Group Theatre playwright of 1930s / THU 12-3-15 / Patriotic Clint Eastwood movie / Lyre player of mythology / Town whose exports are waxed / Medium for Biggie Smalls
Thursday, December 3, 2015
Constructor: Patrick Merrell
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Fun with Roman numerals — circled squares contain Roman numerals, which, in the Across theme answers, stand in for the letters in their English equivalent (e.g. I = "ONE"). In the Downs, the letters in the Roman numerals cease to be Roman numerals and function simply as letters:
- RUNNING [ON E]MPTY (20A: Almost out of energy)
- DA[TE N]IGHT (32A: Time to get a babysitter, maybe)
- "FLAGS O[F OUR] FATHERS" (38A: Patriotic Clint Eastwood movie)
- CA[TWO]MAN (45A: DC Comics character with a whip)
- CB[S EVEN]ING NEWS (52A: Rather informative program, once?)
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015. (dictionary.com)
• • •
CB[S EVEN]ING NEWS. I somehow wasn't looking for VII, and that is a truly inventive way to hide it. On the fill front, I am not at all a fan of TOX (22D: Food safety subj.). Is that short of tox ... ins? icity? It's horrid. I honestly considered TAX. And I gave a little side-eye to the creaky ERATO / ET ALIA crossing (though ET ALIA got a very nice clue—30D: String substitute?). But I don't have very many other complaints. It was too easy; that's the only serious complaint I have. Even the Scrabble-f*%&ing in the NE didn't bother me. I mean, if you're gonna do it, I say go All In. Four "Z"s in a 3x3 section!? Sure. Go on. Go ahead. And if you somehow don't know who AZIZ Ansari is (16A: ___ Ansari of "Parks and Recreation"), please watch the series "Master of None" (10 episodes, on Netflix) right now. Best scripted show I've seen since "Transparent." Oh, also, there's a new episode of "Transparent" available (Season 2, Episode 1) right now on Amazon Prime. Not sure why I'm telling you all this ... just spreading the Gospel of Good TV, I guess. (Don't get me started on the Great British Baking Show, though, because I am a convert and like all converts I am annoyingly zealous)
- 24A: Group Theatre playwright of the 1930s (ODETS) — I started with YEATS. Something about "playwright" and spelling of "theatre" and the fact that my dear friend Catherine is a Yeats scholar—not to mention the five-letter length of the answer—made me do it. YEATS died in 1939, so my answer is chronologically plausible, if no other kind of plausible.
- 28A: Works of Carl Maria von Weber (OPERAS) — I get this dude confused with sociologist Max Weber. It's probably the whole last name thing.
- 63A: Medium for Biggie Smalls (RADIO) — this is a very weird clue. Presumably RADIO is a Medium for virtually any singer in the history of singers. Does Biggie have a song about RADIO? Why Biggie? I mean, I'm happy to see his name, but the clue feels weirdly arbitrary. LL Cool J makes more sense. Or Elvis Costello. Or R.E.M. Or Talking Heads. Etc. [nevermind: apparently there's a big/medium/small joke going on here ... ANYway...]
- 66A: "That's not for me" ("I PASS") — I went with "I'M OUT!"
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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