Troi on Star Trek TNG / TUE 8-16-11 / Gee follower / Farcical 1960s sitcom Indian character Roaring Chicken / Invisible writing on computer screen
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Constructor: David Steinberg
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: HIDDEN TEXT (57A: Invisible writing on a computer screen ... or a component of 18-, 23-, 36- and 52-Across) — common text abbreviations are "hidden" (in circled squares) inside theme answers.
- GO TO HEAVEN (18A: Be rewarded for a pious life, as the devout believe) => OTOH => "On the other hand..."
- HONEY, I'M HOME (23A: Stereotypical sitcom greeting) => IMHO => "In my humble opinion..."
- TOWER OF LONDON (36A: Castle on the Thames) => ROFL => [rolling on the floor laughing]
- KITTY LITTER (52A: Pet store purchase) => TTYL => "Talk to you later!"
Word of the Day: Anita EKBERG (44D: Anita of "La Dolce Vita") —
Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg (born 29 September 1931 in Malmö, Skåne) is a Swedish model, actress and cult sex symbol. She is best known for her role as Sylvia in the 1960 Federico Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, which features the legendary scene of her cavorting in Trevi Fountain alongside Marcello Mastroianni. (wikipedia)
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As I said on my Facebook page last night, this is one of those "can't believe it hasn't been done before"-type themes. Pretty contemporary, pretty interesting. The only grumbling I had was about the short stuff (its quality and its cluing—see, e.g., TSE, 61D: Syllable after 6-Down; "Syllable," really? Again, I say, don't call attention to your junky fill with junky cluing). A lot of the 5-letter and shorter fill is painful, but the mid-range fill (6- and 7-letter stuff) is lively and interesting, so I can forget the bumps in the road. I blew through this in just over 3, which puts it well on the easy side, but I'm not sure it'll play that way for everyone, esp. given the proper noun pile-up in the SE. My wife was left wondering what FT. ROOP was. She's from New Zealand, so "F-TROOP"'s not really in her wheelhouse (48D: Farcical 1960s sitcom with the Indian character Roaring Chicken). Three consecutive pop culture Downs is a lot on a Tuesday, esp. names of that length. Could add a little resistance for some. But not much, I imagine.
I could live my whole life never seeing AITCH again and be very happy (7D: Gee follower). Ditto NOMSG and XIN. It's a very mild shame that HONEY in "HONEY, I'M HOME" is in no way involved with the circled squares, because every other theme answer does a nice job of getting the circles to touch every word in the answer. There are several other common online abbreviations that would've made for interesting "hidden texts"; sadly, at least two of these have letters that stand for profanity in them. The best known is probably LMAO. There's also the popular FML. I recently saw SMH for the first time and had to look it up — "shaking my head" (used as an expression of disappointed disbelief). But now that I think about it, these are all virtually impossible to "hide" in common phrases. Nevermind.
- 31A: Satellite-based car option (XM RADIO) — Got it off the "XM," which isn't terribly surprising, since those two initial letters Really limit your options.
- 43A: A girl was from there in a 1964 hit song (IPANEMA) — and when she passes each one she passes goes "Aaah." Like at a SPA. (68A: Apt rhyme of "aahs" => SPAS)
- 39D: Memorable 1995 hurricane with a gem of a name? (OPAL) — I'm not sure getting cutesy with a deadly natural disaster is in the best of taste.