Freud disciple Alfred / SUN 5-25-14 / Rapture of Canaan author Reynolds / Ferrell's cheerleading partner on SNL / Stylist's goop / Cobbler's heirloom
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Constructor: Dan Schoenholz
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "Change of Program" — homophones turn TV show titles wacky:
- DAZE OF OUR LIVES (23A: Stoners' memoirs?)
- THE EX FILES (28A: Leverage in divorce negotiations?)
- TWIN PEEKS (15D: Double takes?)
- THE AWED COUPLE (46A: Dumbstruck duo?)
- SECTS AND THE CITY (62A: Tale of metropolitan religious diversity?)
- AMERICAN IDYLL (85A: Grant Wood portrayal?)
- BRAKING BAD (99A: Having trouble slowing down?)
- AWL IN THE FAMILY (110A: Cobbler's heirloom?)
- MIAMI VISE (76D: Tight spot in South Florida?)
"The Bells" is a heavily onomatopoeic poem by Edgar Allan Poe which was not published until after his death in 1849. It is perhaps best known for the diacopic use of the word "bells." The poem has four parts to it; each part becomes darker and darker as the poem progresses from "the jingling and the tinkling" of the bells in part 1 to the "moaning and the groaning" of the bells in part 4. (wikipedia) [Diacope is a rhetorical term meaning repetition of a word or phrase with one or two intervening words. It derives from a Greek word meaning "cut in two" (wikipedia)]
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ASYE, HAPS, ENS, OUTA, GELEE, and assorted short gunk, but it's spread out, and none of it is that jarring. Weirdly, I didn't even notice that all the theme answers were puns on television shows until I was done. The whole time I was thinking "So … they're respellings … why?" Now I see why. Everything works fine—it just didn't interest me much.
Turns out I have been pronouncing both IDYLL and VISE wrong all my life. Well, the former I've been pronouncing British, I guess (short "i"), and the latter I've been pronouncing "vize." But I looked them both up and technically they are, in fact, homophones of the original TV title words. This is the kind of puzzle where even the errors are boring. I mean, who wants to get bogged down in the T-BILLS T-BONDS T-NOTES thing. I may have invented T-BONDS … nope, they're real. Anyway, yawn. Is it ALIA or ALII! I'm on the edge of my seat. Oh, I had SEAT before SLIP. Also not exciting. Had SMALE instead of SWALE, lord knows why. What's a SMALE? Wordnik says:
Well that explains it. Eight years of constant Chaucer exposure has apparently left me susceptible to some kind of archaic word syndrome.
I did enjoy remembering LL Cool J. But that's about all I really enjoyed.
Puzzle of the Week this week could easily have gone to Peter Wentz for his fantastic themeless yesterday, but I have been somewhat under-hyping Matt Gaffney's Crossword Contest all year long, and it's about time I rectified that. See, it's a metapuzzle, and it comes out on Friday, but the answer to the meta isn't revealed until Tuesday, and it's in that intervening time that I decide Puzzle of the Week. If I haven't yet figured out the meta (it sometimes takes days), I don't feel like I have enough info to say "This Is The Puzzle Of The Week." So this week I'm gonna pick a puzzle from *last* Friday, just because the meta is so freaking fantastic it demands recognition. I did not figure out the meta. To be fair, I did not spend much time trying to figure it out. Still, it was hard. But really amazing once you figure it out / see it. And scores of people did figure it out, so it's not impossible. Anyway, the puzzle is called "We Built This City" (don't worry, the horrendous Starship song is in no way involved), and the answer to the meta is a world capital. It's up to you to figure out the answer based on elements in the grid and/or clues. Brutal test of pattern recognition. Often takes days to suss these things out. I figured the previous puzzle's meta out while I was walking in the woods. Literally shouted it out after it finally came to me. His puzzles are great fun, and if you can handle frequent frustration, you should be doing them regularly. Here's the puzzle (just scroll down to the end of the post). And here's discussion of "We Built This City" over at Crossword Fiend.
See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. nice article in Tablet Magazine this week profiling Ben Tausig and the American Values Crossword Puzzle (which he edits)