Tenor Beniamino / THU 8-30-12 / Big-nosed character of 1980s TV / South Korean model / Excavation locale of ancient Egyptian capital / Diggory young wizard in Harry Potter books / Longtime Vegas entertainer / Christmas in Italia
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Constructor: Stu Ockman
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: ONE DOZEN eggs — middle of grid looks like an egg carton: 2 rows of 6 eggs (represented by Os) (31A: WITH 37-Across, dairy aisle purchase); four theme answers relate to eggs:
- 16A: Popular kind of 31- and 37-Across (FREE RANGE)
- 10D: One way to prepare 31- and 37-Across (OVER EASY)
- 55A: Holder of 31- and 37-Across (EGG CARTON)
- 36D: Number of 31- and 37-Across in a 55-Across (ONE DOZEN)
Beniamino Gigli (pronounced: [benjaˈmiːno ˈdʒiʎʎi]) (March 20, 1890 – November 30, 1957) was an Italian opera singer. The most famous tenor of his generation, he was renowned internationally for the great beauty of his voice and the soundness of his vocal technique. Music critics sometimes took him to task, however, for what was perceived to be the over-emotionalism of his interpretations. Nevertheless, such was Gigli's talent, he is considered to be one of the very finest tenors in the recorded history of music. (wikipedia)
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Those massive white corners are unnecessary. So difficult to fill well, in fact, that I have to applaud the SW for being as good as it is. The others, however, are full of ouch. The PORC / AVER / NEUE / AMARNA stack is rough (20A: Excavation locale of an ancient Egyptian capital). NATALE (19A: Christmas in Italia) / RAL is unfortunate (RONEE, not great either—6D: Actress Blakley of "Nashville"). And EUTERPE / PRIE / EADS / NES / GIGLI / ENCLS is only marginally better than a kick in the crotch (Actor George of "CSI"? Tenor Beniamino?). Even going up to just 74 words would've allowed for more possibilities for interesting, clean, sparkly fill. I love wide-open grids as much as the next guy, but not at the expense of smoothness.
Thumbs up to the theme, thumbs down to the grid construction and fill.
I was lucky to get some freebies, including ALF (1D: Big-nosed character of 1980s TV), CAMILLE (22A: French composer Saint-Saëns), and CEDRIC (47A: ___ Diggory, young wizard in the Harry Potter books). I was also able to pull KRONER out with just "R" in place (52A: Currency pegged to euros). Couldn't remember which MR. went to town (TIBBS? SMITH?) and consequently had a hell of a time seeing MANHOOD (21D: What a young buck might want to prove). At first I worried that 42D: South Korean model was referring to a person, in which case I'd've been well and truly in trouble. But no, it's just a Kia ELANTRA.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld