Popeye's brawny rival for Olive Oyl / TUE 8-16-16 / Onetime CBS news anchor / Celtic tongue of British Isles / Rational self to Freud / Guy shouting cowabunga say / Group led by Richard Lionheart
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Constructor: Lynn Lempel
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: ARTOO DETOO (65A: "Star Wars" droid ... or a phonetic hint to what's found in 17-, 26-, 41- and 52-Across) — every themer is a two-word phrase (or two-part word) where first word has two Rs and second word has two Ds:
- SURFER DUDE (17A: Guy shouting "Cowabunga!," say)
- ROGER MUDD (26A: Onetime CBS News anchor)
- NARROWLY DEFINED (41A: Lacking broad application)
- REAR-ENDED (52A: Rammed from behind)
Word of the Day: ROGER MUDD —
Roger Mudd (born February 9, 1928) is an American broadcast journalist, most recently working as the primary anchor for The History Channel. Previously, Mudd was weekend and weekday substitute anchor for the CBS Evening News, the co-anchor of the weekday NBC Nightly News, and the host of the NBC-TV Meet the Press, and American Almanac TV programs. Mudd is the winner of the Peabody Award, the Joan Shorenstein Award for Distinguished Washington Reporting, and five Emmy Awards. (wikipedia)
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NARROWLY DEFINED than I thought, i.e. the 2Rs are both in the first word, the 2Ds in the second. That tightens things up nicely. Plus, in addition to the springy theme, we get a whole passel of long Downs to entertain us. DO YOU MIND? I don't. Considering how pitiful Tuesdays often are, I'm very impressed with this one (even if it was more a Monday, at heart). Weird coincidence that Kenny Baker, the actor who played ARTOO DETOO, just died this past weekend. Consider this a tribute puzzle. Most deliberate tribute puzzles are pretty terrible, so take the accidental tribute every time!
I don't think anyone on the planet has said "Cowabunga!" since Bart Simpsons said it in, like, 1990, and I'm not sure anyone ever really said it to begin with, so that SURFER DUDE clue could've been more ... something. ROGER MUDD was before my time, and his name was definitely the area of the puzzle where I struggled most, but somehow, with ROGER in place, my brain did click over to MUDD eventually (while I trotted off to solve answers just above him). My other hold-up was really stupid: I had --UT- for 7D: Popeye's brawny rival for Olive Oyl and wrote in BRUT- while wondering why BRUTUS wouldn't fit. Then I entertained BRUTO! (Turns out BLUTO can in some contexts be BRUTUS, so I wasn't too far off) Anyway, far too much typing, erasing, retyping in that area. Brief hiccup at the STROM Thurmond cross-reference, where my brain wanted answer to be OLDEST (42D: Like 10-Down vis-à-vis any other senator in history), but of course it's the comparative that's called for. Every other answer in this puzzle I got from a single reading of its clue. Very weird. Oh, I just looked back and realized I missed my biggest mistake. [Lessen, as expenses] = PARE!? I do not use this word this way. I PARE apples, not expenses. Brain wanted only EASE.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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