1977 W.W. II film / THU 3-20-14 / Nickname for Anaheim's Angel Stadium / Prominent feminist blog / Young brothers' band / Where Maria Captain have their first kiss in Sound of Music
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Constructor: Victor Barocas
Relative difficulty: Medium to Medium-Challenging
THEME: Get bent! — Some clues are followed by bracketed "Get ___!" exclamations, which refer to things that are supposed to happen to the letter string "GET" in those answers:
- STOREAGETANKS (24A: Oil containers ["Get down!"])
- PATEGURNER (18A: Gripping read ["Get back!"])
- COLLEGETOWNS (50A: Amherst and Orono, for two ["Get up!"])
- ABRIDOOFAR (61A: 1977 W.W. II film ["Get lost!"])
Jezebel is a blog aimed at women's interests, under the tagline "Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for Women. Without Airbrushing." It is one of several blogs owned by Gawker Media. (wikipedia)
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ABRIDOOFAR and PATEGURNER in the grid. There's definitely something clever about the concept—I didn't grasp it fully until after I was done, or until the very end, perhaps, when I was nailing PATEGURNER into place. But somehow the weirdness of bracketed exclamations and the weirdness of the nonsense answers made the whole thing feel fussy. I had the theme, or at least part of the theme, quite early, at STORAGETANKS, and after I got COLLEGETOWNS, I thought the exclamations were just related to the direction the whole answer took at some point. Then I got to ABRIDOOFAR, wrote in ABRIDGETOO, and tried to figure out where the FAR went. Then I saw GET and TEG mirroring each other in the center-west, and instead of picking up the "GET" thing, I thought the equivalent three-letter answers on the east side of the grid would mirror each other, i.e. SAG and … GAS. Only GAS ended up being IT'S … flash-forward and I finished with very little conception of what was really going on. Now I get it (get it?). But I didn't enjoy it. I did enjoy the clue on JEZEBEL, though (45D: Prominent feminist blog). 21st century! I also enjoyed that I got CONGOLESE off just the -ESE. I remember staring at Brazzaville's atlas page recently, thinking, "This place is big … why haven't I heard of this place?" Brazzaville has over a million inhabitants, but what makes it look truly big on a satellite map is its directly-across-the-Congo proximity to Kinshasa, DR Congo, a city of over 9 million.
Theme isn't dense and fill isn't great, which is never a nice combination. 42 black squares should've made for a squeaky clean grid. But no. Other priorities, I guess. Holy crap … [counting] … 80 words?? That's over the max by two. That means the grid Really should've been AFORE- and DREAR- and BIGA- and STER-free. Disappointing.
If you want to see some good puzzles (great puzzles, actually), check out the 2013 Orca Award-winners over at Diary of a Crossword Fiend.
Time for sleep.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld