TV director Iannucci / THU 11-8-12 / Sweetheart of Jersey Shore / 2009 bromance film / U.S. Steel was once its biggest employer / NFL Live host Trey / Yorkshire river /
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Constructor: Damon Gulczynski
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: TWELFTH [MAN] (55A: Home-field advantage in football ... or what the last square of the answer to this clue represents in this puzzle) — rebus puzzle where 12 squares contain the word MAN
Word of the Day: AR[MAN]DO Iannucci (26D: TV director Iannucci) —
Armando Giovanni Iannucci, OBE [...] (born 28 November 1963) is a Scottish comedian, satirist, writer, television director and radio producer. Born in Glasgow, he studied at Oxford University and left graduate work on a PhD about John Milton to pursue a career in comedy. [...] Iannucci's latest television project is the HBO political satire Veep. In March 2012 it was announced that he is working on his first novel, Tongue International, described as 'a satirical fantasy about a privatised language'. (wikipedia)
• • •MAN CAVE (31D: Guy's private area), MANLY MAN (4D: Macho type), and ARMANI SUITS (35D: Parts of a fashionable "Collezioni"). I also liked "I LOVE YOU, MAN" (9D: 2009 bromance film), but this puzzle got a little (lot) carried away with its pop culture answers. What the hell is a SAMMI? (5A: "Sweetheart" of "Jersey Shore") Who the hell is ARMANDO Iannucci? (26D: TV director Iannucci) MIA Wasikowska?? (47D: Wasikowska of "Alice in Wonderland," 2010) I knew Trey WINGO, but holy smokes you've gotta be a pretty hardcore ESPN-watcher to get that one (18A: "N.F.L. Live" host Trey). No one of these answers is so outrageous, but as a set they make the puzzle seem a little obsessed with pop culture ephemera / marginality. I'm all for being current, but how about current and reasonably well known? Like ELI MANNING (20A: QB who was twice a Suepr Bowl M.V.P.). As for the rest of the answers, I flat-out didn't know TANEY (32D: Chief justice in the Dred Scott case), but everything else I was at least familiar with, so putting it together was tough but not that tough. The clue on GARY was brutal, as I don't think of it as a city that can stand on its own in the world without "Indiana" somewhere nearby to give it credibility (17A: U.S. Steel was once its biggest employer).
I really should know my drug slang better, given how much crime fiction I read—I was quite convinced that [Heroin, in slang] was SLAG (it's SCAG). This made seeing MAN CAVE *very* difficult, since for a long time it looked like this: -LAVE. OUSE looks like a French river, but apparently it's a [Yorkshire river]. I've seen it before in puzzles, but couldn't have placed it on a map before this puzzle. I like the artiness of this puzzle, with Matisse's "Le BATEAU" down south and MAN RAY up north and Diego RIVERA crossing the MANETS. Good stuff.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld