Title town of Longfellow poem / SUN 5-20-12 / Lanchester on screen / Hall-of-Fame pitcher Joss / Singer of 1958 #1 hit It's Only Make Believe / When repeated old New Orleans tune / First H in Hannukah / Simba's mate
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "Wisecracks" — familiar phrases where terminal "Y" in one word removed. Destination: Wacky Town.
Word of the Day: AIN (64D: River to the Rhône) —
The Ain is a river in eastern France. In the Franco-Provençal language it is known as the En. //The river rises at an altitude of some 700 metres, near the village of La Favière, in the Jurassiclimestone of the southern end of the Jura mountains and flows into the Rhône about 40 kilometres above Lyon, some 190 kilometres down the Ain. (wikipedia)
• • •
LTYR or ILA here and there. But this one is hyper-reliant on musty Maleska-Era stuff: answers that are second nature for the seasoned solver, but not at all lovely. ORLE (46A: Shield border) and ATRI (45D: Title town of a Longfellow poem) and AIN (64D: River to the Rhône) are probably the best examples from today's puzzle. Someone in-the-know wrote me the other day to say that my proposed fix for FOCH (in that puzzle a while back) wouldn't fly with Will because it would've resulted in SLA, an answer he is trying to phase out. I'm all for phasing out SLA, actually, but I have a hard time squaring the (alleged) anti-SLA sentiment with this grid. I don't know why the quality of the fill seems to matter so little lately. I also don't know why a stud wearing scarlet should be a drag queen. A stud dressed like Scarlett, sure. But the color alone hardly makes a man a cross-dresser.
- 23A: Chocolat, say? (TREAT OF VERSAILLES) — good
- 39A: Macho drag queen? (A STUD IN SCARLET) — good
- 50A: Like literary classics? (GOOD AND READ) — zzzzz
- 54A: Call to the bar? (BEER BELL) — pretty good
- 68A: Like a centaur? (PART ANIMAL) — good
- 70A: "Don't let that youngster get off without paying!"? ("BILL THE KID!") — pretty good
- 86A: Unbiased account? (FAIR TALE) — OK
- 89A: Announcement made by a transplant surgeon, perhaps? (LIVER STABLE) — uh ... I don't know much about surgery, but would you say "[organ] stable"? A patient can be stable, but an organ? It *seems* plausible, but I don't know if it is.
- 97A: Stigmatize a "great" king? (BRAND ALEXANDER) — fine
- 119A: Two reasons to avoid a dog kennel? (THE SOUND AND THE FUR) — clue makes this good
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld