Monday, December 12, 2016
Constructor: Mark McClain
Relative difficulty: Challenging (3:34, about 35-40 seconds slower than normal)
- SHIN / DIEU
- MASUR / DUTY
- SEEGER / MANIC
- TOPOL / I SHALL
- KITH / AILED
- SELA / TINS
Chaim Topol (Hebrew: חיים טופול; born September 9, 1935), mononomously known as Topol, is an Israeli theatrical and film performer, singer, actor, comedian, voice artist, writer and producer. He is best known for his role as Tevye the dairyman in the production of Fiddler on the Roof on both stage and film. He has been nominated for an Academy Award and a Tony Award, and has won two Golden Globe Awards. (wikipedia)
• • •SPECIAL MESSAGE for Solvers in Syndication (for the week of January 15-January 22, 2017)
Rex Parker c/o Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton, NY 13905
Now on to the puzzle!
MASUR and then thought MAZUR (18A: Maestro Kurt ___)—didn't help that that answer crossed EPSOM, which I continue not to be able to spell right at first pass (EPSON? EPCOT?) (7D: English racing venue). ARENA got a bull-riding clue?? Total disconnect for me. I know TOPOL mononymously, so "Chaim" was a disaster for me, as my knee-jerk instinct, plus the placement of the "O"s, led me to enter POTOK right away. Ugh. Also LILLE as [City NNE of Paris]!? Not much to go on for a not-terribly-famous French city. I had I SWEAR for I SHALL (54A: Formal-sounding commitment), could not find the handle on SHRIFT (50D: Short ___ (quick work)), had no idea what Roman numeral of OLAF was called for (47A: Norway's patron saint), and once again had no idea about the ... Recording Industry Association ... something? (25D: Lobbying org. that fights music piracy).
Had SEE IN for LET IN (56D: Admit at the door). Could not get BAD ACTOR from the back end (i.e. -CTOR) (9D: Troublemaker). And I *knew* "ANTI" (43D: 2016 #1 album by Rihanna), which is definitely not a Monday clue, at least not with this crowd (i.e. you all ... I know you). Puzzle would've been even rougher, obviously, if I didn't listen to that album a lot (TRY IT!). Anyway, the theme is solid, I think, and if the fill's not Great, it's largely because the theme is very dense—plus, given ongoing declines in NYT fill quality, the fill here doesn't actually *feel* subpar at all. Far less demanding grids have had fill much worse than this. So I'm counting this a winner of a puzzle, despite my miserable solving experience. See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. actually one of my readers has an objection to add: