Bond Girl Green of Casino Royale / WED 7-24-13 / One of two characters in Fox in Socks / Porphyria's love poet / Charlotte's Web actress / Symbol after I on many bumper sticker / Tropical food that is poisonous if eaten raw / Scooter Plame affair figure
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Constructor: Erik Wennstrom
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Famous people clued as if their last names were present participles
- 20A: "Charlotte's Web" actress on a hot day? (DAKOTA FANNING)
- 28A: "A Brief History of Time" author doing sales? (STEPHEN HAWKING)
- 46A: "Porphyria's Lover" poet with a pan of ground beef on the stove? (ROBERT BROWNING)
- 55A: "Tom Jones" novelist playing baseball? (HENRY FIELDING)
Word of the Day: "NCIS: LA" (49D: CBS drama featuring LL Cool J) —
NCIS: Los Angeles (Naval Criminal Investigative Service: Los Angeles) is an American television seriescombining elements of the military drama and police procedural genres, which premiered on the CBS network on September 22, 2009. In the USA, the series airs following NCIS on Tuesdays.NCIS: Los Angeles is the first spin-off of the successful NCIS, which itself was a spinoff of another CBS series, JAG. On October 7, 2009, CBS gave the series a full-season pickup, extending the first season to 22 episodes. The season was extended again on November 4, 2009, when CBS announced its order for an additional two episodes. [...] On March 27, 2013, CBS renewed NCIS: Los Angeles for a fifth season. (wikipedia)
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DAKOTA I expect that the second half of the answer will be a play on the word "fanning"—not the Actual Word FANNING. That's just how my brain works, given lots and lots and lots of experience with these kinds of puzzles. Also, "doing sales" in the STEPHEN HAWKING clue somehow didn't create any kind of immediate association. I can see how they are defensibly equivalent, but you'd never substitute one for the other. The phrasing's just weird. Anyway, this is all just to say that I looked for the curve and got a fastball over the plate. Once I caught the theme, the rest was super-easy (didn't even look at the clues for the second two theme answers). But that off-balance part at the beginning put things in plausibly Wednesdayish territory, overall difficulty-wise.
BIZKIT (3D: Rock's Limp ___). And I don't just mean "the sound of that band's music makes me sad." I mean that, as much as I love Zs and Ks, this answer can only ever be a partial and can only ever have one clue, one frame of reference. That makes it limited, doomed to forever be a know-it-or-you-don't bit of (partial) trivia. And with every passing year, the frame of reference just gets sadder and dimmer. Also, "Rock" called, and it would like to deny the association. On the other hand, I kind of love "NCIS: LA," partly because it has the virtue of being a *complete* answer, and partly because it just looks nuts in the grid. Hot initialism-on-initialism action. Also, I learned that it's a spin-off of a spin-off that is Going To Spawn Its Own Spin-off this fall. This raises many questions, one of which is "what is the record length of a spin-off chain?" The "NCIS: LA" spin-off would put the chain length at four, which I've just Never heard of. But then again I've never seen a single ep of "JAG" or "NCIS" or "NCIS: LA," either, so what do I know?
- 42A: Bond girl Green of "Casino Royale" (EVA) — Bond Girls just aren't as name-famous as they once were. I can name ... Ursula Andress. I think that's it. Wait, who played Pussy Galore? Ah, Honor Blackman. I knew there was an "Avengers" connection in there somewhere.
- 51A: One of the two characters in Dr. Seuss' "Fox in Socks" (KNOX) — did not know that. Don't think I know this story at all. Pretty sure I was limited to "One Fish, Two Fish...," "Green Eggs and Ham," and the Dr. Seuss Dictionary. No Lorax, no Yertle ... I have weird, big Seuss gaps.
- 62A: One-volume works of Shakespeare, e.g. (TOME) — I misread and continue to misread this clue. There are many one-volume works of Shakespeare. I have tons on my shelves at school. "The Tempest," that's one volume. "Hamlet," that's another. Etc. I see what the clue is trying to say (i.e. one-volume *complete* works of Shakespeare), but it did Not compute.