Italian scooter brand / TUE 9-22-15 / Angels Demons group whose name is Latin for enlightened / Montreal baseballer / Amount subtracted from gross weight / Pesticide banned in 1972
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Constructor: Victor Barocas and Tom Pepper
Relative difficulty: Shade over Medium (over-sized grid, took somewhat more time)
THEME: WIZARD OF AAHS (65A: Alternative name for 18-, 29- or 51-Across) —people who make you say "aah" somehow:
- PYROTECHNIST (18A: Fireworks expert)
- OTOLARYNGOLOGIST (29A: Head and neck physician)
- MASSAGE THERAPIST (51A: Hard rubber, maybe)
Latin illuminatus, "enlightened") is a name given to several groups, both real and fictitious. Historically, the name usually refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on May 1, 1776. The society's goals were to oppose superstition, obscurantism, religious influence over public life and abuses of state power. "The order of the day," they wrote in their general statutes, "is to put an end to the machinations of the purveyors of injustice, to control them without dominating them." The Illuminati—along with Freemasonry and other secret societies—were outlawed through edict, by the Bavarian ruler, Charles Theodore, with the encouragement of the Roman Catholic Church, in 1784, 1785, 1787 and 1790. In the several years following, the group was vilified by conservative and religious critics who claimed that they continued underground and were responsible for the French Revolution. // In subsequent use, "Illuminati" refers to various organisations which claim or are purported to have links to the original Bavarian Illuminati or similar secret societies, though these links are unsubstantiated. They are often alleged to conspire to control world affairs, by masterminding events and planting agents in government and corporations, in order to gain political power and influence and to establish a New World Order. Central to some of the most widely known and elaborate conspiracy theories, the Illuminati have been depicted as lurking in the shadows and pulling the strings and levers of power in dozens of novels, movies, television shows, comics, video games, and music videos. (wikipedia)
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Cornball, but that is some people's thing, so if it's yours, sweet. Enjoy the day. I have only one complaint about the puzzle, and that's with the first themer. No way, No no no way anyone calls the pyrotechnics person a PYROTECHNIST. You all know what the real word is because you tried to put it in and it didn't fit. It's PYROTECHNICIAN (which outgoogles the "correct" answer by a considerable margin). That is a major clunk. The good news is that, beyond that issue, there really are no issues. This is a nicely polished grid (huzzah!), and the answers are varied and common and reasonably lively. You can take ITERS out back and kill it, but the rest of these folks are OK by me. Nice grid-building, nice craftsmanship.
Seriously, that is all I have on this one. Sorry it didn't inspire / provoke more. I've had my face in my own puzzle all night, working and reworking two stupid corners that keep coming out Just OK. So I think I'm too tired to have any deep thoughts about this one. But as someone who's been spending a lot of time trying to get his own grid perfect, I want to acknowledge how nicely this one has been put together. Sometimes when a grid isn't flashy, the care and effort can go unnoticed. But it takes a lot of work not to lean on junk. So good for these guys.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. happy 15th birthday to my daughter, who is not (yet) into crossword puzzles
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