1950s TV star Duncan / SUN 2-10-13 / Nickname of jazz's Earl Hines / Funeral blues writer / Old World deer / Ancient Roman author Quintus / Percussive dance troupe / World capital situated in what was once ancient Thrace / Skull session result / Tangy salad leaves
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "I Heard You the First Time" — "Somewhat redundant" theme answers all feature repeated words
Word of the Day: RENALDO (85D: 1950s TV star Duncan) —
Renault Renaldo Duncan (April 23, 1904 – September 3, 1980), better known as Duncan Renaldo, was a Romanian-born American actor best remembered for his portrayal of The Cisco Kid in films and on the 1950-1956 American TV series, The Cisco Kid. (wikipedia)
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"Did you mean RONALDO?" No, Google, I didn't, but I understand why you ask. I really do.
Not one of my favorite Patrick Berrys. It's cute-ish, but Awfully Easy in the theme department—I didn't have to think more than a few seconds about any of the answers except possibly "THE WILD WILD WEST" (but only because I couldn't quite believe he was going to start a theme answer with "THE" when all the others start with the double-word pairing ... the final theme answer doesn't, but it breaks the doubling convention too, and anyway final theme answers are allowed a certain amount of latitude / ridiculousness). It had a certain Berryesque thorniness in the fill, but overall ended up pretty dang easy, and not as interesting as I'm used to with PB puzzles. Most disappointing was the reliance on pretty obscure proper nouns in the long Downs. I like when Sunday grids are open, and there are a preponderance of long answers, but only if those long answers are gold. You've heard me say before that trying to drive a Down through *three* theme answers is usually a losing proposition, and here that is true ... twice. ELLSWORTH is ???? (sorry I'm not excited by a South Dakota Air Force base—I doubt most solvers will have heard of this) and RENALDO—well, the less said, the better. You all know that the 50s is sixty years ago now, and that this guy was barely a celebrity *then*. Ugh. I actually finished with an error—had RANALDO and HAH, because though the most plausible name, RONALDO, was clearly wrong, surely RANALDO was the next most likely answer (HAH seemed plenty laughish to me). But no. RENALDO. SHEESH and yeesh. Even after spending a minute or so hunting down that mistake, I finished in just over 11 minutes. So, yeah, easy, and not exciting.
- 22A: Somewhat redundant 1965 country song? ("GREEN GREEN GRASS OF HOME")
- 30A: Somewhat redundant Milton Bradley game? (HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPOS)
- 49A: Somewhat redundant size? (EXTRA EXTRA LARGE)
- 64A: Somewhat redundant 1960s spy series? ("THE WILD WILD WEST")
- 83A: Somewhat redundant literary genre? (SHORT SHORT STORY)
- 100A: Somewhat redundant theater production? (OFF OFF BROADWAY SHOW)
- 112A: Extremely redundant 1963 caper film? ("IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD)
- 17A: "Funeral Blues" writer (AUDEN) — toughie for me. Figured I was looking for a composer, a W.C. HANDY, or a Willie DIXON, or a FATHA Hines, perhaps (101D: Nickname of Jazz's Earl Hines).
- 57A: "Nick News" host Linda (ELLERBEE) — used to see her a lot in the 80s, never see her now. Perhaps because I don't watch "Nick News."
- 78A: Like some passages in a symphony (THEMATIC) — I was gonna go with OPERATIC at some point, which is not a good guess, but it's a better guess than IONIA is for 90D: World capital situated in what was once ancient Thrace (SOFIA).
- 3D: Skull session result (IDEA) — Come on. "Skull session"? WTF?
- 5D: Ancient Roman author Quintus ___ (ENNIUS) — Yipes. That is some rough stuff. I took Classical Latin for a bit and couldn't tell you a thing this guy wrote. Let's see ... hmm, seems "only fragments of his work survive," but he was influential. OK. I feel less bad now.
- 15D: Percussive dance troupe (STOMP) — I remember them from such decades as the '90s. See also "Rent."
- 31D: MTV's earliest viewers, mostly (GEN X) — Yes. I was one of said viewers. But I wrote in XERS here at first.
- 79D: Nabisco treats sold only seasonally (MALLOMARS) — never had one. I'm vaguely aware of their existence. Still, got this answer easily.
- 97D: "Music for the Royal Fireworks" composer (HANDEL) — Ugh (on me). Brain went HAYDN! Stupid brain. Can't keep my H-composers straight. HOLST is "The Planets." I know that.