Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

Title: Oscar-winning Roles
Author: Jeremy Horwitz
Theme: Fictional roles that won "Oscars" in their fictional universe
  • 1a: With 69-Across, Oscar-winning star of "Queen of the Night" in 1992's "The Bodyguard" (RACHEL / MARRON).

  • 20a: Oscar-winning star of "Tropic Blunder: The True Story Behind the Making of the Most Expensive Fake True War Story Ever" in 2008's "Tropic Thunder" (TUGG SPEEDMAN).

  • 38a: Oscar-winning star of "A World for Two" in 1954's "A Star Is Born" (VICKI LESTER).

  • 55a: Oscar-winning star of "To Serve and Protect" in 1997's "In & Out" (CAMERON DRAKE).

Wow, what a way to round out Oscar week. I have to say that, despite the fact that only TUGG SPEEDMAN even sounded familiar, I really like this concept a lot. I found all the other names to be plausible enough, and none of the crossings were that nasty, so it was quite the nice Friday puzzle.

  • 11a: Laurence Fishburne series (CSI). Name a series in three letters...

  • 14a: One of the Andrews Sisters (MAXENE). I had the MAX and went with MAXINE, but it was soon clear from the crossing that this was not the correct spelling.

  • 15a: Fictional spy Rider (ALEX). I'm not familiar with this series of spy novels by Anthony Horowitz.

  • 17a: Learned scholar (SAVANT). I always thought a SAVANT was a natural talent more than a scholar, but I guess that's the idiot savant.

  • 19a: Unit replaced by the siemens (MHO). 23a: 100 nanojoules (ERG). Our physics fix of the day.

  • 27a: Italian composer Antonio (SALIERI). If you've seen "Amadeus", you'll remember this name.

  • 33a: The Enforcer's boss (SCARFACE). Is this from the movie "Scarface", or is this some comic I am not aware of? When I see "The Enforcer", I think Dirty Harry movie.

  • 36a: Tropical beach garment (SARONG).

  • 40a: Coca-Cola offering (FRESCA). Does anyone drink this stuff? I think it's the worst tasting soda I've ever tried. Even worse than Tab.

  • 45a: Flat fee (RENT). Very nice clue.

  • 48a: "Did it start without me?" (AM I LATE).

  • 54a: It gets bigger when stroked or massaged (EGO). Sexual innuendo tag.

  • 66a: Balletic opposite of en l'air (A TERRE). If you're not in the air, you're on the ground.

  • 7d: Misses at a rodeo (GALS). Another very nice clue.

  • 9d: Site of Hercules's first labor (NEMEA). For some reason, my first instinct was NIMES.

  • 13d: Decreasing? (IRONING). Very cute.

  • 21d: Balenciaga parent company (GUCCI). I've never heard of Balenciaga, but somehow I knew this answer instinctively.

  • 23d: Staggered start? (ESS). Cryptic letter clue.

  • 25d: Idol (GRAVEN IMAGE). Nice fill.

  • 29d: Get angry and defensive (BRISTLE).

  • 39d: "Enigma Variations" composer (ELGAR). Elgar is probably most known for his "Pomp and Circumstance" march, played at most graduation processions.

  • 40d: Geometric term coined by BenoĆ®t Mandelbrot (FRACTAL). Excellent. Get some math geekiness in here. I'm not going to explain them, go here or here for more info.

  • 41d: Go back into the ring? (REMARRY). Okay, that's pushing it a bit much. There's often a fine line between clever and over-the-top. It's hard to define, but this one stepped over.

  • 46d: Brand of chewing gum (MENTOS). Mentos makes gum? Who knew?Does it do the same thing that the mints do when you add them to Diet Coke?

  • 49d: Moises of "Hannah Montana" (ARIAS). This is didn't know, but I didn't need to. And I prefer it over some obscure Italian opera reference.

  • 50d: Where the pa'anga is spent (TONGA). Obscure clue, but with T___A, it was easy to guess.

  • 52d: Cathouse cheese (MADAM). There's something unsettling about this clue. The use of the word "cheese" in the context of a cathouse sends my mind to places I'd just as soon it not go. "Whorehouse head" would be more suggestive, but at the same time would feel... I don't know... cleaner?

  • 53d: Honshu seaport (AKITA). I went with OSAKA first, as I expect we were meant to.

  • 62d: Full house sign (SRO). Standing Room Only. I never knew this before doing crosswords. New Hampshire doesn't have a lot of standing room only shows, I guess.

Only one more week of Sun puzzles. This is a mixed blessing for me, as I will miss the quality puzzles terribly. But I'm not sure I'm going to miss blogging them. Don't get me wrong, it's been fun, but it can also be a chore. Without the help of Joon and Norrin2, I'd have bailed long ago. It will be nice to have a break.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Howard B said...

Interesting idea for a theme, well-executed.
Total puzzle beatdown for me though, since I'm not much of a movie buff, so this one ended up being just a ton of crossings.
(TUGG SPEEDMAN - there's an alias if I ever need one...)
Good challenge hiding in the rest of the clues though.

Anonymous said...

33A references that Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti worked for Al "Scarface" Capone.