Humorist Bennett / WED 10-9-13 / One ringy-dingy comic / Bleeding Love singer Lewis / Three-time NHL All-Star Kovalchuk / Together in Toulouse / Christine heroine of Phantom of Opera / U2 song paying tribute to American icon / First in line of Russian grand princes
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Constructor: Jason Flinn
Relative difficulty: Easy/Challenging
- 17A: With 20-Across, story by 42-Across on which the movie "Blade Runner" is based ("DO ANDROIDS DREAM / OF ELECTRIC SHEEP")
- 54A: With 59-Across, story by 42-Across on which the movie "Total Recall" is based ("WE CAN REMEMBER IT / FOR YOU WHOLESALE")
Word of the Day: Bennett CERF (23D: Humorist Bennett) —
Bennett Alfred Cerf (May 25, 1898 – August 27, 1971) was an American publisher, one of the founders of American publishing firm Random House. Cerf was also known for his own compilations of jokes and puns, for regular personal appearances lecturing across the United States, and for his television appearances in the panel game show What's My Line? (wikipedia)
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I just described this to my wife as a "break hard/break easy" puzzle. You either know the stories or you don't, and if you don't, ha ha, god help you. Actually, I knew the top one cold, and needed some crosses to get the bottom one. But I knew it, so I didn't need too many crosses. As a result, I was under four minutes today—very, very fast for me, for a Wednesday. It helps that I have a massive vintage paperback collection containing many of DICK's early novels (not to mention an entire website dedicated to said collection). But this is a pure trivia puzzle, and while I'm of course thrilled to slay a Wednesday so quickly, I can't say it's a *good* puzzle, precisely because it's Just Trivia. I love how the stories miraculously break into such neat and stackable 15-letter segments. But if you are not a DICK fan, this isn't going to be too pleasant. Especially since the fill is not that great. I had to use DAAE once in a puzzle and it absolutely killed me. Inside. Like, I had nightmares about it. This puzzle over relies on such, let's say, odd, names (four of them at least: DAAE, ILYA, STAEL, LEONA). It also has PEWEE crossing REPEN [frowny face]. The AWFUL UNIE. Etc. So, big thumbs up to DICK as a writer, and to the fantastic luck that the stories stack this way. But mixed feelings about the puzzle qua puzzle.
Wife said "this was like two different puzzles." She flew through everything on top (that story is easily Dick's most famous) and then ground to a halt down below (a much less famous story punning on the title of a once-famous but now little-remembered book (and musical), "I Can Get It For You Wholesale." Or maybe the musical is famous. I wouldn't know famous from unfamous where most musicals are concerned. At any rate, perhaps this puzzled played like two different puzzles for you, too. I wouldn't be surprised.
- 31A: Music magazine founded by Bob Guccione Jr. (SPIN) — Sr. published Penthouse, (in)famously.
- 36A: Like bits of old music in some new music (SAMPLED) — nice modern clue here. Like it.
- 30D: U2 song paying tribute to an American icon ("MLK") — I knew they sang about MLK in "Pride," but I didn't realize they gave him his own song. Interesting.
- 47D: "One ringy-dingy" comic (TOMLIN) — love her, but this bit doesn't ring a bell. I thought this was some Rat Pack thing, but I was thinking "ring-a-ding."