Greek colonnade / WED 10-31-12 / Macbeth recipe / Eternally nameless Chinese principle / Banned book of 1955 / Australian city named for naturalist / Aleph follower
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Constructor: Stu Ockman
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: WITCHES' BREW (64A: "Macbeth" recipe) — theme answers are a very incomplete list of ingredients from the WITCHES' BREW in "Macbeth"; each ingredient is clued [64-Across ingredient]:
- TOOTH OF WOLF
- SLIPS OF YEW
- BLIND WORM'S STING
- LIZARD'S LEG
Word of the Day: Peter GELB (59D: Peter ___, general manager of the Met) —
Peter Gelb (born 1953) is an American arts administrator. He is currently General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. (wikipedia)
GELB (really???) is not going to be known as anybody who is not a hardcore NYC opera aficionado). So the solving the puzzle basically involves getting enough crosses to infer an answer creepy enough to sound like a brew ingredient, and those crosses really aren't very pleasing—there's a slew of mediocre short fill in this thing. Plus, these theme answers hardly form a cohesive group. They are merely four of a much, much longer list of ingredients. These four allowed for symmetrical grid placement, I guess. Doesn't seem like a tight enough grouping to justify building a puzzle around. These ingredients just seem too arbitrary. Thumbs up to PROBOSCIS (3D: Notable nose) and BISHOPRIC (37D: Seat of a Catholic official), though. Very worthy long Downs.
Had only one real struggle—the LEG in LIZARD'S LEG. I had HAH instead of HEH at 55D: Villain's chuckle and had noooo idea who GELB was, and since it's not as if LIZARD'S LEG is something very famous, I had to exhaust possible LA- words before I realized the "A" was wrong. Switched to "E" and answer was obvious (despite the fact that GELB looked like a wrong answer).
- 7A: Billy of "Titanic" (ZANE) — I feel like he was somebody in the '90s (for instance, he was "The Phantom" in 1996), but now ... I don't know. I could picture him clearly, but it took me many seconds to retrieve the name.
- 19A: "From my cold, dead hands!" sloganeer (NRA) — they adopted that Heston bull*$&% as their *actual* slogan? Oh ... turns out the slogan (not originally the NRA's, but definitely popularized by that org.) preceded Heston's famous anti-Gore speech. Alrighty.
- 47D: Australian city named after a naturalist (DARWIN) — first thought: "DARWIN was a nudist?" I always get "naturalist" and "naturist" confused. Just an Al away.