Old Turkish commander / SUN 10-9-16 / Country music's Colter / Monthly check-issuing org / Writer who specializes in sentimental stories / Spanish nobleman / Mountain nymph / Katniss's love in Hunger Games / Redbox offerings
Sunday, October 9, 2016
Constructor: Michael Ashley
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "Movie Doubles" — movie titles where one letter is doubled creating wacky titles and oh my god I'm getting bored just typing this...
- "AMERICAN SNIPPER" (23A: One working for Supercuts?)
- "THE LATTE SHOW" (35A: Barista's big reveal?)
- "HOOT PURSUIT" (64A: Search for a really funny person?)
- "A STARR IS BORN" (96A: Declaration at Ringo's birth?)
- "A SHOOT IN THE DARK" (114A: Photographer's impossible task?)
- "SALEM'S LOOT" (38D: Money in Oregon state coffers?)
- "HOMME ALONE" (43D: French bachelor?)
Miriam Johnson, known professionally as Jessi Colter (born May 25, 1943), is an American country music artist who is best known for her collaboration with her husband, country singer and songwriter Waylon Jennings, and for her 1975 country-pop crossover hit "I'm Not Lisa". (wikipedia)
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DUDE, I was not ensolaced by this simplistic cutesy nothing of a theme. The movies aren't uniformly famous, the doubling of letters are diverse enough (repeating the "OO" sound, blargh), and generally the clues / wacky answers just weren't funny enough. Weirdly, the only theme answer I really liked was the most insane, most outlyingest of them all—the French one ("HOMME ALONE"). I cannot picture the movies "Hot Pursuit" or "The Late Show" or "A Shot in the Dark" (unless that's the Alan Arkin / Audrey Hepburn movie ... nope, that was "Wait Until Dark"). I know "Salem's Lot" primarily as a book (no memory of movie). Random movie titles, random letter doublings, corny clues ... and then ABHORRENT fill. I stopped solving after filling in only the tiny NW corner, just so I could tweet the following:
LALA LAMAR ALERO PARAS ... If I extrapolate that much mid-to-low-range stuff over the rest of the puzzle, ouch. And the rest of the puzzle didn't improve much. You get nice answers here and there, but mostly you get mash-ups like SSGTS SSR SETI ITSSO INITS. You also get EMALL, which pretty much kills any hopes this puzzle had of success—kinda like bragging on tape about being a serial sex offender pretty much kills any hopes you might have of being president. That analogy was forced, but not as forced as EMALL, I SAY. Oh, and PHAT!? You had several options there (40D) that did not involve "old slang," but ... you go with PHAT, the option that is not only dated but has the narrowest cluing range possible. This "P" choice made me so mad I ran a Twitter poll to see what, objectively, the right choice would be in a _HAT scenario, and I'm happy to say that, thanks to a strong 3rd-party showing by "W," my choice of "C" defeated the loathsome but somehow oddly popular choice of "P." Loathsome but oddly popular ... that sounds ... familiar. Some figure in the news, maybe? Not sure. Anyway, suck it, "P."
Hey, you need to know about *good* puzzles so I'm going to tell you about some. They are by veteran constructor and all-around good guy Patrick Blindauer. Here's the official ink:
Piece of Cake Crosswords. If successfully funded, it will be a yearlong series of easy-but-fun crossword puzzles, one puzzle per week. These will be daily-sized crosswords that have original themes with no sneaky tricks. The grids will be filled with familiar words, phrases, and names--no ULEEs or ERNEs allowed--and they'll be delivered directly to your inbox every Monday morning. The goal with these is to create a series of puzzles with no obscurities so the focus is on fun and not frustration. Please check out the video and rewards here, pledge if you can, and help spread the word far and wide."I often hear complaints (mostly from me, true, but I do hear them) that there aren't enough *good* Easy puzzles out there. Liz Gorski's Puzzle Nation puzzles are the main exception. Until now. I am excited to see Patrick's take on well-crafted easy puzzles, so much so that I am getting a subscription for my crossword neophyte daughter (16yo). She can do NYT Mondays much of the time, and Newsday early-weeks as well, but it'll be nice to give her something that isn't characteristically corny, dopey, or (especially) musty. Of course I will also do them myself, both because I know they'll be good, and for speed-training purposes. So support this project. For yourself. For your children. For America. Thank you.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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