Child actress Patten of Song of South / THU 4-25-13 / Spring on African grasslands / Trap in Penobscot Bay / Org meting out justice at Hague / Yukon XL maker for short / When said three times frequent line on Odd Couple / Primitive farming equipment / talks offerers of ideas worth spreading
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Constructor: Jeffrey Wechsler
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: PRESTO CHANGEO (50A: Magician's phrase ... or a hint to part of 18-, 25-, 34- and 41-Across) — letters in word "PRESTO" appear, mixed-up, inside four theme answers:
- 18A: Classic cartoon in which "Kill da wabbit" is sung to a Wagner tune ("WHAT'S OPERA DOC?")
- 25A: Onetime presidential candidate on the Forbes 400 list (H. ROSS PEROT)
- 34A: Travel hassle (AIRPORT SECURITY)
- 41A: Trap in Penobscot (LOBSTER POT)
Word of the Day: "WHAT'S OPERA, DOC?"—
What's Opera, Doc? is a 1957 American animated cartoon short in the Merrie Melodies series, directed by Chuck Jones for Warner Bros. Cartoons. TheMichael Maltese story features Elmer Fudd chasing Bugs Bunny through a parody of 19th-century classical composer Richard Wagner's operas, particularlyDer Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) and Tannhäuser. It is sometimes characterized as a condensed version of Wagner's Ring Cycle, and its music borrows heavily from the second opera Die Walküre, woven around the standard Bugs-Elmer conflict.Originally released to theaters by Warner Bros. on July 6, 1957, What's Opera, Doc? features the speaking and singing voices of Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan as Bugs and Elmer respectively. The short is also sometimes informally referred to as ''Kill the Wabbit'' after the line sung by Fudd to the tune of Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries", the opening passage from Act Three of Die Walküre (which is also the leitmotif of the Valkyries).In 1994, What's Opera, Doc? was voted #1 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by 1000 members of the animation field. (wikipedia)
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Sorry, no time to blog this fully this morning. Short review—liked it. Great reveal, and decent-to-great theme answers. Felt much more like a Wednesday than a Thursday, but I'll take a good Wednesday over an awkward, contrived, or weak Thursday any day. I was going to say that there is nothing in this grid that is all obscure or in need of explanation, but then I noticed LUANA (33A: Child actress Patten of "Song of the South"). Wow, that really stands out against the rest of the fill, which is all ordinary words / concepts / names. Except maybe ICC (56D: Org. meting out justice at The Hague). What is that? International Criminal Courts? Yes, but Court. Just Court. Can't remember ever seeing that initialism in a puzzle before. My biggest trouble with this grid was in the little area underneath H.ROSS. Specifically, I had no idea what was in a compote, which I think I was confusing with compost. My first answer was FEAR, which I loved as an answer, but seemed indisputably wrong (FEAR was the result of my having FORT at 32D: Guarded place (POST)). This didn't take that long to clear up, but stands out for requiring any struggle at all. No, wait. I had several different answers at 1D: Squirrel's nuts, maybe (STORE ... STASH ...) before I hit on CACHE.
OK, I gotta run. See you tomorrow.