Hockey great Cam / WED 11-7-12 / Arctic explorer John / Glacial ridges / Archangel of Apocrypha / Superboy's sweetie /
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Constructor: George Fitzgerald and Nancy Salomon
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: THE BLUES (58A: Something to sing ... or a hint to 17-, 23-, 31-, 40- and 45-Across's starts) — theme answers all start with words that are also varieties of blue:
- BABY TALK (17A: Nonsensical syllables, maybe)
- ROYAL FLUSH (23A: Unbeatable hand)
- NAVY SEALS (31A: Elite military group)
- SKY DIVING (40A: Sport for high jumpers?)
- STEEL DRUMS (45A: Some Caribbean percussion)
Word of the Day: SHIELD LAW (35D: Statute that protects journalists' sources) —
A law that protects journalists from being compelled to reveal confidential sources of information.
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/shield-laws#ixzz2BVGDHVhq
• • •
SMA cold and really need my sleep, and I have a feeling that election hysteria will screw up my plans to conk out before midnight. I doubt I'll remember this puzzle by morning my time, but it wasn't bad. Very straightforward, reasonably solid, inoffensive. Competent. I don't quite understand the grid construction, which really forces ESKERS (and thus the horrible Scottish twins SMA and GIE) on you (33D: Glacial ridges). Seems like the theme answers could have been rearranged in a way that prevented running any Downs through three theme answers—they're short enough that two of them could've been made to run Down. But whatever—the current arrangement isn't a disaster, and the fill is only ugh-ish in patches.
SAAB, for instance, is one I've seen a million times (1A: Automaker with the slogan "Born from Jets"). "Recess" always signals APSE first. Etc. I think SHIELD LAW is the most interesting answer in the grid by far. A term that surprised me not because I didn't know it, but because it had been so long since I'd seen or thought about it. I also liked SIDEARM (40D: Pistol, for one) probably because I'm currently reading George V. Higgins's The Friends of Eddie Coyle, a truly great '70s crime novel that is all about gun traffic. Some of the best dialogue writing I've ever read. Highly recommended.
- 14A: Israel's first representative to the United Nations (ABBA EBAN) — one of Crossworld's most enduring public figures. A first/last name double threat. A good example of how this puzzle played to constant solvers.
- 20A: Reynolds who sang "Tammy" (DEBBIE) — I don't know her as a recording artist. Just as the girl from Singing in the Rain, Albert Brooks's mother in Mother, and Carrie Fisher's mom.
- 10D: Archangel of the Apocrypha (URIEL) — he's right next to ARIEL in my crossword arsenal. Not a terribly common answer, but common enough.
- 51D: Hockey great Cam (NEELY) — I know this guy as "one of those names I used to hear on ESPN a lot between baseball and football coverage." The sports world's current most famous Cam is Newton, QB for the Carolina Panthers.