Borstal Boy author Brendan / TUE 6-18-13 / 1984 Patrick Swayze film set in cold war / TV addict slangily / Fruity red wine familiarly / Old platter player / Words sung with love in 1967 #1 hit / Like many Mr Bean skit
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Constructor: Tim Croce
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Tues.*)
THEME: R AND D (40A: Corporate division, informally ... or a hint to the answers to the eight starred clues) — starred clues have two-word answers where first word starts with "R" and second with "D"
- 4D: *Numbers fed into a computer (RAW DATA)
- 20A: *Lead singer of the Kinks (RAY DAVIES)
- 18A: *Beverly Hills shopping district (RODEO DRIVE)
- 37A: *It might stretch a seventh-inning stretch (RAIN DELAY)
- 42A: *Hora, e.g. (RING DANCE)
- 59A: *"James and the Giant Peach" author (ROALD DAHL)
- 46D: *1984 Patrick Swayze film set in the cold war ("RED DAWN") (shouldn't "Cold War" be capitalized?)
- 62A: *Fertile area where a stream empties into an ocean (RIVER DELTA)
Word of the Day: Brendan BEHAN (2D: "Borstal Boy" author Brendan) —
// bee-ən; Irish: Breandán Ó Beacháin; 9 February 1923 – 20 March 1964) was an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, and playwright who wrote in bothEnglish and Irish. He was also an Irish republican and a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army. Born in Dublin into a republican family, he became a member of the IRA's youth organisation Fianna Éireann at the age of fourteen. However, there was also a strong emphasis on Irish history and culture in the home, which meant he was steeped in literature and patriotic ballads from a tender age. Behan eventually joined the IRA at sixteen, which led to him serving time in a borstal youth prison in the United Kingdom and was also imprisoned in Ireland. During this time, he took it upon himself to study and he became a fluent speaker of the Irish language. Subsequently released from prison as part of a general amnesty given by the Fianna Fáil government in 1946, Behan moved between homes in Dublin, Kerry andConnemara and also resided in Paris for a period. // In 1954, Behan's first play The Quare Fellow was produced in Dublin. It was well received; however, it was the 1956 production at Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop in Stratford, London, that gained Behan a wider reputation - this was helped by a famous drunken interview on BBC television. In 1958, Behan's play in the Irish language An Giall had its debut at Dublin's Damer Theatre. Later, The Hostage, Behan's English-language adaptation ofAn Giall, met with great success internationally. Behan's autobiographical novel, Borstal Boy, was published the same year and became a worldwide bestseller. // He married Beatrice Ffrench-Salkeld in 1955. Behan was known for his drink problem, which resulted in him suffering from diabetes, which ultimately resulted in his death on 20 March 1964. He was given an IRA guard of honour which escorted his coffin and it was described by several newspapers as the biggest funeral since those of Michael Collins and Charles Stewart Parnell. (wikipedia)
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RAY DAVIES is probably my favorite of the theme answers—he is also the most likely to be unknown to solvers, although he's pretty damned famous, having been the lead singer of The Kinks for so many years. I don't think I've seen the word VIDIOT (67A: TV addict, slangily) since maybe the '80s ... but that only endears it to me, somehow. Also from the '80s—"RED DAWN." I seem to be just the right age for this puzzle (adolescent in the '80s), which may be why I tore through this thing far faster than most of the times I'm seeing posted on the NYT applet. A full minute faster than the bulk of the people I consider my solving peers. Some days everything just clicks. I finished in a normal time, but I think that overall it's going to play somewhat harder than average.
Yesterday I mentioned the phenomenon of Scrabble-f*cking, and the NE features a textbook example of what I'm talking about. That "Q" is completely gratuitous. It doesn't even get you a *word*. Just two abbrevs., one of them ugly as hell (QEII) (11D: Long-reigning English monarch, informally). Speaking of ABBR.—seems at least mildly unfair on a Tuesday not to have anything in the clue indicating that the answer is, indeed, and ABBR. (1A: Self-descriptive crossword answer). Compare this to the "Z" in the SW, which is not at all gratuitous. You get a common last name (with a nice contemporary clue) and then a short form of ZINfandel (69A: Fruity red wine, familiarly). All surrounding fill is clean. Lesson: use the high-value Scrabble tile only if there will be no collateral damage. Otherwise, try something else.