Iranian holy city / TUE 10-18-16 / Illusionist Henning / Spiegel co-founder Snapchat / Obsolescent data storage device / Tentacled marine creature / Rhyme scheme in last verse of villanelle / French city named after Greek goddess of victory
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Constructor: Mary Lou Guizzo
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
- VIETNAM ERA (17A: 1961-75)
- BARCELONA METRO (29A: Public transportation system in the capital of Catalonia)
- ARIZONA MEMORIAL (35A: National Historic Landmark in Pearl Harbor)
- CAPTAIN AMERICA (45A: Marvel Comics superhero wielding a nearly indestructible shield)
Mr. Mom is a 1983 American comedy film directed by Stan Dragoti and written by John Hughes about a stay-at-home dad. It stars Michael Keaton, Teri Garr, Jeffrey Tambor, Ann Jillian, Christopher Lloyd and Martin Mull. (wikipedia)
• • •
BARCELONA METRO is a ridiculous reach, esp. compared to the solidity / familiarity of the other themers). But the fill, lord have mercy. Wince after wince after wince. There is no reason, none, for this much wincey fill in a non-demanding 76-worder. Even some of the longer stuff was drifting into crosswordesey territory (EERIER, ANEMONE). What the hell is ONE REED!?!?! Reeds are sold in strengths ranging from "1" to "5," but you don't "need" a ONE REED, so ... that means the answer refers to ... the number of reeds used by a clarinet. Oy. Yes, a clarinet has a single reed, and an oboe has two, but ONE REED is not a thing, not an answer, not. TWO DISHES! SIX CATS! NUMBER NOUN! What on earth? Also, no one puts ONE REED in a puzzle 'cause they want to. Like EERIER and ANEMONE, that is high-common-letter-count, semi-desperation fill. But the real issue is the shorter stuff, which just swarms you like gnats. AERO plural AVAS (!) ABAA *and* the non non non non answer ABRA, DESC, ARAL and on and on and on. Brutal. OVO IDIO ... it's just fragment and pieces of words, detritus, everywhere. OEN!? I mean ... medic. Please. It's a bloodbath.
["The Third Man," directed by ONE REED! (not two)]
And that conspicuous, absurd Scrabble-f***king up top, wow. Talk about forcing a "Q" into someplace a "Q" does not want to be. Two foreign proper nouns for Absolutely No Reason other than to ... put a "Q" in the grid. Honestly, the fill is baffling, startlingly bad. I mean, yes, ZIP DRIVE, despite bygoneness, is nice (36D: Obsolescent data storage device), but this is empirically bad overall, this fill. Also "Italian restaurant" is a very, very generous phrase to use in a SBARRO clue (12D: Italian restaurant chain).
Back to baseball.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. apparently this puzzle was submitted in 2013. I don't even know where to begin with that, except to say that that kind of lag time is (and has always been) unprofessional.
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