Actor Sheridan / WED 11-18-15 / Nazi cipher machine broken by allies / Close-up magician's prop / Rwandan president Paul Kagame's ethnicity / Math term usually followed by a subscript number / Former Obama adviser David
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Constructor: Zachary Spitz
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (slow for me)
THEME: it's wonderful — [It's ___!] clues are transformed from idiomatic / colloquial to literal
- LIGHTNING BOLT (20A: It's strking!)
- BALD-FACED LIE (33A: It's unbelievable!)
- ASTHMA ATTACK (43A: It's breathtaking!)
- DRY ERASE BOARD (59A: It's remarkable!)
Tye Kayle Sheridan (born November 11, 1996) is an American actor. Sheridan made his feature film debut in Terrence Malick's experimental drama film The Tree of Life (2011) and had his first leading role in the coming-of-age film Mud (2012). He co-starred in the drama Joe (2013). In 2015, he starred in the drama The Stanford Prison Experiment. Sheridan will play the role of the young Cyclops in the 2016 film X-Men: Apocalypse. (wikipedia)
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AISLES) and then got especially bad in the middle of the grid, where I wrote in DDAY at 35D: When the Battle of Normandy started, but then tore it out for the [Actor Sheridan], which I was sure was ANN. I then changed DDAY to DAWN (!?), but then kept putting in LOATHE and taking out LOATHE etc. (34D: Can't stomach). The problem was clearly [Actor Sheridan]. What other actor Sheridan is there. When I was finally done, I had the letters T and Y and E there ... and apparently that is some kid who just turned 19 and is in movies I haven't seen. OK. Great. Star in all the movies you want, kid, TYE is never going to be good fill, and you will never be ANN Sheridan! Also never good: LOD, which didn't even get its own clue (it was cross-referenced with TEL AVIV in a way that gave no specific geographical info about either place). So the whole LOD / TYE area, coupled with my inability to come up with whatever ATTACK was happening in the middle, slowed me down.
Also slowing me down: the clue on TARO (47A: ___ cake (Chinese New Year delicacy)). Baffling. I associate TARO with the Pacific Islands, so ... I was like "TACO cake? Do the Chinese like that for some reason? What *is* that?" But overall, the fill on this one is OK. I mean, yes, "EEK, it's ESME!" but most areas are pretty clean. The one thing that really marred the puzzle, though, was that clue on MEN (71A: Exasperated comment from a feminist). Sigh. OK, as someone who has spent his entire life surrounded by feminists, let me say, resoundingly, no. You are confusing feminists with decidedly NOT-feminist sitcom ladies who grouse about their shlubby husbands. Also, you are confusing feminism with anti-man sentiment (a common, pernicious mistake). "MEN!" is not something an exasperated feminist says. "MEN!" is something someone who believes in the essential *in*equality of the sexes says, someone who believes all that Mars/Venus crap, and is just mad that her husband bought her the wrong kind of birthday gift or got soup on his tie or won't stop watching football and clean out the gutters. Not. Feminist. Not not not. This is another (another!) tin-eared clumsy clue that highlights how puzzle makers are a monoculture of (mostly) white (mostly) men. "Sure, baby, we'll let 'feminist' in to the puzzle, but here's the deal: you gotta look pretty and make a funny face into the camera and go 'MEN!' and roll your eyes like 'whaddyagonnado?', OK? OK. That's a good girl."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. a feminist is someone who doesn't blink at writing in a woman's name for the clue [Actor Sheridan].
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