Sublime physical performance / MON 1-18-16 / Smallville family / 2002 Tom Cruise sci-fi film / Fictional pirate who shares his name with bird
Monday, January 18, 2016
Constructor: Kathy Wienberg
Relative difficulty: Slightly tougher than usual Monday...
THEME: POETRY IN MOTION (49A: Sublime physical performance ... or a hint to this puzzle's circled letters) — the letters in "POETRY" are rearranged (i.e. put IN MOTION) contiguously inside three theme answers:
- "MINORITY REPORT" (20A: 2002 Tom Cruise sci-fi film)
- PYROTECHNIC (24A: Related to fireworks)
- PARTY PEOPLE (44A: They know how to have a good time)
Ouzo (Greek: ούζο, IPA: [ˈuzo]) is an anise-flavoured aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece and Cyprus. (wikipedia)
• • •
PYROTECHNIC violates the usual policy of breaking the "hidden" (or "circled" or "whatever") part across two words in the themer, but when you're dealing with this many letters, it's probably not easy to find good themers that do that, and PYROTECHNIC is nothing if not, uh, sparkly. Fill is not fancy, but it's polished like mad. I mean, this thing has been well and truly scrubbed. Lots of common short answers, but nothing that makes my face do that thing it does when things are really off. The one part that slowed me down today did involve crosswordese. You just don't see the CZAR spelling much at all anymore (unless it's related to a "Drug CZAR" or some other Americanized phrase like that) (5A: Ivan the Terrible, for one). So since it's clued as your standard Russian leader-type person, I went with TSAR. Easily corrected, of course, but seconds are seconds when it's a Monday, and all that scrambling to fix a mistake cost me. Also had OVERLORD instead of OVERSEER at first (40A: Boss)—another repair required, more time lost. Couldn't remember Jack SPARROW (41D: Fictional pirate who shares his name with a bird) and didn't know at first what was being shot out of the slingshot (STONE), so just getting into that SW corner required more work than I was expecting. Stupidly went with SKID over SLID (64A: Lost traction) (tense of SKID doesn't match clue, hence "stupidly").
I've got "ANT-Man" sitting here on Blu-ray, courtesy of Netflix, so maybe I'll go take a peek at that. Or else I'll just go read. See you all tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. please enjoy this refrigerator magnet that a couple of my readers made for me. Slightly hyperbolic, but basically fair.