Stefan influential Austrian writer of 1920s-30s / MON 10-3-16 / Alcohol per its effect at party / Server overseen informally / Little folk tale character with lazy friends / Twisted as wet towel
Monday, October 3, 2016
Constructor: Jacob Stulberg
Relative difficulty: Maybe slightly north of normal
THEME: London Bridge is FALLING DOWN (26D: Like the contents of this puzzle's circled squares, in a nursery rhyme) — circled squares in Down themers spell out LONDON BRIDGE, in three-letter segments, with each subsequent segment appearing lower in the grid:
- LONgstemmed (3D: Like some wineglasses and roses)
- stanDONoneshead (5D: Perform an inverted feat)
- socialluBRIcant (7D: Alcohol, per its effect at a party)
- wentovertheeDGE (9D: Lost one's sanity)
Stefan Zweig (/, /; German: [tsvaɪk]; November 28, 1881 in Vienna – February 22, 1942 in Petrópolis) was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer. At the height of his literary career, in the 1920s and 1930s, he was one of the most popular writers in the world. (wikipedia)
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WENT OVER THE EDGE, which, perhaps because of the verb tense, feels the weakest of the bunch). I whiffed at more answers than usual at first pass, including RED HEN (could think only of "Red Riding Hood" and "Red Rooster" (?)) and JEAN ("Jean" means denim, so the extra words in the clue made me thinking there would be some *kind* of jacket, not just ... another name for "denim") (33A: ___ jacket (denim top)). Also, ZWEIG?! Whoa ... who? That dude is Not Monday-familiar. And crossing SUZI Quatro!? Her, I knew, and even knowing neither, I think the "Z" is inferrable, but yipes. And yet and yet and yet: my time was 3:02, i.e. only 10 seconds or so over my Monday norm. Weird. I'm not sure what I think of this theme, but I like SOCIAL LUBRICANT as an answer so much that other problems don't seem to matter much.
It's a low-for-Monday 74 words, so there are more longer entries than usual, and thus more opportunities for the grid to be interesting. I like RVPARK a lot, if only for that odd combination of consonants at the opening (31A: Locale for mobile campers). Do not like DIPSY Doodles (couldn't even tell you what they are), especially crossing EENSY. Icky. Enough bad fill down there (incl. plural EWOKS and RAE) that it seems like it coulda / shoulda been redone. But as I say, mostly I liked this. The grid was lively, with few opportunities for wincing. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have my second hot toddy of the night, as I drown my baseball sorrows and try to keep this cold at its current mild level. See you later—oh, and those of you expecting Annabel today: she is Also sick, and so her appearance has been postponed for a week.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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