Best Foreign Film of 2005 set in South Africa / SUN 2-5-17 / Moretz of "Carrie" / Mexican president Enrique Pena
Sunday, February 5, 2017
Constructor: Sam Trabucco
Relative difficulty: Easy-ish in the middle, Medium-ish up top, and Challenging-ish down south.
THEME: "Break The Glass Ceiling" — The names of notable women "firsts" literally break apart across answers that describe different types of glass- at the top- or "ceiling" of each name.
- BREAK THE GLASS CEILING (64A: Overcome a certain career barrier... or what the answers to the starred clues do?)
- O'CONNOR (2D: *One who 64-Acrossed for Supreme Court justices...) breaking P(o)INT (1A: 16-ounce container)
- RIDE (7D: *... for astronauts) breaking ST(r)AINED (6A: Material commonly used during cathedral construction)
- THATCHER (15D: *... for British prime ministers) breaking S(t)AND (14A: Primitive timer)
- ALBRIGHT (77D: *... for secretaries of state) breaking SP(a)Y (75A: Easy-to-carry telescope)
- BIGELOW (88D: *... for Best Directors) breaking A(b)LE (87A: Pub vessel)
- CURIE (98D: *... for Nobel laureates) breaking WIN(c)E (95A: Cab destination?)
Word of the Day: FLEXAGON—
In geometry, flexagons are flat models, usually constructed by folding strips of paper, that can be flexed or folded in certain ways to reveal faces besides the two that were originally on the back and front. (Wikipedia)
|Middle Schoolers Still Make These. Trust Me.|
My definition: Those eeny-meeny-miny-moe things that we made in elementary school... less elegantly known as "cootie catchers" as I've just learned.
• • •
Hello CrossWorld! This is Jim Q filling in for Rex today (the conversation went something along the lines of this- ME: Hi, Rex… I know you know absolutely nothing about me, but I’d like to fill in for you one day… REX: Ok. How ‘bout now?)
|C'mon Across Lite... Make a Sad Pencil for Me. I Can Handle It|
As with some (read: most) Sundays, I had one wrong box that kept Across Lite’s Mr. Happy Pencil mascot from congratulating me on a perfect solve. But I’m gonna call Natick on that. I can’t imagine anyone saying “ISEULT and NEGEV are right in my wheelhouse!” So I missed that E crossing. Meh. Who cares? Virtually everything else about this puzzle was top notch in my book.
THE THEME- It’s refreshing and timely to see a NYT puzzle celebrating the achievements of women. A couple of Saturdays ago, I walked out of Grand Central Station and found myself right in the middle of the Women’s March. It. Was. Amazing. (missed it? check out a quick vid from my phone:)
BIGELOW tripped me up for a while, and I would’ve filled it in a lot earlier as I had -ELOW in place, but sadly (and somewhat ironically given the theme), the BIGELOW that comes to my mind first is Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. I only just noticed their last names are spelled differently. That’s a good thing. To my credit, I never saw or will see that idiotic movie, and I’ve seen two of the real Bigelow’s films. Both excellent.
|I'm Pretty Sure "Deuce Bigalow" Inspired this Ebert Title.|
It actually took me quite a while to GROK that the names were breaking types of glass (ME: “Primitive timer is a STAND? If you say so!). This was enough for me to think YOU IDIOT! I mean, the letters are even circled (perhaps unnecessarily?) to make the gimmick that much clearer. WHY DID THAT TAKE ME SO LONG TO FIGURE OUT?!?! To be fair, of all those glasses, the only two I see and use on a regular basis are PINT and WINE. Using the former right now actually. And the latter is due up in about 60 minutes... I'll set my hour...errr... SANDglass. So that's my lame excuse.
|Not Quite Sure What an ALE GLASS is... But I Don't Care What it's Called as Long as the ALE is Good.|
THE FILL: When it comes to Sundays, I usually brace myself for awful fill. But Trabucco went through obvious pains to come up with the liveliest fill possible for a grid with a lot of restraints. There’s hardly anything to roll eyes at… I SPOSE "IT HELP" looks a bit ugly, but that’s me really searching for something other than the ISEULT/NEGREV cross. A look back at Trabucco’s past two NYT grids shows an emerging pattern of a constructor who cares about the solver’s experience once the theme has been cracked. And no one is allowed to complain about the partial I SEE A... because it made all of us hum Bohemian Rhapsody with joy. Don't deny it.
THE CONSTRUCTION: This is remarkably well built. It’s not the usual 21x21 size, but it can’t be as it has to accommodate the 20-lettered BREAK THE GLASS CEILING grid-spanner. The fact that the constructor found truly notable names that balance out evenly throughout the grid in addition to finding types of glass that can be “broken” while still making a legitimate "post-break" word using only the first letter of each name… I’m impressed. Wowza.
|My Cat, Abby. Currently.|
- SEXILE (74A: Send elsewhere for the night, as a roommate in modern lingo) — I never heard this word... but I love it. And I want ever so badly to use it. But I don't have this problem anymore. I SPOSE I can SEXILE the cat... but she could care less as to what I'm doing (see pic for proof).
- FOGGIER (80A: Less safe for a plane landing, in a way) — Just watched Sully. Think that guy is fearful of fog? Hell no. My dad was an awesome pilot too... and he was no Fog Fearer.
- DID I WIN (46A: Question after a photo finish) Normally I turn to this blog when I don't understand the clue... but... ummm... can't this time. Little help?
- STREAKED (6D: Hurriedly showed oneself out?) I enjoyed this clue. I hope this happens during the Super Bowl. The ads just aren't doing it for me anymore and my boxes never hit.
- PADDING (1D: Superfluous part of an essay) I almost wish my middle school English students would throw some superfluous stuff in their essays. Something. Anything. Or at least just not conclude them with "This is the end of my essay." I'll settle for that.
- EASTON (28A: Sheena who sang "U Got the Look" with Prince) My parents provided two options of music for a stint during my childhood. Huey Lewis and the News. Or Sheena Easton. I prefer Huey.
Thanks, Sam. This is my favorite NYT puzzle so far this year.
Plebeian of CrossWorld (is that title still up for grabs?)
Please enjoy this delightful 6 second video I made for y'all.
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