TV warrior princess / MON 12-26-16 / Flexible Flyers / Scrubbed as NASA mission / Soviet premier Khruschev / Lobster diavolo / Literary critic Broyard / Theologican Reinhold who wrote Serenity Prayer
Monday, December 26, 2016
Constructor: Jules P. Markey
Relative difficulty: Easy side of average
THEME: BOXING DAY (37A: Present time in England? ... or a hint to each set of circled squares) — December 26 is both the present time, that is, now (or tomorrow since I'm writing this on Sunday night) and a present time, according to the OED: "a holiday on which post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box." Each set of circled (shaded on the iPad app) squares is shaped like a box and name-checks a certain kind of day: LEAP, ELECTION, SNOW, GAME, PATRIOTS, and HUMP.
Word of the Day: ETAPE (54D: Tour de France stage) —
L'Étape du Tour (French for 'stage of the Tour') is an organised mass participation cyclosportive event that allows amateur cyclists to race over the same route as a Tour de France stage. First held in 1993, and now organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), in conjunction with Vélo Magazine, it takes place each July, normally on a Tour rest day.
L'Étape du Tour is normally held over mountain roads in either the Pyrenees or French Alps, up climbs such as the Col du Galibier, Col d'Aubisque, Mont Ventoux or the Col du Tourmalet. Around 15,000 riders participate - many travelling from other countries to compete - and the event takes place on roads closed by the police to other traffic, with refreshment stops and medical support provided along the route. (Wikipedia)
• • •Laura here again, guest-posting for Rex while I drink an IPA (10A: Brewpub offering, for short). I just got back from a delicious Chinese dinner, where we had some EDAMAME (1D: Sushi bar finger food). I've also heard that we have lost yet another beloved POPSTAR (66A: Bruno Mars or Freddie Mercury) -- this time 80s icon George Michael. And since tonight is the second night of Hanukkah, I've been thinking a lot about freedom and faith.
- A note on PATRIOTS DAY: I'm curious as to how many solvers have ever even heard of Patriots' Day as a Thing; it's celebrated as a state holiday only in Maine, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. It is also traditionally the day when the Boston Marathon is held, hence the name of the recently released (and controversial) movie about the 2013 bombing, starring local actor Mark Wahlberg. I had never heard of Patriots' Day until I moved to New England, and given its association with the Boston Marathon, I'd say it qualifies as a Natick.
- GET RICH (59A: Hit pay dirt) — I wanted this to be a proper name too. Some dude named Getrich. Maybe he's been nominated for Secretary of the Treasury.
- MUSERS (27A: Reflective sorts) — Needed all the crosses for this one. Wanted MIRROR or MISERS or something else. Do MUSERS reflect? on themselves? Still musing.
- SEABEES (24D: Naval engineers) — I'd vaguely heard of SEABEES, and I assumed there were engineers in the Navy, but had never made the connection. Per Wikipedia the word SEABEE is derived from the abbreviation CB, for Construction Battalion.
- EARFLAP (40D: Batting helmet part) — Is that really an EARFLAP? I think of a FLAP as something, I dunno, flappier. I'd think the ear-covering thingy on a batting helmet needs to be more substantial, if it is to do its one job of protecting the ear.
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