Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Title: Ultimate Band of Fiction
Author: Mark Feldman
Theme: Fictional characters whose last names end with a musical instrument.
  • 3d: Main character in "The Omen" (DAMIEN THORN).


  • 10d: Hazzard County hottie (DAISY DUKE).

  • 21d: "Vanity Fair" girl (BECKY SHARP).

  • 31d: TV character who came out of the closet in "The Puppy Episode" (ELLEN MORGAN).


  • 39d: 1971 role for Donald Sutherland (JOHN KLUTE). Yes, Joon, another "Klute" clue. You really need to go rent this movie.


Be honest. If it weren't for the title, would you have figured out this theme? I think it would have taken me a while to see it. Which is to say, it didn't help me in the least during solving. Luckily, the puzzle wasn't particular difficult, so the lack of theme help didn't matter. In fact, the theme clues were pretty straightforward "you know it or you don't"-type clues.


Sunny Spots:
  • 1a: Body of science (CADAVER). Morbid? Sure. But it's still a great fill at 1-Across.


Sundries:
  • 8a: Wiseguy (MADE MAN). Raise your hand if you tried MAFIOSO first. I did.

  • 15a: College professor's community (ACADEME). I want this to be ACADEMIA, but I've been disappointed regarding this fill before recently, so I was ready for it.

  • 16a: Mother-of-pearl source (ABALONE).

  • 17a: Evil (DEMONIC). The fact that this crosses DAMIEN is a nice touch.

  • 22a: Collection of electronic newsgroups (USENET). Gimme for me. Usenet was bigger than the World Wide Web back when everything was still text-based. Can you imagine web sites with no pictures? It wasn't that long ago.

  • 23a: Billy Blanks workout (TAE BO). I didn't recognize the name immediately, but the AE left no doubt what the answer was going to be.

  • 25a: Southpaw (LEFTY).

  • 36a: Fake-out in a rink (DEKE).


  • 39a: Daughter on "The Jetsons" (JUDY).

  • 40a: First "American Idol" winner Clarkson (KELLY). I didn't watch "Idol" back then. Picked it up in Season 5.

  • 41a: Cinematic technique (SLO-MO). We just had this fill yesterday. It's like a slo-mo replay all over again.

  • 46a: Grig, e.g. (EEL).

  • 47a: "___ Song Trilogy" (TORCH).



  • 48a: LaBeouf of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (SHIA). I knew this, but I can imagine the crossing of this with 48d: Govt. loan agency (SBA) might have given some people fits.

  • 50a: Ban's predecessor as U.N. secretary general (ANNAN).

  • 51a: Place for taps (BAR ROOM). Not the bugle call here.


  • 53a: Its mascot is Mr. Bluelight (K-MART).

  • 55a: Son of Cain (ENOCH).

  • 58a: Birds do it (WARBLE). Love the clue. Calls for some Ella Fitzgerald, don't you think?



  • 62a: Word with box or boy (POOR).

  • 65a: Generally (AS A RULE).

  • 67a: One of the Leeward Islands (ANTIGUA).

  • 70a: Where kr√≥nur are spent (ICELAND).


  • 71a: Inflatable life vest (MAE WEST).

  • 72a: Sublets (RERENTS). I'm not crazy about RE- words, which tend to show up a lot on the bottom row or rightmost column of puzzles.

  • 2d: Amtrak train name (ACELA). This shows up quite a bit.

  • 6d: Arab chieftain (EMIR). Ditto.

  • 12d: Phoebe, to Saturn (MOON).


  • 13d: Hathaway of "Get Smart" (ANNE). She played Agent 99 in the movie version.

  • 24d: Hit on the bean (BOP). I would have gone with a Ramones clue on this one.

  • 33d: "The Elements of ___" (Strunk and White book) (STYLE).

  • 34d: "___ la vista, baby!" (HASTA). Classic Ahhnold.



  • 44d: Like some missiles (AIR-TO-AIR).

  • 52d: Discus great Al who won gold in four consecutive Olympics (OERTER). I'm not sure if I know this from puzzles, or whether I knew it before. Either way, it's fairly deeply instilled now.


  • 56d: What an umpire's indicator indicates (COUNT).

  • 57d: Cerberus's threesome (HEADS). The three-headed dog of Greek mythology.



Suns of Bitches:

None.

This puzzle ran a little smoother for me than yesterday's. The 15x16 construction was necessary to accommodate the lone 10-letter entry, BECKY SHARP, since central entries in a standard 15x15 must have an odd number of letters. Unfortunately, when CADAVER is your bright spot in the non-theme fill, you know things are a bit on the dull side. Not a bad puzzle, by any means, but a little more sparkle would have livened this baby up a bit.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.

4 comments:

ArtLvr said...

Hi Pete -- Thanks for your write-up! I did this one in the wee hours, and didn't have much trouble with it, but never figured out the Band till reading your analysis! I did give the long answers a quick glance.... Weird instruments for a band, really!

Werdsmith said...

To the Sun: Thank you for 62a.

The Times rarely uses the answer to this type of clue on opposite sides of the clue words. Kudos.

Just saying.

Joon said...

i got JOHNKLUTE this time. at least he's the title character. i've already forgotten the girl's name. b-something? brie? bree? i think it might have been BREE. oh yes, i wanted a prancing pony clue for that one last time.

Jim in NYC said...

Damn I love The Terminator.