Medieval steel helmets with visors / SAT 4-9-16 / Mongolian for hero / Steven who co-created Sherlock / Wilber who founded fast food chain / Member of comicdom's SHIELD / 250-year span in Japan's history / California city for which element #116 was named / Ragg Sweeney Todd's assistant / Focus of some high profile 1970s lawsuits
Saturday, April 9, 2016
Constructor: David Phillips
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: PIETISM (46A: Old Lutheran movement) —
Pietism (//, from the word piety) was an influential movement within Lutheranism that combined the 17th century Lutheran principles with the Reformed emphasis on individual piety and living a vigorous Christian life. // It began in the late 17th century, reached its zenith in the mid-18th century, and declined through the 19th century, and had almost vanished in America by the end of the 20th century. While declining as an identifiable Lutheran group, some of its theological tenets influenced Protestantism generally, inspiring the Anglican priest John Wesley to begin the Methodist movement and Alexander Mack to begin the Brethren movement among Anabaptists. // Though Pietism shares an emphasis on personal behavior with the Puritan movement, and the two are often confused, there are important differences, particularly in the concept of the role of religion in government. (wikipedia)
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A largely unpleasant affair for me, first because it was riddled with obscure proper nouns (MOFFAT?) and esoterica (BASINETS? PIETISM?), and second because it seems to believe "THE BIG BANG THEORY" is so good a marquee answer that the grid deserves to be widened to 16 just to accommodate it. The fake nerdism of that show is unbearable to me. Unwatchable. Barf. But that's just a matter of taste, I realize. The bigger issue is just the overall feel of the grid, which felt either esoteric or just dull to me. Pseudo-current stuff like BROMANCE already feels dated to me, and certainly isn't enough to overcome all the NEB BATOR CCC NYAH SCARERS and blahness of the rest of the grid.
The SW corner may as well have been an entirely different puzzle. That thing is guarded on either end by what for me were no-hope answers. I still don't really know what an AIR CARRIER is or how it's a [Sky line]. [Looks it up] Well, look at that: it appears to be just another word for an airline. Huh. I was thinking something like "aircraft carrier," but ... in the sky? Dunno. AIR CARRIER seems like an awfully wordlisty answer. An answer only a computer could love. Who *chooses* to put that in their grid? Wow. OK. Real gatekeepers of the SW corner, though, were OSBORN (30A: "The Paper Chase" novelist) and TOBIAS (28D: ___ Ragg, Sweeney Todd's assistant) (who and who?) up top, and BASINETS and PIETISM (ditto) down below. For a time, I just had BLTS and AGT in there. I basically just pieced that corner together brick by brick, slowly and painfully. BATOR was the answer which, when it finally dropped, pushed things from stuck to finish.
But man, it was a slog, allayed only infrequently by moments of pleasure (I like SHELL GAME well enough, and NO HARM DONE is nice). I read Batman for years and never heard of THE SIREN (?) (38D: Alter ego of "Batman" villainess Lorelei Circe). And MOFFAT at 1-Across??? I don't / can't / won't understand where the pleasure in this thing was supposed to lie. LIVERMORE!? (13D: California city for which element #116 was named) I'm *from* California and that answer left me [shrug]. "Oh, element #116, you don't say ..." [nods knowingly] [remembers he only knows like ten elements by number] [continues to nod knowingly]. That clue was, uh, not helpful. Seriously, whom did that clue help. Does that clue Want us to look at the periodic table? I fail to understand. Not for the first time.
How did I get into the grid? I know you're dying to know. Well, thusly:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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