Hit radio comedy about bridge--playing couple / SAT 2-7-15 / 1980s MP nicknamed old crocodile / Queen who rallied Dutch resistance in WWII / First noncanonical psalm / Soloist on Green Hornet theme / Moniker after lifestyle change / Red cabbage juice in chemistry class / Cavaradossi's lover
Saturday, February 7, 2015
Constructor: Byron Walden
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: "EASY ACES" (7A: Hit radio comedy about a bridge-playing couple) —
Easy Aces, a long-running American serial radio comedy (1930–1945), was trademarked by the low-keyed drollery of creator and writer Goodman Ace and his wife, Jane, as an urbane, put-upon realtor and his malaprop-prone wife. A 15-minute program, airing as often as five times a week, Easy Aces wasn't quite the ratings smash that such concurrent 15-minute serial comedies as Amos 'n' Andy, The Goldbergs, Lum and Abner, or Vic and Sade were. But its unobtrusive, conversational, and clever style, and the cheerful absurdism of its storylines, built a loyal enough audience of listeners and critics alike to keep it on the air for 15 years. (wikipedia)
• • •LEVI'S Stadium was a total unknown to me (I had LUCAS at one point), and I couldn't get WAVERED from -RED, and so all I really had was ATRIA. So north through the BROUHAHA I went, despite the dauntingly unfamiliar radio show (!) about a bridge-playing couple (!?!?). At least the constructor *knew* it was obscure and gave you a clue that helped you out a little.
So my stumbles. Yes, they were plentiful. Let's start with the odd procession of answers I had at 1D: Producer of a cough and shivers (GRIPPE). Well, at first, I had nothing. Actually, at first, I had this: first the Across, then the Down, bam bam:
["Be in—rule on!"]EDT and AL HIRT came pretty easily, I was feeling pretty good about my chances. Then I wrote in CROUPE at 1D. It's possible that just before that, I had written in CRABBE (!?!) at 1A: Ameche's "Moon Over Miami" co-star, 1941 (GRABLE). Buster CRABBE is an actor, right? Yes! And a swimmer. From the right era, too. Just, in this case, super-wrong. So I had the CRABBE CROUPE (a terrible, grid-stymieing affliction). After further forays into the grid, I fixed some things and ended up with CRABBE CRIPPE. This meant that Wimbledon had to be played in BON- … BONHOMIE? Who could say? Complicating things was my poor knowledge of chemistry. I had [Red cabbage juice, in chemistry class] not as a PH INDICATOR but as a PH INHIBITOR. It fit, and it had a whole bunch of correct letters (got me SNOOD and YOUR, it did!). This mess led to many ridiculous things, like BAYED for CAWED, and (most convincing and thus most wounding) ENGINEERS for ENGINEMEN (6D: Some Navy specialists). Fact that I couldn't think of any [Disco fabrics] ending -EES caused me to rethink ENGINEERS. But real breakthrough when I decided to take out all the letters in PH INHIBITOR that weren't confirmed by crosses. Persistent stuckedness usually means something's wrong. At that point, you need to pull out stuff that looks right. And so I did. And zoom, off I went.
Whole east side was a piece of cake. I was helped mightily by TRIBAL NAME (which I got off the "T") and then HOBBS and HILITER and "WE CAN Do It!" and (jackpot) DESI ARNAZ, JR, the last of which ensured that the SE would be done lickety-split. Last real hurdle was working up the western seaboard from the bottom. ALTAIR IV (?) (30D: The planet in the sci-fi classic "Forbidden Planet") made this difficult, but not at all impossible. Finished up with the "I" in SIM (43A: ___ card). This one deserves praise for its overall smoothness (esp. considering the fairly low word count) and its playfulness. Seemed designed to challenge and delight. Seemed designed with solver pleasure in mind. More of that, please.