Jermaine of NBA / SUN 4-20-14 / Financial writer Marshall / Chaim 1971 Best Actor nominee / ESPN broadcaster Bob / Artist's alias with accent / Fine hosiery material / Renault model with mythological name / Best-selling novelist whom Time called Bard of litigious age
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "On Wheels" — theme answers contain words that are also car models. Underneath each model name are two "wheels," represented by circled "O"s
- CIVIC PRIDE
- HORN SONATA
- MUSTANG SALLY
- BARBER OF SEVILLE
- SAN DIEGO CHARGER
- BEETLE BAILEY
- OPTIMA CARD
- C.S. FORESTER
Chaim Topol (Hebrew: חיים טופול; born September 9, 1935), often billed simply as Topol, is an Israelitheatrical and film performer, singer, actor, writer and producer. He has been nominated for an Oscar and a Tony Award, and has won two Golden Globes. […]
Some of Topol's other notable film appearances were the title role in Galileo (1975), Dr. Hans Zarkov in Flash Gordon (1980), and as Milos Columbo in theJames Bond movie For Your Eyes Only (1981). (wikipedia)
• • •STN (12D: Common newsstand locale: Abbr.), and never corrected it when the crossing answer eventually turned into the probably-nonsensical HORA SONATA. Also, I'd written in ROMA, which seemed very reasonable, at 78D: "La Dolce Vita" setting (ROME). This left me with BEATLE BAILEY, which looks Just Fine to my eye. Thanks, Beatles, for making that spelling seem reasonable. Speaking of BEETLE BAILEY, that clue (93A: Walker's strip) was wicked hard, especially compared to the softballs that dominate the rest of the clue list. I needed nearly every cross before the answer became evident. Actually, I don't think it ever became evident—not until I'd finished and went back and looked at the puzzle, anyway. Clever clue, good clue, but jarring clue in comparison to all the rest.
Ah, I just got 96D: City that sounds like a humdinger? (BUTTE). My sister likes to tell the story of the time she and her family went on a road trip and the GPS had pronunciation problems—it kept telling them that they were nearing "Crested Butt." She had (still has) young boys, so as you can imagine, hilarity ensued. This is just to explain why now, when I see BUTTE, I think "butt" and not "beaut!" One other answer that gave me an odd lot of trouble was BRING (54D: Give rise to). That clue was not helping at all. I see now, that April showers BRING May flowers, so it works, but I had -RING and still wasn't really sure what the answer was. Weird.
Puzzle of the Week this week was not close. There were some very good puzzles. A Peter Gordon themeless (Fireball Crosswords) with interlocking pairs of 15s that puts All 15-Stack Puzzles To Shame (read about it here). A beautiful Doug Peterson themeless (Washington Post Puzzler, 4/13) that's fresh and slangy while still being clean and accessible (get it here—make sure you choose 4/13) (read about it here). Another Doug Peterson puzzle—this one co-authored with Joon Pahk ("Party Lines" / Chronicle of Higher Ed., 4/18)—that features ridiculous but truly funny puns (get it here) (read about it here). And a Ben Tausig puzzle ("Odds and Evens") that made me laugh repeatedly with its alternate ways of reading the theme answers (get it here) (read about it here). But the clear winner was this week's American Values Club contest puzzle by Francis Heaney, entitled "Flight Path" (4/16) (get it here for a dollar, or just subscribe to American Values Club Crosswords already. Geez). "The grid below represents a prison, from which you must escape"—that's the opening line of the puzzle's explanatory note. While not terribly hard (it's listed as a 4.5/5 difficulty level, but I'd put it more around 3), it is truly elegantly constructed, and even after I figured out what the general trick was, it was still a great pleasure to watch the solution fall into place. Francis made my favorite puzzle of 2013—another American Values Club contest puzzle called "Seasonal Staff" (read about it here). He's setting the bar for contest puzzles, and puzzles in general, really, really high.
Speaking of contest puzzles, still lots of time to get in on Patrick Blindauer's "Xword University" puzzle suite. He blurbs it better than I could:
Ever wanted to earn your Honorary Bachelor's Degree in Enigmatology? Well, now you can. Patrick Blindauer's 5th Puzzlefest, "Xword University," has a collegiate theme and is available now at patrickblindauer.com. It consists of a dozen crosswords, each of which leads to an answer. Combine all of your answers to solve the meta-puzzle, and email the correct answer to be eligible for the random drawing of puzzle books. (Contest ends at 11:30 ET on April 27 but XU will remain open indefinitely.) For only $15 you'll be guaranteed admission and will receive an invitation to Patrick's College Puzzlefest Google Group where you can access the PDF of puzzles.Patrick's puzzles are reliably great, so you should probably enroll now.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld