Old World blackbird / MON 7-1-13 / l'oeil (optical illusion) / Whodunit awards / Furniture finish / "Evil Woman" band, for short / Group for kids of problem drinkers / Regd. names
Monday, July 1, 2013
Constructor: Patrick McIntyre
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: SHOWDOWNS — Answers to starred down clues are also names of Broadway musicals.
Word of the Day: MERL (19A: Old World blackbird) —
The Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) is a species of true thrush. It is also called Eurasian Blackbird (especially in North America, to distinguish it from the unrelated New World blackbirds), or simply Blackbird, where this does not lead to confusion with a similar-looking local species. It breeds in Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and has been introduced to Australia and New Zealand. It has a number of subspecies across its large range; a few of the Asian subspecies are sometimes considered to be full species. Depending on latitude, the Common Blackbird may be resident, partially migratory or fully migratory. [Wikipedia]
• • •I would have preferred the clue "Crossword constructor Reagle featured in Wordplay" for MERL (see Word of the Day). Crossing that with TROMPE (1D: ____ l'oeil (optical illusion)) is why I gave this a medium. I can imagine some might have failed the puzzle there. Perhaps MERL is crosswordese I should know by know, but alas I do not.
Add to that my start with BROKER instead of the correct TRADER (1A: Stock exchange worker), and I had a few minor bumps to overcome.
Tyler (not Hinman) Clark from Youngstown here to walk you through Monday's puzzle. It was an odd puzzle for me; when I wrote the answer RENT (6D: *Torn), I actually thought Hey, that's also a musical. But, when I wrote the theme revealer SHOWDOWNS (21D: Decisive confrontations ... or what the answers to the six starred clues are?) I was going too quickly to not take it literally, and even after writing the other theme answers, I still hadn't put it together. All told, the theme didn't affect my solving experience and was just something to enjoy once I had finished.
- RENT (6D: Torn)
- HAIRSPRAY (8D: Salon supply)
- CHICAGO (10D: The Windy City)
- FOOTLOOSE (35D: Partner of fancy-free)
- CABARET (46D: Nightclub)
- CATS (63D: Jazz devotees, informally)
I was actually just listening to a live recording of the original 1971 Broadway cast of Follies, so I guess this is the perfect night for this theme for me. I was going to snidely remark that Footloose doesn't belong on this list, but when I looked up its run, it played over 700 performances, so I suppose you have to give it credit for that.
- KNAVE (53A: Scoundrel) — I just like the word and don't remember seeing it in many puzzles.
- EAVED (59A: Having a roof overhang) — I filled it in immediately, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
- YOO (48A: "___-hoo") — I wrote "WOO" before HAIRSPRAY told me that was wrong.
- BAD IDEA (69A: "Don't even think about it") — I don't know why, but I wrote BACK OFF as the first thing in that corner, with only "BA..." to start me off. Knew from DEA (70D: Narc's org.) that this was ... off.
- STD (7D: Benchmark: Abbr.) — You'll need to subscribe to The AV Club xwords to get a punchier clue than that.
Signed, Tyler Clark, Fan of CrossWorld