Brother player of old TV film / SAT 12-19-15 / 18 title setting of 1961 novel / 1969 Alan Arkin comedy drama / Comedian Nick with self-titled Comedy Central show / Tour often featuring Black Sabbath
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Constructor: Damon Gulczynski
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: "POPI" (16A: 1969 Alan Arkin comedy/drama) —
Popi is a 1969 American comedy-drama film directed by Arthur Hiller. The screenplay by Tina Pine and Lester Pine focuses on a Puerto Rican widower struggling to raise his two young sons in the New York City neighborhood known as Spanish Harlem, and stars Alan Arkin and Rita Moreno. (wikipedia)
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SPECIAL MESSAGE for SYNDICATED solvers for the week of January 17-January 24, 2016
Hello, syndicated (i.e. 1-to-5-week-behind) solvers! Somehow, it is January again, which means it's time for my once-a-year pitch for financial contributions to the blog. The idea is very simple: if you read the blog regularly (or even semi-regularly), please consider what it's worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. In making this pitch, I'm pledging that the blog will continue to be here for you to read / enjoy / grimace at for at least another calendar year. This year is special, as it will mark the 10th anniversary of Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle, and despite my not-infrequent grumblings about less-than-stellar puzzles, I've actually never been so excited to be thinking and writing about crosswords. I have no way of knowing what's coming from the NYT, but the broader world of crosswords looks very bright, and that is sustaining. Whatever happens, this blog will remain an outpost of the Old Internet: no ads, no corporate sponsorship, no whistles and bells. Just the singular, personal voice of someone talking passionately about a topic he loves. As I have said in years past, I know that some people are opposed to paying for what they can get for free, and still others really don't have money to spare. Both kinds of people are welcome to continue reading my blog, with my compliments. It will always be free. I have no interest in cordoning it off, nor do I have any interest in taking advertising. I value my independence too much. Anyway, if you are so moved, there is a Paypal button in the sidebar, and a mailing address here:
℅ Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton NY 13905
And here: I'll stick a PayPal button in here for the mobile users.
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ACCRA at 1A: Gulf of Guinea metropolis) because I have a store of instantly available 5-letter world capitals in my head (from a quarter century of solving crosswords) and that was the first one that popped up (fun fact: I learned ACCRA from crosswords, way back when this blog first started). But I had zero confidence in it, and couldn't make crosses work, so I abandoned it. Put in KROLL (17A: Comedian Nick with a self-titled Comedy Central show) but didn't feel good about it (getting a pop culture answer like that, first thing, always feels a bit like cheating). But that didn't lead me anywhere either. I guessed OBS and then guessed the UP part of what became CHOPS UP. "P" from UP got me DUPONTS (30A: Influential industrial family), which spilled into CONTRACT (24D: Something the ink has dried on), which ... was wrong. I figured this out quickly by checking crosses, noticing 42A: Rapper who publicly feuded with Dr. Dre, and *knowing* the answer was EAZY-E (not EAZY-A). So CONTRACT, out. By GOLLY, in. Then LEO and back up the grid to YOU GO GIRL and eventually the improbably spelled AYKROYD (1D: "Brother" player of old TV and film) (I had a "C" in the second position and stared at CAHO- at 14A: Email option for what felt like a Long time).
Once I worked my way to the lower bottom, though, the fill got a lot uglier. That whole block from REPOT east to the -INS part of MERLIN'S is pretty rough. Very Very rough. PEDI OREN TSOS is an abominable stack. A 70-word themeless should have no rough patches that bad, and this one has a few. See also LLANOS / ILS / INSTR and EVEL / EVILER / MILA. Also, "POPI," which ... no. There's some funnish stuff here and there, but overall there's too much on the low end. ICEE FOSS ENTS! Not really feeling it.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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