Eschew Uber say / MON 8-8-16 / Sister brand of Gillette's Sensor / 1956 James Dean western / 1963 Steve McQueen epic / 1932 Greta Garbo classic
Monday, August 8, 2016
Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel and Don Gagliardo
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Monday*—largely because of the preponderance of proper nouns, particularly the themers)
THEME: BIG PICTURE (58A: Long view ... or what the answer to each starred clue is?) — movie titles whose first words mean, roughly, "big":
- GRAND HOTEL (17A: *1932 Greta Garbo classic)
- GREAT ESCAPE (11D: *1963 Steve McQueen epic, with "The")
- SUPER-SIZE ME (24D: *2004 documentary about fast food)
- TITANIC (37A: *Winner of 11 1997 Oscars)
- GIANT (28D: *1956 James Dean western)
Leonard "Len" Berman (born June 14, 1947) is an American television sportscaster and journalist who is based in New York City. He is currently hosting the morning show on WOR-AM with Todd Schnitt. // Berman is widely known for his career with NBC, specifically his work for the network's flagship station WNBC-TV. Berman spent twenty-seven years as the lead sports anchor for WNBC and also worked for NBC Sports covering Major League Baseball and the National Football League. He was employed by WNBC until 2009, and prior to that worked for WCBS-TV in New York from April of 1979 through August of 1982 and WBZ-TV in Boston. (wikipedia)
GIANT" and and with the "N" in place wrote in "SHANE" (despite knowing very well James Dean wasn't in that—it was Alan Ladd). Took me a while to pick up DISNEY, too—another film-related proper noun (20A: It acquired Lucasfilm in 2012). None of this was truly difficult; it just provided a mild headwind that affected my final time. But my own mistakes did that too. I had LE VOILA! instead of ET VOILA! My version literally means "there it is." I don't think the clue is good at all, in the sense that VOILA all on its own means "There you have it!" That ET is crucial (it means "And"). Clue should've been ["And there you have it!"].
I also flat-out misspelled / wrong-spelled HOARD (21A: Squirrel away). Went with HORDE. That hurt. Then there was LOPES, which I just couldn't see (49A: Easy runs), mainly because I had no idea how "runs" was being used. [Easy running paces] or [Easy paces] or even [Runs at an easy pace] I would've gotten a lot, well, easier. BOLSTER hard to see from just [Strengthen], and CALL A CAB not at all clear (to me) from 39D: Eschew Uber, say. My first inclination was to find some version of the answer "walk." Lastly, STOP BY was not intuitive to me at all (48D: Visit). I had STOP AT and stumbled around there fixing it. I thought the grid was quite clean overall. The theme was decent—seems like it could be infinite (lots of movies must begin with some synonym of "big"), but when you take movies starting in "(THE) BIG" off the table (as you have to here, because "BIG" is in the revealer), the number of usable movies shrinks considerably (usable means it fits the basic criteria of the theme *and* is Monday-familiar). Totally acceptable Monday fare.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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