Lady in Spenser's Faerie Queene / TUE 7-5-16 / Retroactively at law / Magic johnson's real first name
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Constructor: Jules Markey
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: TREASURE MAP (59A: Pirate's guide that's hinted at phonetically by the starts of 17-, 29- and 44-Across) — beginnings of theme answers phonetically make out "X MARKS THE SPOT" (EX / MARX / DESPOT-)
- EX POST FACTO (17A: Retroactively, at law)
- MARX AND LENIN (29A: Red giants)
- DESPOTICALLY (44A: How Ivan the Terrible ruled)
- BUCCANEER (11D: Pirate)
- OLD SEA DOG (35D: Pirate, informally)
U.S. Solicitor General. He is the former President and Chancellor of Baylor University, and currently holds the Louise L. Morrison Chair of Constitutional Law at Baylor University Law School. He carried out a controversial investigation of members of the Clinton administration. [...] Starr served as the president and chancellor of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, from June 2010 until May 2016. On May 26, 2016, following an investigation into the mishandling of several sexual assaults at the school by Starr, Baylor University's Board of Regents announced that Starr's tenure as university president would end on May 31. The Regents said he would continue as Chancellor, but on June 1, Starr told ESPN that he would resign that position effective immediately. He continues in the Louise L. Morrison Chair of Constitutional Law in Baylor Law School. He also serves on the board of trustees of the Baylor College of Medicine. (wikipedia)
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Yes, yes, we all see BROADS there, very cute (33A: Women, impolitely). I guess he wants us to know he doesn't have a tin ear after all. He knows exactly what he's doing. Good for him. If putting "impolite" things about women in your puzzles is what turns you on, then fly that flag, by all means.
["... without them what would little boys do?"]
BUCCANEER and OLD SEA DOG in symmetrical down positions, as well as the ARRR at the end, and the fill doesn't suffer *too* much for all the theme-stuffing, so that's nice. After the MARX AND LENIN answer, I thought there was going to be a red stars green stars blue stars joke theme (mostly because [Red stars] seems like the kind of clue that should have a "?" after it—there are "red stars" in astronomy after all, aren't there? Or are they only known as "red giants"? [Correction: clue is actually [Red giants] and my brain impishly refused to read correctly, as is its occasional wont] Either way, I thought the theme clue was cute and that the theme might continue the cuteness. And then I thought DESPOTICALLY might be some kind of Tom Swifty joke I wasn't getting. And *then* I thought I was dealing with some kind of belated 4th of July theme wherein the puzzle mocked failed Russian systems of government (Communism, Tsarism, etc.). But none of that was right. Just first syllables, that's all that mattered. The OLD in OLD SEA DOG seems gratuitous ("sea dog" *means* "old or experienced sailor", but you gotta make your symmetry work somehow). Dictionary doesn't appear to give "sea dog" any specific connection to pirates, but maybe it's a horseshoes / hand grenades situation.
- ON EMPTY (23D: Risky way for a car to be running) — took a long time to parse, especially since the answer appeared to start with ONE ...
- IRENA (27A: Lady in Spenser's "The Faerie Queene") — to give you an idea of how fast I'm scanning the clues sometimes, the first answer I wanted here was DIANA. Also, IRENA, twice in a week? That's some Maleskan regression, NYT. Come on, now.
- REFLEX (6D: Involuntary action) — had REFL-, went with REFLUX.
- YOLK'S (38A: "The ___ on you!" (classic gag line)) — this was the funniest thing in the puzzle, mostly because I read the word "classic" in a totally sarcastic voice
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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