2003 Celine Dion album / WED 11-21-12 / Candy Wonder Woman character / Former tennis star Michael / U.S. secretary of state tied for second-longest time in office / Hand-holding event / Jordan real name of Green Lantern
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Constructor: David J. Kahn
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: ETTA Candy (52A: ___ Candy, "Wonder Woman" character) —
Etta Candy is a fictional character from the DC Comics Wonder Woman series. // In her 1940s introduction, Etta Candy is a sickly malnourished woman Wonder Woman discovers at a local hospital. When next she is seen Etta is transformed into a spirited, rotund young woman who has a great love of candy. When Wonder Woman asks her what caused her sudden health and rather large size Etta tells her that she was rejuvenated by eating lots of sweets. With her newfound confidence Etta Candy soon after leads the fictional Beeta Lambda sorority at Holiday College and aids Wonder Woman in her adventures, first with a hundred other girls she helps Wonder Woman to take over the Nazi base of Doctor Poison without endangering Steve. Throughout her adventures with Wonder Woman she is known for her moxie, her love of candy, and for her trademark call "Woo! Woo!" (A catch-phrase derived, in part, from exclamations associated with comic actorHugh Herbert. Other versions of the character have been known to say "Woo! Woo!" and according to at least one version it is a sorority cry at Holiday College.) Other familiar characteristics included her junky car nicknamed Esmerelda, and a variety of sassy interjections, such as: "For the love of chocolate!" // Her father, "Hard Candy," and mother, Sugar Candy, lived on the Bar-L Ranch in Brazos County, Texas that provided the setting for cowboy-themed adventures. She was shown to have a brother named Mint Candy who served as a soldier in the US Army. Holiday College was the setting for science-driven stories and it was at nearby "Starvard," (portmanteau of Stanford and Harvard) that her boyfriend, the gangly but very loving "Oscar Sweetgulper," studied. She was shown to be brave and even stormed a Nazi concentration camp armed with nothing but a box of candy to rescue captured children. She was also welcomed by Wonder Woman's people, the Amazons of Themyscira and even invited to their festivals. She was aware of her weight but never let it bother her. She even joked about it when asked by the Amazons if she would like to join in one of their sporting events. (wikipedia)
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ACUTE hadn't been there, no one (or nearly no one) would've known what the theme was. And as a themeless puzzle, this puzzle doesn't have much to offer. BEACH BUM (8D: Person likely to have a good tan). I like that. The rest—adequate, which is not good enough for a themeless. Also, style points off for "ONE HEART" (1D: 2003 Celine Dion album)— no worse way to waste a long answer than to give it to a Celine (CÉline?) Dion album title. SHEENY isn't winning this puzzle any friends either (13D: Lustrous). One last thing about the theme: ACUTE? Since all these words come from the French (except maybe TÉA ... I don't know) (69A: Leoni of "Tower Heist"), I would expect the actual correct name of that accent to be used: accent AIGU (the less seen —in English — downward sloping accent is an accent grave, fyi). ACUTE is not an accent type I'm familiar with, though that may be because I had eight years of French and just take it for granted that accent AIGU is the right term.
C.S.I." getting a clue that refers to its most recent (Danson-driven) incarnation (22A: TV drama featuring Ted Danson as D.B. Russell), and RORY getting a young champion golfer clue (32A: Golfer McIlroy who won the 2011 U.S. Open) rather than, say, an old actor clue (i.e. RORY Calhoun). The puzzle is also oddly comics-happy (which is all right by me)—HAL Jordan will be reasonably familiar to casual comics fans (41A: ___ Jordan, real name of the Green Lantern), but ETTA Candy, hoo boy. I've never heard of her. You really gotta be a "Wonder Woman" fan to know that, I'd gather. Far more people will know DEAN RUSK, of course, though many solvers were probably like me in that they went looking for a single last name at 3D: U.S. secretary of state tied for the second-longest time in office and thus found themselves floundering for guesses until the two-name actuality of the answer became evident. Other sticking points (for me) included 16A: Station wagon rear door feature (LATCH), which I confidently had as HATCH; 67A: "Hey Jude" vis-à-vis "Revolution," e.g. (A-SIDE), which I wanted to end in -ER at first; and 35D: Hand-holding event (SÉANCE), which I didn't know what to do with.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld