Edomite patriarch / THU 10-16-14 / Pacific Surfliner operator / Trevelyan Agent 006 in GoldenEye / Reville Hitchcock's wife collaborator / Inspiration for Johann Strauss II / Computer language named for Lord Byron's daughter / Penelope's pursuer / Goal of some industry lobbyists
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Constructor: John Farmer
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: REPEAT (69A: What three-letter words do in five answers in this puzzle) —
- WHOOPIE [PIE]S (18A: Cream-filled chocolate treats)
- SCARLET [LET]TER (19A: Mark of dishonor)
- PERCY BYSSHE [SHE]LLEY (39A: "If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" poet)
- LANDON [DON]OVAN (57A: All-time scoring leader for the U.S. men's soccer team)
- PAPAL [PAL]ACE (62A: Official residence)
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Luna is the divine embodiment of the Moon (Latin luna; cf. English "lunar"). She is often presented as the female complement of the Sun (Sol) conceived of as a god. Luna is also sometimes represented as an aspect of the Roman triple goddess (diva triformis), along with Proserpina and Hecate. Luna is not always a distinct goddess, but sometimes rather an epithet that specializes a goddess, since both Dianaand Juno are identified as moon goddesses.In Roman art, Luna's attributes are the crescent moon and the two-yoke chariot (biga). In the Carmen Saeculare, performed in 17 BC, Horaceinvokes her as the "two-horned queen of the stars" (siderum regina bicornis), bidding her to listen to the girls singing as Apollo listens to the boys.Varro categorized Luna and Sol among the visible gods, as distinguished from invisible gods such as Neptune, and deified mortals such as Hercules. She was one of the deities Macrobius proposed as the secret tutelary of Rome. In Imperial cult, Sol and Luna can represent the extent of Roman rule over the world, with the aim of guaranteeing peace.
• • •
REPEAT is far too generic—totally anticlimactic. A puzzle like this really *needs* the final punch of a revealer to keep it from being merely a structural exercise. This puzzle needed a CHUCK BERRY (see yesterday's puzzle), and all it got was a REPEAT—the revealer equivalent of a sad trombone sound, or a "thud." The theme has a couple things going for it. The repeated letter strings are in face "words" in their own right, as the revealer clue says, though PIE is a bit of a fail since PIE is a part of the answer WHOOPIE [PIE]S, whereas none of the other three-letter "words" are actually parts of their answers (i.e. LET, SHE, DON, and PAL have no etymological relation to the answers they're found inside). Also, the three-letter REPEAT words all come at the beginnings of words … though where else would they come, now that I think of it? Three letters end one word and begin the next. That's the idea. The more I write about the theme, the less impressed I am, so I'll stop now.
The cultural center of gravity on this one is set back a few decades. It's pretty old school in its frame of reference, ZAC Efron notwithstanding. All this means is that I got slowed down by a slew of proper nouns that just weren't in my wheelhouse. SALEM and ALEC, primarily, but also REESE (whom I know, though not by number) and ALMA (whom I know vaguely, but whom I couldn't see because I had written in AS ONE for 5D: Collectively (IN ALL). Long Downs are very nice, most of the rest of the fill is just OK, DEREG is terrible. All IN ALL, an entirely adequate Thursday that just wasn't my thing. They can't all be my things. Wait, is there a code? … PIELETSHEDONPAL … and that anagrams to … aw, I give up.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld