Thank you in Swahili / THU 4-18-12 / Trevelyan villain in Goldeneye / Actress Steppat On Her Majesty's / Dwarf planet beyond Pluto / Old Shaker leader / Montgomery of Jazz
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Constructor: Sean Dobbin
Relative difficulty: Challenging
THEME: OUTSIDERS (35A: Nonmembers ... or what 4-, 7- and 10-Down lack?) — three theme answers have "R"s that are outside the grid (i.e. you have to imagine the initial and terminal Rs in those answers)
Word of the Day: ILSE Steppat (19A: Actress Steppat of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service") —
Ilse Paula Steppat (November 11, 1917 in Wuppertal – December 21, 1969 in West Berlin) was a German actress. Her husband was noted actor and director Max Nosseck. // She began her cinematic career at the age of 15 playing Joan of Arc. Steppat appeared regularly on the German stage, and starred in more than forty movies. In the 1960s, she appeared frequently in crime movies based on the work of author Edgar Wallace, such as Die Gruft mit dem Rätselschloss, Der unheimliche Mönch and Die blaue Hand, which brought her great fame in Germany. // In her only English language role, Steppat played Blofeld's assistant and henchwoman Irma Bunt in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service. In the first English language conversation between Steppat and the movie's producer, Albert R. Broccoli, she confused the word verlobt (engaged) with engagiert. Despite this, however, she was awarded the role of Irma Bunt. Steppat was unable to capitalise on her new fame outside of Germany, as she died of a heart attack only four days after the movie's international release. She is buried in the Waldfriedhof Dahlem in Berlin. (wikipedia)
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Talk about your crossword coincidences. An ILSE who played an IRMA!? Wow.
EST'D and IS IT I ... maybe GETS. It's possible that if I'd abandoned the N much earlier and headed south (where I might've seen the gimme GWENS, for instance; 65A: Music's Stefani and others), I could've got rolling sooner. ERIS would've helped. I don't know. Between ridiculous stuff like ILSE (who?), ALEC (who?), ASANTE (we're supposed to know Swahili now? why is this valid?), and EGON (22A: Certain Ghostbuster) (I recently rewatched "Ghostbusters" and still needed virtually every cross), and then forced-tough cluing — SELECTS as a noun (!?!?! ouch.) (11D: Superior things); EDITION as a [Dictionary specification]!? — I just floundered. But mostly I just failed to come up with stuff I should've come up with. %&^*ing CASSAVA (1D: Tapioca source). I wanted IPOD at 1A: It can change one's tune and so both CASSAVA and CAPO (and, indeed, the whole NW corner) stayed hidden for a long time. Not LA PAZ or SUCRE or LHASA but SANA'A! Brutal (20A: World capital at 7,200+ feet).
Concept seems fine. Cute. None of the long phrases feels like a bullseye, though. All accurate enough, but just a bit ... off-center. Apt-ish. Defensible, but odd. RESIGNATION LETTER is probably closest to spot-on. Anyway, not thrilling, but just fine. Wish the bizarre proper noun onslaught had been less onslaughty, but there's nothing really beyond the pale. Not much else to say.
- 4D: Checker or Domino (OCK AND ROLL SINGE)
- 7D: It may include two weeks' notice (ESIGNATION LETTE)
- 10D: John Calvin, e.g. (ELIGIOUS REFORME)
- 16A: Wolf whistle accompanier, maybe (LEER) — I was looking for something more vocal. Hubba hubba or yowza or the like.
- 46A: Old Shaker leader (ANN LEE) — super-important name to know for crosswords. Her full name shows up a lot (as do ANN and LEE, obviously)
- 66A: Recording artist made famous by the BBC series "The Celts" (ENYA) — never heard of that series. She was made famous by "Orinoco Flow," as far as I remember.
- 52A: He once wrote "Last but not least, avoid clichés like the plague" (SAFIRE) — that's a twofer. Nice.
- 8D: 10th-century Holy Roman emperor (OTTO I) — among the dreckiest, crosswordiest answers. And it helped me a Lot today. I also managed to remember the much less crosswordesey WES (59D: Montgomery of jazz), though like OTTO I, he's known to me only through crosswords.
- 2D: Ellery Queen and others (ALIASES) — wanted PEN NAMES or PSEUDONYMS from the second I saw the clue. Criminals have ALIASES.
- 25D: Floride, par exemple (ÉTAT) — fooled by this one at first. Not sure my brain even registered the Frenchness of "par exemple."
- 49D: ___ Neuchâtel (LAC) — no idea what this is. At all. I mean, I assume it's a lake, but ... yeah, for me this is up there with ASANTE and ALEC and ILSE as far as familiarity goes.