Sound effects pioneer Jack / FRI 9-16-16 / Girl adopted by Silas Marner / Longtime voice of New York Yankees / Gigli pici for two / Shakespeare character who coins term primrose path / Eponym of bible history / Retro stereo component
Friday, September 16, 2016
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: Mel ALLEN (25D: Longtime "Voice of the New York Yankees") —
Mel Allen (born Melvin Allen Israel; February 14, 1913 – June 16, 1996) was an American sportscaster, best known for his long tenure as the primary play-by-play announcer for the New York Yankees. During the peak of his career in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, Allen was arguably the most prominent member of his profession, his voice familiar to millions. Years after his death, he is still promoted as having been the "Voice of the New York Yankees." In his later years, he gained a second professional life as the first host of This Week in Baseball. // In perhaps the most notable moment of his distinguished career, Allen called game 7 of the 1960 World Series, in which Bill Mazeroski hit a walk-off home run to win the fall classic for the Pittsburgh Pirates. This is the only walk-off home run ever to occur in a game 7 of a World Series. (wikipedia)
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COPE)), but then encountered some pretty significant trouble trying to move through narrow passageways into other parts of the grid. Moving into SW obviously hard, given that there's just that one-square opening, and the only help you have is a terminal "S" at 28A: Feels deep sympathy (ACHES). Similar issue getting into NE—just the narrow slit of an opening, and there, a leading "S" that wasn't much help (22A: Anti-___ League (Progressive Era organization) (SALOON)). But those are mere structural issues. I had real content issues in the middle of the grid, though, where I hit a proper noun pile-up. The fact that the pile-up was dead-center meant that moving into Any portion of the grid became difficult. The overturned tractor-trailer in all of this was ALLEN (!?!?). He died 20 years ago. The name is vaguely familiar, now that I look at it, but without even "Mel" in the clue, there was no hope, none, zero, of my getting ALLEN from 25D: Longtime "Voice of the New York Yankees"; I won't be the only one for whom that is true. I think the puzzle thinks he's more famous than he is. I ended up actually knowing OLD BAILEY, FOLEY, and KING JAMES (how is this not a LeBron clue!?), but all of them were tough to pick up because of ... ALLEN.
Very wide-open corners were a bit of a challenge—an appropriately Friday-level challenge, it turns out. Clues were clever and tough throughout. 59A: Command that a dog shouldn't follow (STAY) was one of my favorites. 54A: One with changing needs (DIAPER BAG), also good. My least favorite was the clue on NERDS (46D: Brainy high school clique). "Clique" my ass. This makes it sound like NERDS are some exclusive / exclusionary bunch. I guarantee you that NERDS are more than happy to nerd out with you, no matter what you look like, how much money you have, etc. You don't have to be rich to rule their world. "Clique"! Boooo! Everything about the word "clique" is non-nerd.
I was really uncertain about SWIM (50D: Thick of things, in a a manner of speaking) and had to try saying "in the SWIM" several times before moving on. Even then, it kept coming out "in the SWIM of things," and I think I meant "in the swing of things," so maybe I don't understand SWIM at all. Berry's puzzles tend to play a little out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways, and this may just be some expression I don't really know. Oh, here we go.
This makes the clue seem ... not very precise. But no matter. I got it.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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