Boito's Mefistofele eg / FRI 4-10-15 / Roman general who defeated Hannibal / City between Citrus Springs Silver Springs / Yogi's utterances / Locks Great Lakes connectors / Red Scare target / Rossini's final opera / Old Italian nobles / Movie genre parodied in 2011's Rango
Friday, April 10, 2015
Constructor: David Phillips
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: "SABOTEUR" (16A: 1942 Hitchcock thriller) —
Saboteur is a 1942 Universal spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock with a screenplay written by Peter Viertel, Joan Harrison and Dorothy Parker. The film stars Priscilla Lane, Robert Cummings and Norman Lloyd.This film should not be confused with an earlier Hitchcock film with a similar title, Sabotage(also known as The Woman Alone) from 1936. [too late] (wikipedia)
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EDIE FALCO = massive gimme. IRENE CARA = same. You could've stopped the 36-Across clue at [Ricky Martin hit…] and I'd've gotten "LIVIN' LA VIDA LOCA." That's too much territory to just give away so easily. And it's not like the grid has any scintillating parts to recommend it. It handles its longish answers pretty smoothly, that's true, but no one's writing home about CONTESSAS and PERMALLOY (whatever that is).
I had this thing pegged as easy and overly straightforward from the beginning, when I guessed BASSO / OATER, and then filled in all the first Downs in the NW, in order, off of just their last letters—like so:
I like blowing through a Friday as much as the next person—makes you feel powerful!—but I like to at least have a few moments where I ooh and aah at the scenery, no matter how fast it's going by. Today, there was no real scenery (though the staggerstack of long Downs in the middle is quite nice). The only bumps in the road were entirely self-made. Presented with SABOT- I immediately wrote in "SABOTAGE" for the Hitchcock film. Not sure if this was an intentional trap, but it's a good one, as Hitchcock directed both "SABOTAGE" (1936) and (today's correct answer) "SABOTEUR" (1942). But I hung on to the wrong answer only briefly, as it was Clearly wrong. Took me longer than it ought to have to get MUHAMMAD ALI (14D: Who said "My only fault is that I don't realize how great I really am"). I even had the MUHA- and could think only of MUHA … TMA GHANDI? Hmmm, doesn't seem like something he'd say. MUHA… RAJAH? Not even sure that's a thing. Made things worse for myself by going with ELLES instead of MLLES at 26A: Misses in Marseille: Abbr. If I'd just stuck around long enough to read the end of that damned clue … but no matter. All this was worked out easily enough, and nothing else in the puzzle offered much resistance. Well, PERMALLOY, a little, but just a little.
- 21A: ___ Brickowski ("The Lego Movie" protagonist) (EMMET) — A reader tweeted at me that choosing this clue over sad hobo clown Kelly was very 21st century. I noted that their names are actually spelled differently (two Ts for Emmett Kelly). Not that many famous one-T Kellys. Just this guy, I think:
"Emmet Fox (July 30, 1886 – August 13, 1951) was a New Thought spiritual leader of the early 20th century, famous for his large Divine Science church services held in New York City during the Great Depression."
- 37D: 2019 Pan American Games site (LIMA) — I had them in LAOS. You develop certain reflexive tendencies when you solve a ton of puzzles over many decades. I knew LAOS felt a little too … large … to be a "site," but my fingers didn't care. In it went.
- 10D: Magnetizable nickel-iron combo (PERMALLOY) — Turns out you can pronounce it both ways, in case you're wondering, though perm-ALLoy seems to be preferred. I can't even believe "PERma-loy" is allowed. My guess is that people just couldn't stop themselves saying it (by analogy with permafrost, perma soft, perma shave, etc.), and it stuck as an acceptable variant.
PS if you do the puzzle online right when it comes out, feel free to tell me what you think needs discussing (via Twitter @rexparker) (#heyrex)