Nickname for filmdom's Lebowski / WED 6-25-14 / Woman in Wrinkle in Time / Admiral Zumwalt / Field for Gerard Depardieu Audrey Tautou / Porch light circler
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Constructor: Patrick Merrell
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: Wacky cluing of phrases that start with -LESS words — Three phrases, each beginning with words that end with the suffix "-LESS," are clued in a wacky way that reimagines the meaning of the part of the first word that precedes -LESS:
- TIRELESS WORKERS (20A: Goodyear employees when they're on strike?)
- LISTLESS FEELING (39A: Result of Santa misplacing his papers?)
- RUTHLESS TACTICS (56A: What the Red Sox had to start using in 1920?)
Word of the Day: ELMO Zumwalt (32D: Admiral Zumwalt) —
Elmo Russell "Bud" Zumwalt, Jr. (November 29, 1920 – January 2, 2000) was an American naval officer and the youngest man to serve as Chief of Naval Operations. As an admiral and later the 19th Chief of Naval Operations, Zumwalt played a major role in U.S. military history, especially during the Vietnam War. A decorated war veteran, Zumwalt reformed U.S. Navy personnel policies in an effort to improve enlisted life and ease racial tensions. After he retired from a 32-year Navy career, he launched an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate. (wikipedia)
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LISTLESS FEELING and RUTHLESS TACTICS, so all in all, this worked well. Lovely restraint on using just the three grid-spanners for the theme answers. This allows for a grid that breathes, full of solid short- and mid-range answers. Clean as a whistle, this one. Even MRS. WHO (a complete WTF to me) earns her keep by being interestingly anomalous (8D: Woman in "A Wrinkle in Time"). This one felt old-fashioned in a good way: simple, well-crafted, fun.
MRS. WHO and ELMO were my big sticking points today, though they weren't That big in the end. I never liked "The Big Lebowski" as much as everyone I know seems to think I ought to, especially considering I love (like, Love love) Raymond Chandler and that was supposed to be the Chandler installment of their crime fiction trilogy or whatever (I think Cain was "Blood Simple" and Hammett was "Miller's Crossing" … I don't know what "Fargo" was … besides Perfection). So I didn't get all atingle at THE DUDE, but I do like it very much as a contemporary crossword answer. I got slightly more atingle at SLAPSTICK, as I do love Buster Keaton (38D: Buster Keaton genre). Also, BUS ROUTE, as I ride on one many times a week (just today, in fact) (9D: It may be diagrammed on a city map). LEGO LAND, also snappy (40D: Theme park based on a toy). Did not at all like the clue on GREEK MYTH, though (answer good; clue not as good) (4D: Story set on Mount Olympus). I want the word "often" to be in there. Plenty of GREEK MYTHs (most?) are set Not on Mount Olympus. It's like cluing WESTERN with [Story set in Tombstone]. Off. But again, most of this puzzle: On.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld