Bygone Korean automaker / TUE 5-5-15 / Small house in Latin America / Shoes named for antelope / Vera of haute couture / Vivacious wits /

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Constructor: Michael Blake and Andrea Carla Michaels

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (**for a Tuesday**) (time: 4:08)

THEME: ADDIE (69A: Girl's name that's a two-part hint to 1/20-, 27-, 45- and 53-Across) — put -IE on the ends of familiar phrases. You get wacky phrases.

Theme answers:
  • SWEET / GEORGIA BROWNIE (1A: With 20-Across, chocolaty Atlanta treat?)
  • BAR STOOLIE (27A: One ratting out a group of lawyers?)
  • RARE BIRDIE (45A: What the duffer shot on a hole, surprisingly?)
  • SHOCKING PINKIE (53A: Little finger that makes you go "Oh my God!"?) [What? Even with ample wackiness leeway, that clue makes no sense.]
Word of the Day: DAEWOO (10D: Bygone Korean automaker) —
Daewoo Motors was a South Korean automotive company established in 1982, part of the Daewoo Group. It sold most of its assets in 2001 to General Motors, after running into financial trouble, becoming a subsidiary of the American company and being renamed GM Daewoo. In 2011, it was replaced by GM Korea. (wikipedia)
• • •

Don't know a single person named ADDIE, real or fictional, so puzzle feels massively contrived. Actually, I think I might know of one. Hang on (… goes to wikipedia…); yes, the basis for the movie Paper Moon was a novel entitled ADDIE Pray by Joe David Brown. My friend Shelah taught me this 20+ years ago (she loved the novel, as I recall). Why I remember this factoid 20+ years later, I don't know … maybe because No One Else In The Universe Is Named ADDIE. So anyway, the theme is odd. The theme *type* is super-basic. The add-a-sound / letter thing is older than God, and here, the wackiness results are just so-so. I don't know what "shocking pink" is. Is it a kind of pink? A shade of pink? I know of "hot pink," but not "shocking pink," so SHOCKING PINKIE is strange to me. All in all, this is a placeholder puzzle. Fill is stale but serviceable, and concept is stale but adequately executed. There are cheater squares* in the E and W (black squares below EARL and above WEAR, respectively), lord only knows why. Tiny sections like that are not hard to fill. Cheaters also follow WATER and precede VIRAL. Theme does not seem so demanding that you have to black-square it to death like this. Whole puzzle feels tired and slapdash. And, most importantly, ADDIE? Shouldn't a name you base an entire puzzle on be a name someone actually has (my apologies if that's your name—the only ADDIE I know is a guy, and he doesn't spell it that way).

Because of the multiple cross-referenced clues, and the very narrow connecting passages between N and S parts of the grid, and some odd, yucky, initially inscrutable fill like ECCLES (?), my time was way slower than normal. I had to recall DAEWOO, which was odd / unpleasant. I also had to go up against the Law Offices of ILO ESSE ESTO ESAI ERI and OLE (they're not good, but they'll bury you in paperwork). Honestly, this puzzle feels just plain lazy. The puzzle equivalent of a shrug. Not enough thought or care went into making this an entertaining, fresh, 21st-century puzzle. It'll do, but it won't do well. Where are SHARPIE? JUNKIE? MOUNTIE? ARCHIE? This could've Easily been a Sunday (and if the theme answers were a lot funnier, it could even have been a tolerable Sunday).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

*cheater squares = black squares that do not change the word count (added only to make filling the grid easier)

[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


Qatar's capital / MON 5-3-15 / Beethoven's Third / Bullet with a trail / Commercial lead-in to bank / Start of a Mexican calendar

Monday, May 4, 2015

Hey, guys, it's Annabel! Please wish me luck on APs this week. (Or, if there's anyone out there who wants to give me a crash course in BC Calculus...)

Constructor: Zhouquin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Step Mama— The center word is STEPMOM, and circled squares repeatedly spell out MAMA in a way that looks like a "step."

Theme answers:
  • HAM A ND EGGS (17A: Traditional breakfast combo)
  • LLAMA (20A: Long-necked pack animal)
  • STEPMOM (39A: Wicked relative of Cinderella...or what each set of circled letters represents?)
  • SAM ADAMS (48A: Brew with the slogan "For the love of beer")
  • ROMA (51A: Locale of the Città del Vaticano)
  • I AM A CAMERAMAN (64A: Hit 1951 play that inspired "Cabaret")
  • DRAMA (67A: "Game of Thrones," e.g.)
 Word of the Day: I AM A CAMERA (64A: Hit 1951 play that inspired "Cabaret") —
I Am a Camera is a 1951 Broadway play by John Van Druten adapted from Christopher Isherwood's novel Goodbye to Berlin, which is part of The Berlin Stories. The title is a quote taken from the novel's first page: "I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking." The original production was staged by John Van Druten, with scenic and lighting design by Boris Aronson and costumes by Ellen Goldsborough. It opened at the Empire Theatre in New York City on November 28, 1951 and ran for 214 performances before closing on July 12, 1952.
The production was a critically acclaimed success for both Julie Harris as the insouciant Sally Bowles, winning her the first of five Tony Awards of her career for Best Leading Actress in a play, and for Marian Winters, who won both the Theatre World Award and Tony Award for Featured Actress in a Play. The play also won for John Van Druten the New York Drama Critics' Circle for Best American Play (1952). However it also earned the famous review by Walter Kerr, "Me no Leica".
• • •

It's good to be writing you guys again! And on a puzzle that I could actually complete without too much difficulty! Fill highlights included NADIR, ENERO, and EROICA; I'd say the fill overall was pretty great for a Monday. I'm ready to be done with clues that end in "to a poet" (as in "Before, to a poet" for ERE); I mean, surely there is a more original way to clue for ERE?

The theme was really cute! I didn't even get "step-mama" until after I had finished filling out the whole puzzle and realized that the MAMAs looked like steps. I will say that the fact that I got STEPMOM well before I even got to any of the MAMAs was a little bit of a letdown. I was feeling all Rex-y about it until my mom reminded me that Mondays are for beginners. Anyway, Cinderella's wicked relative is awesome.

Shout-out to my STEPMOM (who I love and who is not even a little bit wicked) btw!

  • SINE (66A: ___ qua non) — This clue reminds me too much of calculus. I should be studying right now...
  • SEX ED (70A: School health course, informally) —  Reminds me of 8th grade, when my teacher put a condom on her arm up to her elbow and the entire class freaked out. She certainly made a point though. Unlike this dude.

  • ARC  (10D: Pigskin path) — Okay, I'm convinced. Someone is deliberately putting these calculus-themed clues in this puzzle to stress me out!  ...I'm going to go study now.
Signed, Annabel Thompson, tired high school student (until June 5!!)


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