Tumbler locale / THU 9-6-12 / Commandments 1958 hit / Hoffman who co-founded Yippies / Routine with one-handed freeze / I now prophesy that I will dismember my dismemberer / Town in Hersey novel / 2001 Sean Penn film
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Constructor: Ben Pall
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: JOINT ventures — there are four pairs of parallel, adjacent theme answers, and each pair shares a word in common. The sharing is represented in the grid by extra wide boxes, in each of which one letter does double duty for two theme answers.
Word of the Day: MARCO Island, Fla. (62A: ___ Island, Fla.) —
Marco Island is a city in Collier County, Florida, United States, located on an island by the same name in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Southwest Florida. It is a principal city of the Naples–Marco Island Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 16,413 at the2010 census. [!?!?!?!?!] (wikipedia)
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TRADE/CIVIL UNION, and all the other pairs fell almost instantly as soon as I reached them. The one exception was the ROTARY part of ROTARY JOINT. That didn't want to come. But the SW corner was done in a matter of seconds, and the SE didn't take much longer. The only thing making this puzzle "Medium" at all was some "hard" cluing (MARCO Island!? What the ... ????) that seemed to be concentrated, for me at any rate, in the NW. I struggled quite a bit with VEG, ELITE, A LIE (?), RUSE, LIEN, LOCK (39A: Tumbler locale), and BELLA (the last one is my bad—I've actually read "Twilight" and should've known that one). Flat-out guessed INSECT (24D: Six-footer?), which is what gave me the traction that allowed me eventually to put that corner away. By contrast, I went through every other corner like it was M or T.
- 2D: Domestic relationship 3D: Protection for a mechanic, say => CIVIL/TRADE UNION
- 19A: Italian hangout 22A: There's one between the ulna and the radius => PIZZA/ROTARY JOINT
- 54A: Blink of an eye 54A: Nitpicked => SPLIT SECOND/HAIRS
- 33D: Splinter 33D: Routine with a one-handed freeze, say => BREAK APART/DANCE
ABBIE Hoffman (17A: Hoffman who co-founded the Yippies), ARANTXA Sanchez-Vicario, "I AM SAM" (32D: 2001 Sean Penn film), and EZRA POUND (16D: Poet who made radio broadcasts in support of Mussolini). I can see how not knowing even one of those could make things a lot harder. Then there's the crosswordesey proper nouns, which I also knew, or at least had seen before: stuff like ADANO (58A: Town in a Hersey novel) and BARI (38A: Italian city associated with the real-life Saint Nicholas).
- 40A: "The ___ Commandments" (1958 hit) ("TEEN") — I'm surprised I've never heard of this. I'm also surprised at how terrible that pun is. Wow ... wow ... this "song" is a phenomenal embarrassment to all involved. It's like young people saying (literally speaking, not singing) stuff Pat Boone would say to you.
- 64A: Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum ___" ("EST") — I just read this, or parts of it ... I wanna say it's quoted in Christopher Hitchens's "Mortality," which seems like the only place I could plausibly have encountered it in the past week.
- 1D: Fictional character who says "I now prophesy that I will dismember my dismemberer" (AHAB) — well who else? Great line, that.
- 43D: Pursue some e-mail chicanery (PHISH) — Nice PHISH clue. I'll take email scam over jam band Any day of the week.