1990 Nicolas Cage film / TUE 9-17-13 / Paper with Marketplace and Money Investing sects / Kampala resident / One of two used facetiously in Motley Crue
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Constructor: Peter A. Collins
Relative difficulty: Medium
- 18A: 1990 Kevin Costner film ("DANCES WITH WOLVES")
- 23A: 1990 Nicolas Cage film ("WILD AT HEART")
- 51A: 1967 Dustin Hoffman film ("THE GRADUATE")
- 56A: 1989 Robin Williams film ("DEAD POETS SOCIETY")
Word of the Day: PEWIT (10D: Lapwing) —
[Imitative of its call.]
• • •
"THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE"!
"50 FIRST DATES"!
WILD AT HEART" is a bit of an outlier, though I know it well so didn't balk). Also, there's a bunch of mid-sized fill that adds a good deal of interest to the grid. I particularly love the pairing of MOLIÈRE and LEONARD there in the SW. Overall, the fill is around average. Mostly OK, a wobbler here and there. EEW indeed. Serious Scrabble-f*cking with the "J" in the 31 square. How is WSJ / IWO / JOS worth it? Not sure. The "X" Makes sense where it is because it's the best letter that can go there. That "J" ... less clear. But overall, I'd say the fill comes in at somewhat more interesting than your average Tuesday. The theme seems like it was designed in a lab dedicated to "Theme Types REX Does Not Like"—I recognize this is a personal aversion that perhaps not everyone shares. It's just that the "non-contiguous squares spelling things" idea doesn't strike me as interesting. You can cherry-pick letters in long phrases and find all kinds of "hidden" words. DATE just isn't intrinsic enough to these movies. They are not DATE movies except in the most attenuated way—which is the point of a theme like this. So I'm pointing out the obvious. Obviously, it's not my thing. So depending on who you are, it's clever or it's thin or it's something else entirely that I haven't thought of. From where I stand, it is done, which is what matters, as I have to get to sleep.
PEWIT has only ever appeared in the NYT once before. I'll admit to being ignorant of bird names at times, but this seems less than common. Odd for a Tuesday. PAVLOVA is a dessert popular in NZ. Apparently it is also the name of a ballerina who danced in "The Dying Swan" (whatever that is ... I see it's a ballet written to accompany a Saint-Saëns cello solo). I thought the clue was referring to a character somehow. Not that it would've mattered. I kind of like NOISE LAW, in that it's different, but it doesn't google *that* well (for instance, ["noise ordinance"] googles about 5x better). But different is good. Usually. This one gets a pass. Liked the clue on HAVE (25D: Privileged one), and on TEA (59D: What a caddy may hold—tricksy!). You can take back your ALPEs and SILs, though. Best mistake—CATNIP for CATNAP (8D: Quick refresher). I was confusing CATNIP with NIGHTCAP. There's a perfectly good rational in there, but I'm not gonna tease it out.
This puzzle is a super-sized 16 letters wide and yet still has a lower word-count than yesterday's.
And so to bed.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld