Some canapé picks / SUN 4-27-14 / Mop's commercial partner / Prankster's patsy / Catchy pop ditties / Hindu part of Indonesia / William who played Hopalong Cassidy / Houston pro informally
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Constructor: John Lampkin
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Predictable Partings" — idioms meaning "left" or "departed" are clued in relation to professions that seem (on a literal level) to be appropriate to them:
- The paparazzo … WAS GONE IN A FLASH
- The demolitionist … BLEW THE JOINT
- The civil engineer … HIT THE ROAD
- The lingerie manufacturer … SLIPPED AWAY
- The chicken farmer … FLEW THE COOP
- The sound technician … MADE TRACKS
- The film director … QUIT THE SCENE
- The soda jerk … RAN LICKETY SPLIT (this doesn't really work … expresses movement but not specifically departure)
- The ecdysiast … TOOK OFF
- The percussionist … BEAT IT
- The van driver … MOVED ON
- The paper doll maker … CUT OUT
(June 5, 1895 – September 12, 1972) was an American film actor known for portraying Hopalong Cassidy. […] In 1935, he was offered the supporting role of Red Connors in the movie Hop-Along Cassidy, but asked to be considered for the title role and won it. The original Hopalong Cassidy character, written by Clarence E. Mulford for pulp fiction, was changed from a hard-drinking, rough-living wrangler to its eventual incarnation as a cowboy hero who did not smoke, swear, or drink alcohol (his drink of choice being sarsaparilla) and who always let the bad guy start the fight. Although Boyd "never branded a cow or mended a fence, cannot bulldog a steer", and disliked Western music, he becameindelibly associated with the Hopalong character and, like rival cowboy stars Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, gained lasting fame in the Western film genre. The Hopalong Cassidy series ended in 1948 after 66 films, with Boyd producing the last 12.
Anticipating television's rise, Boyd spent $350,000 to purchase the rights to the Hopalong Cassidy character, books and films. In 1949, he released the films to television, where they became extremely popular and began the long-running genre of Westerns on television. Like Rogers and Autry, Boyd licensed much merchandise, including such products as Hopalong Cassidy watches, trash cans, cups, dishes, Topps trading cards, a comic strip, comic books, radio shows and cowboy outfits. The actor identified with his character, often dressing as a cowboy in public. Although Boyd's portrayal of Hopalong made him very wealthy, he believed that it was his duty to help strengthen his "friends" - America's youth. The actor refused to license his name for products he viewed as unsuitable or dangerous, and turned down personal appearances at which his "friends" would be charged admission. (wikipedia)
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I, RAE is [Actress Charlotte's autobio]. BOYD was the only answer in the whole grid that was outside my PURVIEW. The puzzle started out very fast for me, but slowed down to normal when I got to the whole S / SE area, where SWORDS made no sense to me as an answer to 91D: Some canapé picks. Aren't canapés like … hors d'oeuvres of some kind. Do you run them through with little plastic swords? Is that what this clue is on about? For whatever reason, the cluing seemed somewhat tougher / vaguer in and around RAN LICKETY SPLIT (which, as I say, is the one real theme outlier). I did enjoy the BUTT/BONER crossing, though, I will admit.
Speaking of that SE section: what the hell is up with SIEG? That's either laziness or bad judgment right there? First off, you always pick the actual English word over the not-widely-known foreign word. Every. Day. Of. The. Week. The actual English word in this case, off the top of my head: DIET. INSPIRED / DIET / STATE. Look at all those real words! But SIEG!? No. No on foreign grounds, as well as no on Hitlerian grounds. Big fat no. Nothing else in the puzzle bothered me very much. Again, as I said, hardly any strong feelings either way on this one. Didn't know TOADS hibernated (106A: Some hibernators). That was my big aha moment of the puzzle. Kind of sad.
Puzzle of the Week: not the greatest week for regular themed puzzles. My favorite was a lovely little puzzle from Sam Donaldson in the LAT on Friday—a simple letter-change theme with (here's the key) genuinely funny results. Terminal "X"s are changed to "G"s, a retagging that's expressed in terms of film re-rating, i.e. phrases are now G-rated, not X-RATED. I also thought Brad Wilber's Saturday themeless in the LAT was fantastic (good week for the LAT)—it's got a SW corner that made me "ooh" out loud: ALADDIN over CRAB RANGOON over ZEPHYR, with MR. DARCY running through the lot. Brad is one of my very favorite themeless constructors—his puzzles are really wide-ranging in their content and the cluing is always really thoughtful. Tough and clever. But the best puzzles this week were contest puzzles (and both are ongoing, so I can't say too much about either one). Honorable mention goes to BEQ's current contest puzzle, "Let's Begin" (get it here), a meta puzzle that took me a little while to figure out. I saw one element right away, but the "six-word phrase" took me down a lot of dead ends before I found the non-dead one. Puzzle of the Week, though, goes (again) to a Fireball puzzle–specifically, Evan Birnholz's "White Lies," which was Hard As Hell, but worth it. Thankfully, though it is a contest puzzle, there is no meta angle to puzzle over. If you can manage to solve it (good luck), the answer will be obvious. Do it. I mean, subscribe to Fireball, then do it.
See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld