Suspense novelist Hoag / WED 8-17-11 / Yalta locale / Stooge surname / L'eggs wares / Big Apple mayor before Koch / Former Ford minivan
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Constructor: Michael Black
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Initial things — Clues are famous people with two first initials and a last name that can also be a thing (or things). Initials are written with a slash between them, because each represents a different word that can precede the last name in a common phrase. So ...
- 20A: M/C Hammer? => Mallet or Claw
- 39A: W/C Fields? => Wrigley and Coors
- 58A: L/L Bean? => Lima or Lentil
Word of the Day: Abraham BEAME (66A: Big Apple mayor before Koch) —
Abraham David "Abe" Beame (March 20, 1906 – February 10, 2001) was mayor of New York City from 1974 to 1977. As such, he presided over the city during the fiscal crisis of the mid-1970s, during which the city was almost forced to declare bankruptcy. (wikipedia)
Loved the grid but found the theme answers jarring, first because of the OR / AND / OR inconsistency, and then because I have a hard time hearing "MALLET hammer" or (especially) LENTIL bean." I guess if you think of the answers as types of thing, rather than word that can precede said thing, it all works fine. Lots of cruddy short stuff, but most of the longer stuff is nice, and that matters more. Too much damned Latin — ET ALII ERGO IRAE INITIO. Had no real problems except those of my own making, most notably at the end, in the SE corner where I couldn't get INITIO to come out right. This was largely because of a plausible typo that left me with OHIO as the answer to 65A: "___ be in England": Browning. Last I checked, OHIO be not in England.
The change from OR phrase to AND phrase and back to another OR phrase can be explained by the nature of the names in the clues. "Fields" is a plural, where "Hammer" and "Bean" are singular. Thus the AND for "Fields" and OR for the other two.
- 14A: "The Godfather" score composer Nino (ROTA) — I will always associate this composer with "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening, as I've read several interviews where he expresses his admiration for ROTA.
- 31A: Suspense novelist Hoag (TAMI) — she has one of those names where first and last names are both built for puzzles.
- 34A: Literally, "reign" in Hindi (RAJ) — Period of British colonial rule in India. Also a character on the sitcom "What's Happening?"
- 43A: Former Ford minivan (AEROSTAR) — really wanted ECONOLINE, which is definitely a van, just not a mini.