McDreamy's first name on Grey's Anatomy / FRI 10-23-15 / Singer with 4x platinum album No Angel / Scientific discovery of 1869 / One named singer who was a muse for Andy Warhol / Acronym in casual dining / Rural activity in urban legend
Friday, October 23, 2015
Constructor: Evan Birnholz
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: Jonathan PRYCE (7D: Actor Jonathan, whose name sounds like it's worth something) —
Jonathan Pryce, CBE (born John Price; 1 June 1947) is a Welsh actor and singer. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and meeting his longtime girlfriend, English actress Kate Fahy, in 1974, he began his career as a stage actor in the 1970s. His work in theatre, including an award-winning performance in the title role of the Royal Court Theatre's Hamlet, led to several supporting roles in film and television. He made his breakthrough screen performance in Terry Gilliam's 1985 cult film Brazil. // Critically lauded for his versatility, Pryce has participated in big-budget films including Evita, Tomorrow Never Dies, Pirates of the Caribbean, The New World, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, GI Joe: Retaliation as well as independent films including Glengarry Glen Ross and Carrington. His career in theatre has also been prolific, and he has won two Tony Awards—the first in 1977 for his Broadway debut in Comedians, the second for his 1991 role as The Engineer in the musical Miss Saigon. (wikipedia)
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COWTIPPING straight away (1A: Rural activity in an urban legend), but none of those first three Downs was clear to me—in fact, of that first stretch of Downs, only TNT, INFO, and NEO were obvious to me from their first letters, so I did not come blazing out of that corner as I thought / hoped I would. Still, after some knocking about with OPART and ROLOS and the gang in the west, I came back up to that NW corner and took care of it without too much trouble. Rest of the puzzle was a lark, a romp, a walk in the park. It's pretty sports-heavy, so you will either like that or you will not like that. I mostly like it, though honestly I don't really know what an AMEN CORNER is, despite having seen it in puzzles many times. I feel like the first time I saw it, it had something to do with golf?? Can that be right? What am I thinking of? Yeah, it refers to a section of the course at Augusta. But that has nothing to do with "vocal supporters," does it? Oh ... I see it has a church meaning too:
a. A place in a church reserved for persons leading congregational responses.b. A group of ardent worshipers in a church.2. Informal A group of uncritical supporters of a leader, party, or policy, especially a controversial one.
I saw "vocal supporters" and thought "sports." The phrase clearly means little to me—just a phrase that's semi-familiar to me from multiple crosswords. Another word that means little to me: PELS. I got it easily, in that I know the New Orleans basketballers are called the "Pelicans," but ... a. I've not heard them referred to that way (perhaps this is because they just don't get as much coverage as many of the other NBA teams, despite having the best player in the NBA not named "LeBron"), and b. even if I had heard them referred to as PELS, no amount of arguing could ever convince me PELS is good fill. The more you look at it, the more it looks like a typo.
PELS brings me to the editorial choices that were made with this puzzle. See, this grid was changed in multiple places after its initial submission. I wrote to Evan asking him "Dude, what is up with that BACK dupe?—that is glaring, and you always complain about that stuff in other people's puzzles." His reply was (and I'm paraphrasing), "Dude, that was not my decision." Then he showed me his original grid (yellow squares mark places the editors changed):
Now some of these changes seem reasonable. Craig EHLO's name is known only to fairly hardcore sports fans, I would think, so I have no problem ditching him. The problem is the BACK dupe. It's glaring. You've got STEP BACK in the grid, and you opt for I'M BACK at 11D???! Little dupes, nobody really cares, but two longish colloquial phrases that both end in "BACK"? I don't know if that's carelessness or bad judgment, but it's something. SNOT is pretty ugly, but then so is the "fix" (INOT). Keyser SÖZE is pretty old pop culture now, but I would've left that SW corner intact anyway. The changes are Not an improvement. LA RAMS, worse, and ALAW, much much much worse. Changing ENT to END (19A) ... I mean, sure, OK, I guess, but most of these changes are lateral moves at best. Why meddle if you can't clearly improve? And that "BACK" thing ... that just grates. Still, overall, this was enjoyable. Many SWEET SPOTS. Bouncy like a DANCE CRAZE. Check out Evan's independent puzzle site, "Devil Cross," for more of his (consistently good, frequently great) crossword puzzles (published weekly).
Three last things:
Three last things:
- Don't McDonald's FRIES come in different sizes, and if so, how is 37A: McDonald's order with about 340 calories valid?
- I do not consider making goo-goo eyes at and ogling to be the same thing (13D: Make goo-goo eyes at = OGLE). Not even close. The one is a dopey expression of besottedness, the other is a leering, wolfish, objectifying, occasionally dehumanizing or even menacing expression of sexual desire. Making goo-goo eyes can be reciprocal; ogling never is.
- I thought the [Actor Jonathan, whose name sounds like it's worth something] was Jonathan PENNY. Then, later, Jonathan PENCE.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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