Nymph jilted by Paris / SUN 2-1-15 / Roman guardian spirit / Missal storage site / Skeletal enemy in Mario games / Destination of NASA's Dawn probe / Picayune quibble / Vampire Diaries protagonist /
Sunday, February 1, 2015
Constructor: David Steinberg
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: "This n' That" — common "___ AND ___" phrases are reimagined as two-word phrases where the first word is a homophone of the "___ AND" part, with every first word ending in an "n" sound:
- SUMMON SUBSTANCE (instead of "sum and substance") (23A: Content of a demand to attend?)
- COFFIN WHEEZE (32A: Freaky funeral noise?)
- HERON MAKEUP (17D: Feathers, pointy bill, long legs, etc.?)
- DRAGON DROP (49A: Dive from a fire-breathing creature?)
- FOREIGN TWENTY (71A: Venti, vingt or zwanzig?)
- KRAKEN PEEL (93A: Woe for a sunburned sea monster?)
- FISSION CHIPS (110A: Intel products used at a nuclear facility?)
- WARREN PEACE (70D: Period when rabbits stop fighting?)
- FOREMAN FUNCTION (119A: Overseeing a work crew, e.g.?)
Elis //, or Eleia // (Greek, Modern: Ήλιδα Ilida, Ancient: Ἦλις Ēlis; Doric: ἎλιςAlis; Elean: Ϝαλις Walis, ethnonym: Ϝαλειοι) is an ancient district that corresponds to the modern Elis regional unit. Elis is in southern Greece on the Peloponnesos peninsula, bounded on the north by Achaea, east by Arcadia, south by Messenia, and west by the Ionian Sea. Over the course of the archaic and classical periods, the polis of Elis controlled much of the region of Elis, most probably through unequal treaties with other cities, which acquired perioikic status. Thus the city-state of Elis was formed.
• • •
SUMMON SUBSTANCE is dead weight, and [Content of a demand to attend?] barely makes sense grammatically, and contains no twist, turn, zing. . . nothing. Cluing is painfully straightforward all the way around, with the wonderful exception of the HERON MAKE-UP clue, [Feathers, pointy bill, long legs, etc.?]. That clue/answer pairing did … what's the word … let's say "tickle" me. The rest all had some level of malfunction.
Fill is predominantly good, as is true of most Steinberg grids. He's a careful constructor. HBS and LAR were the only things that really made me wince (I know "halfbacks" are real things, but I can't say I've ever seen that abbr., where as RBS and even FBS, I've seen). And LAR … well, at least it's not LER, I suppose. There's a beauty contest for you: which one would you rather have in your grid: LAR or LER? Sorry, "None of the above" is Not an option.
I had three main trouble spots. This grid (representing roughly me at the 1/3-done point), neatly illustrates at least two of said spots:
P.S. if you missed David Steinberg's touching remembrance of the late Bernice Gordon, you really should read it. Here.