Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Constructor: Matthew E. Paronto and Jeff Chen
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
- 17A: Say that neither side benefited (CALL IT A WASH)
- 23A: Strand (LEAVE HIGH AND DRY)
- 34A: Start being printed (GO TO PRESS)
- 48A: Join a community again (RETURN TO THE FOLD)
Lon Chaney (April 1, 1883 – August 26, 1930), born Leonidas Frank Chaney, was an American actor during the age of silent films. He is regarded as one of the most versatile and powerful actors of early cinema, renowned for his characterizations of tortured, often grotesque and afflicted characters, and his groundbreaking artistry with makeup. Chaney is known for his starring roles in such silent horror films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925). His ability to transform himself using makeup techniques he developed earned him the nickname "The Man of a Thousand Faces." (wikipedia)
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Turns out I get LON Chaney confused with Peter Lorre, despite their looking nothing alike. I guess "old-timey actor" + "Lo- name" => brain scramble.
This was a solid, if fairly rudimentary and old-fashioned-feeling, effort. Last words have something in common—that's a pretty common theme type. Not sure why the revealer clue didn't have a "?" at the end of it, since, WASH, DRY, PRESS and FOLD do not constitute a "laundry list" in the normal sense in which that word is used. In fact, I'm not sure what a "laundry list" is. I mean, I know that it just means "a long list," but I wonder what it was supposed to mean, originally. A list of the … things to be laundered? Grocery list, I get. LAUNDRY LIST is less self-evident to me. Anyway, there's no great fill here and no answers that couldn't have been in the puzzle decades ago (except maybe YAO). Fill isn't terrible, but it is somewhat stale. Best stuff is the theme stuff. Grid-spanners are both nice. Not sure why there are cheaters*, but there are. Not sure why SWED (!) is clued [Nor. neighbor], when the absurd four-letter abbr. answer really calls for an equally absurd four-letter abbrev. in the clue (yes, Norw. is, miraculously, an accepted abbrev. and has been in puzzles before; many times).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
*black squares that do not add to word count and exist solely to make grid easier to fill (today, the square above 15D and below 49D)