Monday, December 12, 2011

1996 slasher film with villain Ghostface / TUE 12-13-11 / Kojak portrayer / 1980s defense secretary Weinberger / Singer with 1995 12x platinum album Pieces of You

Constructor: Jonathan Gersch

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: ELMO (61D: Pal of the starts of 17-, 24-, 40-, 52- and 66-Across) of SESAME STREET (19A: With 63-Across, where to find all the characters at the starts of 17-, 24-, 40-, 52- and 66-Across) fame—theme answers begin with BERT, OSCAR, GROVER, TELLY (?), and ERNIE, respectively

 Word of the Day: TELLY
Telly Monster, known usually as just Telly, is an eternally worrying, fuchsia monster Muppet on Sesame Street. He is puppeteered by Martin P. Robinson. // On his debut in 1979, he was known as the Television Monster, a character that was fixated on television. He had antennae standing out of the top of his head, and his eyes would whirl around when he watched television. After that stint through season eleven, producers worried that he would be a negative influence on their easily influenced viewers, and changed him into the worry-wart character that he has been ever since. [...] Telly is a triangle lover, and he has a pet hamster Chuckie Sue. He has been known to pogo stick uncontrollably around Sesame Street, often causing havoc with all that gets in his way. This segment is shown on Sesame Street Unpaved. Baby Bear is his best friend and appears occasionally in many of the main plots in the later series. Telly also has somewhat of a friendship with Oscar the Grouch, since they appear in many segments together. (wikipedia)
• • •

So the big revelation for me today was that there is a "Sesame Street" muppet named TELLY. Wow. By 1979 I wasn't watching "Sesame Street" any more, so I guess I just missed him and Never Picked Him Up. TELLY must *$&%ing hate ELMO. ELMO gets a big marketing campaign and he's all baby-voiced and cute or whatever, and TELLY's just an ugly depressed oaf. This theme is fine. Didn't love it, didn't hate it. Felt very easy, except for a couple of moments when it wasn't. Those moments: ALBA (1D: Francisco Goya's "Duchess of ___")—really could've used a Jessica clue here; HISS (4A: Snake sound)—I wrote in HSSS (!?); the SE corner—I didn't make any errors, and even got WEAL off just the "W," but needed every cross to get LOT (73A: Drawing); VIERS (55D: Contenders)—it was my first guess, but I just couldn't convince myself it was a word; and ADWEEK (16A: Marketing pro's magazine)—absolutely no clue ... sounds vaguely familiar, but I needed virtually every cross. Still, finished under 4, which means if I didn't mention it in this paragraph, I torched it.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Cowardly Lion portrayer (BERT LAHR)
  • 24A: "The Odd Couple" slob (OSCAR MADISON)
  • 40A: President who was once New York's governor (GROVER CLEVELAND)
  • 52A: Kojak portrayer (TELLY SAVALAS)
  • 66A: 2011 inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame (ERNIEELS)
  • 57A: Stella D'___ (cookie brand) (ORO) — I do not know this cookie at all. Star of gold.
  • 68A: Stately trees of Lebanon (CEDARS) — Stately Trees of Lebanon sounds like a band name. Like Kings of Leon, only much better.
  • 8D: 1980s defense secretary Weinberger (CASPAR) — one of those answers that will tend to be a gimme to anyone who was an adult in the '80s, but possibly a mystery to the under-30 set. Political cabinet positions tend to work that way. I often get comments like "how could you not know J.F.K.'s Secretary of the Interior?" and I always want to reply "You don't know that because you studied it or because you're smart, you know it because you were breathing air in 1960." But mostly I don't reply at all. And the answer is Stewart Udall.
  • 25D: Winner of an Emmy, a Grammy, and Oscar, and three Golden Globes (CHER) — a very dull clue for CHER. I mean ... CHER. Look at her. Look at her body of work. And "this* is your clue? Snore. Not nearly CHER-Y enough. I thought the answer was Rita Moreno at first.
  • 34D: 1996 slasher film with villain Ghostface ("SCREAM") — my only comment here is I can't believe that movie is already 15 years old. 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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