Physics Nobelist who pioneered in quantum physics / WED 12-30-15 / French comic series that has sold 350+ million copies worldwide / Old knockoff of IBM product / Last royal house of Italy
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Constructor: Mary Lou Guizzo and Jeff Chen
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: AULD LANG SYNE — the song you sing on NEW / YEAR'S / EVE (64A: With 65- and 66-Across, when to sing the song in the circled squares)
- PAUL DIRAC (20A: Physics Nobelist who pioneered in quantum mechanics)
- ALAN GREENSPAN (37A: Federal Reserve chairman under four presidents)
- GREASY NEALE
Alfred Earle "Greasy" Neale (November 5, 1891 – November 2, 1973) was an American football and baseball player and coach. // Neale was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Although writers eventually assumed that Neale got his nickname, "Greasy", from his elusiveness on the football field, it actually arose during his youth, from a name-calling joust with a friend. [...] Neale was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1967 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969. Both inductions recognized his coaching career. (wikipedia)
• • •
PAUL DIRAC and GREASY NEALE aren't puzzle-worthy; they're just niche famous, whereas ALAN GREENSPAN is all-the-way famous (which is to say, he's alive and remains prominent in the cultural memory—100 years from now, ALAN GREENSPAN will probably be the third-most-famous themer in this puzzle). I barely knew DIRAC, and while I knew NEALE, I misremembered who he was. I had him as a member of the '72 Dolphins. Their quarterback was Bob Griese, but I know who Bob Griese is, so that's not whom I was imagining. Guy I was imagining was black (unlike Griese). Also a wide receiver (unlike Griese). No idea what I was thinking.I think I also half-thought that he was on the Meadowlark Lemon-era Harlem Globetrotters. . . Yes! There we go: Fred "Curly" Neal.
Perhaps because the grid is trying to be (and occasionally is) sparkly, there is some less-than-lovely fill. By "some" I mean "lots of." From the truly terrible APOX and NLER, to scads of merely subpar stuff like TAVI, TSE, ELS, IBEAM, RIA, SAGO, DTS, ACCTS, and a lot more ho-hum short stuff. I got held up in a few places. No idea that [Yanqui] was AMERICANO. To me, an AMERICANO is a coffee—espresso w/ hot water added. I had one earlier today. I think it's also a cocktail. I actually had AMERICANS there, thinking [Yanqui] was somehow plural (!?), but then I got the NEATO cross. I also had trouble picking up MINUS SIGN (5D: Something that makes a difference?) (not surprising, given that clue), and V-CHIPS (23A: TV monitors?) (another "?" clue). Do V-CHIPS still exist? I never hear them mentioned. They seem a very '90s thing somehow. Like ... people wanted them in the '90s to keep their kids from watching "South Park." That's what I remember about V-CHIPS: freaked-out '90s parents.
I liked YVES over EVE. I didn't like ENDS over ENDOR. I liked the adjacent pairing BEAT / POETS. BOB AND WEAVE and HEALTHY GLOW make nice pillars. I hope the grid isn't supposed to be a visual representation of anything, like a dropping ball or a noisemaker or something, because if so, I clean missed it.
Happy New Year's Eve Eve.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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