Actor Jack who was Quincy / TUE 8-12-14 / Single accompanier / Chocolaty spread since 1964 / Short opera piece / Counterfeiter fighter / Prologue follower / Fishbowl accessory / King in Little Mermaid
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Constructor: Robyn Weintraub
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "I'M NOT A DOCTOR / BUT / I PLAY ONE ON TV" (26A: With 40- and 48-Across, much-mocked ad phrase that could have been said by the answers to the four starred clues) — quote, plus the names of four relevant actors:
- DEMPSEY (13A: *"Grey's Anatomy" actor Patrick)
- SEYMOUR (15A: *Actress Jane who was a "Medicine Woman")
- KLUGMAN (68A: *Actor Jack who was "Quincy")
- CLOONEY (69A: *"ER" actor George)
A short aria.
[Italian, diminutive of aria, aria; see aria.]
• • •
Wilfred," a TV show featuring a man in a DOG suit (Here's a 1:30 interview with him re: that gig, actually). Well, that was an unexpected discovery. Anyway, my point is that it's a little difficult to focus on puzzles at the moment. I can't say I was a huge fan of Robin Williams' post-1980s work, but the 1980s stuff, from "Mork & Mindy" to "Good Morning, Vietnam," was all very iconic and formative for me. It's a big, sad loss, his death. Here's a VIDEO:
The puzzle was OK. I liked the quote (though it was very easy to get and then write out in its entirety). The list of actors was … a list. Just names. Nothing exciting there. Arbitrary—7 letters? In you go! Fill on this was tilting toward the below-average side, with a lot of short dull stuff and some crosswordese (ARA, NENE) I actually hadn't seen in a long time. Absence has not made my heart grow fonder, strangely enough. But the theme is solid, in that it makes sense and has a clear rationale, and the fill is not terrible—it even has some nice-ish moments (INTRUDERS, SNOOPY, NUTELLA).
- 16A: Short opera piece (ARIETTA) — wasn't until I started googling this that I realized "Oh … that's gonna be just a short aria, I'll bet." And sure enough. I wonder what you call a short NENE.
- 52A: ___ close to schedule (ON OR) — is this a phrase you all use? Wanted ON OR from the second I saw the clue, but resisted it, as … well, it seems among the more awkward options for the clue. Also, ON OR is never not terrible, generally, so I will always resist it, at least a little.
- 31D: Bartender's stock (RYES) — wanted RUMS.
- 10D: U.S. equivalent to the U.K.'s Laurence Olivier Award (TONY) — pretty badly written clue. Equivalence here would be "Olivier," not "Laurence Olivier Award."
OK, here you go. See you tomorrow.
["I said 'leave,' Mr. Keating…"]
Let me add that there are other things in the world making it hard to focus on puzzles. Namely this: