Ukrainian city once / THU 12-13-12 / Kids doorbell-ringing prank / Bygone NFL'er / 1996 live-action animated comedy / 1986 film sequel Razzie-nominated for Worst Visual Effects / Discontinued brand of antidandruff shampoo
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Constructor: Sam Ezersky
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: ING/ONG — in theme answers, both halves of -ING -ONG phrases occupy the same four-letter space in the grid, with both "I" and "O" occupying a single square on four different occasions. Notable, both "I" and "O" provide plausible answers in the crosses.
Word of the Day: "KING KONG LIVES" (61A: 1986 film sequel Razzie-nominated for Worst Visual Effects) —
King Kong Lives, also known as King Kong II, is a 1986 American monster film produced by DEG Studios. Directed by John Guillermin and featuring special effects by Carlo Rambaldi, the film starred Linda Hamilton and Brian Kerwin. The film was a belated sequel to King Kong. // King Kong, after being shot down from the World Trade Center, is kept alive in a coma for about 10 years at the Atlantic Institute, under the care of surgeon Dr. Amy Franklin (Linda Hamilton). In order to save Kong's life, Dr. Franklin must perform a heart transplant and give Kong a computer-monitored artificial heart. However, he lost so much blood that a transfusion is badly needed. Enter adventurer Hank Mitchell (Brian Kerwin), who captures a giant female gorilla in Borneo (Mitchell theorizes that Borneo and the island from the first movie were once part of the same landmass), bringing her to the Institute so her blood can be used for Kong's operation. The transfusion and the heart transplant are a success, but Kong escapes along with the female, who is dubbed "Lady Kong". Archie Nevitt (John Ashton), an insane army lieutenant colonel, is called in with his men to hunt down and kill the two apes. Lady Kong is captured alive by Nevitt's troops and imprisoned; Kong falls from a cliff and is presumed dead, but soon returns to rescue his mate. But as Franklin and Mitchell soon discover, Kong's artificial heart is beginning to give out. Kong then is successful in saving his mate. After being followed, attacked, and shot by the military, Kong kills the military colonel and dies slowly at a military base. After this event, Lady Kong is back on Kong Island, with her happy, newborn son whom King Kong was able to see and touch before his death. (wikipedia)
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Wow, this was weird. I think it's very clever, now that I see the gimmick, but I never saw the gimmick while solving. I just wondered why the first parts of of the -ING-ONG phrases weren't there (I'd gone w/ "O"s in all the slots, starting at "KING KONG LIVES," figuring it made more sense that the first part of an answer would be left off—for some reason—than that the second part would). I would never have understood the theme had my software not *rejected* my grid, causing me to have to check the grid for errors (couldn't find any), and eventually causing me to have to "Reveal" the answer to see where I went wrong. Turns out everything was right ... I just hadn't written two letters in one space in my grid. I'm guessing the software would've accepted a grid with "I"s instead of "O"s, which would've Really left me thinking, "What the hell?" This is all to say that I imagine there will be people left wondering what the gimmick is: "Where did SING, PING, KING, and DING go?"
- SI/ONG VOICE (3D: Insincere-sounding speaking style)
- PI/ONG TABLE (16A: Feature of many a rec room)
- "KI/ONG LIVES" (61A: 1986 film sequel Razzie-nominated for Worst Visual Effects)
- DI/ONG DITCH (34D: Kids' doorbell-ringing prank)
Liked GO WIDE, and guessing ORBITZ off the "O" and then confirming it immediately with ZOLA (60D: Novelist who was a childhood friend of Cézanne) was oddly exhilarating. Remembering "SPACE JAM" was less exhilarating, but useful nonetheless (10D: 1996 live-action/animated comedy).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld