1906 Massenet opera based on Greek myth / TUE 4-24-12 / TV doctor Sanjay / 1940s Bikini blasts / Public place in Athens / Number of Los Lonely Boys
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Constructor: Adam G. Perl
Relative difficulty: Challenging
THEME: "The GIRL WITH The Dragon Tattoo" (1A: With 10-Across and the circled letters, a best-selling novel, with "The") — puzzle also contains the "heroine" (LISBETH SALANDER) and "hero" (MIKAEL BLOMKVIST) of the novel
Word of the Day: "ARIANE" (43D: 1906 Massenet opera based on Greek myth) —
Ariane is an opera in five acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Catulle Mendès after Greek mythology (the tale of Ariadne). It was first performed at the Palais Garnier in Paris on October 31, 1906, with Lucienne Bréval in the title role. (wikipedia)
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LISBETH SALANDER because Rooney Mara was nominated for an Oscar for playing her, so her name must have crossed my path a few times this year. But MIKAEL BLOMKVIST!? Forget about it. I thought that SW corner was going to stop me completely, and in fact if my (real) name weren't "Michael," it might have taken me even longer than it did for me to come up with that "A" at MIKAEL / "ARIANE" (43D: 1906 Massenet opera based on Greek myth).
Speaking of "ARIANE," !?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Wow. Now, come on, I know "obscurity" is relative, but *that* is obscure. I actually wanted ARIADNE there, but, obviously, it didn't fit. Between the "hero"'s name, "ARIANE," and the insane clue on GLIDE (40D: Dance movement—really? With that clue, I was looking for something like GLISSÉ or ... I don't know, something not ordinary), and the other not-totally-obvious stuff down there, I was in trouble. Was over my normal Tuesday time by a full minute. Times at the NYT site are quite high for a Tuesday. As with yesterday, this puzzle feels misplaced by a day. I found it mostly annoying, but my opinion is that of someone who hasn't read the book. Maybe "Dragon Tattoo" lovers will love it. Who knows?
WINONA Ryder (10D: Actress Ryder), who was, of course, in the movie version of "Girl, Interrupted." Freaky. Stunned to see G-SPOT make such a quick return (34D: "The ___ and Other Recent Discoveries About Human Sexuality" (1982 best seller)). I'm sure there's a joke in there about G-SPOT coming multiple times, but I'm too tired. The non-theme, non-SW-corner parts of the grid all seem normal. Not exceptional, not terrible. Onward and upward.
- 29A: Zero personality? (OPERATOR) — great clue, but Hard clue. Another answer that added to the later-in-the-week feel, difficulty-wise.
- 42A: Silicon Valley city (LOS ALTOS) — familiar to me, but I'm from California. This seems like it might be tough for some.
- 40A: TV doctor Sanjay (GUPTA) — was wondering when I'd see him in a grid. Maybe I already have and am forgetting.