2002 sequel starring Wesley Snipes / WED 1-30-13 / Hades river of forgetfulness / New York site of Mark Twain's grave / Cyberspace zine / Deny membership to skater Starbuck / Shul attendees
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Constructor: Will Nediger
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: DON HO HO [Wear snack cake?] — familiar words and phrases ending in "O" have final syllable doubled, creating wacky phrases, clued "?"-style (note: wackiness may or may not require reparsing of base phrase)
- 17A: Coming on to a patient, perhaps? (DOCTOR NO-NO)
- 21A: Deny membership to skater Starbuck? (BAN JO JO)
- 36A: Dictator's directive at a dance club? (LET MY PEOPLE GO-GO)
- 55A: Bad-mouth designer Chanel? (DIS COCO)
- 59A: "Strive for medium quality on this one"? ("MAKE IT SO-SO)
Word of the Day: LILA Kedrova (26A: Kedrova of "Zorba the Greek") —
Lila Kedrova (9 October, c. 1918 – 16 February 2000) was a Russian-born French actress. [...] In 1932, Lila Kedrova joined the Moscow Art Theatre touring company. Then her film career began, mostly in French films, until her first English appearance in 1964 as Mme Hortense in Zorba the Greek. Her performance won her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She then went on to play a series of eccentric or batty ladies in several Hollywood films. In 1983, she reprised her role as Mme Hortense on Broadway in the musical version of Zorba the Greek, winning both aTony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical and a Drama Desk Award in the process. (wikipedia)
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The theme is cute, and the grid is pretty snappy (5 Js!?). My only issue with it is theme consistency—I have to break BANJO and DISCO apart to make the Wackiness work in those theme answers, where with the others, I don't have to break any words in the base phrase. There's nothing in this inconsistency to really diminish enjoyment of the puzzle, but it's bugging me nonetheless. Now, the theme would be pretty hard to flesh out if you had to rely solely on base phrases that ended in two-letter / second-letter-O words. GO, NO, and SO work, but after that ... it's slim pickins. You could use DON HO HO, but you'd still need another 7. Anyway, no big deal, theme's inconsistent, it happens. Oh, I guess I kind of hate the written out "DOCTOR" in DOCTOR NO-NO, since it's only ever DR. NO (I mean ... that's what the novel / movie is called). The solving process was not unpleasant. I mostly tore through this one, except in the NE, where I got slowed down both by having *no* idea what a JOJO Starbuck was (at that point, I didn't have the theme, so I was Really at a loss), and by having CARAT instead of COMMA at 31A: Less-than sign's keymate. That last mistake was really stupid. I think I was thinking of the shape of the CARET (with an E), since the less-than sign is essentially a CARET on its side. Who knows?. As for JO JO Starbuck (again, !?!?!), she was a figure skater of some (but not much) renown in the '70s. She was, however, Terry Bradshaw's second wife, so that's ... something. I'd've gone with 7-time NBA All-Star JO JO White, but ... it is what it is. Anyway, that corner messed me up, but everything else was fast and so my time was pretty normal.
BLADEII (35D: 2002 sequel starring Wesley Snipe) is a terrrrrible answer, and yet I have a strange affection for it (as an answer, not as a film ... though I did enjoy BLADEI). DO THE MAMBO, however colorful, is ridiculous (4D: Dance to Tito Puente, say). It's like WIN THE GAME or EAT THE SANDWICH, or DO THE [insert dance here]. But again, as with BLADEII, it's at least amusing in its outlandishness, so I'm having trouble getting really outraged.
- 29A: Cyberspace 'zine (E-MAG) — among the crosswordese I least enjoy. No. One. Uses. This. "Term."
- 66A: Muslim woman's veil (HIJAB) — a sweet little 5-letter answer. You rarely see it, perhaps because of its odd letter combinations, but I think it's about as fabulous as 5-letter fill gets.
- 32D: Sunday hymn accompaniment (ORGAN MUSIC) — got it easily, and it's definitely a real phrase, but so is CLARINET MUSIC or [any instrument] MUSIC, so there's a GREEN PAINTish feeling to it.
- 46D: City of northern Spain (OVIEDO) — a pretty crosswordy city. I misremembered it as OVIDEO. Which is not getting underlined in red by my computer ... why? Is OVIDEO something? Not that I can see. Well ... there's this ... which I have now watched and cannot unwatch. WTF?
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld