Detroit debut of 1903 / MON 8-24-15 / Wrinkly-faced Chinese dog / Directive to Kate in Cole Porter musical / Preceder of Brown Robinson in 1960s #1 hits / Shape-shifting Norse trickster
Monday, August 24, 2015
Constructor: Lynn Lempel
Relative difficulty: Medium-ish (maybe *slightly* harder than avg *for a Monday*)
THEME: IT'S UP TO YOU (28D: "I'll defer on this one" ... or a hint for what's found in 3-, 9-, 21- and 24-Down) — circled (or perhaps shaded) squares in theme answers (all Downs) read USTI, which is "IT'S" running UP TO the letter "U"
- EXHAUSTIVE (3D: Leaving no stone unturned)
- PETER USTINOV (21D: Actor with Oscars for "Spartacus" and "Topkapi")
- CAUSTIC (24D: Acid, as criticism)
- CHIEF JUSTICE (9D: John Roberts, for one)
- 1.of or relating to a style of architecture that prevailed in Europe circa 900–1200, although sometimes dated back to the end of the Roman Empire (5th century).nounnoun: Romanesque
- 1.Romanesque architecture. (google)
• • •
PETER USTINOV giving some (esp. younger solvers) trouble, and I can see someone making the mistake of putting in EXHAUSTING instead of EXHAUSTIVE (I can see it because I did it). Also, I was a medievalist once and ROMANESQUE was not a gimme for me, so that could take some work. Monday work. So, "work." You know what I mean.
Would be better if "USTI" spanned two-word phrases/names, but that would be virtually impossible, I think, so these are all non-spanners, which is its own kind of consistency. There were a couple of interesting "Whaaa?" moments, the first being THE DOLE (56A: Government assistance), first because "look out, it's a definite article!" and second because I don't live in the UK. Do people say THE DOLE here, non-twee-ish-ly? It's a fine phrase, but not a US phrase, in my experience. The other "Whaaa?" answer was JUICE for 27A: Apple product. That clue has been used hundreds of times, almost always in computer-related contexts. I had SANE for CALM (29D: Unruffled) and had real trouble coming up with the icky ENGR (13D: One who pulls a train whistle: Abbr.), which I always think of in terms of building, not train-driving, possibly because I'm not a kid any more and honestly when's the last time you actually *saw* your train's ENGR?
OK, that's all.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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