"Hair" producer Joseph / WED 7-11-12 / ___ the Tentmaker / Depression-era agcy. / Org. for R.V. owners / The Plame affair, informally / "Giant Brain" of 1946
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Constructor: Allan E. Parrish
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: PRIMARY ENDS — The theme answers end with synonyms of primary. No wackiness ensues.
Word of the Day: DRAX (12D: "Moonraker" villain) —
In both versions of Moonraker, Drax is the main antagonist. Hugo Drax is a billionaire living in California in a château that was imported from France. He owns Drax Industries, which constructs space shuttles. An example of the Drax character's ruthlessness as portrayed in the film is given by the manner in which he disposes of enemies. Bond follows a trail around the world to investigate the theft of a space shuttle on loan to the UK by Hugo Drax, starting in California at Drax Industries, and following it to Italy, then to Brazil, then into space.
• • •Hey there cruciverbalists! Greetings from Portland, Oregon where Summer is finally starting. It's your new Rex for a day Bret A. making my second appearance in CrossWorld. It's nice to be back for my second 15 seconds of micro-celebrity.
So about the puzzle... meh. The theme has been done and done and seems misplaced on a Wednesday. The theme answers are also completely flat. There is some trickyish cluing to try ratchet up the difficulty to Wednesday, but it doesn't quite get there. It's a 78-worder (the max word count for the NYT), and you definitely get the smooth grid you'd expect from such a high word count. There's no real junk in the grid, and the worst of it is easily inferrable. The longest non-theme answers are only 7 letters, but they are the most interesting in the grid, as it should be. It's a "Q" short of a pangram, so there's that. There's not a single "?" in any of the clues. No junk. No wackiness. No sparkle. Just meh. I was really hoping for something really good or really bad for my stay here. This is just... fine.
- 17A: Joe Clark in "Lean on Me," e.g. (SCHOOL PRINCIPAL)
- 29A: Item on a superintendent's chain (SKELETON KEY)
- 48A: Ripe territory for pirates, once (SPANISH MAIN)
- 63A: Losing player in the first Super Bowl (KANSAS CITY CHIEF)
- 1A: Body part first transplanted in 2010 (FACE) — Actually, this was first done in the 1997 Travolta/Cage classic Face/Off.
- 15A: ___ the Tentmaker (OMAR) — If I had my way, this would always be clued with some sort of reference to "The Wire."
- 55A: Depression-era agcy. (NRA) — There's that cluing, trying to make this feel like a Wednesday. How about a clue like (Group of piece advocates?) It's still easy, might as well try to be funny. Or punny at least.
- 6D: Whisk broom-wielding official, for short (UMP) — More baseball!
- 25D: "99 Luftballons" singer (NENA) — Well, that's stuck in my head now.
- 38D: "___ pig's eye!" (IN A) — This is the funniest thing in the grid. That's sad.
- 46D: Some steaks (RIBEYES) — Mets legend/broadcaster/"Seinfeld" guest star Keith Hernandez calls RBIs RIBEYES, and they cross in the grid. Sure, that's probably only interesting to me. But still, more baseball!
That's it for me. Rex will be home before you know it. Let everyone know how much you miss him in the comments.