Richard of Rambo movies / SUN 6-9-13 / Star in Swan constellation / Hybrid musical instrument with shoulder strap / Charlene who played Lucy on Dallas / Mort who said my life needs editing / Lauro hijacked ship of 1985
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "Fast One" — a puzzle about SECRETARIAT (64A: 95-Across who made the covers of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated in the same week). Note accompanying the puzzle reads:
"ABOUT THIS PUZZLE: Complete the puzzle. Then connect the circled letters alphabetically from A to S to get an image related to the puzzle's theme."
- 31A: Like 64-Across, in sports annals (CELEBRATED)
- 13D: What 64-Across holds in the three legs of 46-Down (ALL-TIME RECORDS)
- 46D: What 64-Across won on June 9, 1973 (THE TRIPLE CROWN)
- 37D: Straightaway for 64-Across (HOME STRETCH)
- 95A: Time and Newsweek's cover description of 64-Across (SUPERHORSE)
Tacked-on, non-symmetrical "theme" answers:
- SIRE (98A: Bold Ruler, to 64-Across)
- WREATH (90D: Victory wear for 64-Across)
Word of the Day: KEYTAR (15D: Hybrid musical instrument with a shoulder strap) —
A keytar is a relatively lightweight keyboard (with or without a built-in synthesizer) that is supported by a strap around the neck and shoulders, similar to the way a guitar is supported by a strap. Keytars allow players a greater range of movement compared to conventional keyboards, which are placed on stationary stands. The instrument has a musical keyboard for triggering musical notes and sounds. Controls for, but not limited to, pitch bends, vibrato, portamento, and sustain are placed on the instrument's "neck". The term "keytar" is a portmanteau of the words "keyboard" and "guitar". The term "keytar" might be considered slang or referenced from pop culture, as none of the major manufacturers of this style of keyboard had ever referred to this type of keyboard as a "keytar" in any printed material (model names, equipment manuals, advertisements, websites, etc.) for over 30 years. (wikipedia)
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Palace Malice won) I don't follow horse racing, and neither does anyone else anymore, frankly. People pretend to care once a year, when the Kentucky Derby rolls around, and then there's talk of "maybe this year" for a Triple Crown winner, then it doesn't happen, then people go back to not caring. Horse racing is like boxing, in that it used to be a big deal, but is now a niche "sport." And a relic. I love horse racing and boxing—in my film noir. Many of the best movies in that genre center around those sports, largely because they feature gambling, and thus are the sites of incredible corruption. But be all this as it may, the puzzle is neatly put together, and though I'm no fan of the "make a picture with your grid" puzzle, at least this connect-the-dots produces something that actually looks like what it's supposed to look like.
I wonder about the wisdom of going for the extra theme answers (the little, non-symmetrical ones). I mean, that SE corner is clearly the weakest one in the whole grid. I can't see how WREATH is worth having to endure PETRO, SORBIC, NBAER, ACHS, SOREST, and the overused ASSETS. There's absolutely no reason for the little corner to be that weak, unless WREATH somehow forced the issue.
There is some nice fill in this one, and some makeshift fill, and some nice makeshift fill. Both PET DOGS (44A: Lassie and Marmaduke, e.g.) and WIGMAKER (10D: Expert with locks?) feel somewhat slapdash, but I really like the latter. I don't recall ever seeing it—and it's certainly a real thing, so why not? CARPACCIO is an elegant answer (60A: Raw meat dish). The puzzle has the usual amount of crosswordese and partials—nothing noteworthy or egregious. I would've had an error–CAMINO / MARE instead of CASINO/SIRE—but the SHRINERs saved me (80D: Certain templegoer). I blew through this in under 10. Anything under 10 gets an "Easy" from me.
CRENNA (60D: Richard of Rambo movies) to Charlene TILTON (77A: Charlene who played Lucy on "Dallas") to the ACHILLE Lauro (19A: ___ Lauro (hijacked ship of 1985))—all names from my sweet spot, i.e. my adolescence, i.e. the '80s. Also managed to remember DENEB (52A: Star in the Swan constellation), which remains a constellation I've only ever seen in crosswords. That answer helped me get the cleverly clued SIDE B (33D: Backtrack?), which makes a nice companion piece to PLAN B. I had DOG for 114A: Hardly a knockout (HAG) at first, and thought "wow, that's kind of harsh."
That is all.