Heavy metal band with killer sound / WED 12-21-16 / Sports entertainment show since 1993 / Skin-care brand whose active ingredients are oat compounds / Simpson who lost crossword contest in 2008 / Faith founded in Persia
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Constructor: Seth Geltman and Jeff Chen
Relative difficulty: Medium
- 17A: HOUSE (THE CLINK) (not great, as the "THE" means the clue / answer can't be swapped out, are not equivalent)
- 25A: APPLE (NEW YORK CITY) (another, more minor "the" problem: New York City is *the* Big Apple, except maybe adjectivally ? or in song, perhaps?)
- 35A: MAC (HAMBURGER) (this one is terrible; you would never clue HAMBURGER as [Big Mac] in an actual puzzle; at best, it would be [Big Mac, e.g.])
- 51A: CHEESE (GRAND POOBAH) (works, but "Grand" means "Big," so that kind of ruins the effect...)
The Vltava (//; Czech pronunciation: [ˈvl̩tava] ( listen); German: Moldau, IPA: [ˈmɔldaʊ]) is the longest river within the Czech Republic, running southeast along the Bohemian Forest and then north across Bohemia, through Český Krumlov, České Budějovice and Prague, and finally merging with the Elbe at Mělník. It is commonly referred to as the Czech national river. // Vltava, also known by its German name Die Moldau (or The Moldau), was composed between 20 November and 8 December 1874 and was premiered on 4 April 1875 under Adolf Čech. It is about 13 minutes long, and is in the key of E minor. // In this piece, Smetana uses tone painting to evoke the sounds of one of Bohemia's great rivers. (wikipedia)
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THE CLINK. You're in the big house, you're in the clink... you can't swap out "Big house" and THE CLINK w/o getting two "the"s. Just doesn't work. Likewise, NEW YORK CITY is *The* Big Apple. Again with the swap-out/equivalency problem. You'd never use something specific like [Big Mac] to clue just HAMBURGER (need an "e.g."). The last one, [CHEESE] for GRAND POOBAH, works best, but it's cheating, slightly, as GRAND and "Big" mean the same thing here. There are lots and lots of [Big ___] phrases in the world—you'd think there'd be enough to pull off a concept like this elegantly / accurately. DEAL => "WHO CARES!?" or SENSATION. [FOOT] => SASQUATCH. Hell, [PAPI] => DAVID ORTIZ. I mean, he's in your puzzle already, why not? (53D: David ___, longtime Red Sox slugger). Etc. Gotta be doable. Hard to see a decent theme get such a weak treatment.
Rest of the grid looks just fine. Lots of interesting answers. I thought Ms. Hemingway was MURIEL (despite "Manhattan"'s being one of my favorite movies), and I didn't check the cross thoroughly (TSU looked like ... a U. of some kind), so I had to hunt down that mistake at the end (19A: Hemingway who wrote "Out Came the Sun"). MOLDAU seems awfully obscure to me, both in general and, more importantly, for this puzzle, which generally plays within the realm of known things (63A: European river that inspired Smetana). I have heard of Smetana. That is far as my Smetana knowledge goes. The idea that I should know this river, a river that has a name that is not even its primary name (?!)—that seems odd to me.* But no DEAL, crosses worked it out. Just meant that that SW corner was the hardest by far. I also had to cross BATHOIL about five times before I saw it (1D: Aromatherapy substance). [Christian supergroup?] made me laugh as a clue for TRINITY. WWERAW is a real thing but looks hilarious / insane in the grid (49A: Sports entertainment show since 1993). I like it. I have "Rosemary's Baby" on Blu-Ray and still haven't opened / watched it (29A: She played Rosemary in "Rosemary's Baby"=> MIA). Maybe watching that will bring some holiday cheer to my life now that my fall semester is over. Seems an appropriate enough way to close out this year.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
*OK, I listened to the Smetana and it has some very familiar melodies, so I clearly "know" it, but only AURICally I mean aurally.
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