Showing posts with label José Chardiet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label José Chardiet. Show all posts

Cosmetics chain whose name comes from Greek for beauty / TUE 10-12-10 / Band with 2008 song Electric Feel / Missouri city informally

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Constructor: José Chardiet

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: Calendar — 12 starred clues have answers that begin JAN, FEB, MAR, etc., respectively (In .puz version, "Note" reads: "The answers to the 12 starred clues have something in common. What is it? (Answer in Notepad)" — Notepad reads: "The answers to the 12 starred clues start with abbreviations for the months of the year, in order.")

Word of the Day: SEPHORA (55A: Cosmetics chain whose name comes from the Greek for "beauty") —

Sephora is a chain of cosmetics stores founded in France in 1969 and acquired by Paris-based conglomerate LVMH in 1997. The Sephora chain includes more than 750 stores in 21 countries. It carries over 250 brands of items that include makeup, skin care, fragrance, bath, hair products, hair tools, and other beauty accessories, including Sephora's own private label. // Sephora opened its first US store in New York in 1997. Its North American headquarters are located in San Francisco, with marketing offices in New York City and Montreal. Sephora is a division of the Paris-based Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). Sephora is known for their sampling program and for their life time return policy. (wikipedia)
• • •

Solved this on paper last night and it seemed like there were many more thorny parts than I'm used to seeing on Tuesdays. First problem came when I didn't know if SABER was SABRE or SABER (24A: Cavalry blade). Then I put in LONER at 7D: Outcast, which gave me a correct "L" and "E" and "R." This meant that I eventually ended up wondering how an [Outcast] was a LOPER and why FOBREZE spelled its name so strangely (confusion lasted only a few seconds, probably, but still...). Then the whole west side seemed tough to me. PSST is not clearly a 20A: Cheater's utterance to me. At all. I can picture the context, but that clue did not tip that answer easily at all. Also, I still don't see how SYNERGY is adjectival (22D: Working well together). "Look at them—they're SYNERGY?" Or is [Working well together] supposed to be a noun phrase? I know SYNERGY only as a noun, and can't imagine that clue as anything but an adjectival phrase, so ... I had issues. Also can't even picture AUGIE Doggie, and I watched a lot of cartoons as a kid. ST. JOE I guessed pretty early on (31D: Missouri city, informally), but it still seems toughish for Tuesday. Then there was the SW, where SEPHORA was utterly unknown to me—needed every cross. Lord help that people that don't know about cosmetic stores *and* think pop music has a JONES Brothers. Lastly, there was the clue on MGMT. (26A: Band with the 2008 song "Electric Feel"). I got it easily (I own the album that song is on), but I can tell you right now that a solid majority of NYT solvers are going to look at that clue / answer pairing and go "??????" Totally valid clue, but not a typically Tuesday clue.

In the end, I enjoyed this puzzle for its unusual grid shape, unusual answers, and ambitious theme. There were unattractive parts — I almost stopped solving indignantly at NAR. (3D: Not wide: Abbr.), one of the ugliest and least probable abbrevs. I've seen in a while — but there was enough zing here to keep me from being too put off by the rough stuff.

Theme answers:
  • 1A: *Reno and 38-Across, for two (JANETS)
  • 15A: *Proecter & Gamble deodorizer (FEBREZE)
  • 16A: *Sweet Italian wine (MARSALA)
  • 17A: *Fitting (APROPOS)
  • 33A: *The second "M" of MGM (MAYER)
  • 34A: *Roundabout, for one (JUNCTION)
  • 43A: *Actress Lewis of "Natural Born Killers" (JULIETTE)
  • 45A: *Hanna-Barbera's ___ Doggie (AUGIE)

  • 55A: *Cosmetics chain whose name comes from the Greek for "beauty" (SEPHORA)
  • 59A: *Nadya Suleman, mother of 14, familiarly (OCTOMOM) — some kind of genius to put this answer right on top of FERTILE (65A: Productive)
  • 64A: *Nays (NO VOTES)
  • 67A: *Remove nails from (DECLAW)
I'm typing this with "Augie Doggie" clip (above) playing in the background (in a window that's hidden), and the audio is really distracting/disturbing. Augie and his dad ("Doggy Daddy!") are acting out some kind of absurd "Freaky Friday" scenario... every voice actor is a complete ham ... ah, there's an exaggerated Irish accent ... I can't even see the video and it's still entertaining. Voices are soooo distinct that it's very easy to tell characters apart and follow the story. Cartoons on the radio! I feel like it's the '30s.

  • 32A: Parental palindrome (DAD) — Not POP. Not MOM. Not R.U.R.
  • 4D: Canadian query closers (EHS) — Weirdly worded clue, but instantly gettable.

  • 14D: Nickname of the dictator who said "I know the Haitian people because I am the Haitian people" (PAPA DOC) — Duvalier. I remember this name vaguely from '80s news—his son "BABY DOC" was overthrown in 1986. And now I am picturing PAPA DOC and BABY DOC having cartoon adventures with one another a la Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy. Just play the "Augie Doggie" clip above, then hide your browser, and imagine the father and son are Haitian dictators. It's fun!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


Toothpaste with green sparkles / TUE 7-6-10 / Unwanted plot giveaway / Small sci-fi vehicle / Blondie to Cookie Alexander

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Constructor: José Chardiet

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: Apple of my EYE — last words of five theme answers can all be preceded by "i" to make an Apple product name: iMAC, iTUNES, iPOD, iPHONE, iPAD

*NOTE: Blogger is eating comments today, and I have no idea why. (updated 7:25am)
*If you want to comment (as of right now, 7:50), you have to do so as "Anonymous"...
*I *think* this issue has cleared up now (updated 4:50pm)

Word of the Day: BERNIE MAC (20A: *"Ocean's Eleven" actor) —

Bernard Jeffrey McCullough (October 5, 1957 – August 9, 2008) better known by his stage name Bernie Mac, was an American actor and comedian. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Mac gained popularity as a stand-up comedian. He joined comedians Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, and D. L. Hughley as The Original Kings of Comedy. // After briefly hosting the HBO show Midnight Mac, Mac appeared in several films in smaller roles. His most noted film role was as Frank Catton in the remake Ocean's Eleven and the titular character of Mr. 3000. He was the star of The Bernie Mac Show, which ran from 2001 through 2006, earning him two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. His other films included starring roles in Booty Call, Friday, The Players Club, Head of State, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Bad Santa, Guess Who, Pride, Soul Men, and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.

• • •

It is hot as &$%& here tonight, so you will have to excuse the briefness of this write-up. I have to find a cold drink or ice cream sandwich very, very soon, or I can't be held accountable for what I might do.

My friend Angela just directed me to a picture of today's constructor, who appears to be very, very young. Some people care about this kind of thing. I don't. I mean, I'm thrilled for the kid, but debuts and youth and what not have never altered my assessment of puzzles, and I'm not gonna change things today.

Luckily I don't have to feel bad, as my initial notes on this puzzle are almost all positive. It was too easy for a Tuesday (faster by far than yesterday's for me), but that's an editorial, not a constructing issue. This was my second-fastest Tuesday of the year (fastest was an all-time record), and I would've been faster if I'd just spelled stupid GLEEM right the first time through (failure to do so meant I had to double back and come at the bottom from the west) (56A: Toothpaste with "green sparkles"). With the exception of ATE DIRT (45D: Groveled) and EATS AT (30A: Annoys incessantly) (not a fan of same verb used twice), and EXLAX (esp. as clued, jeez louise; if you're gonna be that specific, why *not* allow ENEMA as a valid word?), I liked this puzzle a lot. Cute idea. Some people will get their hackles up and squawk about product placement (perhaps by starting their complaints with "In my day..."), but I don't care (much) about such things. Theme answers are solid, and the rest of the fill is actually quite cool in places. One place that is not quite cool is this damned office, so ... moving on ...

Theme answers:
  • 20A: *"Ocean's Eleven" actor (BERNIE MAC)
  • 25A: *Tweaks (FINE TUNES)
  • 37A: *Small sci-fi vehicle (ESCAPE POD)
  • 52A: *"Get Smart" device (SHOE PHONE)
  • 58A: *Blastoff spot (LAUNCH PAD)
  • 64D: Storm center ... or, phonetically, letter that can precede the ends of the answers to the five starred clues to spell popular devices (EYE)
My friend Wade was rhapsodizing about the beauty of the ice cream sandwich just now (on Facebook), and consequently I can think of little else. Thus, I'm going straight to bullets, and then hitting a gas station mini-mart in search of a little rectangle of heaven.

  • 32A: N.B.A. nickname (SHAQ) — ESPN crawl just now said something about his possibly becoming an Atlanta Hawk next year. So look out for misdirective Hawky clues, I guess.
  • 67A: "Boy Meets World" boy (CORY) — during my most depressive time in grad school, I watched this show. A lot. The older brother made me laugh. It got creepy toward the end—too much sex/marriage stuff for (come on) 18-year-olds. Well, sex, OK, but marriage? Jeez louise, again, I say.
  • 2D: Uncalled-for insult, say (LOW BLOW) — as opposed to all those insults that are called for.
  • 3D: U2 guitarist (THE EDGE) — ESPN trotted out this U2 song esp. for the World Cup, a remix of "Get On Your Boots"—I have watched a lot of World Cup, and I have literally heard that song no times since its pre-tournament unveiling. What was the point?

  • 42D: Unwanted plot giveaway (SPOILER) — In "Where Danger Lives," Robert Mitchum gets arrested for being clean shaven in an Arizona town where they are celebrating something called "Whiskers Week" ... SPOILER!
  • 46D: Blondie, to Alexander and Cookie (MOM) — had the "O" and wrote in "SON" (forgetting that the guy is Dagwood, not Blondie)
  • 59D: 50 ___ ("Candy Shop" rapper) (CENT) — that guy's still working? Good for him.

I'm coming for you, ice cream sandwich.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


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