Balloon-carried probe / FRI 2-5-16 / Clean freak of sitcomdom / Chicago exchange in brief / Sister brand of Alpha-Bits / Of wrath in hymn title / Avian symbol of Ontario / Threepio's first master
Friday, February 5, 2016
Constructor: Mary Lou Guizzo
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: SONDE (35A: Balloon-carried probe) —
nounnoun: sonde; plural noun: sondes
- an instrument probe that automatically transmits information about its surroundings underground, under water, in the atmosphere, etc. (google)
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SHAILENE WOODLEY with JESSICA CHASTAIN—both fine answers, but I like puzzlees better when they're drawing their answers from diverse realms of the knowledge spectrum. Here, if you are pop culture illiterate (and I'm looking at a whole lot of you), you don't get double-whammied in such short order. But again, on their own, both answers, fantastic, fair, good. And honestly this puzzle had me at "A MODEST PROPOSAL," so however much the thing stumbled after that, it was highly unlikely that I was going to look upon it in any way other than favorably.
I don't believe in GAWP. I just don't. So right out of the gate I had trouble. To [Stare in astonishment] is to GAPE. Later I was forced to change it—to GASP. But that left me with an opening of SH-T... for 3D: Question upon completing an argument, and that seemed ... unlikely (it's actually the wonderful "WHAT MORE CAN I SAY?"). When you have This Much short fill, with all but a small handful of non-15s in the 3-to-5 range, there will be blood. I consider AMPAS blood. American Pictures Association Of Somewhere? If it's an acronym related to movies and it's not MPAA, then I don't know it. Ah, "Arts & Sciences," ha ha. That's a pretty high-falutin' name for an org. that gives awards to [movie title redacted so as not to offend anyone]! Plural CSIS is awful. PREV, not much better, and you can see other scattered semi-wincey stuff throughout the grid. But I think the 15s do their job, i.e. capture our attention and admiration and keep us from caring too much about the rust and cracked paint and other minor structural imperfections.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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