Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Constructor: Alan Derkazarian
Relative difficulty: Mediumish, maybe a tad tougher
THEME: HAM ON RYE (57A: Common deli order ... or a literal occurrence five times in this puzzle) — "HAM" sits directly on top of "RYE" five times in the grid
Word of the Day: ORFEO ed Euridice" (Gluck opera) (58D) —
Orfeo ed Euridice (French version: Orphée et Eurydice; English: Orpheus and Eurydice) is an opera composed by Christoph Willibald Gluck based on the myth of Orpheus, set to a libretto by Ranieri de' Calzabigi. It belongs to the genre of the azione teatrale, meaning an opera on a mythological subject with choruses and dancing. The piece was first performed at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 5 October 1762 in the presence of Empress Maria Theresa. Orfeo ed Euridice is the first of Gluck's "reform" operas, in which he attempted to replace the abstruse plots and overly complex music of opera seria with a "noble simplicity" in both the music and the drama. (wikipedia)
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OME (4D: Kipling's "Follow Me ___"). That's the kind of a thing (an elided word in a partial title of an old poem) that should be behind glass that you break only in case of emergencies. You never break that glass on Tuesdays. Not in 2016. Just because you've seen it in a puzzle doesn't mean it's good for your easy Tuesday. Or any day, really. Puzzle already skews passé (partials Latin suffixes and an overall stuffy vocab vibe). Early on, when you see your theme is forcing you into a -ME situation, your first reaction should be Move Some Black Squares Around so you are no longer in that situation. It's not rocket science. It's Tuesday.
This type of puzzle isn't really fun from the solver's perspective, because it's not clear what the theme is, or that there even is a theme. . . and then you get to the revealer and rather than "aha" there's just "...oh." And maybe you hunt down the five sandwiches, maybe you don't. At that point it doesn't matter. I do like that the revealer is part of two sandwiches, with both the HAM and RYE parts getting the appropriate treatment. I also liked running into Jon CRYER (19A: Jon of "Two and a Half Men") since he is the guy who turned so many into criers just over a week ago at ACPT. One of the puzzles featured an especially brutal crossing that involved his name, specifically it's central letter. The cross was, weirdly and improbably, an acceptable answer for the clue whether you put an "I" or a "Y" there. So you had to be certain of how Jon spelled his name. Many were not. I once saw Jon CRYER doing a private little dance to Culture CLUB's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," when he thought no one was looking, in the foyer of Kate Mantilini (a Beverly Hills restaurant) (Marvin Hamlish and Mike Myers were also there that evening, all of them in separate parties; Myers had on a Maple Leafs jacket) (you can see this all made an impression on me) (it was roughly 1994 at the time) (I've probably told that story before. Don't care). Good day.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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