Santa player in Miracle on 34th Street / MON 12-19-16 / SEC school near Atlanta for short / Neologism for on-screen/off-screen relationship
Monday, December 19, 2016
Constructor: Jason Mueller
Relative difficulty: Challenging (solid Tuesday time)
- FRED ASTAIRE (17A: Santa player in "The Man in the Santa Claus Suit")
- TOM HANKS (26A: Santa player in "The Polar Express")
- ED ASNER (40A: Santa player in"Elf")
- TIM ALLEN (51A: Santa player in"The Santa Clause")
- EDMUND GWENN (WHOEVER THAT IS) (62A: Santa player in "Miracle on 34th Street")
Edmund Gwenn (26 September 1877– 6 September 1959) was an English actor. On film, he is perhaps best remembered for his role as Kris Kringle in the Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street (1947), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the corresponding Golden Globe Award. He received a second Golden Globe and another Academy Award nomination for the comedy film Mister 880 (1950). // As a stage actor in the West End and on Broadway, he was associated with a wide range of works by modern playwrights, including Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy and J. B. Priestley. After the Second World War, he lived in the United States where he had a successful career in Hollywood and on Broadway. (wikipedia)
• • •
EDMUND GWENN?!? Who was never in any other film of note and whose name is not well known and whose name spelled ... like that? Yipes. I've already heard from several people for whom that "W" cross was a stumper. The WTO is of course the World Trade Organization, but it's not like that clue is very specific (65D: Intl. group that's the object of many mass protests). Much of this puzzle was super-easy, but the actor names plus unclear and/or tricky clues like 5D: Little puzzle (TEASER) (not the meaning of "teaser" that I know, unless you put "brain" in front of it) and 7D: One of a series at a wedding reception (TOAST), plus the giant Downs in the NE/SW, at least one of which (34D: Neologism for an on-screen/off-screen relationship => SHOWMANCE) I'd never ever heard of, made this one slower going than your average Monday. I don't really think much of this "theme"—nothing clever or tricky or thoughtful, just names of actors—but the grid had some very nice moments. Weird that a 78-worder (the max) has this many longer Downs and such generally interesting fill. Still, though, that GWENN / WTO / ETATS (ugh) section really shoulda been rethought.
Oh, "OH, SNAP!" was also not at all intuitive as an answer for 27D: Zinger response. That could've been a billion things. And "response" is weird there, since it's not clear whose doing the responding. Usually not the object of the zinger. Usually a third party, if I know my OH SNAP protocol. Again, I say, this should've been a Tuesday.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]