2014 Jennifer Lawrence Bradley Cooper film / TUE 12-15-15 / Monomaniacal mariner / Nickname on 1960s-80s Red Sox / 1980 one-woman comedy produced by Lorne Michaels
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Constructor: David Levinson Wilk
Relative difficulty: Medium (maybe slightly tougher than normal)
THEME: BOBS UP AND DOWN (15D: Moves like a buoy in the ocean ... or a hint to this circled parts of this puzzle?) — the last names of famous BOBS run UP AND (then) DOWN (and then UP AND (then) DOWN again) in circled squares inside the theme answers:
- PRINCESS OF WALES (3D: Elton John's dedicatee for "Candle in the Wind 1997")
- CANDYLAND (4D: Classic board game with a Peppermint Forest)
- "GILDA LIVE" (35D: 1980 one-woman comedy produced by Lorne Michaels)
- SMOOTH OPERATORS (10D: Don Juan types)
Serena is a 2014 American–French drama film based on the 2008 novel of the same name by American author Ron Rash. Directed by Susanne Bier, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper as newlyweds running a timber business in 1930s North Carolina. [...] The film earned £95,000 ($153,310) on its opening weekend in the United Kingdom, debuting at No. 19 at the UK box office. In its second week, the film dropped to finish 34th, grossing £11,645 from 37 screens. The movie ended its run with a total gross of $320,907 (£200,557) // The film made $1 million on video on demand in the United States before its theatrical release. The movie opened in 59 screens across the United States on March 20, 2015, and earned $100,090 for a 30th-place finish. As of November 9, 2014, the film had a theatrical domestic gross of $100,090 and an international theatrical gross of $3,723,317 for a worldwide total of $3,823,407. // In The Irish Times, Donald Clark praised the cinematography as " exquisite," but suggested that Lawrence's performance was "genuinely poor." He concluded, "Nobody is likely to see the [film]." (wikipedia)
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SERENA (23D: 2014 Jennifer Lawrence / Bradley Cooper film). I'm sorry, correction: "SERENA." This is possibly the stupidest, most ridiculous, most inexplicable and ill-advised clue in the history of cluing. So ... let me get this straight. On a Tuesday (a Tuesday!) you have SERENA in your grid and instead of using The Greatest Female Tennis Player of All Time, The Only Truly Puzzle-Worthy SERENA There Is*, you decide you are, instead, perhaps in a bid to be bold and outrageous, perhaps in a deeply misguided fit of hipness-aspiration, perhaps perhaps perhaps, going to clue "SERENA" by way of a movie that not literally but almost literally no one saw. Because? Because it starred Bradley Cooper (ooh) and Jennifer Lawrence (aah)?! No. No no no. Again, this is a Tuesday puzzle we're talking about. Actually, I don't think that matters—this clue would be crap on any day of the week. In what universe does this ridiculous non-movie movie clue bring pleasure or recognition or Anything to Anybody except righteous anger that we are being force-fed the most bottom-of-the-barrel junk by pretty movie stars while the truly deserving champion sits there overlooked? "The film had a theatrical domestic gross of $100,090." Just chew on that sentence for a second. Now chew on SERENA Williams' 21 Grand Slam singles titles. And this on a day when actual, presumably sentient, human beings (plural) are "upset" that Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year Award went to SERENA Williams and not ... a horse. A *&%^ing horse who doesn't know how to spell its own *&%^ing name. This disrespect ... This is not new. Read "Citizen" by Claudia Rankine. As for the rest of this puzzle ... I don't even remember or care right now.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. the male-dominated audience of sports talk radio has spoken on this matter (Thank god!). Serena's not just behind the horse—she's not even on the leaderboard.
[screenshot from this morning's "Mike & Mike" show on ESPN2]
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