Ethan Frome's wife / TUE 11-1-16 / Skins opponent in pickup game / David comic with famous Richard Nixon impression / Lead-in to land for Willy Wonka's workers / Downton Abbey headgear / Source of indigo
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Constructor: Ruth Bloomfield Margolin
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (for T)
THEME: country's [things that rhymes with country] — just look for yourself:
- TOGO'S LOGOS (15A: Commercial symbols in Lomé?)
- YEMEN'S LEMONS (19A: Basis of a refreshing Mideast beverage?)
- FRANCE'S DANCES (36A: Gavotte, minuet and cancan?)
- CHINA'S MYNAH'S (52A: Far Eastern mimics?)
- CUBA'S TUBAS (60A: Providers of low notes for rumbas?)
comedian, specializing in comic imitations of famous political figures, most of whom were based on notable Americans, including former U.S. Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon, Vice Presidents Spiro Agnew and Nelson Rockefeller, Senators Hubert Humphrey and Bobby Kennedy, as well as film celebrities, e.g., George C. Scott, Henry Fonda, Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Jack Nicholson and Jack Palance, and media figures, e.g., William F. Buckley Jr. and Larry King. (wikipedia)
• • •
OYS. This theme is not one. Further, if you're going to do this ultra-simple theme, at least make the answers really funny and / or outlandish. FIJI'S SQUEEGEES! LIBYA'S TIBIAS! NORWAY'S DOORWAYS (15)! CHAD'S PLAIDS! I mean, FRANCE'S DANCES? Zzzzzzz... So the theme is just too corny and simple and not nearly amusing enough. Second, the grid is poorly constructed, which results in most if not all of the bad fill. To have theme answers separated only by 10-letter answers (!) (as is the case with the top two and bottom two themers, respectively) results in an incredibly inflexible grid. Ridiculous stacks that create lots of ugliness in the fill. Drop YEMEN'S LEMONS / lift CHINA'S MYNAHS and you can then put some space (i.e. a black square or two) in between the themers, letting them breathe and letting halfway decent fill settle in. Actually, the top's not too bad (with just the unlovely AGR. screwing things up), but the bottom is worse (esp. for a Tuesday, esp. when it doesn't *need* to be so wobbly). THOS and AMBI and (the absolute worst) OUS crossing ASAN!?!? Could that not be rescued in any way? Because that is about the ugliest cross I've ever seen on a Tuesday (or any day). Puzzle skewed old, but that's not its problem. It's just structurally unsound and thematically unimaginative.
Wanted I SAID SO because that's the phrase (1D: Arbitrary non-explanation after "because"). Took forever to see LOOMPA because "land" wasn't in quotation marks and so I just couldn't understand the clue at the most basic grammatical level (8D: Lead-in-to land for Willy Wonka's workers). Had TINA for LANA at first (16D: Actress Turner). Not sure why I thought she was an actress. Oh, right. "Thunderdome."
Gotta get some sleep. See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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