Personal enforcer in Godfather / MON 2-11-13 / Actress who married Justin Timberlake in 2012 / Onetime name at New York's Rockefeller Center
Monday, February 11, 2013
Constructor: Gary Cee
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (***for a Monday***)
THEME: SHARE A CAB (62A: Split the taxi fare ... and what the words do in 18-, 24-, 39- and 55-Across) — word "CAB" is "shared" by two words in several two-word phrases.
- 18A: Personal enforcer in "The Godfather" (LUCA BRASI)
- 24A: Onetime name at New York's Rockefeller Center (RCA BUILDING)
- 39A: Skill with a paintbrush, say (ARTISTIC ABILITY)
- 55A: Actress who married Justin Timberlake in 2012 (JESSICA BIEL)
Word of the Day: JESSICA BIEL (55A: Actress who married Justin Timberlake in 2012) —
Jessica Claire Biel (born March 3, 1982) is an American actress, model and singer. She is known for her television role as Mary Camden in the long-running family-drama series 7th Heaven. She has since starred in many films including The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Blade: Trinity (2004), I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007), The A-Team (2010), New Year's Eve (2011), and Total Recall (2012). She will appear in the thriller indie filmEmanuel and the Truth about Fishes in 2013.She won the Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actress in 1997 for her role in Ulee's Gold. (wikipedia) [ed. note: a ULEE connection!]
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Did this on paper in just under 4, so ... I think that makes this tough but not terribly tough for a Monday. On an early-week puzzle, I'm much faster on-screen, so I probably would've come in in the mid-/low-threes—a tad above normal. Seemed like a lot of sticking points, namely (potentially) all of the theme answers, or at least the ones that were proper nouns. I have no idea what the RCA BUILDING is, and I went with ALBA over BIEL at first in the JESSICA wars. Also misspelled LUCA BRASI as BRAZI. Went with SCOUR right out of the box at 1A: Use a wire brush on (SCRUB)—never a good sign. Shared letters with SCRUB meant that it took longer to undo than it would have otherwise. I had RELI- and TAKE and still couldn't get either of those long Downs in the SW from their clues (40D: Got a kick out of + Friendly send-off, respectively). Somehow [Got a kick out of] doesn't square with RELISHED for me. The latter seems much more intense. This puzzle seems more-or-less successful: theme works, fill isn't bad. But I have to ask: why not make the revealer SPLIT A CAB. Seems (to my ear) the much more common colloquial formulation. SHARE A CAB isn't wrong, it's just ... not the go-to phrase I'd use. Also, SPLIT A CAB works perfectly with the theme, and if SPLIT were in the grid, your revealer clue could've rhymed—[Share the fare ...]. I'm genuinely puzzled as to why you'd go for SHARE A CAB over SPLIT A CAB. And that's my final thought for this puzzle.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld