Early TV star with biography title Schnozzola / TUE 5-8-12 / Fearsome dino / Tree with namesake ski destination / Edvard Munch depiction
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Constructor: Lynn Lempel
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: Short of interesting — S- turned to SH- in familiar phrases, wackiness, etc.
Word of the Day: MARRYIN' SAM —
MARRYIN' SAM is one of the few gainfully employed men in Dogpatch. A preacher who specializes in $2 weddings (but anything is negotiable) he cleans up only once a year--- during the annualSadie Hawkins Day Race, when slow-footed bachelors are dragged kicking and screaming to the alter by their respective brides-to-be. Generally, the only other time Marryin' Sam gets a gig is when a bachelor accidentally violates (or is tricked into violating) "th' code o' th' hills," whereby any man who merely kisses an unmarried woman automatically has to marry her. Marryin' Sam was prominently featured on the cover of Life magazine in 1952 when he presided over the unexpected wedding ofLi'l Abner and Daisy Mae. In the 1956 Broadway musical and 1959 Li'l Abner film adaptation the rotund Marryin' Sam was perfectly played by 5' 7" 250 pound actor Stubby Kaye. (deniskitchen)
• • •
I have a theory: fewer solvers have heard of MARRYIN' SAM than have heard of GHOSTFACE KILLAH. My other theory—a Venn diagram of people who know one name and people who know the other will show very little overlap. Some. But not a lot. This is all to say that the only trouble I had with this grid (besides picking up the theme, which I didn't even try to do at first) occurred in the SE, where MARRYIN' SHAM runs into ACCUSES (47D: Charges in court). I had ALLEGES. This necessitated some erasing. Otherwise, pretty straightforward stuff. Obviously I've never heard of Marryin' Sam. Thankfully, all the crosses were highly gettable, so ... here we are. Another Tuesday done. I've seen better. I've seen worse.
- 17A: Winner of a pea-preparing contest? (BEST SHELLER)
- 28A: Lotharios' lines in a singles bar? (PICK-UP SHTICKS) — Best in Sow
- 48A: One preparing corn for long hours? (ALL-DAY SHUCKER) — odd that two of these SH- words mean "one who removes the outer layer from" something.
- 62A: Phony wedding? (MARRYIN' SHAM)
DURANTE and MACY'S (as clued)) (39A: Early TV star with a biography titles "Schnozzola" + 46A: Store featured in "Miracle on 34th Street"). But everything here (except the olde-timey MARRYIN' S*AM) is well within general crossword solver knowledge. In fact, "general" is the best word I can use to describe the fill. "Basic" is another. "Familiar." I like the clue on ASPEN (71A: Tree with namesake ski destination), and the SCREAM clue is timely (the 1895 pastel sold for almost $120 million just the other day) (31D: Edvard Munch depiction), and HEROIC (10D: Valiant) and CHIVALROUS (30D: Gallant) MAKE (23D: Fabricate) a nice pair, and TREX are for kids (2D: Fearsome dino) ... Beyond that, there's not a lot to say.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld