Sonnet-ending unit / FRI 4-29-16 / Slangy true no / Questel who voiced Olive Oyl / Onetime motel come-on / Old radio dummy / Result of holding hooking / Shot from behind arc informally
Friday, April 29, 2016
Constructor: Andrew Kingsley
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: MAE Questel (6D: Questel who voiced Olive Oyl) —
Mae Questel (pronounced ques-TELL; September 13, 1908 – January 4, 1998) was an American actress and vocal artist best known for providing the voices for the animated characters Betty Boop and Olive Oyl. She began in vaudeville, and played occasional small roles in films and television later in her career, most notably the role of Aunt Bethany in 1989's National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. (wikipedia)
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EDIE and ACADIA, then up with VALUE MENU and ICY STARES, then down with oldey-timey MAE and SNERD, then up with GOOD TIME SLAM POETRY. Ugsome ARME and ETERNE get made up for with VIRUS SCAN and "THE RAVEN" (58A: 72 of its 108 lines end in "-ore" sounds). Less than great fill like SUP and TREY at least get nice modern clues. Ultimately, I'm FOR this one—but what is with the easiness. The EASE! I broke 5 minutes last week, and I nearly broke it again this week, despite what felt like a very slow start in the NW (FOUR A.M. really loused me up at 1A: Graveyard hour), and despite not really having my speed-solving hat on. Longer answers like JET BLACK, ICY STARES, and LATIN LOVER came together with just one or two letters in place. I got FINLAND off just the "F" (40D: First country in the world with universal suffrage (1906)). I know I'm asking for trouble when I say this, but More Teeth, please. I need late-week puzzles to put up something of a fight.
OMSK OREL and OREM are all located in the same room in my brain, and I couldn't figure out which one I needed for a while today at 30A: City on the Oka River. OREM is in Utah, so I mostly ruled that out (though I wouldn't have been stunned if it had turned out that Utah had an Oka River). OMSK was contradicted by crosses, so ... OREL. I thought COMER was COMET (13D: Star on the horizon?). I imagined a scenario like this—Person 1: "Is that a star on the horizon?" Person 2: "No, it's a COMET." End scene. Cool that POETRY intersects "THE RAVEN" (*and* contains the letter string "POE"). The toughest clue to parse was 48A: Answering to (UNDER). I'm still not sure I can find a good example of how those can substitute for one another, but I assume ... oh, no, wait, I just got it. Of course. You answer to your boss. You're UNDER your boss. Figuratively. Probably just figuratively. I was thinking it had something to do with going UNDER a different name, answering to a different name. But no, that's absurd. The boss thing is right. LMAO. Good night.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. Just remembered that my friend Laura wrote me earlier in the week telling me that this Friday's puzzle was going to be a debut by one of her students at Dartmouth. She was like "be kind" and I was like "You're Not The Boss Of Me!" So happy that I totally forgot about that exchange until just this second, as it had no bearing on the write-up whatsoever. Also happy that this crossword debut is so promising.
P.P.S. One of my readers (Amy Gaidis) just reminded me of something that I really really should've remembered (since I'm married to a Kiwi—and one with a Ph.D. in women's history no less). Per wikipedia: "In 1893 New Zealand became the first nation in the world (bar the short-lived 18th century Corsican Republic) to grant universal, male and female adult suffrage." So ... I don't know how that FINLAND clue (40D: First country in the world with universal suffrage (1906)) isn't wrong.
P.P.P.S. Now another reader tells me that New Zealand was not yet a "country" in 1893. It did not become a "country" (actually, a "dominion"), as opposed to a colony, until 1907. This seems phenomenally nitpicky if it's the alleged factual basis for claiming that FINLAND was first. Hey, wait ... FINLAND doesn't even become independent until 1917 (!?!?). So ... I'm sticking by "This Clue Is Wrong." Point, NZ.
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