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.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld