Hunger Games chaperon / MON 2-25-13 / Old-time actress Dolores / Observance prescribed in Book of Esther / It's headquartered at Naval Station Pearl Harbor / Actor Brendan of Journey to Center of Earth / Hearty-flavored brew / Slender shorebird
Monday, February 25, 2013
Constructor: Angela Olson Halsted
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Monday*)
THEME: Cut to the quick — theme answers all end in words that can mean "quick"
- 17A: Iced tea brand (LIPTON BRISK)
- 27A: Observance prescribed in the Book of Esther (THREE-DAY FAST)
- 47A: It's headquartered at Naval Station Pearl Harbor (PACIFIC FLEET)
- 62A: Country singer with the 2012 #1 hit "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (TAYLOR SWIFT)
Word of the Day: Dolores DEL RIO (36A: Old-time actress Dolores) —
Dolores del Río (August 3, 1905 in Durango, Mexico – April 11, 1983 in Newport Beach, California) was a Mexican film actress. She was a star inHollywood in the 1920s and 1930s, and was one of the most important female figures of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema in the 1940s and 1950s. She was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time, a mythical figure in Latin America and quintessential representation of the feminine face of Mexico in the world. (wikipedia)
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Congratulations to my good friend Angela on this, her NYT solo debut. This was definitely crunchier than your average Monday, with some mild WTF-ery here and there (color me ignorant of the THREE-DAY FAST thing, and also of the RYE BEER (26D: Hearty-flavored brew), which, presumably, such a fast would preclude ... you can't drink beer on a fast, can you? Is there such thing as a beer fast? Is there!?). Had trouble here and there—with the aforementioned answers; with the end of LIPTON BRISK (me: "it's tea ... but 'tea' is in the clue ... but it's LIPTON tea ... uh ..."); with COAST (off the "T," I went with INLET for some reason) (37A: Where an ocean and a continent meet); with MASCULINE (at least until I got past the MA- part, which suggested any number of "man"-type answers ... yeah, I know, "man" is in the clue, but I was flying) (34D: Like a he-man); oh, and FRASER (51A: Actor Brendan of "Journey to the Center of the Earth")—that clue is absurd. Is that movie recent? If a movie falls in the woods ... I thought answer called for another "old-time" actor because the title certainly sounded old. But it's just the guy from "Encino Man." Weird. I had to laugh at TAYLOR SWIFT; Angela has a daughter about my daughter's age, and I know there is some Swift fandom in the house. Even though I'm a huge hardboiled fiction fan, I like the modern update on the old [Sam Spade's secretary] clue for EFFIE (53D: "The Hunger Games" chaperon). Interesting. So: simple theme, nicely executed, occasional weirdness. All in all, nice Monday, good debut.
I was playing Ferde Grofe's "Grand Canyon Suite" on my turntable earlier today. My first thought on looking at the album cover: "How in the world have I never seen either FERDE or GROFÉ in a puzzle before!? How Was This Man Denied His Place In Crosswordese History!?!"