Olympian troublemaker / FRI 10-17-14 / 2007 satirical bestseller / Town at tip of Italy's heel / 2007 Jamie Foxx film set in Saudi Arabia / Church-owned newsweekly / Two-time belligerent against British Empire
Friday, October 17, 2014
Constructor: Michael Ashley
Relative difficulty: Medium (maybe leaning toward "Medium-Challenging")
Word of the Day: Paul DIRAC (49A: Paul who pioneered in quantum mechanics) —
Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac OM FRS (// di-rak; 8 August 1902 – 20 October 1984) was an English theoretical physicist who made fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, a member of the Center for Theoretical Studies, University of Miami, and spent the last decade of his life at Florida State University.Among other discoveries, he formulated the Dirac equation, which describes the behaviour of fermions and predicted the existence of antimatter. Dirac shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1933 with Erwin Schrödinger, "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory". He also did work that forms the basis of modern attempts to reconcile general relativity with quantum mechanics.He was regarded by his friends and colleagues as unusual in character. Albert Einstein said of him, "This balancing on the dizzying path between genius and madness is awful". His mathematical brilliance, however, means he is regarded as one of the most significant physicists of the 20th century. (wikipedia)
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BRODY and DIRAC and "THE KINGDOM" (?), and I spaced on WAITE and AMAHL, but I knew OTRANTO from the novel The Castle of OTRANTO and I knew ALAN MOORE from every comics class I've ever taught, so my name non-knowledge didn't set me back too badly. Nothing struck me as particularly great, and a few things seemed either off or incomplete. I AM AMERICA is definitely right, but that's a book I think of as needing its subtitle ("And So Can You!") to be complete. I AM AMERICA sounds earnest and dumb and not funny all by itself. Also, THE MONITOR—I didn't knot know people called The Christian Science Monitor this. Not a shorthand I've seen. Didn't keep me from getting it quickly (how many church-owned newsweekly's are there?), but THE MONITOR has about as much currency in my world as "THE KINGDOM" (still can't picture a single thing about this alleged movie). Wanted FASHION MODEL, got FASHION ICON … less good, I think. I mean, designers are often considered FASHION ICONs, and many of them are somewhat lumpy and ordinary-looking. Not emaciated, anyway. What else? … A lot of the longer answers are plurals … I don't know. It's a totally competent puzzle, but it hasn't got much 'zazz. My computer just autocorrected that to "zzzz." Make of that what you will.
I wasn't STRUCK DUMB by RITA MORENO, but I didn't enjoy seeing her (both those answers, actually). Saying Hulu offers STREAMS is like saying the internet is a series of tubes. OK, maybe it's slightly more defensible, but not really. "Hey, wanna watch some STREAMS?" Uh, no. No thanks. Wait, did you mean TV shows or movies? Oh, then sure. Streaming video is correct. STREAMS needs a better / more accurate / more spot-on clue here. [Watches live, perhaps]. Verb! That's what's happening.
Some of the shorter stuff is unlovely (AWAG and PYLES, I'm looking at you), but the shorter stuff is always the uglier stuff, and nothing stands out as particularly gruesome. Where were my errors? Let's see:
- 1A: Something running on a cell (MOBILE APP) — pretty good. I solved it from the back end, and at first tried GOOGLE APP.
- 1D: Start of many records (MOST) — I went with ANNO, which, in retrospect, is a weird answer to enter with the confidence with which I entered it.
- 22A: Be up (BAT) — I was on the right wavelength here, but tried HIT first.
- 35A: Out of service? Abbr. (RET'D) — Tried AWOL.
- 37D: Person's sphere of operation (FIEF) — went with AREA. Can't have been the only one.
- 16A: Opera title boy (AMAHL) — again, right(ish) wavelength, but his name came to me as AMATI, which, in my defense, is definitely musical.