Art supplies since 1903 / TUE 10-13-15 / Looney Tunes character with strong Southern accent / Ali G portrayer Baron Cohen / Back to Future hero Marty
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Challenging
THEME: — both words of two-part names and phrases occupy same space in grid (so you have to read the Across twice to get the full answer). The two parts mostly share letters, and where they don't, two letters share the same square, with the letter from the first part coming first in the Down cross, and the letter in the second part coming second. So with HERMAN'S HERMITS, the answer is HERM--S ... then just write "A" and "N" in the top halves of the remaining two boxes, respectively, and "I" and "T" in the bottom halves. This will make the Downs make sense.
- CRAYOLA / CRAYONS (17A: Art supplies since 1903)
- FOGHORN / LEGHORN (18A: Looney Tunes character with a strong Southern accent)
- CHARLIE / CHAPLIN (39A: Director with three films on A.F.I.'s list of 100 greatest movies, all of them silent)
- HERMAN'S / HERMITS (41A: "I'm Henry VIII, I Am" band)
- LILLIAN / HELLMAN (63A: "The Little Foxes" playwright)
- WASHING / MACHINE (66A: Laundromat feature)
House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) at the height of the anti-communist campaigns of 1947–52. Although she continued to work on Broadway in the 1950s, her blacklisting by the American film industry caused a precipitous decline in her income during which time she had to work outside her chosen profession. [...] Hellman's reputation suffered after her veracity was attacked by Mary McCarthy during a 1980 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show. Hellman sued McCarthy for libel. It was revealed that Hellman's popular memoirs such as Pentimento were rife with errors, but that the "Julia" section of Pentimento, which had been the basis for the Oscar-winning 1977 movie of the same name, likely was a fabrication based on the life of Muriel Gardiner. Martha Gellhorn joined McCarthy in the attack on Hellman's veracity, showing that Hellman's remembrances of Gellhorn's ex-husband Ernest Hemingway and the Spanish Civil War were wrong. Tagged with the onus of being an unrepentant Stalinist by the staunchly anti-Stalinist McCarthy and others, Hellman remains a divisive figure of American letters. (wikipedia)
This is wonderful, but it doesn't feel like a "New Idea." It feels like a nice Thursday puzzle that is dressed up in kids' clothes. Words are all really easy and common, so that's Tuesday, but the concept ... isn't. Nice to introduce early-week solvers to the idea of the wacky rebus-type puzzle. But if the idea is to do things that have "never been done before" (and it is), then it's hard to see how this puzzle, good as it is, fits.
This is definitely a puzzle that works better if you solve on paper. My sofware can put both letters in the same square, but it can't put one on top of the other. That is possibly the most interesting thing I have to say about this puzzle. The difficulty was *entirely* in figuring out how to write in the Downs that crossed the double-letter squares. Everything else was vanilla. I always pause at DO-SES because I can't remember if it's "W" or "U." I thought MANETS might be MONETS, of course. Uh ... yeah, honestly, that's all I got. It's a very clever concept, but once you've explained it, there's not much else to say. Non-theme stuff is just too plain. If anyone gets stuck in this thing, it'll probably be in the tiny latter section of HERMAN'S HERMITS. I know them, but did Not know they sang "I'm Henry VIII, I Am," so until I figured out that that was a theme answer, I didn't know what to do there. BOAT seemed like a reasonable answer to [36D: Fisherman's purchase] (BAIT). But ultimately, all was gettable.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. Peter Noone once wrote me hate mail. He thought I had slagged on him and his band. He'd confused me with one of my commenters. Surprise.
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