Old presidential dog whose name starts a Christmas carol refrain / MON 12-7-15 / Formerly top-rated show starring Mark Harmon / Muscat's land / Yemeni port city / mia Italian term of endearment
Monday, December 7, 2015
Constructor: Jason Mueller
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (2:45)
THEME: ILIAD (36A: Work hinted at by the starts of 17-, 26-, 42- and 56-Across) — all those first words / names are related to the "ILIAD":
- TROY AIKMAN (17A: He quarterbacked the Dallas Cowboys to three 1990s Super Bowl wins) — the "ILIAD" takes place in and just outside TROY, though does not include the fall of TROY (the fall, with the Trojan Horse and all that drama, isn't actually in the "ILIAD"; Virgil's got that covered...)
- HOMER SIMPSON (26A: Animated TV character who cries "D'oh!") — HOMER wrote the "ILIAD"
- ACHILLES HEEL (42A: Key vulnerability) — ACHILLES is the main Greek hero in the "ILIAD" (though the real hero is HECTOR, who could not be with us this evening...)
- PARIS METRO (56A: French underground) — PARIS is an asshole. Also, he stole / ran off with Helen, the wife of the Menelaus, which arguably started the whole Trojan War debacle.
• • •
ILIAD-related names are kinda arbitrary and not that well, uh, hidden. The connection between the poet Homer and the character of Homer has been noted / exploited numerous times on "The Simpsons," so there's no surprise there. Also, worse, ACHILLES HEEL is actually *named for* the Greek hero in question, so there's reeeeally no surprise there. PARIS METRO is probably the most interesting of the themers. But the theme as a whole is a bit of a shrug. Best part about this puzzle is that it's got those big corners (NE, SW), so even though the longer Downs aren't *scintillating*, they do at least add some interest to this Monday grid. Puzzle is weirdly obsessed with Meghan TRAINOR. Not sure how to feel about that.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS Annabel is taking this month off from first-Monday blogging because it's the last week of the first semester of her freshman year and she is buried. Hopefully figuratively. She should be back with the first Monday write-up of January, 2016.
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