End to seasonal song / TUE 12-6-16 / Alfred who was follower of Freud / Filmdom's Flynn

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Constructor: Ed Sessa

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (only because I couldn't make any sense out of the revealer at first, and also the fill is awful down there so I kind of stopped trying/caring)

THEME: "Little Drummer Boy" — circled squares at beginning of theme answers spell out PA-RUM-PUM-PUM-PUM and then last answer is 53A: Following the circled squares, the end to a seasonal song ('ME AND MY DRUM'); the song in question is "The Little Drummer Boy," in case that wasn't obvious.

Word of the Day: "Mr. PIM Passes By" (47D: Milne's "Mr. ___ Passes By") —
[some Milne play for which I could find no short synopsis except "When a woman's 'dead' husband returns she refuses to remarry her second until he consents to her niece's wedding," which comes from the imdb page for the 1921 silent movie of the same name]
• • •

ME AND MY DRUM. Couldn't pick it up. Such a weird phrase to stand alone. It fits here, since it is, in fact, the end of the seasonal song in question, and does follow the rum puh pum pum bit (I never say, nor have heard, that first PUM as PUM; it's more like "rump-a-pum-pum"...). But I had DRUM and then the whole preceding part was blank and I kept thinking of kinds of drums etc. The idea that a lyric was involved ... didn't occur to me. Didn't help that the fill in that trouble area was just stale and blargh and whatever PIM is. ADLER TNOTE SARAN AGATE ERROL ERGO it's *all* of it out of Common Boring Stuff That's Been Around Forever And Isn't Interesting. Of course the rest of the grid has a bunch of that too, but it was real bad down there. ULTIMA, ugh (45D: Final syllable of a word). [Like some boarding schools] = ??? I had PREP- and *still* had no idea. Because clothes are PREPPY, people are PREPPY, schools are preparatory. They're called prep schools for a reason. But the idea of an entire school being "PREPPY," again, not something that occurred to me. I LOST. NOT IN. Also, is this crossword an ad for Big Pharma. PFIZER *and* PROZAC (crossing AZT)? What gives?

Nothing more from me. I love Christmas music, I love my Christmas tree, I was very much in the mood for holiday puzzle goodness. This wasn't it. The fact that this particular Christmas song is one of my least favorite probably didn't help matters.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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1940s British guns / MON 12-5-16 / Are able, biblically / Native Israelis / One-named R&B singer who won a Grammy for his 2014 album "Black Messiah"

Monday, December 5, 2016

Happy finals season! (It's Annabel Monday again. )

Constructor: NED WHITE

Relative difficulty: HARD (for a Monday, but still, whew!)

THEME: HEAD TO TOE — Theme answers are in the form of a phrase starting with a body part, beginning with HAIR and going all the way down to ANKLE. (They also all end in "er.")

Theme answers:
  • HAIR RAISER (17A: Something scary)
  • NECK SNAPPER (27A: It grabs one's attention)
  • CHEST BEATER (38A: Boastful sort)
  • KNEE SLAPPER (31A: Really good joke)
  • ANKLE BITER (61A: Rug rat)

Word of the Day: WORD (CLUE) —
Aga Khan (Persianآقاخان‎‎; also transliterated as Aqa Khan and Agha Khan[1]) is a name used by the Imam of the Nizari Ismailis. The current user of the name is Shah Karim who is the 49th Imam (1957–present), Prince Shah Karim Al Husseini Aga Khan IV (b. 1936)..
The title is made up of the titles agha and khan. The Turkish "agha" is "aqa" (Āqā) in Persian. The word "agha" comes from the Old Turkic and Mongolian "aqa", meaning "elder brother",[2][3] and "khan" means king, ruler in Turkic and Mongolian languages.[4]
 Chert! So pretty <3
• • •
Whew, this one was seriously a toughie for me!! Not only were some of the clues a little weird (I knew NARCOTIC, but how is OTIC a suffix?), many new-to-me words (however embarrassing that may be). AMPERE? ABNER? And what the heck is a CERT? Maybe those of you from a different generation can fill me in on that one - the only mints I eat are Mentos and Lifesavers. Maybe it's this geology class I'm taking, but I just kept thinking of CHERT. Also, I have a sneaking suspicion that Ned White is a bit of a techie...who else calls a mouse or keyboard PERIPHERALS?

The theme was pretty fun, although some of the phrases were definitely a bit of a stretch - NECK SNAPPER? I had NECK TURNER there for the longest time because at least it sounded more like HEAD TURNER, which is an actual saying that people actually say! It was still cool though. I didn't even notice that it went down from head to ankles until my mom pointed it out!

  • EMO (64A: Rock genre) — Ahhh, just this clue takes me back to middle school. I always wanted to shop at renowned EMO store Hot Topic, but I could never afford any of the ridiculously expensive corsets or black lipstick or whatever else it was they sold, because I was twelve. I guess that just gave me one more thing to be EMO about. *Evanescence songs playing in the distance*
  • FILL (58D: Complete, as a crossword grid) — Fourth-wall humor in a crossword puzzle! Love it!
  • SABRAS (47A: Native Israelis) — My mother was VERY offended that I didn't get this clue right away. In my defense, it's kind of an obscure word? Maybe?
  • REM (20A: Rock band fronted by Michael Stipe) — Please listen to this. Trust me.
Signed, Annabel Thompson, tired college student.

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