Pitch-selecting gesture / TUE 5-12-15 / House smaller than villa / eyes potion ingredient at Hogwarts / City NW of Munchen / Dancer in club down in old Soho
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Constructor: Paul Hunsberger
Relative difficulty: Medium (Normal Tuesday)
- URBAN DESIGN (18A: Layout of city streets, parks, etc.)
- HAREBRAINED IDEA (23A: It's so crazy it just might work)
- BROADMINDED (37A: Tolerant)
- WHIPPERSNAPPERS (48A: Presumptuous sorts)
Word of the Day: ASHLEY (65A: ___ Wilkes, obsession of Scarlett O'Hara) —
is a fictional character in Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel Gone with the Wind and the later film of the same name. The character also appears in the 1991 book Scarlett, a sequel to Gone with the Wind written by Alexandra Ripley, and in Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig. […] In a sense, he is the character best personifying the tragedy of the Southern upper class after the Civil War. Coming from a privileged background, Ashley is an honorable and educated man. He is in clear contrast to Rhett Butler, who is decisive and full of life but is vulgar and distasteful as well. Rhett is both ruthless and practical, and is willing to do whatever he must to survive. In contrast, Ashley is often impractical (even Melanie admits this on her deathbed), and would resist doing many things Rhett would do because they aren't "proper" or "gentlemanly". Ashley fights in the Civil War, but he does it out of love for his homeland and not a hatred of the Yankees, who he actually hopes will just leave the South in peace. As a soldier he shows enough leadership to be promoted to the rank of Major, and survives being imprisoned at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois (a notorious prisoner-of-war camp) for several months. He eventually returns home, still able-bodied. Ashley could have lived a peaceful and respectable life had the War never taken place. The War that changed the South forever has turned his world upside down, with everything he had believed in 'gone with the wind', a phrase composed by the poet Ernest Dowson. (wikipedia)
• • •
ELASTIC BAND (which most of humanity—by a 13-to-1 margin, acc. to Herr Google—calls RUBBER BAND, but we'll worry about that later*). Is it around something, like, I don't know … what do you put rubber bands around in an office anymore? … and then you idly pull it back and snap it, so that it resumes its original position/shape? Are you snapping it so that it flies across the room? Are you pulling it so far that band eventually SNAPs apart? Since the BAND has become the word SNAP at the end, and since circled-letter positionality is never clear/consistent in the grid, I don't know. It's true that, visually, the word BAND is elasticized over the course of three theme answers—I don't know how hard it is to do that, but I can't imagine it's that hard. Spacing increases in the word BAND are consistent (i.e. the letters B, A, N, D are symmetrical in relation to one another throughout), but the BANDs (+ SNAP) are wonky in relation to each other. This seems like a cute idea that got a wobbly, makeshift, "Good enough!" execution, i.e this seems like a quintessential Tuesday. Poor Tuesday.
Puzzle felt very easy, but my time was totally normal. Why? I think the main issue was ASL / ASHLEY, the latter because I'm not that familiar with all the characters of "Gone With the Wind," and the former because I haven't seen a person signing in the corner of my TV screen since, I want to say, the '70s (59D: What might be seen in the corner of a TV screen: Abbr.). Maybe close-captioning obviated the need for this? I don't know. All I know is I got ASL entirely from crosses and didn't know what it was, so far was my mind from sign language. The other slow-down was REEARN … for obvious reasons (I hope). Fill today is below average, but not terrible. Mostly just stale. ANGIO is a weak standalone. My dad was a radiologist, and I heard the word "angiogram" a lot growing up. The ANGIO referred to here is (I'm guessing) and angioplasty, but I was not aware that, like AMNIO, it could stand alone. ITA crossing CASITA is bad, no matter how you clue ITA. Not much else to say.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
*"How the $@&! is "elastic band" an office item?! Does he mean "rubber band"? Because elastic bands are in underwear, not desks." — unsolicited, valid indignation from one of my Twitter followers last night
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