1997 role for Will Smith / SAT 4-3-14 / Sociologist Mannheim / Organized crime enforcers of 1930s-'40s / Film featuring Peter Sellers as matador / Moderator of tribal councils on TV / 1971 song that was CSI NY theme / Watson big name in deli meat / Bygone publication subtitled America's Only Rock 'n' Roll Magazine
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Constructor: Sam Ezersky
Relative difficulty: Challenging
Word of the Day: "The BOBO" (16A: Film featuring Peter Sellers as a matador, with "The") —
The Bobo is a 1967 British comedy film starring Peter Sellers and co-starring his then-wife Britt Ekland.Based on the 1959 novel Olimpia by Burt Cole, also known as Thomas Dixon, Sellers is featured as the would-be singing matador, Juan Bautista. A theater manager offers to give him a big break if he seduces the beautiful Olimpia (Ekland) and spends an hour in her apartment with the lights off. The plot centers around Juan's attempts to woo the woman and famously includes Sellers covered in blue dye as the "Blue Matador." (wikipedia)
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DIETZ & Watson (is this regional?) or "The BOBO" (I've never heard of this, and I mean "never" literally—it is clearly a movie that exists in the world, but it sounds totally made up, and if you'd presented me with the above summary of a hypothetical movie an hour ago, I would've sworn you were just making sh*t up—completely implausible sh*t). To be clear, the grid is perfectly well made. Fill is just fine. But it was more slog than joy.
MURDER INC. til quite late despite having MURDER- in place (!) (7D: Organized crime enforcers of the 1930s-'40s). And ALASKA KING CRAB (35A: One with long, luscious legs) didn't surface til quite late either, largely because the NE and SW sections (extending all the way to that central answer) were sooooooo much harder than the other corners, which I was able to knock off in Friday-like time. Something about the idea of MAMA as a "MILK producer" just feels kind of creepy to me, despite its technical correctness. To be clear, breast-feeding doesn't creep me out at all. Far from it. But somehow the clue puts me in mind of dairy cows, and MAMA seems to encompass so much more than just lactation. Anyway, I considered MAMS (is that an abbrev.??) but never MAMA. I don't really know what HEELERS are (44A: Many party hacks)—they make people fall in line, somehow? Never ever heard a kid "cry" "I'M IT" (59A: Cry that makes children run away) —"You're it!," sure. People don't usually claim "It," and when they are "It," they don't cry it out. Also, I thought GEDS were primarily for non-college-bound / non-academically successful kids. The home-schooled kids I know are invariably stellar students. So GEDS … never crossed my mind. PSALMIST, tough (31A: David, e.g.); AGENT J, ridiculously tough (I assume that's from Men In Black, but … people remember their agent letters?) (30A: 1997 role for Will Smith).
I didn't like the cheap gimmes, either. Always depressing to have your only real toeholds coming from pop culture, i.e. (today) FALCO, PROBST, CLYDE, and ESAI. It was as if the rest of the puzzle had been clued too hard, so there were these occasional Tuesday/Wednesday-type clues thrown in as life preservers. Less than satisfying. Last letter in the grid was the "Z" in DIETZ / ZIG. SINEW was just wicked hard to get—had SIN-, couldn't figure it out. Thought blue jack was TUNA, but that's skipjack, I think (34A: Fish also known as a blue jack => COHO). WIIMOTE is probably my favorite thing in the grid (26A: Hand-held game device), and I got it very very late. Overall, it's a nicely put together grid—it just lacked an admittedly hard-to-quantify fun factor. At least for me.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld