Greek hunter trained by Chiron / FRI 3-7-14 / Merino Suffolk Dorset / Word on biblical wall / TV show that debuted on 9/22/04 11/3/94 1/5/70 / Container for Rip Van Winkle / King of terrors per Job 18
Friday, March 7, 2014
Constructor: Matt Ginsberg
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: imagined "parent's distressed cry" composed entirely of TV shows for some reason —
"THE NANNY / LOST / ALL MY CHILDREN"
Word of the Day: ACTAEON (47A: Greek hunter trained by Chiron) —
Actaeon (//; Ancient Greek: Ἀκταίων), in Greek mythology, son of the priestly herdsmanAristaeus and Autonoe in Boeotia, was a famous Theban hero. Like Achilles in a later generation, he was trained by the centaur Chiron.He fell to the fatal wrath of Artemis, but the surviving details of his transgression vary: "the only certainty is in what Aktaion suffered, his pathos, and what Artemis did: the hunter became the hunted; he was transformed into a stag, and his raging hounds, struck with a 'wolf's frenzy' (Lyssa), tore him apart as they would a stag." This is the iconic motif by which Actaeon is recognized, both in ancient art and in Renaissance and post-Renaissance depictions. (wikipedia)
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I don't quite understand the concept. Why would you make an imagined parental distress cry out of the titles of unrelated TV shows? Is there a connection? Also, why is the symmetry … non-existent? I'd think maybe, for some high concept, you could break convention, but I'm failing to see what warrants it here. Mainly, the gag just seems corny to me. Puzzle just wasn't on my wavelength humor-wise, cluing-wise, or any-wise. Seems solid enough, there are good answers here and there, but conceptually, I don't get it. I'd much MUCH rather have a good themeless (what I expect from a Friday) than this.
A 72-worder on a Friday should simply be much, much cleaner than this, but I guess theme constraints (to some extent) made that difficult. SHMO (!?), CRAN, ETTE, ALIA, ESSE, ATTN, RLS, TALI, CHIA, SWEE, ENISLE, MENE, EARED, NICHT, KETT, SYNE, ERSE, FTC … Too much subpar stuff. Fridays should be for bold, clean grids. HAZMAT SUIT (29D: Requirement for special handling?) and SCHADENFREUDE (27A: Guilty pleasure?) are of course great, but nothing else is. This may just be one of those days where some people are "tickled" by this sort of "joke." So if the "joke" was worth it to you, then I guess it worked. And if not, not.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld