Characters in Romola Gondoliers / THU 7-7-16 / Gilbert protagonist of Vampire Diaries / Onetime Caribbean native / Spherical symbol of authority / Political comic who once had a one-man Broadway show
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Constructor: Joel Elkins and Andrea Carla Michaels
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
- "THAT'S AMORE" (17A: Dean Martin classic) / SET SAIL (4D: Go to sea)
- LIGHT SABERS (21A: Jedi defenses) / MORT SAHL (9D: Political comic who once had a one-man Broadway show)
- WARTS AND ALL (54A: Everything, the good with the bad) / IT'S A BOY (50D: Delivery room announcement)
- YOU DON'T SAY (58A: "Really?!") / TENT SALE (47D: Outside clearance event)
clade Aplysiomorpha, commonly known as sea hares (Aplysia species and related genera), are medium-sized to very large Opisthobranchia with a soft internal shell made of protein. These are marine gastropod molluscs in the superfamilies Aplysioidea and Akeroidea. // The common name "sea hare" is direct translation from Latin lepus marinus, as the animal's existence was known in Roman times. The name derives from their rounded shape and from the two long rhinophores that project upwards from their heads and that somewhat resemble the ears of a hare. (wikipedia)
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I've never encountered the TSA at a "border stop"—only in airports. But maybe they're at border stops too, I don't know. Or maybe that doesn't matter, and it's just that the TSA are a form of checkpoint. Good enough. This rebus was remarkably straightforward and easy to uncover. SET SAIL was obvious before too long, and after that ... just more TSAs. Some of the TSA-containing themers are quite good—actually, all of the Acrosses are, though I especially like "YOU DON'T SAY..." and "WARTS AND ALL." The fill is about average. Very serviceable, with only a few real rough spots. I don't know why I keep ending my puzzles at the very roughest part, but several times in the last few days my last square has been in the junkiest answer. Here, it was the "A" is TESSAS. So many TESSAS. Hardly anyone is named TESSA, and you want me to accept two. What's a "Romola"? As plural names go, that was rough. But the only other parts that really made me wince were the verb-to-noun monsters EVADER (bad) and TOTALER (worse). I think I'd accept those only if they were clued [Tax ___] and [Tee___] respectively (I'm not serious, esp. about that last one).
IKE'S) is a valiant attempt to save us from having to endure a second plural name (after TESSAS). The clue in IDI is hilarious in its superfluity (26A: ___ Amin, Oscar-winning role for Forest Whitaker). 99% of solvers will get IDI from [___ Amin], and the other 1% are actually fictional because I can't imagine anyone having a go at a NYT Thursday puzzle who doesn't know IDI Amin. Anyway, the whole bit after "Amin" about Forest Whitaker is fantastically unnecessary. [Oscar-winning role for Forest] is a much (read: infinitely) better clue, one I'm sure has been used before. Why not here? Don't know. Current clue's not bad, just baffling. If you had told me my favorite clue was going to involve Miley Cyrus, I'd've told you "shut up," but as fill-in-the-blank quotation clues go, I loved 49A: "Pink isn't just a color, it's an ___": Miley Cyrus (ATTITUDE). I like the sentiment, as well as the sheer weirdness.
I don't know what SEAHARES are, but the crosses were all fair. I guess they ... kinda ... look like hares. I forgot that the "Vampire Diaries" girl was an ELENA (56A: ___ Gilbert, protagonist of "The Vampire Diaries"). The non-Kagan kind. EWEN Bremner was beyond me (65A: Actor Bremner of "Trainspotting" and "Black Hawk Down"), so that SE corner was probably the toughest, between those names and the tough-for-me partial 53D: "How can ___?" ("I LOSE"). I wanted only "IT BE?" but that obviously didn't work. OK, that'll do. See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]
P.S. "A Little Back-and-Forth" by Byron Walden is a great puzzle and you should do it (if you subscribed to the American Values Crossword Puzzle, you'd know this already)