Comic strip character surnamed DeGroot / FRI 8-28-31 / Barely communicates on smartphone / Actress Carano of Fast Furious 6 / Maniac Mansion console / 1987 B'way smash / Captain Clutch of baseball /
Friday, August 28, 2015
Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: Wanda SYKES (39A: Star of the sitcom "Wanda at Large") —
Wanda Sykes (born March 7, 1964) is an American comedian, writer, actress, and voice artist. She earned the 1999 Emmy Award for her writing on The Chris Rock Show. In 2004, Entertainment Weekly named Sykes as one of the 25 funniest people in America. She is well known for her role as Barbara Baran on The New Adventures of Old Christine and for her appearances on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. // In November 2009, The Wanda Sykes Show, her own late-night talkshow, premiered on Fox, airing Saturday nights, until it was cancelled in April 2010. Sykes has also had a successful career in film, appearing in Monster-in-Law, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Evan Almighty, and License to Wed, and voiced characters in Over the Hedge, Barnyard, Brother Bear 2, Rio, and Ice Age: Continental Drift. (wikipedia)
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ANOS (I will never ever ever use this ... and I clue ANO as a partial, so bad is my aversion to the whole tilde issue here), ISAO, VAS, PSS. There's other stuff I don't love, but can tolerate (AGORAE for its crosswordesiness and dumb plural, "LUANN" because I don't even know who reads that ...). But honestly it's hard to find weak spots in this grid, and some of the good stuff is Really good. First and last Acrosses are both killer. Sam is a law professor, so LAWYER UP is a little bit of self-referentiality, but not so that it's irksome. "WAIT, WHAT?" is just perfectly colloquial. I love when constructors snatch common spoken expressions out of the air and put them in the grid. On my printed out grid, I've also got stars next to MASS EXODUS (12D: Lots of outgoing people) and FREAK OUT ON (which also has nice misdirection in the clue—looks like an adjective phrase, acts like a verb phrase: 26D: Subject to a hissy fit).
I gotta get some sleep. Been staring at grids on a screen too long. Not much interesting happened during the actual solve. It's a pretty segmented grid, so I just followed it like a maze from the "start' in the NW, down to the SW, up through the center to the NE, and then down to the "finish" in the SE. Once I got going, there were no real hold-ups. I felt guilty about how much I relied on ENBERG to get started (5D: Sportscaster Dick). And I felt ashamed and slightly dirty that the first answer I threw down there was VITALE (shudder).
OK, I need to sleep. Good night.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld