Andre playwright William / SAT 4-21-12 / Cats Tony winner Trevor / Olden dagger / Reprimander of Miss Gulch / Kirk who played first big-screen Superman / Erhard succeeded him in 1963 / 1982 1991 Pulitzer winner fiction / Four-time Gold Glove Award winner Boone / Bug about bills / Film composer Clausen
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Constructor: Barry C. Silk
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: William DUNLAP (41D: "André" playwright William) —
William Dunlap (1 February 1766 – 28 September 1839) was a pioneer of the American theater. He was a producer, playwright, and actor, as well as a historian. He managed two of New York's earliest and most prominent theaters, the John Street Theatre (from 1796–98) and the Park Theatre (from 1798–1805). He was also an artist, despite losing an eye in childhood.Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the son of an army officer wounded at the Battle of Quebecin 1759. In 1783, he produced a portrait of George Washington, now owned by the United States Senate, and later studied art under Benjamin West in London. After returning to America in 1787, he worked exclusively in the theater for 18 years, resuming painting out of economic necessity in 1805. By 1817, he was a full-time painter.In his lifetime he produced more than sixty plays, most of which were adaptations or translations fromFrench or German works. A few were original: these were based on American themes and had American characters. However, he is best known for his encyclopedic three-volume History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States, which was published in 1834, and which is now an invaluable source of information about artists, collecting, and artistic life generally in the colonial and federal periods.
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QUAYLE, ZANE GREY, AUNTIE EM, UPDIKE) (2D: Deliverer of the 1992 "Murphy Brown" speech; 33D: "The Vanishing American" novelist, 1925; 15A: Reprimander of Miss Gulch; 42D: 1982 and 1991 Pulitzer winner for fiction), some less so (NUNN) (20A: "Cats" Tony winner Trevor), some familiar to me but but maybe less so to others (BRET, ALFS) (48D: Four-tim Gold Glove Award winner Boone; 30D: Film composer Clausen and others), and some completely outside my zone of name-familiarity (DUNLAP, NESSEN, ALYN) (41D: "André" playwright William; 43D: Ford's press secretary; 10D: Kirk who played the first big-screen Superman). I found the whole thing pretty easy, though my time was almost right at my 5-week Saturday average (today, 9:41 on paper). Felt like I flew through everything from the NE to SW, and built the other corners somewhat more methodically, especially the SE (where I finished). That corner was rough. There were two names I didn't know (I filled in DUNLAP toward the end without ever seeing the clue, thinking it was the sporting good company ... which is actually DUNLOP). Then there were a bunch of Acrosses where I got the first part easily but struggled to get the tail. UP ... ? OVER ... ? WIDE ... ? I had UPSETS for 49A: Affects radically at first, but then somehow I really, really felt SEATO had to be the answer at 46D: Defense grp. formed in 1954 (this is remarkable bec. I am Terrible at remembering these mid-century political acronyms). Testing SEATO allowed me to get all the troublesome Acrosses. Also helped that DUN was a gimme (41A: Bug about bills). One of those weird words that I rarely hear, but that has stuck with me. I first learned it as a color. Specifically, the color of the titular cow in a book my parents once read to me called (wait for it...) "The Book of the Dun Cow." I have no memory of the book, but I see now that it was loosely based on Chaucer's "Nun's Priest's Tale." This is an interesting piece of information to someone whose dissertation was in large part on Chaucer.
Clue on ATLASES (34A: Their scales aid in location), like the clue on SQUADS, mystified me til just now. [Bit of rough housing] was also hard to grasp, though I did catch on to that one eventually (LEAN-TO). I think this is SNEE's second day in a row. He needs to hit the showers and stay there for a while now. Hey, is ADENAUER the guy who always appears in clues for ALTE? Yes, he was called "Der ALTE" or "the old one." That's how I know him. No idea how I knew LES Brown and his Band of Renown, but I did (7D: Brown with the Band of Renown). Well, I 2/3 did. I wrote in LES, but part of me thought "... is it WES?"
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. I call your attention to a very thoughtful blog post by 5-time American Crossword Puzzle Champion Tyler Hinman, in which he has some provocative things to say about the quality of fill in recent crosswords. The comments section is full of very smart agreement and dissent. I also call your attention to the *possibility* that CBS Evening News will air a piece about me this Sunday during the 6:30pm broadcast. But this story has been bumped more times than a rush-hour subway rider, so who knows? If I get a definitive indication that it's airing, I'll let you know.