Soprano role in Il Trovatore / SUN 12-9-12 / Soweto uprising figure / Certain female grouse / acronymic 1970 measure / 1975 TV debut / Country's Acuff Clark / Conniving sergeant of 1950s TV
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Last Name First" — celebrities names appear in grid last name first, making wacky phrases, which are clued wackily
Word of the Day: VICTOR FRENCH —
French is most widely known for costarring with Michael Landon on two television series. He appeared on Little House on the Prairie (1974–1977), (1981–1983, 1984) as Isaiah Edwards (French also directed some episodes of Little House). He appeared on Highway to Heaven (1984–1989) as Mark Gordon.From 1977–79, he left Little House to star as a small-town Georgia police chief in Carter Country. When the series ended, the actor was surprised that Michael Landon was agreeable to his returning to the character of Mr. Edwards. French appeared in Episode 8 of Season 6, in Episode 8 of Season 8, then returned full-time, starting with Episode 19 of Season 8.According to interviews with Cindy Landon, and Kent and Susan McCray on the A&E DVD release of Highway to Heaven Season 3, Victor and Michael Landon were "crazy about each other", indicating that they always made each other laugh and enjoyed each other's company. Cindy Landon mentions that Victor was a quiet and reclusive kind of guy as opposed to Michael Landon's outgoing personality. (wikipedia)
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Simple but effective. That FRENCH VICTOR part of the grid was kind of brutal; LEONORA (53A: Soprano role in "Il Trovatore") was a mystery, and the RICO, G-STRING, and RELOAD clues were hard as hell. Oh, and it goes without saying (or should) that I had no idea who Victor French was, and the clue did nothing to help me get VICTOR. I was quite familiar with the rest of the names in the grid, with the slight exception of ROBIN COOK, who, I think, is a writer ... ? Wrote "Coma"? That's my guess—woo hoo, I'm right. Yay, memory. I had a little trouble in the west with RESELECT instead of the correct DESELECT, and MCI (?) instead of GTE (56A: Verizon forerunner). Oh, and I also thought biopsies were ELECTIVE, Ha ha. Not so much (49D: Like biopsies => INVASIVE). Had a lot of trouble with SAGEHEN (48D: Certain female grouse), which is deeply ironic, given that the SAGEHEN is the mascot of my alma mater (true story).
- 22A: Entry in a metalworker's personal planner? (WELD TUESDAY)
- 24A: Roast a red-breasted bird? (COOK ROBIN)
- 28A: Pounds and pence? (LONDON JACK) — "Jack" is slang for "money."
- 34A: What misbehaving kids must have inherited from their parents? (WILDER GENE)
- 44A: Napoleon, e.g., prior to exile? (FRENCH VICTOR)
- 54A: Fishing spear? (BASS LANCE)
- 74A: Moocher's most valuable acquaintance? (RICH BUDDY)
- 83A: The Salt, in Arizona? (PHOENIX RIVER)
- 90A: Coffee from Big Sky Country? (MONTANA JOE)
- 100A: Smarmy preprandial blessing? (SLICK GRACE)
- 107A: Official seal on a Havana cigar? (CUBAN MARK)
- 108A: Beverage made by squeezing fruit-filled cookies? (NEWTON JUICE)
Lastly, the way to tell BIKO (13D: Soweto uprising figure) and BILKO apart is that Peter Gabriel sang a song about only one of them. I forget which. (Kidding; I really wish the song was "BILKO," but, predictably, it's not. You can sing "BILKO" in the chorus, though, if you want)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. Patrick Blindauer's latest Puzzlefest, "Strip Teaser!", went live yesterday. It's an 11-puzzle metapuzzle with a Las Vegas theme, and it's bound to be a ton of (fairly challenging) fun. Get more information here, at his website.