Illegal pitching motion / TUE 3-28-17 / 18th-century mathetmatician who introduced function / Inspiring 1993 movie about Notre Dame football team / Tom who coached Dallas Cowboys for 29 years
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Constructor: Ryan Milligan
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: adjective --> adverb: relatively famous people have their adjective last names turned into adverbs, as they are imagined saying things in a manner befitting their last names —
- 20A: "Sorry I'm in your space, it's a n actress thing," said GLENN CLOSELY
- 28A: "Don't interrupt me on my radio show," said HOWARD STERNLY
- 46A: "Gotta run, pop concert calls," said TAYLOR SWIFTLY
- 54A: "Right to the point: You're beautiful, it's true," said JAMES BLUNTLY
Aldo Gucci (26 May 1905 – 19 January 1990) was the chairman of Gucci Shops Inc. from 1953 to 1986. He was the eldest son of Guccio Gucci, who founded the company bearing his name in 1921. (wikipedia)
• • •
Tom Swifty, one of the oldest and lowest forms of wordplay, has been used A Lot as the basis for crossword themes, both NYT and otherwise. I rarely like such puzzles at all, but I have seen them done with a certain degree of thoughtfulness and polish—where all the theme answers are thematically linked somehow, for instance (here's a WSJ one that Sam Donaldson did where all the answers are imagined as things a tailor might say). But this one just seems lazy—find (relatively) famous people with adjectives as last names; turn last names into adverbs; write wacky clue. You could do a lot of these. Judith Lightly, Martin Shortly, Jean Smartly, Barney Frankly, Christopher Crossly, Michael Sharply (wink), etc. Today's themers have nothing in common and the clues aren't that funny and The End. Also, the fill is middling to less-than-middling. It's a bust all around. In short, it's a Tuesday.
I saw people (well, person) on Twitter saying the puzzle was extremely easy. My time was totally normal. Theme felt mostly easy, but I had a bunch of little things slow me down slightly. DNA for RNA (31D: Material in strands), for one. Then somehow cluing DRAMA as a "class" made no sense to me and I needed every cross (9A: Class with masks?). Then I rediscovered that I can't spell SPORADIC (I used a "T" !?) (38D: Occasional). Do people really remember who James Blunt is? He strikes me as a one-hit wonder who is not at all on the level of the other theme answers, fame-wise. Also, his one hit is nothing I care to remember—like nails on the chalkboard of my soul. Wincingly cloying. It was massive, for sure. But that clue did not clearly point to a person when I first looked at it (54A: Right to the point: You're beautiful, it's true," said ___), and I imagine it will be the least familiar themer of the day for most folks.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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