Wild Duck dramatist / WED 3-4-15 / Bow-toter on seasonal cards / Title woman of 1957 #1 Paul Anka hit / Popular Japanese pizza topping / Walrus mustache feature
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Constructor: Jeff Stillman
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: puns involving male movie roles — familiar phrases are clued as if they have some relation to roles played by famous actors
- BOND TRADERS (17A: Connery and Lazenby, between 1967 and 1971?)
- ROCKY START (11D: 1976, for Stallone's rise to stardom?)
- TRIPLE AXEL (29D: Eddie Murphy, after 1984, 1987 and 1994?)
- PLAYING SOLO (64A: What Harrison Ford was doing in 1977, 1980 and 1983?)
• • •
CETOLOGY (big Moby-Dick fan) (27A: Study of whales). So what, exactly, was wrong? BOND TRADERS was OK. A little thinky (i.e. you have to know that the role of Bond went from Connery in 1967 to Lazenby in 1969 and then *back* to Connery in 1971 …). Even then, the answer's a little forced, but I could roll with it. But both the answer, ROCKY START, and its clue (11D: 1976, for Stallone's rise to stardom?) felt off. It's *Stallone's* rise to stardom. But it's the franchise "Rocky"'s start. Stallone got his start (stardom-wise) playing Rocky, but ROCKY START does not capture that. Also, ROCKY START … isn't the tightest phrase. No tighter than "rough start," which means roughly the equivalent. Then there's the role-outlier, AXEL (Foley), which belongs in this puzzle not at all. Those movies did big business, but compared to James Bond, Rocky Balboa, and Han Solo, the name "Axel" just doesn't rate, fame-wise. Worst of all is PLAYING SOLO, which isn't a phrase. Or, it is, but it's weak. GOING SOLO or, better, FLYING SOLO, are better, more solid, more real things. PLAYING SOLO … meh. Also confusing that the three years quoted in the clue for TRIPLE AXEL mattered (i.e. three years relates to "TRIPLE"), but the three years quoted in the PLAYING SOLO clue … didn't. So lots of little junky things about the cluing and answer quality just kept this from being that entertaining to me.
- 56A: ___-watch (BINGE) — by far the hardest thing for me to get. Not knowing the [Title woman of a 1957 #1 Paul Anka hit] (told you the fill skewed old…) I figured it must be something uncommon like DEANA, so I had BENGE-watch and stared at it and had no idea what part could be wrong. This is especially weird, considering I had just finished watching Season 1 Episode 3 of "Mad Men," which I am semi-BINGE-(re-)watching in its totality, leading up to the series finale this April 5.
- 55A: Cy Young candidates's stats (ERAS) — ??? … They're every pitcher's stats. The worst pitchers have ERAS. This clue is ridiculous.
- 34A: Walrus mustache feature (DROOP) — ??? … I see that the wikipedia entry for "walrus mustache" says they have a DROOP (because the lip hair "droops" over the mouth…), but … man, that is a weird direction to go for this clue. If I had to list ten features of a "walrus mustache," that word wouldn't come up.