Folkie Phil / TUE 5-31-16 / Sheepskin boot name / Offensive football lineup / Gourd-shaped rattles / Frodo's best friend / Red Balloon painter Paul
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Constructor: Sarah Keller
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: EIEIO (69A: Children's song refrain found at the starts of 17-, 26-, 35-, 50- and 57-Across) —
- E STREET BAND (17A: Bruce Springsteen's group)
- I FORMATION (26A: Offensive football lineup)
- E PLURIBUS UNUM (35A: Phrase on the back of a buck)
- I LOVE PARIS (50A: Cole Porter classic from "Can-Can")
- O HENRY TWIST (57A: Surprise ending, as in "The Gift of the Magi")
Anthony Oliver Scott (born July 10, 1966) is an American journalist and film critic. Along with Manohla Dargis, he serves as chief film critic for The New York Times. (wikipedia)
EIEIO is EIEIO, which is to say, one of those things you'd rather not see again in any crossword ever if you didn't have to. Here it's repurposed as a revealer, so that elevates its worth, some, maybe. There's really nothing wrong with this puzzle. Theme-wise, it was just a bit of a shrug for me.
Oh, no, wait. Sorry. One thing wrong. O HENRY TWIST? I believe that to be an entirely made-up phrase. OK, not entirely, but mostly. Everyone knows that O Henry stories are associated with a twist at the end—his name is practically synonymous with literary irony. So "twist," "irony," "ironic twist," these are all things I buy as phrases relating to O. Henry. But O. HENRY TWIST I do not buy. The very fact that you had to put an O. Henry story in the clue tells me that it is not a real thing. If it can stand alone as a [Surprise ending], then you don't need the story title, but you do, because it can't. It googles poorly and many of the hits you get add the word "ending" or are otherwise inexact. I see one google books result that says "many critics refer to the sudden, unexpected turn of events at the very end of a story as “the O. Henry twist
- 22D: Globe shape: Abbr. (SPH.) — one of the few clunkers in this grid, which is really very nice overall. Gets a little rough in the SE, and there's an ILSA here and a LBO there, but lots of solid, vivid, interesting answers throughout kept the short stuff from hurting too much.
- 44A: Gourd-shaped rattles (MARACAS) — had the -AS and wrote in ... CASABAS!
- 31D: Reporter's contact (SOURCE) — the most elusive answer in the grid for me, for reasons unknown. I had SOUR- and ... no idea.
P.S. my friend Mike Dockins asks "MISERS / SAM??? That gives you SAM and SAME in the same corner. Why not MISERY / YAM"? I have to agree. Why *not* MISERY / YAM. . . MISERY / YAM 2016!
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