Performer with self-titled HBO special 2006 / TUE 8-2-11 / ABC 1996 / Comedy Central 2003 2006 / PBS 1977 1982 / Manny of 1970s-80s baseball
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Constructor: Albert R. Picallo
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: D.C. COMICS (60A: "Captain Marvel" publisher ... and a hint to 17-, 25-, 37- and 50-Across) — theme answers are "comics" whose initials are "D.C."
Word of the Day: ALLUVIAL (11D: Like soil in a delta) —
ALLUVIUM n., pl., -vi·ums, or -vi·a (-vē-ə).
Sediment deposited by flowing water, as in a riverbed, flood plain, or delta. Also called alluvion.
[Medieval Latin, flood, from neuter of Latin alluvius, alluvial, from alluere, to wash against. See alluvion.]
I feel bad for this constructor: this exact theme was published last fall in the LAT, and I'm guessing today's constructor conceived of the theme completely independently and submitted it to the NYT well before that LAT puzzle ever came out. Oh well, many of you won't have seen last year's puzzle, in which case—helluva a theme, right? (My friend Angela's not sure "DICK CAVETT" really counts as a "comic," but he's certainly known as "comical," so close enough for me) What's most interesting about the theme duplication is that the two puzzles share only two comics. The LAT had DREW CAREY and DAVID CROSS instead of DICK CAVETT and DAVE CHAPPELLE. Who knew there were so many "DC" comics in the world (all American too). I'm somehow not at all impressed by the "self-titled" element of all the theme clues. Means that the clues aren't as interesting or illustrative or apt as they might be. Clue for DANE COOK (17A: Performer with a self-titled HBO special in 2006), for instance, could really be anybody. No need to add that element to the clues. D.C. COMICS is great all on its own as a theme unifier and revealer.
I had a lot of trouble with this one (for a Tuesday). Time in the low 4s, which is significantly higher than my usual. Could not (easily) get DAVE CHAPPELLE from the clue and D'ARC + ANTH (wow, really ugly pair) were not helping. COACT and ACCENT and ALLUVIAL all took some prodding to come to light. So, it's a typical Tuesday, except (in my case) for everything from the center to the NE. I say that as someone who knew XTC and TRILLO cold (I know not all of you did) (31A: "Senses Working Overtime" band + 16A: Manny of 1970s-'80s baseball). Embarrassing to take so long with FLORENCE. I teach Dante all the time; you'd think I'd have that Arno/FLORENCE thing figured out by now.
- 17A: Performer with a self-titled HBO special in 2006 (DANE COOK)
- 25A: Performer with a self-titled ABC series in 1996 (DANA CARVEY)
- 37A: Performer with a self-titled Comedy Central series from 2003 to 2006 (DAVE CHAPPELLE)
- 50A: Performer with a self-titled PBS series from 1977 to 1982 (DICK CAVETT)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld