1909 Matisse masterpiece / THU 4-7-16 / Big-picture approach to patient care / Onetime debater with Joe Biden / Golden galloper / Big name in foam-based weaponry / Quaker state city subject to lake effect snow
Thursday, April 7, 2016
Constructor: John Lieb
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "SAY HELLO TO MY / LITTLE FRIEND" (27A: With 48-Across, memorable Al Pacino movie line ... or a hint for this puzzle's theme) — "PAL" is squeezed into 6 boxes around the grid, thus "PAL" is a "little" friend that you encounter (or say "hello" to) 6 times.
- SARAH PALIN / PALATIAL
- OPALS / PALOMINO
- SEPAL / PALLS
- NEPAL / PALED
- DE PALMA / RAP ALBUM
- APPALACHIA / FACEPALM
Ilene Susan Graff (born February 28, 1949) is an American actress and singer. [...] Graff's television work includes Barnaby Jones, Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, Three's Company, Lewis & Clark, and St. Elsewhere. From 1985 until 1990, she played what is possibly her best known role, Marsha Owens, the wife of Bob Uecker's character, George, in the sitcom Mr. Belvedere. (wikipedia)
• • •
BEER TENT (64A: Oktoberfest venue). The BEER TENT is used to it, I'm sure.
The fill, though, hoo boy. That's another story. Yesterday's puzzle had a smattering of charming, old-school crosswordese. This one has more than a smattering of far less charming stuff. ALAE EIEIO are only fun if you run them together, making a kind of extended nonsense sound. On their own, not great. ABAS makes me want to say "À BAS, À BAS!" You know, 'cause "À BAS" means "down with"? ERIEPA remains my least favorite (and by far the most ubiquitous) "city+state code" answer. I remember the first time I saw it I thought it was one word. "Where the hell is AIR'-EE-EPP'-PA," I wondered. Then there's the highly awkward "city comma cross-referenced state" thing going on with LEHI (where?) UTAH (oh, there). An the less said ANENT ILENE, the better. And that's just the clearly suboptimal stuff. Your LAIC and LO-RES and ARA and ordinary filler like that, I can let slide. It's too bad that this thing is fleshed out so weakly. There are some winners here and there (most notably FACE PALM, PALATIAL, and PLAYBOY). But otherwise, a rough ride.
I'll put together a little ACPT recap by week's end. For now, here's one of my proudest moments of the tournament: seeing my two Binghamton University students there, geeking out as spectators (and future competitors), and then seeing them again in this picture at the NYT's "Wordplay" blog.
PS [Brady bunch, in headlines] is a nice clue for PATS. (For the sports-challenged, PATS are the New England Patriots, and "Brady" is Tom Brady, their quarterback.)
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