Lorre's role in Casblanca / WED 9-5-12 / Phenomenon in 2011 film subtitled Never Say Never / Hypnotist whose name inspired verb / Sex researcher Hite
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Constructor: Paula Gamache
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: BAY BEE BYE BO BOO — a vowel-sound progression puzzle where the vowel immediately following the initial "B" does *not* correspond to the vowel sound it introduces; thus
- BEIGE PAINT (second letter "E," sound of long "A") (18A: Unflashy coat)
- BIEBER FEVER (second letter "I," sound of long "E") (23A: Phenomenon evidenced in the 2011 film subtitled "Never Say Never")
- BUYER'S REMORSE (second letter "U," sound of long "I") (36A: "Sorry I paid for that" feeling)
- BEAU BRIDGES (second letter "E," sound of long "O") (50A: Actor in "The Fabulous baker Boys")
- BOOT LICKER (second letter "O," sound of long "U") (56A: Toady)
Word of the Day: MERLE Travis (21D: Country music's Travis) —
Merle Robert Travis (November 29, 1917 – October 20, 1983) was an American country and Western singer, songwriter, and musician born in Rosewood, Kentucky. His lyrics often discussed the life and exploitation of coal miners. Among his many well-known songs are "Sixteen Tons", "Re-Enlistment Blues" and "Dark as a Dungeon". However, it is his masterful guitar playing and his interpretations of the rich musical traditions of his native Muhlenberg County, Kentucky for which he is best known today. "Travis picking", a syncopated style offinger picking, is named after him. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famein 1970 and elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1977. (wikipedia)
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BEIGE PAINT = ouch. I only just learned the term "GREEN PAINT answer," which, in crossword-constructor-speak, is an answer made up of weak adj./noun pairing. TALL WOMAN, for instance, is not a good puzzle answer. It's certainly a phrase one might say, but it doesn't have enough coherence, conceptually, to be a good crossword answer. So, yeah, BEIGE PAINT is "green paint" for sure. Once I understood the theme (incl. the added dimension of the second letter's never being the letter represented by the vowel sound), I admired its ambition. But BEIGE PAINT is BEIGE PAINT. I mean, of all the ways to clunk ... if you're going to clunk, maybe don't clunk with an answer that is essentially the epitome of dullness.
MERLE, which, of course, I had as TRITT (21D: Country music's Travis). One of those two-bit traps that I walked into. Sadly, I also walked into the much more elaborate trap of MA-, which led me to MAFIA DON instead of MA BARKER (5D: Crime family head). And then SMEAR instead of SLIME (which I've only heard as a verb in "Ghostbusters") (7D: Viciously denigrate). Then there was the SE corner, where I was dumb-lucky enough to remember UGARTE this time (46D: Lorre's role in "Casablanca"), and MESMER (47D: Hypnotist whose name inspired a verb) came pretty easily, but where Y-SHAPE took nearly every cross (48D: What a necklace with a pendant has). The seems a very liberal definition of "Y," but I guess it's accurate enough. Even though BONNARD isn't exactly fancy fill, I do like his work, so thumbs-up for that answer (42A: French artist Pierre). I also like the semi-sexy vibe throughout the puzzle, with the Threesome on a clipper, people who have LAIN with each other, and, taking it all in, Sex researcher SHERE Hite.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld