Female hip-hop fan / FRII 12-9-16 / Sender of billet-doux / Song sung to Lilo in Lilo Stitch / Virginia Woolf's given name at birth
Friday, December 9, 2016
Constructor: David Phillips
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: Mont Cervin (31A: Mont Cervin and others=>ALPES) —
The Matterhorn (German: Matterhorn, [ˈmatərˌhɔrn]; Italian: Monte Cervino, [ˈmonte tʃerˈviːno]; French: Mont Cervin, [mɔ̃ sɛʁvɛ̃]), is a mountain of the Alps, straddling the main watershed and border between Switzerland and Italy. It is a huge and near-symmetrical pyramidal peak in the extended Monte Rosa area of the Pennine Alps, whose summit is 4,478 metres (14,692 ft) high, making it one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe. The four steep faces, rising above the surrounding glaciers, face the four compass points and are split by the Hörnli, Furggen, Leone and Zmutt ridges. The mountain overlooks the Swiss town of Zermatt in the canton of Valais to the north-east and the Italian town of Breuil-Cervinia in the Aosta Valley to the south. Just east of the Matterhorn is Theodul Pass, the main passage between the two valleys on its north and south sides and a trade route since the Roman Era. (wikipedia)
• • •
MELISSA MCCARTHY at all (she is Peak Answer here, for sure), but one actress's name just isn't much, pizzazz-wise. Fill is pretty clean for a 64-worder, but it's also phenomenally dull. Also, I'm somewhat surprised this *is* a 64-worder. Feels like 70, possibly because there are so many black squares, esp. toward the middle, chopping the grid up and resulting in a good number of short answers (not as common in low word-count puzzles). But 70-worders actually tend to be cleaner and more interesting than this. I guess the best that can be said is that those rather wide-open corners are not filled poorly. Still, I don't understand the entertainment value of a lower word-count puzzle like this, where the fill is so ... by the book. In a themed puzzle, I'd be satisfied with this fill, because the main interest of the puzzle would lie elsewhere (i.e. in the damn theme). But with themelesses ... you just gotta do better than this. You need some smashing marquee answers. Something.
DENTAL / PICK?? (53A: With 39-Across, teeth-cleaning aid). What on god's green is that? I know what a tooth pick is, and a water pick (pik?), but a DENTAL PICK? Is that just one of them plastic hooks you pick your teeth with? Why are you doing that? If you're out, toothpicks. If you're home, brush/floss. Crossing MARISSA (4D: ___ Mayer, Yahoo C.E.O. beginning in 2012) and MELISSA seems inelegant—not teeth-picking inelegant, but ... those names are 5/7 identical, come on. The only real groany thing in the grid is GOTAS (ugh ... see, groany) (25A: Received high marks). Oh well, at least IT'S OVER, and I got a sub-5 time I can feel good about (before I go to sleep and forget about it entirely).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]