Bond Girl Shirley / MON 7-18-16 / Ancient Greek theaters / Succulent flowering plants / Seinfeld neighbor whose name is spoken as epithet / Bad record for motoristVessel for slow cooking /
Monday, July 18, 2016
Constructor: Jacob Stulberg
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Monday*: 20+ seconds over normal time)
THEME: OPED COLUMN (29D: Place for airing an opinion ... or what five of the his puzzle's Down answers contain?) — "OPED" can be found inside four down-running themers:
- PIANO PEDAL (3D: One of three at the base of a Steinway)
- SLOPE DOWN (33D: Decline, as a ramp)
- HOPE DIAMOND (17D: Large gem in the Smithsonian)
- EUROPE DAY (9D: Annual celebration when a 12-star flag may be flown)
In Europe, Europe Day is an annual celebration of peace and unity in Europe. There are two separate designations of Europe Day: 5 May for the Council of Europe, and 9 May for the European Union (EU). The latter is the EU's flag day and has a greater visibility.
The Council of Europe's day reflects its own establishment in 1949, while the European Union's day is also known as Schuman Day and celebrates the historical declaration by French foreign minister Robert Schuman in 1950. Europe Day is one of a number of European symbols designed to foster unity among Europeans. (wikipedia)
• • •
SLOPE DOWN is such a Green Paintish-type answer that I had SLANT DOWN at first, and lastly because I've never heard of EUROPE DAY. Not at all. Thus, my Monday solving time spiked up. Which is fine. Cluing / fill seemed on the slightly tougher side overall for a Monday. STEW POT sounded right. STEW PAN still sounds weird, even now. The more I look at it, the more I disbelieve its thingness. STEWPOT definitely googles better, though not by as much as I expected. Between that and EUROPE DAY, the NE played slow. Then there was 19A: Bond girl Shirley (EATON). No clue. Zero, none. There have been roughly ten thousand Bond girls. Come on.
Then there was --MME- at 45A: Pound repeatedly (PUMMEL), which of course sent me to HAMMER. Then there was ROADWAY (62A: Surface to drive on). Had the ROAD, and then ... nothing. ROADWAY is a word I recognize but would never use, ROAD being normally sufficient. Finally, the clue on REVUE told me virtually zero (30D: "Side by Side by Sondheim," e.g.). Could've been OPERA for all I knew. Maybe since Sondheim is a notorious puzzle-lover, that was supposed to be a little wink / nod to him. Fine. Not a Monday clue, but fine. It's all fine. Just fine.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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