Monday, December 26, 2011

1948 John Wayne western / TUE 12-27-11 / 1954 monster film setting / Linda Ronstadt hit co-written by Roy Orbison

Constructor: John Dunn

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: WATER COLORS (61A: Some Winslow Homer art ... or what five answers in this puzzle are?) — all theme answers follow the model [color + body of water]

Word of the Day: James LEVINE (17D: James of the Met) —
James Lawrence Levine (play /lɨˈvn/; born June 23, 1943) is an American conductor and pianist. He is currently the music director of the Metropolitan Opera and former music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Levine's first performance conducting the Metropolitan Opera was on June 5, 1971, and as of May 2011 he has conducted 2,512 Met performances. In 1997, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. (wikipedia)
• • •

Another very easy puzzle, and another puzzle saved by a great revealer. As I was doing this, I was like "oh, great ... colors." Then realized that they were attached to bodies of water. OK, mildly more interesting. Strangely, I *never* saw the answer WATER COLORS while I was solving. My eyes must have glided over the clue, but when it failed to register anything, I must have gone on and solved the entire answer via crosses. A good revealer is really valuable—it's an emphatic expression of the puzzle's organizing principle, and is successful to the extent that it is both accurate as a statement of what the puzzle's about and clever in its wordplay. Outside the theme, the grid is solid—vivid and interesting and light on junk. Very Scrabbly without feeling forced.

Theme answers:
  • 16A: 1954 monster film setting (BLACK LAGOON)
  • 22A: 1948 John Wayne western (RED RIVER) 
  • 50A: City that's home to the winner of the first two Super Bowls (GREEN BAY)
  • 10D: It's between Korea and China (YELLOW SEA)
  • 32D: Linda Ronstadt hit co-written by Roy Orbison ("BLUE BAYOU")

I confess to having no idea who James LEVINE is (17D: James of the Met). I was not even sure if "James" was a first or last name. That answer, and the entire southern region, caused the only hold-ups in the entire solve. In the south, I had GO FOR instead of GUESS (50D: Take a stab), and that took some undoing. Took a while to get to GAPS from 67A: Reasons for braces. CREATOR took a few crosses to see (45A: Brahma, in Hinduism). Otherwise, everything else just fell into place quickly (hence my never seeing the most important theme answer of the lot).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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