Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Title: Two of a Kind
Author: David J. Kahn
Theme: Two men who have won five major awards: Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, and Pultizer Prize.
  • 17a: With 26-Across, award #1 (PULITZER / PRIZE). Literature.

  • 18a: Award #2 (GRAMMY). Music.

  • 25a: Award #3 (TONY). Theater.

  • 50a: Award #4 (OSCAR). Movies.

  • 51a: Award #5 (EMMY). Television.

  • 35a: With 37-Across, one of only two recipients of all five awards in this puzzle (RICHARD / RODGERS). Of Rodgers and Hammerstein, etc.

  • 56a: With 59-Across, the other recipient of all five awards (MARVIN / HAMLISCH). I know him best for his contributions to "The Sting", one of my all-time favorite films.

Despite the fact that several of the theme answers are shorter than usual, I really liked the theme. This was a piece of trivia that I may have heard before, but I would never have come up with the names unprompted. According to Wikipedia, there are 12 people who have won the four major awards (not including the Pulitzer). Check out the list (including details of what they won for) here.

Sunny Spots:

  • 11d: Transparent (LIMPID). Limpid is an excellent word.

  • 12d: Obstetrician Fernand (LAMAZE). I love this kind of clue, because at first glance it's a "What the...?", but then you get the answer from the crossings and it becomes a "Doh! Of course!". If you haven't had kids yet, you might be at a disadvantage here.

  • 27d: "Help!" name (RINGO Starr). Poor Ringo. He'll always be the lesser-Beatle.

  • 29d: "Star Trek" weapon (PHASER). Set to stun. I'm a fan of the original "Star Trek" as well as "Star Trek: The Next Generation". "Deep Space Nine" was okay, "Voyager" might have been tolerable if not for Janeway, and I haven't seen a single episode of "Enterprise".


  • 1a: "Kindly answer" (RSVP).

  • 5a: The Trojans of the Pac-10 (USC).

  • 13a: Little cupid (AMORETTO). I wasn't familiar with this term, but it makes sense. Not to be confused with AMARETTO, which is a liqueur.

  • 15a: Television antenna (AERIAL). I bit dated these days, but okay.

  • 20a: Hole in a sweater? (PORE). Good clue.

  • 22a: Normal (PAR). Props for the golf reference.

  • 31a: "___ Spirit" (Noël Coward play) (BLITHE).

  • 53a: "The Marvelous City" (RIO).

  • 63a: "___ Man" (1992 comedy) (ENCINO). I've got to admit, I'm not a huge Brendan Fraser fan and I'm much less a Pauly Shore fan. Sean Astin was great in "The Lord of the Rings" as Sam Gamgee.

  • 64a: Lotion ingredient (ALOE VERA). This is, at least, more interesting a fill than ALOE by itself.

  • 65a: Martin of "The Departed" (SHEEN). Now that's a good film.

  • 66a: Cut (SAW).

  • 60d: Cut (MOW). As crossing words go with the same clue, this one's pretty dull.

  • 1d: Thwack (RAP). These don't feel the same to me, but I'm having a hard time defining why. For me, a thwack implies hitting with an object, like a stick, that maybe even has some springiness to it (unlike, say, a baseball bat); rap is something you do with knuckles.

  • 3d: Like some ash (VOLCANIC). Super easy, especially with the leading V. I mean, what else could it be?

  • 5d: Brand of pretzels (UTZ). Great-looking brand name, to go along with EDYS (67a: Rival of Breyers).

  • 9d: "___ Town Too" (1981 hit song) (HER). Not familiar with the song, but not hard to guess.

  • 14d: Gen. Eisenhower commanded it (ETO). Common fill. Remember it.

  • 16d: Ancient strings (LYRES). I never know whether to put LYRES or LUTES for this one.

  • 24d: MGM musical of 1953 (LILI). This I only know from puzzles.

  • 39d: Scream (RIOT). As in, that comic was a scream.

  • 42d: Some motorbikes (YAMAHAS). Also some pianos.

  • 44d: Cowriter of "The Christmas Song" (Mel TORME). "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..."

  • 46d: Char (SCORCH).

  • 48d: Graceful African antelope (IMPALA). Also a classic Chevrolet.

  • 54d: At another time (ANON). I started with ANEW here, which slowed me down.

  • 55d: ___ Miss (OLE). I've seen them in the NCAA basketball tourney.

  • 61d: "Big Girls Don't ___" (CRY).

Suns of Bitches:

  • 43a: New Jersey town bordering Teaneck (LEONIA).

I thought this was a great theme for a Tuesday, with decent, if not earth-shattering, fill. Overall, I found it quite fair and enjoyable.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Anonymous said...

A little heavy on the abbreviations (or other short forms) for my taste, though perhaps this puzzle is not unusual in that respect. I'll have to start counting them once in a while. In this puzzle, I count eight: RSVP, USC, CEO, ASAP, ABBR, SMU, ETO, and ERA. Does that seem high?

Pete M said...

@ruy: A little, maybe. Though most are actually spoken as is, which I think makes a big difference. The only real abbreviation that is not in common parlance is ABBR. If the others were things like ADJ, RTE, and SRA, I'd wholeheartedly agree.

Joon said...

the theme did little for me, but i liked this puzzle anyway. i've at least heard of RICHARD RODGERS; he has the same name as a famous architect. the other guy was all crosses, and it was actually pretty tough to get the M in HAMLISCH. i had _O_ and SA_ both clued as [Cut] and had to play the alphabet game (for a long time, mind you--stupid W!). it doesn't help that "cut" could be a noun, adjective, present-tense verb, or past-tense verb.

now if one of those guys had a nobel prize or two, and maybe the fields medal, and a cy young award, we'd really be talking.

Anonymous said...

While I wouldn't expect much overlap between, say, Cy Young Award and Fields Medal winners, you just never know. After all, Brian May of Queen is both a rock star and a recent PhD in astrophysics.

ehicks77 said...

clever with some good fill...but nothing terrifically interesting or fun. David Kahn is generally hard but he was easing up for today

Dan said...

I liked this one because I knew where the theme was going immediately, yet the fill was fun enough that it wasn't boring.

But the reason I'm posting a day late is:
-Today I heard a story about Marvin Hamlisch coming to my friend's piano bar in Chicago, and
-Richard Rodgers's grandson is sitting next to me right now, watching a rehearsal of his Tony-winning show.