MOE clue until I had it completely filled in from crosses (62A: "The Simpsons" character who says "Oh geez" a lot).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld